An Age of Bureaucracy is an Imperial Age in which Things Mature, in which Confusion becomes entrenched and during which Balanced Balance, or Stagnation, is attained. –Principia Discordia
September 26 is Bureflux, the midpoint of the Season of Bureaucracy. It’s the time of the year when Greyface is most powerful, and it’s highlighted by paperwork and longer-than-average hold times, but it also brings a moment of optimism — we’ve only got 23 days left until the next Discordian season, so all of the red tape that Eris is currently using to perform aerial acrobatics is almost behind us.
Basically, Bureflux is an Equinox and a retrograde rolled into one. Which is more than a little appropriate, since we just had an Equinox, and Mercury goes retrograde tomorrow. And that warrants a discussion, if not a PSA.
But before we get any further into any of this, I have a painful admission to make: I know eff-all about astrology.
I mean, geomantic divination draws heavily from Renaissance astrology, so I’ve got some decent knowledge of the planets and their correspondences, but the signs of the Zodiac and their standard meanings are above my pay grade. People are always like, “Well he turned down the offer, but he’s a Capricorn, so…” and I’m like, “… He was born in February? No. Wait. June? Shit. When is Capricorn again?”
That said, I do make it point to know when Mercury is going retrograde, since it signifies a period of unexpected delays, frustrations, and communication issues. Once Mercury goes retrograde, it is strongly recommended that one does not: sign contracts, make important life decisions, plan trips, or tell terribly droll jokes that couldn’t possibly offend anyone.
And don’t even think about calling your mother. Just trust me on this one.
A planet is in retrograde when it appears to be moving backward through the Zodiac. Planets don’t actually move backward, of course. It just looks that way on account of a whole bunch of physics that I don’t care to understand.
Whenever a planet goes through a retrograde, the specific spheres of influence it governs go… well, splooey. I spent eight years working in the Online Customer Support department of a travel website, so Mercury retrogrades were always rough on me — I learned to track and anticipate them and brace myself accordingly. But I always got through them, by doing what I’d do during any other low point in my life: I took everyone else down with me.
I would start with a coworker.
Me: “Mercury went retrograde.”
Coworker: “Um, what?”
Me: “Mercury went retrograde. That means it’s a bad time for communications and travel.”
CW: “Hey, we work in communications and travel.”
CW: “So how bad is it going to be around here?”
Me: “Who knows?”
CW: “But it’s going to be bad?”
Me: “Really bad.”
I held this same conversation with two or three different employees, singled out for their superstitious natures and tendencies to lose their minds when stressed. Then I would wait. Eventually, an email would go astray, or a witty remark would be taken out of context, or traffic would inexplicably back up outside the office. And then mayhem ensued.
This may seem mean-spirited, but I like to look at the positive. If everyone around me was bumping into walls and cursing astrology, there wasn’t much chance that upper management would notice how badly I was screwing things up. It was mercenary, but quite genius. I may write a book.
Presently, I work for a financial advisory firm, and my supervisor is a good Christian lady, so superstitions bounce right off of her. But I did introduce her to Discordianism, which she finds extremely entertaining (I even gave her a Pope card), and I also explained Mercury retrogrades to her, which has become an inside joke: Whenever things go comically awry, one of us texts the other “Retrograde!!!” and then we giggle and get back to work.
And honestly, that’s probably the best way to deal with both Mercury retrogrades and Bureflux. Laughing at the things we can’t control takes some of their power away, and it’s a good reminder that all of it is temporary. Mercury will go direct, and the Season of Bureaucracy will come to a close, and we’ll still be here to laugh at whatever comes next.