Again? Really? On Dec. 13, Mercury goes retrograde in Capricorn for the third time in two years, before sliding backwards into Sagittarius on the 23rd. What chaos may come when the planet of daily life lurches backwards in the sign of global economics? And what lessons about responsibility and vision has Mercury to teach us, before going direct on Jan. 2nd?
The sun represents our divine selfhood, our core identity. Always in close orbit is Mercury, named for the herald god of Olympus, which translates the sun’s rays into language, data, and understanding. Mercury commands every aspect of daily life: communication, travel, contact, and efficiency. The hot planet burns bright and likes to keep it moving.
When Mercury goes retrograde, the planetary archetype seemingly falls backward for a few weeks, as if retracing its recent steps. This can register in a few ways. Most infamously, Mercury’s backwards motion can spell out technological breakdowns, crossed wires, canceled plans, and matters falling out of control. Face it: It’s likely that whatever has come crashing down was held together with tape and string. And so retrogrades, viewed constructively, offer a chance to review and reboot, to address blind spots and get clarity before the wheel of fortune spins again.
MERCURY RETROGRADE IN CAPRICORN
Mercury goes retrograde in Capricorn from Dec. 13 through the 23rd, before falling back into Sagittarius. This will be Mercury’s third Capricorn retrograde in a row, timed to the end of the harrowing Pluto in Capricorn saga (2008–2024). Capricorn is the sign of the breadwinner, the head of the house, the governor, the monoliths which protect and preserve us. With Pluto, the destroyer, banging down Capricorn’s capitalist firmament over the last fifteen years, there’s a pervasive sense that mommy and daddy won’t be able to bail us out of this one, that the pigs have taken over the slaughterhouse, that the institutions we once counted on are in dire straits.
Over 2022 and 2023, Mercury retrograded in the earth signs — Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn. Earth concerns that which is tangible: our resources, possessions, and bodies. From there, we ask questions about finances, labor, time, and other currencies of value. Over the last two years, you have had to take responsibility for yourself in new ways, learn new means of self-accountability, and develop whatever modes of support are necessary to get you through this storm, and the next, and the next. When it comes to earth signs, the magic word is consolidation: What do you have and how are you tending to it?
“Mercury has no plans to ruin your life. Commit to your own accountability, and you’ll find yourself lifted by the planets.”
Week’s before Mercury’s last retrograde in Capricorn, ChatGPT launched, and now, we’re staring into a precarious new tomorrow. It doesn’t take a master astrologer, or an AI oracle, to tell you that 2024 will be wild (and possibly spectacular!). So, as this retrograde gets rolling, take a look at your finances, your big-picture work operation, and your plan for what is next. What needs bolstering? What were your blind spots over the last year or two, when were you ambushed, and how did you recover? What can you count on? And, perhaps most critically: Do you know how to take care of yourself?
Mercury has no plans to ruin your life. Commit to your own accountability, and you’ll find yourself lifted by the planets. Take the sun-Mercury cazimi, on Dec. 22, as a point of celebration and culmination for all you’ve learned this year, and for the ambitions you’re now crystallizing.
MERCURY RETROGRADE IN SAGITTARIUS
From Dec. 23 through Jan. 2nd, Mercury will retrograde in Sagittarius, launching a two-year fire sign retrograde adventure. If the core value of earth signs is consolidation, then the fire signs — Aries, Leo and Sagittarius — inspire creation. In this arena, Mercury will ask us: What is the fuel required to run the machine? What powers us, drives us, and sets us off? How does conflict impede or inspire us? What do we need to fire up a new beginning?
Sagittarius is the sign of grand voyages, new horizons, and spiritual discovery. After doing your pecuniary review in Capricorn, Mercury will lead you back here, to solidify your vision for the year to come. Here, Mercury may dash weak plans or reveal the missing purpose to much of what you do. You’ll be challenged to defend and affirm your ethos or mission. This is an opportunity to launch 2024 with a sense of purpose. Over the Capricorn retrograde, you figured out how to take care of yourself. Now where do you want to go, what do you want to do, and what is the point?
On Jan. 28, Mercury will align with Mars, the planet of fire, ego and purpose. The planets want to clear out the dissociation and reload you for what’s to come. Make a battle plan. Confront your fears. Ask for accountability.