Here comes the first Mercury retrograde for 2021! 2021 comes with the standard 3, and this first one occurs entirely in the sign of Aquarius. Let's cover what to expect!
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The Basics - What is Mercury retrograde?
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 it's moving slowly. There's usually two storm periods, one around the time Mercury turns retrograde, and one around when it turns direct.
Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius 2021 Key Dates:
Mercury Retrograde Effects:
The first retrograde for 2021 comes to us in air sign Aquarius, and Aquarius is the ruler of change. We may be extra focused on changes we want to make, feeling more impatient and impulsive about it, or we may experience changes we don't want or don't feel ready for and have to resist being stubborn and adjust.
The future gets more of our attention, and we may want to rush forward toward it but have to be more cautious with our choices and actions, or we want to avoid it completely and put ourselves in a bad position. There may be a loss of hope for something for the future, and we have to make sure we're not just being pessimistic. Let yourself dream.
Friends and groups are ruled by Aquarius, so we may experience problems in existing friendships or groups we belong to, or we may reconnect with an old friend or re-join an old group. This sign also governs causes, so we can walk away from a cause we don't connect with, or pick up an old cause we used to focus on.
Aquarius is an independent, original sign that doesn't want to be boxed in, so if we feel like we have been boxed in, we can rebel in a big way. We may push back against social norms, and we may feel like now is the time to break all of the rules. But are we being smart about it, or just giving in to impulse? Even if we're right with what needs to be changed, we still need to be smart about it.
This is the first retrograde of 2021, and all 3 occur in the air signs (Aquarius, Gemini, Libra). This last occurred in 2015. The air signs are the signs of communication, of the mind, and of connection, so we may struggle with being open, feeling heard, and listening.
The Aquarius Stellium & Mercury Retrograde
While Mercury is retrograde in Aquarius, we'll experience an Aquarius stellium! Jupiter and Saturn both moved into Aquarius mid-December 2020, and the Sun, Mercury, and Venus join them. An Aquarius stellium is in effect the whole time Mercury is in Aquarius, so from January 8th to March 15th.
We had a Capricorn stellium dominate 2020, but this one is a little different since it's only for a couple of months, not the entire year. It's also in a very different sign with Aquarius, and we're hyper-focused on change, the future, independence, innovation, and originality.
While Mercury is retrograde, we may need to work on old issues related to these subjects that have gotten in the way of progress. In what ways have we stopped change from happening? In what ways have we resisted the future? In what ways have we stifled independence? In what ways has innovation slowed? In what ways have we rejected originality?
This is also amazing energy for a second chance with the retrograde. Give an old dream, old hope, old inventions another shot. Rediscover your true self and regain independence.
We get a little help with a New Moon in Aquarius on February 11th; it's not conjunct (aligned with) Mercury retrograde but does give a little boost of energy.
Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius 2021 Aspects:
During the retrograde, Mercury will make 4 major aspects. They are:
- conjunct (aligned with) the Sun on February 8th (@ 20 degrees 1 minute Aquarius; (this is the Inferior Conjunction, a positive point in the retrograde for starting something that can be a focus for the next 6-8 weeks; find where it falls in your chart, and that may be where you can start something)
- conjunct Venus on February 13th (@ 14 degrees Aquarius; this is helpful for reconnecting with people from the past, restoring relationships and intimacy, and improving any relationships, but relationship issues may be more obvious and difficult to hide from)
- square (hard aspect, 3 signs away) Mars on February 10th (bringing out frustrations, fights, and increasing tempers, especially when feeling boxed in and lashing out)
- conjunct Jupiter on February 14th (@ 13 degrees Aquarius; biggest aspect for this retrograde, and interesting because Jupiter is expansive, and expands on the good or bad, so the good may get better and the bad may get worse)
The Moons of Mercury Retrograde:
The Moon does travel both signs Mercury naturally rules and Aquarius during this retrograde. It's in Virgo (ruled by Mercury) as the retrograde begins, from January 30th (3:03AM ET/12:03AM PT) - February 1st (6:25AM ET/3:25AM PT), and is in Gemini (ruled by Mercury) as the retrograde ends, from February 19th (11:03AM ET/8:03AM PT) - 21st (10:53PM ET/7:53PM PT). So we start and end this retrograde with the Moon in a sign ruled by Mercury, and this brings extra emotional focus to the retrograde energy. We can be more aware of the changing energy, and emotionally driven to work with it, around it, or for it.
The Moon is in Aquarius February 9th (8:21PM ET/5:21PM PT) - 12th (2:24AM ET/Feb 11th @ 11:24PM PT). When the Moon is in the sign of the retrograde, it's extra focused on it, and we can feel super off, but we also have the opportunity to do something, take control of the retrograde, and make what we want happen.
The retrograde begins at 26 degrees Aquarius, so those of you Aquarians born February 13th - 17th may feel the start of the retrograde most. The retrograde ends at 11 degrees Aquarius, so those of you Aquarians born January 28th - February 1st may feel the end of the retrograde most.
For the rest of you, check the house(s) Mercury will be retrograding in 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. If it's in your natal chart, check out this article about Mercury retrograde in the natal chart.
Suggested Reading: The Mercury, Venus, & Mars Retrogrades page for interpretations