How to Survive the First Mercury Retrograde of 2023

InStyle's astrologer shares how it will affect your zodiac sign.

How to Survive the Last Mercury Retrograde of 2022

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If your car’s dashboard is flashing eyebrow-raising symbols, you feel like you’re constantly getting wires crossed with everyone from your S.O. to your bestie and boss, and blasts from the past have you wondering if the universe is sending you meaningful messages or just messing with you, take heart — it’s not just you. What you’re experiencing is the effect of the fourth and final (whew!) Mercury retrograde of 2022.

From December 29 to January 18, Mercury — fittingly nicknamed the trickster planet — moves backward through pragmatic cardinal earth sign Capricorn, urging you to rest, reflect, and tend to unfinished business. But even leading into and out of this period of time, the pre- and post-retrograde shadow or storm phase, you'll feel the astrological transit's effects on communication, transportation, and technology. 

Capricorn energy is slow, steady, deliberate, and always focused on the endgame, which can make this an especially mindful — and potentially productive — Mercury retrograde.

If tying up loose ends and focusing on self-reflection over hustling and bustling into the future isn’t exactly how you want to be spending the first few weeks of a new year, a bit of silver lining: Capricorn energy is slow, steady, deliberate, and always focused on the endgame, which can make this an especially mindful — and potentially productive — Mercury retrograde.

In case you'd like a refresher on what Mercury retrograde means: Three or four times a year, the planet that oversees communication, transportation, and technology appears to move backward from our vantage point on Earth for three weeks. This slowdown phase tends to require putting the brakes on anything related to the areas of life that the messenger planet oversees — from travel to getting the ball rolling on a tech-driven or communication-heavy project. But it's also a moment in which we're urged to rest, reflect, revise, and turn inward in order to gain more clarity and wisdom that'll serve us well once we can hit the gas post-retrograde.

This retrograde also kicks off at a fairly opportune time — just days before ringing in 2023, we’re already glimpsing through the rearview at the past 12 months as we contemplate what we want for the next 12. Sure, it might be tougher to hit the ground running come the first week of January. But by taking a few steps back, you can move forward rested, prepared, focused, and, in turn, even more capable of creating the results you’re aiming for. 

By pinpointing where in your birth chart this Mercury retrograde is happening for you, you can get a better sense of how to make the most of its growth-spurring effects. Here, how this particular Mercury retrograde will affect you, based on your sign. (Pro-tip: Be sure to read both your sun and your rising sign, if you know it. If you don't, you can find it on your natal chart or via this CafeAstrology calculator.)


With Mercury retrograde falling in your career zone, you’ve likely had to go back to the drawing board in some capacity as a result of your status on the job. You could be reworking or revising a presentation, because this area of your chart is very much about being in the spotlight and perhaps even stepping into a leadership position. You might also do well to revisit an ongoing conversation with a higher-up or client about a raise, promotion, or taking on more responsibility. That said, even if retracing your steps feels like a total headache, you’ll find that putting your nose to the grindstone through this period really can pay off once Mercury is direct.


This Mercury retrograde falls in your adventure and higher learning sector, which can stall any efforts to step beyond your comfort zone and broaden your horizons for the sake of learning and personal growth. Maybe you’ve been wanting to take a class or travel, but there are just too many tiny details and everyday to-dos that need tending to for you to break free of your mundane routine. It’s totally understandable to get frustrated, but do your best to let that frustration fuel your motivation to make plans for the future. Come January 18, you’ll know exactly how you want to exert your energy and possibly spend time and money, and you’ll get even more out of the experience.


As one of two signs ruled by Mercury (the other is Virgo), you’re always going to feel its effects more than most people. But you’re also super-adaptable and capable of rolling with the punches, Gemini, and you’ll want to bear that in mind particularly in terms of how you’re relating to others on a deep, emotional level during this retrograde, because it falls in your intimacy sector. This could be your moment to have an overdue heart-to-heart with your S.O. about sexual needs that haven’t been met or talk to a family member about crossing boundaries. This is also the zone dedicated to joint resources, so you can sit down with a loved one or business partner to talk through and revise that budget you’ve been wanting to flesh out. By the time your key planet moves forward on January 18, you could feel even more connected and confident about your closest bonds.


This Mercury retrograde falls in your partnership sector, which encourages you to get to the bottom of old business with a S.O., friend, colleague, or loved one. It’s time to revisit that conversation about reciprocity, check how much progress you’ve made on a shared goal, or even take a step back and think about whether or not a particular one-on-one relationship is adding value to your life anymore. It may be tough for you to not involve your emotions and to default to caring for others while you navigate any of these at-times challenging moments. But with the retrograde happening in your opposite sign, these three weeks are about strengthening your relationships and standing strong in your sense of self. 


Mercury is moving backward through your routine and wellness sector, which can spur challenges, setbacks, and frustrations around everyday to-dos. This time of year is typically pretty jam-packed with lots of hustle and bustle, but that’s even more so the case for you, so you could definitely be banging your head against the wall when small but significant aspects of your day-to-day just keep going haywire. The best thing you can do is keep your schedule as simple and straightforward as possible, ask for help, and practice a lot of self-compassion. Though your inner drive may be squawking that there are deadlines to hit and places to be and people to connect with and workouts to get in, slowing down now might be even more productive for your mind, body, and spirit. 


The messenger planet, which also happens to be your ruler, moves backward through your self-expression sector now, which can actually be kind of fun if you’re OK with going with the flow more than usual. Give into the urge to look back at previous romantic and creative pursuits. Pour over old journals with your S.O., pick that previously back burnered creative project up, revise the draft of that piece of writing you set aside because you were being a bit too perfectionistic. Allowing yourself to swim around in your artistic, romantic past can actually fire up your self-awareness, confidence, and voice, so that you can move forward in endeavors close to your heart with even more intention and clarity come January 18. 


Messenger Mercury is moving backward through your home zone this time around, which will encourage you to dive into challenging but necessary healing of old emotional wounds. Your inner life, your roots, your family, generational trauma — all of it may be more top of mind than usual now. Although your instinct may be to soldier on past anything unnerving or what could give way to landmines with loved ones, you’re realizing that dealing with it all head-on is key to moving the ball forward on big picture dreams. Trust that you can swim in the deep end of these intimidating waters and emerge even stronger and more centered — in your sense of self and your relationships with your nearest and dearest. 


With Mercury retrograde falling in your communication sector, these three weeks are bound to be filled with the stereotypical hallmarks of a Mercury retrograde for you especially. In other words, cue the technology glitches, transportation headaches, misunderstandings that leave you rolling your eyes or backed up on a deadline. Interactions with friends and colleagues might be particularly affected. Doing your best to stay calm, cool, and collected through all of these firestorms can lead to a great deal of personal growth and enhanced adaptability. 


Messenger Mercury’s backup is happening in your money zone, Sag, which means that you’ll need to double-check important financial documents, keep an eye on your bank account, and potentially revisit conversations or game plans related to moneymaking. You’re taking stock of all the little things that add up to success when it comes to earning now. But this area of your chart also oversees what you value, so these three weeks can be a productive moment for reassessing the endeavors you’re pouring your time and energy into. If they’re not quite in line with your ideals, it could be time to change course.


Mercury’s retrograde is happening in your sign, which means that you’re being urged to reflect, revise, and reimagine how you want to present yourself — and your passion projects — to the world. You may spend these three weeks putting your nose to the grindstone on a proposal that’s close to your heart or literally overhauling your online presence and upgrading your resume ahead of diving into a new phase of your career. You’re compelled to tend to your image, with hopes that finessing it will ultimately result in long-term dreams coming true. And that very much could be the case once Mercury goes direct, and we’re able to more fully step into a new year. 


With Mercury retrograde in your spirituality sector, these three weeks could be all about self-reflection, nurturing your inner peace, and honing your intuition. This could sound a little unnerving, as you prefer to deal with facts, figures, logic, and rational thought. But consider this an opportunity to get comfier with the unknown and your unconscious. Your dreams might be more vivid now, and your imagination is also enhanced, so prioritize meditation or another mindfulness practice. What you come up with could actually lead to a concrete strategy for transforming a big picture vision into your reality. 


Mercury’s retrograde affects your networking sector this time around, which could spur run-ins with people from past chapters of your life — old colleagues, former classmates, even friends with benefits. Remember, Mercury is the trickster planet, so not every encounter is necessarily one worth putting a lot of stock into, but some might lead to a happy reconnection, productive networking, and maybe even collaboration. You’ll also be spending time on group endeavors and finding that problem-solving and revising your approach as a team enhances your ability to see eye-to-eye and to collectively move toward the finish line. And because this is also the area of your chart dedicated to long-term wishes, use this time to take stock of how far you’ve come on the ones closest to your heart. Embrace your innate desire to daydream — particularly alongside your closest friends — and you could come up with a thrilling strategy for manifesting a cherished intention. 

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