Throughout 2017, Mercury’s retrogrades are joining and activating the trines between Uranus in Aries, Saturn in Sagittarius, and the north node in Leo. This will bring realizations about how to disrupt the status quo in practical ways that help us grow and evolve as individuals and as a collective. Making unexpected changes to our game plan is crucial now as we count down to Saturn’s ingress into Capricorn and Uranus ingress Taurus. As I write this, Mercury is at the end of his first retrograde in 2017, from Taurus to Aries. From May 3rd through May 9th, Mercury stations direct conjunct Uranus and Eris, which represents the opportunity for a major breakthrough, so this is a great time to reflect on these cycles and put all the pieces together.
I’ll start with a detailed list for reference to the relevant aspects between Mercury, Uranus, Saturn, and the north node. The dates listed reflect when the aspect is exact- the actual transit may be in orb for days, weeks, or even months. I refer to the mean lunar nodes unless noted otherwise. NN= north node. Rx= Retrograde. △= trine.
- Dec.24.2016 – Saturn 20° Sagittarius △ Uranus 20° Aries
- March.26.2017 – Mercury conjunct Uranus 23° Aries
- March.29.2017 – Mercury 27° Aries △ Saturn 27° Sagittarius
- April.1.2017 – Mercury 1° Taurus △ NN 1° Virgo°
- April.19.2017 – Mercury Rx 0° Taurus △ NN 0° Virgo
- April.24.2017 – Mercury Rx 27° Aries △ Saturn Rx 27° Sagittarius
- April.28.2017 – Mercury Rx conjunct Uranus 25° Aries
- May.9.2017 – Mercury conjunct Uranus 25° Aries
- May.11.2017 – Mercury 26° Aries △ Saturn Rx 26° Sagittarius
- May.14.2017 – Mercury 29° Aries △ NN 29° Leo
- May.17.2017 – Saturn Rx 26° Sagittarius △ Uranus 26° Aries
- June.13.2017 – NN 27° Leo △ Uranus 27° Aries
- July.19.2017 – Mercury 22° Leo △ Saturn 22° Sagittarius
- July.21.2017 – Mercury conjunct NN 25° Leo
- July.24.2017 – Mercury 28° Leo △ Uranus 28° Aries
- (this Mercury Rx happens mostly in Virgo)
- Sept.5.2017 – Mercury station direct 28° Leo △ Uranus Rx 28° Aries
- Sept.26.2017 – NN 22° Leo △ Saturn 22° Sagittarius
- Nov.11.2017 – Saturn 25° Sagittarius △ Uranus Rx 25° Aries
- Nov.19.2017 – Mercury 19° Sagittarius △ NN 19° Leo
- Nov.25.2017 – Mercury 25° Sagittarius △ Uranus Rx 25° Aries
- Nov.27.2017 – Mercury conjunct Saturn 27° Sagittarius
- Dec.6.2017 – Mercury Rx conjunct Saturn 28° Sagittarius
- Dec.10.2017 – Mercury Rx 24° Sagittarius △ Uranus Rx 24° Aries
- Dec.15.2017 – Mercury Rx 17° Sagittarius △ NN 17° Leo
- Dec.30.2017 – Mercury 16° Sagittarius △ NN 16° Leo
- Jan.6.2018 – Mercury 24° Sagittarius △ Uranus 24° Aries
- Jan.12.2018 – Mercury conjunct Saturn 2° Capricorn
On a personal note, my natal Mars 24° Aries, my Sun 27° Aries, and my Venus 0° Taurus. My natal Neptune and descendant are 24° and 29° Sagittarius, and I have Vesta at 25° Leo. This year as Uranus, Saturn, and the north node sculpt all three corners of the grand trine at the mantle of my personality, transiting Mercury connects it all to my cognitive hardwiring. Mercury’s April retrograde covering my Mars/Sun/Venus 3x has required me to learn how to be a human life all over again- how to give and receive, how to communicate, time management, responsibility and taking chances, intimacy and self-expression. I am re-wiring my brain in response to every cell in my body demanding to be re-programmed. It is hard not to feel terrified at the sensation of being erased, even when I know a new story is on the way.
During the last week of March, it became apparent that my daughter’s front two baby teeth on the bottom row were not going to fall out, even though the adult teeth had already erupted and grown most of the way in. The loose baby teeth could barely wiggle due to the new adult teeth pressing forward on them. My poor little daughter had to have those baby teeth pulled… on the day that Venus retrograde exactly opposed her natal Saturn. Also during this time, I was planning her 7th birthday party. I had blindly sent out invitations to every student in the first grade, a total leap of faith since I don’t know any of her classmate’s parents.
I took two major risks that week: I chose to have the dentist pull her teeth, knowing that it could potentially be very traumatic (which painfully echoed the resurfaced memory of my parents hurting me in order to help me that I wrote about in my article Venus Retrograde 2017: Inner Child); and I chose to throw a birthday party, on a Monday, during Mercury station retrograde, for unknown people that I’ve never met, when it could be potentially traumatic to hype a kid up for a fun party and then no one comes. Both of these risks represent major departures from my personal status quo of decision-making and navigating life. Mercury transiting my Mars-Sun-Venus stellium, with Uranus exact conjunct my Mars, inspired and empowered me to do everything differently… which of course then led me through the gauntlet of fears and self-doubts that I have now become so intimately familiar with, as I consciously chose to expand. I expertly juggled and organized my various anxieties, occasionally allowing myself to feel the full weight of it, feeling the ways I have associated these anxieties with my actual identity, and using that awareness to move beyond, shaving the roots of fear out of my auric body.
My grandmother’s memorial service was April 9th, the same day that Mercury stationed retrograde at 4° Taurus. I wrote about that in my article Venus Station Direct: Born Again. It was an unexpected experience of unity, seeing myself in the context of those who came before me, in a new, expanded view. The next day, April 10th, was my daughter’s 7th birthday party. It was a phenomenal success. I watched with tears of relief in my eyes as a room full of beautiful, thoughtful kids jumped around and danced with my daughter to her favorite rap songs, gifts and balloons and shiny stickers and cake and doritos. It was as good as I possibly could have imagined. I stood back and took it all in, appreciating what it looks like when the status quo is disrupted and real personal growth takes place.
Mercury is now stationing direct exact conjunct my natal Mars, where transiting Uranus has been for a while now, and nothing in my life is familiar anymore, none of the things that I’ve done in the past are relevant in the life I’ve spent the past three years building. It’s hardly a mystery why the old ways are useless now, but honestly, being aware of what’s happening doesn’t change the fact that I have no idea what I’m doing. But I look at what has become of my life since I started seriously studying astrology, staying deeply focused on following planetary energies like a symphony follows the conductor, and clearly my methods work, I have consistently manifested the deep level changes that my soul has always needed, and incarnated here in order to achieve.
Mercury, Uranus, Saturn and the north node dance in Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius: a bird flying through clouds lit up like flame. I feel lost, which always happens during the deepest and most meaningful periods of growth, as old ways fade away. I may not recognize this territory, but I know I am prepared for it.
Now, let’s look forward to how these planetary cycles unfold over the rest of 2017.
Throughout the spring of 2017, Uranus is the leader of the action, with Mercury conjunct Uranus lasting two weeks in April/May due to Mercury station direct, followed shortly by Saturn’s retrograde trine to Uranus. This opens up room for deep level revelations that are disruptive in unexpected ways, rocking us off of our foundations.
During Mercury’s Aries retrograde, his first two trines to the north node took place in the earth signs Taurus and Virgo- the third trine, in fire signs, propels Mercury’s insights forward into the next year and a half as the north node transits Leo, advancing our ability to keep and nurture a healthy self-image, with the understanding that our collective self-images create our shared reality. “Be the change you wish to see in the world” ceases to be a cliche when the north node is in Leo.
In the summer of 2017, the spotlight shifts from Uranus to the north node, who are within 4° orb of trine from May through August. The north node’s trine to Uranus exacts in June, followed by Mercury entering Leo in July. Mercury makes a single pass trine Saturn and conjunct the north node, followed by a trine to Uranus. Then, after retrograde in Virgo, Mercury stations direct in Leo exact trine Uranus in Aries, and a 5 degree orb conjunction to the north node. That moment will be a container that carries the product of what we create between now and then, we will see the first results of our efforts to re-program our thinking. We will be able to assess if our strategies and goals are truly getting us closer to where we want to be- healthy, multidimensionally integrated, in alignment with our higher selves.
All summer long, the trine between Saturn retrograde in Sagittarius and the constant retrograde motion of the north node in Leo floats around a 2 or 3 degree orb, and exacts on September 26th after Saturn stations direct. This will be a major checkpoint for our evolution and growth in this process, and also happens to occur within 24 hours of Mercury opposite Chiron, Mars opposite Neptune, and Jupiter direct opposite Uranus: a boiling cauldron of thunderbolts and lightning upgrade moment to look forward to right after the vernal equinox.
The final stretch of Saturn’s transit through Sagittarius after Saturn station direct feels like the last chance to embody positive change for ourselves and for our shared future, before Saturn enters Capricorn (and Uranus enters Taurus), when possibilities will suddenly seem much less flexible. November 2017 features Saturn’s third trine to Uranus, and Mercury conjunct Saturn at 27° Sagittarius, the degree where Saturn stationed retrograde in the spring. Mercury stations retrograde at 28° Sagittarius, and in December, forms second and third trines to Uranus in Aries and the north node in Leo. Saturn enters Capricorn a few days before Mercury stations direct- finally completing in January 2018 with Mercury conjunct Saturn 2° Capricorn.
Saturn and Uranus
The cusp of Sagittarius and Capricorn is the most powerful energy center for the current cycle between Saturn and Uranus. Their previous conjunction, in 1988, occurred at 29° Sagittarius and 0° Capricorn (conjunct my descendant, and trine my Sun/Venus, when I was 7). Saturn conjunct Uranus signaled the beginning of an era where the foundations of the past would be thoroughly shaken- technology, communication, sexuality and relationships, family structure, education, every aspect of consciousness and culture. Together, Saturn and Uranus always challenge established forms with revolutionary visions of the future, like young lions challenging the pack’s alphas- cycles of status being established, running their course, and falling to the inevitable future. The 1990’s and early 2000’s were truly a bridge from the 20th century to the 21st, not just because of the numbers on the calendar but because of the way our culture, society, and definition of identity fundamentally changed. Then in 2008 when Saturn began his opposition to Uranus, Pluto crossed from Sagittarius to Capricorn, covering the degrees of the 1988 Saturn-Uranus conjunction- a sledgehammer to the foundations of the institutions and worldviews that belonged in the past. As the Saturn-Uranus opposition separated, Uranus entered Aries, the invigorating face-slap the whole world needed to wake up and start building a better future. Saturn returns to the cusp of Sagittarius and Capricorn for the first time since that 1988 conjunction with Uranus, on winter solstice 2017. Uranus reaches his first trine to those degrees in May of 2018 when he crosses from Aries to Taurus. Saturn’s first retrograde in Capricorn does not regress to Sagittarius, but stations direct in the early degrees of Capricorn, forming a trine to Uranus in Taurus that stays within 4° orb from July through October of 2018- making it the most prominent and powerful year for macro-global evolution since 1988. 2017 is the year for implementing the changes we will need as individuals to adapt to the bigger changes we will see in our world in 2018.