As if Saturn stationing retrograde were not enough excitement for one week, we also have Mercury turning retrograde *(appearing to move backward) on Saturday, February 23, 2013. I use 2 days on either side of that as the stationary period, when the characteristically fast-moving Messenger of the Gods is moving much more slowly than usual, when we really can start to feel the strongest effects on a lot of levels.
Mercury retrogrades for about 24 days 3-4 times a year. This transit has a very big reputation even among non-astrologers as a time when things can and will go haywire! Mercury is the astrological indicator of communication, speech, travel, writing, memory, commerce and transportation, so in some cases when Mercury’s movement is backward (known as “vakri” in Vedic astrology) we can experience delays and snafus in these areas of life.
We are admonished not to sign important contracts during a Mercury retrograde cycle, the idea being that it may not work out or will have to be revised later, but in my experience, this is not always the case. As an example, my husband is a real estate agent and I have seen him broker very successful deals that went through without a hitch during Mercury retrograde times. Often in these situations, his clients had been “on the fence” about buying for some time. It seems that it took the Mercury retrograde cycle to catalyze their desire to re-establish contact and re-visit their desire to buy a new property.
It is a fact that many of the most successful Fortune 500 companies were incorporated during Mercury retrograde cycles. Much of my astrological practice is involved in helping businesses incorporate, and in some cases I have found the best muhurta (electional astrology chart) is during a Mercury retrograde cycle. This is because Mercury is stronger when it is retrograde, and can be well suited for success depending on the individual circumstances; and we also have to keep in mind that a muhurta/elective chart involves multiple considerations on top of just a Mercury cycle.
Many astrologers have discussed that the operative pattern for re-trograde cycles can be found among a variety of words prefixed by “re,” as in this being a time to re-consider, re-organize, re-energize, re-affirm, re-formulate, re-generate, re-define, re-negotiate, re-novate, re-discover, re-consider, etc. How the retrograde cycle plays out really depends on the condition of Mercury in the natal chart, the sign in which Mercury is transiting, as well as aspects and yogas Mercury has with the other transiting planets and with the natal planets of a particular nativity or a mundane chart.
In many instances, I have noticed those who have Mercury retrograde in their natal charts experience the retrograde transit as a re-freshing time that feels more natural and uninhibited than usual. For these natural Mercury retrograde natives, thought processes can begin flowing quite creatively and even more in harmony with higher mind during the retrograde transits.
All that said, I am quite astonished at the rare opportunity this Mercury cycle could offer us all as a collective. Mercury will station in sidereal Aquarius, the sign of the Water Bearer who pours forth the water of life, i.e. spiritual wisdom and healing energy. Mercury retrograding in Aquarius is not at all uncommon, but there is more to this. Mercury will conjoin several other planets during its retrograde cycle while also being disposited by exalted auspicious Saturn (traditional ruler of Aquarius) which is conjoined the North Node Rahu (a destiny point)—and this makes it a potentially extraordinary moment in time.
Thanks to astrologer Steve Stuckey for reviewing the calculations with me, as he confirmed: “The last time the combination of Sun, Mercury, Venus and Mars in Aquarius and Saturn/Rahu in Libra occurred was Feb 9th to 12th, *610 BC.* The time before that was Jan 21st to 24th, 3437 BC. The main problem is needing to have Rahu in Libra also–if we eliminate Rahu and just have the 4 Aquarius planets plus Saturn in Libra, then the last time it occurred was Feb 20th to 24th, 1364 AD. And then many times going further back–1129 AD, 1099 AD, 972 AD, 894 AD, 747 AD and many more.”
The traditional scheme of Vedic astrology does not include the outer planets and other bodies beyond Saturn. If we add those in as many neo-Vedic astrologers like myself will do, we have Neptune and the asteroid Chiron in sidereal Aquarius as well. Mercury will station retrograde at ~26 degrees sidereal Aquarius and move back to ~12 degrees Aquarius when it will station direct on March 17. For any charts having important points or planets within a few degrees of these stationary points or within close significant aspects to these degrees, especially near the 26-degree point of sidereal air signs (Aquarius, Gemini and Libra), memorable events may be triggered before and/or after the retrograde cycle.
In mundane astrology, Aquarius deals with science, invention, and technology; oil and oil wells; media, broadcasting, communication systems and mass marketing; spiritualists, visionary thinkers and alternative healers; aerospace industry, aircraft and pilots; electricity; corporate restructuring, labor organizations, special interest groups, and organizations in general; legislative politics; computer technology; civil rights; and rebels, pacifists, humanitarians, and revolutionary movements. It will be interesting to observe the world news in the next three weeks and see what transpires with some potential intensity and focus noted in these areas. We will see certain important matters of the past being re-activated and re-visited during this cycle, such as the battle between President Obama and Congress over spending cuts which are set to take effect March 1.
My friend Steve jokingly asked me if I think we are going to blast off in the Aquarian Age with this latest transit, and I thought, what a great idea! Technically though, as we sidereal astrologers understand, the real Age of Aquarius will not be upon us for several hundred more years into the future. However, this is an unusual transit of Aquarius that deserves special attention because (most of us would agree) we are truly living in “interesting times” now.
Aquarius correlates with the 17th trump or Major Arcana card of the Tarot, the Star, a symbol of faith, unity, hope and inspiration. While the essence of Aquarius is embodied in this current Mercury retrograde cycle, the inner pressure of the current Saturn retrograde cycle urges us to manifest these aspirations as part of our highest potential. The shadowy aspect of such a powerful fixed signature in Aquarius, when imbalanced, can reveal itself in dark, alienated and rigid thinking and behavior, so it may be more important than ever to remain fluid, flexible and open enough to allow grace and love to lead the way.