The Holy Nights have begun and the wheel of Yule has started spinning. During the twelve days and thirteen nights between Christmas and Epiphany the heavens open up. The potential of the whole year to come is prepared, as if it was a sort of cosmic gestation. Nature is immersed in sleep and in general a state of grace is granted to humanity.
In Anthroposophy, one of the possible ways to working with this time of year is the following. Everything happening during this holy nights and days is reflected in the following year. The first night and day correspond to January (Capricorn), the second night and day to February (Aquarius) and so on.
On December 29 Mercury is going to stop, turning retrograde at 24°21′ Capricorn. This night and day corresponds to May and the zodiac sign of Gemini. As you may know, Gemini is a sign ruled by Mercury. It’s fascinating noticing this alignment: as the new Sun is going to cross the sign of Gemini, the echo of the Mercury retrograde of the Holy Nights is going to affect the whole month.
And as we mentioned in the Astrology of 2023 this Mercury retrograde is quite peculiar. In fact not only 2023 is going to start with Mercury retrograde, but it is also going to end with it. In fact Mercury is going to turn retrograde again in Capricorn right before the end of the year.
On top of that next year Mercury is going to perform a Great Triangle of Earth, since its stationary loops are going to take place in all three earth signs: Capricorn, Taurus and Virgo. Let’s now delve into the general meaning of Mercury in Capricorn.
Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn Meaning
In general Mercury represents the divine mind, the cosmic intelligence, and the force which creates any form of connection on the earth. Think, speech and movement are all affected by this transit. Mercury retrograde is a time of the year when we are called to stop looking at the outside world, to withdraw inwardly. And this transit happening during the Holy Nights suggests that it’s a good moment for a year review.
I don’t know if you have the same feeling, but it seems to me that this year the anthroposophical community is focusing more not only on the work of the holy nights concerning the future, but in particular also on the retrospective part of the work.
And this transit is definitely favorable to do a year review and planning the year to come, especially if we take a closer look at the main aspect that Mercury is going to do during these days.
The Long Conjunction with Venus
As you can see in the picture down below, Mercury is involved in a long conjunction with Venus (first row). It’s started back in November, and since the speed of the two planets is similar they have been in conjunction for the entire month of December, always being within a 4 degrees orbit.
The conjunction is going to perfect on December 29. Mercury is going to stop, waiting for Venus. This conjunction suggests that all the pleasure, beauty and love that the gods grant humanity through the forces of Venus are going to sweeten this process, making it cozy and relaxed.
It’s a wonderful opportunity to work on ourselves without necessarily delving deep in shadow work, that always come with an unpleasant flavor. Working on our lower aspect is something we need to do. But it’s good sometimes to forget about the shadows to focus more on the holy lights of the higher spiritual realms which accompany us during these nights.
Right after the conjunction with Venus, Mercury is going to make a sextile with Neptune. As you may know Neptune can be understood as the Collective Unconscious Feeling, and it is also called the higher octave of Venus. In particular, Neptune is quite favorable for any kind of spiritual work which focuses on compassion and devotion.
The Full Moon in Cancer, closing of the Holy Nights
Another peculiar aspect of the Holy Nights of this year is that they are taking place right after the new moon in Capricorn of December 23. This means that they are progressively increasing in light, culminating with the full moon in Cancer of January 7.
This image is quite beautiful. As the heavens open up to the spirit, the light of the night increases. And when we reach Epiphany, the Holy Spirit, the Shekhinah, the divine light descends on Earth.
As you can see from the chart below, Mercury retrograde is in tight conjunction with the Sun during the Full Moon in Cancer.
This means that when the light reaches its peak, and the Spirit has descended down to Earth, the planet of the mind enters the solar furnace to be reborn renewed. It’s a powerful and quite beautiful image of purification that’s witnessed by the fact that Mercury becomes a morning star.
In fact roughly 10 days after the inferior conjunction Mercury reappears at east, right before dawn, as a morning star. While it’s under the rays of the Sun, Mercury was still invisible. And the reappearance of a star is always a very important phenomenon. It’s like as if his presence is being announced to the world again.
Dane Rudhyar called it Mercury Prometheus (Epimetheus when it’s an evening star) and it represents the new mind which runs before the spirit, the herald which announces the light of the new spiritual knowledge. This resonates beautifully with the image of the Magi—the Three Wise Men—coming from Persia and reconnecting the Christian mysteries to the Zoroastrian mysteries.
Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn Dates
- Dec 29, 2022 Mercury turning retrograde at 24Cap21
- Dec 29, 2022 Mercury [24Cap21] Conjunct (24Cap21) Venus
- Jan 2, 2023 Mercury [22Cap53] Sextile (22Pis53) Neptune
- Jan 7, 2023 Sun (16Cap56) Conjunct [16Cap56] Mercury during the Full Moon
- Jan 9, 2023 Mercury [15Cap01] Trine [15Tau01] Uranus
- Jan 18, 2023 Mercury turning direct at 8Cap08
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I consider myself a free researcher in western spiritual disciplines, in particular Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophy and the Neoplatonic Hermetic tradition. I have a three-year training in Astrology at the CIDA delegation of Trieste, the Italian Center for Astrological Disciplines. I graduated in Computer Engineering from the University of Trieste.