Mercury Retrograde December 2016 – January 2017: Personal Responsibility in Collective Destiny
Posted on December 19, 2016
By Henry Seltzer for Astrograph Astrology
Important dates for this Mercury Retrograde:
Mercury Stations Retrograde at 15º03 Capricorn on December 19, 2016
New Moon in Capricorn: Mercury conjunct Sun & Moon on December 28, 2016
Mercury Moves back into Sagittarius on January 4, 2017
Stations Direct at 28º51 Sagittarius on January 8, 2017
Mercury returns to Capricorn coincident with the Full Moon on January 12, 2017.
Mercury escapes its Retrograde Shadow (returns to 15º03 Capricorn) on January 27, 2017.
Mercury Retrograde is here again! That time become notorious for missed connections, miscommunications, and malfunctioning electronics is with us for many weeks now, lasting well into January. Among other seeming drawbacks and headache-inducing circumstances, however, Mercury Retrograde periods are also a time when greater awareness and mindfulness are employed, so that there are rich potentials to be had, as well as urges within that we slow our activity down. We are enjoined to tune in, and to be truly present with ourselves and our issues. The themes that are encouraged now, during this RE-trograde period, can be anything beginning with ‘re.’ Re-organize, reflect, relax, re-communicate, rewind, etc. It is a time when it is highly beneficial to plan on turning inward to pause and take stock of all the tremendous growth and evolution that has been happening within and all around each of us. It is generally not a good time to start a brand new project, make impulsive purchases, or sign a new contract. The astrological thinking is that the matter will dramatically alter once Mercury turns direct and especially after escaping its shadow.
This astrology of this particular Mercury Retrograde will be intensely influenced by Pluto in Capricorn, because Mercury stations to retrograde motion less than a degree and a half away from this tiny but powerful planet . The meaning of Pluto by current position (and aspects to your natal chart) symbolizes transformation, dismantling old structures, and uncovering new ground in the depths of your personal and collective consciousnesses. With all of this Capricorn energy we are reminded to reflect upon the way that our sense of personal responsibility is evolving. Mercury governs thought and communications, and therefore this is a time when awareness is increased around how fully and truthfully we are using the power of our minds and words.
It is likely that with so much Pluto energy in this retrograde period, those areas in our personal lives as well as society that have been unconsciously wished away or swept under the rug will get dredged up to the surface to be transformed in the light of our conscious awareness. This process can be confronting and painful as we are tasked to look squarely in the face that which we would rather run from, or push away. There is a choice point in this endeavor, perhaps ever-present in the human condition, but heightened, now. When a painful experience arises, do you collapse, shut down, and wish it away? Or do you call upon your warrior nature to expand and welcome the pain and discomfort it into your life and embrace it like a pleasure? There is a divine wisdom in pain— it is a messenger. Our wounds may contain the seeds of our deepest wisdom. So when pain knocks on your door, it’s asking for you to call both it and yourself gently home, to be integrated back into your wholeness and love.
On the Capricorn New Moon of December 28th, that time of the lunar cycle when the Sun and Moon come together in the zodiac, it is notable to mention that this time, Mercury is also making a close conjunction with the Sun, and Moon. This New Moon configuration suggests another intense cycle, with unexpected, jarring events perhaps more likely than not. We are being invited to look more deeply into the unknown. That is to say, into unseen realms where mystic wisdom and synchronistic mystery have the potential to become our greatest allies.
On January 4th, Mercury will move back into Sagittarius. This suggests that there could be something we need to revisit in the way that we make meaning, expand our perceptions, and allow ourselves to realign with our highest values. Mercury stations to direct motion on January 8th, and the day weeks later when Mercury escapes its “shadow” (i.e. returns to the same degree as where it began its retrograde journey) is January 27th. Mercury’s earlier placement in the New Moon chart also implies that this is a strong Mercury Retrograde period, with heightened symptoms. The retrograde influence is thus quite intense for the whole of January’s lunar cycle.
The Sabian symbols for the stationing degrees provide us further insight around themes of personal responsibility as this supports the optimal functioning of the collective whole. The symbol for 15º plus Capricorn, the retrograde station degree, is “Boys and girls in gymnasium suits.” This is a symbol of experience, perfection of activity, and concentrated self-competency… Marc Edmund Jones, who collected the Sabian Symbols, referring to this one remarked that, “A disciplined self-responsibility is demanded for a common achievement.”
The symbol for the direct station degree, 28º plus of Sagittarius, is “A chubby kid mowing the lawn” This symbol references the contribution of familiar disciplined experience to the refinement of selfhood in social terms. We are being asked to learn and explore what it means to tend to ourselves as individuals who are connected by our considered actions to a greater whole. Our thoughts, attitudes, and choices concern not only ourselves. Rather we are part of something much greater, and when we make decisions from this place, it looks very different than when we make them from the belief that we are somehow separate. We are all deeply connected to each other, to the Earth, to the entire community of life. As we go through the self-reflective time of this powerful Mercury Retrograde period, may we celebrate our interconnectedness, and take a stand to protect and nourish this precious, beautiful, and miraculous world.