Mercury in Sagittarius and Retrograde Cycle: Part One
Adventure, optimism, energy, and change are in the air as Mercury makes big moves in November, December, and January
Get ready for a wild ride! Mercury is going to be making some big moves during the next several months. First, Mercury will enter one of the most sensitive areas of the zodiac in late November. Next, this tiny planet will move back and forth between Scorpio and Sagittarius during the upcoming Mercury retrograde cycle.
Read on to learn how Mercury’s movements could have a big impact on your life:
November 25, 2023: Mercury’s Pre-Retrograde Shadow Period
In advance of Mercury’s retrograde transit, it will enter a pre-retrograde shadow period beginning on November 25, 2023. At this time, Mercury will be transiting at 28 degrees of Scorpio. During this shadow period, we may be given a glimpse of the themes that will impact our lives during the upcoming retrograde period.
November 25 to 27: Mercury Enters One of the Most Sensitive Parts of the Zodiac
From November 25 to 27, Mercury will transit in the potentially turbulent one-degree edge between Scorpio and Sagittarius. This part of the zodiac lies within the transformational Galactic Center.
The Galactic Center lies between late Scorpio and early Sagittarius. There is a supermassive black hole in the bright white area to the right of the center of this image.
The cusp between a water sign like Scorpio and a fire sign like Sagittarius is called the gandanta in Vedic Astrology. It represents an area of karmic intensity. The one-degree edge of the gandanta is the most vulnerable area (in this case from 29 degrees of Scorpio to 1 degree of Sagittarius).
The gandanta may also be calculated to include a larger area spanning from three degrees and 20 minutes at the end of a water sign to three degrees and twenty minutes at the beginning of a fire sign. In this case, Mercury will be transiting in the gandanta from November 24 to 29.
Mercury’s transit here may suggest some kind of upheaval, uncertainty, fear, or a heavy energy. We should be extra-gentle and mindful in terms of managing our emotions and our communication. It will also be important to take care while driving or traveling.
There may be intense weather, seismic upheaval, violence, accidents, or financial turmoil when Mercury moves through this area of the zodiac. These kinds of events are especially likely as Mercury will be within a small segment of the zodiac known as Jyestha nakshatra, which extends from 16 degrees and forty minutes to 30 degrees of Scorpio. The gandanta at the end of Jyestha nakshatra is in the tail of the Scorpion where poison lies.
November 26 to December 28: The Adventurous and Active Spirit of Mercury in Sagittarius
Mercury will transit into Sagittarius on November 26. It will remain in Sagittarius until December 28, 2023 (and will transit here again from January 7 to February 1, 2024).
Once Mercury in Sagittarius passes through the gandanta, some of us may begin to feel more optimistic. This can be a good time to expand our mental horizons, release certain beliefs and worries that are holding us back, and even have an adventure!
The higher expression of Mercury in Sagittarius is creative, progressive, spontaneous, innovative, philosophical, and high-principled. However, Mercury is in its detriment in Sagittarius (because Mercury rules the opposite sign of Gemini). This means that Mercury in Sagittarius (when otherwise afflicted) can be blunt, deceptive, disorganized, irrational, dogmatic, or impulsive.
November 27: A Full Moon Brings Intense Energy Into the Mix
The Full Moon will occur on November 27 about nine hours after Mercury’s Sagittarius ingress, adding some extra intensity to this Mercury gandanta cycle. So, if you experience any kind of instability or volatility at this time, it’s important to remember to be extra calm, positive, patient, and tactful as things can get out of hand very fast if we are not cautious. (Check out my previous article in which I discussed this Full Moon).
December 13: Mercury Will Station Retrograde
As the pre-retrograde shadow period concludes, Mercury will station retrograde at 14 degrees of Sagittarius, on December 13, 2023, at 2:10 AM EST (7:10 AM UTC).
Mercury will station direct at 28 degrees of Scorpio on January 1, 2024, at 10:08 PM EST (January 2 at 3:08 AM UTC). You can use the World Time Buddy to convert these times to your own time zone if it is different.
The Astrological Meaning of the Mercury Retrograde Cycle
Mercury retrogrades three or four times a year for approximately three weeks each time. When Mercury is retrograde, it appears to move backward from the perspective of our Earth, and we may experience maddening events like delays, miscommunications, travel and transportation difficulties, and the breakdown of equipment. During this time, we are advised not to sign contracts, launch new ventures, or make important decisions.
When Mercury is retrograde, this is a good time to step back, review and reconsider ideas and plans, explore and develop new understanding about ourselves and others, clear up certain unresolved past issues, and complete unfinished business. Mercury is said to be traveling in the underworld when retrograde. This allegorically signifies an introspective period when we can more readily access deeper parts of ourselves in order to awaken new awareness and rejuvenate mind and spirit.
Mercury, by Evelyn de Morgan, 1870-73
A transiting retrograde planet spends much longer in one section of the zodiac than it normally would. It thus brings added emphasis to the area of the zodiac where it is transiting. Of course, this will also have implications for an astrological chart. As an example, Mercury usually spends about 27 days in each sign. Yet, during (and before and after) its retrograde cycle, Mercury will spend much longer—about nine weeks.
In my professional consultations with clients, I always note where in a natal or mundane horoscope Mercury will station retrograde and direct. By being made aware of this, one will be prepared to minimize any potential difficulties and maximize potential opportunities.
For instance, when Mercury activates a natal planet or sensitive chart point at its retrograde station, this may reveal where certain challenges or important events or realizations will need to be addressed during the retrograde cycle. When Mercury activates a natal planet or chart point at its direct station, this may indicate a refreshing blast of energy and a super-positive attitude that can assist us in moving forward with new ideas and plans.
December 12: Scorpio New Moon May Bring Issues of Money, Control, and Aggression into the Mercury Retrograde Cycle
This Mercury retrograde cycle will be unique because a New Moon will occur shortly before Mercury stations retrograde.
Mercury rules Jyestha nakshatra, where the December New Moon will occur in late Scorpio. As Mercury will move through this part of the zodiac during November, December, and January, this nakshatra may have a powerful impact on our lives. This suggests that we should expect the unexpected during this retrograde cycle. We may need to be flexible and willing to change our plans.
Shadowy themes often emerge during Mercury retrograde periods. Since this retrograde cycle will have this strong Scorpio energy, it may bring up issues and changes related to money, control, personal power, fear, aggression, sorrows, sexuality, or death and rebirth.
The energy of Scorpio in its lower expression can feel tamasic, as in heavy, frustrated, worried, stuck, or weary. It’s important to balance any such tendencies by spending time in nature. This can also be a good time to focus on physical activity, healing body work, and uplifting spiritual practices. The more positive expression of Scorpio will reflect a deeply contemplative, mystical, nourishing, and healing quality.
December 17 to January 1: Mercury Overheated - Combust and Conjoined Mars
Mercury will combust the Sun (will transit within 12 degrees of the Sun) from December 17-28. During the combustion cycle of retrograde Mercury in Sagittarius, we have to be extra-sensitive in regard to how we communicate, and should carefully manage our own state of mind. This is because combustion can cause us to become aggravated, anxious, and impatient, and this can lead to accidents or mistakes.
During its combustion cycle on December 22, Mercury will be in its interior/inferior conjunction, also known as cazimi (exactly conjoined the Sun). Around this time (which will also occur in the winter solstice still point), we may tap into some important information and guidance and can begin to metaphorically plant seeds for something new to develop. What is revealed at this time is likely to emerge around Mercury’s direct station on January 1-2.
Mars will conjoin Mercury within an effective five-degree orb from December 27 to January 1. This combination acts similarly to Mercury’s combustion, in that Mars can overheat the nervous system. This can reflect problems with communication, travel, health, vehicles and machinery, and all sorts of mental processes like focus, perception, thinking, and reasoning.
January 2024: Mercury's Direct Station and Post-Retrograde Shadow Cycle
Mercury will station direct on January 1 in North and South America, and on January 2 in Europe, Asia, and Australasia.
From January 1-2 to January 20-21, Mercury will retrace the zodiacal steps it took in late November and the first few weeks of December (before it retrograded). This is known as its post-shadow period, when we will be adjusting to the effects of the Mercury retrograde transit which occurred in the previous month.
Stay tuned for Part Two! In this paid article, I will discuss the significant impact of the forthcoming Mercury transit on each zodiac sign. If you wish to receive access to this article, you can do so by becoming a paid subscriber.
I wish my readers peace and happiness in the holiday season ahead. May the planets be auspicious for all, and may Mercury’s Sagittarius sojourn reflect an abundance of Light!