Let’s cut to the chase: The final Mercury retrograde of 2023 has arrived. We’ve survived two of these chaotic astrological happenings so far this year, and the third and final one will test us and frustrate us (as all Mercury retrogrades tend to do). This particular backwards dance will begin on December 13 in Capricorn, move to Sagittarius on December 23, and turn direct on January 1 2024, so we’ll be starting the new year off on, well, not the wrong foot, but a pretty unstable one.
We actually started this year with a Mercury retrograde in Capricorn, so the fact that we’re ending with it feels serendipitous (if you can ever call a retrograde that). “When the retrograde begins on December 13, it will pick up at the same exact location in the sky where the retrograde at the start of the year ended on January 18,” Stephanie Campos, astrologer and author of Seasons of the Zodiac: Love, Magick, and Manifestation Throughout the Astrological Year, tells Refinery29. “This means we're picking up a direct storyline from that time period in our lives to close out unfinished business.” Think all the way back to this past January — what were your hopes? Your dreams? Your fears? They will all come back into relevancy now, and you’ll be all the more prepared to face them.
“Mercury retrograde in Capricorn invites us to reflect on the structures in our lives, our relationship with the past, and the legacy we are currently shaping and wish to leave behind,” Campos says. “Long-term goals may be reconsidered and we’re having more boundary-setting conversations.”
Capricorn is a very work- and money-oriented sign, so expect the first half of the retrograde to reflect that. “We will most likely receive requests from upper management to redo, revise, and rewrite our overall 2024 strategies. Don’t overreact or get down on your work, as this is a ‘blessing in disguise,’” says Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer for astrology.com and author of Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power. “Since Mercury goes retrograde while forming a trine with Jupiter (who comes out of retrograde on December 30), the revisions we do now will be very productive once the Spring of 2024 arrives. These days are the most positive of the entire retrograde.”
The Planet of Communication won’t exit its post-retrograde zone until January 20 2024, so we’ll be basking in its energy for a bit, says Lisa Stardust, astrologer and author of The Love Deck. “Mercury will bring to light anything that we’re not happy with as it moves from Capricorn to Sagittarius. Part of what we’re learning is that it’s important to deal with what brings us the most happiness,” she says. This can be a good thing — ask yourself what in your life isn’t serving you anymore, and be prepared to let it go. “Additionally, our New Year’s resolutions may be put on hold as we figure out what we really want to achieve,” Stardust says.
Mercury leaving Capricorn and and entering Sagittarius is when “the real Mercury retrograde fun begins,” according to Campos. “Mercury hasn’t been in the sign of Sagittarius since November and December 2018, so you’ll want to think back to that time period and what was unfolding for you: What were your pain points? What areas of your life experienced delays or setbacks? Similar themes and topics may come up for revision.” Mercury doesn’t have the best time when it’s in Sag, so we’ll have even more miscommunications and misunderstandings than usual.
“Avoiding negative thinking during these days is super important to not fall into endless mental trips and detours,” says Montúfar. “Instead, focus on adopting a big picture approach to your revisions, whether they are career, love, or lifestyle related.”
“This Mercury retrograde might bring its fair share of challenges, but approaching it with preparedness and mindfulness can minimize its disruptive effects,” says Hillary Coke, astrologer and tarot expert at Nebula Platform. “Use this time to slow down, reevaluate, and proceed with caution, understanding that it's a phase that encourages introspection.”
Be gentle with yourself, take things slow, and the transition into the new year should be smooth sailing.