Mercury, is that you retrograding again? If you’ve also gotten the short end of this planetary phenomenon in the past, you know the urge to text your exes and assuming your tech has completely turned against you is just part of the routine. No matter how much you prepare, let’s be real: things will simply be out of whack, no matter what. Whether or not you’ve become comfortable with the downsides of everyone’s favorite planet, knowing what’s going on up in the cosmos just might make it all a bit easier to bear.
So, why is Mercury retrograding in the first place?
With an estimated orbit of just about 88 days around the Sun, Mercury joins Earth on the same side about three to four times a year. During that period, Mercury can shadow Earth and appear to be moving backward, hence the term retrograde. Mercury isn’t actually moving in the opposite direction, though— it’s an illusion. This might leave you wondering, “Wait, so is Mercury retrograde, itself, all one big illusion?” Nope.
Mercury is the planet of communication, restlessness and motion. So, think about this: when Mercury appears to be moving backward, so is everything involved with the planet. “When a planet retrogrades, its energy is temporarily inverted, allowing for reflection on the nature of that energy itself,” Emily Ridout, an astrologer and astroyoga specialist, said on her website. “When Mercury retrogrades, you have a heightened potential to see the inner workings of how you think, communicate, and move through the world.” And within a world so fixated on moving forward, moving backward is going to for sure throw us all for a loop—particularly Earth signs.
What signs are most impacted by the retrogrades?
Lisa Stardust, astrologer and author of The Love Deck, told Refinery29 that the retrogrades of 2023 are all happening in earth signs (AKA during Taurus and Virgo seasons), except for the last retrograde that moves from Sagittarius to Capricorn at the end of the year. "The focus on earthly matters will urge us to escape our comfort zones and to embrace fresh ideas,” she said. “It’s time to move forward and to invest our creativity and money in situations that can grow."
Here’s what’s to come in the cosmos during this year’s upcoming earth seasons.
April 21 to May 14: Mercury retrograde will occur in Taurus. The pre-retrograde shadow (which is the time before the retrograde officially kicks off, when we may already start feeling the effects) will begin on April 7 and the post-retrograde shadow ends on May 31. Taurus and Gemini placements might have more intense issues gaining control of their need to save or splurge.
August 23 to September 15: Mercury retrograde will occur in Virgo. The pre-retrograde shadow will begin on August 3 and the post-retrograde shadow ends on September 30. Virgo and Pisces placements may experience an overwhelming burden that comes with learning and revisiting old skills.
December 13 to January 1, 2024: The pre-retrograde shadow will begin on November 25 and the post-retrograde shadow ends on January 20, 2024. The dual earth and fire energy at work during this period may trigger hard, enriching work fuelled by passion in all the signs. Capricorn and Sagittarius placements may find themselves taking bigger risks in uncharted territory.
How else might this affect work or my personal business?
It’s no surprise if your cellphone has been acting finicky or you’ve felt a tug to get in contact with the people of your past. Even signing contracts or business deals during this time isn’t a great idea. But with the major focus of 2023’s Mercury retrogrades being about financial resets, it’s important to make mindful, long-term decisions during each Earth sign’s season. Whether you’re living in the 9-5 corporate world or dabbling in entrepreneurship, ask yourself these questions:
- Are you properly investing in the longevity of your business or career? If not, brainstorm a list of tools, classes or projects you can take on to grow your skill set. If you don’t have the capacity to invest, listening to a financial-forward podcast every week or brushing up on your LinkedIn connections can propel your career in the right direction.
- Is your budget actually balanced? We’ve all heard the theory (alright, the fact) that $5 drinks every day can turn into a nasty spending habit. But being mindful about monetary self-care is still important. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a budget for activities that you can look forward to. Let’s be honest: working hard means you should be able to play hard sometimes, too. And if you need a bit of motivation for the flip side, here’s a super basic budgeting worksheet that’ll help you get your life in order.
- Are you actively celebrating your failures? As we all discovered within the last few years, burnout is very, very real. Although this has nothing to do with money, giving yourself the proper time to heal will help you make it smarter, not harder decisions. Step back and evaluate your shortcomings. What could you have done differently? Reflect, forgive and move on. If you need to, talk to someone, cry a bit or even throw a party. Whatever you do, I promise you’ll feel lighter and clear-minded about your financial decisions. Need some inspo? Check out these articles.
The bright side? Mercury being in retrograde is the perfect time to look back. Revisit a project (or start a new one you’ve been thinking about). Finally go through your closet for some good ol’ fashioned seasonal cleaning. Like the planetary shift, life is all about perspective, so keep your head and let the retrograde run its course. Although we can’t happily wave goodbye to the disruptive phenomenon come next year, we can embrace it. Release control and remember there’s nothing to fear. Even if you did accidentally send that text to your ex.