The Astrology of 2022: Mercury Retrogrades from Air to Earth
As I wrote about in my first post about the astrology of 2022, this year I’m doing a series of posts featuring each planet and their story in 2022.
The inner planets/lights – Mercury, Venus, Sun and Moon – have regular annual cycles. In these posts, I’m not going to talk about each and ever one of the transits that these planets make to the others – that would take forever. Instead, I pick out what are, for me, the key transits/aspects that the planet makes in 2022. For Venus, I was inspired by the Venus retrograde cycle which is conjunct Pluto in Capricorn this time around, and its relationship to the myth of the goddess Inanna’s descent into the underworld. That served as a jumping-off point for a comparative analysis of the Sumerian goddess Inanna – a precursor to the Roman goddess Venus and the origin of many of Venus’ traditional astrological significations – with the Venus transits of 2022. Read the post here if you haven’t already.
Next up is Mercury, and for this one I’m going to focus on the Mercury retrograde cycle this year.
The messenger planet has the distinction of going retrograde four times in 2022, not the usual three times. This is because we get the first retrograde really early in the year, mid-January (January 14, 2022).
2022 sees the Mercury retrograde cycle begin to shift from air to earth signs. All of the retrogrades start in air signs, as they did in 2021, except the fourth and final one which occurs in Capricorn (earth). As well, though the retrogrades start in an air sign, over the course of the cycle Mercury shifts backwards into an earth sign and stations direct in earth. The final retrograde of the year occurs completely in earth, marking the complete shift from air to earth.
So, this means the Mercury retrogrades of 2022 are not pure airy incarnations as they were in 2021, but rather a mixture of air and earth. They will be less cerebral and involve more materiality. Instead of just getting into arguments and conflicts over various communications gone awry, there may be headaches associated with travel (as Mercury rules travel, but you have to do it over the earth), or perhaps with computers and electronic devices (which I would describe as being a hybrid of air and earth, since they are made of stuff – earth – but also are used for communication – air).
The first Mercury retrograde occurs on January 14, 2022 at 10 Aquarius. At this time, Mercury is conjunct Saturn at 13 Aquarius and exactly square Uranus at 10 Taurus. Thus, this Mercury retrograde promises to deliver some news – which is likely to be confusing, misleading, or generally garbled – about the Saturn-Uranus themes that we’ve been experiencing all of 2021 and will continue to experience to the end of 2022.
The Saturn-Uranus square is one in which our boundaries (Saturn) are being constantly challenged and disrupted (Uranus). These are often occurring with the social sphere (Aquarius) as well as the realm of finance, food and home/land (Taurus). Some of the major events that fall under this transit’s purview include the ongoing labour disputes in various sectors, especially food producers – there have been strikes or almost-strikes by many different grocery store unions, meat-packing plants, and other major food producers. Other examples of Saturn square Uranus include travel restrictions, lockdowns and lockdown protests, and continued furore over cryptocurrency and inflation.
Further, over the course of this retrograde cycle, Mercury ingresses backwards into Capricorn over the course of its retrograde cycle to conjoin Pluto at 27 Capricorn on January 28. That pulls in some of the Pluto in Capricorn themes that have predominated the last several years (i.e. the profound transformation of all our Capricornian structures of government, business and Empire), as well as the Venus-Pluto themes that kicked off the year. Note that Venus is about to station direct right around the time that Mercury is ready to station retrograde.
Finally, Mercury stations direct on February 4, 2022 at 24 Capricorn. This is a key degree in 2022: it happens to be the exact same degree where Mercury will station retrograde (exactly conjunct Venus, too) for its fourth and final retrograde of the year on December 29, 2022. So, make note of what’s happening around the end of this first Mercury retrograde cycle in 2022, because those same themes are likely to crop up again at the end of the year.
Mars is creeping up to the first Venus-Mars conjunction in the early degrees of Capricorn at this time, so (confusing or misleading) news related to those themes may come into play as well. As well, Mercury is travelling over the same degrees that retrograde Venus just travelled too, so again this transit might deliver some news related to the recent Venus retrograde cycle.
The second Mercury retrograde occurs at 4 Gemini on May 10, 2022. Mercury rules Gemini, so he’s in a strong position here – which might mean that this retrograde has more juice than usual. At this time, Mercury is making a sign-based square to Mars, Neptune and Jupiter in Pisces. Jupiter makes its ingress into Aries this same day and is fresh off a conjunction with Neptune. Mars will conjoin Neptune a week later on May 17.
Jupiter ingressing Aries is big astrological news, and the fact that Mercury stations retrograde right at the same time suggests that we are going to misinterpret or have some trouble understanding exactly what Jupiter’s tour through Aries is all about. Jupiter rules Pisces, and his trip through Pisces is one of the best parts of 2022’s astrology that a lot of people (including myself) are looking forward to, so it’s going to be a bit of a bummer when he ingresses Aries.
I’m going to withhold judgment of what I think Jupiter in Aries will be all about, because I don’t think we’ll get a really clear idea of it given that Mercury retrograde station on the same day. As well, Jupiter doesn’t stay in Aries for good – he retrogrades back into Pisces for one last visit to his domicile on October 28, 2022 and remains there until December 20, 2022.
Whatever happens during the Mars-Neptune conjunction may also be a focus of this Mercury retrograde cycle – and again, the square aspect suggests the information about this time might be misleading or confusing. Mars-Mercury hard aspects are great for arguments, harsh words, and verbal attacks, and with Neptune in the mix, things are even more likely to go badly, with the Neptunian penchant for confusion/delusion/illusions of grandeur.
On the world stage – and especially with Jupiter in Aries – this has me really nervous for some sort of sabre-rattling or other events related to military action, either actual or threatened.
Mercury ingresses back into Taurus on May 23, and then eventually stations direct at 26 Taurus on June 3. This puts him in the same sign as Uranus, so again watch for some more Uranus in Taurus news to go awry. 26 Taurus is also only one degree away from the lunar eclipse that occurred on November 19, 2021, which was the first of the eclipses in the Taurus-Scorpio cycle that is in effect throughout 2022. It’s also exactly conjunct the fixed star Algol, the most malefic star in the sky.
So, watch for a reprisal of the news that came out of mid-November 2021 – and hey, given that Mercury is stationing direct at this time, maybe we’ll get some clarification or resolution on some of those things now?
Here are some stories that I’ll be looking for a follow-up on, which started in November 2021: the Russia-Ukraine conflict (quite possibly the best contender for that signification of military action by Mars-Neptune), the Taiwan-China conflict (second best contender for military action; also technically started earlier but messaging about impending war ramped up in November), flooding in BC (very literal Uranus in Taurus), Canada’s authorization of the COVID vaccine for children aged 5-11 (on the exact day of the first Taurus-Scorpio eclipse to boot), cryptocurrency scams (expect more of this as well as crypto “hacks” with the 2022 Neptune transits), the climate change narrative and COP26 outcomes/related policies, and rising inflation (this started earlier but it wasn’t until November that the major economic news sources finally acknowledged it as chronic problem and not transitory).
The third Mercury retrograde of 2022 occurs on September 10 at 8 Libra. At this time, Mercury is opposite Jupiter at 5 Aries.
I’m not expecting this Mercury retrograde to be as spicy as the others this year, because it’s not making any hard aspects other than that opposition to Jupiter. And Jupiter is a benefic, even though he’s in fiery Aries, so this shouldn’t present too many difficulties for Mercury. Mercury is also making a supportive trine to Mars in Gemini and Saturn in Aquarius at this time, which lessens the likelihood of grief caused by the malefics. Mercury is also averse (quincunx) both Uranus in Taurus and Neptune in Pisces, so they are less likely to cause direct issues.
I don’t really see too many negative qualities to this particular retrograde station; the action is likely to come later in the retrograde cycle after Mercury ingresses back into Virgo (which he does on September 23).
This retrograde might have more emphasis on interpersonal relationships, given that it begins in Libra. Watch for tension and conflict with partners around this time, and try to keep your emotions on an even keel – especially because at this time, Mars will be in Gemini (which Mercury rules) and therefore square Mercury in Virgo.
Mercury stations direct at 24 Virgo on October 2, which is only one degree away from opposition with Neptune at 23 Pisces. Mercury rules Virgo so he is strong here, and when he stations direct it’s usually a good time to start clearing up any of the confusion that occurred during his previous retrograde. However, when opposed by Neptune, there’s a possibility that Neptune might block some of this revelation or otherwise obfuscate it. We might not really work through all the MercRet snarls until Mercury gets back into Libra and out of the retrograde shadow period (which will be after October 6).
The fourth and final Mercury retrograde of 2022 occurs at the very tail end of the year, on December 29 at 24 Capricorn. At this time, he is exactly conjunct Venus at 24 Capricorn, and conjunct Pluto at 27 Capricorn).
Remember that this is the exact degree that Mercury stationed direct at, during his first retrograde cycle of 2022. So again, watch for a return of the things that cropped up back in January. There may be unfinished business from then, and it might be related to the earlier Venus retrograde.
I won’t say too much more about this Mercury retrograde as it is a year away, and finishes in 2023 (at 8 Capricorn on January 18, 2023). Just note that this is the first of the new Mercury retrograde cycle in earth signs, and marks the final shift from the air retrogrades we had over 2021 and 2022.
I’m expecting this final 2022 Mercury retrograde cycle to act as a sort of debriefing on Pluto’s journey through Capricorn since 2008. Pluto ingresses Aquarius for the first time on March 29, 2023, and though he will shuffle back and forth across these signs for the next couple of years, this point marks the beginning of the end of Pluto’s Capricorn journey for the next couple hundred years. Mercury’s retrograde here, just before that first ingress, is therefore the first trumpet blast announcing a seismic shift in the astrological transits defining our era.