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Mercury in Aquarius: systems thinking may neglect the individual

Mercury in Aquarius Image author unknown.

Mercury enters Aquarius on 8 January 2021 and you may notice a subtle shift in your thinking and communication style. Mercury remains in Aquarius until 16 March, turning retrograde between 30 January and 21 February.

Being an air sign Mercury functions well in Aquarius. The mind is likely to be sharp and astute with flashes of inspiration, and there will be a tendency to look at things in a very objective, scientific, and perhaps even detached manner.

The detachment of this placement can be frustrating for those of us who value the subjective viewpoint and who look at the world through lenses of empathy and intuition, especially those whose natal charts feature the planet Neptune or the Piscean archetype quite strongly. For these people Mercury in Aquarius can feel somewhat cold.

A hallmark of this placement is systems thinking, an ability to view the world in a holistic way. This is perhaps partly why Mercury in Aquarius can come across as a little detached and cold, in stark contrast to its opposite sign Leo with its focus on individuality and self-expression.

I encountered an example of this contrast just recently, observing a discussion between two parents on the risks and benefits of childhood vaccination. One parent pointed out that there were several dangers that although rare can have serious consequences for the health of a small child. The other argued that such thinking was selfish because, while it protected the individual child from risk, it endangered the health of a large group of the child’s peers.

So, while Mercury in Aquarius is very focused on the evolution and development of human society, and can be quite innovative and visionary in this regard, it can lack compassion for individual pain and drama, seeing it as insignificant beside the needs of the collective.

Both social media and the internet more generally are a powerful manifestation of this transit.  Unlike Gemini with its clear-cut exchange of information and ideas, or Libra with its one-on-one partner-based cooperation, Mercury in Aquarius communicates via networks and develops ideas through collaboration between large groups, often across vast distances and between peoples of great diversity and differences of opinion.

To Mercury in Aquarius even the inevitable conflict that occurs within groups can be creative, just as long as the individuals are able to respect one another’s differences. Thus, despite its focus on the group, this placement celebrates the unique characteristics that make us who we are and resists attempts by society to make us conform to a particular standard or belief, recognising that it is diversity that makes for a healthy social ecology.

When Mercury moved into Aquarius in my progressed chart I became fascinated by participatory learning models where the traditional hierarchy of teacher and student is transcended in favour of a collaborative learning process. This approach is to education is intrinsic to the design of the Know Yourself Online Astrology Course.

Uranus, the ruler of Aquarius, is sometimes referred to as the ‘higher octave’ of Mercury because it takes our thinking to another level. With Mercury in Aquarius we think laterally, outside of the square, and we are more open to experimenting with unusual idea or  solutions.

How will Mercury in Aquarius affect you?

Mercury in Aquarius will resonate most strongly for those who have Mercury placed in Aquarius or the 11th House natally. You may also feel it if you have strong natal aspects between Mercury and Uranus. Those with planets or points in Uranus will feel this energy most strongly as Mercury transits these natal placements. The area of your life that will be most affected depends on which house Mercury is transiting through in your chart.

If you have Mercury in Aquarius natally, how do you find it affects you style of thinking and communicating? How do you plan to make the most of the visionary way of thinking that may arise in you during this transit? I love hearing how you’re experiencing the transits. Share your thoughts in the comments below.

To understand how this transit applies to your own life, grab a free birth chart at astro.com and download my free ebook The Language of Astrology.

15 Comments on Mercury in Aquarius: systems thinking may neglect the individual

  1. Sunday I was arguing with my boyfriend about something that had been bothering me the past week. He was annoyingly detached and spoke from a rational point saying “You can not only rely on what you’ve been feeling or how you feel, you must also look at it in a rational way”…. Even if it was his mixed up messaging that had made me feel neglected, let down and dissapointed.

    I was so angry – and so hurt. No matter if Chiron or Saturn was in the mix, I felt a loss… Something akin to trust slipping, that I could come to him with my feelings, telling him how he made me feel by doing what he did. I felt like he was deflecting my critique with rationality.

    It made me so angry and so hurt I just clammed up. I don’t like the interpersonal coldness of Mercury in Aquarius, the rationality, I go to the opposite part of the spectrum because of it. (= more emotional – I’m a full house scorpio)

    Mercury will be transitting my 1st house/ascendant, and will not touch any planets, other than trining my libra moon and later natal pluto conjunct Saturn in 8th house.

    • Hey Anette… When a planet transits our Ascendant it challenges our very sense of self, especially the things we are so attached to that we literally identify with them. When we are open we are able to see how we can actually *be* completely new and other versions of our self, how we can channel the other archetypes of the psyche and broaden our understanding of what it means to be a human being… xx

  2. Love your unique insights faith????????I haven’t a clue how it will affect have an impact on me????can anyone help please. 17/04/72 @ 2.15am bright blessings????????????

  3. Since Mercury moved in Aquarius, I focused on my social work. Thinking of rules that can help better work in school. (I am a teacher). There are different groups of “minorities” that are becoming more numerous than the majority ethnic group. These groups speak in their own language and don’t want to integrate the society, but pretend that we are intolerable to them and discrimination is the only word they use. There is a big problem in Europe with refugees that come for better life but don’t want to follow our state rules. The Neptunian merciful politics (since Neptune is in Pisces) of helping, accepting the differences, free education, health care and they don’t work or pay state taxes – only receive without giving back to the society – is not fair and disturb the local people. I guess my thinking and moreover communication is getting critical and even rebellious these days. I had arguments with parents. Children become fights because when they can’t speak the state language at school, can’t show the knowledge they have, have got lower grades and feel inferior. The only way they can feel superior is with physical strength. So I think that new rules are necessary, because young children feel more comfortable when strict rules exist, thus they feel safe. Aquarius is not only Uranian sign, but also Saturnian. When the old no more works should be replaced with new. PS. I hope you understand my English, as it is not my mother tongue. but it is also Aquarian – to involve in a group in internet as you say :)

    • Hi Ralia… Thanks for sharing. The issue of refugees and the mass migration of frightened and desperate people is a very challenging one, especially for people such as yourself who are dealing with this problem on a daily basis. I feel that the energies of both Neptune and Aquarius play a part in creating a workable solution, but as you say they must be balanced with the structures of Saturn. I wish you clarity as you work with these beautiful souls – both European and those of foreign birth. xx

  4. Thanks, Faith. Surely the last three signs are connected with the evolution of the society. And when planets pass through them focuses us on that need. Although I am much more patient, Mercury makes t-square to my Moon and Mars now and makes me quite touchy.

  5. In what way is mercury associated with the healing arts? It was once explained to me by an Anthroposophical doctor who had a bronze statue of Hermes (Mercury) on his desk. But I have forgotten.

    • Hi Tania, Mercury (or Hermes as he was known to the Greeks) carried the ‘caduceus’, the staff with two snakes entwined which is now associated with medicine and the healing arts.

  6. Hello Faith! This is such a nice article!
    Mercury will transit my 6th house and I have South Node at 15 degrees there. Also Saturn, Jupiter transit the 6th house so while having a fixed grand cross in my 3-6-9-12 houses at 15 degrees, I feel that next months would be exciting times for me.

  7. Hi Faith,
    I was reading the comments and noticed they are from 2016 – is this like a replay from that same time frame?
    My Mercury is in Virgo – squaring to my moon in Gemini. 2016 was a not so great year for me and wondering if this will affect in the same way in 2021 as it did in 2016?

    • Hi Patti, yes this article was originally written in 2016 and revised for 2021. Mercury passes through Aquarius every year staying in each sign for just a few weeks at most. However it is never a ‘replay’ as every year the transits of the slow moving outer planets are very different. I expect that the challenges you faced in 2016 were due to outer planet transits to your personal natal planets and not to the transit of Mercury through Aquarius, which is a very brief influence.

  8. Great article made me check my own chart – currently Mercury is directly opposite my natal 4H Mercury and will be opposing both my natal 5H Uranus, my progressed 1H Uranus and a week or so afterwards my progressed 2H Mercury. With natal moon at 2° ♒ 11H I’m looking forward to this month as my detached emotions will allow me to remain calm and analytical when many will likely be shocked by the events that unfold with the Mars Uranus conjunction and Jupiter Saturn square to Uranus which has just passed over my natal ascendant.

    • Hi Geoff, thanks for sharing. I find it interesting how there always seems to be a balance of challenging and supportive transits – almost as if the universe if giving us the resources to cope with the curved balls we are thrown!

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