Maya del Mar's Daykeeper Journal: Astrology, Consciousness and Transformation

January 2

Mercury retrograde

January 22
Mercury direct

J A N U A R Y   2 0 0 3   R E T R O G R A D E   W A T C H

Retrograde Watch
by Maya del Mar

Mercury claims the spotlight, as it is the only planet turning retrograde and the only planet turning direct this month. Mercury turns retrograde on January 2, with the New Moon, at 29 Capricorn, which is conjoined the U.S. Pluto. It turns direct again on January 22 at 13 Capricorn, which is opposite the U.S. Sun, and conjoined the New Moon on January 2. It does look like re-evaluation of U.S. use of power.

Retrogradation is a natural planetary rhythm, like breathing in and out. There are three, occasionally four, retrograde Mercury periods each year, and each one lasts for about three weeks. They give us an opportunity to assimilate and review the activity in which we engaged during the direct phase, and to make needed changes in our approach to life.

Think about it. Much of our behavior is either automatic, conditioned, or in response to the world around us—rather than being an expression of our real inner selves. Retrograde periods bring our energy back home to us, for us to take a look at it, and formulate new directions more in keeping with who we really are.

It is the feedback we receive during retrogrades that keeps us authentic. A retrograde might be likened to a gyroscope, which keeps us on course.

We go deeper into ourselves during such a time, a journey often stimulated by something "going wrong," a person or issue from the past reappearing in our lives, or our own urges to review our behavior and re-organize our lives. For instance, just cleaning out our desk, a good Mercury retrograde activity, will stimulate memory and re-evaluation.

Mercury is the most valuable of the planetary energies, for it is the perceiver, the messenger, and the transmitter. It moves quickly, and with agility, and makes the connections which are necessary to make everything else work. We rely on Mercury to keep life moving. Thus its retrograde periods are the most vital for daily life, and the most noticeable—as well as the most frequent.

Since each of us is in our own process during Mercury retrograde, transactions between people have pitfalls. When Mercury is retrograde, we are each primarily tuned into ourselves, rather than into others. What we think is an understanding between us and the world often turns out later to be inaccurate. Often, a mistake takes until another Mercury retrograde period to be corrected, sometimes much later.

This is why it’s best not to sign contracts, make big purchases (or even little ones in my experience, except for maintenance), or make major decisions when Mercury is retrograde. (A Mercury retrograde period is much smoother for someone born with Mercury retrograde.)

The usual advice for Mercury retrograde is to do "re" things—review, revise, repair, re-organize, revamp. Indeed, this is excellent advice. However, Mercury retrograde is especially good for other things, such as self-development, establishing new disciplines in your life, or doing dream work. All interior life can be especially enriched during a Mercury retrograde period. For that reason, I also find it good for travel.

I find that the retrograde influence of Mercury begins a few days before retrograde time. Pushing to make a commitment just before Mercury turns retrograde is usually not successful. However, once Mercury makes its conjunction with Sun during the middle of the retrograde period, new seeds are planted. If you must make a commitment during a Mercury retrograde time, aim for the last half of the three-week period, the closer to the end the better.

Mercury takes turns retrograding in each element, and retrogrades in that element for about two years. Thus we have about two years to revise and reorganize the practical affairs of earth, two years for the fiery matters of our lives, two years for the emotional water realm, and two years for the mental-communication air matters.

For two years we have been working with air—ideas, communication, plans, principles, cooperation, discussion. The media and the role of propaganda have been emphasized.

Now, this January, we begin a two-year period of working with earth, the concrete, tangible side of life. We learn to become practical. What is our tangible foundation of security? How do we handle tangible assets and finances? What about our bodies, and our health? Our wardrobes, our tools, and our belongings? In Capricorn, our particular concern is with concrete structures. Homes and real estate will be a focus. The market can be corrected during these two years, beginning now.

All of the plans, edicts, regulations, and bills enacted by the Bush government, all air, will now begin to be translated into real structures which support action.

The practical work of manifestation of our ideas and ideals into form begins now. In Capricorn we desire to build forms which are socially acceptable, which fit into the establishment. The retrograde period will help us each tune into our own personal relationships to that larger society, the establishment. When Mercury turns direct, we will have a chance to repeat that Capricorn New Moon start, and make new structural, concrete beginnings for ourselves in the larger social context.

This January, Mercury retrograde will help us access the inner information which we need to begin to establish a new, practical, workable niche for ourselves, as well as a new grounding.

Saturn is Capricorn’s ruler. When Saturn turns direct on February 22, watch for the big green-for-go signal.