Crossroads Considerations: Merc RX

Crossroads Considerations: Merc RX

December’s Mercury retrograde crosses the Janus-faced cusp of Capricorn and Sagittarius.  Mercury stations retrograde in Capricorn on December 10th, but makes his way back into Sagittarius’ wide fields by December 17th, stationing direct on December 29th.  The messenger will stay within the wide fields of the archer’s sign until January 13th.

This  Mercury retrograde therefore has two distinct phases- the split between the messenger’s time in Capricorn and  Sagittarius.  A comparison and contrast of these signs is therefore of value. Sagittarius is forward-looking and excitable, with a tendency to see what is possible- what could be.  Capricorn, on the other hand, demands we focus on structure of the real, things as they are, not as they could be.  Therefore this particular Mercury retrograde will highlight and activate the contrast between the optimistic and the depressing, the hopeful and hateful.

Not only is there a marked difference between the optimism and pessimism inherent to Sagittarius and Capricorn, but Mercury’s time in each will be marked by aspects to other planets which reinforce the divergent nature of the signs.

Mercury’s first week retrograde (10th-16th) will see the swift planet in Capricorn, cohabiting closely with both fierce Mars and dark Pluto.  This first leg of Mercury’s retrograde journey will be the hardest.  Pluto’s presence adds pressurized emotions and secrets to the messenger’s mail bag, while Mars adds agitation to the mix, burning a letter or two.  This configuration doesn’t have to be a disaster, though.  The trickster here is simply exposing us to the power dynamics at play, exposing us to the harsh nature of conditions as they are.  It is up to us to turn unpleasant discoveries into fuel for strategic re-assessment.  For aspiring super-villains,  this is actually a rather lovely configuration for you to edit and amend your plans to conquer the world.  A little brutal realism goes a long way.

Mercury returns to Sagittarius on the 17th, trading in his creepy goat-stare for a bow and two-pair of horse hooves.  Not only does this put Mercury back in a more positive place, it also places the swift planet out of striking distance of underworld boss Pluto and his muscle, Mars.  Instead, it will bring Mercury into aspect with benevolent Jupiter just as he is ready to make conjunction with electric Uranus at the end of Pisces.  This puts Mercury back into position to consider wide vistas of possibility and regain a more positive perspective.  What seems to fall to pieces during the first week of the retrograde may well be redeemed during the second half of December, although some reconciliations may be a result of unbalanced optimism.

The key to handling this retrograde and its oscillation between wonder and doom is to maintain a healthy ambivalence throughout December.  Stay with opportunities that seemed troubled, but don’t commit.  Take the holidays to see how things shake out.   If its really the opportunity of a lifetime, or true love, it still will be in 2 or 3 weeks.


Horoscopes are interesting and helpful, but they do simplify astrology considerably.  They’re based on the Sign the Sun was in when you were born.  Your actual natal chart, your astrological fingerprint, considers the position of the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto as well as the relationships between all of these bodies and a few other factors.  If you’re interested in astrology, take a look at your full chart.  There are a variety of free chart calculation programs on the internet.  I recommend the one at

That said, you can sharpen the accuracy of the horoscopes below reading your Ascendant.  Also consider reading from your Moon sign, especially if you were born at night.

Aries:  The Ram

Mercury’s first week retrograde sees you considering how to restructure your professional life.  The evolutionary pressure guiding your career trajectory is clear, if a bit unpleasantly so.  As the retrograde takes Mercury back into Sagittarius, the subject changes to re-thinking your big picture, your long term goals.  Clarity about confusing issues guides this series  of reconsiderations in a positive direction, leading you to consider wider vistas of possibility.

Taurus:  The Bull

The first phase of  Mercury’s retrograde sees you reconsidering your long term plan, asking yourself whether it will really put you in the right position.  Changes in your worldview may also accompany these reconsiderations, with more conservative and strategic elements emphasized. The second, Sagittarian half of Mercury’s retrograde journey sees you considering the pool of resources you have to draw upon in a new light.

Gemini:  The Twins

Mercury’s first week retrograde may see you reconsidering the amount of time and energy you put into group projects, haggling over percentages, or rethinking a partnership. The second, Sagittarian half of Mercury’s retrograde journey spotlights the status of your relationships, and prompts a positive reconsideration of things in light of expanding professional vistas.

Cancer:  The Crab

Mercury’s first week retrograde sees you restructuring your relationships, or at least thinking about it as latent problems emerge.  The second, Sagittarian half of Mercury’s retrograde journey brings your attention to your physical and fiscal status, guiding your mind toward recent improvements and providing solutions for ongoing problems.

Leo:  The Lion

Mercury’s first week retrograde sees you restructuring your finances and physical regimen in order to eliminate impurities.  The second, Sagittarian half of Mercury’s retrograde journey sees you considering what you’re doing with the creative energy and resources at your disposal.  Positive developments open up new doors for you to gaze down.

Virgo: The Robot

Mercury’s first week retrograde sees you begin restructuring your love life, and reconsidering exactly  what you’re doing with your creative energy.  The second, Sagittarian half of Mercury’s retrograde journey brings you consider improvements to your living situation.

Libra:  The Scales

Mercury’s first week retrograde sees you considering how to restructure your living situation, and quite possibly your relationship to your family.  The second, Sagittarian half of Mercury’s retrograde journey highlights positive changes in relationships with siblings, as well as finding a new appreciation for the charming things about your neighborhood and social circle.

Scorpio:  The Arachnoid Tissue

Mercury’s first week retrograde sees you restructuring your thought patterns as well as reassessing how well you like the neighborhood you live in.  There are a few headaches to be found here.  The second, Sagittarian half of Mercury’s retrograde journey sees you reconsidering your situation in light of the positive changes in the resources you have at your disposal.

Sagittarius:  The Centarcher

The first week of Mercury’s retrograde sees you pondering your finances, considering how you could mobilize your resources in a more strategically effective manner.  There may be an unpleasant surprise or two waiting for you at the bottom line to make the need to reorganize clear. The second, Sagittarian half of Mercury’s retrograde journey will be considerably easier on you.  Positive changes to your support system and living situation aid you as you go spend time rethinking your current situation and the role you’re playing.

Capricorn:  The Goat

Mercury’s first week retrograde sees you restructuring yourself, taking yourself apart and putting your self back together.  This cybernetic self surgery may be painful, but you can be rebuilt…stronger…faster…smarter.  The second, Sagittarian half of Mercury’s retrograde journey sees you reconsidering all of the good things you forgot to factor in, the small abundances you frowned at and the simple joys you ignored.  Collect the little things from this vision and take them with you on your travels to remind you of the optimism you so often neglect.

Aquarius:  The Water Bearer

Mercury’s first week retrograde sees you becoming aware of previously hidden limitations, especially those you’ve imposed on yourself.  Serious moments of contemplation lead to more realistic life strategies.  The second, Sagittarian half of Mercury’s retrograde journey sees you considering valuable additions and positive changes to your circle of friends and acquaintances.

Pisces:  The Fishes, Bishes

Mercury’s retrograde station sees you considering how to better to crawl through the webwork of social circles that surround you.  Changes in your social strategy may coincide with difficulties with friends.  The second, Sagittarian half of Mercury’s retrograde journey brings you back to positive professional developments, especially those that have unfolded as result of ground breaking personal growth on your part.

Feeling informed and entertained?

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Austin Coppock is a writer, esotericist and astrologer based in Ashland, OR. He published paperback Almanacs from 2011-15 but began posting his prognostications online last year, referring to his collection of weekly, monthly, yearly essays and daily delineations as “The Online Almanac”. This work is made possible by his supporters on Patreon. Austin was President of the non-profit organization “Association for Young Astrologers” from 2012-2016. His most recent book is “36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans”, published by Three Hands Press.


  1. Poppadread 12 years ago

    I appreciate your continued work.. I’ve tried to direct my friends 2 your work and promote all that u have to offer..I wish u continued success under your actual name….
    Hey i have 2 questions..
    1. did u know that your travels from Boston 2 the pacific northwest, 2 so cal kinda mirror Llewellyn George’s?
    2. Can I still call ya Baron?

    Love U man
    U r the real deal….

    • Author
      Austin 12 years ago

      Thanks, man.

      1. Was not aware. Interesting.

      2. Whatever face you prefer.

  2. more-organs 12 years ago

    As per usual you are right on the nose sir – wish my pocket book could afford another reading but at least it can afford your upcoming almanac 🙂

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Crossroads Considerations: Merc RX

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