Moving Beyond the New-Year's Mercury Retrograde


Reports coming in from the field (meaning: everyone who's been venting about it to me) are that this latest Mercury retrograde has been a particularly difficult one.

Of course, the effects of any astrological happenings will vary from person to person, based on how it hits one's own natal chart. (I knock on wood as I confess mine has been dynamic and hyperactively busy, but not necessarily problematic. It seems like others haven't been quite so fortunate.)

This Mercury retrograde has been more intense and disruptive to many due to its embroilment with the still-squaring duo of Uranus and Pluto. Though their final exact square occurred back in March of last year, they are presently back within about a one-degree of orb of re-forming it. And Mercury, now in Capricorn, has plugged right in, conjoining Pluto and thus also squaring Uranus this past week (Jan 20-22), retracing these aspects it first made last month (Dec 19-20).

Mercury-in-Capricorn's conjunction to Pluto has brought a pragmatic long-view, goal-oriented urgency and fervor to our plan-making and message-sending. We feel we must commit our minds to the continued step-by-step unfolding of 'the grand strategy'… even though it may require of us an earthily calculated-and-collected quality, in our necessary ousting of powerful forces and structures (whether external authorities or some entrenched strain of our own psyches) which repress our ambitions and/or our reestablishing of self-sovereignty in response to power-challenges.

The Mercury-Uranus square, meanwhile, generally jacks up the volatility of such communications and mental machinations. While, on the one hand, it can rouse us to break through crystallized thought-patterns (whether 'official' ideologies or our own self-limiting scripts) with radical ingenuity, it also threatens to dash our capacity to maintain our calculated-and-collected cool, triggering impulsive reactions that lead to unexpected results.

Considering these factors—along with Mercury's simultaneous trine to Jupiter in Virgo, paralleling the current Jupiter-Pluto trine (and, by virtue of Jupiter being Jupiter, simply inflating the whole dynamic)—we have the makings for a more-intense-and-disruptive Mercury retrograde.

Questions to help make sense of any recent Mercury-retrograde challenges: Am I relentlessly pressing my own ambitious agenda forward, without properly accounting for the ever-changing conditions? Am I ignoring my instincts, in order to obediently tow a party-line that ultimately works against my self-interests? Have I gone too far with an interaction, said too much, hit too deep, and/or inadvertently conveyed a damning judgment, knowing it can't be taken back? Have I impetuously lost control of my intention-guided discourse, rattling my strategy and unduly exposing myself?

Mercury's return to direct motion on Monday (Jan 25) initiates our appropriate moment for following up with any such challenges, readdressing the glitches, and rectifying our missteps. Mercury's involvement with Pluto and Uranus can be a potent tool for overhauling the tone, tempo, and unexamined tendencies of our words and thoughts… especially insofar as we continue the process of updating our scripts to better align with all the revolutionary transitions these past years have brought.

Shortly after going direct, Mercury will make its third-and-final pass through the Uranus-Pluto square (Jan 29-31). This is a very promising—but, nonetheless, still intense and volatile—occasion for revisiting whatever developments occurred the week before.

Thankfully, Venus enters Capricorn (on Jan 23), carrying its benefic influence into the same sign where all this critical Mercury-retrograde action has been centered… which increases the likelihood of being able to re-attain respectful accordance with our overriding strategies and/or restore the peace (even if only a cursory one) wherever we might've recently disturbed it. The key to success here: deliberately investing more relational attention in alliances and affiliations that directly support our own aims.

In Capricorn, Venus is not a mushy-gushy romantic, but rather a more practically shrewd partnerer… primarily coupling with those who also share similar lifestyle-goals (not merely chemistry or mutual fondness) and/or can assist in furthering one's own interests. Bear this in mind when deciding how to re-approach any players with whom you might've tangled or sparred during Mercury retrograde. If the relationship might later prove helpful to you in building the life you want, work to repair it. If, instead, it's a distraction from your larger goals, perhaps you might choose to break it further open… to see if a major change is possible, so that it may better align with your self-selected path, or if it may need to be left behind (despite any emotional ties or triggering hooks) for important practical reasons.

Treading Mercury's recent footsteps, Venus in Capricorn conjoins Pluto (Feb 5) and squares Uranus (Feb 6), then moves into the Jupiter trine (Feb 9). This is a critical interval for any relational recommitments, adjustments, and face-the-music confrontations. Main themes should center around whether there's a longer-term real-world compatibility of aspirations and attitudes, or not. The same goes for any financial dealings.

This energy shifts again midway through February, once Mercury clears its retrograde shadow and moves back into Aquarius (on Feb 13), followed soon after by Venus's entry (Feb 16).

All the while, Mars stays quietly-but-capably in Scorpio through March 5, flying oddly under the radar since its early-in-the-year clash with the retrograding Mercury. Though Mars is indisputably strong in its home-sign of Scorpio, it's creating very little friction with the other planets—except for a passing square to the Sun (on Feb 7), at the height of Venus's Uranus-Pluto-Jupiter aspects—until the beginning of March. This suggests that, despite the obvious magnitude of any communicative and/or relational developments we're now working through as a result of the Mercury and Venus aspects I've described, we may also be slyly and surreptitiously pursuing our desires all the while… with many of the folks around us none the wiser.

Mars's story, which dominates much of the action in coming months, is just barely beginning to get juicy. Mars will, however, enter the shadow of its approaching retrograde (Apr 17-Jun 29) as early as mid-February.