Best Laid Plans



We are indeed divine creatures, governed by the laws of the Universe, ruled by all the ebbs and flows of planetary changes but are also full of magnificent power and propelled by a need for change. Once in a while though the Universe does push us to slow down and re-assess where we are and what already has been accomplished. And what a better time to do it if not during a  Mercury retrograde period. They are actually designed just for that, it’s a divine order to make sure we are still on course or to change the path if the one we are on is not working out.

Mercury retrograde happens 3-4 times a year and usually lasts for 3 weeks, but since the 2 weeks of approach and 2 weeks of retrieval should also be counted, we are really talking about 6 weeks in each period. The planet doesn’t really go backwards, but its rotation slows down to the point where, from our Earth view, it seems like it goes in the opposite direction.

The current period started on June 7 and goes on till July 1 and then count 2 more weeks of retrieval, so we are in it through mid July. Plus we just had a powerful Honey Full Moon (the moon at its full position just after midnight) on Friday the 13th, and we are still in its power as Full Moon is active for 3 days post the actual day. So hang on tight!

Mercury retrograde is usually feared because of all kinds of communication problems, travel issues, technology glitches and a general breaking down of best laid plans. So try to plan accordingly and don’t make rush decisions you may view in a different light later. Unless it’s totally necessary (like for work matters), do not sign any contracts or agreements. If lover arguments occur, do not despair, it will get better. And definitely do not break up any relationships, wait till the retrograde is over, chances are you will change your mind. Give yourself an extra travel time and try to roll with it if glitches occur. As scary as it sounds, it’s also the best time to rest, review, renew, reroute, release or reconnect. It’s all about the RE- in the retrograde. And quite often we need just that, and it could be the best thing that happened to you.

I found this great blog post about last summer’s retrograde period that talks about how best laid plans get scratched, which turns out it was exactly what was needed to happen, and how we all think that we may be immune to planetary changes only to get proof otherwise.


JUL 10
This July Fourth my family traveled to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina for a vacation. Getting there was no easy trip. We traveled during the astrological period called Mercury Retrograde: a thrice-yearly phase when the planet Mercury appears to move backwards – and travel, communication, and commerce (all things associated with the ancient god Mercury) are thought to go awry. And so they did. But there were deeper lessons in store.
We began our travels just a few days after the current cycle began on June 26 (it ends July 20). As astrological tradition holds, it is an especially ill-fated time for travel. True to lore, my wife and our sons, ages 6 and 9, discovered that our outbound flight from New York was severely delayed, causing us to miss our connection in D.C. and leaving us stranded overnight. For added measure, our luggage got lost in transfer limbo.
“Now do you believe in Mercury Retrograde?” I asked my wife. She fixed me with a don’t-even-ask look.
This kind of travel snafu is considered typical during Mercury Retrograde. But an interesting wrinkle occurred – the type of thing that gets overlooked when people speak with trepidation of Mercury Retrograde. When we returned to New York, upon deplaning we re-encountered the same (very humorous) gate attendant who had seen us off at the start of our trip. He not only remembered us but resumed a joke with our youngest son, Tobias, which he had made at the start of our trip days earlier. This minor light on our journey points toward an under-appreciated facet of Mercury Retrograde: We get the chance to repeat things. People can surprisingly re-merge from our past. Old projects can get revived. Relationships and endeavors we were certain we had left behind, or lost items (and not just lost luggage), can reappear.
Mercury Retrograde cycles last about three to four weeks and occur when the planet Mercury traverses furthest from the sun in its highly elliptical orbit. At its point of curvature Mercury visually appears to be moving backwards when viewed from Earth. Optically this is somewhat like when you’re on a train and another train on a parallel track slows, but does not stop, and from your seat appears to be reversing.
Everything has its hour and Mercury Retrograde is not just a cycle of missed flights and botched transit: it can also become a time of revisiting, revising, and reconsidering. During this year’s first Mercury Retrograde cycle early in 2013 I heard from a network television executive who had been discussing a show with me the previous year, but talks had dropped off. Now she wanted to talk anew.
Signing contracts and selling homes is considered a big no-no during Mercury Retrograde. But even in this area interesting developments can occur. About six years ago, my wife and I reluctantly committed to selling a lake house we own in upstate New York. We were uncertain it was the right move. But we went ahead and signed a deal with a local real-estate agent. I knew that signing deals was considered verboten during Mercury Retrograde, but the agent was understandably eager – and I didn’t feel that I could tell him: “Well, you see Mike, in about four weeks the god Mercury will be more inclined to shine favorably upon our undertaking, so…” One weekend we went to prepare the house for sale and unexpectedly found that our three-year-old son was enchanted with the place. Seeing his newfound excitement, we reversed our decision and decided to keep the house – later to our great relief. This was a decision that had needed reconsidering. Enter Mercury Retrograde.
Western astrology has ancient roots extending to the Babylonian and Hellenic civilizations. Yet in its contemporary practice, astrology (as with many aspects of modern life) takes on forms that are actually more recent than we realize. The earliest references to Mercury Retrograde as an astrological phenomenon began in the mid-1700s in British agricultural almanacs read by farmers who believed that the motions of the stars affected planting seasons. “Mercury is turn’d retrograde in Sagittarius, which brings him back to meet the Sun in Conjunction,” went a reading for December 9, 1754 in Vox Stellarum: Or, a Loyal Alamack. In the twentieth century, Franklin Roosevelt’s agricultural secretary and second vice president, Henry A. Wallace, himself a farmer and almanac publisher, felt that the study of zodiacal cycles could aid scientific agriculture. Even today zodiacal charts remain a regular feature of planting almanacs.
Mercury Retrograde has currency among many people who don’t follow astrology. Although you won’t find Mercury’s cycles tacked up on the bulletin boards of air-traffic control centers or search-engine offices, lots of people in those fields and others talk or (often uneasily) joke about it. Anecdotally, Mercury Retrograde is considered prime time for internet crashes and travel mishaps, or even disasters.
But we cannot sit things out during Mercury Retrograde. Contemporary life is fast moving, and certain things, including signing contracts and taking trips, cannot be placed on hold during Mercury’s thrice-yearly visual reversal. My advice is: Don’t even attempt to hunker down during its cycle. Depending on your outlook, you might have to brace for a few reversals and snafus. But there is another dimension to the matter. You might also find that Mercury Retrograde – contrary to the apprehension it stirs online and in coffee-break rooms – is a period of revisiting or happily reversing situations that you had once imagined set in stone. Mercury Retrograde may place a speed bump into your plans, but it can also loosen things up and unwind knots. So sit back for the ride. It will be an unexpected one.



What’s Cooking This Week

Today’s recipe is a pure “retrograde dish”, as in “what you make when the best laid plans do not happen”. Which turned out IS the best thing and a quite tasty meal. When I planned to use shredded chicken in a completely different recipe, I somehow totally blanked that besides the mentioned chicken I actually had none of the other necessary ingredients at home. And, yes, New York never sleeps, but I wasn’t exactly looking forward to a full shopping experience late at night. So scratch that recipe, this one came out just perfect with all the ingredients I already had in the fridge.

Chicken Zucchini Fritters


1 lbs shredded chicken (I used Italian style)

2-3 small yellow or green zucchini

2 eggs

2 Tbspoons of mayo

2 Tbspoons plus more for coating of flour (I used Authentic Foods gluten free blend)

1 tspoon of garlic powder

1/2 tspoon of salt blend

1/2 tspoon of Italian blend herbs


In a food processor, blend together shredded chicken, zucchini, eggs, garlic, flour and salt blend. Transfer mix to a bowl and add mix in mayo and herbs blend.


Form round or oval patties and coat them lightly in flour. Heat up olive oil and fry them until each side is golden to lightly brown.


Serve with any sauce like honey mustard or salsa. They make a great lunch dish or a main course alongside a salad or sautéed vegetables.