Almost all the major planets have regularly occurring retrograde periods in astrology, during which they appear to move backward on their usual course. These backspins ask us to slow down and reflect on the areas of our lives ruled by the retrograding planet. But the most talked-about of all the retrogrades are Mercury retrograde periods, and these frustrating transits happen three to four times each year for about three weeks a time. They're known for causing all sorts of snags in communication, scheduling, tech devices, and beyond.
The reason why Mercury's backspins often feel like the most chaotic retrograde of them all is because they happen more frequently than other planetary retrogrades — the other planets reverse course anywhere from once a year to once every two years — and because the planet Mercury rules over so many day-to-day facets of our lives, including thinking, timing, traveling, communicating, and sharing information. When Mercury’s energy goes into reflect/refine/review-mode during a retrograde, and these elements aren't running smoothly, it can make for a frustrating experience at work, in travel, and in your social life.
There are typically three Mercury retrograde periods in a year, but in 2022, we technically have four to deal with. The next Mercury retrograde starts on Dec. 29, 2022, and the planet of communication will appear to be spinning backwards until Jan. 18, 2023. Until Mercury stations direct, it’ll be good practice to double-check that texts are sending to the right person, your bank statements don’t show any unexpected charges, etc.
Read on to find out how Mercury retrogrades affect all zodiac signs, as well as when the upcoming Mercury Retrograde starts and ends — so it doesn’t catch you by surprise.
When Does Mercury Retrograde Start?
Mercury enters a retrograde period every three to four months, which makes this pesky planetary phenomenon a regular part of our cosmic landscape. While we usually have just three Mercury retrograde periods per year, 2022 technically graces us with a total of four. These begin on Jan. 14, May 10, Sept. 9, and Dec. 29, respectively. Keep these dates in mind so you can try to wrap up any loose ends on projects and have important conversations before they roll around.
So when is the next Mercury retrograde? Mercury retrograde winter 2022/2023 begins on Dec. 29 and lasts through Jan. 18. This time around, Mercury will be retrograde in the earth sign Capricorn. Pragmatic and professional, Capricorn energy is all about building toward goals, working hard, and making solid investments — so look out for retrograde drama cropping up in your career life, and prepare for even your best-laid plans to face some slowdowns or setbacks. Here’s when the next few Mercury retrogrades start:
- Mercury retrograde winter 2022/2023 starts on Dec. 29.
- Mercury retrograde spring 2023 starts on April 21.
- Mercury retrograde summer 2023 starts on Aug. 23.
- Mercury retrograde winter 2023/2024 starts on Dec. 13.
When Does Mercury Retrograde End?
While Mercury retrogrades more frequently than other planets do, it also has the shortest retrograde period, lasting for about three weeks at a time. That said, three weeks can feel like three months when dealing with the classic retrograde scheduling snags, timing troubles, and communication issues that these periods are famous for. The final Mercury retrograde of the year actually spills into a new year, finally ending on Jan. 18. 2023. In other words, that is when the planet restarts its regular forward spin — also known as “going direct.” Here are the end dates for the next few rounds of Mercury retrograde:
- Mercury retrograde winter 2022/2023 ends on Jan. 18, 2023.
- Mercury retrograde spring 2023 ends on May 14.
- Mercury retrograde summer 2023 ends on Sept. 15.
- Mercury retrograde winter 2023/2024 ends on Jan. 1, 2024.
Mark your calendar with these dates so you know you’re in the cosmic clear (and can’t blame your problems on Mercury retrograde for another few months).
What Happens During Mercury Retrograde
Expect Communication Clashes
Mercury rules communication, so when it's retrograde, we're likely to misinterpret information from others or say something we don't mean. Think before you speak and choose your words wisely to avoid a mix-up, and re-read all your texts and e-mails before hitting "send" to ensure you're not saying the wrong thing to the wrong person.
Your Schedule Will Feel Like A Mess
Timing is inevitably off during Mercury retrograde, so don't be shocked if more plans end up being canceled at the last minute or if you accidentally miss a Zoom meeting or two because you mixed up your time zones. Try to embrace a more go-with-the-flow attitude when it comes to managing your schedule during these periods — and give yourself extra time to get around, as Mercury rules over transportation, too.
Avoid Starting New Projects Or Signing Paperwork
Signing contracts, making major decisions or purchases, or starting new projects isn't advisable during a Mercury retrograde period. We're more likely to miss an important detail or get confused while reading through the fine print, making it likely that we'll regret the decision later on. Try to postpone any big new endeavors or agreements until after the retrograde ends.
Your Tech Devices Might Start Acting Up
Because Mercury governs our ability to share information, its retrograde periods can have a major effect on our tech devices — so don't be surprised if your apps crash or your laptop starts acting up. Backing up all your files before a retrograde begins is always a good idea.
But Mercury Retrogrades Can Be Helpful, Too
Mercury retrogrades aren't inherently a bad thing — if you know what to expect and take proper precautions, you can use them as quarterly check-ins to reassess where you're at and recalibrate your compass to ensure get to where you're going. Make the extra effort to slow down, think things through, and avoid any major trips or decisions, and you'll come out even more clear-headed than before.
Upcoming Mercury Retrograde Dates
Now that you know all the antics that come along with Mercury retrograde periods, mark your calendar for all the backspins coming up in 2022 and 2023.
- Mercury retrograde winter 2022/2023 starts on Dec. 29 and ends on Jan. 18, 2023.
- Mercury retrograde spring 2023 starts on April 21 and ends on May 14.
- Mercury retrograde summer 2023 starts on Aug. 23 and ends on Sept. 15.
- Mercury retrograde winter 2023/2024 starts on Dec. 13 and ends on Jan. 1, 2024.
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