Weekly Forecast January 5: Mercury Sextile Saturn, Pre-Retrograde Shadow

Train trestle, Black Warrior River, Tuscaloosa, Ala. © Gretchen Friedrich, 2015.

Train trestle over the Black Warrior River, Tuscaloosa, Ala. © Gretchen Friedrich, 2015.

Believe it or not, there is only one major planetary aspect this week! Good thing, because most of the week will be colored by the Full Moon in Cancer, which is still ahead of us as I write.

Of course, there are always several lunar aspects in a week, and I’ll cover some of that below. Also, there are minor aspects between planets, including the inconjunct, which some astrologers consider major. For me, it depends on the planets involved. More on that below, too.

Otherwise, the only planetary aspect in the coming week is a snappy sextile on Monday from Mercury in Aquarius to Saturn in Sagittarius. Even though Mercury transits are quick and sextiles are breezy, this one contains some important information about events or circumstances that will be ongoing through February 19, plus or minus a couple of days, and possibly beyond. This applies both to world events and to situations in our personal lives, especially those pertaining to obligations, responsibilities, and commitments.

Those are heavy sounding words, but it’s not all bad. Obligations don’t have to be onerous, responsibilities can be fulfilling, and commitments typically are by choice. It’s all about growth. In the midst of the fallout from a tumultuous Full Moon, try to remain alert for news, inspiration, ideas – anything that can help you find the energy and resources to expand into a new calling. Teamwork and collaboration may be big factors, and news may come through your friends or social media.

Normally, Mercury transits are fleeting, as Mercury moves through the sky faster than any other planet. That’s why the god Mercury in classical mythology (Greek Hermes) is portrayed with winged sandals and is said to rule travel. The exception is when he’s retrograde, and we’re coming up on a retrograde period in a couple of weeks. In fact, Mercury enters the pre-retrograde “shadow period” just seconds before the sextile with Saturn on Monday, and he’s beginning to slow down (what it looks like from our perspective on Earth) to turn retrograde on January 21. The sextile will be repeated during his retrograde phase and once again a week after he returns direct on February 11.

At the very least, you should have a good idea by the middle of February of what Saturn’s entry in Sagittarius means for you. Six or seven weeks to get a clue isn’t that long, if that’s what you’re thinking. Sometimes you have to experience a transit like this for a while before you recognize and understand the pattern. And remember, Saturn goes back into Scorpio this summer before returning to Sagittarius, where he will remain until December 2017. That means Saturn, too, is in territory that he will revisit twice again this year. Even if you do come to an understanding of how you’re going to “do” your Saturn transit, getting through the initial stages could take the better part of 2015.

With that in mind, Mercury’s retrograde phase will be all the more useful in that it will offer an opportunity to create a trip planner. You’ll add to and modify it during the year, and maybe you’ll throw it out entirely at some point. But you have to have a general guideline that takes into account your available resources. Saturn demands structure. With inventive Mercury in Aquarius in a supportive aspect with Saturn, you could find innovative ways to get from point A to point B. Some of them might be genius.

As it so happens, the three-part Mercury-Saturn sextile closely follows the lunar cycle. Monday’s sextile occurs less than 24 hours after the Full Moon in Cancer, and Mercury is just a degree from the New Moon in Aquarius on January 20, the day before the Messenger goes into reverse. Many of you could be dealing with difficult circumstances this week in the wake of Sunday’s Full Moon, some of which may entail letting go of someone or something. So it will be encouraging to get a glimpse ahead to two weeks from now, when new doors start to open. You may or may not get a clear view of what’s behind those doors, but you’ll at least get a hint of where they are. The second sextile in the series is on February 5, two days after the Full Moon in Leo. The third and final pass is on February 19, the day after a second New Moon in Aquarius. By then, Mercury will be direct, and our plans should be firming up.

Yet another reason to welcome the Mercury-Saturn sextile is that Saturn is creeping toward a square with Neptune, which is the cue for a big collective wakeup call. Indeed, our responsibilities and commitments under Saturn in Sagittarius are likely to include supporting the revolution, first by waking up to what’s happening and then to the power of large numbers of people willing to put their differences aside and fight for a common cause. Police abuse, for example, is not just a racial issue. To test that theory, you only need to look back at the Occupy movement and contemplate what would happen if it was taken up a notch.

Speaking of Occupy, I just read an article on CounterPunch in which French journalist Gilbert Mercier contends that fear of police reprisal is precisely why a global revolution won’t start in the United States. He also makes a case for why revolution can’t happen without violence, and he uses the Occupy movement as an example. He writes that it’s time to harness the power of the mob – key word being “harness.” That’s a Saturn word. It implies leadership, definite goals, structure, direction, and intent, which clash with Neptunian visions of … well, whatever you want to envision, we’re all one, peace bro.

Predictably, Occupy Wall Street organizers have a different opinion. They declare the protest a resounding success based on the huge numbers of participants and acknowledgement by politicians, including President Obama, that it showed how frustrated people were. Never mind that only one top banker went to jail and that the gap between rich and poor widened in 2014, with every indication the trend will continue everywhere in the foreseeable future.

While declaring Occupy a success, movement co-founder Micah White nonetheless concedes that protest marches don’t accomplish squat. In a recent interview with Esquire, White says, “Instead, I’m more interested now with the power of social mobilization. The power of, basically, getting large numbers of people to change their behaviors, to depattern themselves, to actually get the facts collectively in order to tackle global challenges. … If there’s gonna be a revolution, it’ll happen non-violently. I think it’ll be a very peaceful kind of. It’ll be more like an awakening, you know?”

He doesn’t explain how the 99 percent are going to peacefully kind of get back their share of the wealth from the privileged few. As I recall, that was the whole point of OWS. Historically, restoring income equality has been a violent undertaking, and some of the privileged few lost their heads. In any case, these two articles are an indication that the clash between Saturn and Neptune is in the early stages – right on cue – and it shows one way in which it might unfold on the world stage. While Mercury is in Aquarius, there is ample opportunity for brainstorming, which essentially is what Mercier and White are doing. And there will be plenty more favorable aspects down the road, as the Saturn-Neptune square doesn’t make its first exact pass until late fall and continues for another year after that.

What makes it vital to start having the discussion now, though, is that the final episode in the Uranus-Pluto square takes place in March, and for the first time, Saturn won’t be reinforcing Pluto’s despotic, destructive force. Of all the world events that have occurred during the Uranus-Pluto square, the most obvious pattern is the systemic breakdown of social order. Uranus represents social equality and a rekindling of the call for freedom, but to date, he’s been on the losing end. That imbalance has shifted, and now we have not only an opportunity but a responsibility to use this energy to create a new social order that values individuality within the collective and encourages the creative thought process.

Now let’s have a quick look at the minor aspects I mentioned at the beginning of this post. On Thursday (late Wednesday in Western time zones), the Moon conjoins Jupiter in Leo. They don’t call Jupiter the Big Guy for nothing, and Leo represents the king or leader. Meanwhile, Saturn in Sagittarius “feeds” Jupiter, giving his energy even more weight. It’s all rather heavy. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a general trend toward weight gain this year. The potential is that much greater if Jupiter is transiting your first or sixth house. No matter how much pressure we’re under or how tired or overworked we are, we have to keep going. The Moon’s conjunction with Jupiter provides some temporary relief. It reminds me of the “Happy” video by Pharell Williams. In tough times, a spontaneous moment of joy can breaking through can be powerful medicine.

On Sunday, January 11, the Sun and Jupiter form a quincunx, or inconjunct. This aspect tends to be jarring, but fortunately this one doesn’t last long. If you’ve spent the past several weekends doing holiday shopping, going to parties, preparing for company, cleaning up after company, returning gifts, and so forth, this could be the first free weekend you’ve had in a while. Some people feel a letdown after the holidays, especially if there’s a pile of chores waiting to be done. This is a time to decompress, which isn’t always comfortable, but you’ll feel a lot better if you take some time to rest your mind and body. If there’s work that absolutely has to be done, do it, but leave all the non-essential stuff for later. The week after next also will be relatively light.

Before I go, I’d like to mention the website of a friend here on Vashon who is starting a Reiki service for pets. I’ve written a lot about karmic connections with people, but Pam explains how connecting with our animal companions is a way of tuning into other dimensions of space and time, sometimes for spiritual co-evolution. In one post, she describes how she received an important message across time and space through an encounter with a deer. It’s great stuff, especially if you have a bond with a special fur-person.

Much love and courage to all,
Aquarius, the sign of astrologyPat

© Pat Paquette, RealAstrologers.com, 2014.

2 thoughts on “Weekly Forecast January 5: Mercury Sextile Saturn, Pre-Retrograde Shadow

  1. Gretchen

    Thank you Pat! Your Sunday posts are like a weekly planner for me. Looking ahead to the Mercury/Saturn trine, I will set my intentions to be innovative!


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