Mercury’s sextile from earthy Capricorn to Neptune’s watery Pisces dominion at 1:49 am EST today contributed to start the New Year with symbols of mind, earth and water. Indications are that the innermost planet’s first aspect of January will elaborate further into a dominant theme for 2013, when every mind on the planet may find occasion to rethink the meaning of water. That’s largely because of where Mercury will take its famous retrogrades, and the company it will keep while doing so.
Mercury shows up in your life as mind because it is always close to the Sun’s symbol of consciousness, and because it moves quickly like thought. It is so quick that nearly every calendar year the swiftest planet passes between Earth and the Sun three times.
In the process of passing between Earth and the Sun, Mercury’s motion appears to reverse for about three weeks. The period of apparent regression is called a retrograde. Retrogrades, among other things, represent an auspicious opportunity to rethink. In 2013, all three of the innermost planet’s backtracks will take place entirely in the three signs identified with water. That does not happen every year.
Each water retrograde of 2013 will also find Mercury in the company of a large, slow-moving, sign-ruling outer planet. That does not happen even every decade. During its first reversal this year, from Feb. 23 to March 17, Mercury will share Pisces with its modern ruler, Neptune — thereby symbolically perfecting its first aspect today.
Not every century finds Neptune occupying Pisces, where it is arguably the most suitably assigned of modern rulers. Jupiter, the traditional ruler, admittedly goes a long way towards helping us understand the grandeur of the zodiac’s climactic segment. Nevertheless, Neptune, named after the ruler of the seas and their tributaries, better addresses the elemental nature of Pisces, which is water.
One of the ways astrology distinguishes its 12 subdivisions from each other is by attributing one of the four elements of ancient western natural science (fire, earth, air or water) to each. The attribution is orderly and sequential, repeating three times. That results in three segments sharing each element as part of their identity. Any three signs sharing the same element are also evenly distributed on the zodiac circle, as if to constitute the points of an equilateral triangle, a trine aspect, in relation to each other.
The sequence with which elemental identity is assigned around the zodiac begins with fire, proceeds to earth, then to air and ends with water before repeating two more times. That has meaning. Elemental water, the universal solvent, explicitly includes and concludes that which precedes it, implicitly constituting an ultimate understanding of all things.
Consistent with its trickster reputation, Mercury’s first, rather than final, retrograde of 2013 will paradoxically take place traversing astrology’s climactic expression of water — in the company of that realm’s superlative signifier (Neptune). As testimony to Mercury’s primary role, however, there is a message in its apparent contradiction that will probably be useful during the year to come — climaxes do not necessarily mean completion.
After all, cosmology’s current paradigm posits that the largest conceivable climax, the Big Bang, was the cardinal event from which the Universe expanded to develop all things. How suitable, then, that Mercury’s second retrograde this year should initiate in the cardinal waters of Cancer on June 26, the same day that astrology’s primary expression of expansion, Jupiter, begins more than a year in the same sign.
The same Jupiter that first ruled Pisces, then, will facilitate the flow for which trines are known, possibly expanding beyond precedent to create a virtual continuum. That continuum will, in some sense, function to collapse the three months between Mercury’s first retrograde and the second. The sense of collapse will promote a perception that the entire time is perpetually present. That perception will fix itself into the form of an elemental trinity with the third, and final, Mercury retrograde period of the year.
How fitting, then, that Mercury’s final review of water will take place through fixed Scorpio from Oct. 21 to Nov. 10. Its path will be superimposed three times over that of astrology’s arbiter of form and antiquity, Saturn. Indeed, indications are that form will further flow into an invocation of, or even a connection to, an otherwise irrecoverable past and and unforeseeable future as 2013 reaches its penultimate month. That’s because this year’s tableau of elemental trinity really is without worthy precedent.
Something similar began, but could not sustain, as the most recent conjunction of Uranus and Pluto started to separate towards what Eric has called “The defining aspect of our era in history,” their current, continuous cardinal square. For 46 days in 1967, Jupiter held Cancer, Saturn had Pisces and Neptune occupied Scorpio. Just 10 days after Mercury commenced the first of three consecutive water sign retrogrades, however, Saturn moved on to Aries and the functional water trine framework of sign-ruling planets fell apart.
If you consider Neptune in Pisces to be crucial to this year’s water trinity motif (and that’s a big ‘if’), you have to go back even further for even shorter and more fragmented alignments in March of 1848 and 1690. In short, nothing since the advent of the Gregorian calendar equals the combined symmetry, longevity, completeness, majesty and scope of this year’s water sign activity. A comparable precedent, if any, is beyond accurate recovery, which means we will have to let it come, down through the ages, to us.
After Mercury’s series of regressions symbolically progresses from climax to expansion to form, the continuum created will not conclude. In consecutive, yet somehow also concurrent elemental concordance with first Neptune, then Jupiter, and finally Saturn, Mercury’s 2013 retrogrades will go beyond symbolically collapsing the months of this year. They will implicitly collapse uncountable centuries into the present.
Explicitly that collapse, whether ultimately figurative or literal, will bring us present to what will almost certainly be an element of water and a manifestation of trinity long ago forgotten. From that climactic present we can expect to participate into the long expanse of an unprecedented future.
Indications are that this year is going to make 2012 look like training wheels. To think it all started with a sleepy sextile is enough to make you think again.
Offered In Service
Len is available for astrology readings. You can contact him at lenwallick [at] gmail [dot] com.