The synodic cycle of Mercury completes a set of movements in approximately 116 days, repeated thrice within the 365-day calendar year. As the sway between Mercury and the Sun reaches exactitude, the triad repetition of this relationship forms an approximate triangle within the zodiacal sphere. Consequently, it is the inferius (Latin for ‘below’) or inferior conjunction that occurs during Mercury’s retrograde motion. Here, the Sun and The Messenger traverse opposite paths as Mercury speeds, with accelerated momentum, past the Sun. As a visual spectacle, Mercury’s retrograde motion is an act of invisibility, synonymous with an oscillating odyssey into shrouded or hermetical realms.
November 2018 Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius
Mercury enters and remains in its shadow zone from October 28th to November 16th, is retrograde from November 16th to December 6th, and completes its post-retrograde shadow from December 6th to 24th.
In Sagittarius, Mercury is in its sign of detriment. Mercurial Sagittarius seeks to rise and separate, in alignment with its hot and dry, fiery elemental properties. In contrast to the unifying properties of water (as experienced via Mercury’s previous Scorpio ingress), fiery Sagittarius is propelled by primal, individualistic needs and instinctive knowledge coupled with energetic optimism. Because of the all-embracing properties of Sagittarius, the challenge of Mercury in Sagittarius is one of discernment between the extraneous and the critical: a task, for example, succinctly executed by Mercury when ingressed in its domicile and exaltation of Virgo. Nevertheless, Mercury in Sagittarius offers opportunity for expanding individualistic expression, spontaneity, and the illumination of wisdom. Its pathway is opportune for the reassessment of our self-expression and instinctual spiritedness. As part of the fire trinity, Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius begins to re-evaluate current sources of creative fuel and inspiration, blazing beyond the accumulated detritus of life.
The November 2018 Mercury retrograde heralds the necessity for equilibrium amidst a plethora of options. Scattered thought-patterns are the partial result of Mercury in its detriment of explorative Sagittarius, but the Messenger is simultaneously under the beams (come November 22nd, as the Sun ingresses into Sagittarius) and retrograde, amplifying the challenge to discern between an abundance of possibilities. As a whole, November is gorged with celestial activity. Aside from Jupiter’s ingress into Sagittarius, the nodal shifts into Cancer and Capricorn, respectively, the new and full lunations (in Scorpio and Gemini, respectively), Uranus’ regress into Aries, Mars’ ingress into Pisces, and Neptune direct in Pisces, Venus stations direct on the same day as Mercury’s retrograde (approximately 14.41 hours prior to). Clearly, there is an over-abundance of planetary transitions in the mutable and cardinal modes, and, as a result, Mercury retrograde suggests fully exploring options instead of committing to any singularly specified agenda. This entails patience and the acute ability to detect the essential from the superfluous components of information. While caution should be taken throughout the retrograde period, as with most Mercury retrogrades, the most critical times for transactions, electronic and communicative challenges, transportation, and decisiveness occur during the few days prior to and following the precise retrograde and direct stations.
November 2018 Mercury Retrograde Aspects
Mercury retrograde encompasses three major aspects (elaborated below), echoing the urgency for clear communication and impeccable honesty. Because the logical mind is enshrouded in emotional and illusory subjectivity via Neptune and Luna, it is imperative to remain immaculate with our words.
Mercury Square Neptune
The centerpiece of Mercury retrograde is the nearly exact (13′ orb) Mercury-Neptune square, remaining within 1° orb from November 13th to November 20th. Having both planets retrograde adds intensity to themes of deception, illusion, and deceit, now amplified by the imaginative stimulation of nebulous Neptune. Tasks requiring concentration, lucidity, and detail-orientation will prove challenging, for the will is embedded in exploring inner dynamics of sensation. Mercury-Neptune can accentuate miscommunication and its literal loss in delivery. Precision is pivotal when an aspect influences potential confusion, especially under the current of Mercury retrograde. Simultaneously, avoiding confrontations in attempts to either ameliorate or maintain secrecy will only escalate pertinent issues. Remaining impeccably honest with our words is the best course of action, as is maintaining clear and realistic communication. Challenging Mercury-Neptune aspects request that reliance be placed on the logical and factual, in contrast to intuitive guidance, as the latter is potentially distorted throughout Mercury retrograde.
Moon Square Mercury
The Moon-Mercury square introduces somewhat of a battlefield between the intellect and the emotive sphere. In essence, the mind and the heart become discordant and can hinder reasoning and deductive faculties. This aspect is swayed by the emotive expression, often dominating logical discernment. Again, in the context of Mercury retrograde, this manifests as a critical time in communications, particularly those that involve emotional expression. There is a compelling necessity to express issues, as Moon-Mercury aspects often invite emotional and psychological realignment. Perceptions and the subjective realm can oscillate at this time, which is why remaining honest will be paramount in resolving mercurial issues.
Moon Conjunct Neptune
The Moon-Neptune conjunction further amplifies the emotional sensitivity, potential deception, and perplexity stirred by Mercury retrograde. Not unlike the Mercury-Neptune square, the fantastical realm is stimulated, yet this particular aspect cautions against forms of deleterious escapism in order to avoid health issues. The Moon-Neptune conjunction introduces sincere empathy, coupled with the alleviation afforded by forthrightly expressing issues with trustworthy friends. However, once again, there is potential for misinterpretation, delusion, and dubiousness, as this aspect stimulates the emotive sphere without any realistic foundation. This aspect activates vivid dreams, the general dream-state, and is best incorporated into the production of artistic endeavors.
Mercury Retrograde and the Full Moon in Gemini
The Full Moon in Gemini occurs on November 23 at 0º52′ Gemini (decan I), where Luna opposes Jupiter. Likewise, the luminaries and Jupiter are tangled in a T-Square to Mars. Mercury, the dispositor of November’s Full Moon, conjoins Jupiter, and stirs themes of potential inaccuracy and exaggeration. Equilibrium between ambition and ethics will surge for inspection, as will our necessity for accurate communication.
November 2018 Mercury Cazimi in Sagittarius
When a planet is ‘in the heart’ of the King, or Cazimi, it is, simultaneously, shielded and strengthened in the commencement of a new solar cycle. The Medieval term Cazimi is the Latin transliteration of the Arabic term ‘kaṣmīmī’, implying ‘as if in the heart’. Essentially, this is the translation of the Greek term egkardios (meaning ‘in the heart’), originating in the works of Rhetorius of Egypt, circa 7th century CE. *There are disparities amongst Medieval sources regarding the exact proximity between the Sun and another planet in order to be deemed Cazimi, with earlier authors attributing a broader 1° value and later astrologers decreasing range to 16’. However, even the 16′ value presents discordance amongst later astrologers. William Lilly, for example, extends Cazimi to 17′. For the purposes of this article, I will be focusing on the tighter value of 16 arc minutes.
On November 27th, Mercury retrograde is afforded a brief portal of protection, in exact Cazimi at 5°03’ Sagittarius. The applying Moon-Mercury trine provides necessary psychological equilibrium and emotive insight. Most importantly, this aspects balances the emotional core and rational intellect. In Leo, the Moon receives reception from the Sun, echoing the fortifying properties of Mercury Cazimi. This Cazimi conjoins Jupiter in a Sagittarius stellium of all-encompassing beneficence. To a lesser extent, Jupiter is mitigating the condition of Mars, as it oversees both the second and fifth places. While this is not an ideal election for mercurial work, the Cazimi portal does offer potent insight and strength to the otherwise impaired conditions of Mercury retrograde.
Lilly, William, Christian Astrology.
Oil paintings are by Odilon Redon.
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