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Mercury Retrograde is Full of Opportunity (and Wishes You Weren't so Afraid of It)

Updated: Jan 16

What you need to know about the final Mercury retrograde of 2023

Mercury retrograde is full of opportunities
Mercury Retrograde Daniel Olah on Unsplash

Mercury Retrograde 

The final mercury retrograde of 2023 has begun, beginning on December 13th and ending on January 1st, 2024. Mercury is currently in Capricorn, where it makes perfect sense that we would be rushing to wrap up holiday shopping, gifts and party planning, with the inevitable “snafu.” In Capricorn the themes we deal with have to do with money, finances, material goods, recognition and status. Pretty fitting for right before the holidays! On December 23rd, Mercury moves back into the sign of Sagittarius, just in time to be the cause of flight cancellations and trip delays. (This doesn’t mean your flight will be canceled, but it is more likely than normal so make sure to double check your plans and backup plans to be on the safe side.) The themes of Sagittarius have to do with adventure, new and daring experiences, spirituality, philosophy and travel. Mercury won't be retrograde there for long, though, and when the New Year gets here we will be ready to move forward with high energy, enthusiasm and newness. This final Mercury retrograde is truly nothing to fear, as it’s giving us a beautiful opportunity to close up all the last ends of 2023 so we can enter a brand new year. 

Retrograde = Full of Opportunity

When a planet goes retrograde it means that through an optical illusion the planet appears to be moving backwards. Mercury retrograde is notorious for messing with communication, technology, and travel as these are the things that the planet Mercury rules. There’s a lot of fear out there when it comes to Mercury retrograde, but I want to set the record straight about retrogrades in general – not only are they nothing to fear, but they are powerful moments full of opportunity. 

It makes sense that we have a feeling of apprehension when we hear that things won't go according to our plan. However, retrogrades exist for a reason, and spiritually they can be places of immense illumination and breakthroughs if we can have the right perspective. 

Change in Perspective 

That optical illusion I mentioned? That's one of our big clues that the secret to a retrograde lies in our perspective – and the implication that our current perspective is not showing us the full story. Retrogrades exist so that we can experience a shift in our focus. Often, what we want to move forward with, or what has been heavy in our field of vision, is not as clear as we perceive it to be. At this moment, there is a need to expand the perspective we’re coming from. Mercury is the planet of fluidity and adaptability, so usually we are learning how to be more flexible in our perspective and in our thoughts. Since the retrograde itself is an illusion, we should also remember that setbacks and delays are likely not that at all, but changes in directions designed to get us to think wider. How can we benefit from taking an open minded approach as we encounter frustrations, inconveniences and pauses during this retrograde? How might we find more peace during this chaotic time if we allow instead of resist?

Looking Back

Another clue for us to utilize so that we can learn from the retrograde (after all, Mercury’s purpose lies in learning and teaching) is the fact that retrogrades always have to do with going back/looking back. When we’re in a retrograde there is nothing new coming in, generally of course, and we are meant to focus on what is and what was. It moves our vision forcibly away from the future and back on where it is we came. We can remove anxiety that comes from the feeling that we need to be doing, adding, or creating right now – this is not what this time is for, so if you’re feeling blocked there you are actually living in alignment. Alignment isn't all easy movement forwards, alignment is also mirroring in our own lives the cycles that our world is moving through. Not all cycles are ones we welcome, but we have to assume if they exist beyond our control that they are meant to be here, especially considering we don’t have a say in it. If we turn our focus away from what we wish was or wasn’t happening and instead turn towards what actually is we can work to make changes on what it is we can control. 

Retrogrades are a time of pause, introspection and re-evaluation. We are entering the slower period of the year and the more we can personally lean into this energy, the more “flow” we will feel. In this case, that flow will probably look like rest. We are meant to be taking time for recovery and tending to the seeds we have already sown. If there is anything we have not yet wrapped up that needs to be, it will most likely make an appearance in our life. This is why exes often re-emerge as well as old issues that we may have thought we successfully avoided confronting. 

Working Within a Boundary 

We can learn from the retrograde by using its energy of limitations to understand the boundary of what is meant to work with. The limitations we encounter are not there simply to annoy us but to redirect our attention on what truly needs to be focused on. If something exists outside of the boundary that you are finding yourself in then you must assume that it is not meant for you to be with at/engage with/deal with at this moment. At the same time, those things that come up out of the blue that you thought you were done with? They are revisiting you now so that you can put them to rest. 


When we know that we are supposed to be looking back, not ahead, it can seriously take some of the pressure of this time. One of the reasons Mercury RX is so notorious for being stressful is because we are dealing with our mind, which means our reaction and anxiety to this phase is often the hardest part of it all. Of course, it doesn't help to have the holidays and travel coming around, but this is often how Mercury RX works – delaying us just as we’re planning on moving ahead. When this is the case, however, we have to ask ourselves if the Universe isn’t adding its own wisdom to our plans, providing us the necessary environment for us to thrive even though we can’t yet see how this will benefit us in the long term. A good Mercury RX example of this is getting sick – I often get sick during Mercury RX, and while none of us ever really want to be sick (and take off work, possibly lose out on money, opportunities or just good times) if we don’t give our bodies ample time to rest they will absolutely shut down. Getting sick during Mercury RX means we've been working relentlessly without enough nourishment to sustain it and now we are forced to address those actions of the past. In the short term, it can be challenging to sit things out and have our plans changed, but in the long-term this is allowing our bodies to stay healthy and strong. That is the essence of Mercury RX whether we come down with a cold, get into conflict due to miscommunication or our flight is delayed. The more we can lean into the energy of a retrograde, the more ease we will have as we move through it. We can have major breakthroughs on things we have been struggling with for a while, we can lay seasons, people and cycles to rest that we are truly done with, and we can expand and shift our perspective allowing us to move forward in brand new ways. We are taking a step backward so that we may take two steps forward as we leap into 2024. 

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