Ah, Mercury retrograde … and when we are still in the midst of Venus retrograde! Given this delightful retro-dance of the two planets associated with mind, communication and consciousness, I want to share something marvellously reassuring with you about retrograde planetary motions. I feel this year is a good time in particular to share this teaching, given we get to experience our dear mercurial trickster friend zipping back and forth in the skies over four retrogrades rather than the usual three.
Retrograde motions of the planets are a perceived rather than actual phenomenon. They are an opportunity for humans to work with the planetary intelligence in a more internalised way. Mercury usually relates to short journeys, signing contracts, communication and technology in the sense of electronic communications like email and the internet. With retrogrades, that energy begins to move inwards, and although life continues to flow, accessing that energy in the physical world can feel less ‘flowing’ than usual. More starts and stops. If we aim to move with this cosmic imperative, we can experience it working for us, rather than against us. So whilst there may be techno-switcheroo and other communication shenanigans that occur, we can still actually look forward to this time (yes, really!).
Rules for Retrogrades
The rules of the cosmic retrograde game are – reflect, reclaim, rejuvenate and repair, revise, reorient. In the case of Venus retrograde (yes, she’s still doing that dance until the end of the month) this means whatever you have been working through since the shadow zone of her retrograde motion began on 17 Nov 2021 is now beginning to reorient into a new pattern. She relates to spirituality, the feminine and women, emotion and relationship, connection, love, values and financial matters, beauty and creative expression, and higher consciousness. From now until the post shadow zone clears on 1 March – enjoy your Venusian integration time. This is an opportunity to heal and residual patterning relating to all matters connected to Venus.
Phases of Mercury Retrograde
The first Mercury retrograde of the year begins its pre-shadow zone (the terrain the retrograde motion will revisit and then proceed through again) begins at midnight on January 1. How’s that for an indication that this year is about inner work! Mercury’s post-shadow period ends on February 24, with the actual retrograde itself occurring between 14 Jan and 4 Feb. The phases before and after this help us sense the particular issues that the retrograde period will evoke for us to reflect upon, and then integrate what we have learned.
Our first Mercury retrograde of 2022 begins in Aquarius, and ends in Capricorn. What does this mean for us astrologically-inclined, soul-explorers? Aquarius relates to social ideals and humanity, world servers like lightworkers, and the wonderful weirdos amongst us that seem to spin in a different direction to mainstream humanity (that’s pretty much all of you lot, and myself included, right?). Aquarius as the sign representing fixed air has a secret side. This secret side also relates to its previous planetary ruler before the discovery of the planet Uranus (with the quirky planetary rings that rotate vertically, rather than horizontally in a stunning display of awesome cosmic idiosyncrasy), which was Saturn. Yes, Aquarius is a secret conservative. It is half innovator, and half stubborn ‘this is my way and I won’t change it.’ Aquarius represents the very human dilemma of yearning for evolution and struggling to let go and allow it to happen.
The shift into Capricorn, possibly the most sensible of all the zodiac signs, is about grounding our visions, our ideals, the ways we express our desire to make a positive contribution to the planet through our eccentricities and ideals. Aquarian idealism can rebel against Capricorn’s pragmatism, but they make an excellent combination, promoting visionary consciousness that wrestles with the realities of what currently exists. Aquarian fixity can be a fear-based resistance grounded in doubt. Capricorn’s ‘let’s get this done’ vibe can help shift doubt into doing, nudging us to genuinely invest time, effort and energy into pursuing our dreams.
Reflect, Restore and Revive
During this potent month, we are encouraged to start the New Year by diving deep to reflect, restore and revive ourselves and our ideals, as well as our plans, to become open to ways that the Universe will direct us. Another magical key for retrogrades is receptivity, which helps the soul truly mine the spiritual riches of retrograde motion. We may experience a subtle or dramatic redirection, realignment or resuscitation of previously discarded projects or plans. Stay open and ready to move with what resonates as truth.