About Author — Mila Olivera is an astrologer and writer from Argentina. Mila’s a Taurus Sun, Pisces Moon, and Gemini Rising.
It’s very common nowadays that when we read “Mercury Retrograde”, our minds immediately go into panic. The massive amount of media we consume on a daily basis has convinced us that during this transit we should stop our lives and stay still so as to avoid catastrophes, misunderstandings and even falling back into the arms of old flames. But should we really feel this way? Or are there complexities that should be taken into account when allowing an astrological transit to affect our everyday lives in such a way? In this article we’ll go through the general meaning of this planetary transit, when it’s happening, and how it will affect your zodiac sign!
What Is Mercury Retrograde?
From our perspective here on Earth, a retrograde is when a planet appears to move backwards in the sky. This is actually an illusion, created by the speed of the earth’s rotation. But even if this apparent backwards movement isn’t actually real, it does have an effect on us. We could say that it’s entirely a question of perspective; because we see that way, we experience it in such a way.
What’s more, all the planets in our Solar System (Pluto included) go through retrograde periods, but why are Mercury Retrogrades talked about so much more? Simply because being the fastest moving planet, Mercury stations retrograde way more often than any of its neighbours. In fact, Mercury Retrogrades occur three times a year!
When Mercury slows down, stops, and begins its backwards journey, all the energies and themes related to it seem to go “inwards”. This is why throughout this period we might become more contemplative and analyse things in depth, rather than just blurting our thoughts out. When you finish reading this article, you will understand this tendency will serve us rather positively.
What happens during Mercury retrograde?
Mercury is the planet that rules communication, transport, language and our more logical, intellectual side. It also rules our hands and any activities we use them for, like writing and crafts.
With its energy turned inwards, the typical rhythm of the activities related to this planet will suffer from delays and disruptions. And if you pay attention, you will notice how technology fails you without apparent reason, emails get lost, and entire online platforms go down.
Another thing we mentioned is the tendency to “go inwards”. Retrogrades are periods of revision, in which we stop whatever we were doing, take a step away and observe our lives, so as to make necessary changes. When you think about this, it does make sense that we have retrogrades so often! In these modern times, humanity is always moving at an incredibly fast pace, often neglecting our inner worlds and the necessary stillness to assess the progress of our journey. For this reason, Mercury Retrogrades offer a great opportunity to let our hard-working minds rest and just observe how things are going.
How does Mercury retrograde 2023 affect you?
In a more personal sense, you might notice how simple daily tasks get extra complicated during a Mercury retrograde. Imagine you’re all ready to commute to work, but you can’t find your keys, or you lose the train that would get you there on time. Maybe you’re out shopping and realise you forgot your wallet, or worse, the whole banking system is down and you have to leave your purchasing quest for the next day. All of these sound like minor nuisances, but in the course of a retrograde period, they might pile up and test your patience. This is when we should stop and breathe.
As we’ve mentioned before, retrogrades are good times for rethinking stuff, so why not rethink the way we react to obstacles? It’s very easy to get testy nowadays, but life will always find a way to check up on us and our rushed lifestyle. After all, existence is about balance. So at the end of the day, we might be grateful for the little complications found on our way. Most of the time, lessons we learn during Mercury retrogrades are the ones that stick with us over time, and that shape the biggest changes we make in our quotidian lives.
What signs will be affected by Mercury retrograde 2023?
Mercury Retrogrades do have a tendency to have a special effect on the Mercury ruled signs; Gemini and Virgo. Still, this year’s retrograde periods will all be happening in earth signs. Hence, in this case it’ll be Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn the ones who might be influenced the most by the backward motion of the messenger planet.
Having said that, whether we like it or not, all the signs will feel affected by this transit.
To understand how each of this year’s retrogrades will show up in your life, you should pull up your birth chart and find the Houses that contain Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. These will be the areas of life where you might experience delays and mishaps throughout the 3 weeks of each period.
Once you know the houses affected, you can check the meaning of each down below:
1st House: Personality, appearance, individuality.
2nd House: Finances, values, possessions.
3rd House: Communication, short trips, learning.
4th House: Home, family, security.
5th House: Creativity, self-expression, romance.
6th House: Daily habits, health, coworkers.
7th House: Committed relationships, legal contracts.
8th House: Shared finances, intimacy, fears.
9th House: Higher studies, travel, philosophy.
10th House: Career, public life, authority figures.
11th House: Friends, community, hopes & wishes.
12th House: Inner healing, secrets, spirituality.
When Is Mercury in Retrograde in 2023?
As per usual, we have 3 Mercury retrogrades happening this year, and even knowing they’re not a reason to panic, it doesn’t hurt to save the dates so we prepare ahead of time for the potentially chaotic weeks brought by this fast moving planet:
Mercury Retrograde 2023 Dates
April 21st – May 15th, Mercury Retrograde in Taurus
August 23rd – September 15th, Mercury Retrograde in Virgo
December 13th – January 2nd, Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn >> Sagittarius
The last retrograde period will happen in Capricorn, but while going backwards Mercury will reenter Sagittarius on December 22nd, so make sure to also check on the Sagittarius house on your birth chart for additional insights
What Should You Do When Mercury is Retrograde?
One of the best recommendations for these transits is: Don’t give in to fear.
There is nothing to fear from the planets, as they only mimic what is happening on earth and give us an enhanced awareness that allows us to better understand the events we constantly go through in our lives.
On a more practical note, knowing the annoyances that may come with Mercury retrogrades, these are a few useful points:
- Check everything twice: Emails, text messages, contracts, purchases and travel tickets. Going twice or more over things will help you avoid further complications.
- If you come up with new ideas or plans, let them simmer until the retrograde passes. Once it’s over you might have a different outlook – or not. But patience is recommended.
- If any unfinished businesses come up, give them a close. Anything that comes back now, if ignored, will probably reappear during the next retrograde.
- Journal, write, or express yourself in any creative way. Retrogrades usually come with artistic inspiration due to introspectiveness. This is especially true if you have Mercury Retrograde in your natal chart.
- Don’t stop your life on account of this transit! Things planned ahead of the retrograde are usually safe, aside from the typical delays that can be avoided when applying the first suggestion on this list.
What are its effects, including on relationships?
In the previous section we mentioned “unfinished businesses”… and yes, this includes relationships. Due to the introspective nature of this transit, many people tend to go over old flames and connections that ended suddenly or with a feeling of incompleteness. This is why we so often come across jokes about exes coming back during Mercury retrogrades! People from your past could be feeling nostalgic and feel the impulse to reach out to you… or you could be this person for someone else. It’s perfectly normal, for when we feel things were left unfinished, it only makes sense to come back and seek answers or come to a mutual understanding of how everything happened the way it did.
The most important thing is to remember that this transit serves mostly as a last push to finish these things, rather than revive long lost loves. Any feelings resurfacing are generally a revision of what once was, but won’t necessarily stick over time.
That makes another point for why you shouldn’t be scared of Mercury retrograde. If anything, it will give you the opportunity to make peace with others or with unfinished projects of your own. So gather up all your patience, maybe prepare for some minor inconveniences, yet don’t let yourself be convinced this amazingly useful transit is something to be terrified of.