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Astrology for Writers: February

Mercury retrograde? Wait, didn't we just do that?

Belmar beach sandcastle contest, NJ. Photo by Sydney May Pollack.

Everybody talks about Mercury retrograde, but writers and other creatives experience it a little differently. Here are the big astrological trends to look out for this month for all horoscope signs—and how these will affect your creative spirit.

Keep it to yourself and your journal—until the New Moon.

The month starts off grumpy. Pluto’s pissed, and Venus is moving into Capricorn, which sets a Persephone/BDSM vibe to romance or for romance writers until March. If you’re a writer who makes your living teaching, you’ll be tempted to break the chalk, metaphorically.

Confrontations from editors about your big ideas could also come your way. Try nodding sagely and saying “hmmmm.” That’ll segue you straight into the coolly intellectual New Moon February 4th, at 15 Aquarius. Set your intentions for the month that day; your thoughts will get clearer and you’ll see a bigger picture.

Sometimes haters can teach you (but they're still jerks).

The big news is Chiron moving into Aries, officially February 18, the same day the Sun goes into Pisces, which somewhat softens the Chiron transition. What’s most distinctive about your voice, your presentation, your self, or your brand (if you’re that kind of writer, and there’s nothing wrong with that) will get challenged at regular intervals until 2026. Good times! Here’s a short cut: You’re getting challenged so you’ll learn how to love your real self and defend it from the haters. It’s a chance to tune up that skill if you already have it. More on this transit in coming months, as it gets into gear.

Astrological Cure for Writer's Block: Put on some Madonna.

Full Moon is February 19, at 0 Virgo. It’s fine-tooth-comb time.

Proofreading, taxes, rearranging the files, and painstaking research are good til the next New Moon (March 6). If you write on health, science, or environmental themes, you might suddenly see your topic in a new way.

If you’re stuck, try looking at your work like an innocent—like a virgin—with no assumptions or baggage. (I actually prefer “Frozen,” which also works for this month.)

And now...Mercury does that thing it does. Again.

Mercury goes retrograde officially on March 5, lasting through March 28, and traveling from 29 Pisces back to 16 Pisces.

But they (Mercury prefers the “they” pronoun, y’all) go into the shadow phase on February 19th, at 16 Pisces, and emerge on April 16 at 29 Pisces, thoroughly backtracked and ready to move forward.

The looming doom sound of “the shadow phase” isn’t really all that awful. As writers, though, we deal with this zooming catalyst of a communicative force all the time, so it’s better for us to consider the full shadow phase, soup to nuts, for our own Mercury retrograde boundaries.

Holy shit, does that mean your car will break down and your computer will crash for a whole extra couple weeks, compared to non-writers? No way. The universe already played a big joke on us when it pulled that “you need to have bylines to get a gig/you can’t get a byline until you have a gig” paradox. It owes us at this point.

You won’t be punished by the communication god. Do your backups and mechanics and double checking because you care about yourself enough to take the time to do them, not because some astrologer said to.

What Mercury retrograde means to writers:

  • Permission to slow down. This retro is in Pisces, which says: return, reflect—retreat, even. 
  • If you’re working in particularly Piscean subject matter—addiction, mental illness, poetry, oceans, forgiveness, psychic phenomena, compassion, mindfulness, music, television (I label the new golden age of television content as a Neptune in Pisces phenomenon)—your inspiration may run high.
  • As you’re making revisions, you may find some poetry creeping in, or particularly vivid or rich visual descriptions. 
  • Your characters may seem to blend together or start sharing voices or characteristics; Pisces blurs boundaries. It’s up to you whether that’s what you want in your work.
  • That boundary blur could extend to people bothering you with calls and crises at all hours. Keep the fence up as needed. 
  • And an extra astrology warning: Don’t let the social media voices get inside your head.

A Look Ahead

Romance writers stay hot through March and April. And I know summer is supposed to be the worst time to reach editors or agents, but July and August are looking pretty powerful. See you next month.

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