Lucky Stars, Bad Signs and Planets in Retrograde


by Leah Peterson
© 2003 Leah Peterson
All Rights Reserved
Originally Published on Writer’s Monthly

Barbara, my homeopathic doctor who is rubbing my feet with peach-scented lotion while commenting on the state of affairs of my innards to our friend-in-common, Mickele, a.k.a. ‘The Goddess of Love’ who is sitting on the couch and looking on: ‘She (me) has so much tension in her back. Do you know, I think it’s going around? I’ve had emergency patient after emergency patient! ” To which Mickele replies, “Well, you know, there are six planets in retrograde.” And they both nod with a knowing look.

Lying on my back there on the table with my feet being massaged and prodded by Barbara, who can literally ‘see’ with her hands how every organ is functioning in my body through my tired and worn feet, I think to myself through the lazy haze my mind always becomes when I’m on the table, “can I use that line?”

Now it’s possible that it’s crass of me to immediately assume that her comment could be used as a ‘line’ or that the validity or what she said might be as wobbly as Jell-O® but I couldn’t help it. I need all the good ‘lines’ I can get.

Recently, my boyfriend commented on the fact that I seem to be especially clumsy of late. I’ve dropped plates of food, missing the counter by near inches. I fell down the stairs at his old apartment nearly breaking a leg. I regularly trip at nothing on the sidewalk and my shoes are sometimes my worst enemies in that they exacerbate an already precarious situation: walking. I spill drinks down my front, staining my shirts. I leave a little comment behind to whoever was a witness to my infantile jerking movement with the glass like, ‘Still practicing! Heh. Heh.’ And they just look at me like I’m a strange, strange person.

Wouldn’t it be marvelous if I could sound smart and mysterious and directly after missing the doorway and walking into the wall I could say something like, ‘Well, you know, Mercury is in retrograde which means it’s a time to get in touch with the energies of that planet within yourself.’ They might still just look at me like I’m a strange, strange person.

I wasn’t even sure what retrograde was. I had to look it up via the Internet. And the first thing I found was that there was much more information that I wanted to look through. The second thing I noticed was that if I could start believing in this planet thing, I could really not have to feel bad about doing just about anything, ever. I could always blame it on a planet. They all cover something about you: your mind, the beliefs you have, what’s important in your life, your spirituality. Pluto wants us to heal and let go of old issues, both in this life and past lives. Do they have to tack on the past ones? I’m having enough trouble with this one…

Mercury is really great. You’re supposed to review everything before you act when it’s in retrograde. So, I might find it’s inappropriate to do anything. I might just need to do nothing. For weeks. Because, you know, Mercury is in retrograde.

Astrology is something I think I might have to get into more. It would be nice to explain all my strange behavior on my horoscope.

I could forget to do something entirely obvious like attach the letter to the 2,437 emails that go out to some really important clients. And when the boss asks why I missed something so vital, important and easy, I could reply with, ‘I’m going to have an extreme amount of patience on the 14th through 16th, which makes working with children or animals a natural fit for me, but I can be a bit flighty and unpredictable from the 17th to the 21st — try not to schedule anything too important on those days if at all possible. But the good news is, the sting of these recent defeats will drive me to brilliant new strategies!’

Or how about when I’m in the grocery store and riding on the cart like it’s a scooter down the isle and making screeching noises? “Well, you know, the last days of this month I’m showing outbursts of youthful impulse.”

Or my short-lived promise to myself to go back to church: “I’m sorry, some good vibes occurred around the 15th that brought a sense of peace and holiness, but that was swept away by feelings of frustration and chaos on the 6th.”

My rudeness to Tele-marketers or salesmen, “You’ll have to excuse me. I’ll enjoy people more after the Sun reaches Virgo.”

When I get on an ego-trip: ‘Well, it’s November and I’ve come to realize how impressive and special I am. It’s about time I realized it!”

And to make myself feel better when someone cuts me off in traffic: “Oh, yes! You people that use and disrespect others will get a taste of your own medicine in the final days of September! Just wait!”

Or I could go the way of one person I found on the web. ‘Murphy’ has decided that her bad luck goes farther than being born under an unlucky star. She likens her trauma to child-abuse victims and Holocaust survivors. Apparently, her life has been invisibly and diabolically manipulated by poltergeists or other prankster spirits. She does some psychic defenses by keeping cups of salt handy around the house. It absorbs negative entities. I’d need a pretty big bag strapped to my back to make that at all effective.

Tomorrow, when I’m lying on the table and Barbara is scanning my feet for stress in my shoulders or build up in my colon, I’ll try to keep in mind that the planets are up there. Spinning. Sometimes the wrong way. And it’s a good thing for me that they do. I’d hate to have to take responsibility for barely missing that parked Volvo, hitting the curb with my tire, spilling my soda in my lap and forgetting to put the emergency brake on when I got out of the car. Because, you know, Saturn is in retrograde…

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