We awoke to a surprising blanket of snow yesterday morning here in Portland. Because our city is not much used to snow, even a light dusting tends to slow everything down.
I was glad. We had a bunch of work planned to do and errands to run. Instead, I had an excuse to stay inside and make soup. I usually don’t like it when there’s a Change In Plans. But I’m also learning that inconveniences and holdups can be turned into much-needed reasons to relax. I found myself inside drinking tea instead of fighting for a parking place at Fred's, and I was relieved.
The unexpected snow seemed to me a portend of the energies at play in the upcoming Mercury Retrograde. We can often begin to see and feel the effects of a retrograde several days before it stations. Mercury Retrograde offers us a time to step back and take a fresh look at things. It is challenging, however, that we're starting the year right off with this energy. At the year's beginning, we feel pressure to start keeping those resolutions, spring into action, and get going. But there is wisdom in planetary cycles. Perhaps Mercury’s message is: Wait. Have Patience. Slow Down.
Mercury makes its first retrograde station on Tuesday the 5th at 1 degree Aquarius. It will spend the majority its retrograde in Capricorn, however, stationing direct on January 25th at 15 degrees Cap. The post-shadow extends into mid-February, wherein the themes of the retrograde will continue to play out.
The usual pieces of advice for a Mercury retrograde apply: Beware of miscommunication, prepare for mishaps with technology, and don't sign any binding contracts (such as signing on to a new job or getting married). Also, avoid large and important purchases (such as a home or car).
But we can get more specific about this particular retrograde by considering its sign and the other planets it is activating along the way. Capricorn is a sign that wants to achieve goals. It's about getting real and taking steps toward our goals. It is a sign of patience and endurance.
Retrograde Mercury in this sign can help us to see what's in our way. We may be able to get more concrete about things that, up until this point, have only been ideas. For example, you may have made some New Year's resolutions. When you made them, they were hopes, dreams, and desires. In January, you are invited to confront the obstacles to your desired goals so that you can clear them out. It's a good month to prepare to move toward the goal rather than to actually throw yourself headlong into achieving it. A solid foundation must be laid before building a house.
When Mercury stations direct at 15 degrees Capricorn (on the 25th), it will be riding next to Pluto and making a square to Uranus, activating this last close pass of the still-ongoing Uranus-Pluto square. So, Mercury will be interacting with this aspect for roughly the last half of the month. This merging of Mercury and Pluto in Capricorn will likely demand that we look at the cold, hard truth of things. We must discern what is a realistic goal and what isn't. What is actually going to be doable? You might try to engage in some reality testing with your goals. Take the first few steps. But don't get down on yourself if it feels like things aren't quite coming together yet.
We may also be surprised (Uranus) with new information (Mercury) or events. If the unexpected seems to throw a monkey wrench into your well-laid plans, consider that Mercury might be trying to tell you something. Things may look very different by the end of the month, in ways that you could not have predicted. Be willing to reconsider and re-strategize. Maybe it's time to stay home and make soup instead, patiently waiting until the timing is right to move forward.