Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays: The Aquarius Edition

We are 5 days into the first Mercury retrograde for 2021 and it’s taken me this long to finally get this post completed. That’s my life as an Aquarius Sun/Mercury, with Gemini rising, when Mercury goes retrograde: plans go sideways, surprises pop up, technology can get wonky. How about you? How have you been forced to pivot lately?

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While Mercury retrograde can be very challenging, it’s also our opportunity to slow things down and be open to changes. With Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, the sign of innovation and revolution, it might be more dramatic than usual. But we can channel this energy and make it work for us, not against us.

Mercury: The Basics

Because retrograde cycles ask us to review content, let’s review what we know about Mercury from mythology. Mercury (Hermes) is the messenger of the gods in Greek and Roman mythology. Zeus had a lot of affection for Mercury’s cleverness and entrusted him with several tasks. Mercury was the only god who could freely move into the underworld and was a psychopomp, guiding souls to the underworld. (To learn more about Mercury/Hermes, I highly recommend watching this episode of “Great Greek Myths.”)

Mercury is a trickster and shapeshifter. He loves a good joke or prank. While I’ve listed some of the things Mercury rules in a previous post, Mercury also rules:

      • Artisans & craftspeople
      • Bicycling
      • Butterflies
      • Carrots and celery
      • Clothing
      • Conversation
      • Dictionaries and encyclopedias
      • Dogs
      • Fingers, fingernails, hands and arms
      • Handwriting
      • Hygiene – personal and public
      • Imagination
      • Memory
      • Roller skates
      • Stories & storytelling

In astrology, the term retrograde refers to when a planet appears to move backward through the signs. Retrograde cycles for the planets vary – and Mercury’s retrograde cycles are among the shortest, logging in at approximately three weeks. If it feels longer, that’s due to the shadow period, an approximately two-week period when Mercury is moving along a path that it will revisit later. There’s a pre- and post-retrograde shadow period: typically the post-retrograde shadow is not as intense as the pre-retrograde shadow and is more of a final review of everything that occurred during Mercury retrograde.

The dates for Mercury retrograde in Aquarius are:

  • January 15, 2021 – Mercury enters shadow period
  • January 30, 2021 – Mercury stations retrograde at 26 degrees Aquarius
  • February 20, 2021 – Mercury stations direct at 11 degrees Aquarius
  • March 13, 2021 – Mercury leaves shadow period

As I’ve said before, Mercury has an excellent marketing/PR team because so many people are aware of Mercury retrograde cycles and how it affects travel, electronic devices, and communication. Those of us with Mercury predominant in our charts (Gemini and Virgo Sun/Rising, in particular) may struggle the most when Mercury is retrograde. The beauty of studying astrology, though, is learning how how planetary transits and retrograde cycles may affect our lives, and finding ways to work with those energies. Being aware of upcoming Mercury retrograde cycles can help you prepare for them. When Mercury is retrograde or about to go retrograde, regardless of your personal placements, it can help to:

      • Create contingency plans for events that will take place during Mercury retrograde
      • Work on communicating clearly with colleagues, clients, customers about projects and tasks
      • Focus on listening deeply to others
      • Accept that plans may go sideways and you will have to be flexible in your response

As you’ve read in my previous posts about Mercury retrograde, Venus retrograde, and Mars retrograde, you know that retrograde periods are a time to move inward. It’s an opportunity to slow down and be reflective on what that sign rules. And since Mercury rules Wednesday, I encourage you to celebrate Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays for the remainder of this current cycle – and perhaps during the shadow period as well. From now through February 17 (and, if you’re so inclined, through March 11) spend the next couple Wednesdays honoring this versatile, multitalented planet with some very mercurial activities.

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Activities for Mercury Retrograde Wednesdays: Aquarius Edition

Break your own rules. Aquarius loves a good dose of shock and awe, and with Mercury in retrograde in this sign now’s the time to look at the rules you live by and see if it’s time to break them – especially if those rules are keeping you stuck in unhealthy habits, beliefs or mindsets. I am NOT encouraging you to be unsafe or break the law! To borrow a phrase from reformer & activist John Lewis, consider where you can make good trouble in your own life.

Read about activists, revolutionaries, reformers, and innovators. Aquarius is the sign of revolution, reformation and innovation, and Mercury rules reading, so read books and essays written by or about folks such as Martin Luther King Jr., Malala Yousafzai, Mahatma Gandhi, Gloria Steinem, Harvey Milk, Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Emma Tenayuca, Cesar Chavez, and Luisa Moreno. Online searches on activists will pull up even more names, so have fun with it!

Contact your local leaders. Advocate for your community by sending an email or postcard to your local, regional or national leaders about issues that matter to you.

Get outside. If it’s safe enough for you to do so, go for a bike ride or strap on some roller skates. Take a short trip by car to a place you’ve never been before. No matter your mode of transportation, make sure everything’s in good shape before you start: check tires & wheels, fill up the gas tank, have a paper map handy, bring a phone charger. And don’t forget your keys!

Write often, especially by hand. Get some paper and pen/pencil and write down what’s on your mind. Give it all to the page – it can handle what you have to rant or rave about. Read my post about daily writing rituals if you need some suggestions on how to start.

May this Mercury retrograde period bring you fresh insights into what is in need of change and upheaval in your life, and what changes you wish to bring about, whether it’s personally, professionally, regionally or globally.

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Repost If You Agree: Why Your Facebook Status Is Not Activism

A week ago a friend on a social network I use often (no, it’s not Facebook or Twitter) posted the following, prefaced by “Oh Lord, here we go again”:

“Okay pretty ladies,it’s that time of the year again….Support of Breast Cancer Awareness!!So we all remember last year’s game of writing your bra color as your status or the way we like to have our handbag handy?Last year,So many people took part that it made national news and the Constant Updating vstatus reminded everyone why were doing this and helped raised Awareness!!Do not tell any males….what thestatus mean…keep them guessing!!and please Copy and Paste (in a message)this to all your females friends. It’s time to confuse the men again (Its not really that hard to do)the idea is to choose the month you were born and the day you were born.(Pass this on the GIRLS ONLY!!and lets see how it reaches around.The last one about the bra went around all over the world.Your status should say “I am going to_________for__________months”. The day you were born should be for how many months you are going. Janauary-mexico February-London March-miami April-Dominican Republic May-france June-St.Petersburg July-Austria August-Germany September-New York October-Amster Dam November-Las Vegas December-Columbia”

I groaned as well when I read this, because I knew eventually this meme would hit someone within my group of Facebook friends and I’d be seeing this in my Messages. So far I haven’t seen it – but it’s only a matter of time.

I understand why these awareness memes started: it’s very easy to support a cause when all you have to do is copy and paste, or use an arbitrary algorithm (and I’m using the word “algorithm” very loosely here) to figure out what city you’re going to and for how many months. For me, this particular meme suggests I’ll be in London for 8 months, which sounds pretty fabulous, to be honest.

But the reality is that a cryptic, cutesy status update – or even a tweet – is not activism. Telling people what color your bra is or where you like to leave your purse doesn’t raise awareness of breast cancer. It merely confuses people. Social media confusion does not equal awareness; it equals irritation and unfriending and unfollowing.

Righteous – or even non-righteous – indignation over a dreaded disease, the poor and downtrodden masses, or even an abused puppy is common on the Internet. I get it. I get indignant too and I will share stories that particularly piss me off. What I’ve discovered, however, is that spreading those stories doesn’t make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. What does make a difference is actively doing something to show my feelings about the issue.

So ladies, rather than tell me you’re going to France for 16 months, why not give a few bucks to the American Cancer Society or Susan G. Komen? Or if you’re low on funds, how about going to your local hospital and reading or playing games in the pediatric cancer ward? Or call the nearest hospice and volunteer to deliver a meal to the family of a woman with breast cancer, or babysit her kids while she’s at chemo? It doesn’t have to be complicated or costly. It just needs to come from your heart.

I can’t stop these silly memes or trends with one blog post, I know. But that doesn’t stop me from hoping we’ll move from passive support of issues and causes to more active support.