Patient Skepticism — Mercury’s Aquarius Retrograde

Mercury’s apparent motion shifts into reverse at 17+ Aquarius tomorrow at 10:54 am EST (15:54 UTC). The combined circumstances of Mercury’s first retrograde station in 2015 appear to invoke an old adage (attributed to Edgar Allan Poe and Benjamin Franklin, among others) to believe nothing you hear and only half that you see — at least for a while.


Part of it has to do with the fact that Mercury’s apparent pivot will take place in precise conjunction (to the degree) with a fast-moving Aquarius Moon.

That’s the same Moon that shared the very first degree of Aquarius with the Sun earlier today. That New Moon conjunction implies a fresh start on more than one level of consciousness.

Fresh starts do the most good when not accompanied by old baggage. Nonetheless, astrology associates the Moon with things like emotional needs, inner child, security and safety issues, at least some of which originated long ago.

Implied then by the Moon’s swift jump from conjoining a solar ingress one day to merging with Mercury’s illusory reversal the next is a lunar continuum connecting both. Also implied is some necessary precaution favoring patient skepticism. That’s especially so when you consider one of Mercury’s less savory sides along with predilections common to Aquarius.

Mercury is versatile. It’s also mercurial. Witness the signs it rules. Gemini and Virgo are both mutable signs. When the Sun traverses a mutable sign for example, a change of season is in store.

Additionally, Mercury’s own many and frequent changes (of direction, sign, and even the horizon where it can be viewed) account for its ancient reputation as a trickster. For example, the actual planet Mercury never reverses its direction in reality. It only appears to do so about three times a year when Mercury passes between Earth and the Sun.

It’s a phenomenon akin to passing a train in your automobile. At first, the train appears to slow down, then it appears to go backwards — even though it does neither in actuality. Nonetheless, it’s a very convincing illusion, and an excellent example of how you should not believe everything you see.

In a different, but functionally similar way, the connection between Aquarius and groups you identify with can serve to mislead if you believe everything you hear. Especially if what you hear originates from within your group (or groups) of choice.

Part of the territory for any group, but especially groups bound by shared identity, is a powerful pressure to conform. It’s one of the ways Saturn still expresses to rule Aquarius even as co-ruler Uranus might make distinguishing yourself part of a given group’s appeal.

Paradoxical? Yes. Yet, exactly what one would expect from a sign distinguished by the oxymoronic combination of fixed quality and archetypal air.

All of which is reason for you to suspend belief as much as possible in favor of patient skepticism for the near future.

After all, nothing is so powerfully persuasive as that of which you are already and firmly convinced. If your pre-existing convictions are being simultaneously reinforced on several levels (represented by the Moon, Mercury and Aquarius), you might very well divest yourself of any capacity to exercise unbiased judgment on your own. That’s a big risk.

Hence, a clearly reinforced message to go with Mercury’s first retrograde station of the year. As arbitrary, hackneyed and unimaginative as it may be, you might want to try going for a while believing nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see.

At the very least, patient skepticism is a smaller risk on the whole because you are buying yourself some time and keeping your options open. It’s also a healthy exercise in restraint while watching as situations develop through this month and into next.

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Len is available for astrology readings. You can contact him at lenwallick [at] gmail [dot] com.

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About Len Wallick

Besides endeavoring to be of service to all of you here at Planet Waves, Len strives to live in Seattle while working as a professional astrologer. To contact him for an astrology reading you can send an e-mail to: His telephone number is 206-356-5467. In addition to his profession, Len contributes to the Seattle community without monetary compensation by serving as a Reiki practitioner and teacher through classes and outreach offered by the Seattle Reiki Mastery Series modality.

16 thoughts on “Patient Skepticism — Mercury’s Aquarius Retrograde

  1. Bette

    This is so very timely & relevant for me at present! I’ve been dragging my feet for weeks on decisions, feeling that something in what I was being offered was both too good to be true – & also lacking in some other respects. Or maybe hiding an unpleasant surprise in the future.

    Mercury’s rx period will be spent almost entirely in my 8th house – seems to me that this could relate to inherited property, which is at the centre of my delayed decision. I’ve been unable to release the feeling that there’s a more fitting solution “out there”, which I just have not found. Yet I am aware this could be wishful thinking on my part.

    Obviously, the next few weeks will not be the right time for proceeding with any final decisions, though there is some homework I can do which
    may shed more light on my options. “Patient skepticism” indeed looks like the right approach.

    Thanks so much for this heads-up, & the cautions & alternatives visible in the current astrology. I expect I’ll be back at some point, as I continue to mull all this over.

  2. Len Wallick Post author

    Bette: Thank you. While our situations are different, recent experience has me in touch with the feelings you express. One of the things Mercury retrogrades allow us to give ourselves is enough time at the right time – though it may not always seem that way. That’s especially so in a sign traditionally ruled by Saturn (also known in ancient mythology as Chronos, lord of time). Of course you will be welcome back to either share or inquire further as you give your self the time to mull and muse.

  3. Michael Mayes

    I think this Mercury retrograde will emphasize the theme of exposure, for better or worse. I don’t recall where I read that Aquarians like to expose people, but I did, and I have 3 solid reference points. One we all know, Oprah. Think of all the people, and groups she exposed on her show season after season. Another example of an Aquarian-exposer is my step-dad, who’s done things like call me out in front of family, or girlfriends. It’s caused me some anger, and embarrassment over the years. An old friend Drew, also born with the Sun in Aquarius, always had the uncanny knack of exposing me in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. He had the ability to see things about me that were laughable, and expose those to our group of friends in a jokingly way. In fact, Drew had a Joker tattooed on his arm.
    I wonder right now, if Mercury should actually be the Supreme Ruler of Aquarius. I mean think about it, what is more of a trick than blending the energy of Saturn & Uranus? That is definitely a contradictory blend, and seems incredibly Mercurial in nature, because you just can’t put your finger on that kind of energy. I could never peg an Aquarius down. I think Mercury retrograde in Aquarius is a time when we can slow down, see half, or total un-truths, hypocrisy, and what not all around us. Then, once we fall out of the trance of Mercury retrograde, we can snap back into calling it bullshit, or gold, whatever it may be. This way we’ve had time to let the cards fall where they may, and it’ll be blatantly obvious whether we need to heed the powers that be, or rebel in true Aquarius fashion.

  4. Fishstar5

    I just booked a dream trip to Egypt.picking travel company that travels as a like minded tribe. I normally travel alone and go to the Canaries where I have always felt safe and free. I suddenly became bored of the same Sandy shores and swimming in the waves -alone. I craved adventure, to go somewhere new and share smiles and gasps of surprised discovery with one another. When I saw the trip cruising down the Nile with a like minded group and a guide, I jumped at the chance and paid in full. I have since learned the Egyptian elections take place when I sail. How apt for your article but how sad just the same. Mercury is going retrograde in my 4th house. I feel I should have spent my money going home. I left when I was 16 and moved continents. I hope I don’t need to learn a nasty lesson just because I wanted adventure.

  5. Leilani Curry

    “That New Moon conjunction implies a fresh start on more than one level of consciousness.”

    I’m flush from the fresh start this new moon has ushered in, and although it fell just before mercury’s retro, it still feels powerful and literally like it has brought in a breath of fresh air! And while we must all take heed of your wonderful advise “don’t believe everything you hear and half of what you see” I still can’t help but be inspired by this expansive New Moon.

    I feel like I have grown beyond my fears and I’m itching to create something, to sing, to dance, to write…..anything!! The retro period is giving us an opportunity to look at the details, making sure we get everything right, before we truly forge ahead in mid-Feb with our creations. I no longer feel bound by the fears that held me back, and feel the creative urge dying to burst out of me, no longer able to be contained. Will be doing things in a disciplined way this time though, instead of my usual impulsive way…hehehe!

    Thanks Len, and New Moon, for the amazing enlightenment received today,


  6. aWord

    Thank you, Len. Sage advice as always. New moon on natal Venus, Merc retro conj Moon a degree shy of natal Chyron at 18+AQ (7th house). Perhaps the real healing stuff will have more clarity and movement forward in a couple of weeks (when Merc hits that Venus/New Moon degree – or does it quite? and) Sun moves on to conj natal Chyron and shortly thereafter natal Merc.

    Ah if the stars could speak…oh wait! Now I WILL be listening to what the stars say (and you, Len) even if only believing half of what i see.

  7. Len Wallick Post author

    Michael: Thank you. You make an excellent point about Mercury retrogrades. Especially while Mercury is apparently stationary (where the term “Mercury station” comes from). Just before retrograde begins (and also just before direct motion later resumes) is when the truth tends to come out. i’m not so sure you make such an excellent point regarding those of us in the Aquarius solar tribe. Speaking as a solar Aquarian, at least some of us are more discreet and trustworthy than you portray. As a matter of fact, nearly any group of people, however defined, often represents a cross-section unto themselves – a reason not to stereotype based on any distinguishing factor, be it solar sign or otherwise. As for Mercury as ruler of Aquarius – an interesting point which probably says more about Mercury’s versatility (classified as neither diurnal nor nocturnal by the ancients) than Aquarius. Nonetheless, it’s an open forum here, and your insights are very welcome.

    Fishtar5: Welcome to Planet Waves! Before you entertain what could very well be premature regret, please allow me to share something about a darned good astrologer who has written here at Planet Waves in the past. She not only frequents Egypt and the Middle East, she books her own feminist-oriented tours there. Who knows, you might be one of her clients! While prediction is not astrology’s strong point (and you are fully entitled to support for your own feelings) you may want to reconsider things on the whole. Sometimes, going to the most dodgy of places is the safest thing. Conversely, sometimes avoiding danger only makes it more likely danger will find you. Whatever you decide, may you be blessed with safety and a fulfilling experience in the days and weeks to come..

    Lelani (or Sina, as you prefer): Thank you for sharing how you got that New Moon fever. May the current and just-initiated lunation (cycle from one New Moon to the next) find the enthusiastic momentum of today’s New Moon carrying over for you until the next conjunction of the greater lights. Thank you for sharing your growth beyond binding fears into a determination to create. It’s an inspiration.

  8. Len Wallick Post author

    aWord: Thank you! Didn’t mean to miss you! If anybody’s comments about transits to their own nativity help us to listen to the Cosmic message, it’s your words – reliably and always. In answer to your question, Mercury’s Aquarius retrograde will not take Mercury back to the precise degree of today’s Aquarius New Moon, but close enough to function as though it had. In astrology, close enough is usually (but admittedly not always) close enough.

  9. Amanda Painter

    ok, so i know that PW readers are not the biggest football fans (i can’t stand it), but this is soooooooo worth watching! i was crying and almost could not breathe i was laughing so hard — and it’s the perfect example of Len’s exhortation to “believe nothing you hear and only half that you see.” it’s “bad NFL lip-reading part 2.”

    the longer version is here:

    but if you’re not on facebook, you can still get a hilarious 2 minutes’ worth here:
    🙂 🙂 🙂

  10. wandering_yeti

    Fixed air paradox? All you need is a rocky world big enough to hold an atmosphere. I think of Aquarius as the atmosphere between, within, and above Capricorn’s mountain range.

  11. Yoniyoganidra

    Thank you Len…I often think of Mercury as the Planet of “skepticism”; moving to and fro, sideways, backwards, upside down and inside out, trying to see all side of things, holding its perspective in check until more information is in.

    Perhaps that quality will help us with our fresh starts sans baggage of the past…or at least all that Mercury maneuvering will help us in knowing that baggage so concretely, from all possible sides, that it no longer has a harsh or compelling influence on our current choices or view of ourselves.

    Here’s to a fresh start on how we all experience ourselves!

  12. Len Wallick Post author

    wandering_yeti: You make a solid, convincing, and concise case for another perspective on fixed air. Please allow me to both embrace your point and thank you for conveying it so cogently.

    Yoniyoganidra: My thanks to you in turn for your kind affirmation and positive salutation.

  13. Barbara Koehler

    Hey Len, great advice as usual. My computer problem(s) continue. . . .can’t blame it all on Mercury retrograde, but this newest glitch, well maybe that’s Mercury. My computer was slow to begin with (old fashion dial-up connection to internet prevents enjoying such things as videos, etc. because of it). But now my email service has added a new “step” which takes forever to load, so can’t even send email as the computer only allows a certain amount of time anyway! It’s enuf to make me consider abandoning the whole internet thing frankly, but when Mercury rx conjuncts the Sun next week I will take it in for repairs and/or replacement. Hopefully your Thursday blog will arrive before I get knocked off. Otherwise, I’ll get to it when I can (these days that could be up to 3 days!)

  14. Len Wallick Post author

    Barbara: Thank you! We love you, treasure your erudite insights, and support your perseverance to overcome the computer problems which have plagued you!

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