When I was a kid, few things freaked me out more than the 13th of any month falling on a Friday. I wasn’t allowed to see the Friday the 13th movies — not that I would have wanted to, anyway — a rule that probably only served to make me more terrified of basically all the things.
While I’m still pretty superstitious as an adult, I’ve lived through enough Friday the 13ths to be mostly over it. These days, it’s Mercury being in retrograde that freaks me out… so imagine how thrilled and totally not terrified I was to find out that in April 2018, Friday the 13th and Mercury retrograde are happening at the same time. Thrilled!
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the latest round of Mercury retrograde began on Mar. 23 and will continue until Apr. 15. Several times a year, planets appear to be traveling backward because of the way Earth’s orbit interacts with that of those other planets. This illusion, per the Almanac, is what we call “retrograde.”
There’s been a lot said over the years about the effects that Mercury in retrograde can have on many aspects of our lives. Astrology Zone notes that communication, technology, and the execution of contracts and agreements are especially affected, since Mercury rules those elements.
When a planet is in retrograde, it’s astrologically resting or sleeping, and “the activities that it governs don’t have the benefit of a well-functioning, wide-awake planet to supervise them,” per Astrology Zone. No wonder Mercury retrograde takes so much heat for all manner of chaos!
As if retrograde wasn’t giving you enough to worry about, let’s throw a little extra mischief in the mix: Friday, Apr. 13 happens to fall within a Mercury retrograde period in 2018. And while you might think that our fears about Friday the 13th are rooted simply in that slasher movie I wasn’t allowed to see as a kid, it actually goes back way further than that.
Ancient mythology reveals superstitions about the number 13, and Friday has long been considered unlucky in Western tradition (so much for TGIF!), according to Live Science. A 19th century soldier named Captain William Fowler was later credited with popularizing the myth when he began noticing signs of the number 13 throughout his life and decided to lean into it by starting a society called The Thirteen Club.
The fact that two terrifying chronological events happen to overlap this year is naturally concerning, and I turned to NYC-based astrologer Lisa Stardust to find out what exactly this perfect storm of inconvenient timing actually means. Her response was refreshingly honest and, unfortunately, not at all reassuring.
“Mercury retrograde aligning with Friday the 13th will bring extra spookiness to the day,” . “Watch out for mishaps around the home, like careless accidents… or you may end up in the hospital.”
Given Stardust’s warnings, I would recommend exercising some extra caution on Apr. 13. The astrologer notes that travel can be especially tricky while Mercury is in retrograde, so be careful on your commute. The communication issues that we often experience during retrograde will also be a factor.
“Don’t put your foot in your mouth today!” Stardust says. “With the asteroid Chiron — the wounded healer — activated [on Friday the 13th], it’s a reminder to stay clear of power tools and gossip.”
Buckle your seatbelts (literally and figuratively), avoid opportunities to let unkind words slip, and be exceedingly careful as you put one foot in front of the other on Friday, Apr. 13. The combination of Mercury retrograde and Friday the 13th has as much potential for disaster as you would imagine.