Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn

by Barbara Crane

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn

“The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire. For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor and self-respect we can require no less of ourselves . . .

This internal requirement toward excellence which we learn from the erotic must not be misconstrued as demanding the impossible from ourselves nor from others. Such a demand incapacitates everyone in the process. For the erotic is not a question only of what we do; it is a question of how acutely and fully we can feel in the doing. Once we know the extent to which we are capable of feeling that sense of satisfaction and completion, we can then observe which of our various life endeavors bring us closest to that fullness.”

Audre Lorde, Uses of the Erotic

Mercury dwells in the realm of being in between; in between thought and expression, in between the known and unknown, in between the tension of polarized options, in between shifts of identity and the transitions that change storylines. While Mercury is always interpreting the constantly changing relationships between inner and outer worlds, the star of Hermes takes on an intensified role of threshold guardian while retrograde, helping us translate the churning of chaotic internal reshaping into external growth and the reordering of life structures. The sense of catharsis and renewal we may experience over the course of Mercury being retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn during January 2022 will be more extreme than normal, as it will be occurring during the same time that Venus will be drawing her forty-one-day retrograde journey to a close. As Venus has been inviting us to uproot relational issues and buried desires since she stationed retrograde on December 19, we may utilize the retrograde phase of Mercury for discerning how to infuse the regeneration of values, self-worth, and eros we have been experiencing during the retrograde phase of Venus into a re-evaluation of our presence within relationships as well as the purpose we wish to pursue through our work in the world.

Mercury will station retrograde on January 14, embarking upon a three-week journey in which the star of Hermes will backtrack from 10°20’ Aquarius until stationing direct at 24°23’ Capricorn on February 3. As Mercury retraces the zodiacal terrain from twenty-four degrees of Capricorn to eleven degrees of Aquarius, they will excavate material in need of deeper engagement, bringing opportunities for insight that can catalyze significant growth and foster breaking out of stagnant routines and stuck patterns. As part of the process, however, we may need to return to longstanding issues in need of release, reworking, or reintegration. After passing through a phase of putrefaction and purification that will be especially intense leading up to Mercury’s union with the Sun on January 23, we may experience renewal on the other side as Mercury returns to forward motion in the beginning of February. Mercury first crossed 24°23’ Capricorn on December 29 and will not move beyond 10°20’ Aquarius until February 23, creating almost two months of mercurial focus in this range of your natal chart. 

When Mercury stations retrograde on January 14, the star of Hermes will be directly interfacing with the longstanding square aspect between Saturn in Aquarius and Uranus in Taurus that was the predominant astrological theme of 2021 and will continue to be so during 2022. Mercury will station less than three degrees away from Saturn, while engaging in a catalyzing square aspect with Uranus while Uranus is simultaneously stationing direct. As we have collectively been dealing with the tension between Saturn and Uranus for over a year now, all of us in one way or another have had to be coming to terms with the ways our own desires for personal liberation and structural change have been interfacing with titanic disruptions to societal systems. Though much in the external world may be beyond our control, and difficult collective events may make one feel powerless in the face of larger waves of adversity, we may use the skillset of Mercury moving retrograde within signs of Saturn to reject and remove ourselves from situations out of our integrity that do not fulfill our inner desires.

Mercury’s protean, shapeshifting nature takes on the qualities of planets it is nearby, and so the contemplation and patient discipline of Saturn will be wed to Mercury at the same time that the influence of Uranus stationing will be inciting openness to invention and visionary change. In the airy, intellectual sign of Aquarius, the influence of Saturn with Mercury retrograde will call us to confront whatever philosophical, psychological, or spiritual frameworks we have been perceiving and acting from, testing us to see where we have been deluding ourselves or where we need to apply greater concentration of critical thought and analysis. The clash from Saturn with Uranus is a call from the unknown to the known, and there is no better ally at such a crossroads than Mercury, whose quicksilver caduceus can transmit unexpected messages for bridging the impasse from the way things have been into a more fully creative path forward. The airy environment of Aquarius will accentuate the capacity of Mercury for analyzing whatever needs to be reconsidered while opening awareness to surprising twists of storylines that may lead us to explore ways of embracing unknown potential while lessening our grip on known sources of security that have become stagnant.

Électricité (1931) by Man Ray

“Mercury reveals an inner realm of things without depriving them of their concreteness… The most common mode of interpretation, in some circles the only way, is to dissect and analyze, freezing the components of an insight into brittle pieces which are then easy to manipulate. But the crafty sleight-of-hand of Mercury interprets without killing, transforming our view of one image through another…  Since interpretation consists chiefly in discovering new images among the old, the surprise Mercury brings is a new image or a new idea, a gift from the cunning god who knows how to stir the soul . . .

In Mercury, words are like crystals whose facets are revealed in their turning, in the various perspectives brought upon them. Whatever keeps our ideas and fantasies turning and shifting, eluding our rational grasp and defying conclusive definition, is Mercurial. When we are the deft, interpretive, eloquent secretaries of our own actions and ideas, then we are Mercury; for then we interpret our own minds.”

Thomas Moore, Planets Within: the Astrological Psychology of Marsilio Ficino

Mercury moves in between states of night and day during its retrograde, beginning as an Evening Star in twilight and ending as a Morning Star at dawn. During its retrograde that will involve a border crossing in between Aquarius and Capricorn, Mercury will also be moving in between the elements of air and earth. While Aquarius and Capricorn are both domiciles of Saturn and signs which promote measured contemplation from Mercury, their elemental natures of air and earth are completely dissimilar in quality. The flexible and restless nature of the air element will be emphasized while Mercury moves backwards through Aquarius, accentuating our ability to bring new perspectives together through our many relationships while discovering how to change stagnant thought patterns. In contrast, once Mercury shifts into the earthy sign of Capricorn on January 25, the constructive and pragmatic nature of the earth element will be more emphasized as we realize ways to restructure our material circumstances to support the new creative directions we will be coming into relationship with.

Mercury bridging the air and earth elements through its retrograde journey will be a major astrological theme of 2022, as it is a year that bridges the elemental years of Mercury being retrograde in air and earth signs. In 2021, Mercury was retrograde in air signs, while in 2023 Mercury will be retrograde in earth signs; as a result, 2022 is a transitional year in which Mercury will spend the majority of its retrograde passage in the three air signs while ending each of its retrograde passages in earth signs. Mercury bridging the elements of air and earth can be helpful for organizing the airy revelations received by Mercury into solid forms of manifestation, facilitating important distinctions that can help us adjust our personal boundaries and organization so that we may cultivate greater agency and authority in navigating the ways in which larger societal structures are shifting.

In between Mercury’s disappearance from the evening sky and reappearance in the morning sky, the star of Hermes moves backwards through an invisible phase in which it takes on the role of a psychopomp guiding us through a liminal, underworld journey. Gary Caton in Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year linked the blackening and putrefaction of the nigredo alchemical process with the initial stationing phase of Mercury retrograde, as Mercury shepherds us through a dark night of the soul. Caton wrote that the connection between the initial descent of Mercury retrograde with the nigredo process calls us “to purge the body, the psyche, and the life of extraneous or ‘dead weight’ in order to free up energy for future growth” during the beginning phase of Mercury retrograde.

Soon after Mercury stations retrograde and descends into the underworld in order to psychopomp and shepherd us through an underworld journey of renewal and regeneration, there will be a propulsive Full Moon in Cancer on January 17 that will form an opposition with Pluto at the same time that Uranus is stationing direct in Taurus on January 18.  As Venus began her retrograde phase in union with Pluto on December 19, the Cancer Full Moon will bring emotional release as well as insight through coming into deeper awareness of the emotional material passing through us. Fascinatingly, just as Mercury is entering its invisible underworld phase of disappearing from the sky as an Evening Star, Venus will be emerging into visibility as a Morning Star. Moreover, the lightning strikes of Uranus will be directly infused into Venus, as Venus will be receiving Uranus through a flowing trine aspect as the impact of Uranus becomes intensified through its stationing. Thus, just as the Cancer Full Moon will spotlight important revelations regarding relational patterns and our inner values that Venus has been intensifying during her retrograde journey, Mercury will be guiding us to apply our emerging sense of eros into a re-examination of our perceptual framework and what needs to be shed and released in order to make space for new ideas and creative directions to take root.

Magnolia Blossom (1925) by Immogen Cunningham

In the Heart of the Sun

“The dichotomy between the spiritual and the political is also false, resulting from an incomplete attention to our erotic knowledge. For the bridge which connects them is formed by the erotic – the sensual – those physical, emotional, and psychic expressions of what is deepest and strongest and richest within each of us, being shared: the passions of love, in its deepest meanings.

Beyond the superficial, the considered phrase, “It feels right to me,” acknowledges the strength of the erotic into a true knowledge, for what that means is the first and most powerful guiding light toward any understanding. And understanding is a handmaiden which can only wait upon, or clarify, that knowledge, deeply born. The erotic is the nurturer or nursemaid of all our deepest knowledge.”

Audre Lorde, Uses of the Erotic

Mercury will become reanimated by its conjunction with the Sun on January 23 at 3°23’ Aquarius. The reseeding of Mercury in solar light occurs as it aligns in between the Earth and Sun by zodiacal degree, as close to us in orbit as possible for Mercury within its cycle. Known as the inferior conjunction of Mercury, it’s a moment of clarifying rebirth that can enhance realization and seed new ideas for the Mercury cycle ahead in which it will transition into becoming a visible Morning Star. While Mercury is within one degree of conjunction with the Sun, even more so within sixteen arc minutes of its solar conjunction, there can be empowerment for tasks associated with Mercury since it is enthroned upon the solar chariot. Older astrological texts named this moment of Mercury’s rebirth cazimi, or being in the heart of the Sun. It’s the cyclical moment when Mercury enters what Demetra George has named the “sanctum sanctorum,” or “the innermost holy chamber of the mystery initiations” found within “the protected space at the heart of the Sun.” 

At the same time Mercury is entering the heart of the Sun in the middle of its underworld journey, Venus will be slowing down in order to station direct less than a week later on January 29. Though Venus will still be retrograde when Mercury enters the heart of the Sun, she will no longer be invisible in the underworld and will instead be burning brilliantly in the misty pre-dawn sky as a Morning Star. By deepening into awareness of our inner nature and the ways in which the Venus retrograde phase has been putting us into contact with emerging desires while laying to rest old desires, we may accentuate our ability to have new avenues of creative development reseeded by the union of Mercury with the Sun. Furthermore, as the union of Mercury with the Sun in the first few degrees of Aquarius is close the great conjunction between Saturn and Jupiter on December 21, 2020 at 00°29′ Aquarius, there is an opportunity to re-attune with the vast wave of epochal change that began reshaping global dynamics and systemic structures on radical levels a year ago.

Unmade Bed by Immogen Cunningham

Stationing with Pluto

“When we live outside ourselves, and by that I mean on external directives only rather than from our internal knowledge and needs, when we live away from those erotic guides from within ourselves, then our lives are limited by external and alien forms, and we conform to the needs of a structure that is not based on human need, let alone an individual’s. But when we begin to live from within outward, in touch with the power of the erotic within ourselves, and allowing that power to inform and illuminate our actions upon the world around us, then we begin to be responsible to ourselves in the deepest sense. For as we begin to recognize our deepest feelings, we begin to give up, of necessity, being satisfied with suffering and self-negation, and with the numbness which so often seems like their only alternative in our society. Our acts against oppression become integral with self, motivated and empowered from within.”

Audre Lorde, Uses of the Erotic

Mercury will return to Capricorn on January 25 and then apply to a conjunction with Pluto it will complete on January 28 at 26°52’ Capricorn. Vitally, the re-entrance of Mercury into Capricorn will be synced with the stationing direct of Venus at 11°05’ Capricorn on January 29. The close contact between Mercury with Pluto will put us in contact with material from our inner depths, ways in which we have felt powerless, way in which we desire to feel powerful, and the complexity of information and knowledge concealed within the shadows cast by both. Although the archetype of Venus will become intensely present within our lives as the star of Aphrodite stations direct removed from Pluto within the sign of Capricorn, the proximity between Mercury with Pluto will bring to mind the deep-seated relational patterns that the opening phase of Venus retrograde brought us into contact with at the end of December 2021 when Venus was in close contact with Pluto. We may find new ways of relating with old patterns, discovering ways our memories of past storylines and relationships may transfigure into new ways of understanding that allow more space for new relational patterns and storylines to take shape in greater accordance with our emerging sense of values and eros.

Mercury will station direct on February 3 at 24°23’ Capricorn in close proximity with Pluto, and then slowly shift forward into a final conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn on February 11 at 27°17’ Capricorn. Mercury will remain in Capricorn until February 14, creating an extended period from January 25 through February 14 during which Mercury will be in Capricorn in close contact with Pluto dredging up deep material to explore from our innermost recesses. The direct station and shift into forward momentum of Mercury in Capricorn will occur at the same time that Mars will be approaching a conjunction with Venus in the red planet’s exaltation in Capricorn. As a result, the first couple weeks of February will be an opportune time to find ways of integrating the ways the combination of both Venus and Mercury stationing direct in Capricorn has not only allowed for deeper attunement with our inner nature but has also facilitated new possibilities for future growth and development we can begin to implement and work toward.

Just after Mercury returns to Aquarius on February 14, Mercury will reach maximum elongation as a Morning Star on February 16, speeding up as well as accelerating our capacity for integrating the many inner changes that took shape during the retrograde. Gary Caton described this solar phase of Mercury as being similar to the rubedo phase within alchemy in his book Hermetica Tryptycha. As we work to integrate the insights and changes in perspective realized during Mercury’s retrograde journey, Caton noted that we should expect to endure a phase of chaotic volatility as we make a commitment to embody a new presence of being. Crucially, at the same time that Mercury reaches maximum elongation as a Morning Star on February 16, Venus and Mars will unite at 16°53’ Capricorn. Since conjunctions of Mars and Venus initiate us into processes of rediscovering what we want in relationship, as well as how we wish to creatively express ourselves, the acceleration of Mercury in speed can help us make external progress and construct external forms sourced from the deep cauldron of change that has been brewing within the sign of Capricorn for months.

As Audre Lorde in Uses of the Erotic wrote that “the lack of concern for the erotic root and satisfaction of our work is felt in our disaffection from so much of what we do,” may the stationing direct of Mercury and Venus in Capricorn help us remember the primal force of our inner eros, finding ways to fully feel the pleasure of our presence through our work and relationships within the greater world.

If you enjoy my writing please consider supporting my work through a monthly subscription on my Patreon page. Take a look to see the benefits you will receive as a patron – in addition to the normal benefits patrons receive, I have a new Oak Branch tier featuring an astrological learning group that will be meeting monthly and exploring various astrological topics and techniques on an ongoing basis.

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References

Caton, Gary. (2017). Hermetica Triptycha: The Mercury Elemental Year. Rubedo Press.

Lorde, Audre. (1984, 2007). Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Crossing Press.

Moore, Thomas. (1990). The Planets Within: the Astrological Psychology of Marsilio Ficino. Lindisfarne Press.

Mercury Retrograde in 2021

Mercury air triplicity

Astrology glyphs by Bradley Naragon

Mercury Retrograde in 2021

I recently joined astrologer Stormie Grace on her astrology show to talk about the significance of the three Mercury retrograde periods in 2021. Mercury will be retrograde in air signs in 2021 and as a result will help facilitate our transition into the new era of air signified by the recent conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius. In addition, Mercury retrograde in Aquarius in February and Mercury retrograde in June will also be happening during the first two exact square aspects formed between Saturn and Uranus. As a result, the Mercury retrograde periods will also be directly involved in our adjustment to the sudden changes and rupturing that will correlate with Saturn in square with Uranus during 2021. We talk about the meaning of Mercury and Mercury retrograde in general, and then get into the details regarding each of the three periods of Mercury retrograde next year.

Here is a link to watch the recording:

Leo Full Moon

sekhmet

Sekhmet

Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o’er-darkened ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits

— John Keats, Endymion

Today’s Full Moon in Leo arrives at the time of Imbolc, the pagan holy day marking the mid-point between the Solstice and the Equinox, a period in which the new impulses seeded at the Solstice that have taken root find a home in our imagination, body, and reality.  Imbolc in the Northern Hemisphere is when we sense the coming solar radiance of Spring on the distant horizon, a time to conduct rituals of purification in our home through the lighting of fire. The Celtic Goddess Brigid holds strong resonance with this holy time, a Goddess of poetry, arts, crafts, medicine, sacred wells, and serpents among other significations.  This symbolism is perfect for the astrology expressed through today’s Full Moon, as our solar time in the detached, independent, rational, and analytical Aquarius receives a jolt of passionate creativity from the lustful sign of the Lion-hearted.  Mercury retrograde in Aquarius brings potential to penetrate deeply with our perceptions freed from the constraints of consensus conditioning, and so this Leo Full Moon can feel like an imbibing of poetic inspiration to soak up and more fully feel our recent experiences, expressing ourselves from our inner source of images and vision.  This is an auspicious time to set an intention and create an art or craft to represent our wish for fulfillment.

Crystalline brother of the belt of heaven,
Aquarius! to whom king Jove has given
Two liquid pulse streams ’stead of feather’d wings,
Two fan-like fountains, – thine illuminings
For Dian play:
Dissolve the frozen purity of air;
Let thy white shoulders silvery and bare
Shew cold through watery pinions; make more bright
The Star-Queen’s crescent on her marriage night:
Haste, haste away!

— John Keats, Endymion

This is a Jupiterian Full Moon of purified vision, with a retrograde Jupiter conjunct the Full Moon that is drawing us more deeply inside the personal direction for us to follow in the coming season.   Aquarius is able to help us both de-condition as well as re-structure: in the libation of the Water Bearer we are able to apply reason to our passions, analyze our place within society, and speak out or stand in solidarity against aspects of the status quo that lack humanity. Yet Aquarius likes to have a structure, and being traditionally ruled by Saturn is an excellent conduit for the brilliantly intuitive and non-linear visualization of Jupiter that expands us beyond our previous limitations, yet also needs structure to help our vision take effective form in our reality.  This Full Moon highlights the polarity of Leo to Aquarius that re-focuses our detachment from what we no longer want in our lives into a passionate actualization of the creative destiny we desire to manifest.

griffins horned in gold

Horned Lion Griffins in gold (Iran, 6th -4th Century B.C.) from Metropolitan Museum of Art

Modern astrology schools such as evolutionary astrology taught by Jeff Green connect Uranus as a ruler of Aquarius, and today’s Leo Full Moon ushers in a renewal of the dynamic interplay between Jupiter and Uranus in a first quarter trine.  At the time of the Full Moon Jupiter and Uranus will be within five degrees of one another, and by the end of February they will be exactly trine.  While Jupiter and Uranus in trine can coincide with dramatic, liberating breakthroughs in thought that take us beyond our former conception of our reality, there is a paradox in today’s astrological aspects that also take us into our past, in a spiral like process of returning to the moment in a new frame of mind.  This is because Jupiter is retrograde in Leo, Uranus is conjunct the South Node of the Moon in Aries, and we are also still within the Mercury retrograde phase in Aquarius.  I do not mean to suggest that we will be stuck in the past, or continuing to re-cycle old patterns of our past, but instead that our sense of our past, the telling of our personal story, can radically shift now and bring us into a place in which we can receive new images and messages about our self and our surrounding world.  Let what is arising within now germinate instead of thinking you need to immediately take action-  this Full Moon in aspect to Uranus is unveiling a message that is in a process of taking form, and we will be gaining greater clarity regarding how to best take action on behalf of it in the coming weeks.

In addition to today’s Leo Full Moon being in trine to the South Node of Moon in Aries, it is also in sextile to the North Node of the Moon in Libra.  As a result there is also an important message regarding our relationships to receive now, something that no matter how jarring or upsetting is vital in our process of creating and sustaining relationships that nurture our creative authenticity instead of repressing or limiting it.  This is further emphasized by Mercury retrograde in Aquarius being opposite Juno in Leo in the past week.  Furthermore, with Mars and Venus both in Pisces and in balsamic phase, with Venus conjunct Neptune and Mars conjunct Chiron, this Full Moon heralds a time of releasing the relationships that no longer serve us and magnetizing the relationships that will more effectively help us actualize the vision of our future life we can sense developing from within.  We can feel big love now that is expansive and grandiose like Jupiter, boundless and ethereal like Neptune.  With Saturn in Sagittarius in square to Venus and Neptune in Pisces, we will be confronted with aspects of our reality that may feel challenging, yet can also be seen as guides for how we will need to structure our idyllic intention so that it can effectively exist in reality.

I have clung
To nothing, lov’d a nothing, nothing seen
Or felt but a great dream! O I have been
Presumptuous against love, against the sky,
Against all elements, against the tie
Of mortals each to each, against the blooms
Of flowers, rush of rivers, and the tombs
Of heroes gone!

— John Keats, Endymion

6_of_wands1

6 of Wands by Pamela Colman Smith

The association between Jupiter and this Leo Full Moon is further accentuated by the Full Moon being in the second decan of Leo, a decan that is ruled by Jupiter.  The tarot card linked to the second decan of Leo is the Six of Wands, a card that tends to have images associated with triumphant victory such as the strident champion riding a white horse drawn above by Pamela Colman Smith, a conquering hero hailed by a wreath of laurel and an adoring crowd.  Austin Coppock has analyzed this decan as holding the triumph of great acts performed by those who have created an authentic persona and ego-structure through which  to project their spirit:

This decan holds within it the magical power of authenticity- here defined as a harmonious connection between the external sphere in which one acts and the spirit fire within each individual.  The alchemical process necessary to achieve this power is work upon the persona or ego which mediates the spirit and what the world sees.  Once the persona has become suitable to transmit the spirit’s impetus, a fierce and potent authenticity is born.

— Austin Coppock, 36 Faces

Often times the persona we develop has been molded to acclimate to the relational dynamics within our family and early development, within our community and culture, within our educational system, and within the network of relationships involved in our career path and daily responsibilities.  The polarity from Leo to Aquarius highlighted by today’s Full Moon illuminates the importance of being able to detach from the influences of our surrounding conditioning to the extent necessary for us to find our true voice instead of mimicking those we think will help us succeed in the culture.  Yet while we need to detach enough so that we can self-reflect and discover our personal authenticity, we also need the fixed perseverance of Aquarius and Leo to stand apart and courageously follow the beat of our own heart.  Most vitally, we need the burning passion of Leo to invigorate our cool, purified Aquarian vision with a heart-centered focus that keeps us connected to the needs of our surrounding environment while also bringing forth the unique gift we have to offer from our inner spirit.  When Aquarius connects us to a group of like-minded associations, we inevitably come under the influence of feeling like we need to conform to the norms of the group- for Aquarius to come into it’s full strength we need to activate the Leo polarity of following our own heart instead of the group-mind.

rudy shepherd boko haram

Drawing by Rudy Shepherd of 13 year old girl recruited by ‪‎Boko Haram‬ to blow herself up in Kano, Nigeria, but refused to go through with it.

This Leo Full Moon comes about four days after the core of the Mercury retrograde cycle in Aquarius when Mercury entered the heart of the Sun on January 30, 2015.  Mercury retrograde is now coming into a conjunction with Vesta in Aquarius, lending increased levels of focus and perseverance to our Mercurial journey into our depths.  Indeed, all of the major asteroid goddesses are active at this Full Moon, with Pallas Athena in Sagittarius in square to Mars and Chiron in Pisces, Juno in Leo opposite Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, and Ceres coming into a close balsamic conjunction with Pluto in Capricorn, in square to Uranus and the nodes of the Moon.  Demetra George has taught that since the asteroids Ceres, Juno, Vesta, and Pallas Athene have rulership associations with the signs Virgo, Libra, and Scorpio, they function as agents facilitating our transformation between personal issues associated with the first five signs of the zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo) with the more collective issues associated with the final four signs of the zodiac (Sagitarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces) similar to how they are located in the asteroid belt in between Mars and Jupiter in outer space.  In this way the asteroid goddesses are facilitating the journey of Mercury retrograde, and since the Mercury retrograde began at the Aquarius New Moon that has ripened to today’s Full Moon, they are also part of facilitating an important message to us about our place within all of the momentous collective issues arising now.

Indeed, once open to her Pallas Athena and her creative visioning becomes more important, as she is in trine to the Full Moon in addition to being square to Mars and Chiron in Pisces.  There is a fertile opportunity for our beliefs to shift and re-align at this time away from our past conditioning, and the new cycle between Mars and Chiron is important to tune into for a place in your chart where a profound re-vitalization of your Will and desire nature is occurring. There is also a profound yod formed by the Leo Full Moon that is triggered by the Aquarius Sun and anchored by the sextile between Chiron in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn.  This waxing, crescent sextile between Mars and Chiron in Pisces and Pluto in Capricorn is a tremendous growth opportunity for how we can pursue personal desires that also help others in our global environment, all within the network of systematic power structures.  Look to where 14-15 degrees impacts your chart, especially in the signs of Pisces, Capricorn, Aquarius, and Leo.

Finally, there is also an intense aspect involving Venus conjunct Neptune and square to Saturn in Sagittarius and in t-square with Black Moon Lilith in Virgo.  There may be feelings to overcome of how we have previously felt rejected by a culture or group, and disillusioning events and experiences that momentarily make us feel lost or confused, but in the end these are all experiences that can be used to shift the way we are interacting in order to be less accommodating to others and more attuned to the direction coming from our Self.  Saturn in square to Venus and Neptune can also bring benefit to anyone willing to put in some disciplined and focused work toward their dreams now.  Feel with your heart and deep within your body the burgeoning new vision and life that is currently underground, beginning to move toward shooting up new shafts of green into your reality.

LeoFullMoonWRIGC1

References

Coppock, Austin. (2014). 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans. Three Hands Press.

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius

moonrise

The Pond – Moonrise (1904) by Edward J. Steichen

Mercury retrograde is an inner alteration that comes to us three times a year, and our first of 2015 that begins on January 21, 2015 in Aquarius initiates a year of Mercury retrograde phases in each of the three Air signs of reflection, thoughts, and ideas.  Being afraid of Mercury retrograde is like being afraid of making a mistake, being afraid to go into the darkness of our inner realm and shadow work.  Mercury in myth is the psychopomp of Soul, the messenger who can bridge the underworld with the upper world, and guide us into our inner depths in order to help us shift our external presence and perspective.  Some of us have astrology charts that naturally resonate with Mercury retrograde times more than others, but the key is to open perception to the world of symbols, signs, omens, dreams, and what we can sense from our unconscious.  If things become disorienting or confusing, perceiving through intuition can help guide us more so than reaching for rational clarity.

Aquarius in astrology is a Fixed Air sign, and so the fluid Mercury in retrograde can help us shift some deep rooted and fixated patterns of habitual thought.  Modern astrologers look to Uranus as the ruler of Aquarius while classicists look to Saturn as the lord of the Water Bearer:  both Saturn and Uranus are at center stage now, with Uranus square Pluto and conjunct the South Node of the Moon, and Saturn freshly in Sagittarius and in square to Neptune and Mars in Pisces, as well as passing through a square with Venus during the upcoming Mercury retrograde. The sextile between Sagittarius holding Saturn and Aquarius holding Mercury retrograde unveils the potential of this Mercury retrograde to take us into the mystery of fundamental change and re-structuring of our thought process and its interplay with our expression.  Aquarius symbolizes the paradox of both conformity to an established tradition as well as complete rebellion against an established tradition, through the common purpose of breaking free from consensus conditioning.  Yet there is also the collective phenomenon that following ground breaking revolution a heavy hand of Saturn control is often re-asserted by a new power structure.  This Mercury retrograde will call us to re-examine our inter-personal relationships as well as systematic relationships, including the relationship between global, national, and local structural systems.

In the global collective, the World Economic Forum annual meeting (in ski resort Davos, Switzerland this year) commences on the day Mercury stations retrograde in Aquarius.  One issue that Aquarian activists hope will be addressed is global economic inequality, as a recent study by the charity Oxfam predicted based upon current trends that in 2016, 1% of the world’s population will own more wealth than the other 99%.  While this is a prediction that the richest 1% of the world will own more than 50% of global wealth in 2016, the Oxfam study published on January 19, 2015 revealed “that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the best-off 1% has increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014, while the least well-off 80% currently own just 5.5%.”  The inequity of wealth distribution will not be changing anytime soon, but during the retrograde cycle we can work on shifting patterns within that are connected to our relationship with wealth and how we define what it means to have wealth.  Is it simply a matter of having more money, or is it more about the quality of our life- in this way, what sort of quality do we want?

The day before Mercury stations retrograde is a New Moon at the very beginning of Aquarius, and two days before Mercury stations retrograde there is an opposition between Venus in Aquarius and Jupiter retrograde in Leo, and a conjunction and new cycle between Mars and Neptune in Pisces.  These are extremely fertile astrology aspects in which to root a Mercury retrograde phase in Aquarius, and suggest that our past values and visions will be challenged on a foundational level in order to test how much they truly align with what we can create and draw upon in our surrounding reality, as well as to what degree they nourish and catalyze us to consequently impact or inspire our community.  When Mercury stations retrograde, the Moon will be passing over Mercury in conjunction while the stationing Mercury opposes Jupiter retrograde in Leo:

MercuryRetroStationWRIGC7

Mercury and Venus have recently been glorious evening stars beautifying our twilight.  On January 14 when Mercury was at its maximum elongation, I savored a sojourn of staring at a bright Venus and Mercury aligned symmetrically in the shifting blue hues of sunset turning indigo toward the dark of night.  The recent companionship of Mercury and Venus in Aquarius has brought something into the awareness of each of us, and as Venus moves forward in the direction of Pisces while Mercury turns back to retrace Aquarian steps, there is something significant for each of us to realize.  Take the time to explore the Aquarius house of your birth chart, and any important planets or aspects you have with the first eighteen or so degrees of Aquarius to help you deepen your self-reflection.  With its stationing, Mercury will now descend from view at twilight as an evening star into our underworld, not to return again for us to view until it has stationed direct and moved forward again to become a morning star heralding our dawn.

Though Mercury and Venus were delightful to view in twilight together recently, their time together in Aquarius has most likely coincided with events that opened your emotions to sadness or pain in one way or another.  The point where Aquarian detachment can go awry is when we choose to be in denial of our sadness, distracting ourselves away from our pain to pretend like visualizing positive fantasies will take our troubles away.  It is necessary to deal with our sadness and grief by fully feeling our emotions, without denial and the distraction of coping strategies to construct an artifice of control.  Paramount at this Mercury stationing is Pluto in Capricorn exactly in square to the lunar nodes of the Moon, with Uranus in Aries conjunct the South Node of the Moon.  There is no escaping the dark night of the soul that can arise with this aspect:  if we attempt to escape from it or resist it, incoming events will reinforce the issue even more strongly than before. Yet this is the blessing of experiencing a Mercury retrograde, as Mercury is the messenger who can mediate with Pluto in our depths. While we may feel adrift, lost in a space of past attachments dissolving, remember Mercury is the trickster who facilitates our crossing of the borderline space in between significant transitions of our life.

Indeed, this Mercury retrograde is not something to complain about but instead seize for its potential to take us into the deep.  Aquarius brings a capacity to objectively analyze, and so this Mercury retrograde can be like our own inner Jungian analyst who can help us find the cause of our current issues through interpreting the symbolism of our daily experiences with dreams and other signs in our environment.  Insights will arise in the coming weeks especially if we refuse to numb or shelter ourselves from the issues and feelings demanding our attention.  This is a time period in which to take responsibility for our emotions and the way our behavior is impacting the emotions of those we are in relationship with.  With Pluto in Capricorn, this involves us having to face the countless examples of systematic oppression we encounter in our daily environment, as well as how on a personal level we can attempt to deal with our emotional vulnerabilities though seeking control of others in one way or another, or by giving our power away to others in order to have someone else take care of us.  Furthermore, with Mercury stationing opposite Black Moon Lilith and Jupiter retrograde in Leo, we may become triggered by interactions bringing up issues of past rejection, or fear that we will not be accepted or chosen for relationship due to a feeling of alienation.  Yet within the drama of our subjective inner world we can sense our personal truth struggling to find its voice, and by courageously expanding further into our essential nature we will initiate a retrograde phase that will lead us to become more authentically alive.

Relationships, our old patterns of relationship, and the new way of being we can now embody in our relationships is an overarching theme of this Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, in part because Mercury is stationing in trine to the North Node of the Moon in Libra and in sextile to the South Node of the Moon and Uranus in Aries.  Moreover, this Mercury retrograde cycle is taking us through the balsamic phase of Mars and Venus toward a new cycle of Mars and Venus that will begin on February 21, 2015 at two degrees of Aries.  This is the closing of a cycle between Mars and Venus that began on April 6, 2013 at 19°57′ of Aries.  Think back to this time period of April in 2013 and what relationships entered your life, or what was shifting in relation to external connections with others in your life.  Everything that has transpired in our relationships in these past two years, that has happened in connection with our passions, desires, and inner values, is now at a time of clearing in order to let go and release with finality what is no longer serving us and to re-seed what is in accord with our new vision for the relationships of our present and future.

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Black in Deep Red (1957) by Mark Rothko

On April 6, 2013 we entered a new cycle between Mars and Venus, and since then we have gone through a Venus retrograde in Capricorn as well as a Mars retrograde in Libra while experiencing the sequence of squares between Pluto and Uranus.  In 2015 three times will be the charm with the new cycle between Mars and Venus, as we will experience three conjunctions between them before they finally settle into their new cycle. After Venus and Mars conjunct at two degrees of Aries on February 21, Venus will move forward and get beyond a semi-sextile aspect with Mars before stationing retrograde at the beginning of Virgo to move back into Leo and reunite with Mars again on August 31, 2015 at fifteen degrees of Leo.  After Venus stations direct in Leo, it will move forward again and catch up with Mars for a final conjunction and initiation of the new Mars and Venus cycle on November 2, 2015 at twenty-five degrees of Virgo.  As a result, while we will experience a new initiation and rebirth in our relationships following this Mercury retrograde, we still have a lot more to work out between Mars and Venus during this year before we finally settle into our new relationship dynamic.  With the final conjunction occurring in Virgo, there seems to be a Mercurial aspect to the incoming Mars and Venus cycle, as the three conjunctions this year will also be preceded by the three Mercury retrograde phases in each of the Air signs.

Venus begins this Mercury retrograde opposite Jupiter, then ingresses into Pisces and forward into a square with Saturn and conjunction with both Neptune and Chiron, while Mars is initiating a new cycle with Neptune at Mercury’s stationing to move forward in the direction of Chiron.  By the time Mercury stations direct, Venus and Mars will be in a balsamic conjunction in Pisces, the last sign of the zodiac and a fitting place for Mars and Venus to release their previous cycle.  While Venus is in Aquarius during the first week of the Mercury retrograde, we may have a greater capacity for detached analysis of the inner values we have gained from conforming to an external source, whether that be from the consensus culture or from a subculture rebelling against consensus values we gravitated toward out of a sense of disenchantment or frustration with the status quo.  During this time of Venus moving through the final decan of Aquarius we can sense the values we have been living from that do not truly resonate with our unique individuality, and we may perceive intimations of how we can begin to actualize a more authentic value system.  With Mercury being retrograde, mixed into this process may be perceptions from a new perspective along with rumination into memories of previous relationships and the values we took on through old relationships.

Venus in Aquarius can detach to prevent us from becoming overcome by our emotions, while Venus in Pisces is more likely to merge into our inner feelings as well as with others. Leading up to the inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun, Venus will ingress into Pisces and will have entered into a first quarter square with Saturn in Sagittarius and a balsamic conjunction with Neptune when the angelic messenger unites with our Sun:

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The inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun is ideal for intention setting if you can be alert to its timing.  This is a moment of conception that can signal a shift in our state of mind similar to a new moon.  Look to where 10°20′ of Aquarius is in your astrology chart by house and aspect to analyze how this impacts you specifically.  In connection with the theme of relationships, it is fascinating that the inferior conjunction of Mercury is opposite Juno retrograde in Leo.  Our passionate Juno side that can have the drive of a lioness in pursuit of creative desires has an opportunity here to integrate into our presence in community and bring a more heart-centered focus to the oftentimes cool and detached Aquarian mindset.  It could also signal a time to break from a current relationship drama in order to re-center, like Juno re-sourcing herself in her sacred bath.

The relationship theme is further emphasized by Venus being balsamic conjunct Neptune in Pisces, and in square to Saturn in Sagittarius, with Mars balsamic conjunct to Chiron in Pisces.  The Venus-Neptune and Mars-Chiron cycles ending now to begin again both go back to early 2013, when Mars and Chiron began the current cycle in Pisces in February and Venus and Neptune began their current cycle in Pisces at the beginning of March (Mercury was also retrograde in Pisces when Venus and Neptune were last conjunct).  The first quarter square from Pisces Venus to Sagittarius Saturn is coming off their conjunction in mid-November 2014 in Scorpio.  All of these aspects coinciding with Mercury’s inferior conjunction point toward illumination concerning the ideals we hold in our relationships versus the actual reality of our relationships.  The more we accept ourselves for who we actually are and not the ideal persona we want to create about ourselves, the less likely we are to project our ideals on a relationship that ultimately leads us to disillusionment because we are not taking care of our own work.  The more we live with integrity in line with our deeply felt values, the more likely we are to magnetize relationships that are aligned with our ideal path, and this inferior conjunction of Mercury is a moment to set such an intention.

There is also a paradoxical potential to these aspects that could align with great wounding as well as groundbreaking strides toward a cherished vision.  Mars aligning with Chiron could take us deeply into our wounds, and Saturn can have a very heavy hand with a Venus wanting to drift away in a Piscean illusion, all the more so with Uranus closely conjunct the South Node of the Moon and in square to Pluto at the inferior conjunction.  Uranus has to do with unexpected shattering which can be both liberating as well as traumatic, but in any event has to do with some sort of large energetic shift arriving unannounced.  Chiron is a mediator between Uranus and Saturn, and so these same aspects point to an opportunity for us to re-direct incoming energy into our work and relationships with our surrounding environment.  Chiron is a courageous and wise archetype for Mars to re-formulate our sense of will around at this time of the inferior conjunction, and we can work with him better if we bravely step into a mediating role between conflicts, be present for healing in our interactions, and if necessary make a sacrifice not out of a sense of masochism or victimization but out of authentic desire to purely serve.

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Moon Woman (1942) by Jackson Pollock

As we move away from the inferior conjunction of Mercury with the Sun toward the period of Mercury stationing direct, Venus gets closer each day to Mars in Pisces making the clearing of previous relationship patterns deeper.  This is a great couple of weeks to claim as a severing of what no longer serves us in our previous patterns of relating to others as well as our self.  Yet clearing does not mean clean cut or simply cut off, but rather this letting go could become a messy affair, a spiral-like process that brings up deeply felt emotions from old relationships we had tucked away, or feelings about a current partnership we had been ignoring or distracting ourselves from.  Pisces is a compassionate place for this release to take place, and drawing on the Piscean ideals of compassion and acceptance with ourselves and in our interactions will help us let go of old wounds and patterns we will soon realize we had been sorely needing to release.  We will also get another opportunity for relationship clearing later this year since Mars and Venus conjunct two more times before settling in for good into their new cycle, but Mars and Venus will not be in Pisces at that time.

Between Mercury’s conjunction with the Sun and Mercury stationing direct, Ceres in Capricorn also enters a balsamic clearing with Pluto in Capricorn, evoking a strong Dark Moon aspect between these rivals of myth.  In addition to it’s themes of nurturance and attachment, Ceres can show us where crisis has led us to attempt to cope through vengeful anger or the taking of control, and how through surrendering to acceptance as well as through taking assertive mediation we can reclaim our personal authority and ability to be productive.  This conjunction in Capricorn brings up both the oppressive nature of the power structure as well as our capacity to claim the authority to take action within the system to bring perpetrators of wrongdoing to justice.  In the myth, Ceres ultimately stands up for herself and forces Jupiter to make a deal with her, thereby sending Mercury into the underworld to retrieve her beloved daughter Proserpina, or Persephone.  In synchronicity with the Northern Hemisphere experience of this Mercury retrograde occurring in deep Winter, with an upcoming Solar Eclipse occurring at the Spring Equinox, this Mercury retrograde descent to the underworld has resonance with the reclaiming of a beloved to reappear in the coming rebirth of Spring.  Ceres combining with Pluto in Capricorn now suggests that instead of attempting to tear down the entire power structure, instead look to where there are aspects of the system to connect with and use to promote your personal truth.

In the Homeric hymnal version of the Demeter and Persephone myth, the Moon Goddess Hekate directs Demeter to seek counsel with Helios, the Sun God and seer, who gives Demeter the knowledge that Hades took Persephone to the underworld under the blessings of Zeus.  Similarly we will be able to receive our own lunar divination around February 3, 2015 when there will be a Full Moon in Leo at the time of the cross-quarter holy day of Imbolc.  The Full Moon will be conjunct Juno and Jupiter in Leo, in between them, with both Juno and Jupiter retrograde, once again highlighting the theme of relationships.  In line with the balsamic relationship between Mars and Venus in Pisces co-occurring at the same time, this Full Moon will bring up a significant relational issue for us to integrate when Mercury stations direct at the beginning of Aquarius in the following week:

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Mercury stations direct near the same degree of the New Moon of January 20, 2015 bridging the intentions we set at the beginning of the Mercury retrograde with it’s completion.  Mercury will station in conjunction with Vesta in Aquarius, bringing added focus, centeredness, and commitment to this stationing direct.  Vesta combined with Mercury in Aquarius could find us feeling somewhat alienated from others as we process and integrate the inner shifting that came during the retrograde phase of Mercury, and we may need to take some time for solace in solitude.  Ceres closely combined with Pluto in Capricorn in square to the lunar nodes and Uranus, with Venus conjunct Chiron in a balsamic conjunction with Mars may give us further cause for taking a break from busyness to re-center and re-intergrate.  Some of us may not be so lucky to get away from others and our daily work while Mercury is stationing, and so the focused energy of Vesta combined with Mercury will help us fulfill professional responsibilities and remain dedicated toward completing the responsibilities associated with the goals we are working toward.

“I have this strange feeling that I’m not myself anymore. It’s hard to put into words, but I guess it’s like I was fast asleep, and someone came, disassembled me, and hurriedly put me back together again. That sort of feeling.”
― Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart

Mercury stationing direct heralds the fleet footed messenger’s return as a Morning Star welcoming our Sunrise.  While Mercury as an Evening Star is associated with the cool, reflective hindsight of Epimetheus, Mercury as a Morning Star is associated with Prometheus and a more fiery foresight that operates best consciously in daylight hours.  The Messenger at this stage is curious, inquisitive, and eager for a new adventure with a mind ready to race ahead toward the future horizon. The ability of Mercury at this time to help us re-focus on our goals in line with the changes unfolding in our life will be a great benefit, as there is plenty ahead to keep Mercury busy as in March we will experience Saturn in Sagittarius stationing retrograde, the seventh and final square between Pluto and Uranus, and a Solar Eclipse at the final degree of Pisces.

References

Demetra George:  Hermes Guardian of Thresholds