2022 Ends With A Mercury Retrograde In Capricorn
2022’s final Mercury retrograde begins on December 29, breaking delusions left and right in the sign of Capricorn.
On December 29, Mercury goes retrograde for the fourth time in 2022, initiating a new economic paradigm from the kingdom of Capricorn. After a year of change, conflict and chaos, how will this retrograde play out, and what does it spell for the astrology of 2023? Arriving after a chaotic week of winter storms and interrupted holiday plans, Mercury promises to further scramble our carefully laid arrangements for a perfect new year. Here’s how to work with this surge of chaos and make sense of the trickster god’s game within a game.
Mercury Retrograde Basics
For global, culture-shifting changes, turn to the old gods: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. But to make meaning of the epochal, to understand the massive through the lens of the quotidian, we mere humans turn to Mercury — or Hermes — the messenger god, described in the Athanassakis Orphic Hymns as “a man-loving prophet to mortals.” Mercury lords over action, transmission, communication, and manifestation; he’s the hand gripping the paintbrush, the Paper Girl throwing the headlines at your doorstep, the theater employee handing out the 3D glasses. Mercury imbues the everyday with divine resonance, helping deliver your greatest potential from abstraction to reality.
Retrogrades occur when the earth “catches up” with another planet in their orbit of the sun, producing the trippy feeling you may experience while on a train, witnessing another train in parallel motion: Is one of us falling behind, slowing down, or stuck in place? When Mercury retrogrades, that disorientation extends to the practical, logistical, and essential. It feels like all of the working mechanisms in your life slow down, fall behind, or crash. Though most of the planets have retrograde periods, Mercury goes haywire more often, and its effects are felt immediately.
Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn
Feel like you’ve read this article before — even this very year? Indeed, this is 2022’s second Mercury retrograde in Capricorn, after January’s hybrid Aquarius-Capricorn edition. And, what’s more, 2023 will also feature a second Capricorn retrograde. Why now? Why this? Three of 2022’s retrogrades were hybrids, which launched in air signs and progressed into earth signs. Air signs deal in the social and theoretical, while earth signs cover practical matters. The air sign retrogrades of 2021–2022 help acclimate us to a new social reality, to a changing public discourse and digital dialogue after 2020’s crash. The Orphic Hymns name Mercury as the master of “industry, gracious talk, and mindfulness.” With the latter two more or less hashed out, the earth sign retrogrades force a reckoning with industry. How are we going to support ourselves in this new world order? What is our worth? What does work look like for us?
Though 2023’s Taurus and Virgo retrogrades will work out the kinks of your financial reality, the repeating Capricorn editions serve a more specific purpose: to adjust you to a new paradigm. Capricorn is the sign of the boss, chief, general, and paladin; this is where deals are made to secure a sweeping future for the whole corporation. As Mercury retrogrades over and over in Capricorn, Pluto begins its denouement in the same domain before it enters Aquarius in 2023. At what feels like an accelerated rate, Pluto is decimating many of the falsely promised industries of the last few years: the NFT trade, streaming entertainment, and social media. As FTX, HBO MAX, and Twitter fall to predictable male hubris, Mercury laughs and moves on.
Mercury Retrograde: How to Deal
Where does this Mercury retrograde leave you? Essentially, you’ll be figuring your own sh*t out while the world continues to spin (and occasionally crash). Capricorn is the sign of longevity, and when Mercury pulls the rug out from under you, you’re called to prove your resourcefulness, wit, and foresight, like Buffy had to when she lost her powers. You’ll take a sobering look at your finances, your ambitions, and what’s holding you back. Capricorns get a bad rap for their ruthless practicality, their bare-bones adherence to planning within reason. But when Mercury rolls back in this sign, you get a chance to break out of any delusions, limiting patterns, and old beliefs. You have time to build something real, something sturdy, from the ground up.
Take Mercury’s conjunction with Venus and Pluto on December 29 to contemplate what needs to expire for your dreams to take form — what expenditures, obligations, or wasteful behaviors are in the way of your future. The Cancer full moon on January 6, followed by a sun-Mercury conjunction (or cazimi) on the seventh, makes anything feel possible, if you can lay the groundwork for it. On January 12, Mars ends its long retrograde in Gemini, ending a period of creative ambivalence and experimentation, one which has likely yielded little productivity but great possibility. And finally, Mercury’s retrograde in Capricorn ends on January 18. Employ this retrograde, then, as a time of clear-headed envisioning, beyond dreaming and manifesting, when you can make a budget, get organized, and start the forward march.
Of course, as with all Mercury retrogrades, you’re encouraged not to fire on any of these plans until the trickster god goes direct. Do as much behind-the-scenes reworking as you can, but don’t push it. Hold off on making travel arrangements or signing contracts during the retrograde, and try to keep your responsibilities light until after the 18th. Any unnecessary arrangements you pile on to stay busy will be boons for Mercury’s chaos. Don’t tempt him. Instead, take this as a time between, a liminal moment to catch your breath, face your bullsh*t, and look ahead. The future is indeed yours…which means you’ll have to be responsible for it.
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