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Jan 8: Mercury enters Aquarius
Jan 30: Mercury stations retrograde
Feb 20: Mercury stations direct
Planets in retrograde are not actually spinning backwards – it is an optical illusion as seen from Earth due to the fact that all of the planets are traveling at their own respective speeds around the sun. In astrology, this illusion manifests as a “backwards” functioning of the planetary roles. Click here to learn more about retrograde.
Mercury turns retrograde three times a year, more frequently than any other planet. From EarthSky:
On Mercury, for example, 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 rules communication, travel, and technology. These realms are particularly affected by Mercury Retrograde. Expect delays, cancellations, and sudden changes; technological failures, especially with cell phones, laptops, or automobiles; miscommunication; lost/stolen items; general malfunction and wtf moments. I do not recommend starting a new job, buying a car, moving to a new place, or signing any contracts/documents. This is not a good time for travel, life-altering commitments, or investments. Words also carry more power during Mercury Retrograde.
This Mercury Retrograde takes place entirely in Aquarius. Mercury was also briefly retrograde in Aquarius last winter from Mar 4-9. This was when things were starting to feel really weird and dystopian, right at the beginning of the pandemic. One thing astrologers always say about Aquarius is that we have to expect the unexpected, but no one really knew just how much everything would change. Aquarius did it again, upending all of our expectations and attachments.
This year Mercury enters Aquarius on Jan 8 and the retrograde begins Jan 30; we will begin to feel the effects of the retrograde as early as Jan 15. Life should feel more “normal” by no later than Mar 12.
It is time to review our ideas for the future. Mercury Retrograde shuffles stifled energy out of the mind and across the tongue. With Mercury (Retrograde) in Aquarius, we travel deep into the third eye, into the site of cosmic vision. We know what to expect now, or do we? It is entirely possible that everything will change again. At the moment I feel hopeful, like we’ve got an advantage this time. I feel hopeful that we can use these difficult experiences to our benefit and channel Aquarian energy for the highest good. For example, we can be more spontaneous and curious. We can continue learning how to connect with others in meaningful ways through technology and see where it takes us.
Aquarius upends the status quo or really anything that we take for granted. He redraws social boundaries and therefore changes the fabric of society. The water bearer encourages us to be more tolerant and open-minded. This energy is scientific and inventive, yet impatient and sometimes reckless. It is time to speak truth to power. With the future so uncertain, this is the most solid plan that we can make. This retrograde shines a light on our collective creative brilliance. Together we will fight for our rights and ignite the revolution. Feel this passion coursing through your veins.
Aquarius does not trust or respect those in positions of authority. He knows that authority figures aren’t truly invested in our evolution or advancement – only we the people are. Change begins at the most humble level: inside our own minds, in the garden of our thoughts. Mercury Rx in Aquarius encourages radical and experimental thoughts; this mental exploration helps clarify our relationship to concepts like freedom and authenticity. Are you comfortable being different? Are you brave enough to walk the Aquarian path, so far from the main thoroughfare?
One thing that makes Aquarius so special is that he can relate to anyone. Aquarians are loud, extroverted, full of ideas, and eager to share their prophecies. They are not very warm, however – some Aquarians prefer to keep relations quite impersonal or distant.
If you are feeling stuck, meditate on the playful otter. Meditate on the sheen of aspen leaves, hear them rustle in the winter wind. See quicksilver clouds race across the sky. Go out beneath the diamond star dome, let Gaia’s frigid air fill your lungs.
Dates worth mentioning before the retrograde: Jan 8 (challenging), Jan 9 (harmonious), Jan 11 (harmonious), Jan 12 (challenging) – also the day of the New Moon in Capricorn.
During the retrograde: Feb 8 – if you need to do anything that is normally taboo during Mercury Rx – such as signing documents or making a major purchase – this is the day to do it; Feb 10 (challenging), Feb 12 (harmonious), Feb 14 (harmonious)
After the retrograde: Mar 4 (harmonious)
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, meditate on the root chakra. Calm your mind with Aquarius Yoga . Those born with Mercury in Aquarius will have an interesting Mercury Return. To find your Mercury sign and whether this planet was direct or retrograde at the time of your birth, click here.