Mighty Mercury’s message

The text said, “(kill).” I read it to my friend over brunch, and granted the shrimp and grits were to die for, but I wouldn’t have really killed for them. “It’s from my webmaster,” I say to Vicki, texting him back and knowing he won’t have a clue how I got the message—and sure enough, he didn’t. He wasn’t even near his phone.

“Weird,” my friend says. “Even the parenthesis were correct. I got a text last night from a friend that said ‘jin.’ She didn’t send it either.”

“Add another ‘N,’ and it means spirit,” I say, wondering if a message from another realm was saying “kill spirit,” and if so was it in a positive context as in “Let the ego die,” or in a negative one like “Squash your triumphant, divine inspiration.” A sense of foreboding prompted me to say a silent prayer for protection from whatever had sent it. I don’t know where the message originated, but my gut told me it wasn’t good. Feeling protected, I dove back into my savory bowl in front of me.

Much of this month’s mixed up communication I attribute to the messenger planet, Mercury, which is in retrograde. Mercury’s in charge of our communication and travel, and when it appears to literally stop in the sky, we call the optical illusion, retrograde. The effects are much more intense than I’ve experienced before, possibly because it coincided with the solar and lunar eclipses.

Texts aren’t the only communication that get mangled. I’ve gotten phone calls from various people each day who say, “Oh, I didn’t mean to call you.” Even stranger was my mom calling me, claiming to be returning a call of mine she said she’d just missed, but I had not called her. I was actually recording my radio show on my phone when she called. Then there was the text Mom referred to me sending her, which showed on her phone from me, but I hadn’t sent it and my phone showed no text from me to her.

Between calling the wrong people and getting calls from the people who never meant to call me it’s amazing I was able to book my flight to Florida without complications, but I did—even though I almost missed my flight back because I’d misread the return time of 10 a.m. and thought my flight boarded at 10 p.m. I realized my mistake thanks to an early morning email informing me the flight was delayed till 1:00 p.m. I arrived early and wasn’t surprised to discover the flight hadn’t ever been delayed.

The following week I was two hours early for a doctor’s appointment and totally missed an outing with friends due to reading the dates and times incorrectly—atypical for me. With each jumbled date and unexplainable phone call, I felt increasingly like I’d stepped onto the set of Groundhog Day.

Mercury retrograde that comes around three times a year, isn’t only a time for reliving the past—it’s also a time to reflect, to re-do just about anything not completely done. A time to recalculate the checkbook, to rekindle an old friendship, repair automobiles or reestablish a workout routine. It’s not a time to start a new project or sign an important transaction.

By September 21 Mercury will have moved on and out of its shadow. Unlike Punxsutawney Phil whose shadow purportedly determines if winter will last another six weeks, Mercury doesn’t necessarily predict my future, but its presence is noticeably felt more when it’s not moving.

Perhaps I should model Mighty Mercury’s example and be still, knowing as did the Byrds who sang about it, for everything—turn, turn, turn.

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;


By Michelle Zirkle