Are you really in control of your own mind? Are your thoughts really your thoughts, natural and organic, or have your individual thoughts been replaced with the thoughts of others that you’ve mistaken as your own?
Worthy questions to ponder as we close out 2016 and open 2017 with a Mercury retrograde period, which will start and take place largely in the sign of Capricorn and end in the sign of Sagittarius. Sagittarius is the sign of the pursuit of Truth and the higher mind of beliefs and philosophy. We start our Mercury retrograde shadow period in this sign. When Mercury turns retrograde on December 19th, it will do so in Capricorn and conjunct Pluto in Capricorn (15 and 16 degrees, respectively). Mercury retrograde is a time of divorcing our minds from the thought processes of anyone or anything external and paying closer attention to our individual mind; conjunct Pluto shows that this divorcing process will be more obvious during this Mercury retrograde than most, as Mercury Rx conjunct Pluto is mental purging. This purging is necessary to reclaiming the authority of our organic thoughts (Capricorn being the sign of authority – both our own and that of others).
This looks like a highly reticent and taciturn communication period. Don’t be surprised to see typically chatty people suddenly go quiet. This is important: we need to be sure we are speaking what is genuinely our beliefs and not simply spouting sound bites that have been force-fed to us by media and so-called authority figures. We need to be sure we’re not regurgitating programming received by our parents or our community or our spiritual “leaders” or our society. That’s quite a challenge, eliminating ideological seeds planted by others, and self imposed periods of silence and withdrawal are necessary to hearing more clearly our own inner voice. You have your own thoughts that need to be allowed to rise to the top. It’s a dangerous place, believing ideas that aren’t yours but that have taken root in your mind as if they were your own; if one challenges themselves they will probably find this happening more than is comfortable.
Try challenging yourself to limiting media (including social media) intake during this retrograde. Go analogue, put digital communication in its place. Hit the reset button on your mind. Don’t allow yourself to internalize the thoughts of celebrities and talking heads and online “friends” and even astrologers (myself included). Shut down the cacophony, self impose limitations on what can enter your mind.
Thinking for ourselves is a hell of a lot harder than we think, as human nature is such that we wold rather shirk certain responsibilites, including allowing others to do the heavy intellectual lifting for us. Sometimes -whether we like to believe this or not- we prefer to let other people and entities outside ourselves dictate to us what we shold think, mold our opinions for us. This Mercury retrograde is ultimately forcing upon us the very grown up chore of deciding who gets to control our minds. This Mercury retrograde turns the thought process away from the chatter of the populus, steering us towards internal dialogue, starting with an amputation in the sign of authority and ending by working backwards into the sign of Truth for a fesh start to a new year with a recalibrated mind.
Pluto in Capricorn is drawing closer to its ongoing square to Uranus in Aries as part of the reawakening of the Uranus-Pluto squares and the cardinal T-square involving Jupiter in Libra. Pluto is the apex of the cardinal T-square, and Mercury retrograde conjunct Pluto as well as Mercury conjunct Pluto after the retrograde shadow ends should bring a lot of information (as well as plenty of disinformation!) relating to global events and particularly events of political leaders and government corruption. Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will be involved in the New Moon in Capricorn on December 28th/29th, which I suspect will coincide with a lot of global shifts in preparation for the new year, new time we’re entering into in 2017.
The times when Mercury aspects Neptune in Pisces will be the times we’ll experience the more stereotypical manifestations of a Mercury retrograde, the logistical issues and random delays/breakdowns and punch-drunk giddiness. It is an easy aspect, but nonetheless this is not an easy retrograde, so the aspects to Neptune can show a detrimental need for mental escapism and an unfortunate dissolution of our mental boundaries at a time when we should be reinforcing them.
On a personal level, 2016 was a major pain in the ass for many. Mercury retrograde in Capricorn can feel like a mental and emotional hangover that never ends. Minds will want to keep returning to, replaying and dwelling on the holidays that were unhappily or lonelier than usual, or the perceived lack of personal success in 2016. The winter and Capricorn season are famous for bringing the blues. Taking serious stock of one’s recent history is never a bad thing, but it can very quickly go into dark places if left unchecked. Serious depression or worse is something to monitor both in yourself and others during this Mercury retrograde. This is one of those retrogrades that feel oppressive and seemingly will not end, make sure to remind yourself and others that it is actually only about three weeks out of your life. Take things serious, but not that serious, ok?
On the other hand, the realistic viewpoint, organized and focused goal making, and stern discipline inherent to Mercury in Capricorn is a great time for those looking to make serious New Year resolutions. Goals like quitting smoking or increasing what you stick into savings or applying for new work or positions at work can turn out quite well with Mercury in Capricorn. However, do not wait to start the goals after the beginning of the year, as the retrograde will mess up your plans! Get a head start on your resolutions this year by setting resolutions before December 19th.
Mercury is in detriment in Sagittarius, meaning weaker here than in other signs. This communication difficulty is doubled by the retrograde, of course, so there’s a real danger of missing the big picture once we’re into January 2017. So much will be happening and I’m afraid it will be just incredibly difficult to fully understand it; more likely we’ll get it wrong. Don’t make any big life changes or drawing any conclusions at the beginning of 2017 as you’ll be doing so with very dicey info.
As I mention in every Mercury retrograde write up, Mercury rules (among other things): travels (usually short trips), transportation, communications of every kind, verbal and mental exchanges, media, news, mental thought processes, and daily interactions. These are all trouble spots during a Mercury retrograde. Retrograde periods are a time of looking back, a time to review and reflect; not a time of moving forward. As such, Mercury retrograde periods can be a frustrating and nerve racking time, as our plans, thoughts and the details of everyday life seem to turn into a jumbled mess.
One real downside to this particular retrograde is the previously aforementioned mental anxiety, stress, depression and worry. Make a concerted effort to purge your mind of darkness, too.
Certain rules apply during every Mercury retrograde, regardless of the sign or any aspects it makes. The biggest one: don’t sign papers or binding contracts, or make binding verbal agreements, if at all possible. Pertinent details are often obscured or overlooked during the retrograde period and can cause trouble when they emerge after Mercury turns direct. Mercury rules (among other things): travels (usually short trips), transportation, communications of every kind, verbal and mental exchanges, media, news, mental thought processes, and daily interactions. These are all trouble spots during a Mercury retrograde. Retrograde periods are a time of looking back, a time to review and reflect; not a time of moving forward. As such, Mercury retrograde periods can be a frustrating and nerve racking time, as our plans, thoughts and the details of everyday life seem to turn into a jumbled mess. Remember, though, that above all else we’re purging our minds and allowing our own inner voice of authority to reclaim its place.
That said, here’s the time line for how it all plays out. Times given are Central Standard Time, so adjust accordingly:
Mercury Retrograde – December 2016 ~
- Mercury enters its retrograde shadow December 1st at 28 degrees Sagittarius, 7:18 PM
- Mercury enters Capricorn December 2nd, 3:18 PM
- Mercury trines North Node in Virgo & South Node in Pisces, December 8th
- Mercury in Capricorn sextiles Neptune in Pisces at 9 degrees each sign, December 10th, 2:25 AM
- Mercury stations retrograde at 15 degrees Capricorn (conjunct Pluto) December 19th, 4:55 AM
- Mercury Rx in Capricorn sextiles Neptune in Pisces at 9 degrees each sign, December 26th, 10:19 PM
- Sun conjunct Mercury Rx 7 degrees Capricorn, 12:47 PM; Mercury Rx sextile Mars in Pisces at 7 degrees each sign, 5:06 PM; both on December 28th
- Mercury Rx conjuncts New Moon in Capricorn, December 29th, 0:53 AM
- Mercury Rx trines North Node in Virgo & South Node in Pisces, December 29th
Mercury Retrograde – January 2017
- Mercury Rx at 0 degrees Capricorn sextiles Venus at 0 degrees Pisces, January 3rd, 1:41 PM
- Mercury retrograde enters Sagittarius at 29 degrees January 4th, 8:17 PM
- Mercury stations direct (Mercury retrograde ends) at 28 degrees Sagittarius, January 8th, 3:43 AM
- Mercury direct re-enters Capricorn January 12th, 8:03 AM
- Mercury direct in Capricorn trines North Node in Virgo & South Node in Pisces, January 18th
- Mercury direct in Capricorn sextiles Neptune in Pisces at 10 degrees each sign, January 23rd, 3:29 PM
- Mercury leaves its retrograde shadow at 15 degrees Capricorn, January 27th, 11:30 AM
- Mercury direct finally perfects a conjunction to Pluto in Capricorn at 17 degrees Capricorn, January 29th, 2:21 PM