Category: Astrological News Written by Robert Wilkinson
Yes, it's THAT time again! Mercury is radically slowing down, preparing to go stationary retrograde at 22 Virgo on August 23. This has important implications for all signs.
I'll be composing several articles about this Mercury retrograde in Virgo over the next week. Until then, adapt to the slowing pace of things, be willing to put some things on hold for a little while, and take a look at what's been set into motion up to now with an eye to seeing what has to be done before things can again move forward in mid-September.
Because this stationary degree involves an exact Moon opposed Uranus, you can bet the coming retrograde will be related to the Taurus retrograde which had Mercury conjunct Uranus in Taurus. So this retrograde is the externalization of that retrograde, with the opposition “looking back” at the time since the conjunction at the last retrograde!
That April-May retrograde began at 16 Taurus, accented by the Moon at 16 Taurus. Interestingly, that’s the exact degree of Jupiter at this retrograde station! So the theme of 16 Taurus has been front and center for the past 4 months, and will continue through March 2024. That theme relates to “the inadequacy of past knowledge in a time of crisis,” where the old answers cannot solve current problems, and old approaches won’t work to confirm new conditions.
Due to the aspects, this will be a very fortuitous Mercury retrograde, with a penetrating practicality thanks to Mars trine Pluto and an ability to look back to re-evaluate opportunities that may have been put on hold up to now. I’ll discuss more about the details of the coming retrograde in future articles, and how it will impact all birthdays and signs. For now, let’s take a look to see how we got here.
A Look Back at the Elemental Pattern Shifts Across Time
It’s entirely natural to “take a look back” when Mercury is retrograde, so we begin our series with a view of the larger elemental shifts of different Mercury retrograde periods. Mercury’s transit through the fire, water, air, and earth signs gives us an understanding of the quality of what we’re reviewing, or is coming up from the past.
When Mercury reviews in fire, it is about inspiration, freedom, lightness and brightness. When in water, it is about feelings, connections, magnetics, attractions, and experience. When in air, it is about ideas, people, aspirations, perceptions, and understanding. When in earth, it is about practical matters, efficiency, organization, and how to execute plans.
This Mercury retrograde is the third one of the 2023 element pattern. While all of 2021’s Mercury retrograde periods began and ended in an Air sign, 2022’s Mercury retrograde periods all began in early Air and ended in late Earth. This is the third in the next sequence, since all the 2023 retrograde periods begin and end in Earth.
Taking a look back at the elements of previous retrograde periods, all of the Mercury RX periods from Dec 2017 through August 2018 began in a Fire sign and stayed in that Fire sign. An elemental shift began at the November-December 2018 RX, which began in Sagittarius and retrograded back into Scorpio, a Water sign. That launched an intermittent “mixed element” Mercury retrograde cycle for 2019. While the March 2019 RX was entirely in the Water sign of Pisces, the July RX returned to a mixed element influence as it began in Leo and retrograded back to Cancer. November’s RX was entirely in the Water sign of Scorpio.
2020 brought us another time of mixed elements involving Water and Air. The Mercury RX of Feb-March 2020 began in Pisces and retrograded back to Aquarius. The July 2020 RX began in Cancer and ended in Cancer, and the October-November RX began in Scorpio and ended in Libra. You can see some periods required a backward-looking deep dive in Water, while others began in feelings looking back to find a vision or idea.
As noted above, 2021 was all Air all the time. The Jan-Feb 2021 Mercury retrograde began in late Aquarius and ended in mid-Aquarius, the May-June retrograde began in late Gemini and ended in mid-Gemini, and the Autumn retrograde began in late Libra and ended in mid-Libra. The 2022 elemental pattern shift started in the January retrograde, which began in the Air of mid-Aquarius and ended in the Earth of late Capricorn; the May/June RX began in Gemini and ended in Taurus, and the Sept/Oct RX began in Libra and ended in Virgo.
Spans of Mercury Retrograde Influences
The SD degree is where things move forward after the RX. The degrees of the forward stations affect the periods follow those stations, until the next retrograde station takes over. The “pulses” of these influences continue long after the actual retrograde period, since the stations are “hot spots” set into motion by subsequent transits, whether activating “the look back” at the RX station or activating “the look forward after the look back” at the direct station.
Again taking a look back, from November 2019 to February 2020 was under the influence of 28 to 12 Scorpio RX. From February to June 2020 was under the influence of 13 Pisces to 29 Aquarius RX. From June to October was under the influence of 15 to 6 Cancer RX. And from October to January 2021 was under the influence of 12 Scorpio to 26 Libra RX.
The period from February to June 2021 was under the influence of the 27 to 12 Aquarius span, while June through September was under the influence of the 25 to 17 Gemini span. The period from September 2021 through January 2022 was under the influence of the 26 to 11 Libra span, and the period from January to May 2022 was under the influence of the 11 Aquarius to 25 Capricorn span.
June through September 2022 was under the influence of 5 Gemini to 27 Taurus, and October to December was under the influence of 9 Libra to 25 Virgo. The period from January to April was under the influence of the 25 to 9 Capricorn span. The April-May retrograde began at 16 Taurus and ended at 6 Taurus, the same span as the coming Jupiter retrograde. That Taurus influence impacted us up to now.
That brings us to the present retrograde period which will impact the span from mid-September through mid-December, when Mercury goes retrograde at 9 Capricorn. As it will retrograde back to 23 Sagittarius, that period begins a new element sequence for Mercury retrograde periods in 2024.
In addition to the house(s) where these retrogrades occurred, the themes related to those degree stations and spans were activated where they fell in our charts. These gave us insights from/about the past, returns, rehearsals, reflections and remembrances in those life areas. As many of the SRX and SD points are harmonious with other Mercury stationary degrees, those retrogrades helped us stabilize our understanding by either getting a forward look or a backward look at certain themes seeing how the past influenced the present.
That was particularly true in 2021 because all the RX stations trined each other, as did the direct stations. 2022 continued the pattern, with all the RX stations trine each other in early Air, and all the direct stations trine each other in late Earth. This year all the RX stations widely trine each other, and the SD stations are in much tighter trines, with two of them exact.
Mercury Retrograde Themes At This Time in History
While Mercury usually goes SD on a degree late in the year very near to a degree where it will go SRX late in the year, we’re in the middle of a remarkable run of consecutive years with specific themes. Beginning in 2018, each year had had a specific theme, and this pattern will continue through 2026.
Before we take a look back at past themes let’s take a brief look at what’s coming. In February 2022 Mercury went stationary direct at 25 Capricorn, the exact degree Mercury went retrograde at in mid-December 2022. That means the theme for 2022 was related to 25 Capricorn, and we got a retrograde look at that through January 2023 on how those themes impacted us in 2022.
Mercury went stationary direct at 9 Capricorn in January 2023, and goes stationary retrograde in December 2023 on that same degree, making 9 Capricorn the theme of 2023. The pattern continues in 2024, as Mercury goes SD at 23 Sagittarius in January 2024, the same degree it goes SRX in December 2024. In 2025, the theme is related to 7 Sagittarius, since Mercury goes SD on that degree in December 2024 and goes SRX on that degree in November 2025. The final “theme year” is 2026, since Mercury goes SD at 21 Scorpio in November 2025, and goes SRX on that degree in October 2026. After that the pattern breaks into different degrees at the stations.
How We Got Here
2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021 each had a specific theme created by the Mercury stationary points. All of 2018 was bookended by the theme of “the power of spiritual ancestry,” the theme of 14 Sag. That degree began the year as the SD degree influence, and was the last SRX degree of the year, giving us a look back at the process of Mercury sending us signs and signals about our genetic wisdom throughout the year. The RX period in Nov-Dec 2018 was a good recap of all the Mercury wisdom themes we were offered in 2018, and due to the SD degree at 28 Scorpio, led us to a Winter of applying our magnetism differently, going to “the One Within,” and “the One We All ARE Together.” Many found deep and profound realizations about our Oneness within “All-That-Is.” That began the theme of 2019.
All of 2019 was bookended by the theme of “going to the One within,” which is the theme of 28 Scorpio. It began with Mercury going SD on that degree in December 2018, and then going SRX on that same degree in November 2019. That gave us a look back on how we dealt with those themes of “going to the One within” throughout 2019. That retrograde period was a recap of all that Mercury had offered us that year.
Besides that specific theme, the Scorpio retrograde was about magnetism, loss, and regeneration through a new look at the area of our life where we have late Scorpio. It was a time of taking a new look at the magnetism which holds us together inside ourselves as well as in our outer world, and turning away from what no longer calls us.
The November 2019 SD degree at 12 Scorpio began the bookend theme of 2020, which involved a new level of relating to others in a more formal, “ambassadorial” way. How well we achieved that intention was revealed during the Oct-Nov 2020 Mercury retrograde, since Mercury went SRX at 12 Scorpio, where we looked back at how well we accomplished that. The October 2020 retrograde period ended with Mercury going SD at 26 Libra, beginning the “bookend” theme of 2021, with the review of the year beginning when Mercury went SRX at 26 Libra in September 2021.
Throughout 2021, the SRX degrees all trined the Mercury 26 Libra SD point, giving us a 27 Aquarius and 25 Gemini understanding before it went SRX at 26 Libra in late September 2021. We then looked back at how well we achieved the ability to alternate between “hard power” and “soft power,” or how easily we move between the inner and the outer, the “Yin” and “Yang” of existence. That was the theme of 2021, with the 2022 theme set up by Mercury’s direct station at 25 Capricorn in early February 2022.
Throughout 2022, all the SRX degrees in early Air signs trined all the 2021 SD degrees, also in early Air signs. And the late earth direct stations at 27 Taurus and 25 Virgo strengthened our understanding of the themes of 25 Capricorn. Mercury now goes retrograde at 25 Capricorn, giving us a look back at the “transcendent security” we’re found in relatively comfortable conditions.
So 14 Sagittarius was the theme for 2018, 28 Scorpio was the theme for 2019, 12 Scorpio is the theme for 2020, 26 Libra was the theme for 2021, 25 Capricorn was the theme of 2022, and 9 Capricorn is the theme for 2023. You can find more in the articles about all the retrogrades in the archives.
Weaving Past, Present, and Future
I’ll explain more about the themes of 22 Virgo in another article, along with what we can expect in September, October, November, and December before the next retrograde beginning at 9 Capricorn which retrogrades back to 23 Sagittarius between mid-December 2023 and early January 2024. While 2021 was great for planets we have in the Fire and Air signs, in 2022 we experienced “retrograde harmony” for planets we have in the early degrees of those elements, as well as those we have in the latter degrees of the Earth and Water signs. 2022 was great for developing a retrograde understanding and expression of all planets we have in Earth and Water signs, and this year is great for getting a new look at planets we have in Earth signs.
If you look at various retrograde periods, you'll see themes related to their SRX points that dominated the months after the retrograde. And you'll see how you used the SD degree themes as platforms to move forward. So take a new look at the houses where previous retrogrades have occurred, and you’ll see how past, present, and future weaved these various degree themes and different elemental responses which played out in your life.
Anyway, things are now slowly rapidly from here, so adapt! I know there are many unfortunate things attributed to Mercury retrograde, but there are also many productive things that get done, connections that are made, and different angles of view glimpsed that make our understanding more complete and well rounded.
As I’ve told you, the two weeks before the retrograde is a good time for setting things in motion that will need a delay before being picked up anew. Or for doing things that will need research, rehearsing, or reworking to whatever degree before completion. The time before Mercury goes retrograde is good for doing what must be done so that other related things can be done later, as well as reconnecting with people and activities from the past that are somehow related to the future.
A New Look at Mercury Retrograde
Since Mercury has already been slowing down for a couple of weeks, we’ve already begun to experience a quality of “Mercury crashing into retrograde.” If you want to know what we can expect from Mercury retrograde in Virgo, as well as all the other signs and houses, if you don’t already have one, please consider getting your copy of the award-winning 2nd edition of my book A New Look At Mercury Retrograde.
The first major work on Mercury retrograde ever written, it offers in-depth information about Mercury retrograde people, Mercury retrograde in the various signs and houses, and what the entire Mercury Retrograde phenomenon is about. If you want to know what we can expect from Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, Capricorn, Taurus, Libra, Virgo, or any other past or future retrograde in any sign or house, it’s all in there.
It is written for both astrologers and laypeople. I have just about everything you could want to know about Mercury retrograde, including how it works, what it means, celebrities who have it in their charts, historic events that happened during Mercury retrograde, and what signs are involved in future Mercury retrograde periods.
By knowing more about Mercury retrograde periods across time, such as the 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 retrograde periods mentioned above, you may see patterns in what was going on in your life, what you were taking a new look at and why, and how this "looking back" influenced your choices as you moved through past events. And you can see how this year’s retrogrades will affect sectors of your chart by reading about the signs it’ll occupy this year. It’s all in the book!
Here's the link to the page where you can purchase a paperback edition of A New Look at Mercury Retrograde. If you want an ebook, you can find the Kindle version at that link. (Please note that if you go to amazon, make sure you're ordering the 2015 edition with the award on the cover, and not the earlier one. There are plenty of used first editions for sale, but they are far inferior to the second edition.)
See you soon with an overview of the retrograde and more!
Reprinted on crystalwind.ca with written permission from Robert Wilkinson. Copying this article to other blogs is strictly prohibited. It is copyright protected.
© Copyright 2023 Robert Wilkinson
© Copyright 2023 Robert Wilkinson - https://www.aquariuspapers.com
About the author:
Robert wilkinson An internationally-known astrologer, author, public speaker, metaphysician, and futurist, with over 25 years experience as a counselor and educator. He has presented hundreds of public talks on all aspects of Astrology, the Eastern Wisdom tradition, the Western Wisdom tradition and promoted many mass gatherings and cultural events. Some of his specific areas of interest and expertise include personality profiles, degree patterns, integrative astrology, various aspect harmonics, among others.
I want to welcome all to drop by our Facebook page at Astrology Arizona and join the social media initiative going on there. Please feel free to contribute a topic, ask about a topic, or anything else related to our new group. See you over there!
Reprinted on crystalwind.ca. with written persmission from Robert Wilkinson.
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