Retrograde planets are nothing to fear. They cannot cause havoc in your life. They simply represent the introversion of consciousness, meaning where you previously looked outside yourself, a retrograde planet asks you to look within.
On Friday January 14th, Mercury turned retrograde, conjunct Saturn and square Uranus. It will remain retrograde until February 3rd. Meanwhile Venus remains retrograde until January 30th. In my recent video on Venus retrograde, I suggest that Venus retrograde can give you the power to totally reorient your relationship to yourself and the world. As the planet of love, beauty, and pleasure, Venus is the source of our desires and values. We almost automatically look outside of ourselves to fulfill our desires. This habit is the source of most people’s perennial sense of dissatisfaction. We look for fulfillment from the outside, when fulfillment must begin and end within. When this happens, the outer world automatically becomes more beautiful. Venus retrograde invites you to trace your desires back to their source. It invites you to tap into the infinite source of love that dwells within you.
Meanwhile, with Mercury retrograde over the next three weeks, we get another palpable dose of introverted energy. In this case it applies to our perceptions and thought processes. Yes, Mercury retrograde can bring some mild irritants, including miscommunication, lost keys, crashed hard drives, and mixed-up travel plans. If you swim with Mercury’s current, however, you will get the opportunity to declutter your mind, detangle its wires, and put your head on straight. And who couldn’t use a clearer head at this time?
This Mercury retrograde lights up the long-running Saturn-Uranus square, which is the most important planetary alignment between 2021 to 2023, and the one that best reflects the chaos and hysteria of our time. The basic tone of Saturn-Uranus is restriction vs. freedom, old vs. new, authority vs. revolution, institutions vs. the people. It can reveal the hairline fractures in things like building foundations, bridges, and… democracy. Extreme tension can lead to sudden collapse. Also, Saturn tends to bring out the negative side of Uranus– e.g. stupid, willful rebellion for its own sake. At the same time, Uranus can liberate us from the worst of Saturn– e.g. decrepit institutions and stultifying traditions. The last year has been defined by these qualities, whether we are speaking of vaxxers vs. antivaxxers, the worsening climate crisis, and the cultural Civil War brewing in America.
All planetary alignments demand integration of some kind, and Saturn-Uranus demands we integrate energies which by their very nature wish to remain polarized. So how might these energies find integration? First, recognize that there is no freedom without responsibility. Responsibility does not mean blame or duty. It simply means that you have the power to choose how to respond to your own impulses, to events, and to other people. When you take responsibility for yourself, you end up taking responsibility for the world. Responsibility requires awareness. With awareness and responsibility, the consequences of your words and behavior become apparent. You naturally act in a way that supports life, without requiring any moral law to coerce you into behaving well. Without the power to choose your response, however, you will react compulsively to impulses, events, and people. You will be a slave to your appetites and triggers. The more compulsive your reactions, the less willing you will be to see yourself, and the more necessary it will be to have an enemy, a scapegoat, or an oppressive power to shake your fist at. If it does nothing else, the Saturn-Uranus square reveals an epidemic of irresponsibility.
Also, consider the ways in which the right kinds of limitations might increase your freedom. Too much freedom is a bad thing. Without gravity, we would float off into space. All creative artists know “blank page syndrome”– the feeling of paralysis that comes at the outset of a creative project, with infinite possibilities before you. For some artists, like the composer and Saturn-Uranus native Igor Stravinsky, some seemingly arbitrary, self-imposed restrictions actually help to focus and stimulate creativity. The same goes for life. Without the right container and without some discipline to ground us, we falter.
If you have not yet discovered the extent to which your inner world creates your reality, or the extent to which our collective inner worlds create what we call “consensus reality”, then this period of Venus and Mercury retrograde can help. Remember, retrogrades invite us to go within. Venus can lead you back to the source of your desires, while Mercury can help you retake the reins of your mind, especially if the general atmosphere of fear and loathing in the world has spooked it. If you have found the last year supremely agitating, then please take the time to go within. Meditate, journal, record your dreams, get to know your cast of inner characters, and use mantras to activate higher powers within yourself. Do whatever it takes. The world needs people to wake up.
One final note. Today’s Full Moon in Cancer, opposite Pluto, offers a particularly good opportunity for shadow work. Dark, compulsive, aggressive, and obsessive energies may arise. For the world at large, this may not look too pretty, especially for the U.S. in its Pluto return. But for those willing to do the inner work, this can be a moment to tap into some real power. Your triggers are your teachers. If you listen to them with enough loving awareness, and with the sense that you alone are responsible, you can become a force for healing and awakening in a world that desperately needs it. This is the inner path to a more peaceful, loving, and equitable world.
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