Mercury retrograde 2023 is back, but there's no need to panic, according to astrologers

Don't let the notorious planet get the best of you—Mercury retrograde 2023 is pretty manageable. (Promise!)

mercury retrograde 2023 feature; a woman holding a circular orb surrounded by 2 pictures of mercury in a grey sky
(Image credit: Future)

Lovely news, astro enthusiasts: Mercury retrograde 2023 is not going to be the torturous event you envisioned. *Raises a glass*

We typically anticipate trouble at the mere mention of "retrogrades," especially when the planet of communication comes into play. Given the notorious Mercury retrograde effects—difficult commutes, broken devices, fights with our S.O. and the cliché fear of breaking up during Mercury retrograde—we'd rather curl up with our crystals and block out the transit entirely.

But as astrologer Liz Simmons has told us many times before, this particular cosmic happening is a great learning tool, as we can take an opportunity to review and revise. What's more is that the planet is fairly cooperative during our next trip around the sun. Well, we're certainly happy to hear that!

Mercury retrograde 2023: what astrologers want you to know

Mercury retrograde 2023 dates

The Planet of Communication is known for spinning backward three times per year. We were a bit on edge to hear that we would be experiencing four doses in 2022 and 2023, but the additional helping is nothing we can't handle. Here are the dates to look out for this year: 

  • December 29, 2022 to January 18, 2023
  • April 21 to May 14, 2023
  • August 23 to September 15, 2023
  • December 13, 2023 to January 1, 2024

Do note that the Mercury shadow period takes place two weeks before and after the event itself. We'd like to think of it as a cosmic appetizer and dessert, with the main course sandwiched in between. During the "appetizer" we'll get a brief taste of what to expect during the event itself, and it's a good indicator of what might come. 

"Pay attention to any breakdowns in communication and look for small nuances of disruptions to your peace and daily life to scratch at the surface of what Mercury may have in store for you as it moves backward," says astrologer Renée Watt

When our "dessert" course hits the table, we'll wrap up any loose ends from the planet's backward motion and find a resolution to any woes. Phew! 

What to expect from Mercury retrograde 2023

Like Mercury retrograde 2022, the new year will also experience four helpings instead of the usual three. However, the fact that the first three are in one sign instead of two, unlike 2022, makes matters a lot simpler.

"These first three might be somewhat easier to go through since earth energy is stable, determined and rational," Simmons says. "So, it might be easier to work through the logistics of the craziness that Mercury retrograde could bring."

headshot of astrologer liz simmons
Meet the expert: Liz Simmons

Liz Simmons is a freelance writer, astrologer, and tarot reader based in Salem, MA. She views astrology and tarot as another tool in our arsenal to understand the cosmic interplay in our lives. Currently, Liz contributes astrological articles and horoscopes to StyleCaster, POPSUGAR and She is also the resident astrologer at ASCEND Get Lifted. 

Nebula's astrologer Patrick Price says, "The three most affected areas of our lives during Mercury Retrograde will be relationships, money and possessions."

We'll find ourselves not communicating efficiently with those around us—not just romantic partners—misplacing items and even struggling to budget. This may seem daunting, but the good news is that you have the power to make the most out of this curveball the planet has thrown your way. 

"If you work hard to keep an open heart and mind, you will find many blessings and positives throughout this time," Price says. "That being said, it is true that Mercury retrograde can be very challenging, [which] gives us scope to reflect and figure out who we are and what we want."

Price personally likes to mediate, jot down notes and burn his list of worries when Mercury becomes a bit overbearing. In order to manage it this season, you're going to have to remain grounded.

"The most important thing you can do to get through this retrograde unscathed is to be present," he says. "This may sound like an oversimplification but please do not doubt the power of having a present mind during Mercury retrograde in Taurus."

In the late summer, as our August 2023 horoscope indicates, it will take place as all of the other cosmic players are also moving backward. Plus it'll coincide with the Sun's trip into Virgo. 

Our in-house astrologer Narayana Montúfar says, "Because Mercury begins its retrograde on this same day, lasting until September 15, this year, Virgo season is more about allowing a natural type of transformation to take place for us—instead of us actively seeking it. In fact, the last days of August and the first days of September are ideal for a vacation in case you’re in need of a break."

Things might be a little trickier come the end of the year, as Mercury goes retrograde in two signs, but let's be honest: you're a pro and can take it on easily.

"Given that this last one switches from earthy Capricorn to fiery Sagittarius, it might be more jarring since the fiery Archer energy may spark anger, aggression, assertion, and poorly timed action," Simmons adds. 

astrologer patrick price
Meet the expert: Patrick Price

Patrick is Nebula: Horoscope and Astrology App’s expert specializing in tarot, angel readings and Western astrology. Patrick is a queer man who comes from a gypsy family. Tarot is deeply rooted in his family’s culture. He’s been doing tarot for the past eight years and astrological readings for the last three years. Patrick specializes in coaching through starts and finding purpose in life.

Mercury retrograde 2023 tips

While of course it's important to be mindful of the way we treat people and the way in which we handle important matters during Mercury retrograde, Price suggests that there's one tactic that makes the transit a lot smoother: practicing gratefulness, something that might be overlooked with the fear of a broken laptop or a huge fight looms over us. 

"Focusing on gratitude will keep you grounded at this time and also keep you aligned with the positivity in your own life," he says. Also, it is vital to remember that nothing is 'good' or 'bad'. It is all about our perspective and the energy and importance we choose to give things."

On a whole, use Mercury retrograde as a time to be kind to others—and yourself. Are you communicating effectively? Are you allowing time to decompress? Think of it as an excuse to right things that feel wrong so that you're operating more authentically moving forward. 

mercury planet, dark skies, meant to denote mercury retroshade

(Image credit: Getty Images/parameter)

As far as fearing the astrology event, don't sweat it—you're going to be fine. Be sure to check out our 2023 guide to what planet is in retrograde so you can prepare accordingly!

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.