With the new year kicking off with both Mars and Mercury retrograde, you might be curious to know what other chaos 2023 has up its tricky little sleeve. Spoiler alert: every planet will backspin at least once a year. But before you freak out, remember that these phases are opportunities for growth — at least that’s what I’m telling myself ahead of September, when seven planets backtrack. Jokes aside, you’ll want to prepare by knowing which planets go retrograde and how you can transmute their dramatic energy to ensure smooth sailing in 2023.
You might have heard about Mercury retrograde and how it impacts our day-to-day, from causing miscommunication with our loved ones to throwing a wrench in our travel itineraries. Retrogrades happen when a planet appears to be spinning backward (they aren’t actually), metaphorically throwing off balance in our lives on Earth. Depending on which planet is at play, retrograde periods have been known to cause confusion, lethargy, and creative blocks.
Generally, every planet in our solar system will enter a retrograde period at some point each year, though not at the same time every year. The planets all have different orbits, so it takes a different amount of time to complete their cycle around the sun. For example, Mercury takes about 88 days to finish its orbit, which is why we typically have three or four Mercury retrogrades annually.
Between travel delays, work blunders, or classic miscommunication, chaos is bound to happen, but at least you’ll be prepared for when these planets go retrograde in 2023.
4 Total Mercury Retrogrades In 2023
Dec. 29, 2022 — Jan. 17, 2023 in Capricorn
Kicking the year off with Mercury retrograde brings residual feelings and karma from the year before dealing with our life’s purpose and how we want to be seen by others. “Mercury retrograde in Capricorn can cause some mishaps and delays with any major institutions we rely on as citizens of a larger nation,” Ryan Marquardt, an astrologer, tells Bustle. With Capricorn dealing with career and reputation, he says conflict at work may be extra relevant right now.
April 21, 2023 — May 14, 2023 in Taurus
Material comforts and our self-esteem are the main themes during this Mercury retrograde. Taurus is reclusive and craves stability, so its backward trek can cause insecurity surrounding our comfort zones. “This could have some questioning their own value systems and bring up themes of self-esteem, making some people feel less confident or sure of where they stand on certain issues,” says Marquardt.
Aug. 23, 2023 — Sept. 15, 2023 in Virgo
Mercury’s rewind in its native sign Virgo creates ample potential for mishaps in our day-to-day while also putting pressure on our most pressing projects. Putting your wellness first is critical right now. “This retrograde is all about managing your stress and realizing you can’t be superhuman,” he says. Asking for help and delegating work to others is recommended right now.
Dec. 13, 2023 — Jan. 1, 2024 in Capricorn and Sagittarius
Wrapping up 2023 is a similar and karmic backtrack in Capricorn. Public image and work missteps may occur, but since the planet also moves into Sagittarius, we can also feel restricted and stuck in our ways. Contrary to Sagittarius’ cheerful optimism, it may be difficult to stay positive during this retrograde. “We might be feeling less inclined to seek new solutions to whatever this retrograde brings up in our lives,” Marquardt says.
Mars Retrograde 2023 in Gemini
Dates: Oct. 30, 2022 — Jan. 12, 2023
The planet of action and impulse has been backtracking in multitasking Gemini since 2022, throwing off our energy and imposing blocks to our creativity and daily rituals. This runs the risk of burnout, so this period is all about slowing down and recharging. “Some people might feel less talkative, less sharp-minded, not as motivated to go out or accomplish their usual tasks, and staying home to sleep instead,” he says.
Uranus Retrograde 2023 in Taurus
Date: Aug. 24, 2022 — Jan. 22, 2023
Uranus is the planet of tech geniuses, so its retrograde can cause outages and glitches. While it’s in Taurus, the main missteps occur within the environment. “It can attune on a collective level to any ways that we as people are disrupting nature’s rhythms and resources,” Marquardt explains.
Pluto Retrograde 2023 in Aquarius and Capricorn
Date: May 1, 2023— Oct. 10, 2023
Pluto deals with matters of secrets and taboos. But since it’s an outer planet, the impact is more subtle than other retrograding planets on a personal level and often manifests in society. It starts off in humanitarian Aquarius, where it could highlight the need for revolution and inspires us to question our collective conventions says Marquardt. It’s a good time to give back to your community and reflect on your role in society. On June 11, it’ll move into driven Capricorn. There, Pluto retrograde manifests in our career and brings our soul's purpose into view as it stokes our diligent, hard-working side.
Saturn Retrograde 2023 in Pisces
Dates: Jun. 17, 2023 — Nov. 4, 2023
Stern Saturn makes its way into dreamy Pisces, and its backspin creates tension when it comes to self-imposed limitations. This can cause hardships, especially for those in the creative field or who deal with spiritual work. “We might start questioning spiritual concepts more or see the downside of blurry topics within the new age spirituality movement,” he adds.
Neptune Retrograde 2023 in Pisces
Dates: Jun. 30, 2023 — Dec. 6, 2023
Neptune's backspin in its native sign has caused a ruckus in areas related to our dreams, creativity, and spirituality. This retrograde may cause people to feel stagnant and misaligned with their spiritual practice. If you have human idols, Marquardt explains they might disappoint you in some way during this time.
Ryan Marquardt, astrologer
This article was originally published on