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Mercury Retrograde: To Fear, or Not to Fear

Updated: Jan 1, 2023

Mercury, the planet of intellect and communication named after the trickster God Hermes who shuttled messages between the gods and mortals, goes retrograde on December 29th, 2022at 4:32 am EST.

Mercury Hermes Messenger God Statue

What does it mean when a planet turns retrograde?

When a planet goes “retrograde”, literally meaning “backward”, it’s not that the planet is suddenly reversing course in the sky, it is that we (and other celestial bodies) are moving at a different pace and thus it appears to be moving backwards.

How does a planet in retrograde affect us?

When a planet goes retrograde, the aspects of our lives under rulership of that particular planet (ie. intellect and communication under Mercury) tend to slow down, become muddled or unclear, and can often become quite challenging.

How do I know how a Mercury Retrograde will affect me or my zodiac sign?

Not all Mercury retrogrades are the same. How a Mercury retrograde hits and who is more likely to take a hit than others, varies.

The particular zodiacal sign that Mercury is in when it goes retrograde gives us a clue as to where we are most likely to see a challenge in intellect and communication during this time, and the zodiac signs that share the same element as the sign the retrograde will be in are often the ones that experience the retrograde more profoundly. Though as an air sign, Libra, I could argue that air signs seem to take the “brunt of the blow” each time, but maybe it’s just because Mercury has a lesson or two for me.

For example, Mercury will be in the sign of Aquarius when it goes retrograde in a few days on the 14th. Aquarius is ruled by the planet Uranus which oversees innovation, technology, communication, shocking revelations and shake ups. This means that we are likely to experience difficulties, challenges, and malfunctions around intellect and communication as they relate to our thinking processes, written, verbal and nonverbal communication; our techgear; and vehicles which serve as modes of transportation (communication) just as Mercury shuttled messages to the Gods. Aquarius is an air sign, thus air signs (Aquarius, Gemini and Libra) are more likely to experience the internal aspects of this retrograde like challenges to our way of thinking, ways of reasoning and ability to communicate clearly.

2023 Mercury Retrograde Dates & Signs

December 29, 2022 4:32 am EST - January 18, 2023 8:12 am EST - Capricorn/Sagittarius

April 21st 4:35 am EST - May 14 11:17 pm EST - Taurus/Aries

August 23rd 3:59 pm EST - September 15th 4:21 p m EST - Virgo/Cancer

December 13th 2:09 am EST - January 1st 10:08 pm EST - Scorpio/Libra

Shadow Periods

For 2-3 weeks before a planet goes retrograde and 2-3 weeks after it stations direct, it is the “shadow period” of the retrograde; treat this time as if it is smack dab in the middle of the planet being retrograde because that energy is already in motion.

What should you NOT do during a Mercury Retrograde?

1. Regardless of what sign Mercury is in when it goes retrograde, it’s best to avoid starting anything new or making life changing decisions.

2. Watch for gossip, rumors, jumping to conclusions or making assumptions, and fake news.

3. Avoid signing contracts and making unnecessary purchases, especially big ones or those involving technology. If you are in a position where you have to sign a contract or make a purchase, read and reread the fine print making certain that you are not overlooking “minor” details that can have a significant impact. ***DING, DING, DING, insert taking your own advice! As of writing this, I am still paying the price for buying a new iPhone during the Mercury RX in July 2020 where they lost (possibly stole) my iPhone I was trading in, I spent 6 months trying to get my contract right and it went all the way to corporate asset protection, and the phone began burning charging cables and malfunctioning two weeks after the warranty expired.

4. Back up your tech gear, make copies of important files, and have your vehicle/mode of transportation serviced making certain it’s in the best shape possible so you don’t find yourself stranded on the side of the road. Don’t forget to check the air pressure on your spare tire just in case.

5. Exes and blasts from the past tend to resurface, particularly sly or toxic ones, so make sure to remind yourself WHY they are an ex or a part of your past and not your present to avoid getting sucked into a situation you may later regret. If you feel there is unfinished business, use this time to contemplate and wait until after Mercury goes direct when you are better able to think and speak clearly and mindfully.

6. Wait to have important conversations or communications until Mercury goes direct. If waiting is not possible, think long and hard before you speak or send that text/email; mean what you say and say what you mean.

Why you should NOT fear Mercury Retrograde or any other retrograde planets.

When a planet slows down, we are being gifted the opportunity to slow down too. When we are able to slow down, we are able to review the areas of our life that may be being impacted, our internal processes, reactions rather than a mindful response, and where change needs to occur in whatever that may look like internally and externally. So you can better understand, let’s get personal for a minute. It has been during Mercury retrogrades where I was able to finally mentally move past incredibly painful situations, to forgive where I never thought I would be able to, and to even recognize my own shortcomings when it comes to open communication with those close to me.

The key here is to slow down and proceed mindfully, see it as an opportunity rather than the boogie man here to wreck your world. It is those that just blast through a retrograde that tend to get the blunt end of the stick.

What SHOULD you do during a Mercury Retrograde?

Live in a state of “RE”:















Check out January 2022 Energies of the Month and 2022: Universal Year of 6 & The Lovers in Tarot to explore more of what Universal energies and influences we are currently under.

© Brandy Rachelle

Uncredited images from my personal collection or within the public domain

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