Mercury retrograde 2023: Mark your calendar, especially if you're THIS type of star sign

Mercury retrograde 2023 will feature SIX shadow periods too! Here's what that means and how to take the positive aspects of chaotic time

Mercury retrograde 2023: Flying pink planet with circle of asteroides isolated on black background. 3d rendering
(Image credit: Iryna Dobytchina/Getty Images)

Mercury retrograde 2023 gets the year going with a heck of a lot of chaos in the realms of travel, communication, and technology. Just what you need during the Holiday season, right? Well, steady yourselves because Mercury retrograde will occur four times in 2023, and its shadow period will happen SIX times, so here is what to be aware of.

As Mercury retrograde December 2022 follows us into the New Year, you may well have your concerns - especially as Mars retrograde 2022 still rages on. However, Mercury retrograde and its shadow periods are the hauntingly magical musical intro and outro to the full orchestral version of each of those planetary shifts. Don’t ignore it, or you’ll end up missing the important lessons that this planetary period wants to teach you.

This year’s Mercury retrograde periods are all in Earth signs (almost), so they each hit different aspects of our material lives. Straight away, it's evident that this year pulls no punches, as it starts with a Mercury retrograde in full swing, and ends on a Mercury retrograde as well. 2023 is teaching us lessons, and not giving us an easy ride.

Mercury retrograde 2023 dates

New Moon September 2022: A pink galaxy.

(Image credit: Constantine Johnny/Getty Images)
  • December 12, 2022: Pre-retrograde shadow starts on and the post-retrograde shadow ends on February 7, 2023.
  • December 29, 2022 –  January 18, 2023: Mercury retrograde in Capricorn, centering communication problems around business and financial pursuits.
  • April 7, 2023: Pre-retrograde shadow starts on , and the post-retrograde shadow ends on May 31, 2023.
  • April 12, 2023 - May 15, 2023: Mercury retrograde in Taurus, bringing chaos to home matters and the leisure industry.
  • August 3, 2023: Pre-retrograde shadow starts on and the post-retrograde shadow ends on September 29, 2023.
  • August 23, 2023 – September 15, 2023: Mercury retrograde in Virgo, messing around with all our habits, systems and routines.
  • November 25, 2023: Pre-retrograde shadow starts onand the post-retrograde shadow ends on January 20, 2024.
  • December 13, 2023 –  January 1, 2024: Mercury retrograde in Capricorn and Sagittarius, wreaking travel havoc on winter gateways.

What is Mercury retrograde?

As we look towards the planets from our perch here on Earth, they sometimes appear to be going backwards in the sky. Of course, planets are always hurtling forwards through the darkness, each within their orbit. But when we observe them, there are periods where they appear to be turning the other way.

Those periods are called retrogrades, and they’re associated with things going awry.

Mercury retrograde, in particular, is a time that communication goes haywire. From missing concert tickets to text messages going to the wrong person, and even an entire social network going down, the Mercury retrograde creates chaos in all communication matters, and also brings back situations from the past, like exes and old colleagues, so we can unpick them and draw a line under those experiences.

What is Mercury retrograde shadow period?

Mercury retrograde 2023: Conceptual universe and galaxies image.

(Image credit: kampee patisena/Getty Images)

Just before Mercury retrograde 2023 and also just after, for a couple of weeks each way, there is a shadow period, when life situations impacted by the retrograde already start to go funny or carry on with the mayhem. The shadow period is, theoretically, the time that Mercury goes back and forth over the same ground.

If you’ve always felt like the retrograde chaos starts a little before the retrograde dates, or doesn’t quite end when the retrograde ends – this is why!

During the retrograde itself, Mercury will go back to a certain degree that it had encountered a couple of weeks prior. The journey that will be repeated during the retrograde, takes place in the same space of the pre-retrograde shadow. Then, after the retrograde, the time that it takes for the planet to reach the retrograde’s starting point, is the post-retrograde shadow.

What does this mean for Earth signs?

As each of the Mercury retrograde 2023 (and therefore the shadow periods) mostly travel through Earth signs, their influence would be felt in the tangible world as opposed to the worlds of emotion, ideas, or actions, which would have been the three elements of water, air, or fire.

Earth signs, who hold the tangible world close to their hearts, will find those retrogrades challenging, as their earthy possessions would be put at risk. Changes to the home, such as rent going up or cracks in the wall, are likely to pop up, especially during the Taurus retrograde. Issues around the business, such as workers walking out or the premises flooding, could materialize during the Capricorn retrograde. And problems with filing and organizing on the individual and also the public level, will come to disturb us during the Virgo retrograde.

Earth signs will be affected worse by Mercury retrograde 2023 than the others because they care more about those aspects of their lives.

Making sure that everything is in place before the shadow period starts, is the best way to mitigate the issues. Pay those bills the moment they are due, and check in with your employees to make sure they’re feeling cared for.

Mercury retrograde 2023: Your survival guide

The Tadpoles Nebula, IC410, is a HII emission region located in Auriga constellation. It lies some 10,000 light-years away from us.

(Image credit: Javier Zayas Photography/Getty Images)

Be vigilant and be prepared. As soon as the shadow period starts, try to notice little niggles, confusions and misunderstandings. They can pre-empt bigger issues as Mercury retrograde 2023 kicks in a few days later.

The pre-shadow period acts as a highlight reel and can give you subtle warnings regarding the specific aspects of your life, which would be dealt with during any of the full Mercury retrograde 2023. Forewarned is forearmed, the more coincidences and aberrations you notice, the more insider info you’ll have.

Many are aware of the utter mess the retrograde can bring, but things can start poking out of place in the pre-shadow period and it’s best to treat this time as if the retrograde has already started. Preparation is key, and vigilance pays dividends.

The post-shadow period gives us the opportunity to tie up the loose ends of the themes raised during the retrograde itself. What lessons have we learned? How do we resolve any discourse? There is much excitement after the retrograde is over, as we believe the worst to be done and dusted, and it is. But the entire episode hasn’t finished playing out yet, and there could be a post-credits scene, so don’t let your guard down.

When planning anything, when signing contracts, when a single word or letter is out of place can have far-reaching consequences, just don’t take the chance. Read your email out to a friend before you press send and add every little date to the diary to make sure nothing clashes.

Paying attention to the smallest details is how you’ll avoid the worst disasters during Mercury retrograde 2023.

Inbaal Honigman
Celebrity psychic and astrologer

Inbaal is an Israeli-born Piscean Tarot reader and witch living in the UK.

Since the year 2000, Inbaal has been a prolific media psychic and astrology writer. She's given predictions on TV's Big Brother's Little Brother, and talkSPORT radio, has written the stars pages for Elle magazine UK, and Elle girl in Japan, along with a full chequered history of career highs.

She lives in England, on the Pennine mountain range, with her Pisces husband and their four noisy kids, three of whom are Pisces.