If things started going terribly wrong for you right around July 7, you wouldn’t be the only one. Mercury is in retrograde until July 31, which explains why your mood might be all over the place and why you and your S.O. got in those epically dumb fights last week. It also explains why, as I was writing this piece, I found myself running to catch a flight at the changed (unannounced) gate, laptop open, coffee spilling down my shirt, only to end up having my seat moved to an aisle with the world’s unhappiest children.
But let’s back up for a second: Several times a year, planet Mercury is said to go retrograde—meaning it moves in an opposite direction to Earth. (“This backward movement is actually an illusion, similar to the one you experience when you’re in a car on the highway moving faster than a train alongside you,” according to Mother Nature Network.) Regardless, astrologers believe that this brief planetary upheaval also throws chaos into life down here on our planet.