From the 13th of December, 2023, to January 2nd, 2024, we have another Mercury Retrograde: this time, it’s starting in Capricorn and ending in the previous sign, Sagittarius. Mercury Retrogrades are always times when planning, travel, and communication go haywire – now, before Christmas and other related seasonal holidays, New Year’s Eve, and the end-of-year frenzy, it’s a particularly chaotic time to watch out for. The following article gives you a list of what to expect and how to work with the energy to avoid most potential trouble.
Let’s start by explaining Mercury Retrograde.
Who is Mercury?
Mercury is the planet of communication, travel, information, the media, learning, thinking, and more fringe topics, like transportation, navigation, siblings, equals, daughters, teachers, spokespeople, and certain types of technology. When Mercury passes the Earth on our orbits around the Sun, a phenomenon happens where it looks like Mercury stops, changes directions, goes backward, and then stops and moves forward again. This is an optical illusion, but it signifies a time when all topics related to Mercury work differently than usual. And by different, I mean – haywire. But no worries, there’s something you can do about this. But first: Mercury Retrograde isn’t the end of the world.
This astrological event happens three to four times a year – each time for three weeks, plus another two weeks before and after the actual event where we feel the beginning of the energy/integrate what happened to us.
This particular Retrograde starts off in an Earth sign, Capricorn, which is all about practicality. Then, on December 23rd, it switches signs into Sagittarius, which is a sign about risk-taking. (Spoiler: not advisable at that time.)
In the following section, we’ll dissect how to best work with Mercury Retrograde and what to expect. After each section, you’ll find a short list of zodiac signs that are MOST impacted by the specific topics. However, this list only includes people’s Sun and Rising signs – it does not include other, more personal information in your chart that may mean that a specific aspect of Mercury Retrograde impacts you more or less than you’d think. You can, however, book a session with me to get more personalized information on how Mercury Retrograde impacts you.
This particular Mercury Retrograde starts in the sign of strategy, business, efficiency, deadlines, traditions, hierarchy, and ambition. This means that one of the areas most affected by this Retrograde are in corporate and in all things to with old structures and traditions. This includes political systems, structures that carry organized religion, bosses, and elders. While it switches signs (back into Sagittarius) on December 23rd, this means that half of December has the energy of messing with your work, deadlines, and efficiency. Given the end-of-year frenzy, where thousands of annual goals suddenly sneak up on people, that’s nasty timing.
The advice here is to simply do all you can do to meet your annual goals in November so that possible roadblocks or surprises in December don’t cut into your bottom line. November is also a good time to check the books and make sure you didn’t make a mistake in the past months/years that could suddenly come to the surface at the end of December and screw you over. However, not everything can be done a month in advance: whatever you have to do in December, make sure you do it as thoroughly as possible and that you check every nut and bolt. That may cost time, but it will save you from a lot of trouble: until December 23rd, quality trumps quantity for sure. The week between Christmas and New Year’s is the best to get things done and fix mistakes in a quick-and-dirty kind of way (unless you have Pisces Rising: if you do, please ignore this advice).
This is most important (though all will feel it) for Sagittarius, Capricorn, Pisces, Aries, Cancer, and Leo Sun and Rising.
Information Coming to Light
Information is the key to Mercury Retrograde. This is a time when new and surprising information enters your consciousness, where the stuff people lie about comes to light, where things that are hidden rise to the surface, where your intuition gets supercharged, and where you change your opinion or rethink your mindsets in massive ways.
Under this astrological influence, it’s EXTREMELY important to listen to what people tell you. Often, remarkably subtle or small things form a bigger picture that surprises you or makes you question things (the most obvious example would be an odd comment here and there from your partner making you realize that they have secrets from you). You may also stumble randomly over articles, books, podcasts, or other avenues of retaining information that guides you to important realizations: so please, pay attention.
It's also extremely important to listen closely to your body and to your intuition. Mercury Retrograde always enhances intuition, particularly this one. So, if you don’t yet know why you have a certain gut feeling and or why you’re getting “nudged” by your intuition a certain way, please still pay close attention. You may not logically understand yet, but the information will likely come to light later… it’ll come to make sense.
People most affected by this are Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Libra, Scorpio, Taurus, and Gemini Sun and Rising.
Statistically speaking, more tech-stuff breaks or decides to go weird under Mercury Retrograde than at any other point in time. This is why it makes sense to back up your computer, tablet, phone, etc. before the retrograde and to also do maintenance before the astrological event starts. Beyond that, try not to rely on technology as much as usual, or to have a Plan B if your laptop breaks or the printer decides to create impressionistic paintings from the documents and pictures it was supposed to spit out. This is not the time to open emails from unknown senders or click on links random people send you that you don’t know.
This is also not a good time to share your password with people, launch websites or businesses, or buy new technology. It's always best to wait until Mercury Retrograde is over (it’s just three weeks!) as it’s statistically much more likely to buy something that’s broken/got problems, or to pay more than you have to.
Other than this, please remember that there’s not much you can do other than hoping for the best, keeping back-ups, having good security on your cloud and technology, and using common sense.
Most affected by this are people with Sagittarius, Capricorn, Pisces, Aries, Cancer, and Leo Sun and Rising.
Christmas Time, Christmas Dime
On December 23rd, the themes of this retrograde shift a little as the backward-moving planet enters the previous sign, Sagittarius. The new focus is now on travel, excess, philosophy, religion, and other strong belief systems. Sagittarius also rules what’s foreign to you: this includes international/intercultural contacts as well as people who are from different economic or religious/philosophical backgrounds than you, etc. Lastly, Sagittarius also has to do with priests, teachers, education, and religion itself.
This isn’t a great thing to have from December 23rd to January 2nd, which is the time of excess in terms of food and parties, but also the time most people travel (especially long distances) and meet up with people they don’t share a worldview with. Not everyone has family members they see eye to eye with or even like. Some people even have family from different cultures, religions, political orientations, or countries. Mercury Retrograde may bring lots of misunderstandings into the mix – more than usual. Therefore, the advice is to try to listen really closely and keep your cool. In the following guide, we’ll see some more information on communication under Mercury Retrograde – and travel. Please listen to that closely, as it’ll be highlighted from December 23rd onward.
Another point that may get more stressful than usual is preparing for the seasonal holidays. This time almost completely falls into the Mercury in Capricorn part, so planning and creating structures to plan the holidays may be more complicated than usual. Some families will not know whether they can fulfill the usual traditions at all, but these themes should shift dramatically on December 23rd (and before). Lots of problems may be solved at that time.
Family stuff may be most important for people with Sagittarius, Capricorn, and Virgo Sun and Rising, the religious/worldview clashes for Sagittarius, Capricorn, and Aries Sun and Rising. The planning aspect respectively for Capricorn, Sagittarius, and Aquarius Sun and Risings. Again, everyone will feel it though.
Travel and Transportation
Obviously, this time is one where travel happens a lot. Which isn’t great, because Mercury Retrograde messes with travel, transportation (and shipping) in EXTREME ways. This is supercharged from December 23rd to January 2nd, especially when it comes to long-distance or foreign travel.
The usual examples for Mercury Retrograde are as follows. You go on a trip you’ve done a thousand times, but instead of the usual journey, obstacles ensure – more than usual. Maybe your car breaks down, or you have to take another route that unexpectedly takes an hour longer than you planned. Maybe you forgot something and have to head back after a quarter of the journey, maybe you got lost – or maybe you go to the wrong place by accident because you thought you were meeting your friends in the hotel, not the motel they are currently waiting in. Maybe the avenue of public transportation you chose has a huge issue and is delayed or canceled… or your bag got lost along the way.
These things happen a lot more often under Mercury Retrograde than they usually do. So, the advice is: plan for mayhem. You likely can’t avoid travel entirely at this time, so plan for things to go wrong. Also, plan in such a way that anything going wrong is highly unlikely. Avoid airlines known to be flakey and airports that are known to be rough. Leave earlier than you have to, and double- and triple-check that you have all you need for the journey before you leave the house. You’re already doing that? Check again. Don’t leave your stuff unattended in public transportation, and look out a little more for thievery. Pack your carry-on in such a way that it has the most important things in it, plus a change of clothes, a toothbrush, and deodorant. Travel insurance may make sense, and so does taking a more serious stance on the usual travel precautions women should take for solo travel. (If anyone asks, you’re not alone – or you’re meeting your boyfriend and three older brothers at the airport who are ALL NFL linebackers. You know the drill.)
If you go by car and have a trip that passes through a deserted place, make sure you have your phone with you (and charged!) so you can call someone if your car gets in trouble. Also, pack some snacks and water that doesn’t go bad, preferably with a blanket and first aid stuff. Don’t rely on the possibility that the warning signal of your car is just a fluke, actually get it checked out – better be safe than sorry. Always drive safely, and don’t take unnecessary risks. Also, this is not a time to drive tipsy – you never should do that anyway, but December 22nd-January 4th is an extremely risky time for drunk drivers/drivers that are inebriated. Please don’t do this to yourself or others: don’t take the risk. (Also, please leave wild animals alone if you’re parking somewhere, this won’t go well).
No matter the mode of transportation, always build a massive cushion of extra time into your schedule when traveling under Mercury Retrograde, and try to keep your cool if things go wrong – there likely will be hiccups in your planning, so it’s best to plan for it rather than get a nasty surprise. That being said, Mercury Retrograde shows that it’s statistically more likely that one or more of the precautions mentioned above may become necessary. That doesn’t mean you’ll run into everything I mentioned, or that you’re going to be completely screwed over.
Signs most affected by this are Sagittarius, Gemini, Capricorn, Libra, Scorpio, Aries, and Taurus Sun and Rising.
Gifting and Budgeting
Mercury Retrograde messes with shipping – always has. When it gets into Sagittarius, that’s even worse than usual. So, please try and get all gifts ordered EARLY. Preferably in November, to be on the safe side.
December is not a good time for bigger expenses or last-minute gifts arriving on time, so get things in person if you need anything last minute. Also, please do more research on prices than you think you have to. You may have to pay more in December than you think on gifts and groceries, so please budget and keep an eye on where your money is going.
Most affected by this are Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aries, and Taurus Sun and Rising, though this applies to all.
New Year’s Eve
Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius may cause people to drive drunk and take extremely stupid risks with fireworks and so on. PLEASE make sure to keep your common sense in check. If you’re a passenger, don’t get into a car with a drunk driver – or at a time when people around you still throw fireworks around. If you’re a friend of a drunk person, please go the extra mile to keep an eye on them. If you’re a parent or otherwise in charge of a child, please make sure they don’t play with fireworks this year or place themselves in danger. (Also, please keep your pets and animals safe, specifically while walking dogs on January 1st and 2nd).
New Year’s is always a time when people get hospitalized for stupid things, but this year is particularly risky. One, people will want to take more risks… and two, there will be MORE consequences than usual for those risks. Luck may not be on your side, especially as Jupiter is also in Retrograde at that time. So, in total: if you do dumb shit, no one’s going to save you from yourself.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun between December 23rd and January 2nd, this means that if your idea of fun suddenly entails the spontaneous desire to do something that goes wrong 9/10 times – DON’T listen to the voice saying it’ll be fine, DON’T say YOLO, DON’T get cocky. You can have fun doing perfectly safe New Year’s Eve activities. You don’t need to see how long you can hold onto that lit firecracker without it blowing your hand off, or whether you can win the car race with that drunk person next to you. I’m not asking for more than common sense.
That having been said, if you’re acting sanely at that time, you’re going to be fine. This is a warning against throwing caution in the wind entirely, not a warning that “this will be the worst New Year’s Eve of your life and also, we’ll all dieeee.” No, we won’t, no, you don’t have to get scared, and yes, you can still have a wonderful celebration on the Eve of 2024. Just – you know, don’t get stupid. It’s all we’re talking about. Stupid people have less luck that day than usual on New Year’s, and that’s saying something.
This is particularly important for Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius Sun and Rising. Also, everyone should take this to heart – thank you.
First of all, communication includes all types of communication: speaking, writing, signing, anything voice-related, and anything else that has to do with self-expression. But also, the relaying of information itself is subject to this issue. So, if you read about a speech in the newspaper, then the speech is affected by Mercury Retrograde as it was held, the newspaper is affected by it, and your reading ability is affected by it, too – so was the distribution of the newspaper, and so on. Even the ads you see are ruled by Mercury because they inherently wish to communicate something with you: namely, that YOU NEED THIS PRODUCT; BUY IT NOW! That’s also communication. Let’s start with you communicating something.
In Mercury Retrograde, you may think that you’re communicating information, wishes, desires, and so on clearly – but you may not. Statistically, this is the time when you think you made clear what you want, but spoke a lot more vaguely than you intended. This is also the time when communication you put out into the world has a different effect than you expected. Emails with sensitive information end up with the wrong person more often, well-intended messages may start an office war, and communication may plainly get lost.
The best advice for this is to double-check everything you write: first for clarity, and tone (things can easily seem rougher in written form than they would be if they were said in person), but also for whether the message was received in a timely manner.
Because things get lost or forgotten more easily, it makes sense to politely and friendly check in with people before deadlines are reached or when people/institutions are uncharacteristically quiet. For instance, a client was waiting for progress in her divorce case – after MONTHS, she finally followed up on why there was nothing happening… only to hear that there were three letters sent to her that she’d never received. It turned out that the letters had been sent during the previous two Mercury Retrogrades. She literally never got them. So, please: if you don’t hear back from people in a timely manner, follow up kindly and early. (The same goes for shipments that don’t come when they’re supposed to). Also, please make sure you don’t lose or forget correspondence, deadlines, memos, etc., and try to send or order things you need online before and after the retrograde as much as possible (rather than in the retrograde itself).
Next up, the second leg of communication: listening. Mercury Retrograde can make it very easy for people to misunderstand even “unmistakably clear” communication. You read a speech and come out of it with the opposite of what the speaker said. You could swear your grandma said “11 o’clock,” not “10:30” – but 10:30 is when she expects you. You read a text from your girlfriend and get extremely offended, only to read it again the next day to realize there was nothing in there worth getting upset over – what the heck? That’s the other side of Mercury Retrograde.
The advice here is to take notes on anything practical and to double-check them verbally. Your boss said to hand it in on Wednesday? Write it in your calendar immediately, while checking back verbally that you got it right. The next piece of advice is to read and listen more closely than usual, (and to re-read things slash to ask more questions). This is especially the case if a) you got confused, b) other people disagree with you, and c) whatever was said/written made you question yourself, and your relationships, or plainly made you angry. You can always explode after checking back that your information was accurate.
And also, as you may have trouble with keeping your foot out of your mouth at this time, so do other people. Have grace for people where appropriate.
Personally, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, and Capricorn Sun and Rising are most affected by this.
Wrapping up the Year
As Mercury Retrograde starts out in Capricorn, it ultimately triggers the theme we’ve had of Pluto in Capricorn. This is an astrological event we’ve had since 2008, and this year onward (since March 2023), Pluto has been dipping into its new sign (Aquarius), to go back and wrap up the journey in Capricorn fully.
This means that this Mercury Retrograde, especially until December 23rd, has a massive theme of closing out the past. Look back into your life: what ongoing theme played out in your life since 2008? What changed between March and June 2023 (this is the new theme of Pluto in Aquarius)? What resumed June 2023 onwards? Whatever it is, this will likely come closer to a final end now, and be fully resolved until November 2024.
This is most noticeable for Sagittarius, Capricorn, and Aquarius Sun and Rising, though everyone will notice.
That was it for this article! I hope you have a wonderful pre-holiday and holiday season. See you soon – and until then, here are a couple of articles you may enjoy.
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