The first Mercury retrograde cycle of 2022 will occur beginning at 6:42 AM EST on Saturday, January 15 with Mercury stationing at 16 degrees of sidereal Capricorn. Mercury will remain retrograde until 11:14 PM EST on February 4, when it will station direct at 0 degrees of sidereal Capricorn.
The shadow period of this Mercury retrograde cycle extends from December 29 to February 24. During the pre-retrograde shadow period, we have been experiencing the themes that will be playing out in our lives during the retrograde period. During the post-retrograde cycle, we will be adjusting to the shifts that occurred in the previous month.
The approximate three-week retrograde cycle of Mercury happens three-four times a year. In 2022, it will retrograde four times in earth signs, indicating that the world at large will be mostly challenged with practical day-to-day matters. For example, issues related to systems that we used to be able to depend on are breaking down, as with supply chain issues; threats to public safety; economic issues disrupting our material security (like spiraling inflation); educational and employment/work force concerns; travel delays and cancellations; and health and healthcare issues.
Much of society is imploding at this time, and it is likely that more and more structures and systems (Capricorn) will be found to be unreliable in the coming weeks. As an example, a client broke his arm several weeks ago (multiple fractures) and is still awaiting a hospital bed and surgery; and another friend’s animal companion injured his leg and has to wait a month for a veterinary surgery slot to become available. Many schools are shut down in various locations. The prices of a new or used car or home purchase or home rental have also gone through the roof. Flight cancellations are also at record highs due to work force issues. The list goes on.
According to Sage Parashara (Jyotish), Mercury is the lord of the earth element. Earth is connected to “artha,” the purushartha (aim of life) that represents living in the material world with ease. Artha comprises our values, work, and the resources we need in order to fulfill our dharma. Our physical body is included in the latter, as it is one of our greatest resources. As Mercury retrogrades in his own element in 2022, we should focus on clarifying and aligning with our important values; work to create more material security and prosperity in our lives; and aim to improve our health, which includes building more bodily vigor.
The earth element represents the emotions of fear and courage. If our earth element is not well attuned, Mercury retrograding here will highlight our insecurities, and we may find ourselves feeling frustrated, critical, and anxious when we are not achieving the results we desire. We must then learn to be more grounded, steady, and practical, and remember to live in the heart in order to cultivate and act with courage in a world that often seems to have gone quite mad.
The following Mercury retrograde dates are based on the sidereal zodiac positions):
1. January 15 to February 4 in Capricorn
2. May 11 to June 4 in Taurus
3. September 11 to October 3 in Virgo
4. December 30, 2022 to January 19, 2023 from Capricorn to Sagittarius
Mercury retrograde is much maligned as a period when anything can and will go haywire, when we may experience more than the usual communication breakdowns, including missed appointments, travel snafus, broken devices, and transportation issues. These issues don’t affect everyone, but usually only develop if and when retrograde Mercury is somehow interfacing in a challenging way with our own natal horoscope and planetary cycles.
Mercury retrograde may bring some disruptions but also helps us to deepen our understanding of ourselves and of others. As the Messenger, Mercury is said to be traveling in the Underworld during his retrograde cycle, where he can help us access the deeper unconscious mind in order to solve problems in surprising ways, so that new understanding can be brought to light to help us overcome perceived limitations. Mercury retrograde also gives us a great opportunity to catch up, regroup, and reorganize; to step back, reflect, and reconsider where we have come and where we are going.
Mercury’s inferior conjunction with the Sun will occur on January 23, and around this date, we may tap into some important information and guidance and can begin to metaphorically plant seeds for something new to develop in our world. What is revealed at this time is likely to emerge around Mercury’s direct station on February 4. The last twelve days or so of the retrograde period (after the inferior conjunction) are about deciding and preparing to take new action. But usually, we still need to wait until after Mercury goes direct to make any life-altering decisions or to initiate anything significant.
Mercury will station retrograde in the second drekkana (ten-degree segment) of Capricorn, which can sometimes symbolize conflicts, arguments, and threatening situations. It will transit back into the first drekkana of Capricorn, which can sometimes and for some people symbolize interpersonal conflicts and financial woes.
Mercury will station retrograde on January 15 in conjunction with Saturn, which can have a pessimistic tone, but also points to a brand new cycle of ideas that will be developing in the coming months. Mercury will station direct on February 4 at the zero degree of Capricorn in conjunction with Pluto, which for some may suggest new insights gleaned and a bursting urge to initiate and begin creating something new in our lives.