Marena Mitchell: Red planet

Marena Mitchell SQjpgI’m a semi-firm believer in astrology and I’d say the people in my life are a 50/50 split between believers and non-believers. I’m totally sold on the personal aspect — the descriptions of personalities and the way chart readings can be used to help us understand how we act and react with others, etc.

As far as horoscopes go, I’m often skeptical. The one I’ve found to be consistently on point — to the level where I think he might be following me — is Eric Francis’ monthly horoscopes in the Chronogram. I read them at the beginning of the month and say, “Okay we’ll see,” and then when the end of the month comes around I reread it, usually throw my hands up in the air and scream, “What the heck is this guy’s deal?!”

Aside from that, I find most horoscopes to be silly. Maybe that’s because I’m reading them out of the back of fashion magazines or some shady website with bad web design, but either way, I haven’t got much faith in the stars to tell me what my day–to-day life is going to be like.


That is unless, of course, Mercury is in retrograde.

I don’t delve too deep into the actual science of astrology, I don’t track the planets or even really know what half of it all means (who has time for that?), but when Mercury is retrograde, I make a point to mark my calendar. There is even a website called

My understanding of the whole thing is that Mercury is the ruler of communication and so when it turns retrograde, everything becomes a huge pile of garbage. Luckily for us, 2014 has an unusually high number of retrograde cycles in its calendar.

Non-believers will chalk it up to life simply being, well, life. And yes, random annoying events do happen in daily life, but during these cycles, the number of events that happen in a small amount of time is disproportionately large.

Appointments are missed or cancelled, traveling becomes a nightmare, any type of device that helps you connect to the world is at risk. And let me tell you, every cycle I feel it.

Maybe it’s a placebo effect, maybe it’s because I’m a Virgo and Mercury is my ruling planet, maybe I’m just always a mess (likely). What I do know is that stupid red planet is currently in retrograde until July 2 and for the past week everyone around me, including myself, has been having a week.

This is my time experiencing a retrograde cycle in a business environment and never before has it been more evident.

Traffic has been unbearable — I was late three days this week, one due to the colossal shutdown on the George Washington Bridge because of a tractor-trailer accident. A couple trucks stopped traffic for almost 12 hours, all the way up to New Jersey. My co-worker, who is known for being on top of everything all of the time (no exaggeration), forgot to bring her computer to work for the first time in six years.

I’ve forgotten multiple items, including the crucial back-up tape for our server that connects to the entire building’s computer system. A year ago I dropped my phone in a toilet during a retrograde cycle. And one time when I was still in college, both my roommate and I dropped our separate computers and broke them in the same day, and then one of us got a flat tire.

In short, it’s a nightmare. Everyone has been running around, trying to keep on top of everything. It’s been so apparent this week that I’ve just decided to succumb to the planets, keep my head down and ride this cycle out.

That doesn’t mean I don’t get in my car and worry about all the possible things that could go wrong with it during my hour-plus commute, or if I’ll miss the train tonight when I go down to the city. And of course my apartment hunting would coincide with this cycle.

Two more weeks to go and it’s over. Until then I’ll be battening down the proverbial hatches and be an ultra-defensive driver and my desk will be covered in a million post-its so I don’t forget anything else


Marena Mitchell is a young artist and leisurely writer living in New Paltz. She graduated from SUNY New Paltz with an MFA in printmaking in 2013. You can find her other writings in her zines, on her blog