Jan 18, 2023 | by Erik Roth |
On January 18, 2023, Mercury’s 3-week retrograde journey (since December 29, 2022) ends. Astrologically, this takes place at 8°08’ Capricorn and only 4 degrees from the asteroid Hygeia. In the sky, this shows the apparent movement of Mercury from “backward” to “forward” again. Mercury has now fully passed Earth in its orbit.
Any station point for a planet is a “still point”, meaning a point where there isn’t any perceptible movement. With “As Above, So Below”, it’s a still point for what Mercury symbolizes within us, the mind, communication, thinking processes and perceptions. This is a point of the mind at rest and perhaps even a strong desire to move the energy in getting clarity but the timing is not yet here.
Mercury is 20° from the Sun (current elongation) at this station point in Capricorn and in the early morning sky (visible with a clear horizon before sunrise). It is also in the constellation of the Archer and above the ecliptic (path of the Sun across the sky). This is above a part of the sky where the Archer is drawing back the arrow, readying it to let loose.
What is the “mind” of Capricorn? As an earth sign, Capricorn’s physical senses are primary and this archetype tends to think through and perceive by what is practical, long-term and will it achieve tangible results and support for a given family, organization or community. Reality is “locked in” with Capricorn, with tendencies toward conservative decisions before taking any action. Spontaneity and instinct are not in the language of Capricorn.
Capricorn desires to build, to manage and direct. Capricorn perceives when things need to be done and is concerned with doing whatever is needed to see something built in the right way. It’s also an archetype that seeds the long-term as knowledge and wisdom carrier, stemming from the ancient “circle of grandmothers” imagery.
In modern society and especially capitalism, Capricorn has had its shadow exercised for short-term gain/profit or simply padding the bottom-line of corporations without concern for the impact outside of that focus. With Mercury stationing direct here, this could be a way to have greater introspection and meditation about what can serve humanity in the long-term and placing profit on a lower level of priority.
Into Direct Motion
Mercury retrogrades at least three times per year, with 2022 and 2023 having four synodic cycles, which include the whole retrograde loop of the planet. 2023 kicks off a theme of the ancient element of earth at each of the synodic cycles. Capricorn is the first one, followed by Taurus in April/May and Virgo in August/September.
For some, the station point of Mercury is a sigh of relief to all of life’s ills. But as I shared in a previous article about Mercury retrograde, this “messenger” planet gets blamed for a lot of the foibles of our lives and humanity. There are MANY other planets aspecting and shifting direction, among other things, but Mercury is a popular scapegoat. And certainly in this time of being in the sign of Capricorn, one of the shadow-sides of the sign is indeed a “scapegoat”.
On the flip side, Mercury direct is not all “everything is A-Ok” each and every time. For example, if Mercury stationed direct near or in conjunction with Pluto or Saturn on a person’s natal Moon, this could be a powerful trigger for rough-patch with family, their old identity and any attachments to it. It could bring up obligations where the opportunity to let them go is there, but it would at the same time be stressful and potentially intense.
Mercury direct is the primary apparent motion (as for all planets). But unlike all other planets (except Venus), Mercury never gets more than about 27° from the Sun (Venus can reach about 47° from the Sun as viewed from Earth and all others can get to 180°). This is due to our geocentric perspective (meaning an Earth-bound view) since Mercury orbits between the Earth and Sun and inside of Venus’ orbit as well. During this period of direct motion beginning in Capricorn, Mercury will get 25° from the Sun on the 30th of January and will be a little bit better to see.
Hygeia, the asteroid, will also be featured in this station point for Mercury. While it is not officially part of the Shamanic Astrology Paradigm, I do work with it in charts and feel it contributes something of value into the interpretation of the charts. Hygeia connects us to our own wellness and self-care. We can add it to help us de-stress from the burdens and obligations we take on from work, family and much more. Hygeia guides us to treat ourselves with healthy medicine in our physical and mental/emotional health.
Final Thoughts on Mercury Stationing Direct
One thing to note about Mercury and other planets where an astrologer talks about its retrograde cycle, is its so-called “shadow”. For Mercury, these are the degrees of when it goes direct, then to the point of when it went originally retrograde at 24°21’ Capricorn. For this time period, it is from January 18th until February 6th that Mercury is in its own “shadow”, meaning the area of the sky and degrees it had already gone through twice.
In my own practice, I typically don’t talk about this since it is a bit more subtle for most people and something only when we dig deep into the transits themselves. So, in my view it is nothing to fear or worry much about. However, if Mercury is going back and forth over a personal point in a person’s natal chart, especially in conjunction, then it is worth noting and paying attention to.
For example, my Ascendant (Rising Sign) is 14°23’ Capricorn, so it is something I’ve been acutely interested in for my life, and its impact so far has been some challenges I’ve encountered as an astrology teacher and contributor. I’ve had more moments of deeper thought and looking at myself. It has spurred on more motivation to educating myself as a student and learning more about my chosen craft from other perspectives. But also in seeking out help when needed.
Mercury is a guide and teacher for us all in the qualities resonates with, specifically to do with the mind, thought processes, communication and even our nervous system. If we step into the frame with a perspective of Mercury as a helper and guide, then we may overcome our anxieties around the nature of this planet and its symbolism. Instead of grasping onto something so strongly that its air-tight, we can open to other ways of doing things or seeing ourselves in beyond the tension we may create.