2021 has already been off to a somewhat rocky start, but for the sake of transparency, I must inform you that the first 2021 Mercury retrograde is quickly approaching. This much-maligned backspin is kicking off on January 30 and raging on through February 20, serving us three long weeks of mix-ups when it comes to communication, technology, traveling, scheduling, and other logistical matters. As anxiety-inducing as this may sound, this Mercurial moonwalk doesn't have to be disaster — especially if you're aware of how Mercury retrograde winter 2021 will affect your zodiac sign specifically.
Retrogrades in astrology are a regular part of every planet's cycle, during which the planet appears to move backward and gives us a chance to slow down and reflect on its energy — and like clockwork, Mercury retrogrades about three times a year. The upcoming backspin is taking place entirely in the realm of progressive fixed air sign Aquarius, which rules over things like friendships, collaboration, and futuristic technologies. Because of this, we're likely to feel the typical Mercury retrograde effects even more heavily in these Aquarius-ruled areas, so back up your digital files and re-read your texts before sending to the group chat.
This retrograde is also part of the big 2021 Aquarius stellium, during which a whopping six planets will be clustered together in this sign — meaning that Mercury's wonky retrograde energy will be amplified by a bunch of other planets, too. If we take things slow and focus on the present moment instead of future-tripping, it could be a relatively chill backspin. But with so much cosmic energy jam-packed in Aquarius' realm, it might be hard for some of us to resist getting caught up in the retrograde storm.
Everyone is going to experience the first major retrograde of the year differently, so read on for your Mercury retrograde winter 2021 horoscopes so you know what to expect from this wild cosmic ride.
Aries (March 21 - April 19)
Patience isn't your strong point, Aries, but you'll need to summon a little bit of it during the upcoming retrograde — especially when it comes to working within a group. Sharing your thoughts within a collaborative setting can easily get ugly if you're not careful, as people are more likely to misconstrue something you're saying and take offense. Be extra thoughtful with how you express your thoughts and work with others.
Taurus (April 20 - May 20)
This retrograde will have a particularly strong influence on your work life, Taurus, so don't be surprised if you run into some delays on projects or have trouble expressing yourself professionally. Instead of charging forward on new career endeavors, use this time to revisit past ideas or refine your plan for growth within your current field. Once it's over, you'll be refreshed and ready to slay the game with more clarity and confidence.
Gemini (May 21 - June 20)
Try not to make too many assumptions during the upcoming retrograde, Gemini, as Mercury's mix-ups could make it difficult for you to see the big picture clearly. Mercury is your ruling planet, and its slowdown could trap you in a bit of an echo chamber, turning personal beliefs into rigid dogmas. Keep an open mind as you navigate a sea of potential miscommunications and be willing to broaden your horizons to consider multiple points of view.
Cancer (June 21 - July 22)
It's a good thing you're no stranger to soul-searching, Cancer, because this retrograde is asking you to do a whole lot of it. Instead of getting emotionally mixed up in other people's problems, use this period to do some deep inner reflection and examine your emotional baggage. If you're willing to think outside the box and trust your inner self, you can start working through the past hurts that have been weighing you down and leave them behind post-retrograde.
Leo (July 23 - Aug. 22)
This retrograde is hitting your relationship sector, Leo, so you might feel some tension in your love life. Past disagreements could resurface now — and new ones could pop up, too, if you're not thoughtful about your words and practicing good listening skills. Use this as an opportunity to be objective about the issues within your partnership and try to address the points of contention instead of pushing them aside.
Virgo (Aug. 23 - Sept. 22)
As one of the most naturally organized signs of the zodiac, Mercury's scheduling mishaps are going to be the most frustrating part of this backspin. Even your best efforts toward planning for the future will likely be met with roadblocks and confusion, so it's best to be flexible about timing. Everyone's more likely to be running late or mixing up time zones now — including you — so try to leave some wiggle room when booking dates or meetings.
Libra (Sept. 23 - Oct. 22)
During the course of this retrograde, you might find it hard to generate fresh creative ideas like you normally do, which can be frustrating. But if you look to your past for inspiration, you might find that there are some old, nearly-forgotten ideas that could be spruced up using the power of hindsight. The same could be said for your dating life, too. While trying to date new people could be messy now, an old fling could come knocking and offer you the perfect retrograde distraction.
Scorpio (Oct. 23 - Nov. 21)
This retrograde could take you on an emotional inward journey, Scorpio, and issues dating all the way back to childhood could come up to the surface. Instead of wallowing in memories or trying to suppress them altogether, try to be open to talking through your struggles with the people you trust. This period offers a great opportunity for mending disagreements with family members or longtime friends, so reach out for connection.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21)
You're feeling lost for words under this retrograde, Sagittarius, and that's unusual for you! If you're not careful, your social life could devolve into a mess of confused texts, typo-ridden emails, and missed calls over the next few weeks — but you can avoid that by being a better listener and not skipping over any little details. While your fire sign energy makes you want to go-go-go, retrogrades call for a slowdown, so think before you hit "send" on any form of digital communication.
Capricorn (Dec. 22 - Jan. 19)
Your mind is on your money during this retrograde, Capricorn, but that doesn't mean it's a good time to spend it. Avoid making any big purchases, if possible (especially last-minute splurges on tech items!), as you could regret it later on or find that you didn't get what you expected. Finances are easily confused under this transit, so be extra diligent about checking your bank statements, paying your bills on time, and sticking to your budget.
Aquarius (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18)
With the retrograde taking place entirely within your zodiac sign, you're feeling it in a super personal way, Aquarius. You're usually full of strong opinions and new ideas, but you might be left feeling like you're in a three-week-long brain fog, unable to form a thought that feels like your own. Instead of trying to overcome the haze, give your mind a break by slowing down and allowing yourself some time to reflect on where you're at. Let go of pre-conceived notions of who you are and start fresh.
Pisces (Feb. 19 - March 20)
The year's first retrograde will hit you in a more spiritual way, Pisces. You'll be trying to reckon with how your personal quest for enlightenment aligns with the goals of the collective. Instead of exhausting yourself with distractions to keep the discomfort at bay, allow yourself to be present with your thoughts and examine the ways in which you can align your morals with your day-to-day actions. Once the retrograde clears, you'll have a better idea of how you want to proceed.