Mercury began another retrograde process on January 30th/31st which will last until Feb 20th/21st. This is when it appears to be moving backwards from our earth based vantage point due to the positioning of the Earth and Mercury in each of their orbits around the Sun. This one is occurring completely in Aquarius.
In the weeks (and especially days) leading up to it, it can already start to feel like a retrograde and some of its themes can get seeded. This happens because Mercury slows down (again from our vantage point) and travels in the part of sky it will be returning to after the retrograde begins. This is known as the ‘pre-shadow’ period which began on January 15th.
If you have read my previous Mercury Retrograde articles, the remainder of this section and the following one are nearly the same. You can skip to the third section and beyond if you don’t want to re-read all the general themes associated with these periods. Those other parts are more specific to this edition of it.
Mercury retrograde is known for the problematic effects it often has on communication technology, transactions, motor vehicles, anything with moving parts, and commuting in general. Some people even get headaches near the beginning of it. We could experience some challenges, misunderstandings, and errors around our communications, numbers/details, and commerce, as well as changes, cancellations, or delays in our schedules.
Sometimes these issues could occur when we are excessively analytical without tuning into our internal guidance. Depending on how we flow with it and other variables, we may not always experience these surface level inconveniences, or they could just be minor irritants.
Mercury Retrograde can also be a good time to revisit or redo tasks, projects, ideas, or anything else that was initiated in the past. It can give us a different perspective or shift in thinking that can help us to approach these things in ways we wouldn’t have done before. This may also be a period of reconnecting with old friends, family, lovers, or others we haven’t seen in a while. When we reconnect with people during a retrograde, it sometimes can help to facilitate a shift in the relationship. In some cases, issues from the past can come up which may need to be hashed out.
The Deeper Purpose of Mercury Retrograde
Ultimately, Mercury Retrograde is a time for us to recalibrate and adjust specific areas of our lives as well as how we apply our minds towards these issues. It is a period in which we may receive important insights and see things in a new light. In most cases, it can be mildly transformational, but in some cases it can facilitate more major transformations depending on how it corresponds to your personal astrological chart.
During and following the retrograde, certain areas of our lives can go through changes or shifts, or we can experience a re-orientation of some sort which influences how we proceed over the coming months or in some cases, it can have a more long-term significance. In the three weeks afterwards, known as the ‘post-shadow’ period, we move forward with some sort of new awareness, adjustment, as well as new ideas and thoughts that have been seeded which will develop and become more defined as time progresses.
Certain things that have come up specifically in the weeks leading up to the start of the retrograde could determine where this energy could play out. It is also possible that there could have been changes or developments at that time which may go through a sorting-out process or shift in dynamics during the actual retrograde and in the two weeks following. There could be unknown variables, either positive or negative, that were either unseen or hadn’t been conceived yet, which may become apparent over the coming month.
The sign(s) and element(s) in which Mercury retrograde travels in shows the energy we are re-orienting ourselves with. More importantly, if you are familiar with your natal astrology chart, then your house(s) or any planetary placements being affected will show more specifically which areas of life you will be experiencing its energy in. For the astrologically literate, it begins at 26’29 degrees of Aquarius and will retrograde back to 11’01 degrees of the same sign before turning forward again.
Occurring In Aquarius, The First of a Series Primarily in Air Signs
Mercury Retrograde always happens in primarily one element for 1-2 years. This is the first of a series that is mainly occurring in Air signs which will last until Fall 2022. The Air element is about intellect, objectivity, the mind, communication, and social aspects of life. This period is about re-aligning ourselves with these qualities if necessary and expressing them in new or revamped ways.
With this retrograde in Aquarius, we may experience or apply re-orientations, adjustments, developments, circumstances, or reflect on themes connected to friends/acquaintances, groups/teams, the collective, humanitarianism, the global community, activism, equality, social networks, the internet, and originality. This sign is about the future as well as the innovation and utilization of all things pertaining to science and technology. Aquarius is also associated with both rationality and idealism. It is about freedom and free-thinking.
Aquarius’ Traditional Ruler Saturn Square Its Modern Ruler Uranus
During this retrograde, Aquarius’ traditional ruler Saturn (also in Aquarius) will be in a tense square aspect with its modern ruler (or sub-ruler) Uranus in Taurus. This will be strong from February 7th-24th, with it making its exact aspect on the 17th/18th. However, this energy will be a major part of the astrological backdrop throughout this next year as they will be in exact square again in June and next December/January when these energies will peak again.
Personally, after many years of observation and practice, I currently use traditional rulers as the main rulers in my astrological delineation work. However, Uranus definitely represents many qualities of Aquarius that are contradictory to Saturn and therefore it is clearly a representative of that sign as well, yet I see it as different from being a ‘Ruler’.
Uranus represents the freedom seeking, revolutionary, rebelling, progressive, reforming, idealistic, unconventional, technological, inventive, futuristic, and scientific qualities of Aquarius. Saturn represents the seriousness, aloofness, social/communal/collective structures, rational, and fixed/rigid qualities of the sign.
Although Aquarius energy is evolutionary and open minded (reflected by Uranus), it can also be unyielding (reflected by Saturn) when it comes to viewpoints outside of what it has already determined to be truth, fact, or what is best. This is the Aquarian paradox which is something we have been seeing play out collectively in the political landscape.
Outside of the overlapping Aquarian themes mentioned, Saturn is also traditional, conservative, and cautious. It rules commitments, maturity, responsibilities, limitations, restrictions, the status quo, and structures in general. It is about patience, practicality, discipline, and boundaries.
This is a period in which Uranus themes (as mentioned) will be at odds with Saturn themes (as mentioned). This can play out as ‘old versus new’, ‘restrictions versus freedom’, ‘the status quo versus revolution’, ‘commitments/responsibilities versus liberation’, or ‘elder versus youth’. This can also be a time of integrating Saturn and Uranus such as applying new, technological, scientific, or metaphysical approaches to help us with our work. However this energy plays out, it will somehow play a role in the adjustments occurring in our lives (and collectively) reflected by the Mercury retrograde process.
Mercury Retrograde Significant Dates
Below are some of the dates and information for some of the major astrological configurations during this retrograde.
*The dates below are based on the Americas. The further East you are located, you may need to consider it as the next day.
Jan 30th/31st Mercury retrograde begins at Jan 30th 3:51pm Universal Time
The common Mercury retrograde themes and complications may come up strongly at this time and in recent days leading up to this. You may get some sort of indication of how it may be playing out for you over the next month based on how you feel or what transpires. It’s possible that certain things that happen at this time, which may seem insignificant, can somehow be connected to how this retrograde process will affect you.
Feb 8th/9th Mercury Retrograde Conjunct the Sun (Inferior Conjunction)
This is the halfway point of Mercury retrograde, known as the ‘inferior conjunction,’ which is when it returns to the Sun. This can be a period of increased insights, and the themes or circumstances pertaining to how this retrograde is affecting you may come up more during this period.
Complications and frustrations can also be stronger at this time depending on your circumstances or how you are applying yourself. This may also be a period of ridding yourself of certain thoughts, ideas, perceptions, old interests, expectations, or other things that are not serving you while the potential for new ones may be seeded.
Feb 9th-11th Mercury Retrograde Square Mars, overlapping with Venus conjunct Jupiter
In some ways, this can be one of the more annoying periods of this retrograde. Conflicts, arguments, irritability, and impatience can occur more easily during this time. We need to be a little extra cautious during this period to minimize the risk of saying things incorrectly or making impulsive decisions that we may regret later.
However, as the aspect between Mercury and Mars separates we will also experience conjunction between Venus and Jupiter (also in Aquarius) which will be strongest on February 10th/11th. This can be expansive, optimistic, fortunate, or educational when it comes to our social life, matters of love, pleasures, finances, creativity, or things pertaining to aesthetics or beauty. However this can also be a time of overindulging or overspending money/resources.
Feb 12th/13th Mercury Retrograde Conjunct Venus
This can be a good time for connecting with others socially as interactions can be pleasant. Considering the retrograde, it can be good for catching up with others that we haven’t connected with in a long time and resolving any issues if there are any. Addressing financial or relationship matters can also come up. In some cases revisiting any creative effort or aesthetic adjustment could make sense as well. Mercury will be in between Venus and Jupiter and therefore some of Mercury conjunct Jupiter themes (mentioned above) may play out as well.
Feb 14th/15th Mercury Retrograde Conjunct Jupiter
This can be a very mind opening period, perhaps lucky and expansive. It can be good for revisiting perspectives, media, or something educational related. Considering the ‘big picture’ is a strong theme now with perhaps a shift in perception or some sort of re-thinking about it. Some people may receive positive news at this time. We may have big ideas but it’s wise to wait until at least 3 days after the retrograde ends before beginning to really move forward with anything. Mercury will be in between Venus and Jupiter and therefore some of Mercury conjunct Jupiter themes (mentioned in Feb 9th-11th paragraph) may play out as well.
Feb 17th/18th Peak of Saturn Square Uranus (although strong throughout February)
Check “Aquarius’ Traditional Ruler Saturn Square Its Modern Ruler Uranus” section in earlier part of this article.
Feb 20th/21st Mercury Ends Retrograde and Goes Stationary Direct
Mercury will slowly begin to move forward from February 20th/21st onward. The areas of our lives that have been affected by this retrograde will start to become more clear and things will fall into place more easily as we progress into the coming days and weeks. As Mercury gradually picks up speed, we can move forward in the areas of life that have been affected. However, usually the first few days after it ends can still feel like it is retrograde as complications may occur due to Mercury’s stationary position. It’s usually best to wait until at least 3 days afterwards before finalizing decisions, agreements, etc.
Nearly 2 months later, at April 18th/19th and/or in the days following, there may be even more clarity around certain things that have been seeded during this specific retrograde. From there, things may develop further with a better perception, or circumstances may indicate lack of sufficiency, not what was anticipated, or that something needs to change.
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