Here comes the final Mercury retrograde for 2023! It starts in Capricorn and ends in Sagittarius on New Year's Day. What will this retrograde do for us?
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The Basics - What is Mercury retrograde?
A retrograde occurs when a planet appears to be moving backwards from our vantage point here on Earth. It isn't actually moving backwards, it just appears that way. Mercury turns retrograde most often, about 3-4 times per year, and lasts for several weeks. When a planet retrogrades, what that planet rules tends to be thrown off, along with what the sign it's retrograding in rules.
With Mercury retrograde, we experience a shadow and a storm. The shadow period starts when Mercury first hits the point in the Zodiac it will turn direct at, and ends when it last hits the point in the Zodiac it will turn retrograde at.
Most people don't feel the effects of Mercury retrograde until it enters the storm period though. The storm period of Mercury retrograde is when Mercury is moving at its slowest, less than 40 minutes per day. Mercury is a fast-moving planet and hates it when it's moving slowly. There's usually two storm periods, one around the time Mercury turns retrograde, and one around when it turns direct.
Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn & Sagittarius 2023 - 2024 Key Dates:
Mercury Retrograde Effects:
This Mercury retrograde starts in Capricorn, and we can focus on our goals and direction in life., We may question where we're going and how we're getting there, and blocks can pop up that seem to derail us. We may feel like giving up, but that's usually not the right choice. Instead, we need to make sure we haven't missed anything, that we've gone about this right (and if we haven't, what we need to change), if our motivations are sound (and if they're not, what we can do about that), and try going about things in a different way.
On the other hand, this can be great energy for focusing on an old goal, so many people might be getting a second chance with a goal or professionally with Mercury retrograde in Capricorn.
Capricorn rules responsibilities, so Mercury retrograde in Capricorn can make us feel overwhelmed by everything that's on our plate, and we might need a small break, but we need to avoid running away. Work within limitations. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn who does like to restrict us, so we may feel restricted in many ways. Again, we need to take a different approach.
The retrograde starts widely trine (beneficial aspect) Jupiter in Taurus and conjunct (aligned with) Venus in Capricorn, so we go into the retrograde with really helpful energy since Jupiter and Venus are the beneficial planets. We can find new ways to expand and explore with Jupiter, and old ways can prove quite fruitful now or can be used in new ways. This aspect goes exact on December 18th with both planets at 5 degrees.
Venus brings help from others, and we can work well together, reconnect or recommit, and can be more diplomatic. This is excellent for world affairs!
But Mercury retrogrades back to fire sign Sagittarius on December 23rd, where it'll stay for the rest of the retrograde. In Sagittarius, we may push too far and run away when we really need to stay and find an unexpected solution. We may be too invested in our positions when we need to open our minds. We may get preachy and loud when we need to shut up.
The Sagittarius energy is great for picking back up a course of study, going back to school, or re-learning anything, as well as sharing knowledge with others, teaching, or mentoring. Sagittarius is a writing ruler, so the Mercury retrograde is great for picking back up old writing, or doing editing and revising of current writing.
Sagittarius is a travel ruler, as is Mercury, so we do need to be mindful of travel issues with Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius. Of course, this starts 2 days before Christmas, so if you're traveling for the holiday, be ready for delays and cancellations and lost baggage and grumpy passengers, especially on planes (Sagittarius rules flights).
The retrograde ends with Mercury widely square (challenging aspect) Neptune in Pisces, and this is the only challenging aspect by this Mercury retrograde (it's exact on December 27th with both at 25 degrees). This can bring the Neptunian fog, and we can struggle to see something clearly. Our view is obscured, and we may think we know, but we don't. Or on the flip side, we may become aware of something that has been hidden to us for some time, and it comes out from the shadows. Lots of hidden energy here, and we need to keep an open mind.
With Neptune, it pays to have a good connection to intuition, so work on that to help when logic may be hard to grasp. This can also be great energy for reflecting on the past, spiritual ventures, therapy, and shadow work. I'll also note that Neptune is a water ruler so we may see some water issues while Mercury is retrograde in Sagittarius (maybe that causes the travel problems).
Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn & Sagittarius 2023 - 2024 Aspects:
During the retrograde, Mercury will make 5 major aspects to the other transit (moving) planets. I already mentioned two though, the trine to Jupiter on December 18th (at 5 degrees) and the square to Neptune on December 27th (at 25 degrees). The other 3 are:
- Sextile Saturn on December 21st 2023 2023 @ 2 degrees Capricorn/Pisces: This is a pleasant aspect, and helps with discipline and focus thanks to Saturn. We may want to give more attention to our goals, our direction, and we can work to make progress (by doing things a little differently).
- Conjunct the Sun on December 22nd 2023 @ 0 degrees Capricorn: This is the Inferior Conjunction, a positive point in the retrograde for starting something that can be a focus for the next 6-8 weeks; find where it falls in your chart, and that may be where you can start something. With this one occurring at the 0 Degrees Aries Point in Capricorn, we can be especially focused on starting something, taking action with a goal, and being disciplined about it.
- Conjunct Mars on December 27th 2023 2023 @ 24 degrees Sagittarius: Mars rules energy and drive, so coming together with Mars greatly increases our energy and drive to take the initiative and get things done. But with Mercury also square Neptune at this time, we might have trouble figuring out what exactly to do. Gut instincts can be killer, so we may want to trust our first instinct. But, Mars is also accident energy and violence, so we could see some sort of maybe water accident or some especially cruel act of violence (well that's daily with humans, ain't it?).
The Moons of Mercury Retrograde:
The Moon travels through both signs Mercury naturally rules during this retrograde. The Moon is in Gemini (ruled by Mercury) December 24th 2023 (3:15AM ET/12:15AM PT) to 26th (10:16AM ET/7:16AM PT), which can increase scattered, unfocused energy and a need for a mental outlet.
The Moon is in Virgo (ruled by Mercury) right at the end of the retrograde, December 31st 2023 (6:54AM ET/3:54AM PT) to January 2nd 2024 (7:47PM ET/4:47PM PT), and this increases anxiety and stress as we come out of the retrograde.
The Moon is in the same sign as the retrograde in Capricorn, just a few hours after the retrograde starts, December 13th (10:31AM ET/7:31AM PT) to 15th (12:55PM ET/9:55AM PT). This greatly increases our focus on the retrograde at the start, and we can feel it much stronger. We likely need to be very patient with ourselves and others as this retrograde starts and ends.
The retrograde starts at 8 degrees Capricorn, so those of you Capricorns born December 27th - January 2nd may feel the start of the retrograde most. The retrograde ends at 22 degrees Sagittarius, so those of you Sagittarians born December 11th - 17th may feel the end of the retrograde most.
For the rest of you, check the house(s) Mercury will be retrograding in your own natal chart, and any aspects Mercury will make during its retrograde to your natal planets, to fully understand how it will impact you personally.
If you have Mercury retrograde in your natal or progressed chart, you may not feel the worst of this. Those individuals generally don't experience the difficulties of the retrograde because it feels more natural to them. Of course, chances are everyone else around them doesn't have the same aspect, so they can still experience difficulties brought on by others. If it's in your natal chart, check out this article about Mercury retrograde in the natal chart.
Suggested Reading: The Mercury, Venus, & Mars Retrogrades page for interpretations