The Final Mercury Retrograde of the Year Is Giving ‘Cosmic Whiplash’—Here’s What To Expect for Your Sign, and How To Deal
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Mercury retrograde has the kind of reputation that hardly needs an introduction. But ICYDK, the pesky transit occurs when Mercury appears to be moving backward in the sky (from our perspective on Earth) and denotes a time of celestial chaos. Specifically, for the span of weeks over which it happens, it’s known to stir up drama in the Mercury-ruled areas of communication, short-term travel, and technology. And the final set of Mercury retrograde dates for 2023—when the planet is retrograde in Capricorn and Sagittarius successively—is looking to be no different.

Beginning on December 12, Mercury stations retrograde in tough-as-nails Capricorn just as the new moon peaks in Sagittarius; the planet’s backspin takes it into Sagittarius on December 23, where it’ll remain in its apparent reverse motion until January 1, 2024.

While new moons typically warrant setting new intentions and goals (which is still great to do right about now, BTW), you may want to be extra cautious with putting plans into motion on this one. After all, Capricorn and Sagittarius rule over the realms of long-term goals and travel, respectively, and both of those areas could feel off-kilter during a Mercury retrograde in these signs.

Rather than taking the leap to check a new city off your travel bucket list or committing to something new for the long haul, you’d be wiser to spend this upcoming Mercury retrograde reflecting on the recent past and considering how you can apply any lessons learned to your future.

Overall vibes of Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and Sagittarius

Typically, Mercury goes retrograde about three to four times a year. During its backspin, we tend to experience Mercurial mayhem, like delayed flights, tech issues, and misunderstandings with a friend or partner, setting the scene for conflict. To get a better idea of how this will manifest in this upcoming Mercury retrograde, it’s worth considering the realms over which Capricorn and Sagittarius rule, given the planet will be transiting through both signs consecutively.

Capricorn is all about career and public image, so Mercury retrograde in the sign can raise some chaos when it comes to professional communication or subject us to the court of public opinion. “This [retrograde] can make you feel like you’re not fulfilling your deadlines at work or struggling to uphold the responsibilities you have to yourself or others,” says astrologer Ryan Marquardt. Beware of workplace blunders and social media hot takes gone awry.

“This [retrograde] can make you feel like you’re not fulfilling your deadlines at work or struggling to uphold the responsibilities you have to yourself or others.” —Ryan Marquardt, astrologer

Because this retrograde occurs at the tail end of 2023, we’re also in for a cosmic whiplash, as we may feel pushed to review everything that we’ve endured this year. “This Mercury retrograde is both reflective of how far we’ve come and what we’ve built this year, as well as forward-looking and aspirational for bigger and better things coming in 2024,” explains astrologer Erin River Sunday.

When Mercury moves into Sagittarius for the back half of the retrograde, the Sagittarian realms of travel, philosophy, and big-picture ideas get thrown for a loop. Travel plans may fall through, or we may discover a change of heart when it comes to a once strongly held belief—and naturally, that can turn everything upside down.

How to handle this Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and Sagittarius

Dealing with the chaotic energy of Mercury retrograde (or any retrograde, for that matter) typically requires slowing down and reflecting on our long-term ambitions. “With Mercury specifically, it’s often a time to revisit conversations,” says Sunday. “Whether it’s something you should’ve said but didn’t, or something you did say and shouldn’t have, these few weeks are a time to think back on those communications.”

Because Mercury retrograde in Capricorn can trigger workplace mistakes, be sure to double-check every e-mail and document you’re working on over the next couple weeks. On an internal level, Mercury retrograde may also cause you to reevaluate whether your work is aligned with your soul’s purpose and lead you to consider alternative career paths.

Once the communication planet enters Sagittarius on December 23, Marquardt says we should expect to be extra scatterbrained. “[We] might be more reckless and careless with the ways we communicate, so it’s best to be mindful about not coming across as blunt or harsh,” he says.

Since Sagittarius rules over our knowledge and beliefs, we can also expect to be more passionate about our convictions than usual. “This can manifest as a lot of loud voices and very little listening,” says Marquardt. Meaning, it’s a good idea to take a moment to step back in any disagreement over these next few weeks and consider whether you’ve really heard the other side.

And as for those festive travel plans you may have coming up? “Those should be triple-checked,” adds Sunday.

Which signs will be most affected by Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and Sagittarius?

Naturally, Capricorn and Sagittarius may feel the worst of Mercury retrograde because it’s happening in their home sign. But given that Mercury rules Gemini and Virgo, these two signs will also really feel the heat of the planet’s backspin.

With that said, everyone will feel this Mercury retrograde in some way, depending on the astrological house that this transit occupies in your birth chart. Read on for both your sun and rising signs to gather star-sanctioned insights about what Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and Sagittarius might especially have in store for you.

How Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and Sagittarius will affect every zodiac sign

Aries

The symbol for the aries zodiac sign, which resembles a ram.

Keeping it together during Mercury retrograde may seem like a balancing act, Aries. You could be feeling pressure to perform at an impossible frequency, with the Capricorn portion of the transit hitting your 10th house of career and public image. “[Aries] should avoid taking on too many responsibilities or feeling a need to prove themselves to other people,” says Marquardt.

Taurus

The things you’ve always held close to your heart may be up for evaluation during Mercury retrograde, Taurus. “This retrograde influences your core beliefs and might challenge your status quo,” says Sunday, of its impact within your ninth house of learning and discovery. “Listening will be key,” she adds. Be open to others’ experiences and perspectives rather than dismissive.

Gemini

Talk is cheap, Gemini. For you, Mercury retrograde is proving the importance of networking, as it moves through your eighth house of shared resources. It’s a good idea to focus on relationships that help you step closer to your professional goals. “This retrograde could bring up conversations around shared finances for you, and particularly, how you’re being supported (or not) by your partnerships,” says Sunday.

At the same time, past relationships may also resurface for you, as the planet backspins into Sagittarius and your seventh house of partnerships. Be sure to avoid making commitments you can’t follow through on, says Marquardt.

Cancer

Frustrations are ahead in the realm of your communications, Cancer. “This retrograde highlights your committed partnerships and might have you circling back to a few important conversations,” Sunday says. Feeling misunderstood? If there’s ever a time to be thorough and clear, it’s now.

Leo

There’s value in limitations, Leo, and this retrograde is letting you know how to manage with what you have, as it hits on your sixth house of everyday rituals and routines. “This retrograde encourages you to work on your time management skills and reminds you that creativity can flourish under the right boundaries,” says Sunday. This is an especially potent period for solo time to get your affairs in order.

Virgo

Mercury retrograde could induce creative or romantic blocks for you, Virgo. “The simple things that used to bring you joy, like your favorite art or hobbies, could feel boring now,” explains Marquardt. But a little rest can bring the spark back. “You might retreat to your home and want to spend more time sleeping and relaxing and trying to connect with family,” he says.

Libra

Feeling stuck in the past is par for your course right now, Libra. For you, Mercury retrograde is inducing major déjà vu, as it first moves through your fourth house of home, family, and foundations before entering your third house of communication. “You may find a way of putting words to your feelings so you can make sense of your emotional world and talk about it with others if needed,” says Marquardt. Don’t be afraid of getting sentimental.

Scorpio

Mercury retrograde may have you feeling mistake-prone, Scorpio, so you’d be wise to take a steady pace in all areas of your life. That’s because it’ll start out in your third house of communication—which is also the house over which Mercury rules, meaning you’ll feel the classic Mercury retrograde mayhem.

“You should be extra mindful of the ways you communicate,” suggests Marquardt. To remedy any Mercury retrograde blues, practice mindfulness and double-check your work, he adds. The power of patience can’t be overstated.

Sagittarius

Keep an eye out for overspending, Sagittarius, because this Mercury retrograde is testing the limits of your financial restraint as it begins in Capricorn and your second house of finances. Frivolous financial habits can take a hit on your self-esteem, says Marquardt.

This could also be a time when you lack a strong sense of identity or can’t find adequate ways to express yourself, he adds. After all, the second portion of the retrograde occurs in your sign—meaning, in your first house of identity and self. Just know that any feelings of existential dread are temporary… and no amount of retail therapy will move you closer to your goals.

Capricorn

If this Mercury retrograde will teach you anything, Capricorn, it’s that it’s okay to fail. It begins in your first house of the self, which could have you holding yourself to even higher standards than normal. But just know that your confidence can take a massive tumble if you’re putting too much pressure on yourself to exceed and not giving yourself grace when you fall short (that does happen sometimes, BTW).

Marquardt says this is your moment for introspection. “It’s a great time to detach, listen to your intuition, and explore the hidden aspects buried within your subconscious mind, including your dreams,” he says, particularly referencing the second portion of the retrograde, which moves into your 12th house of the psyche. Remember to ground yourself when doubt starts to creep in.

Aquarius

Your battery is running low during Mercury retrograde, Aquarius, so opt for some alone time whenever possible. “This retrograde wants you to step back from the crowd and take some time to rest,” says Sunday, of its impact on your 12th house of spirituality and dreams. “Nap time is heavily encouraged!” And if the retrograde mayhem is wearing you thin, meditation practices can help keep your stress at bay.

Pisces

Old friends may make a reappearance in your life during this Mercury retrograde, Pisces, as it hits on your 11th house of social networks. Marquardt suggests steering clear of oversharing to avoid saying something you may regret later on. “The same is true at work, where you may feel extra exposed due to some public recognition,” he says. In other words, if you’re in a meeting or brainstorm, “don’t do anything unexpected or spontaneous—just stick to the script,” says Marquardt.

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