Mercury in Aquarius 2016 — Solitude Among Strangers

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Cecil Beaton – Tyneside Shipyards, 1943. A close-up of a boy carrying laths of timber.

Here in my solitude, I have the feeling that I contain too much humanity.

~Ingmar Bergman, Images: My Life in Film

After an extended traversal in Capricorn, Mercury has entered Aquarius. Due to the retrograde motion, and the presence of Pluto in Capricorn, Mercury’s travels there were especially heavy. If you are feeling the lightness and quickness of thought and conversation, you might also be happy to see Mercury leave Capricorn.

During January and the first two weeks of February the trickster magician god invited, then  compelled, then held a ruler to your thoughts to ensure they were straight enough. Examination of the core of life was the order. The core is the roots that allow the thick trunk of a tremendous oak tree to withstand high-speed winds, treacherous rains, and deep rumbles within the forest floor.

Cecil Beaton – 1962 Portrait of an Arab Leggionaire

That is to say that Mercury retrograde through Capricorn compelled careful and rigorous deliberation. With a cautious eye on the prudence of pragmatism, we should now have both a good lay of the land of what nourishes physical existence, what psychological motivations inform the decisions we make, and with luck we have a long range plan for being more true in the Capricorn parts of our charts.


I belabor the point about Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn for a couple of reasons. First, it is important to digest experiences:


What we do not experience becomes only case material or world history, hastening the pace of events both in my soul and in the world. All haste comes from the devil, as an old saying goes, which psychologically means that one’s devil is to be found in one’s indigestion, in having more events than are experienced. What we do experience by putting events through an imaginative process is taken off the streets of time and out of the ignorant sea of my mental turbulence. We beat the devil by simply standing still.

For this reason I worship psychologically at the altar of the God of historical time and slowness, Saturn, the archetypal swallower, who teaches us the art of internal digestion through the syndrome of his magistral depressions.”

~James Hillman, Healing Fiction

And second, because at the end of this year we will have a Mercury retrograde which repeats the pattern of this first one of the year, where Mercury stations near Pluto. Mercury will begin in Capricorn, conjunct Pluto, and retrograde back into Sagittarius. Mercury will then station direct when the Sun in Capricorn is conjunct Pluto.

Of course the flavor of that retrograde is different, but that Pluto element remains. And of course you will be changed and your life will be changed by the time that retrograde rolls around, but Pluto is still doing deep work on our psyches, and the character of the retrograde will be similar.

Mercury in Aquarius

Cecil Beaton – A young Jewish refugee from Poland in a camp in Palestine. WWII

Aquarius often takes an unconventional approach to life, and is seemingly unconcerned about the opinions of others while at the same time quite sensitive to them, in a particular sense. Aquarius is attuned to when a set of others occupy the space a of unspoken, collectively agreed upon rules, or are adherents of a certain “ism” or kind of being or behavior or understanding. Aquarius can be so outspoken about being so unconventional that sometimes shows up as a need to have a mohawk about their rebelliousness. The predictability of Aquarius’ taste for the opposite of what everyone else is doing is rivaled only by the potential for discipline and rigor. However, that same attunement to many discrete elements at once can also give rise to dispersion or a lack of concentration if a rigorous approach to simultaneity is not well developed. If you’ve ever been on the phone with someone at the same time that you receive an e-mail from them, or while they are communicating in a forum electronically, that is an illustration of that rigorous simultaneity.


Mercury, the perceptive and lingual function in astrology, is responsible for integrating and communicating the pulses of all the other planets in the heavens or in the individual birth chart. Now in Aquarius, Mercury shares information on the level of broad swaths of organisms, mainly human people. Mercury finds itself naturally turning to ordered systems of both thought and expression.

Mercury in Aquarius is concerned with observing the patterns of people and

Cecil Beaton – Making noodles by hand

understanding these from the perspective of distance, a quality of Aquarius more generally. It is this quality that cultivates the spaciousness required to sail fluidly among rapidly unfolding realms of thought.


Distance is a starting point for considering the difference between solitude and exile. One can be a deliberate choice and the other is often imposed from the outside, and implies an unfulfilled desire to belong.

Forced exile can become a choice. The acceptance of not belonging becomes accepted and integrated, it unfurls and reveals its own footway, likely inaccessible by any other route.

Solitude on the other hand is the intentional cultivation of the expanses of space, and this can act as capital for the air signs. Solitude is what Henry David Thoreau was after when he went into the woods, and what allowed Ingmar Bergman to heighten his artistic receptivity so he could feel humanity he contains, and part of what compelled Nelson Mandela to fill the volume of a book, two times, and what Virginia Woolf found stimulating when she walked among anonymous strangers in the street after sundown.

From the experience of solitude, alone or in anonymous society, can come the experience of brotherhood and communion with all of life, human, creature, and natural. This is a part of the experience of Aquarius and something we can all access while Mercury is in Aquarius.

Mercury will remain in Aquarius through March 5.

Cecil Beaton – China 1944

Mercury makes a sextile to Saturn on February 24-25, offering an opportunity to crystalize thought structures, make solid and long lasting agreements, and be clear about a dedication to expansion.


Mercury makes a sextile to Uranus on February 25-26, offering an opportunity for creative thoughtforms, sudden liberating ideas or conversations, leading with innovative thinking.

While Mercury is in Aquarius the planet remains dispositor of Jupiter, and we now have ability to receive insights about re-designing the approach to inner inquiry, any spiritual practices, any dietary or exercise changes, any commitments to service, writing, thinking, and forms of work, associations with co-workers and hired help, and any other habits or life structures that keep life a well oiled machine.

With love,

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California based astrologer in practice since 2014. Blending traditional astrology with Yogic/Vedic philosophy, and wisdom teachings, art, poetry, literature and spirituality.

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