The first aspect that Mercury retrograde makes is to Venus, a collision that happens nearly four hours after the planetary backspin begins. Tarot reader Caitlin McGarry explains this celestial phenomenon perfectly: “The final retrograde of the year is nothing to stress about if you prepare for it well enough. It will be on a vibe of efficiency since it falls in the sign of Capricorn, the pragmatic goat. We will have a chance to get ourselves organised for the energies of 2023… Be prepared for delays and roll with the cosmic punches.”
This time around, Mercury and Mars will both be retrograde for the majority of the time together. Unfortunately, they’ll be in mutual reception of each other and share a minor frustration called a 'qui', which means that the heat is on and, no, it’s not the thermostat that’s boiling up.
Narayana Montufar, astrologer and author of Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power, warns that the time span between Mars’ direct motion on January 12 and Mercury’s forward stomp on January 18 will have a tremendous effect on our lives. “Whatever changes occur in our lives between January 12 and January 18 will be non-negotiable. Luckily, since Mercury will also be forming a trine with Uranus and the North Node of Destiny, making these changes will be easier if we allow ourselves to flow easily with the cosmic tides of change.”
Mercury and Mars will get an energetic boost and push us to snap or pop off on others when pushed. The urge to confront people and to have the last word will be high. Choose how you assert your energy wisely. Think before speaking regrettable words. Take time off from work and dare to relax. Astrologer Renee Watt says, “With Mercury heading backwards through success-oriented Capricorn, you may begin to rethink your professional goals. This is a great time to consider how you might make headway within your field in the year ahead, though you should avoid taking action until both Mars and Mercury end their retrograde journeys.”
Many astrologers (including myself) consider the two weeks before and after to be the most wonky. In fact, I coined the phrase “retroshade” to describe the impact that these times have on us. In the weeks leading up to Mercury’s moonwalk (December 12 to December 29, 2022) we will feel the vibe shift as the story of the retrograde begins to unfold. In the weeks after the retrograde (January 18 to February 7, 2023), we revisit the drama for a third time, as Mercury passes over the same degrees, shedding light on different aspects of the same situation.
When Mercury is retrograde, it’s actually not moving backwards. It’s an optical illusion caused by the sudden slow movement of the planet, which appears to move in the opposite motion of earth when we look at it from far away. However, it’s actually just taking a rest and break from its high-speed orbit and calmly moving at its own pace. Earth is now moving faster than Mercury, causing havoc on all living beings. And, things get messy at this time.
The joker planet rules our memory, communication, travel, technology, analytical skills, and the news, so it’s no wonder that the effects of the retrograde on us earthlings is intense. We may recollect things differently or want to discuss old situations with former frenemies. Be prepared to randomly bump into or hook up with an ex when at home when visiting your family. Since Mercury retrograde is currently transiting the sign Capricorn, we could get extra reflective and sentimental, making our hearts yearn for them after one cup of eggnog.
We will all be affected by Mercury’s backslash. Therefore, we should protect our energy by making sure we get enough rest, disengaging from conflict, connecting with family, leaving enough time for travel issues, and don’t commit to New Year's plans as they may change. Most importantly, live your life to the best of your abilities — even though Mercury has some tricks up its sleeve in the beginning of 2023.