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Artist: Heather Brunetti
Mercury enters Aquarius: Jan 16
Mercury enters Pisces: Feb 3
Mercury Retrograde in Pisces: Feb 16 – Mar 4
Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius: Mar 4-9
Mercury in Aquarius: Mar 9-16
Mercury in Pisces: Mar 16 – Apr 10
Planets in retrograde are not actually spinning backwards – it is 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.
Mercury turns retrograde three times a year, more frequently than any other planet. From EarthSky:
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 represents communication, travel and technology. These are the realms affected by Mercury Retrograde. Expect delays, cancellations and sudden changes; technological failures, especially 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.
This Mercury Retrograde takes place *almost* entirely in Pisces, with just the last 5 days falling in Aquarius. We will begin to feel the effects of the retrograde as soon as Feb 2, the day before Mercury enters Pisces. Life will feel back to normal by no later than Mar 29!
As the word “retrograde” implies, it is time to go back, finish, review, redo. Mercury Retrograde shuffles stifled energy out, across the tongue. Let’s first discuss Mercury (Retrograde) in Pisces, since this is where most of the retrograde takes place:
Mercury enters Pisces on Feb 3. The ensuing Mercury Retrograde in Pisces (Feb 16-Mar 4) is a scattered, undisciplined influence. During Pisces transits, life slows and flows in mysterious directions. Dreams and reality blur. Cycles like these have the potential to cloak humanity in an opaque cloud of delusion.
When Mercury the intellect swims in Pisces’ emotion ocean, our hearts open to our minds. It is time to wander softly to the past, to dreamscapes, to fantastical places. Pisces is imaginative, naive, earnest, protective, prudent, speculating, fanciful. This is not a time to act, but rather a time to gently address vulnerable thoughts and feelings, especially those internalized over the last year. Inside the nebulous fish vault, some words never make it to the surface, never get to be heard or digested or discussed in long rambling tangents, as Pisces does best. She stuffs everything down, then masterfully ignores the mounting inward pressure with all kinds of escapist behavior: evasion, denial, deceit.
The fishes twist and flow like wise water wends the bends of the cosmic riverbed. Creative projects will prove unusually gratifying as they will feed the growing, unmistakable feeling of all things fated. This is the irrevocable attunement – first confusing, muddling, swirling, then wide open, a spectacle of light. This is the proverbial death of the mind’s worn knots and tatters. Let them go. Create your neural pathways anew, fresh as a bejeweled sprawl of coral in a shallow tropical sea.
One of Pisces’ great karmic responsibilities involves learning to take care of herself. Pisces tends to give until nothing remains, not even stores of energy meant for herself. This leaves her chronically depleted in mind, body and spirit. Allow yourself and other fishy friends to marinate in prolonged introversion. This is how we rehabilitate, regenerate, revitalize the spirit. Pisces is sensitive, yes, but not weak. What we need is music and dancing. Also remember to stay hydrated and spend time in/near a body of water if possible.
Animals associated with Mercury include the rooster, ram, goat and tortoise. In Pisces, the tortoise smiles shyly from Mercury’s breast. The fishes are sage, ancient, glacial in pace. In Native American astrology, Pisces belongs to the Frog clan. She is also associated with turquoise and all shades of blue or green. Meditate on the slippery frog, hibernating at the bottom of the pond, waiting patiently for spring to come. Meditate on the myriad hues of the ocean. Feel cerulean droplets beading on your skin, gathering around your third eye, trickling to your toes. Let the waves wash everything away, leaving beautiful empty space for the flames of spring.
Now Mercury (Retrograde) in Aquarius: a time to be more spontaneous, curious, and social. We will get a long preview of Mercury in Aquarius from Jan 16-Feb 3, then revisit this constellation in the retrograde period from Mar 4-9, followed by one more week of Mercury turning direct in Aquarius before passing back into Pisces.
Aquarius is fun, but he is also like a gale-force wind, eager to upend the status quo or really anything standing in his way. He is progressive, pushing the boundaries of social acceptability, yet he embodies some powerful paradoxes. He is remarkably tolerant and open-minded, yet headstrong. He is scientific and inventive, yet judgmental, impatient, and sometimes reckless.
Write down all of your most universalist ideals; make a crazy painting; do a funky dance; go out and march. Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius would like to reinforce our plans for the future. I suggest incorporating some technology into your future-making. For example, you might start a blog or get behind a camera. This retrograde shines a light on our collective creative brilliance. It is time to FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS; spark the revolution; scream truth to power. Feel this passion coursing through your veins.
Aquarius tends to despise 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; such mental exploration helps clarify our relationship to things like freedom and authenticity.
Are you comfortable being different? Are you brave enough to follow Aquarius down this path, so far from the main thoroughfare? Here you get to follow your own compass and see just how deeply gratifying that is.
One thing that makes Aquarius so special is that he can relate to anyone. The water bearer is unique yet still just “one of the crowd.” He is your best friend and your best neighbor. Aquarians are fun, chatty, full of ideas, and eager to share their prophecies. They are not necessarily warm or fuzzy, 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 racing across the skyscape. Go out beneath the diamond star dome, let Gaia’s frigid air fill your lungs.
On Jan 18 (before the retrograde begins), Mercury squares Uranus in Taurus – this would be one of the worst days to travel or make plans. I suggest laying very very very low. Mercury Rx in Pisces will be conjunct the sun in Pisces on Feb 25, so 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. On Apr 3 (after the retrograde), Mercury meets up with Neptune for a fishy conjunction – this should be one of the best days of the retrograde, an excellent day to get together with friends and work on a creative project.
Words hold extraordinary power during Mercury Retrograde. Will you find a way to loosen the mind and tongue? If you were born with Mercury in Aquarius or Pisces, this is your Mercury Return. To determine your Mercury sign and whether he was direct or retrograde at the time of your birth, click here.
Affirmation: change is good