Mercury goes retrograde

From January 30 (26° Aquarius) to February 21, 2021 (11°)

What IS Mercury retrograde?

Mercury, the smallest and fastest moving planet, goes ‘retrograde’ three times a year. ‘Retrograde’ literally means ‘moving backward’, but of course, the actual physical planets in space NEVER actually go backward around the sun. Rather, they APPEAR to be going backward from our vantage point on planet earth.

How does Mercury retrograde materialize?

Mercury rules all things to do with communication, travel, trade, and trickery. Its retrograde periods tend to trigger a lot of vexation and anguish. Some people take it to an extreme and will refuse to do anything of consequence during these periods.

It is true that during Mercury retrograde periods we can expect mercurial aspects of everyday life to go a bit topsy-turvy: communication chaos and transport delays, (or no flights due to border shutdowns!), postal services break down or are in disarray, stock markets become volatile, and there may also be some personal problems with email, deliveries, documents getting lost, computers misbehaving or the car developing mysterious symptoms. You get the idea.

In the world of politics, Mercury retrograde may manifest in a stalemate situation, as a diplomatic faux pas, filibuster, or decisions that will have to be revisited later and may ultimately be overturned.

Mercury rules the intellect and Aquarius is an air sign, so Mercury is not uncomfortable here. However, Aquarius tends to be rather lofty and emotionally detached. When Mercury goes retrograde in this sign it can turn irrational and clinging to outmoded concepts or ideas. However, during this prolonged stay, whatever chaos is unleashed will ultimately be cleared up after Mercury turns direct on February 21. Interestingly, Mercury will be turning direct at the midpoint between Saturn and Jupiter, just after the Saturn/Uranus square becomes exact on February 17. By the looks of it, just in time.

Mercury retrograde in personal astrology

How Mercury retrograde will pan out in your personal life will largely depend on where the sign of Aquarius falls in your personal horoscope and whether Mercury makes any significant aspects to other points or planets in your horoscope while it is transiting through Aquarius.

Be aware of hypocrisies and mind games. A retrograde Mercury in Aquarius is a master at playing with words and ideas, turning them upside down so they appear to become meaningless. At such times it is important to remember that words do have specific meanings and that these must be honored as a common ground for communication. Truth and honesty are real and they are worth defending.

But Mercury retro periods do not always have to turn out badly. It may just mean that things are not quite working out as planned, stuff might go missing, there may be misunderstandings that can create awkward situations. If you are planning anything of importance it would be wise to keep a flexible mindset. Things may change unexpectedly.

Mercury retrograde is a good time for…

In the bigger scheme of things, Mercury retrograde periods are good times for taking a break and disconnecting, especially from the busy digital world. Perfect for going on a retreat, or at least for exercising some mental hygiene.

While it is not healthy to self-obsess, it is not a bad idea to spend a little time reflecting on your mental processes. Becoming more aware of your mental responses to what is going on around you increases your understanding of yourself and those around you.

Mercury retrograde periods can also be good times to tidy up loose ends, clear out garbage that you no longer need, finish dangling projects, and structure your routines better so that they actually serve you and your goals more optimally.