Mercury retrograde kicks in for December, so what are some good general rules to prepare? Let's dig in!
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5 Ways to Prepare for Mercury Retrograde:
Take stock of what the retrograde will do for you personally, and research what are some positive ways you can make use of the energy (so see the house(s) being impacted, aspects he'll make, and how you can work with the energy). This is something you should do with every retrograde so you can emerge as unscathed as possible. Prepare yourself for the hard aspects especially, because these can be the most difficult to control. And know that while you can control your own actions and decisions, you can't control other people's, so try to have a LOT of extra patience.
Mercury retrograde likes to cause a lot of stress, so it's important with every Mercury retrograde to make sure you have an outlet for stress or some way to manage it that is healthy and positive. This tends to be what does all of us in. The stress alone slays us! So before it even begins, make sure you have a stress plan in place. If you get stressed out, what is something you can do right away to mitigate it? Come up with various ideas for various situations so you're prepared whether you're alone in your car, at work with your boss, or at home at a family dinner. It may be as simple as learning a breathing exercise.
Mercury is ruler of daily life, so we often get thrown off with the everyday stuff. Another way to prepare is to give yourself extra time for the things you know you'll have to do during Mercury retrograde. If you leave anything to the last minute, you have a much higher chance of that blowing up in your face. You can't do this for everything since there's always something that comes upon you fast, but the things you can prepare extra time for, you should.
Mercury is also ruler of health, so one of the ways I like to deal with Mercury retrograde is to do something good for my health during every Mercury retrograde. This can be an excellent time for routine maintenance and making sure you're on top of everything. I like to do a round of EFT during every Mercury retrograde to clear out the energetic sludge that builds up; whatever you're into, go for it, and you can use the retrograde as a reminder to get routine checkups and shots and such.
Routine maintenance doesn't have to apply to your health either - you can also use Mercury retrograde to do maintenance on your car (great reminder to get your oil changed!), your home (clean out your closets, garage, fix that hole in the shower floor), and your technology (clear out your inbox, organize your files).
Suggested Reading: Why Preparing for Mercury Retrograde Helps
The basics: A retrograde occurs when a planet appears to be moving backwards from our vantage point here on Earth. It isn't actually moving backwards, it just appears that way. Mercury turns retrograde most often, about 3-4 times per year, and lasts for several weeks. When a planet retrogrades, what that planet rules tends to be thrown off, along with what the sign it's retrograding in rules.
With Mercury retrograde, we experience a shadow and a storm. The shadow period starts when Mercury first hits the point in the Zodiac it will turn direct at, and ends when it last hits the point in the Zodiac it will turn retrograde at. Most people don't feel the effects of Mercury retrograde until it enters the storm period though. The storm period of Mercury retrograde is when Mercury is moving at its slowest, less than 40 minutes per day. Mercury is a fast-moving planet and hates it when he's moving slowly. There's usually two storm periods, one around the time Mercury turns retrograde, and one around when it turns direct.
This Mercury retrograde begins on December 3rd at 2:34AM ET and ends on December 22nd at 8:51PM ET. The shadow period is November 15th 2017 - January 10th 2018. The first storm period is November 29th - December 7th, and second storm period is December 19th - 28th.
Mercury madness! We're coming up on the last Mercury retrograde for 2017, and this one occurs entirely in fire sign Sagittarius. Sagittarius rules optimism, expansion, exploration, new experiences, and Mercury retrograde can mess with all of that. We can be unrealistically optimistic, or overly pessimistic and miss the optimism; we can expand too much in some ways, and not enough in others; we can explore places we shouldn't, and avoid the places we should go to; we can dive into experiences we should run from, and avoid experiences we should have.
Travel is often disrupted in some way with Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius (particularly flight), and we may see issues with colleges/universities (higher learning is Sagittarius-ruled), or legal issues come up (Sagittarius rules the law). We can be extra boastful, make promises we don't keep, break promises, and talk a big game that we can't back up. We can buy into false prophets, and we can be too defensive of our beliefs and not open-minded enough. Holy war, oh holy war . . .
This retrograde is problematic in a variety of ways, to say the least, but it's mostly focused right at the start. First, it begins at 29 degrees, which is the anaretic degree. The anaretic degree is the very last degree of any sign and a point of crisis energy, and Mercury will be anaretic in November 30th (before the retrograde starts) to December 5th (already retrograde). This can be difficult energy, and we may see a significant legal issue, accident energy may be high, and we may fight even more over beliefs (hopefully we can avoid some sort of attack, but I'm not holding my breath).
Second, the retrograde begins December 3rd, and we'll have a full moon that very same day, and the full moon occurs in Gemini, one of the signs Mercury rules (the Moon will be in Gemini to December 4th 3:37PM ET). Full moons are highly charged emotional energy, and with this being in one of the signs Mercury rules, that just becomes even more complicated. With Gemini and Sagittarius and Mercury all being communication rules, I'm thinking some sort of bad news, bad decision-making, bad ideas, bad plans. Maybe a combo!
Third, the retrograde begins conjunct (aligned with) Saturn, who is at the end of his tour of Sagittarius. So Saturn is wrapping things up, and Mercury retrograde comes along wanting to muck it all up - Saturn won't like that very much! This is exact December 6th (7:05AM ET), and there will likely be some paying of the piper, some last-ditch lesson, some complex karma coming upon us with Saturn. Maybe something with the law or with politics. (BTW, Saturn exits Sagittarius and moves into Capricorn December 19th - read the article on Saturn in Capricorn HERE).
So we've got a lot to manage right off of the bat, and we're going to have to work extra hard to get through it as best as we can! Extra patience, extra time - extra liquor?
Mercury retrograde will be at a critical degree (17 degrees Sagittarius) December 15th - 16th, and this may bring some difficult energy, though not as trying as the start, and we may just be extra annoyed. The Moon will be in the other sign Mercury rules, Virgo, December 8th (6:09PM ET) to December 11th (12:01AM ET), and this can be another difficult period of the retrograde (but again, likely not as trying as the very start).
This Mercury retrograde will make 4 major aspects during the retrograde, including the conjunction to Saturn. He'll also sextile (positive aspect) Mars December 6th (10:58AM), same day as the Saturn aspect going exact, so hopefully we can get some positive energy to help us wade through the difficulties and push forward with energy and enthusiasm, the Mars way. Mercury will conjunct the Sun on December 12th (8:49PM ET), called the inferior conjunction, and this can usually be a positive aspect providing an opportunity to start something (occurs at 21 degrees 14 minutes in Sagittarius, so see if that's doing anything to your chart to see if you can use the energy for yourself). Mercury conjuncts Venus on December 15th (9:09AM ET), and we can strive to get along better, connect in different ways, and find some middle ground (or indulge away our troubles). The retrograde ends square Neptune, though this doesn't go exact. We may come out of the retrograde in a bit of a fog, unsure of how to proceed or feeling that we're not seeing everything clearly. We need to let it lift before we make any big decisions.
Extra: Mercury retrograde also squares (hard aspect) Chiron on December 10th, an asteroid dubbed the wounded healer who represents our greatest wounds and how we can heal and grow. Chiron ends his own retrograde December 5th square Mercury retrograde, so we may be focused on what we need to heal from, re-open an old wound, feel extra sensitive, and need to be careful with our words and rhetoric.
The retrograde begins at 29 degrees Sagittarius, so those of you Sagittarians born after December 18th can feel the start of this retrograde most. The retrograde ends at 13 degrees Sagittarius, so those of your Sagittarians born December 2nd - 8th can feel the end of the retrograde most.
For the rest of you, check the house(s) Mercury will be retrograding in of your own natal chart, and any aspects Mercury will make during its retrograde to your natal planets, to fully understand how it will impact you personally.
If you have Mercury retrograde in your natal or progressed chart, you may not feel the worst of this. Those individuals generally don't experience the difficulties of the retrograde because it feels more natural to them. Of course, chances are everyone else around them doesn't have the same aspect, so they can still experience difficulties brought on by others.
The full moon for December occurs on December 3rd at 10:47AM ET in Gemini. Gemini is the sign of the mind, so we can sort through our ideas, finalize our plans, and use up our mental energy. Our minds and emotions can converge, and we can say what we need to say, get things off of our chests, and we can be more heartfelt and find it easier to express what we're truly feeling. We may become aware of some important news with this full moon, there can be an important announcement of some sort, or we may focus on an important idea or communication (or miscommunication).
We can be more engaging and keep busy, and we can be a little scattered or anxious or restless at times with the full moon energy. We may need to work harder to find focus and mental discipline, and be more careful with what we say and how we say it. Words can have a stronger impact on us all, and we don't want to risk starting fights because we weren't thinking our words through if we don't have to.
This full moon energy may be pretty wonky though, because it occurs on the same day Mercury starts his retrograde (appearing to move backward), on top of which, Mercury is the natural ruler of Gemini. So the chances of miscommunication and fights over words or some bad news are a lot higher with this full moon in general for us all (on a personal level, this may come out in the areas of life ruled by the house the full moon occurs in your chart, or Mercury retrogrades in your chart). We all need to be extra careful with what we say. (Yes, I am thinking of some certain people in power too!)
Also, this full moon is square (hard aspect, 3 signs away) Neptune in Pisces. This doesn't really help us with communication, and actually makes it even harder to find the right way to express ourselves and make our points because Neptune is the foggy planet, so we may *think* we're choosing the right words, but it doesn't come out that way or isn't interpreted the way we want. Neptune ends his retrograde not that long before this full moon in November, so he's still kind of hovering when this full moon occurs, and we can feel like energy is just really, really weird and shifting aimlessly with the mutable energy. Aye!
The full moon occurs at 11 degrees 40 minutes in Gemini. The aspects to this full moon are:
Conjunction: 9 degrees 40 minutes - 13 degrees 40 minutes Gemini
Sextile: 9 degrees 40 minutes - 13 degrees 40 minutes Aries or Leo
Square: 9 degrees 40 minutes - 13 degrees 40 minutes Virgo or Pisces
Trine: 9 degrees 40 minutes - 13 degrees 40 minutes Libra or Aquarius
Opposition: 9 degrees 40 minutes - 13 degrees 40 minutes Sagittarius
December's new moon occurs on the 18th at 1:31AM ET in Sagittarius. Sagittarius is the optimistic sign who always wants to look at the bright side and admire what's possible. Sagittarius wants to expand the world in new ways that open the mind and thought; explore new realms that open new doors and new opportunities; and venture into new experiences that provoke, instill wisdom, and help us understand. This is usually a new moon full of positive energy buuuuuuuut this one comes with some big challenges!
First, this new moon is also impacted by the Mercury retrograde since it occurs in the sign Mercury is retrograde in. A new moon in Mercury retrograde's sign can often bring some positive energy to the retrograde, a little burst in the middle of the retrograde to try and make something positive out of the wonkiness. But it can also sometimes shine a light on the retrograde difficulties, and we may see something to do with travel (particularly flight), education (particularly college), big promises (that may be broken), big ideas (that explode), the law (maybe upsetting/disrupting), or beliefs (hopefully not attacks but the energy this month is dicey).
This new moon is also conjunct the Galactic Center, which is this giant black hole that is the center of our Universe, and is like this giant surge of massive energy, electric and insane and amplifying and loud. So it's basically amplifying the energy associated with this new moon. The GC is also associated with things in the future, so there's a chance that what comes to pass now may be connected to something that has more developments down the line (especially 6-12 months), or that what happens now has some sort of indication as to what may be coming.
On top of which, the new moon occurs the day before Saturn leaves Sagittarius, so he's widely conjunct on his last day in Sagittarius and anaretic (the last degree of a sign and a point of crisis energy). So the new moon can also bring more focus and energy to Saturn leaving Sagittarius, the final hurrah, the last goodbye, the farewell wave. What kind of kiss of death does Saturn have in mind?
For one tiny spot of positive energy, the new moon is trine (positive aspect, 4 signs away) Uranus in Aries. SO we can be more comfortable with independence, individuality, innovation, originality, and the future. We can come together, we can think about the impact of the world at large, and we can take a wider view. Maybe we'll benefit from some objectivity!
The new moon occurs at 26 degrees 31 minutes in Sagittarius. The aspects to this new moon are:
Conjunction: 24 degrees 31 minutes - 28 degrees 31 minutes Sagittarius
Sextile: 24 degrees 31 minutes - 28 degrees 31 minutes Libra or Aquarius
Square: 24 degrees 31 minutes - 28 degrees 31 minutes Virgo or Pisces
Trine: 24 degrees 31 minutes - 28 degrees 31 minutes Aries or Leo
Opposition: 24 degrees 31 minutes - 28 degrees 31 minutes Gemini
Saturn will move into a new sign on December 19th 2017 (at 11:49PM ET), its home sign of Capricorn. Saturn has been in Sagittarius the last few years, and we’ve had some ups and downs (that mutable t-square we had going on was mostly down!).
But with Saturn returning to its home sign, its home base, we can feel a bit more at ease with Saturn’s energy because SATURN is more at ease with its energy. It’s home, it’s comfortable, it’s more secure, it’s in its own skin.
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General Impact of Saturn in Capricorn
So what are some of the things that Capricorn rules? To start with, Capricorn is ruler of governments, politics, and rulers, so Saturn in Capricorn may bring extra focus on governments, politics, and rulers, for better or worse. Some may fall, and some may strengthen; some may change and evolve; some may be challenged and feared. We’ve seen a rise in nationalism and populism around the world lately, and oddly enough, Capricorn is globalism and capitalism. Irresponsible globalism and capitalism likely get targeted harshly under punishing Saturn energy, but the expansion of nationalism and populism may not continue either. Narrow views may be under the microscope, and we’re forced to take a step back and see how all of the pieces of the machine work together instead of just focusing on one component.
Capricorn is ruler of authority figures, our parents, bosses, and mentors, so those who behave badly can be punished if they don’t learn. The ones who are reckless, irresponsible, self-serving, abusive, inconsiderate, manipulative, controlling - Saturn comes for you eventually! Those who are already doing this well can be rewarded, and those who learn can find rewards eventually, while all others experience setbacks, failures, and can be exposed. Probably not going to be a good time for some corporations!
Our direction, the path we’re taking, is also Capricorn’s domain. We can see where we’re heading and assess, is this the direction we want to be going in? Is this good for us, for achieving what we want to do? What do we need to do to stay on course, or to change course? We can ponder this on a personal level in the areas of life ruled by the houses Saturn will be touring in our charts will in Capricorn, and on a bigger scale in societies, countries, and the world at large.
Responsibility and maturity comes under Capricorn’s rulership. Saturn and Capricorn are adulthood, sobering us with the realities of what we can and can’t do, of the limitations and restrictions of real life, of the duties we must take on and the lessons of age. Some fight this, but the wise understand that there’s nothing to fight. It just is. Work with it, or lose. There are no other options. Once that understanding is realized, all opportunities are unlocked.
Our goals, ambitions, and careers are ruled by Capricorn, along with recognition and the public eye. We can see some great successes and impressive accomplishments being had by individuals, societies, countries, and the world; we can also see some great setbacks, some extreme failures and embarrassment and humiliation, and unraveling of professions.
Capricorn is the highest point of the natural Zodiac Wheel, and who we aspire to be, what we aspire to do, are ruled by Capricorn. We want to reach the highest peak, climb the highest mountain, reach that Zenith. A precious few may, and set themselves apart, and the rest aspire to be like them.
The Other Planets, Retrogrades, and Eclipses With Saturn in Capricorn
Saturn in Capricorn is going to be very different from its time in Sagittarius. First, Pluto is already in Capricorn when Saturn enters Capricorn, and will be in Capricorn the entire time Saturn is. Saturn and Pluto last teamed up in Scorpio in the mid-80’s (they did not meet while Pluto was in Sagittarius). Whenever Saturn and Pluto come together, they create intense discipline, unrelenting focus, and whatever they have their eye on - watch out! They bring incredible potential but also energy that’s so strong, so intensely frustrating at times, that they can crush us their weight. These two are the most serious of the planets, and it’s not going to be an easy ride.
This will especially be true when they actually conjunct - which thankfully, only happens once in mid-January of 2020. By then, Jupiter will also be in Capricorn, as it enters this sign in December 2019 (until December 2020), Jupiter helps to lighten the load a little since it is the happy planet, after all; but Jupiter energy, at its core, is expansive, SO it may also expand on the intense, unrelenting, disciplined, focused combination of Saturn and Pluto, particularly when Jupiter is conjunct - it’s conjunct Pluto in early April, late June, and early November 2020; yet oddly enough, Jupiter won’t conjunct Saturn exactly while in Capricorn (they’ll be riding close together at the very end of their time in Capricorn in December 2020, but won’t conjunct again until they both enter Aquarius that month).
When you have 3 or more planets together in one sign, this forms a stellium, which is a tremendous amount of energy focused in one area. For us, this will be in Capricorn. The last time we had a Capricorn stellium of outer planets was in the late 1980’s - early 90’s, with Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune together in Capricorn. That period saw the end of the Soviet Union and Cold War. It also was when a lot of the very young successful people of late were born (so if you want to have a phenom for a kid, maybe plan to have one in 2020?).
Mercifully, neither Mercury nor Venus will retrograde in Capricorn while Saturn is in Capricorn; un-mercifully, MARS will. That will NOT be joyful noise! Mars retrogrades midyear 2018, and part of that retrograde will occur in Capricorn. Not the entire retrograde, at least, just a few weeks of it (August 12th - 27th 2018). Jupiter won’t be in Capricorn yet, at that point, but we’ll have a brief stellium and some seriously aggravated, frustrated energy, particularly aimed at governments, corporations, politicians, the “establishment”. I won’t be surprised if we see some sort of revolt, revolution, take down. Assassination attempt? Who knows. Except the shadow, apparently . . .
When Saturn enters Capricorn, Jupiter will be in Scorpio, which is sextile, a positive aspect, so they’ll work together in a harmonious way, for now. When Jupiter is in Sagittarius November 2018 - December 2019, they’ll be semisextile, another harmonious aspect. Neptune is in Pisces the entire time Saturn is in Capricorn and that’s sextile, so they’re also working well together (exact in January, June, and November 2019). And Uranus will be at the end of its time in Aries at the start, which is square, a difficult aspect; however that won’t go exact, and Uranus is quickly moving into Taurus starting in 2018, which is trine Capricorn, a positive aspect. So the outer planets seem to be working with Saturn a-okay, it’s just the stellium we’ll have to combat.
Some footnotes: In 2018, Uranus starts to enter Taurus, and turns retrograde (appears to move backward) August 7th at 2 degrees 34 minutes; Saturn will end its retrograde about one month later on September 6th at 2 degrees 33 minutes. 1 minute apart! So they don’t exactly trine each other at any point while Saturn is in Capricorn, but it’s so close at that time. Saturn is the traditional while Uranus is the unconventional, so these two opposing forces can work together in some sort of harmonious way around that time. A little bit of good energy while we’re dealing with the Mars retrograde short-lived stellium.
Also, Neptune is in Pisces the entire time Saturn is in Capricorn, and Pisces is the sign Neptune naturally rules, so Neptune is also in its home sign. Planets in their home sign are in a stronger position, so having two of the slower planets in their home signs can show we’re more at home and in stronger positions. While Jupiter is in Sagittarius (November 2018 - December 2019), it’ll also be in its home sign. Hopefully, it makes us feel more comfortable.
There will be some eclipses in Capricorn while Saturn is in Capricorn - January 5th 2019 (solar), July 16th 2019 (lunar), December 26th 2019 (solar), and July 5th 2020 (lunar). The only one that will be conjunct Saturn is the January 5th 2019 solar eclipse, so this can be a time when we’re seeing some positive energy associated with Capricorn. Success, achievement, high points, recognition, respect, responsibility, progress.
Saturn officially leaves Capricorn December 17th of 2020, almost 3 years exactly after he first enters (though it’ll be starting its tour in Aquarius March 22nd - July 1st that year). So we’re in for an intense 3 years! And 3 years where some very big shifts are likely to occur in very important ways. Good ways, or bad ways? Maybe ask Glenda.
If you were born with Saturn in Capricorn, you’ll experience your Saturn Return at some point, where Saturn returns to the exact position he was at when you were born. The first time this occurs is associated with becoming an adult (usually between 28-32), and is often the hardest return to deal with as you’re faced with moving on from reckless youth, tasked with learning lessons, and have to embark on the rest of your life. The second return (usually late 50’s), tends to be easier (as long as you’ve learned your lessons), and is associated with shifting into the next phase of adulthood; by the time you get to your third return (if you live long enough!), you’re the wise old owl ;)
For the first-timers, you may be learning lessons associated with your goals and ambitions, your direction in life, and pay dearly for shortcuts taken, irresponsibility, rudeness and inconsideration, and laziness. Now is the time to get serious, get focused, get disciplined, work hard and smart, make plans and stick to them, be realistic and practical, and grow the f up. And, if this is your first Saturn return, you’re one of those late 80’s-early 90’s kids with Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn too, so Saturn will also conjunct them; you may *really* feel the weight of Saturn’s restriction and limitation and ability to force lessons on you in harsh ways, so don’t run from it, or you’ll make it worse. Find ways to make that trio work for you, or it’ll work against you.
Suggested Reading: Transit Saturn page for general interpretations of transit Saturn in the houses and aspects