By Tony Sokol
Earth will be under the influence of Mercury Retrograde starting on December 19th and exiting on January 8th. Mercury is the solar system’s smallest planet. During retrograde it appears to move backwards in the sky, making the astrologically conscious stay indoors to avoid making new friends or start new projects. The effects of the planetary pull are triangulated for study based on a system of twelve astrological signs.
British Astrologer Walter Berg computed different calculations to devise a 13-sign sidereal astrology that uses the actual star constellations of what he calls “the true zodiac.” Sidereal astrology was practiced in Indian Jyotisha, but didn’t get notice in western astrology by Cyril Fagan in 1944. Berg says that western astrologers use a system that no longer matches up to the sky. Berg takes into account the axial precession of the equinoxes that have taken place over the centuries since Western astrology was introduced on the Chaldeans zodiac system, combining sidereal astrology with the official constellation boundaries defined by the International Astronomical Union in 1930. The IAU boundaries set up a 13-sign system. The 13th sign is Ophiuchus, where the Sun passes during the first two weeks of December.
The zodiac has changed because our view of the night sky here on Earth is in a perpetual shift. The point of the Earth’s equinox changes at about 50.29 arc seconds annually. Astrologically speaking, the zodiac rotates backward one degree every 75 years. Called the precession of the equinoxes, this backward rotation has changed the zodiac ecliptic to now include a 13th sign, Ophiuchus. The spring equinox was fixed in Aries to praise the great Caesar, Augustus, sometime around 40 A.D.
“Thirteen sign astrology brings the study back to its roots,” says astrologer Natalie Miller, who maintains 13astrology.com. “If we observe the sky, Mercury is currently in the constellation Sagittarius, yet ‘Capricorn’ is the designation the Tropical system places it in. So we’re approaching a new year and Mercury going retrograde in Sagittarius on the 18th takes the adage ‘in with the old, out with the new’ to a whole other level.
“Sagittarius energy is our source of inspiration, the place where we feel the spirit of camaraderie and beneficence for others as well as ourselves. The arrows of communication and connection we throw out into the world will only drift their way back towards us. This backward pull in what is typically the most forward driven of signs may frustrate us if we don’t take the time to reflect.”
It appears that the extra planet doesn’t do much to quell the fears of slow beginnings.
“It’s not the right time to start new projects: building a home, a business venture, or a relationship for example, and it’s also a time to be weary of what others say and do,” Miller says. “It’s just best to sit back and be an observer until January 9th when Mercury goes direct again. If you want to go forward with all your ammo it would be best to wait till January 27th, after Mercury goes back through its shadow once again.”
The darkness could be a chance to clear our throats.
“Instead of walking around feeling like Mr. Scrooge this holiday season, what Mercury is giving us the opportunity to do is to take a good hard look at how or if we’ve communicated our truth this year,” Miller says. “Did we communicate and connect with others in a way that brought us in alignment with our core desires for how we want to navigate in the world? If not, we may feel a lump of coal in our throats, which may just be our call to start the year as wise men/women who have learned from their mistakes.”