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Art: “To and Fro” by agnes-cecile
Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius: Nov 16 – Dec 1
Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio: Dec 1 – 6
Mercury in Scorpio: Dec 6 – 12
Mercury in Sagittarius: Dec 12 – Jan 4
Planets in retrograde are not actually spinning backwards – it is entirely an optical illusion as seen from Earth. Backwards motion appears to happen when Earth passes slower moving planets in the outer solar system. In astrology, this illusion manifests as a “backwards” functioning of the planetary roles. Click here to learn more about retrograde.
On Mercury … the Sun sometimes moves in retrograde! As the planet speeds through its closest approach with the sun, its orbital speed overtakes its rotational speed. An astronaut on the surface would see the sun partially rise, then dip back below the horizon, then rise again before resuming its east-to-west trek across the sky. Once a year, Mercury gets two sunrises on the same day!
Mercury turns retrograde three times a year, more frequently than any other planet. Mercury represents communication, travel and self-expression. During Mercury Retrograde expect delays, cancellations and sudden changes to travel/social plans; technological failures, especially cell phones, laptops or automobiles; communication breakdown; disorganization; confusion; mysterious disappearances or lost/stolen items; malfunctioning of anything and everything! I do not recommend major purchases or signing important contracts/documents. This is not a good time for long-distance travel, life-altering commitments or investments. We will begin to feel the effects of the retrograde as soon as Oct 28.
Most of the retrograde takes place in Sagittarius, with just the last few days in Scorpio. The journey begins in Scorpio, however. October plunges us into Scorpio, then a brief respite until the first two weeks of December.
As the word “retrograde” implies, it is time to go back, finish, review, redo. Mercury Retrograde shuffles stifled energy out, across the tongue. With Mercury in Scorpio, we return to the past to address old wounds. Mercury in Scorpio (Dec 1-12) is a cathartic yet emotionally-charged cycle rendering healthy death of what must die. Scorpio heals all that has been repressed. She abides in crypts where others dare not swim, probing for insight and understanding, or conquest through manipulation. Dwelling in retroactive resentment may be tempting, or we may be unusually intransigent or begrudging.
When Mercury wades through Scorpio, it is time to cleanse the aching soul. Long overdue conversations, forgiveness, apologies and brutal honesty are all welcome. In particular, issues related to money or sexual trauma may be broached.
Scorpio is passionate, lusty, forceful. In ancient times, Scorpio was ruled by Mars, god of war. Though modern astrologers now recognize Pluto as Scorpio’s ruler, her warrior roots are still very alive. I see both in her. She is pointed and fierce yet profound; suspicious and psychoanalytical, yet fearless, persevering.
Mercury in Scorpio makes the mind and tongue so sharp they can cut bones clean open, yet this cycle is also sensual, mystical. Scorpio uncovers motivating forces. She is obsessive, fatalistic, yet meaningful, poignant. We will be able to read our environs with astounding clairvoyance. No small talk here. Speech runs to the root. Furthermore, the scorpion lives in the root chakra of the body. This is why Scorpio is so intimately linked to sex, survival and trauma. She is a hungry animal gnawing and growling, wailing us back to hard nights in the dark autumn woods, alone, fur standing on end.
Other possibilities for this transit: examination of seduction – in what ways do our desires control us? An old debt may resurface, or a new perspective on a traumatic event may be adopted. On a global scale, this period will bring more scandals and heretofore hidden agendas to light, particularly hypocrisy and sexual misconduct.
Imagine a netherworld cave with the door sealed shut. Inside are all of our jealous skeletons and ancient pains, all of our secrets and desires, festering away. Mercury in Scorpio is like a heavy lock opened only by a skeleton key at the bottom of the darkest ocean. Stand back and let it flow, do not be afraid. Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio removes the blocks, and in come streams of light and fresh air. Now is the time to detox! Mercury in Scorpio allows us to actually see what lies below, drawing out everything ghoulish to create space for the glowing flames of Sagittarius.
Mercury in Sagittarius (Dec 12-Jan 4) furthers our quest for Truth. Anything left unsaid, say it here. I think that with Mercury in Scorpio we have somewhat of a choice whether to speak or remain silent. Not so with Mercury in Sag – we have to speak, clear the air. The centaur thrives on change and movement, releasing all in the heat of the moment. What better way to invite change than by communicating high on veracity? What comes out during Mercury in Sag is not novel. We know already what we must acknowledge and accept.
Dates worth mentioning after the retrograde: Dec 21 (harmonious) & Dec 24 (challenging)
Yes, things get whacky during Mercury Retrograde, but by Dec 24 we’ll be back on track. To determine your Mercury sign and whether he was direct or retrograde at the time of your birth, click here.
Mantra: change is good