Of Retrogrades and Gratitude

Posted by Amanda Painter

Rosehips in ice; photo by Amanda Painter.

Mercury is stationing retrograde in Pisces on Sunday (early Monday in some time zones), which puts us in its ‘storm’ phase now. Amanda Painter considers several factors in the chart for Mercury’s station, including Mars entering Capricorn, and closes her 10-year chapter in the book of Planet Waves.

Dear Friend and Reader:

Mercury is stationing retrograde in Pisces on Sunday (early Monday in some time zones), which puts us in its ‘storm’ phase now. That’s the big astro-news you need to be most aware of. Yet perhaps apropos of Mercury’s stationary status — as it hovers seemingly in one place before appearing to reverse direction — I think I need to begin where I was originally planning to end this essay.

This will be my last weekly column for Planet Waves, at least for the foreseeable future. After 10 years of working for this incredible little astrology-website-that-could, and growing in immeasurable ways in the process, it is time for me to seek new adventures.

Rosehips in ice; photo by Amanda Painter.

Rosehips in ice; photo by Amanda Painter.

I could feel myself growing in a new (if hard to pin down) direction over the course of this past year. The closer we got to the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, the clearer it became what that event signified for me. In November I knew I had to make the decision, and in December I told Eric.

Even with as many questions as I have about what comes next, the decision has consistently felt like the right one. I will miss my gifted, brilliant, compassionate, creative coworkers; I will miss the many articulate, thoughtful, warm-hearted readers I’ve had the incredible fortune to hear from over the years.

I will miss exploring my world and the cosmos and myself in writing and photos here — though who knows how I might practice those crafts in the future. Keep your eyes peeled. After all, astrology might be the most richly multi-faceted language for understanding ourselves and our environments that I’ve encountered, and I expect to keep it near the top of my toolbox.

So, speaking of astrology, let’s get back to it. Eric is doing a masterful job of connecting the planetary patterns with the chaos of modern life, and how to leverage the one to navigate the other. I’m going to stay a little more basic here.

Ice-enrobed magnolia bud; photo by Amanda Painter

Ice-enrobed magnolia bud; photo by Amanda Painter.

With Mercury in its ‘storm’ phase, you’ll want to start practicing your usual protocols — backing up your devices, paying attention as you leave your house or get behind the wheel, making sure you follow up on important emails, and so on.

Mercury in Pisces is fairly intuitive and impressionistic, meaning that you need to bring the logic yourself, and the willingness to focus on the task at hand.

Mercury switches to retrograde motion at 7:54 pm EST on Feb. 16 (00:53:53 UTC on Monday, Feb. 17), near the middle of Pisces. At that moment, the Sagittarius Moon will be squaring it, within about a degree and a half. (The Moon enters Sadge overnight Saturday into Sunday.)

Sagittarius Moons tend to be optimistic, social, and exploratory. They’re also more inclined toward the big picture than the details, and encourage off-the-cuff honesty in natives with this placement.

Mercury stations are often said to be moments when the truth comes out about something. With the Moon in such a verbally forthright sign, and in a square to Mercury, the likelihood of a revelation increases.

This aspect looks like a need to communicate emotions that might not necessarily land smoothly — but that’s okay. Even if you don’t like everything you hear (or if you’re the bearer of an update someone else finds uncomfortable), chances are the moment will offer a useful and important opportunity to adjust your mindset and perspective.

Don’t be afraid to practice active listening in such a situation: rephrasing what you think you’re hearing, and asking whether you’ve understood correctly. Ask the person you’re talking with what they think they’re hearing from you, also.

Ice dancing; photo by Amanda Painter.

Ice dancing; photo by Amanda Painter.

Pallas and Jupiter in Capricorn are making a supportive aspect to Mercury. It looks like an ability to harness intuition, ambition and concrete planning — though you may find you’re applying these qualities to a review process, rather than to moving something forward.

Here’s the hitch, though: Neptune is also in the configuration, exactly sextile Jupiter. At its best, this aspect can describe an ability to work toward your ideals, and to help others. But Neptune often does not manifest in its highest potential form in our modern lives. So it serves here as a caution against letting illusions, denial and wishful thinking take the place of grounded intuition and the facts of your reality.

The presence of the centaur Nessus and the asteroid Circe close to Mercury offer additional reminders to check your motives and your boundaries, particularly if you’re looking to be helpful to someone. As Mercury settles into its retrograde in the days following Sunday, you may get an opportunity to review your recent intentions in a specific situation.

Mercury stationing opposite the object Orcus in Virgo describes revisiting a promise or agreement. Is this simply a case of delaying its fulfillment? Do certain details need to be renegotiated, rather than reneged upon? Does your ‘sense’ of the agreement match what’s written in black and white?

Finally, I have to backtrack a moment: earlier on Sunday, at 6:33 am EST (11:32:51 UTC) Mars enters Capricorn. If Mercury stationing retrograde throws any glitches your way, Mars in Capricorn indicates the determination and mental energy you need to solve the problems.

Sun setting the ice alight on Franklin St., Portland, Maine. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Sun setting the ice alight on Franklin Street in Portland, Maine, on Feb. 8, 2020. Photo by Amanda Painter.

Saturn rules Capricorn, and Mars and Saturn represent opposite impulses. You might think this sounds like an uncomfortable fit, but Mars is actually exalted in Capricorn.

Apparently this placement marries the exuberant energy of Mars with the discipline of Saturn– exactly the combination needed to meet life’s challenges, and to follow through on goals.

Mars in Cap may not be the juiciest placement sexually speaking, as it’s generally less expressive emotionally. But it is active, ambitious, and capable of responsibility. Put this Mars to work: get moving physically, and work out complications as they arise.

Just check that the problems you’re attempting to solve are what you think they are. Mercury’s position right now suggests some fuzzy perception.

In any case, even if you set about fixing what ain’t broke, you’ll likely get a chance to retrace your steps over the next few weeks. Mercury stations direct on March 9. After the high-intensity season of Saturn-Pluto, a little review, repair, reconsideration, re-visioning or some form of retreat might actually be quite restorative.

Thank you for reading, and for witnessing my journey for however long you have. It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve in this way.

Yours & truly,
Amanda Painter

25 thoughts on “Of Retrogrades and Gratitude

  1. LizzyLizzy

    “Mars is actually exalted in Capricorn”, heartening words indeed!

    I’ll really miss your lovely pieces, your beautiful photos, your sensitivity, wisdom and generous heart, dearest Amanda – but admire you for having the courage to do what is right for you, and wish you the best of luck (not that you’ll need it!) for the next phase of your adventure.

    With love and gratitude <3

  2. Pamela

    Oh my, Amanda…..I will miss your beautiful, insightful writing and your lovely presence in this community. I have no doubt that your future will be abundant and bright.

    Thank you for ALL you contributed and
    Many blessings to you on the next phase of your journey,


  3. DanielDaniel

    I have to say, this is sad news. I mean, I am totally hearing you and am praising your courage for moving in a direction that you know is right. Well done! I’ve enjoyed your writings very much and have appreciated your unconditional approach both in your writing and to me personally. You are a jewel and it will be hard to replace you. Your contributions here have been invaluable and vital to the successes that PW has seen. You added something that, I feel, we all needed here. A quality that balanced things out.

    Thank you Amanda, for everything!

    1. Geoff Marsh

      Can’t help but echo the messages published here by Lizzy, Pamela and Daniel, Amanda. Your words and photos have provided a much-needed sanity during this increasingly uncertain time on our planet – and all while describing the aspects between our solar neighbours. No mean feat.
      Much love and all best wishes for the next stage of your journey.

  4. P. Anaella

    Amanda, m’dear-
    In repetition of a sad gratitude, yet with happy encouragement, at reading your final post of a decade of marvelous writings. Will miss your delightful approach to the happenings in the stars, but wishing you translucent wings of courage in all your future endeavors.

    Always love & Light
    P. Anaella

  5. Amy Elliott

    Just to say thank you for your mentorship, your guidance, your invariable kindness, your invaluable moral support, and your delightful friendship, which I hope will continue for a long time. I am going to miss you profoundly. You are a bright and unique light in this world.

    Lots of love, and all good wishes for what I am sure will be a dazzling future career. <3

  6. Cheryl Corson

    Your insights will be missed Amanda! Your daily astrology readings have so often felt as though they were addressed to me personally, especially recently. May your next steps be full of adventure and joy, sister Taurus. Perhaps our paths will cross in Maine some time. Thank you for the gifts you have shared though Planet Waves. Blessings, Cheryl

  7. Kathleen Kurre

    Dearest Amanda – excited for your new journey! Thank you from the bottom of my Piscean heart for all your loving insights, the sheer power of your voice, and the beauty of your writing where time and time again, I get lost. Blessings, Kathleen

  8. Susanne Vincent

    Dear Amanda,

    In reading your writing and sometimes relating with you, I have truly appreciated and valued you. You are a very special being, with enormous wisdom. You are a terrific astrologer. You are a star, and wherever you go, you are bound to shine. And I will so miss reading your thoughts and insights.

    With much love,

  9. Kelly Grace Smith

    Thank you Amanda…for your enormous contribution to Planet Waves; for your exquisite and always “intimate with the world” photos, and for sharing your journey with so much openness and innocence.

  10. Tanya von Zychlinsky

    Amanda’s New Adventure,

    Book No. 2 – Next Journey.

    We’re gonna miss you, Amanda,

    I just got familiar with your writing voice and presence.
    And your photos are a DREAM, so when is your exhibition, please?

    You could call it ‘JUST ICE’, teehee. Love love love the macros!! :D

    Wishing you more than you could envision
    and that Zest for Life and Feel Good are your all time friends.

    Doesn’t it feel like big things are afoot for you?

    Ah, waking up each morning with the thought that
    ‘Something WONDERFUL is about to happen!’

    Watch wonders happen.

    Have a fabulous last week and thank you for all your grace, Amanda of Awe,
    Lots of love and many blessings for the New :D

    Big smiles from
    Tanya xx

  11. Amanda PainterAmanda Painter Post author

    Lizzy, Pamela, Daniel, Geoff, P. Anella, Amy, Cheryl, Davidchristopher, Kathleen, Susanne, Kelly Grace, Tanya, Jennifer…

    Thank you all, truly (and to anyone I might miss in the next couple of days) for your kind and deeply appreciated words. I was going to give individual replies, but then realized it would make the “most recent comments” section in the right sidebar look obnoxiously full of my name. ;)

    Knowing that PW readers all over the place have found worthwhile ideas, assistance, reassurance, enjoyment, inspiration, light, beauty, humor or any other helpful thing in my writing has been a humbling experience, and a gift. I am so thankful for having had this opportunity and space to grow, and explore, and learn with all of you as witnesses. It’s been a pleasure to get to “know” so many regular readers through the comments section.

    Love and blessings to you all,

  12. Suz

    Amanda, I have read your inputs for so long, it seems unreal that you would not be there any more.
    Whatever you decide to put all your creative passion and wisdom into, I am sure you won`t forget astrology. Thank you for lightening up our reading for all this time. Maybe Eric should invest in some kind of robot Amanda duplicate!
    All the best from Spain.

  13. Kate

    Just want to say, Amanda, you are a such a brilliantly talented, intuitive writer and you will be missed. I remember when you first appeared here, such a significant stage in my life and thanks to you, Eric and (when he was here too) Len, this place was and remains a trusted source of inspiration and information, as well as solid ground. Wishing you bon voyage. X

  14. ToddyToddy

    Let me chime in with my deep appreciation, Amanda, for all your years of clear and insightful writing, exquisite photos, and your beautiful presence! wishing you all the best on your next adventures… cheers & love, Toddy

  15. Steve Guettermann

    I also want to offer my deep appreciation to you, Amanda, for your energy, wisdom and insight. The many facets of your diamond-like countenance have shown forth in all of your writings and photos. You have always gone “above the beyond the call.” Much love to you. God bless, godspeed and thank you so much.


  16. Janet Hart

    Such a time of endings and beginnings, ain’t it…so no news like this surprises me these days. I took for granted that you’d just always be here; but of course you were bound to have your own path to ride! Très chère Amanda, I am so very grateful for your creativity, scholarship and well, multidimensionality; for your prose, photography, and way showing, these many years. You are light. xx

  17. Heather

    Dear Amanda,

    I’m no writer,however, I will borrow from this poem, an unknown author of yore:

    “May the road rise up to meet you.

    May the wind be always at your back.

    May the sun shine warm upon your face;

    the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,

    may God hold you in the palm of His hand.”

    1. Amanda PainterAmanda Painter Post author

      Heather, Char, Janet, Linda, Gregory, Steve, Toddy, Kate, Suz, Amanda: I just wanted to pop back in to say a deep and heartfelt thank you to the kind and moving words you’ve all offered me here. To receive such gratitude for what I’ve created via Planet Waves is an incredible affirmation. Thank you again. <3

      And Heather: 2-plus decades ago, the high school “show choir” I was in performed an a cappella arrangement of the “Irish Blessing” you’ve included in your comment. It was simple yet gorgeous, and I loved singing it. Thank you for the reminder.

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