On Mercury Retrograde (And All That Other Year-End Business)

On Mercury Retrograde (And All That Other Year-End Business)

With two weeks left to go before we can finally retire this god-awful year to the dustbin of history, what else would be waiting for us in the form of a final hurdle but Mercury goddamn Retrograde?

Before we get carried away with hating on MRx, let’s just take a moment to acknowledge that we don’t have to have an antagonistic relationship with this cycle, which is an important part of a larger process that allows us to look back before we look forward. But it sure is fun to join the pile-on.

For the uninitiated, Mercury Retrograde (which begins today, December 19, and lasts through January 8) derives its name from the periodic phenomenon of Mercury appearing to reverse course in the sky from our perspective here on Earth. It’s an optical illusion, but it has major implications in astrology. For three weeks, everything that Mercury governs — travel, information, communication, technology, contracts — gets scrambled and inverted and makes us all perpetually late and forever stuck on the phone with the IT department in an attempt to recover mysteriously vanished data. If we don’t give ourselves extra time to get to the airport — or even if we do — it can be a major clusterfuck of a process. But if we comply with the universe’s suggestion to review, reflect, and tie up loose ends, it can be an extremely helpful ally in our quest to move our agendas forward — often by making us aware of all the flaws and issues that slipped through the cracks initially.

This time around, Mercury stations retrograde at 15 degrees Capricorn, just one degree away from Pluto. Though the effects of this process can be felt for weeks (three weeks during the actual thing, and then a couple weeks on either end during the shadow period), the impact is almost always the strongest on the dates when Mercury stations retrograde and direct. The story of Pluto in Capricorn, which has been pulling the rug out from under the existing big business and government establishment since 2008, will figure largely into this. Today also happens to be the day that the electoral college casts its final vote, but with MRx firmly in the picture, it’s anyone’s guess whether all will go according to schedule — or whether their vote today will stick.

It’s also interesting to note that Mars moves into Pisces today, especially when you consider that it last changed signs on the night of the election. Mars represents our collective will, or our method of producing action and results. With Mars in Aquarius over the last few weeks, it’s certainly the case that U.S. conservatives leveraged their will to up-end the status quo (a very Aquarian thing to do). It’s also the case that everyone else mobilized in a big way to produce a progressive army committed to humanitarian ideals and social justice (also a very Aquarian thing to do).

Mars in Pisces is a different beast entirely. Warrior planet Mars is a little bit of a fish out of water in the sign of dreamy, passive Pisces, which uses the law of attraction to go after what it wants and has no desire to impose its will in an overly aggressive or direct fashion. When we’re dealing with Pisces, we’re dealing with whatever’s left when ego gets out of the way. This makes us more inclined to treat each other with compassion, and to surpass the boundaries that divide us. It can also make us a little lazy and lethargic, but if we’re going to make things happen during this period, we’re going to have to wage our battles under water — or in the realm of human emotions, intuition, and the collective unconscious.

With all of that in mind, the end of 2016 is set to potentially throw us a few more curveballs. Uranus will oppose Jupiter on the 26th before it stations direct on the 29th (the same day as the New Moon in Capricorn). The current T-square between Uranus, Pluto, and Jupiter (in cardinal signs, no less) is a demanding call to action, and it features the Pluto in Capricorn drama at its center. But Uranus in Aries has been revolutionizing things at the individual level since 2011 — proving that even broad, global change begins with the individual. You know, the whole “be the change you’d like to see in the world” gambit. Its retrograde (which began at the end of July) might have helped us assimilate some of the shifts that occurred while it was jolting us all awake, but there may be some added volatility around the date of its direct station.

Anyway, don’t freak out. Sometimes surprises are good, and even if Mercury Retrograde brings us crappy news, it’s crappy news we’ll need to receive in order to forge ahead. What begins with Mercury in Capricorn — which is all about perceiving reality in a hard-up, warts-and-all manner — will end with a visit back to Mercury in Sagittarius, which suggests there’s a larger meaning to all of this that we need to return to and retrieve.

In short: bring it, universe.

Art: José Antonio Suárez Londoño

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