Just because Mercury retrograde occurs about 30 percent of the year, doesn’t mean we must like it. Acceptance is not the same thing as celebration, after all. We can, however, learn to work with this infamous transit — to shift our own moves so that we’re in tempo. With Mercury transiting through the stars of Aquarius this January and February, there’s room and support for a new approach and an open mind.
While Mercury’s retrograde station begins on January 30, the shadow has already been well under way and what awaits us shouldn’t surprise us; the stars remind us what we already know. This three-week retrograde begins at 26 degrees Aquarius and stations direct on February 20 at 11 degrees Aquarius (moving over the exact degree Mercury was in during the U.S. inauguration, FYI). If that isn’t enough Aquarius energy for you, it’s worth noting that the Sun, moon, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn will all have a stint in Aquarius during the retrograde transit. If ever there was time to look at things from a different perspective, this is it. With Saturn making tense square aspects to Uranus this year, revision feels less like an option and more like an incessant ringing bell. Not just change, growth.
One way to work with influences like this is to get hands on the luddite way: commit to noting all engagements and tasks in your planner, take time to do daily reflections and concerns so you can keep track of your mind — outside your mind. But, Aquarians aren’t luddites, not if they can help it, anyway. That’s why another great way to engage with complex planetary transits is to find an astrology app that really works for you — not one that just sends you generally cryptic notifications.
Consider the CHANI app, just released by well-loved and regarded astrologer, Chani Nicholas who is also the author of You Were Born For This: Astrology for Radical Self-Acceptance. Nicholas has been a counseling astrologer for more than 20 years, and her app promises personalized support and guidance. If the fact that professional astrologers built this app isn’t exciting enough, consider the fact that the CHANI app partnered with AnnieCannons, Inc, a queer-led software development agency whose engineers are predominantly survivors of human trafficking and/or gender-based violence. Additionally, 5 percent of all app profits will be disbursed directly to Black, Latinx, Native/Indigenous, Queer, and/or Trans survivors of gender-based violence by FreeFrom.org. To learn a little more about the CHANI app and what it can offer Earthlings in a sea of app options, I spoke to Chani Nicholas herself, which you can read below.
Your astrology writings have been a guiding light to so many readers over the years, what inspired you to adapt the knowledge you offer to an app format?
We were inspired to build an app to make the work that we do even more accessible to folks. I have been teaching astrology classes online for over 6 years, and the ways in which we were delivering content were very cumbersome. We felt it was time to revolutionize the ways we were engaging with our audience and it’s been really exciting to see how deeply people are invested in it, and how much more digestible the content is.
Do you think of your app as engaging with other astrology apps as? Is CHANI in conversation with other cosmic tools out there and, if it is, what is that conversation like?
The CHANI app is a home for the work that I have always been doing. I am not a tech company, first and foremost, I’m an astrologer who has created an app. The app is my delivery service, but the heart, the core of the work, is astrology and how astrology can be used as a tool for healing. If the app stopped serving my work, we’d pivot to deliver it in the most effective way possible.
As an astrologer, I am forever in conversation with all the astrologers in my life. My teachers and colleagues are constantly pushing the conversation forward, constantly helping me to fine-tune my skills. All astrologers are always in conversation with one another, either directly or indirectly, immediately or throughout the ages — through ancient texts, twitter threads, readings, and DM's. None of us come to know anything about this craft completely on our own. It’s truly a communal practice.
So much of our downtime has become virtual with the onslaught of COVID19 and, sometimes, another thing to do on our phones can feel one thing too much. Do you have any suggestions or prompts for how someone might use the guidance provided by the CHANI app to connect with the world around them, even when they're unplugged?
The CHANI app is designed to be a place for your restoration and your well-being. It is intentionally built as a place for your healing and reflection. There are so many apps that help us connect to others and the world at large — this is not that. This is an app that helps you connect to yourself and the ancient wisdom tradition of astrology, ritual, and meditation. We know that there are a million distractions in day-to-day life and we are hoping that the CHANI app is an antidote to that.
If one were to turn to the CHANI app in preparation for the Mercury retrograde transit this February, what would they find?
For those that have downloaded the app but are not premium subscribers, we have a podcast called "The Week Ahead" that goes into great detail about this Mercury retrograde in general and a weekly horoscope that speaks directly to where this Mercury retrograde is occurring for them. If folks are premium subscribers, they also receive a reading specific to them about where in their chart this particular Mercury retrograde is happening, how to work with it, and what to expect during it — plus a guided mediation, altar suggestions, and journal prompts to help make sense of what this Mercury retrograde is asking of them in the Workshop section of the app. Also for premium subscribers, there is a Transit section that will tell them if Mercury is retrograding over any personal/natal planets inter chart.