Illusions and Perception
Hold onto your hats, Miraval Family. It’s retrograde season.
What does this mean for us? Let’s start with the word retrograde (from the Latin retrogradus, meaning “going backward”).
If a planet is in retrograde, that means it appears (from our view as Earthlings) to be moving in the wrong direction. It isn’t actually reversing, but creating a visual illusion that confuses our senses.
Like all misperceptions, it teaches us that our experience of reality is not precise or perfect.
Think of it like the sensation you experience when you ride a train, and another train zooms by in the opposite direction. If you look out the window, it seems like the other train is moving backward.
It’s a matter of perception.
And during retrogrades, we perceive our ability to communicate as “moving backward.” Our brains do their best to generate a story that matches the real, physical world, but sometimes we unconsciously bend our perception of reality to meet our desires or expectations.
Visual illusions and planets in retrograde present clear challenges for how we live, perceive, and communicate. They ask us to reinterpret our senses and sense of being in the world.
Starting on Friday the 14th, Mercury—the planet that rules communication—goes retrograde through February 3 (first in Aquarius, then Capricorn from the 26th to the 29th).
Both Aquarius and Capricorn have a low tolerance for nonsense, so seek out your inner sage to guide you through.
“Aquarius is the most connected to technology of all the signs,” says Miraval Austin Astrologer Lynn Carroll-Rivera, “and when it is in a retrograde period, technology can fail us. It tends to not work in the way we expect it to.”
Get your ducks in a row before the 14th, and know that you will go into a period of tech and comms disruption. Don’t rely on any of it to work perfectly, and carry that extra charger in your backpack. It’s a good time to back up your files and invest in a surge protector for your soul.
This month, it’s double jeopardy because adding to Mercury’s disorienting movement is Venus—the planet that rules love, beauty, value, and worth—which has been retrograde in Capricorn since December 19th and will remain so until January 29th.
“Venus in Capricorn is a somber assessment, and it’s not a time for romanticizing things or blithely following what feels good,” says Lynn. “This is a realistic assessment of our commitments, the people we are connected to either by contract or promise, what we value. It has to do with aesthetics, romantic relationships, and friendships.“
When Venus is in Capricorn, we look at things through our most objective, discerning lens, not filters or fantasies. We turn our attention from the external and superficial to the internal and exquisite. Add a dash of structure and deliberation to your contemplations as Capricorn, a sign of measured speed, nudges us to explore the old soul inside of us.
The need right now is not for speed. A slow simmer can bring any good romance or idea to a fiery flame.
“When a planet is retrograde,” Lynn reminds us, “the energy turns inward deeply. Everything focuses on looking at things as they are—not just how we wish them to be. It’s a departure from our fancy dreams.”
So get ready for the double dive of this retrograde rumpus and scrutinize your goals for 2022 with Capricorn’s earthy energy.
Mercury and Venus have more to do with our personal likes and dislikes. Review, but retreat from what others urge you to give a thumbs-up or down to on social media. Your analysis needs no interference. You can take a time-out from TikTok or whatever app dominates your screen, and it will still be there when you come back.
Try following the retro vibe to unplug and go analog: write a letter, read a novel, knit something fluffy.
These overlapping retrogrades and renegades can test our relationships, trip us up, and make us feel all the layers of our feelings. If you show up to dinner late or accidentally send that text to the wrong person, acknowledge it, take note, and take heart. Retrogrades are all the RE words, including nicer ones like recover, restore, and revive.
Sometimes, people or stories from your past come back into your life to remind you of something, return you to a significant moment, or retrieve a memory. Time might feel like it’s looping back on itself. It can serve as research: we can remember and review the information that comes to us.
“It’s also,” Lynn reveals, “a time of reprieve and release.”
Give yourself a break, let go of the things jamming your metaphorical wheels, and rotate your spiritual tires. When the planets station direct, you’ll be a little more even, realigned, and ready to roll.
Tips for staying balanced during retrogrades:
- Keep it real
Call on your realistic self to rise above your idealistic self. Think about what you have time and money for and what you don’t. Keep your feet in solid boots—save stilettos and stargazing for another time.
- One step at a time
Stick to practical goals. Do your best to respond mindfully instead of reacting impulsively. Read a book (like this month’s “What We’re Reading” pick), connect with nature, or reach inward before sharing every thought.
- Clear lens, clear sight
Other people will inflame or influence you more than usual. Don’t let the mouth-breathers fog up your lens. Firm boundaries can free you up to engage with your goals.
This apple cart is easy to upset, so drive with determination and definition. A sober start to the year wins out over the spectacles and blow-out parties of the past. Stoke your inner fire instead of setting off explosives.
- Hold off on that haircut
Wait before you make any significant changes to your appearance. Trims and toners are fine but postpone the urge to hasten bangs or Botox. Subtle self-care reigns supreme.
- Slow & Steady
Eschew the trendy shoes, big purchases, commitments, or contracts. You might leave this retrograde period with a different opinion than the one you brought into it. Give yourself enough wiggle room, and you’ll wind up with fewer regrets and glass slippers.
This month, with all its earthy energy, will feel good to you.
This is a disciplined time for you. All that mental connection is quieted down, and Mercury going retrograde will put a damper on that. Don’t fight it or float away.
This is a disciplined time for you. You may be focusing on emotional security and getting a better grip on the physical world. Turn your mermaid tail back into earth legs—they will serve you better during this time.
You’ll need self-discipline and patience rather than relying on sheer will and enthusiasm to get clear on your goals and gather your resources.
Source material provided by Lynn Carroll-Rivera, Astrologer at Miraval Austin. Book a private session with Lynn during a Miraval Austin visit to learn more about astrological significance and guidance.