Mercury retrograde is associated to negativity, as the planet 'reverses its spin'NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington

Mercury is currently in retrograde – or so astrologers say. This essentially means that the planets spin stops and reverses – again, or so astrologers say. The current 'retrograde' supposedly takes place between 5 and 25 January.

It goes without saying that this is entirely fiction, and astronomers will tell you that the planet cannot just stop and decide to spin the other way. However, those interested in astrology believe that this occurrence, which happens on four separate occasions in a year, is closely related to negativity.

Bad things are supposed to happen during the quarterly retrograde; similar to a Friday the 13th scenario. My pen ran out of ink earlier today; Mercury must be in retrograde.

It all began when humans believed Earth was at the centre of the universe. In all fairness, the planet does appear to rotate the other way during retrograde, but of course that is not the case. It slows down, and creates the illusion of moving backwards as it races past us here on Earth.

Astrology Zone, one of the most popular websites for astrologists, says: "Mercury rules all types of communication, including listening, speaking, learning, reading, editing, researching, negotiating, selling and buying.

"Included under this planet's domain are all types of code, including computer codes, as well as transportation, shipping and travel. When this planet retrogrades, these areas tend to get scrambled or spin out of control."

On the off-chance you are particularly worried about the current retrograde, it all ends on January 25. Of course, the anarchy begins again at the end of April – or so we are led to believe.

"I think that like most things it is a matter of context," Rami Kaminski told our trans-Atlantic cousins at the International Business Times. Kaminski is a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University. "As conscious beings we have a complex relationship with the time behind us and ahead of us.

"We rue the past and fear the future. So anything that gives us some reassurance (even a false one) about the future is potentially positive. So the believer him or herself is not a problem. It is those who exploit others who have this belief that are the problem, but that is another issue."