Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius: Introduction

Mercury retrograde in Aquarius is here and adding to the huge Aquarian theme that’s going on at the beginning of this year. Ever since we had the ‘Great Conjunction’ in Aquarius falling on the 2020 winter solstice (and so bright and visible in the night sky) we have been in the throes of some major Aquarian themes. Chaos, revolution, reaction, change, science, forward progress, looking to the future – but a very different future – is our background noise. So what is Mercury retrograde going to bring to the mix?

Aquarius is a cerebral and innovative air sign and Mercury, the messenger God, is comfortable in this sign because it provides the world with the mental, intellectual and abstract ideas that Mercury finds so stimulating – and needs to share. However, this is Mercury retrograde we’re going to be talking about here and Mercury retrograde always involves revisiting, re-examining, re-thinking some of the main issues that are not only affecting the world – but affecting our personal lives too.

So, in this post, I’m going to look at the detail of this Mercury retrograde to see what we need to be mindful of over the next few weeks.

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius: Retrograde Phase

Mercury retrograde in Aquarius goes into reverse gear on January 30th at 15:32 (Universal Time) so, we’re already in the shadow phase where Mercury appears to slow in the heavens before appearing to track backwards when it reaches 26˚29″ Aquarius. What this means is that Mercury adds to the logjam of planets in Aquarius and we’re going to be reminded of the issues that are being raised – especially as Mercury moves back through Aquarius and comes closer to where the action is.

If we look at the chart for the date and time when Mercury turns retrograde, we can see the standout issues right away. The chart shows a tight, tense square between the stellium of planets in Capricorn/Aquarius and Mars conjunct Uranus in Taurus. This stress is a real feature for February (and the Saturn square Uranus aspect will be a stress factor all year). However, Mercury’s contact with that aspect is weak (a semi-sextile to Pluto in Capricorn) so, how is Mercury retrograde in Aquarius going to affect our perceptions of what’s happening here – especially as it’s a relatively un-aspected planet?

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius: January 30th - February 20th 2021 1
chart courtesy of

As Mercury moves backwards over the next few weeks, it’s going to emphasise the nature of this planet in Aquarius. There may be surprising news or shocking information that comes to light and this may make us re-examine our attitudes – particularly around social or societal issues – namely the things that affect us all. We may need become more aware of negative patterns of behaviour (either social or personal) as we discover – to our cost – that there are serious disconnects between what we have been told and what is real. We need to sort out a few details before we can move forward with clarity.

Aquarius is the sign associated with science and technology and so, maybe more than usual, the archetypal Mercury retrograde in Aquarius issues come into play. If there is a Mercury retrograde that could see annoying issues with your phone, tablet or laptop, or rash remarks proliferate on social media then it’s likely to be this one. However, there is also potential for is a review of how you engage with the world through the web. Are you productive? Do you waste too much time browsing? Do you exist in an ‘echo chamber’ that simply tells you what you want to hear?

Maybe now is the time to be more self critical and Mercury retrograde in Aquarius may, whether you like it or not, shock you into reviewing the ways you use technology in your daily life. It’s better to use technology as a tool to organise your life, improve your work practices and look for new and better ways of doing things (very Aquarius) than simply use it as a means of disappearing into a contrarian world of misinformation (also Aquarius – you choose). There is a choice to be made between reason and fanaticism – and this is something that needs to be discussed (Mercury).

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius: Forward Motion

When Mercury stations on February 21st and prepares to move forward once again, there is the potential for a moment of realisation as the tension has eased. However, Mercury is now at the heart of a stellium of planets in Aquarius – slap bang in the middle of the separating ‘Great Conjunction’ of Jupiter and Saturn. There is also a trine aspect from this grouping of planets to the Moon in Gemini – so expect some emotional communications as Mercury moves direct. Let’s look at Mercury’s aspects in detail.

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius: January 30th - February 20th 2021 2
chart courtesy of

Mercury Direct Conjunct Saturn

As Mercury moves direct this will be a separating conjunction, and this suggests that we need to take a disciplined and common sense view of things that may have happened in the recent past. Judgements may have been made – but we need to move on and leave the past behind. There is a definite sense of having to learn from history – recent or otherwise – and of drawing the line underneath things we cannot change. This is a message implicit in the separating ‘Great Conjunction’ and Mercury here shows we may have an increasing awareness of that.

Leaving the past behind is not just a social attitude but it also affects us personally too. When Mercury contacts Saturn, there is a sense that we need to think critically about the things we may have done – and perhaps regretted doing. Mentally it could be very easy for those of you most affected by this Mercury retrograde in Aquarius (the Sun or important planets/points in tense aspects to Mercury’s retrograde or direct stations) to perhaps beat yourself up over past mistakes. Don’t. The message here is to learn from them and move on.

Mercury Direct Conjunct Jupiter

When Mercury turns direct, the messenger God forms an applying conjunction to Jupiter. This implies there is some unfinished business that needs attending to. Mercury and Jupiter together always imply that there is a learning process involved – and it’s a process that includes looking at the big picture. For many of us, recent events may have left us feeling confined (literally), mentally and emotionally drained and simply ‘bogged down’ by the weight of events. However, Mercury conjunct Jupiter is an optimistic pairing – but is that optimism well placed?

A dose of positivity and optimism could be just what is needed. It may not yet be time to throw a party but there is a sense that if we can see the light at the end of the tunnel – then we’ll take that as a good sign. Planning for the future is a great way of planting and nurturing hope. We may become aware that future possibilities and opportunities exist – even if those possibilities represent a radical departure from the past. This is an energy in tune with what Mercury, Jupiter and Aquarius represent – a willingness and curiosity to explore new things.

In practical terms? This Mercury retrograde in Aquarius period may provide you with the space to think about your own future direction. It’s a great time to explore new ideas – even if you’re not yet able to implement them. Making plans for the future involving education, travel – even mental exploration – is a good way of lightening your mood today. And maybe that’s what we need to do.

Mercury Direct Trine Moon in Gemini

As Moon placements go, airy Gemini is not as emotional as some, however, the trine aspect to the moon from Mercury (and Jupiter/Saturn) shows that there is an emotional need to look forward rather than back. Expressing how we feel is often a vital part of this process – and it will be easy to do so when Mercury retrograde in Aquarius turns direct. This is a time when it should be very clear to you (and to society as a whole) what needs to be done – though the Moon in Gemini suggests there will be may options to choose from.

So, there will, in all probability, be considerable debate about the way forward. We have been through polarised times but when Mercury moves direct there is, perhaps, an indication that it’s time to start reaching a consensus. This is true at a personal level as well as a social level. As I close on this post about Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, it’s worth noting that all 2021’s Mercury retrogrades are in the air signs. Embracing the new, debating, evaluating and working together may be the things we really need to think about this year.

© Sara Shipman 2021

Picture Credit:  Michael Schwarzenberger from Pixabay 

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