Mercury Retrograde Jan 2016 – Toxic Tradition and Liberation

Mercury and the Sun

There are a few challenging aspect configurations during the first Mercury Retrograde of 2016 which commences with a tight square to Mars residing in the Via Combusta. Concluding with a conjunction to Pluto at 14° Capricorn, Mercury will revisit the point he entered pre-shadow on 20th December 2015. The involvement of Uranus and Pluto provoke discussion about stagnant ideologies, antiquated systems and corruption in once respected governing bodies. On a personal level, friendships, the social group and those with a common purpose will be highlighted.  If Mercury aspects any of your natal planets during this period, the effects of this Retrograde will be experienced personally.

Mercury Retrograde Dates for the Diary:

20 Dec: Enters Pre-Shadow 14°58’ Cap 00:26 GMT

4 Jan: Stationed Retrograde 00°57’ Aqu 13:05 GMT
26 Jan: Mercury Stations Direct 14°58′ Cap 21:50 GMT

14 Feb: Mercury Exits Shadow 00°57’ Aqu 16:49 GMT

On January 4th Mercury stations Retrograde whilst squaring Mars at 0° Scorpio, in the Via Combusta. It may feel impossible to move forward unless heated words are expressed. Mercury is objective in Aquarius, and seeks validation through discussion with friends and those with common interests. There are deep undercurrents surrounding a potentially volatile situation where loyalties may be tested. The authenticity of friendships may be called into the fray – Mars challenges truth which may have been handled well until he crossed the threshold from diplomatic Libra into cutting Scorpio.

On the evening of January 8th Mercury ingresses back into Capricorn. In trine, Jupiter in Virgo provides practical assistance and sage advice to Mercury, his student. Jupiter adds a philosophical edge to the thought process whilst providing meaning which gives us faith. With both Mercury and Jupiter travelling backwards in retrograde motion, this is a very positive introspective process and a good way for both planets to resolve issues and bring ideas into the physical realm.

On January 14th Mercury will join the Sun in conjunction at 23° Capricorn and will also perfect his trine with Jupiter. The clarity to see things in their entirety may grant foresight of the sign of things to come. Utilise this opportunity to prepare for the up-coming hard aspects to Mercury.

From January 16th sudden realisations may present themselves in rather un-subtle ways, creating uncertainty. Mercury finds himself at the apex of a Dynamic T-Square with the Moon and Uranus in Aries, opposed to Lilith in Libra. Relationships may feature – staying together to avoid being alone may be challenged, perhaps in the form of a better option arising or perhaps the current situation does not make sense anymore. On this day, the Moon is also at first quarter, adding to the feeling of emotional disconnection whilst Black Moon Lilith strives to make sense of potentially toxic relationships which, through their absence, leave a previously unacknowledged abyss. Once a host for the projected hopes and desires unable to integrate within one’s psyche; the void left behind may compensate itself through compulsive behaviour. The key is to point toward a productive compulsion rather than clambering back to comfort zones or destructive behaviour patterns.

On January 20th the Sun will be shining a spotlight on 0° Aquarius where our journey and this process began. This may be a moment of clarity, a feeling of déjà-vu where you revisit memories with an element of hindsight. This spotlight into the Abyss provides something for mountain-conquering Mercury to fixate on when climbing back up to the light, reintroducing an airy, logical quality to this part of his quest. Mercury’s square to Uranus and Lilith both reach perfection today whilst a quincunx to Mercury from the Moon in Gemini creates a window of opportunity to question and make sense of recent events.

The 22nd January sees another dynamic configuration as Mercury makes a conjunction with ‘non-negotiable’ Pluto at 15° Capricorn. Travelling back to make another contact with Hades, it would seem Mercury needs to dip back into the underworld to take a very honest look at himself. With outer planets involved, there is a collective message entangled with this transit. This may be a time when very honest revelations may come to the surface and a new way of thinking is born out of the murky depths of the collective mind. Ideas that have the power to completely transform and revolutionise world views have the potential to surface today. The Moon in Cancer makes an exact opposition to Mercury and reaching perfection with Pluto 16 minutes later, providing an intense emotional outlet. On a personal level this may be a difficult time at home with the family, high friction and emotional words that have the power to change everything in an instant.  In a Mundane sense, this could be a tug of war where Left and Right-Wing ideals struggle for supremacy. Lilith in Libra highlights a lack of fairness and lawfulness which Uranus in Aries’ unapologetic self-preserving attitude is prepared to fight against for its idealistic and original view. Tradition and respected ways of thinking are being challenged at this time and humanitarian ideals are being tested at times of crisis. With Capricorn’s ruler Saturn (also the traditional ruler of Aquarius), currently transiting Sagittarius, xenophobia and religiophobia are currently being highlighted. Perhaps Pluto will give Mercury permission to voice some controversial ideas surrounding these issues.

The Full Moon at 03° Leo on January 24th provides a dramatic climax to Mercury’s journey back into Capricorn with the Sun still highlighting the degree at which this whole process started. Mars is back in the picture, now making a Sextile to Mercury and at a wide T-square with the Sun-Moon opposition providing a real opportunity to deal with anger in a more constructive fashion, perhaps through honest, healthy debate. Mars in Scorpio can be cutting and vengeful, but he is close to exiting the Via Combusta, where he can sever the bonds of his anger and leave them in the underworld behind him. Friendships once thought able to withstand the winds of change may be left behind but a new perspective will rise from the depths of Hades, where shackles of the past dissolve into the ashes.

About Stefanie James

Stefanie is an astrologer based in London. She travels around the UK and abroad, talking, teaching and writing about astrology. In addition to this, Stefanie co-hosts HIJAC, a transatlantic podcast with US based Seana Collins. Together they explore mysteries, alternative perspectives and current affairs through the lens of astrology. Book your consultation with Stefanie at