Illustration by Taylor Dow

Look Back Before You Move Forward

Mercury retrograde makes revisitation a wise move before the new year.

“Can’t help but think of yesterday … I reconsider / My foolish notion” —George Michael, “Faith”

This week of fresh starts opens with a new moon in Capricorn on Wednesday the 28th, a big flip in direction from Uranus—planet of surprises, lightbulb ideas, futuristic thinking, and personal identity—on Thursday the 29th, and a new calendar year on Sunday the 1st. Our attention may be barreling toward The Future, but not so fast!

Mercury’s current retrograde won’t let us take one step forward until we stare our past in the face and take responsibility for our old choices. Bursts of sudden understanding light up the week, illuminating whatever crud we’ve shoved to the back of our closet. We must gaze backward with honesty before we can look forward. Though these big realizations can shake us up and cause shudders of regret, awareness is the first requirement for any true breakthrough.


This in-betweenness—pulled by the future yet tugged by the past—can cause us to champ at the bit. Try to accept the discomfort; we’re all experiencing a push-pull. Planet Uranus’ new forward motion brings big pivots to our perception of who we are and who we are not. We’re reconsidering how the world sees us and what we believe we’re capable of achieving. Sit down this week and take stock of your flops and so-called “failures” (which are really just lessons tinged with bruised ego). Ask yourself: Where did I mess up in 2016? How can I transform that humiliation into wisdom? Flashes of brilliance from recharged Uranus and a backward-moving Mercury will help you say: I now recognize, with my wide-open eyes, a personal habit that keeps causing hassles for me and those close to me. I used to blame others, but I’m ready to own up to my mistakes now.

Rage issues? Addictions? Dishonesty? Claim your baggage, admit your vices, then remind yourself you have the power to create different patterns in the future. Thank the rough experiences for their vital lessons and formulate specific actions you’re going to take in 2017. Regrets can motivate us to tear down flimsy structures that don’t cut it anymore, in favor of more solid foundations and healthier coping strategies.

Conversations and even clashes of opinion with other people this week can help shine a light on our own areas in need of improvement. Sometimes we polarize in order to reflect. On that note, don’t be surprised if you catch yourself trying to disown the shadowy parts of yourself by criticizing others for behavior that’s really yours. We all have a sinister, hooded Kermit in the mirror. So slow those defensive denial tantrums. Be gentle with yourself and have empathy for other folks’ feelings.


Mercury joins the Sun on Wednesday the 28th, sparking conversations about personal beliefs and fresh ideas about where we want to go. If people misinterpret your words or have difficulty hearing what you’re saying, clarify. Although a new moon in Capricorn falls on the 28th, try to reserve time on Friday the 30th to set your intentions for the coming month and year. Write down specific goals like a true Capricorn!

Exercise extra caution on New Year’s Eve, because Saturday the 31st includes a potentially dangerous meeting between Mars and Neptune. Don’t even think about driving while texting or driving under the influence of mind-altering substances. Even if you stay indoors instead of risking the roads Saturday night, you might accidentally overdo the booze or other forms of escapism. Stay hydrated and pace yourself! Expect emotional release and powerful realizations on Sunday the 1st. On Monday the 2nd Venus shifts from Aquarius to Pisces (until February 3), making our attitude about partnership less clinical and dispassionate, more open to deep connection and closeness. The moon ius in dreamy, tender Pisces that day too, where it will stay until the evening of Tuesday the 3rd. Snuggle up and bond.

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