Often we start the New Year with vision and optimism for new adventures. 2016 begins on a more reflective note however. Mercury, planet of communication, planning and travel is about to turn retrograde, as is planet of expansion Jupiter. So despite our desire for renewal we may discover we’re in a slower, more thoughtful phase than usual at this time of year.
Retrograde planets mean the energy they represent is moving inward rather than externally. With Mercury retrograde our thinking becomes more right-brain reflective and creative than left-brain rational – hence the Mercury retro ‘bad press’ of disruption. Knowing this potential we can make allowances for interruptions of our plans: allow more time, double-check and check again, wait and reflect on major plans rather than pushing forward. Mercury starts his retrograde at 1* Aquarius and backtracks to 14* Capricorn, turning direct on 26th January. With Aquarius being a visionary, future-orientated sign and Capricorn the practical, organisational aspects of implementation, it’s likely we’ll need to reflect and review 2016 direction in the light of resources and practicalities.
As Mercury stations retrograde he makes a tense square to Mars in Scorpio suggesting that impatience or irritability with not getting exactly what we want when we want it, are part of this reflection. Capricorn provides the practical foundation for Aquarius vision, whereas Aquarius is more into inventiveness and instant manifestation. The retrograde suggests a reality check is needed. Direct insight into what’s needed is unlikely to arise before the end of January. The Leo Full Moon on 23rd with Pallas Athena in Aquarius conjunct the Sun suggests the discovery of unexpected solutions to your unique challenges. With Wise Elder Saturn, in aspect to outer planets Pluto and Uranus, the urge to move ahead sits with the equally strong desire to stay put. Not an easy mix but one that calls us to the mature choice of balanced change.
Planet of expansion, Jupiter in Virgo turns retrograde on 8th January, further emphasising the need to pause, to take stock of direction and growth. Wherever your focus of expansion has been since August 2015 is now up for review. Jupiter in Virgo shows us the importance of attending to practical details in the work and health areas of our lives. Focus is on habits, routines, mental perspective and involvement in the day-to-day elements of what makes up our ‘work’ or good health’. Jupiter in this service-orientated earth sign asks that we prioritise practical application and up-skilling. Whatever the goal for growth, Jupiter in Virgo calls for small realistic steps towards it. The Jupiter retrograde is a period for reflecting on where those steps are leading. It’s likely we’ll see areas for upgrading 'how' we walk our path of growth. Jupiter conjunct the Moon’s North Node on 29th January and again in late June (Jupiter direct) suggests that this retrograde phase will result in positive growth. Meanwhile we need to get more real so that growth is both grounded and holistic.