Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn: December 2022 - January 2023

We start 2023 with Mercury and Mars both retrograde.  If you set your New Year resolutions, it might be best to wait until Jan. 18, when both planets are direct again.  It can be more difficult to see your goals and direction clearly when both Mercury and Mars are retrograde. 

Better yet, save your New Year resolutions until Jan. 21, when Mars and Mercury are both direct, and the New Moon in Aquarius sails up, making it easier to see new and unexpected solutions to stubborn problems.

(This New Moon is in Aquarius, on Jan. 21 2023 at 12: 53 p.m. PST. It’s a Cazimi Moon: 30 minutes before and after the New Moon is a very powerful time for new beginnings – and that includes your intentions and new Year resolutions!)

Back to Mercury Retrograde.

It can bring annoying technology glitches, delayed or cancelled travel plans and appointments, and frustrating miscommunication.  And….it has a huge silver lining. It’s the best time of the year for all things “re”: re-do, re-plan, re-write (or edit), re-connect, reflect.  This is standard astrological advice for all Mercury Retrogrades, but each one has its own flavour too, depending on the astrological sign Mercury is in. And this one is in Capricorn.

Mercury will move from 24° and 8° Capricorn during the retrograde period.  If you have personal planets (the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus or Mars) at 24° or 8° Capricorn, Cancer, Aries or Libra, the themes of this Mercury retrograde could be particularly relevant to you.

Mercury Retrogrades 2023

In 2023, we will have three Mercury Retrogrades in earth signs + one Mercury Retrograde that crosses from an earth sign into a fire sign.

We may need to spend more time in 2023 re-adjusting the practicalities of our life, after the disruptive experience of the pandemic years.  “Great Resignation” was the big theme during the pandemic, with many people exiting the workplace. Moving to smaller towns was another big theme. We stayed at home, shopped online, got frustrated with all the restrictions, and worried about the health of our loved ones. 

And now, things are changing again.  We're going into the office more. Homes bought when mortgage rates were bottom low during the pandemic are now a source of financial worry.  The world might be heading into a recession.  And we're all adjusting to the reality of our life post-pandemic. 

Interested in learning what the stars have in store for us in 2023? My  webinar is now available as a recording! Global trends. Impacts on your sign. Insights for how to best align with this year's energies. 

What is Mercury Retrograde? – Some Basics

A retrograde is when a planet appears to be moving backwards in the skies. It’s not actually moving backwards.  It just appears that way to us here on Earth.

When a planet is retrograde, it’s energy is inhibited. New beginnings in the areas the planet rules have a more difficult time getting off the ground.  In the case of Mercury, Venus and Mars Retrograde, there can be some overall glitches around the matters ruled by the planet.

But, there is a beautiful upside to the time a planet is retrograde.  You can make great progress re-assessing and adjusting your course in the areas the planet rules.  We all need a period of retrospective, as one of my project manager clients calls it!

How Long Do Mercury Retrograde Effects Last?

Each Mercury Retrograde lasts approx. 3 weeks. Every time I post about Mercury Retrograde, I get comments along the lines of “but Mercury is in its shadow now, so we’re already in the danger zone”.

So let’s talk about that.

There are two more astrological concepts to be aware of:  Mercury shadow and Mercury storm.

Mercury shadow encompasses the Zodiac degrees that Mercury passes through directly at first, than retrogrades over when it u-turns, than passes through again once it resumes a direct course, making a zig-zag.  The shadow period can start two weeks prior to Mercury Retrograde, and end two weeks after Mercury turns direct.  There are approx. 21 weeks each year that Mercury spends in the shadow and retrograde period.  Wouldn’t it feel depressing if we had to worry about Mercury-retrograde glitches for 20+ weeks each year?

In reality, most of us experience Mercury-retrograde related issues when Mercury is in storm. The storm period is when Mercury slows down to a crawl. To be precise, it’s when it moves less than 40 minutes a day.  There are usually two storm periods:  one around the time Mercury turns retrograde, and one around the time it turns direct.

Each storm period lasts approximately 7-10 days.  And that’s what you’d traditionally would think of as Mercury Retrograde “danger zone”.

For this retrograde period, the dates to be pay attention to are Dec. 25 – Jan. 2, and Jan. 16 - 24.  Be particularly mindful of those when you read the Caution section further in this post. And that’s it!


Slow Down

Slow down when Mercury is Retrograde! Pace of life has been accelerating. Do you skim your email and occasionally miss important details? I know I do!  A big part of me thinks that many Mercury Retrograde related issues are due to our own rushing, and that it's the Universe's way to ask us to slow down. 

Check in with yourself - are you where you want to be in your life, your work, your relationships, your projects? 

Set Your New Year Resolutions After Jan. 18

If you haven’t set your goals for 2023 by the time Mercury heads into storm (Dec. 25), wait until Mercury and Mars both are out of retrograde, on Jan. 18.   You might see things differently at that time.

Don’t Make Any Big Course Corrections Without Doing Your Homework First

Capricorn is all about staying the course, but it’s more difficult to know which course is right for you when Mercury is retrograde in Capricorn.  Tread with caution where big course corrections are concerned.  New information might come to light after Mercury goes direct again, and you might need to change your direction yet again as a result.

Be Prepared for Possible Technology, Communication, or Transportation Problems:

  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to important appointments
  • Double-check your NYE party plans. Stay flexible, should there be any last-minute changes.
  • Check fluids in the car and air in the tires
  • Back up data on your phone and computer
  • Remember to charge your phone
  • Review important e-mails, including the distribution list, before you click “Send”! Sending sensitive info to the wrong recipient happens quite often during Mercury Retrograde ☹
  • Re-negotiate and replan, rather than signing new contracts or starting new projects
  • If you must sign any important documents, read the fine print
  • And (borrowed from the art of feng shui), clean all windows and mirrors for clarity.

Avoid Buying Vehicles or Electronics if you can (you may have problems with them later)

  • Comparison-shop instead, to be ready to purchase after Mercury goes direct
  • If you decide to buy electronics during the post-Christmas sales, save your receipt and warranty just in case.


Revisit Some of Your Old Goals and Aspirations!

If you gave up on them because you didn’t think it was possible to achieve them, things might look different now.

Review your Relationship with Your “Elders”

When Mercury is retrograde in Capricorn, it’s also a good time to review your relationship with your elders (such as your parents or grandparents), and your boss.  There may be things to learn.

If your relationship needs some repairs, now is a good time, especially around Dec. 29 (when Mercury is conjunct Venus).  Reach out. Send them a cute photo of your kid in a Christmas outfit.  Or your pet. Or your Christmas tree – you get the picture!

Look for a mentor if you need one. 

Refresh Your Mental Space

Mercury rules thought patterns and communication:

  • Delete old email messages, documents/files, and voicemail
  • Unfollow any social media accounts that make you feel “down” or uninspired
  • Re-write unhelpful scrips and stories running through your mind. Is your boss really a jerk, or are you not meeting one of their needs, and that makes them frustrated? For example, they might want more communication from you.  Or less. 

Rewrite and Edit - If you are a writer, any Mercury Retrograde is a great time for editing your work!

Repair what’s broken – which may be physical items in your home, or your relationships.

Dates to Keep in Mind:

Dec. 25 – Jan.2 : Mercury is repositioning in the skies, turning retrograde on Dec. 29.  Review “Mercury Retrograde Cautions”.  Save your New Year resolutions until Jan. 19 (or better yet, until the New Moon on Jan. 21).

Dec. 29 : Mercury conjunct Venus.  An excellent day to rekindle or repair relationships, especially with parents and bosses.

Jan 1-2: Mercury sextile Neptune.  Good for creative inspiration and journaling.

Jan. 7:  The Sun conjunct retrograde Mercury. Deep insights about the past 3 months are possible today. This is the only day during Mercury Retrograde when it’s actually good to START something related to communication, contracts, vehicles, electronics, or e-commerce. Find where 16 degrees Capricorn falls in your natal chart. This may be where you can start something new in the next 6-8 weeks. 

Jan. 8: Mercury trine Uranus.  If you get flashes of insight today, write them down but don’t act on them just yet.  Revisit them when Mercury goes direct. 

Jan. 16-24: Mercury is moving slow in the skies, turning direct on Jan. 18.  Review “Mercury Retrograde Cautions”.

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