Mercury, the messenger of the gods Mercury Retrograde
Mercury retrograde in Aquarius [Jan 11 – Feb 1, 2009]
At 16:45 UT (Universal Time), on Sunday, January 11th, 2009, Mercury the cosmic trickster turns retrograde in Aquarius, the sign of the Water-Bearer, sending communications, travel, appointments, mail and the www into a general snarlup! Since this is the day of the potent Full Moon in Cancer, people’s emotions will be on high alert! The retro period begins a few days before the actual turning point (as Mercury slows) and lasts for three weeks or so, until February 1, when the Winged Messenger
reaches his direct station. At this time he halts and begins his return to direct motion through the zodiac.
Everything finally straightens out on February 14, as he passes the point where he first turned retrograde. Mercury normally turns retrograde three times a year, but this year he turns tail four times, which is unusual. The effects of each period differ, according to the sign in which it happens (see box for Retrograde Periods in 2009).
A planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. According to modern science, this traditional concept arises in the illusory planetary motion created by the orbital rotation of the earth with relation to other planets in our solar system. Planets are never actually retrograde or stationary, they just seem that way due to this cosmic shadow-play.
Retrograde periods, although often problematic for us earthlings, are not particularly uncommon. Each planet retrogrades, except the Sun and Moon. Although a powerful astrological influence, Mercury is quite a small planet that travels at a relatively fast speed through the zodiac. Despite being the closest planet in our solar system to the Sun, it is not always in the same sign as the Sun. This time, Mercury turns retrograde in Aquarius (original; unorthodox), while the Sun is in Capricorn (ambition; loyalty), but heads back into Capricorn just after the Sun strides into Aquarius
As a rule, retrograde planets presage a period of seemingly inevitable or fated events that relate to their sphere of influence. They present us with a series of events over which we seem to have little or no conscious control, relating especially to the sign in which the retrogradation occurs. For example, Mercury retrograde in Aquarius (original; unorthodox) presents quite different sets of circumstances from those generated when it retrogrades into Capricorn (ambition; loyalty).
A retrograde period is best seen as a cycle, beginning when the planet begins to slow to a halt before travelling backwards through the zodiac and ending when the planet returns to the point where it first paused. However, during the cycle, the planet’s energy is most powerful (and more likely to generate critical events of universal importance) when the planet makes a station: appearing motionless in the sky.
These stationary periods occur near the beginning of the cycle (when the planet first halts as it prepares to move backwards) and midway through the cycle when the retrograde planet slows to a stop before moving forward again. The “direct station” (when the planet halts before moving forward again) is the most powerful and can be used for maximum benefit.
Many astrologers consider that the “Mercury Shadow” begins some three weeks before the actual retro station (when Mercury passes the point of direct station for the first time). This has some justification, but I am more inclined to think that the really noticeable peculiarities begin when Mercury slows significantly, a few days before the retro station. This period of “Mercury Shadow” extends to the Return date, some three weeks after the direct station. Bear this in mind, because experience shows that the effects of the retro period are still marked during the “shadow” phase. Some of the most characteristic annoyances often occur just after Mercury makes the direct station, while he is crawling forward before picking up speed.
Go to Top What does Mercury affect?
In general, Mercury rules thinking and perception, processing and disseminating information and all means of communication, commerce, education and transportation. By extension, Mercury rules people who work in these areas, especially people who work with their minds or their wits: writers and orators, commentators and critics, gossips and spin doctors, teachers, travellers, tricksters and thieves.
Mercury retrograde gives rise to personal misunderstandings; flawed, disrupted, or delayed communications, negotiations and trade; glitches and breakdowns with phones, computers, cars, buses, and trains. And all of these problems usually arise because some crucial piece of information, or component, has gone astray or awry.
It is therefore not wise to make important decisions while Mercury is retrograde, since it is very likely that these decisions will be clouded by misinformation, poor communication and careless thinking. Mercury is all about mental clarity and the power of the mind, so when Mercury is retrograde these intellectual characteristics tend to be less acute than usual, as the critical faculties are dimmed. Make sure you pay attention to the small print!
Go to Top The Key Issue
The key issue here is one of focus. Mercury’s retro phase tends to bring unforeseen changes and blockages, but the aggravation and frustration that many of us experience during these periods is often due to our own inability to roll with the punches. Is this due to our ego-fixation? Mercury sets out to restructure our thinking processes and for many of us this is painful and frustrating. Moreover, these experiences reveal flaws in our internal organisation as well as our external planning, which can make us feel foolish and inadequate.
Mercury retrograde, like any cosmic aspect, affects people differently, depending on where it hits their personal charts. Some people actually prosper under a retro Mercury, especially if Mercury is retrograde but otherwise well-aspected in their birth charts. It is also a time when matters begun under a previous retro period will come to fruition, or completion as the case may be. Firm decisions that have been previously made when Mercury is travelling normally through the zodiac may be implemented or finalised while Mercury is retrograde without too much worry, for experience shows that this can be done without undue problems arising.
Go to Top Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius
Aquarius, the Water-Bearer
When Mercury is retrograde, everyone’s thinking is more introspective and we tend to think about issues and concerns which relate to the sign involved. With Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, people with this sign prominent in their charts will be especially prone to such introspection. There is little choice but to reconsider our personal views and opinions about life. We receive, however, an opportunity to gain insight into our own ego. Since Barack Obama’s inauguration to the US Presidency occurs under this retro phase, just as Mercury and Sun conjoin in the first degree of Aquarius and just after Jupiter enters Aquarius for the first time in twelve years, it will no doubt present a number of conflicting issues for him, particularly with regard to the communication of his intentions. Obama is a Leo (the opposite sign to Aquarius), with Jupiter rising in Aquarius in the first degree – the degree of The Plundering Falcon…
Mercury retro in Aquarius generates an undue focus on originality and independence, love of intellectual freedom and the inclination to repudiate social conventions. Idealistic concepts however, will be under pressure during this Fixed Sign phase, as people will be inclined to be very stubborn and opinionated, while at the same time attempting to pressure others into sharing their attitudes. Unusual or unorthodox ideas will have difficulty melding with traditional positions, as people with new ideas will be unlikely to consider the feelings and opinions of the so-called “old wave”, who will vigorously resist proposed changes. The Full Moon in Cancer occurs on January 11th, just hours before Mercury turns retrograde. This is a very emotional Full Moon, with much potential for conflict (head versus heart; family versus career etc) and breaks in communication (Mercury being stationary prior to turning). This position can indicate nerve-related ailments and muscle cramping.
Mercury remains in Aquarius until January 21st, when he rolls back to Capricorn, creating havoc with political and administrative concerns, government
, career and public positions, along with the desire to rise in life! He returns to Aquarius on February 14th, but read on for more on Mercury’s stay in Capricorn.
Go to Top Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn
Capricorn, the Sea-Goat
At 05:37 hrs UT on January 21, Mercury slips back into Capricorn, the sign of the Sea-Goat. Mercury retro in Capricorn suggests trouble through trying to turn knowledge and ideas to some practical advantage, and disruptions or communication breakdown in organisations, businesses and administration
. People’s imagination tends to be restricted to pragmatic and material considerations, with too much trumpeting of traditional ideas, or those that do not conflict with or threaten their own. People suffer from a lack of humour, as they try to push through their own agendas and attempt to gain status by driving the right car and generally scoring points.
Mercury turns direct again at 27° 45′ Capricorn on February 1, returning to Aquarius on February 14th.
All areas of communication are affected, especially in matters related to the clubs and associations, friendships, the achievement of personal goals, career finances, administrative concepts, and new ideas in general. This period brings travel snafus and missed appointments of all kinds. Documents can go astray. Be sure to carry a diary and refer to it often.