Thursday, May 28, 2009


This week I heard from two different friends who do not know each other. Many aspects of their lives have been in chaos for much of May, and they called for a friend’s “ear”. During our respective conversations they both noted that “Mercury has been in retrograde” and they attributed much of the turmoil to that phenomenon. While I don’t know a lot about the planets, as a “child of the universe”, I tend to keep an open mind toward phenomena I don’t understand. This morning a client called to discuss a delayed closing. He said he was not surprised that the “glitch” had occurred with the buyers because “Mercury had been in retrograde”.

During times of trouble, it is our collective experience to seek solace or resolution in something greater than ourselves. As the Broker/Owner of a Real Estate company with several Associate Realtors who are responsible for the well being of each and every client, we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of one of the most challenging housing markets of the century. Being able to navigate through choppy waters is critical to bringing “our first class passengers” home safely. While there is no substitute for professional skills, experience and knowledge, I wonder what effect there may be to “Mercury Retrograde” periods on our lives. If it has any bearing on real estate, or even if our clients believe it does, it warrants exploration.

Briefly, Mercury is the closest planet to the sun and it can only be seen at sunrise or sunset. Astronomers note that while Mercury travels in a forward motion, there are times during the year when an optical illusion causes it to appear as if it is travelling in reverse, hence “Mercury retrograde”. Those for whom this phenomenon has great significance note that the Stock Market crash that occurred in October 2008 happened while Mercury was in retrograde. In addition, the presidential election of 2000 occurred during the retrograde period and the winner could not be declared for weeks.

Usually, the effect of the Mercury retrograde period is aggravation. Electronic equipment is said to break down for no apparent reason. (This morning, an Attorney and I discovered that his home and law office equipment had been “bouncing back” emails for no apparent reason. I must admit that my own computers have had their “quirks” this past several days and our very best IT man is at a loss.). While there may very well be a reason for several cell phone failures this week as well, I do not as yet know what it is. Forgetfulness, loss keys, typos, misunderstandings, irritability, flukes and general chaos are said to be standard operating procedure during Mercury retrograde periods.

During the month of May, the Mercury retrograde period was from 5/7/09 to 5/30/09. While the level of real estate activity increased palpably during this spring time with lowest rates and housing prices, so did the level of anxiety among clients with whose lives we Realtors become intimately involved. So many folks were living as if all 52 cards had been tossed in the air and they had no idea where they would land. Many of us Realtors spent additional hours assuring and reassuring our clients this past month. (Many of us spent hours assuring ourselves despite the increasing business!).

The next Mercury retrograde period is due 9/7/09 to 9/29/09. If the Mercury retrograde phenomenon has meaning for you, you may want to call now to list your property while the planets are lining up in your favor. While there is no substitute for professional skills and knowledge, this sure footed Capricorn would prefer to keep chaos to a minimum.