We all know her, but we all definitely don't love her: Mercury retrograde. The infamous astrology transit is known to cause mass hysteria, malfunctions, and memes, and it's something we all should be prepared for. And what better way to buckle up than to have all of the dates — and insights from astrologers — of its upcoming retrogrades in one place?
Last year, the Planet of Communication went retrograde four times. This year, we're thankfully getting a break with just three retrograde transits.
Lisa Stardust, astrologer and author of The Love Deck, notes that the retrogrades of 2023 are all happening in earth signs, except for the last retrograde that moves from Capricorn to Sagittarius. "The overall theme is to urge us to find better ways to save money and embrace our self-esteem," she says. "The focus on earthly matters will urge us to escape our comfort zones and to embrace fresh ideas. It’s time to move forward and to invest our creativity and money in situations that can grow."
On top of that, relationships will be an important theme during these transits. Stardust says this means that we will be deciding who and what we want in our lives. "If something or someone is not benefiting us, or making us happy, it’s time to cut the cord and to move on," she says.
Below, find all the dates Mercury will retrograde in 2023 along with insights and advice from astrologers. Happy retrograding!
April 21 to May 14. From April 21 to May 14, Mercury retrograde will occur in the sign of Taurus. The pre-retrograde shadow (which is the time before the retrograde officially kicks off, when we may already start feeling the effects of the movement) will begin on April 7 and the post-retrograde shadow ends on May 31.
The classic Mercury retrograde mishaps — tech issues, lost emails, misunderstood messages — will be the most intense during the beginning of this transit. “This is due to Mercury turning retrograde while being conjunct with Uranus, the Planet of Electricity,” says Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer for Astrology.com and author of Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power. “On the positive side, this combination can help us come up with new solutions to old problems.”
While we often try to look on the bright side when it comes to Mercury’s retrograde transit, we have to warn you that this one in particular is gearing up to be a bumpy ride. “The fact that this retrograde overlaps with the first eclipse season of 2023 will make it more annoying, but also more powerful,” says Montúfar. “What Mercury retrograde and eclipse season have in common is that they are very transformative, so we can expect to be stretched and triggered. However, we will also be given the opportunity to evolve out of negative patterns as well as situations.”
To really evolve during this time, though, we must be flexible. “Taurus is a very fixed sign and often resistant to changes, while Mercury is all about changes,” says Iva Naskova, astrologer at the Nebula app. “Therefore, this transit tends to lead to a pitfall due to the Taurian energy. This means you should prepare to have a bit of a struggle with staying in your comfort zone opposed to moving forward toward something new.” You may be feeling indecisive during this transit, but don’t let it frustrate you. Again, flexibility is the key here, so go with the flow, roll with the punches, move to the music — you get the drill — and you’ll be able to come out on the other side unscathed.
Stardust says that the focus of this retrograde will be on relationships and finances — both of which are major areas for Taurus. “Exes may come back, emotions could erupt or change, and we could have to start a savings plan and watch our spending,” she says. This is not a time to indulge — although that’s what Taurus loves to do — so empty your online shopping carts that are full to the brim and save that splurge for another day.
Stephanie Campos, astrologer and author of Seasons of the Zodiac: Love, Magick, and Manifestation Throughout the Astrological Year, agrees. “Whatever you buy may arrive with a side of disappointment or simply just take forever to get to you,” she says. “In general our finances may also experience some sort of delays or setbacks. Mercury's retrograde in Taurus may have us readjusting our budget or waiting for a check or reimbursement that's overdue.”
When it comes to love, Campos says we may be tasked with looking at the value systems within our closest relationships. She says we need to ask ourselves if those systems align with our current partners, and if there are conversations that need to be had. “Addressing any unspoken tension within our partnerships is certainly on the menu under this retrograde,” she says.
Although Mercury retrogrades often cause havoc, there’s an upside to this particular planetary backspin. “The most important day to look out for is May 1, when the sun and Mercury retrograde connect, creating an aspect called cazimi,” says Stardust. “In this case, communication will be clear, making it the best day of the retrograde.” You heard her — this is the day of the retrograde when you should plan important meetings, interviews, calls, you name it. Although it’ll still have the tinge of retrograde vibes, it’s the best thing we’ve got until Mercury goes direct on May 14. Until then, good luck!
August 23 to September 15. From August 23 to September 15, Mercury retrograde will occur in the sign of Virgo. The pre-retrograde shadow will begin on August 3 and the post-retrograde shadow ends on September 30.
December 13 to January 1, 2024. The last Mercury retrograde of 2023 is a little different than the previous two, due to the fact that Mercury moves from Capricorn to Sagittarius during its backwards dance (FYI, every single Mercury retrograde from 2022 switched signs, too!). The pre-retrograde shadow will begin on November 25 and the post-retrograde shadow ends on January 20, 2024.
Mark these down on your 2023 calendar so you have an explanation — or at least an excuse — as to why things are all topsy-turvy. But just remember, we've been through countless Mercury retrogrades before and we'll go through even more as we continue on in our lives. They're not meant to be scary or intimidating — rather, they're here to redirect us towards a better path. Good luck!