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Nicolas Poussin c1627 ‘Venus and Mercury’ {{PD}}

Mercury pauses and enters apparent backward motion at 3:42 AM PST of the 14th, and the effect is likely to be subtle but far-reaching. The planet has stationed at 10 degrees, arriving there one day before and remaining one day after; the turnaround itself occurs at 10 Aquarius 20. The Sabian symbol for this degree is, ‘During A Silent Hour, A Man Receives A New Inspiration Which May Change His Life’. This is the heart of it: the retro period brings re-consideration of our ideals, of what we find sacred and honor, of how we wish to spend our days and hours–we look at how we are actually spending our time (what a phrase in English! Equating our lives with the use of any other asset), and how close this comes to (or diverges from) what we truly find of value.

We may find ourselves comparing our current situation to the dreams we have and had, especially those expectations for life that we carried at an earlier time. We are able right now to set aside those rationalizations that may have made us compromise our visions and goals; we see exactly how we may have diluted our aims to accommodate practicality, expediency, and varied duties. Some of these duties and choices, we’ll find, do represent what’s most important, in the form of commitments to others or to causes; some won’t pass the smell test, no matter what we tell ourselves–and this retro is the time to see, acknowledge, and then prepare to do something about the ways in which our thinking and pursuit of Higher Mind goals have gone seriously off-track.

This need for re-consideration is apparent in the contacts Mercury makes at the moment of retrogression. Happening in Aquarius, a Fixed Air sign, we know that previously rock-solid ideas and opinions will be examined by the Higher Mind and vetted through current or near-future conditions–and we know that at least some of the revelations we’ll receive will come through accident, surprise, or rebellion, which in this instance will be necessary catalysts to the examinations we must make.

Mercury will be novile both Neptune-Pallas, planet of creativity, imagination, ideals, and delusions, united with the asteroid of practicality, skills, and wisdom, and the asteroid Vesta, harbinger of what we honor and dedicate our life energies to–in fact, Mercury will turnaround at the midpoint between the other two points. The novile is an aspect that draws the genuinely innovative and ‘genius’ elements from the two bodies in question; in this case, we have four, three of which, in two portions, Neptune-Pallas, and Vesta, aren’t in major contact to each other–but they are through the mechanism of Mercury and his retro mentality of review. We can expect the retro period to offer inspiration as to what we want to use our life energy for, where we want to focus our efforts, and how we can best fulfill our highest ideals, and to offer this in both practical and smart forms. This may or may not reveal itself in material forms (Merc ruler Uranus in Taurus/ ancient ruler of Aquarius, real-world oriented Saturn, just ahead of Mercury in Aquarius), but we will certainly get a solid mental picture of what needs to occur upon direction–and this is contrary to the usual message of letting the mind rest during a Merc retro. In this case, we just won’t be able to. The hamster wheel will keep spinning–just be aware that final conclusions shouldn’t be drawn until well after the tension of retro and direction have passed, in this instance maybe even waiting until once-again direct Mercury passes its retro point, around the 25th of February–which is also the time when Mercury will, just past the retro point, square Uranus.

We have noted that Mercury turns around just short of completing a square to sign ruler Uranus, now in Taurus. This suggests that we won’t actually confront material realities during the retro, that instead those will be delivered through difficult (the square) Uranian circumstances after direction (and those may include through leadership issues, group mandate, innovation, rebellion by ourselves or others against demands or constraints, accidents, surprises, or serendipities, through application of academics or Higher Mind thought, through revelation, invention, or modernization, or through taking an original approach or manifesting an original idea).

At the point of retrograde Mercury will also be in wide conjunction to Saturn–again as with the square to Uranus, not perfected, and so any limitations or constraints won’t be applied to matters, just yet–and sextile Chiron, offering some promise of healing through the retro review. This is a ‘make plans, understand what you really want and care about’ retrograde, with careful attention to aims and extended consideration of wants vital to eventual good decisions. The usual admonitions ‘don’t sign, don’t buy’ are still in force, though as always I would add that if something has been thoroughly vetted or chosen well before the retrograde, proceeding during to complete the deal typically holds no more risk than when Mercury’s direct. Though I often suggest using the feeling senses as the go-to during a Merc withdrawal, this time, as I’ve already noted, it may not be easy or even possible; the less time we spend judging our mental state during this retrograde, the more actual, effective exploration of our priorities and our ability to implement them is likely to get done. The unsuitability of emotions and senses for processing may be shown by the retro moment’s capture of a tight quincunx between the Moon in Gemini and Venus in Capricorn, implying that the feeling nature and relationships/ wants will be generating their own friction, and so might not be available as an alternate conduit for perceptions right now.