This is what you shall do; Love the earth and the sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families;
read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul;
and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body. ~ Walt Whitman
As we close the year, Mercury has already stationed for its retrograde phase which lasts from December 29th thru January 18th at 24º Capricorn 21’. This may seem like a lousy time for Mercury to come along in its retrograde guise, messing up schedules, creating all this travel mayhem and such. But it can also be a perfect time for a brief but much needed pause in time. It will remain in Capricorn until February 11th, which is both a sign of reflection, looking back from where we’ve come; as well as a sign that looks forward to where we intend to go. Built on the foundations of the past, Capricorn looks for ways to improve the present by setting achievable goals for the future. As a result this is the ideal time to look back from where we came, in order to know what we can then successfully build in the future.
Janus, the Roman God of time, endings and beginnings, is portrayed with two faces: the older of the faces looking back to the past, while the younger face looks to the future. Janus presided over doorways and the gates of Rome. He also presided over the New Year. And so it was that the 1st month of the Julian calendar was named for this god, that both looks back on the year that was, while anticipating the year to come.
We make our resolutions in Capricorn season, a sign of planning, foresight and goals. The Cardinal corners of the year are particularly receptive to the inception of plans and new beginnings. And Capricorn has a way of cementing these resolutions with intention and commitment. This year, the New Moon in Capricorn may have been a better time to make these resolutions, before Mercury’s station. And now that we are in the retrograde phase of Mercury we can use the insights gained from this reflective phase to perfect our strategies and revise our plans for the New Year to come.
Ring out the old, ring in the new, Ring, happy bells, across the snow: The year is going, let him go; Ring out the false, ring in the true. ~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson
The issue with having both Mercury stationing retrograde whilst Mars is also retrograde in the Mercury sign of Gemini, is that it can exaggerate much of the usual Mercury retro mayhem. Here in the States major storms and an arctic freeze upended the holiday week with major power outages and particularly inconvenient travel gremlins, blizzards, hail storms, bomb cyclones and whatever else the deadly duo could throw at us. Travel just before and during a retrograde phase of Mercury is often an exercise in flexibility and patience. All the more so with cranky (and sometimes dangerous) Mars in tow.
But one of the advantages of having Mercury retrograde in Capricorn this year, is that it affords us the opportunity to do this important work of reflection and assimilation. Making sense of the past and putting the pieces of a puzzle together. Watch out though. Mercury retro in Capricorn can be particularly self-critical if we allow the should-have’s and could-have’s to dominate. Rather than falling into the rabbit holes of regret, use the retrograde cycle to review, revise, reorganize and reassess. We need to do this important work in order to process and assimilate the experiences of the previous months and years of our lives. How else are we going to learn and grow?
Mercury retro phases are great for reminiscing: gathering with loved ones, old friends and relatives. The memories from the past that we share at the end of the year are interlaced with the sort of poignancy, that can only come with time-worn familiarity and experience.
In order to get the most benefit from the retrograde phase, allow yourself to sink into it. Like the trees in Winter, recognize that this is a time of dormancy and withdrawal from the busyness of the world. This was traditionally seen as a time of peace and good will. And we are being asked to go with it.
Also see it as an opportunity to just let go: Let go of unresolved issues; practice patience, forgiveness and understanding. Release any accumulated resentment, anger and frustration, knowing that it does you no good when you hold it inside. Removing the excess clutter from our lives and our minds, allows you to move into the New Year with a clean slate, a clearer mind and a lighter heart.
In summary, for the 3-week retrograde phase of Mercury, from December 29th thru January 18th:
Turn down the noise of your busy life and turn within. This is a sacred time of rest and reflection. Be like the creatures of Winter, who know how to reserve and save their strength for when they will need it later on.
Instead, use the period to assimilate, process and learn from the past.
Travel, daily plans and routines can easily be interrupted. Approach each day with patience, compassion and acceptance; knowing that these too can be opportunities for learning and understanding.
Review, revise, reorganize and update. This better allows you to create a more efficient, and well thought out road map for the foreseeable future and the year ahead.
Release any accumulated remorse, regret, frustration or negativity. We are setting the tone for the year ahead. Therefore replace these with joy, gratitude and anticipation for what you would much rather be bringing with you into the year ahead.
As you turn inward and fall in love with the truth of who you really are, you become whole, despite the brokenness. ~ Chloe Rain
For Mercury retrograde through your Solar sign and/or natal houses, click below: