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Suffering from foot-in-mouth syndrome? Can’t stop yourself from saying the wrong thing at the wrong time? Maybe you’re playing one of my favourite games, “did I say something to upset my loved one?” running over everything you did and said in case it rubbed someone the wrong way. There’s an explanation for this windy, twisty time, and it’s known as Mercury Retrograde. Here is everything you need to know about Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius 2021 and what’s in store for you when it comes around at the end of this January 2021.

Understanding Retrogrades 

Whenever I mention the word “retrograde” to someone, I watch as the panic consumes them. I always have to remind them that while they can be heavy, it’s essential to understand retrogrades’ possibilities and potential. 

Usually, people are familiar with only of one type of retrograde: Mercury. While Mercury is the most common due to frequency (retrograde 3x a year), it is not the only planet that does this. Every planet goes retrograde. A retrograde is just a planet appearing to “slow” down, which causes it to reverse the degrees it had recently transited over. Need more info about retrogrades? Learn more here.

A Chance to Know Yourself Better

Man sitting on a rock in the middle of a body of water, looking pensively into the sunset.

Reflection, reconsideration and replenishment come with these phases, and we all get a break. Retrogrades inspire us to go inwards. I like to think of it as a vacation, a chance to breathe and regroup before setting out into the world again when Mercury goes direct. 

Retrogrades are uncomfortable, and that’s why people fear them. They know they can’t control the chaos that the universe can bring. But, as with everything, mindset matters. If you believe that there are only going to be negative repercussions of a retrograde, then definitely, something will go wrong. Staying open-minded and aware of this cosmic movement’s benefits can bring you more profound clarity and a different perspective.  

The Good in Mercury Retrogrades

There is, in fact, good that comes with a retrograde. They inspire change, growth, expansion and productivity. Retrogrades can reveal parts of ourselves that lay dormant. I believe in the power of tension-forming aspects in a chart, and when a transit occurs, that creates that tension, you are forced to face things and change.  

This year, we experience a series of Mercury retrogrades in the air element. What does this mean? Let’s start with Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius 2021. Read more below: 

Mercury Retrograde 2021: The Start of the Age of Aquarius

Black woman with a gorgeous yellow t-shirt and jeans leaning against a stark cerulean blue brick wall.

On Saturday, January 30th, Mercury (the planet of logic, communication and discourse) goes reverse in the fixed air sign Aquarius. Mercury has been in Aquarius since Friday, January 8th. This movement will be the first of three retrogrades in 2021.  

When the fast-moving planet of Mercury journeys backward, we can sometimes be left reeling. We are subject to frustrating miscommunications, technological mishaps and meltdowns, and potential travel disruptions. 

When Mercury goes retrograde in the air signs, we can have a mentally challenging time. Generally, Retrogrades make us contend with a little more mental fuzziness, hiccups and impediments than usual. Since the element of air in astrology is more social and mentally-driven, they are the hardest hit. 

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius 2021: Airy Reflection

This set of Mercury retrogrades is an opportunity to reflect on how we think. We revisit our old thought patterns and narratives and find new ways to express ourselves. It can also give us space to consider how we interact with one another on a larger, societal level. Here, we learn to be more thoughtful with our words and become more intentional in interacting with our loved ones and our community. 

At three different times this year, we experience Mercury Retrogrades in the Air Signs of Aquarius (January 30th), Gemini (May 29th), and Libra (September 27th).  

While the first Mercury retrograde of the year doesn’t properly kick off until January 30th, its shadow period starts on Friday, January 15th. What does this mean? Shadow periods can give us a glimpse of what is to come in the full retrograde. These effects will be less intense than when they go full throttle on the 30th, but be aware of your words and avoid acting reactively. 

Movement into Aquarius Season

Peg board with message on it sitting beside a cute little plant. The message says "Difficult Roads Lead to Beautiful Destinations."

This February 2021, we are graced with seven planets in the sign of Aquarius, creating a stellium and really heralding in the Age of Aquarius. That’s right, the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn (plus the asteroid Pallas) will be grouped in the sign of the water bearer. 

That’s a lot of fixed air energy and is sure to bring on some much-needed societal change! During this time, we can expect a shift in focus towards more Aquarius-centric issues. These include humanitarian cases, a more significant movement towards equity, technological advancements and unique and unconventional innovations. With all of this energy guiding us, we can heal from the past year and move towards a better life.

Venus in Aquarius Meets Retrograde Mercury in Aquarius

Following 2 days after Mercury goes Retrograde, on Monday, February 1st, the planet of love and beauty, Venus, will also enter the innovative sign of Aquarius. Aquarius is infamous for being distant and in their own heads – forgetting to text someone back, dropping the ball on zoom calls and dates could be a thing. And during Mercury Retrograde, we can see more love-related communication disruptions. Don’t take it personally, do your due diligence and double-check everything before you hit send. 

Finally, never forget that we can always expect people from the past — including old flames (desired or otherwise) — to reemerge during a retrograde. It’s probably best that you assess the veracity of the interaction. If the person seems disingenuous, simply decline unexpected coffee invites, and “friendly” offers to grab drinks. Boundaries are critical here. 

Navigating Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius 2021

The hands and arms of two people (man and woman) on a round, marble table holding coffees. They seem to be engaged in talking but we cannot see their faces. Top down shot.

This first Mercury retrograde in Aquarius goes from Saturday, January 30th until Saturday, February 20th.  While Mercury is officially “direct” (headed forward) on that day, we still have a post-retrograde shadow period that hangs around until March 13th

During any Mercury retrograde cycle, it’s critical to be incredibly thoughtful and deliberate with our language. Ensure that you’re reading and re-reading documents before you sign them and that you’re dotting all your i’s and crossing all your t’s. Save yourself the headache and take the time to overcommunicate with those you love. Not only do you have to be aware of the weight of your own words, but people may also misconstrue things during this time. Explain your intentions, be transparent and communicative, and you should emerge relatively unscathed. 

Your decision-making skills may also seem a bit muddled through this period. My tip: avoid agreeing to anything significant or overcommitting during this period (although, if you must, be sure to cover all your bases.

Mercury retrograde could be responsible for any extensive disruptions when it comes to technology, so avoid purchasing any new gadgets or tools for the next three weeks! If you do end up buying something, pay a little extra for that warranty, why don’t you? The same goes for travel: buy the insurance and build in time for delays, cancellations, and wrong turns.   

Making the Most of Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius 2021

Brunette woman sitting on a bar in a cafe near a plant-lined window writing in a journal. A coffee cup and a stack of books sits next to her.

In all honesty, Mercury retrograde isn’t all harrowing! It can actually provide us with a quarterly self-assessment. How ready are you for inconveniences? How do you communicate, and is it useful? How’s your self-care routine when things go off the rail? Do you even have a self-care routine (if not, get on that!).

And while Mercury Retrograde isn’t the ideal time to make any significant changes, it is, as I mentioned above, a time to reflect and consider. It’s a time to get ready for changes and remind yourself of what you really want and need. 

Major Themes for this Retrograde

For the first Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius 2021, we are reminded to stay on top of communications and correspondence.  

Since this specific Mercury retrograde is fueled by the unique spirit of Aquarius and nestled in between an Aquarius stellium, we are reminded of specific Aquarius themes. Aquarius is the sign of the collective, of humanity. It is governed by eccentric Uranus and has an aloof nature, leading us to be absent-minded when interacting with others. We may forget to text, call or email back, despite the help of messenger Mercury. 

When the planet of communication spins backwards, we’re increasingly more likely to be in our heads and space on things. However, Mercury is comfortable in this sign, so energy will just flow. The unique, logical and intellectual air sign nature that comes with Aquarius will help us step back and stay calm under any pressure and communication mishaps. 

When to expect Mercury retrograde in 2021

There are three Mercury retrograde cycles in air signs in 2021. 

Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius 2021: 

January 30th to February 20th. The pre-retrograde shadow starts on January 15th, post-retrograde shadow finishes on March 13th.

Mercury Retrograde in Gemini 2021:

May 29th to June 22nd. The pre-retrograde shadow starts on May 14th, post-retrograde shadow ends on July 7th.

Mercury Retrograde in Libra 2021:

September 27th to October 18th: The pre-retrograde shadow kicks off on September 6th, post-retrograde shadow finishes on November 2nd.


Taurus Rising, Leo Sun and Cancer Moon, Toronto-based Astrologer. Let's read the stars together!

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