For those of you not yet aware, the planet Mercury will go into retrograde on Thursday January 22 (exactly on Jan 21 11:53 am ET) and will remain in a backward trajectory until Wednesday Feb 11 10:56 am ET (February 12th for good measure). The planet will remain in shadow until Wed March 4th.
What does all that mean? On January 21, Mercury will be stationed at 17 degrees in Aquarius. It will then begin to move backwards all the way to 1 degree. This is the retrograde period. Mercury will then begin to move forward from 1 degree back to 17 degrees. This is the shadow period (February 12th - March 4th). Once the planet arrives at 18 degrees (March 5th), it is then once again traveling in a direct manner.
Think of it this way...if you live on 1st Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan and you start walking north to 29th Street but then realize at 17th Street that you forgot your wallet (or some other important item), you have to backtrack and go back home to 1st street to retrieve the item. This is the retrograde. You are probably going to be in a foul mood during that time. Once you get the item you need and embark once again on your journey, you are still in a shadow period until you arrive at 17th street. Once you cross over to 18th street, you have recovered all the backtracked ground and you are now moving in a direct motion. That's how it works.
We are all familiar with the miscommunications that happen during a Mercury retrograde but in what way can the retrograde be of benefit? What does it mean when Mercury goes retrograde in the sign of Aquarius? How will the shadow be different from the retrograde period? What other planets will Mercury be in aspect with and what effect will that have? Read on for answers to these and other questions on Mercury Retrograde...
We are all familiar with the miscommunications that happen during a Mercury retrograde but in what way can the retrograde be of benefit?
As the god, or planet of communication, Mercury rules our thoughts and ideas, the way we communicate, and also our mode of transportation. Transportation, of course means planes, trains, and automobiles but also includes postal service - or any service that transports packages or messages- and this also includes INTERNET, EMAIL, SOCIAL MEDIA! During Mercury Retrograde, miscommunication abounds! Does that mean that you should stay home and bury your head in the sand like an ostrich? NO! Absolutely not! Go ahead and take that trip to Spain but make sure you double and triple check all your travel arrangements. Pay attention to the details and repeat information several times if talking over the phone. Also ask for information to be repeated. Confirm important appointments and their times and locations a day or two before they are supposed to take place.
Should you sign a rental lease or contract to buy or sell a home? I get asked this a lot. My feeling is to work with the Mercury retrograde but not to let it stop you in your tracks. Remember, "it is a wise one who rules the stars and a fool who lets the stars rule him/her". I once signed a lease during a Mercury retrograde. I was trying to negotiate for a two year lease at an excellent price. The landlord only wanted to give me a one year lease. When the contract arrived, I read it over carefully. There was a mistake, however, it was in my favor. The lease agreement was for three years. I signed immediately and walked it over to the rental office to get their signature and lock them in. Once the contract was signed, they honored the mistake and gave me the apartment at a cut rate deal for three years. (Mercury is also the god of trickery. hehehe. And just so you know - that rent was a fair and square deal as opposed to the exorbitant rents usually extorted for NYC apartments.)
I do not however recommend closing during a retrograde. If you are signing to purchase or sell, try to delay the closing until after March 5th. Something of such a permanent nature should begin on the most solid footing as possible.
One of the best benefits of a Mercury Retrograde is the "DO OVER". It is a wonderful time for writers to do rewrites and edits. It can even be a good time to revisit a sticky subject with a friend, lover, family member, or co worker and find a better way to communicate your thoughts and feelings. It can be a time of healing, revisiting, and mending old wounds. If a fight begins during a Mercury retrograde–do not proceed as you may only do more damage. Take the time for introspection and self reflection–both benefits of the Mercury regression. Finally, Mercury retrograde is a wonderful time to find lost objects and that includes lost memories as well as finding insights about issues from the past. So don't cancel any therapy appointments and it might even be a good time to start an analysis!
What does it mean when Mercury goes retrograde in the sign of Aquarius?
Aquarius is the astrological sign having great influence in both science and spirituality. Unfortunately, we can expect snafus from both, so just hang tight through this period. Aquarius is also about the crowd so expect more gatherings, protests, demonstrations, even riots. The messages will be confusing. Perhaps some will go back to make a point they feel needs to be revisited or clarified, others may have confusing messages, hateful messages, or not sure at all what message they are really sending. I, personally, would back away from large crowds. The problem with Aquarius, unlike Gemini, is that this sign feels the need to act on ideas (whereas Gemini just feels the need to express the idea). Mercury retrograde is not always a good time to act on things. Especially to act on ideas that stem from misinformation! On the other hand, Mercury coupled with Aquarius has the ability to fuse tradition with the avant-garde, so this may be a period of great insight that unites opposing forces. I suspect though that this will not take place until the shadow period. The retrograde is best served as a time to sort and rethink and plan things through rather than go into action. Fields of design, architecture, science, and finance can be negatively influenced. Literature and music may also be misinterpreted during the retrograde period. Transportation and learning are more unpredictable. What does that mean? Yes, unfortunately, it could mean something unexpected, abrupt, and even bad. But it could also mean something unique and original. Remember, Aquarius is ruled by Uranus–the planet of electricity and radical change. Things turn on a dime with Uranus. If you are a student, it is absolutely possible that beginning of spring semester could send you into a whirlwind. It could also revolutionize the way you approach learning and begin one of the most exciting educational experiences for you. As for travel - we all know the dangers involved with flying these days and honestly any mode of transportation. Take precautions and you can contact me for a travel safety spell. However, not all travel is negative as this could also signify an impromptu vacation that energizes and radically changes your life and energy for the best.
How will the shadow be different from the retrograde period?
When Mercury goes in and out of retrograde, we often feel the bump. It's like a train lurching to a stop and then humming along again. So, the moment the shadow begins, there will be a wobble. Probably a good awake shake that makes you sigh and say: "Ah, finally! This mess is getting sorted out". However, it is advisable to start out slow and gradually pick up speed. Think of that walk we were taking north on Second Avenue. You had to backtrack because of something you forgot, but now, if you start running to make up for lost time–maybe you'll get hit by a bike because you're not paying attention. Maybe something worse will happen. Maybe you will just arrive all sweaty and not make the best impression. There are lots of maybes...but one thing is for sure–everyone else is in the same recovery process as we are all subject to the influence of Mercury. Try to use the shadow time to collect yourself and your energy so that you can step into the forward motion period with all your wits about you. I always think of the fable of the tortoise and the hare as a parable for the Shadow time.
What other planets will Mercury be in aspect with and what effect will that have?
Mercury begins conjunct Venus so I think the most important thing to remember is to enter this Retrograde with your sense of humor and good graces intact and out front. Mercury will be in opposition to Jupiter and one of the main features of this aspect is that ALL THE STUPID PEOPLE COME OUT to have a shouting match with the INTELLECTUAL SNOBS! Please don't join either of those groups. Stay connected to Venus and lead with your heart. People may think they understand the bigger picture but their attention to details will be sorely lacking. There is also a tendency to generously share information and ideas but I ask you to consider this and curb your enthusiasm when it comes to sharing hateful or alarmist types of information on social media. Remember, Uranus is also at work here and misinformation or hate propaganda will be able to spread at the speed of light. Revolutionary sentiments are in the air but what kind of revolution do we want to have?
There will of course be personal aspects that come into play depending on where Mercury is located and what aspects it forms in your own chart. For this information, it is advisable to have a personal astrological consult.
In ending, I'd like to share some pertinent quotes for the Mercury retrograde as food for thought:
"You can't connect the dots looking forward;
you can only connect them looking backwards.
So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.
This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life."
- Steve Jobs
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."
"Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy night!" (Retrograde)
-Margo Channing (Betty Davis) All About Eve
Farewell and may you all fare well during this Mercury Retrograde!