2023’s Sagittarius Sun cycle will see Mercury, Venus and Mars change signs, Neptune station direct and the start of Mercury’s next retrograde. When the Sun and Mars move into optimistic Sagittarius on the 22nd and 24th, they will each quickly be squared by Saturn in Pisces on the 23rd and 25th. Ruled by exuberant, expansive Jupiter, Sagittarius is typically a bright spot on astrology’s wheel. Its mutable fires exude warmth, amiability and a hopeful outlook. Saturn on the other hand is known for setting boundaries. If the Sun represents the will, Mars drive and Saturn limits, the early part of this solar cycle is set up to impart the wisdom of healthy compromise. In this case, the Sun, Mars and Saturn will be in flexible mutable signs, another indication that adaptability is an asset. That willingness to stay open-minded may come in handy when seasonal stresses arise, and it will certainly prove beneficial as Mercury enters its retrograde phase.
Including the shadow periods, Mercury’s next retrograde cycle will stretch from November 25th through January 20, 2024, with the retrograde itself lasting from December 13th to New Year’s Day. During this one, the Messenger will transit Sagittarius and Capricorn. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, another signal that the Saturnian aspects present throughout this Sagittarius Sun cycle are important. From Sagittarius, Mercury will square Neptune, and from Capricorn (after December 1st) it will sextile Saturn and trine Jupiter. In a retrograde cycle, there are often three passes of a single combination, on the way into the retrograde, going back over the aspect during the retrograde, and passing it one last time after the retrograde. For instance, in the case of those Mercury Neptune squares, they will take place on November 27th (pre-Rx), December 27th (during the Rx) and January 8th (post-Rx). It’s worth noting that the first meeting of the two will take place under the full Moon, in Mercury-ruled Gemini. At its best, this combination can blend intellectual brilliance with soulful expression. Also, these mutable squares can bring just enough tension for creative breakthroughs. Additionally, Neptune will station direct on December 6th. The outer planet of psychic insights and artistry will then venture further into the realms of spiritual Pisces. Meanwhile, from Capricorn, Mercury will offer productive alliances with Saturn on December 2nd and 21st and January 18th and with Jupiter on December 7th and 18th and January 19th. Mercury’s retrograde journey will conclude on January 20th, when the Sun and Pluto will conjoin before both move into Aquarius.
Sign changes for Pluto are markers of epochs. To be clear, in 2024 Pluto will retrograde back into Capricorn, from September through late November, in its final pass of the sign for roughly 240 years. Starting in January, another glimpse into Pluto’s Aquarius transit will be given. Once Pluto settles into Aquarius next November, it will remain there until March of 2043. So as we move through this year’s holiday season and consider the possibilities for the coming year and potentials for Pluto’s monumental sign change, informative Mercury is playing a vital role. Its retrograde may consternate many. But for those who are willing to take a deeper look, its insights can be life-altering.