Sudden insights surrounded by void
[Astrology how-to] Hidden opportunities in the Mercury retrograde chart
Mercury, the planet symbolizing thought and communication, stationed retrograde on January 14 at 10 Aquarius 19.1
The first Mercury Rx period of 2022 happens with Venus, the archetype of creativity, beauty, love, and sensuality also in retrograde motion. So, there’s a lot of backward/inward energy currents happening at the start of the year.
In our latest podcast, Tatiana and I talk about this energy cycle as a good time to cultivate and practice rituals of waiting rather than allowing ourselves to get frustrated and jump into actions (or relationships) that won’t end up serving our highest good.
After two years of lockdowns, relentless barrages of fear porn, and social isolation, you’re probably eager to “emancipate yourself from mental slavery” and feel like you’re moving forward in life with purpose. While the double retrograde of Mercury and Venus through the end of the month doesn’t translate as a “full speed ahead” signal, this period can help us make radical, positive changes internally that will translate into progress and success once the retrogrades end.
I’m fascinated by the chart for the Mercury station on January 14. I’m going to show you why I think it’s such a unique and powerful energy signature. In the process I’m also going to share an astrological interpretation technique that opens up the meaning in a chart.
First, a note on Mercury retrogrades
Retrograde Mercury turns the mind inward and backward in time. In fact, the problems with maintaining our normal thought-life and communications during Mercury Rx periods seem designed to force mental pattern interruptions upon us — presumably so we’ll be more likely to get off the mental hamster wheel and spend a little time in reflection.
Mercury-Uranus: sudden insights
Back to the chart: we might notice immediately that Mercury is conjunct Saturn and square (to the degree) Uranus. Even though we’re past the series of exact Saturn-Uranus squares that symbolized a lot of what happened in society in 2021, the two planets are still only 2.5 degrees away from an exact square.
This picture-within-a-picture tells us the current retrograde is going to tune us back into the themes of the Saturn-Uranus squares. The opportunity here is to review our thinking and reflect on whether the mental judgments we made about what was happening — along with what and how we communicated about our thoughts — have proven to be helpful to us or not.
But the very close aspect between Mercury and Uranus also shows us we can benefit from sudden insights during this Mercury retrograde — insights that are not typically available.
Uranus was immediately likened to lightning when it was first discovered in the late 1700s. Like lightning, Uranus tends to show up as periods of blankness or void space punctuated by intense flashes of information, inspiration, and brilliance:
Nothing, nothing, nothing….BOOM!
Positively, Uranus manifests as the Revelator. It brings split-second downloads of cosmic intelligence into the mind — new ways of seeing old problems, new paths that weren’t visible a second before, innovative perceptions that can liberate us from old habits and limiting beliefs. This potential for sudden bursts of liberating awareness is definitely available to us in the second half of January. But we can only benefit from it to the extent we are open to, and capable of, receiving the downloads. Because, like lightning, Uranian insights are here one second and gone the next.
What do I mean by being open and capable? So much of the official narrative in society seems designed to disempower us as individuals. Some of this agenda is recent, but it is built on decades of mass mind control operations and demoralization techniques.
One of the sad features of the Corona era is watching people who used to have dreams and plans for their lives surrender to the part of the narrative that says we are powerless to change our situation: because Covid, because climate change, because racism, because the Democrats or Republicans, because, because, because —
“Oh well, the world is going to hell and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
So many people have checked out mentally and are just trying to stay numb on alcohol, weed, Twitter or FOX News. Others are diving deep into old patterns of depression (learned helplessness) or channeling the rage they feel over their presumed powerlessness into obsessing about the latest liberal outrage against the Constitution or scrolling through Facebook looking for transphobic, micro-aggressive, climate-denying right-wing extremists to hate.
If you’re not even trying to live, if you’re so numbed out you’re not even really in your body, then you’re probably not going to notice the life-changing insight that just flashed across your mind.
We’ve probably all spent some time in one of our private hells in the last two years. But if you’re still stuck there, snap out of it, man! We need you.
Chains of influence: using dispositors and rulerships to open up the chart
Here’s where the dotted arrow lines in my diagram come into play. The rulerships system in astrology says that every sign is ‘owned’ by a planet. When a planet is in its own sign, it’s like a property owner staying in her own house.
When Planet A owns the sign that Planet B is currently inhabiting, Planet A is called the dispositor of Planet B. A planet that is not in its own sign is subject to the influence of the dispositor (the owner) of the sign it is in.
So, if I’m chilling at my pad, I get to decide when we eat dinner, what music to play on the stereo, and who sleeps in the master bed. If I’m renting your house, I have to abide by your rules; you have some degree of influence over my personal expression.
If we look at the four planets circled in the chart, only Saturn is in his own sign (or domicile). Saturn rules both Capricorn and Aquarius, so he disposits Mercury (in Aquarius) and Venus (in Capricorn). What about Uranus?
Uranus is in Taurus, one of the signs Venus rules. So Uranus is disposited by Venus, who is disposited by Saturn. Interestingly, Saturn is also the only one of these four who isn’t retrograde — retrogradation is considered to be a debilitating condition
So Saturn is obviously at the top of the hierarchy. But what does that mean for me?
This tells us that any mental course corrections we make due to this Mercury Rx period must be aligned with the values of Saturn (authority, integrity, responsibility, overcoming fear and developing mastery) in Aquarius (visionary, futurist, egalitarian, collective mentality, the organizing principles of society).
It also indicates that, for now at least, the less-positive Uranian values of shock, sudden action, and violent outbursts are to be held in check by a Saturnian principle of fairness and right thinking.
One possible manifestation of this picture is that people who have been conforming with and upholding cynical Internet censorship initiatives, Covid lockdowns, and vaccine passport policies begin to rethink their positions. It wouldn’t take that many people waking up and realizing they’re really angry at having been duped into enabling the largest wealth transfer in human history and joining the fight against the biosecurity-technofascist alliance of Big Tech, corporate media and Big Pharma to radically shift conditions in society.
The chain of dispositors in the Mercury Rx chart also shows us that the ongoing Venus retrograde is linked to the Mercury retrograde. We may find that our thoughts about the current state of society and our own circumstances are being informed by our longing for love, connection, physical touch, sensual experience, beauty and art (Venus). Whatever may be said in praise of communism or fascism, total control of the population through rigid laws and continual surveillance sucks most of the beauty out of life.
Using the dispositor chain to find solutions
Although the chain of dispositors indicates a hierarchy of influence, we can start anywhere in the chain and work upward to tap into our inner resources and open up fresh perspective. How could we evoke more of Uranus’ positive values (revelation, sudden change, innovation, freedom) in this period? Well, we can look to Venus, the planet dispositing Uranus and — Venus being retrograde — look back on periods of our lives when we shifted from a place of lack or loneliness or ugliness to a place of abundance, love, and beauty.
I had an experience of this last week. I realized I had slipped into some of the materialist philosophy that has become so prevalent in our society. (We can see this in the current chart as a negative expression of Saturn (materialism, no imagination) in Aquarius (groupthink). Not only in the materialist propaganda that frames people as machines and denies the wisdom of a loving Creator and the will of the soul and spirit that inhabit the body. But also in the corporate and governmental woke agenda that denies individual sovereignty and replaces individual expression, free will, and uniqueness with ironclad formulas based on race, gender, and one’s willingness to conform.2
I realized that I was looking at a situation in my life as if the only way to solve it was through taking action in the material world. And, that action being — at the moment — impossible, I had slipped into that familiar state of learned helplessness and low-level depression. “Oh well, there’s nothing I can do about it.”
Getting in touch with my desire for more love, beauty, and money in this area of life (all Venusian values) put me into a state of openness to receive new information or the sudden insight that Uranus square Mercury can provide. And within a day or so, I got a flash of insight (Uranus) that enabled me to change my mind (Mercury) about my ability to change the situation. Interestingly, this involved remembering (Mercury retrograde) a time in the past (Mercury retrograde) when I had made a similar breakthrough.
Recalling that changes in the inner world always generate changes in the outer world and that — as long as I don’t buy into the narrative — I am not powerless to change my life and to change the world…that feels like a beautiful expression of the potentials in the Mercury Rx chart.
If you’ve had similar breakthroughs, please share them. If you’re still feeling stuck, just remember you’re not alone and that lightning flash of insight is going to find you soon.
For those of you unfamiliar with astrology, Mercury appears to move backward in the sky three times a year. These retrograde periods last about three weeks. In this case, Mercury will be retrograde until Feb. 3 when it stations direct at 24 Capricorn 22. Mercury retrograde periods reliably bring a recognizable set of effects, including mental lapses, communication errors, and technology glitches. Astrologers often caution us not to sign important contracts, buy a new car or computer, or launch a new Internet business while Mercury is retrograde. There is some wisdom behind this advice, although it’s not always practical to postpone one of the no-no activities for a month. We often do find that a contract signed during Mercury Rx has to be renegotiated or that the new car needs to be serviced immediately (and then may turn out to be a great ride).
The deeper purpose of these periods is to allow us (force us) to slow down and examine our mental patterns and communication habits. When we cooperate with this purpose, we can make important course corrections in our thinking and move forward with more awareness and wisdom.
Matt Taibbi wrote a great piece about the grand scale of larceny happening under pandemic rules and pointed out how manufacturing class warfare and racial division benefits those who own the media. If enough people turned off the news and stopped buying into the narrative, we might just get together (as we naturally would) and take back our power, freedom, and money.