When we think about Mercury going retrograde, we all too often only think of the 3-week period that occurs every four months or so when it is actually retrograde. Unfortunately, this is a very limited view. It tends to cause us to think that Mercury retrograde is merely an inconvenience or something to simply get through. The bigger concern I have however is that this view infers that the retrograde period has no actual meaning or purpose. I don’t think this is true. Let’s take a deeper look with a few examples.
On Tuesday, January 29, 2019, there was a conjunction between the Sun and Mercury. It occurred at 9° Aquarius. Were we to look at this as a mere short-lived transit, it would come and go with little or no significance. But, let’s see if we can gain a bigger picture view by looking at the broader cycle. To do that we must return to November 27, 2018. On that date Mercury was retrograde and conjuncted the Sun at 5° Sagittarius. This conjunction is called the ‘Inferior’ conjunction of the Sun and Mercury and marks the beginning of a new cycle of ideas that may take form over the next two months. Another way of looking at this is that a new ‘seed’ idea emerges within us and like any seed may have a chance to flourish and grow with some effort and clear thinking. Astrologers will pay attention to where 5° Sagittarius occurs in a person’s chart for a hint on what might be developing for the person.
There is one more factor that is important. This particular Sun/Mercury conjunction also connects closely to Jupiter which also conjuncted it. This means that this particular cycle may present important new opportunities for us that will develop over the next few months. The timing for this is about two months later when the Sun and Mercury again conjunct, but this time it occurs when Mercury is in direct motion. It is like a Full Moon in that it brings something to fruition. Whatever ‘seed’ has been planted now emerges into a fullness, if one has been successful at meeting whatever challenges they have faced in the two preceding months.
The date for the this full-moon effect was January 29th and occurs at 9° Aquarius. In other words, that Sun/Mercury conjunction that just occurred is much more important than a mere short-term transit. It can be quite significant, especially if our natal chart is aligned with the location of the two conjunctions.
Here are a few examples. One person entered into discussions with a friend about starting a business together in late November at the time of the Inferior conjunction. Over the next two months, the partnership was formalized, areas of authority were discussed and decided upon, a website was created and a newsletter. Guess when the website was announced using a newsletter that they had been developing. Yes. It was exactly on January 29th. And, this was not planned using astrology. It happened organically as a natural process of development.
Another person was promoted to an executive position after suggesting a plan in late November for gaining funding for a new project. That plan succeeded a few days ago and the person was promoted to a new area of responsibility and authority.
In my astrology classes, I focus on interpreting transits within cycles rather than as independent transits that have a clear beginning and end. From my experience, this way of interpretation is terribly limited. The duration of these cycles depend on which planet or planets are involved, of course. The one I am writing about in this article, the Sun/Mercury cycle, is a shorter one, but as one might suspect, even each Sun/Mercury cycle is a part of much broader ones that play out over many years.
While this makes astrology more complicated, it also makes it much more wholistic and meaningful. In fact, the unfolding of these cycles is what gives us meaning and understanding of both ourselves and the life we are living.