Mercury retrograde • January 14 – February 3, 2022

2022 Mercury retrograde Survival Guide

It’s almost that time of year again– the often-dreaded Mercury retrograde. Dreaded why? Read on for a full exploration of what it means when the planet of communication appears to move backward. You’ll also find some notes on the mechanics of retrograde planets in general.

But you should know that every Mercury retrograde is not a nightmare. Mercury’s sign and connections to other planets help us tell the individual story of this one in particular.

Mercury retrograde forecast

January 14 – February 3

Mercury gets the ball rolling on the retrograde story early with a tense connection– a square to surprising Uranus that gets REALLY close around January 14 but does not reach exact before Mercury changes direction and backs away from the square. This is called a refranation. It means you may have an inkling that a certain change or challenge is coming, but nothing ends up coming of it– for now, at least.

The end of Mercury retrograde in early February is even more interesting, as Mercury again stops and changes direction in near-exact alignment with powerful Pluto AND the Moon’s North Node. This aspect does hit the target, so pay attention as you read on!!

Regardless of whether it’s retrograde or not, Mercury tells us where the collective “mind” is. When Mercury connects with Pluto, that focus is on power. Pluto is the planet of life and death experiences, trauma, and transformation. Pluto’s influence on Mercury makes the collective conversation more intense and more focused on the deeper, darker stories and life-and-death issues.

Because of Mercury’s close connection to the Moon’s Nodes, we all can connect to new ideas and new sources of money, comfort, and resources at this time. This makes early February a great time to reach out and help others or seek help. Or to take on a depth pursuit like psychotherapy, inner work, or shadow work. Grab the bull by the horns and work out your own deeper whys. If you’re looking to update your circumstances, here is a golden opportunity to advance your cause.

Mercury has a connection with the wind and weather. You’ll often see stronger winds and strange weather patterns around these times, especially when Mercury squares Pluto. Potentially deadly weather.

How does Mercury retrograde affect you?

Mercury retrograde at work

  • Text-astrophe! Double-check all outgoing messages before you seal the envelope or hit the “send” button.
  • Errors, typos, crossed wires, and other communication glitches may pop up. Look for fixes on the days marked with ☆ below.
  • Connectivity problems, traffic, and schedule changes are typical of Mercury retrograde. If you can, schedule light on days marked with ☂ below. (there are none this time!!)
  • If you find it difficult to move forward on a writing or communication project, try going backward! Review, update, or edit your old work. This could be especially fruitful on days marked with ☆.
  • Look to the past notes and plans for answers. You may rediscover a valuable nugget in your old files, notes, and archives.

Mercury retrograde in close relationships

  • Common ground can be hard to find.
  • Communicate carefully to avoid misunderstandings.
  • You may reconnect with a friend or family member you haven’t seen in a while.

Mercury retrograde and your Health

  • If you are feeling unsure about a diagnosis or treatment plan, keep asking questions. Make sure you understand and agree with the plan before you move forward.
  • Use this period to research treatment options or get a second opinion. Especially on the days marked with a ☆ below.
  • Diagnostic tests may come up inconclusive or need repeating later.
  • If you’re sensitive to airborne toxins or allergens, change the air filters and take the precautions you need to protect yourself.
  • Mercury rules children, siblings, and pets– the kids and critters may need extra attention.

Mercury retrograde winter 2022 key dates

  • Mercury enters its retrograde shadow: December 29, 2021
  • ☆ Mercury conjunct Pluto (1): December 30, 2021
  • ☆ Mercury trine North Node (1): January 1, 2022
  • Mercury enters Aquarius: January 2
  • ☆ Mercury sextile Chiron: January 9
  • Mercury retrograde at 10° Aquarius: January 14
  • ☆ Mercury rx sextile Chiron: January 18
  • ☆ Mercury sextile Chiron: January 18
  • Sun conjunct Mercury: January 23
  • Mercury rx enters Capricorn: January 25
  • ☆ Mercury rx trine North Node (2): January 27
  • ☆ Mercury rx conjunct Pluto (2): January 28
  • Mercury direct at 24° Capricorn: February 3
  • ☆ Mercury trine North Node (3): February 11
  • ☆ Mercury conjunct Pluto (3): February 11
  • Mercury enters Aquarius: February 14
  • ☆ Mercury sextile Chiron: February 24
  • Mercury exits its retrograde shadow: February 24
  • ☂ Mercury square Uranus completes (finally) February 24
  • via Molly’s Astrology Calendar

What is Mercury retrograde?

mercury retrograde - spilled coffee
I think Mercury retrograde is probably the number one “gateway” event that pulls people into the realness of astrology beyond the horoscopes. I have not done a formal survey on this. But it’s one of the easiest astrological events to witness in real-time. For one thing, its influence on everyday things is very apparent. So that even people who aren’t “into” astrology can get on board with it. And it happens regularly, every four months. Like a familiar friend (or frenemy).

In astrology, Mercury represents communication, logistics, and everyday, mundane details. Mercury retrograde is the time when little things can become big things. The computer barfs. The car barfs. The cat barfs. The internet connection goes out. There’s confusion about the schedule. You can’t find that piece of paper you need. The traffic is horrendous. The cat barfs ON the computer… There are literally a million little details that can blow up and cause you to slow down, adjust, and look at things in a new way.

Don’t think of this as a flashing red light, instructing you to crawl into a hole and do nothing. Think of it as a flashing yellow light. Slow down. Take your time. Mercury is the planet of communication, transportation, and ideas, as well as the day-to-day logistics of our lives. So be flexible.

Many folks will tell you not to sign any contracts of any sort during Mercury retrograde. That’s kind of silly. But you do need to slow down and take your time. Read the fine print, and write any contingencies into the contract before signing. Take your time with major equipment or software upgrades, too.

The Magic of Mercury retrograde

The “backtracking” experience has its benefits. Use Mercury retrograde to revise a writing project or artistic work from the past. Or review your notes. Revisit plans for your house, your garden, whatever. Or look up an old friend. This is a great time for catching up.

If you can find space to slow down, let go of expectations, and go with the flow, you can get some very important work done. You could pick up an important thread from the past. Then you’ll come out on the other side well-informed, rehearsed, and ready to move forward once again.

Retrogrades draw the energy to the past.

A retrograde planet retraces its steps, revisiting the territory it covered before. Retrogrades draw your energy to the past. In the case of Mercury retrograde, it’s your thinking, communications, day to day activities. You might find an object you thought you had lost, catch up with an old friend or colleague, or rediscover something valuable in an old notebook or computer file.

(You could even go back and touch up your astrology skills with a review of the basics.)

Fill in the frameworks you created in the past when things were moving along at a faster rate. Develop those ideas. This isn’t the time to write new chapters. It’s time for a round of edits on the ones you have.

Retrogrades draw the energy inward.

Reliable information may be difficult to come by during Mercury retrograde, but you make up for it with inner awareness! Pay attention to the deeper issues during Mercury retrograde. Let your dreams and meditations inform you. Go back and ask the “why” questions. Look past the surface chaos to the inner root causes of the thorny issues.

In sports, Mercury retrograde gives the underdog an edge. I think the “underdog effect” must apply in other matters too.

Recalibration, reorientation

Woman dancing backward

Imagine Mercury as a character who must walk backward for a time. Moving backward is harder than forward because the pattern is contrary to your usual. You have to slow down and pay closer attention to what you’re doing and where you’re going.

What’s the upside of walking backward? You gain a new perspective. You use different muscles groups and neural pathways. It is much easier to see where you have been, and what you might have missed or overlooked along the way while you were moving faster in the other direction, with a different part of your mind switched on.

So take your time when Mercury is retrograde. Don’t rush to a decision or “bang the puzzle piece” to make it fit. If you try to barrel ahead at the same rate of speed that you normally do, you might fall on your butt! But if you respect the energy and work with it, you can get a lot of good out of Mercury retrograde.

What does it mean that Mercury is in retrograde?

mercury retrograde pattern
Middle dot: earth
Black dot: Sun
Red dot: Mercury.
Image: Wikimedia commons

A planet being in retrograde means that it appears to be going backward from our perspective here on Earth. The opposite of retrograde motion (or Rx for short) is direct motion. Of course, Mercury is not really going backward. It is an optical illusion. Take Mercury retrograde for example. Mercury travels around the Sun faster than we do. Every 4 months, it passes us. Here on earth, we witness Mercury appearing to move backward for three weeks.

When you were a kid, did you ever go on long car trips, lie in the back seat, and stick your feet out the window? If a big car or truck passed you, it felt like you were going backward. Retrograde motion is kind of like that.

More info on retrograde planets with diagrams: Retrograde planets

Mercury retrograde 2022 dates

  • January 14 – February 3
  • May 10 – June 3
  • September 9 – October 2
  • December 29 – January 18, 2023
  • source: Molly’s Astrology Calendar

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