MERCURY RETROGRADE: Harnessing the Energy of the Winged Messenger

Mercury is a planet known for its quick orbit around the Sun with a period of only 88 days. From Earth, we see that it never appears more than 28 degrees from the Sun. Mercury can only occupy the same or an adjacent zodiac sign as the Sun. In astrology, this is significant because it helps us understand Mercury’s role in transmitting the Sun’s main message to us. During its retrograde periods, we have the opportunity to examine and review these messages more closely.

[image: Alessio Albi]

In mythology, Mercury was the androgynous winged messenger god who ruled over communication and the mind. His name, derived from the Roman god Mercurius, is the equivalent of the Greek god Hermes. He is depicted in classical literature as a trickster, psychopomp, facilitator of transitions and the official scribe of alchemical transmissions.

One of the defining features of Mercury’s operation throughout the year is its frequent periods of retrograde movement, during which it appears to move backwards in the sky. These periods are seen as times when usual communication and transportation may be disrupted, but also as an opportunity for introspection and review. By understanding and harnessing the energy of Mercury during its retrograde cycle, we can gain a different perspective and make necessary adjustments to our thoughts and processes.

Mastering Mercury involves understanding its complex symbolism and utilising its energies effectively. Whether it is through communication, decision-making, or articulate expression, Mercury can help us to navigate the world around us and cleverly implement skills and processes to achieve our goals. By honing our aptitudes in focused areas, we can streamline our mental awareness and perception, ultimately facilitating greater self-evolution.


Mercury retrograde is a phenomenon that appears to cause the planet Mercury to move backwards in its orbit. This is an optical illusion that is caused by the relative positions of Earth, Mercury, and the Sun.

From a geocentric (earth-centred) astrological perspective, when Mercury is retrograde, it is observed to have a particular influence on the mind and communication. During this time, people may experience delays, misunderstandings, and a need to backtrack, to re-do or re-think things. It is suggested that this period is a natural time of rest and introspection and recognising and utilising this time can be beneficial in terms of personal growth and the development of ideas.

The concept of Mercury retrograde is multifaceted and involves examining not only our ability to receive information but also what we do with that information once it is processed and assimilated in our minds. Mercury symbolises the ability to formulate and articulate ideas and to use words as symbols to translate sensory perceptions into concepts. In this way, Mercury represents the human mind’s capacity to interpret reality and, conversely, to translate symbols into facts.

When Mercury is direct, the mind operates on a straightforward, functional level and there is little time for retrospection. Energy is expended in productive activities and the contemplative side is virtually on hold. This is a natural rhythm with no delay between what we perceive and how it is communicated. However, during the period of time that Mercury is retrograde, issues that have lain dormant for the three months prior may arise. This is seen as a time when much of the unconscious information that has been absorbed and stored starts to surface in a fashion specific to the needs of the individual and their own timing.

The retrogression of Mercury is viewed as an instinctive mental “down-time,” which often sees us re-doing, re-thinking, re-organising, and re-associating. It is often a time of reflection and introspection, allowing a seed idea to undergo necessary lateral shifts to evolve into a concrete concept. This process is compared to the natural rhythm of sleep and the importance of recognising the need for unconsciousness and dream time. Without this recognition, the unconscious and conscious mind can become confused and it can be difficult to discern the real from the imagined.

Symbolically, Mercury acts as our companion, guiding our journeys between the conscious and unconscious mind, and the Mercury retrograde cycle is viewed as the natural facilitator through this intermediary of “liminal space”. Just as we recognise and utilise regulatory mechanisms such as days, years, seasons, time zones, and clocks, it is suggested that we should also recognise and utilise the ordering mechanism of Mercury retrograde.

Recognising and utilising natural states of rest, or mental stillness can be a powerful tool to aid in greater consciousness and personal development. An organic and holistic approach to astrology can be a valuable instrument for this process. Practising a meditative technique can assist us in achieving a greater sense of wholeness and stimulate the active emergence of latent or suppressed parts of our mind for conscious development.

Over time, in an attempt to eliminate chaos, human societies have increasingly cultivated their daily processes into highly organised systems. This has rapidly resulted in a mental disconnect from what is sacred and divorced culture and civilisation from nature and its rhythms. As we enter the digital age of AI and augmented reality, we see the danger of the human mind becoming hijacked, an instrument of distraction, distortion or oppression, dehumanising our connection to one another and our relationship to the divine essence. Hence, it is now more critical than ever to unplug our tools, switch off the usual, direct Mercurial processes and take some time out to reflect. During retrograde periods, we are reminded that in order to experience a greater affinity with reality, we must focus on restoring any broken connections to the natural rhythms and processes of the universe.


The next three Mercury periods will occur in Earth signs, the first being in Capricorn, (Dec 29 2022 – Jan 18 2023), then Taurus (April 21 2023 – May 14 2023), then Virgo (August 23 2023 – September 15 2023), with a fourth being a Sadge/Cap hybrid December 13, 2023 – January 1 2024)

The Earth element (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) relates to the houses that pertain to all facets of material worth, including money, self-esteem, working conditions, physical health, and other practical responsibilities. During Mercury’s retrograde phase in an Earth sign, we become aware of the full potential of our resources and reassess our grasp on reality.

We may have to make changes in areas that resist change, specifically in how we relate to our bodies, jobs, and attitudes towards resources. Taking care of the fundamentals of life can liberate your spontaneity and relieve any guilt you might feel about not paying attention to them.

This is not necessarily an inspiring time, but it can be a productive time for dealing with practical matters and unfinished business, ultimately leading to advantageous returns. It is advised not to make major changes such as moving to a new place, quitting a job, or spending a lot of money during this phase. Do, however, look for opportunities to tie off loose ends and explore options that could be more satisfying on an ego level. Maintaining objectivity and approaching your assets and liabilities with a sense of detachment as if they belonged to someone else is essential.

Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn (Dec 29, 2022 – Jan 18, 2023)

During this period we are called to look at how our unchecked pursuit of status and material ambitions may result in a tendency towards avarice and the use of others for personal gain, regardless of the impact on human values. When the attainment of social status has become our primary focus, it potentially leads to the disregard of human values and other considerations.

Mercury enters its retrograde shadow at 8° Capricorn 08′ on December 12, 2022, turning Rx on December 29 at 24° Capricorn 21′. It will turn direct on January 18, 2023, before finally exiting the Retrograde Zone on February 7, 2023.

We may need to take time out and put our responsibilities back into perspective. In your moments of meditation, observe what occupies the mind and attempt to place matters into a hierarchy of importance. Apply a logical, step-by-step approach, focusing on the order of efficiency and usefulness. You may have a fixed view on certain topics which causes you to struggle in including perspectives that fall outside of this view. You may also struggle to adapt your agenda to accommodate the plans of others. It may be beneficial to seek out someone who can help you expand your perspective and be more open to learning from others.


During the next two to three weeks, Mercury’s station and retrograde in Capricorn will encourage you to reflect on the topics and issues that have been at the forefront of your mind and conversations since early December. This is an opportunity for each zodiac sign to improve their communication and thinking by aligning it more closely with their true nature. Here are some specific areas to consider:

[For a more personalised and in-depth look at your chart, Ang is available for private consultation, remotely via Zoom. Click here to book your appointment.]


Communication skills and inability to effectively express yourself in chosen career, communication issues or difficulties understanding those in authority need to be addressed. Avoid tendency towards instability or fickleness, develop intellect and capabilities, reflect on any negative characteristics or traits inherited from a parent and actively work to overcome them.


Extending the mind through study, reading, travel, teaching or sharing of knowledge, being more open to a career in philosophy, law, writing, publishing, education, and public relations, adhering too rigidly to personal beliefs and overlooking opposing facts, potential conflicts with in-laws.


The fascination with secrets and mysteries, preference to keep thoughts and motivations private, caution with contracts and inheritances, the potential for issues with relatives, respiratory or nervous system health issues, research and investigative work, tendency to remain aloof around subjects that may evoke strong emotions.


Sharing knowledge and seeking intellectual stimulation through social contact, projection or attracting unreliable partners, need for objectivity and detachment in long-term relationships, judgment and critical tendencies. Balance requires a sense of humour.


Managing daily affairs and maintaining physical health, learning from body signals and responses, potential health problems related to stress and overactivity, and the need for mental engagement and movement at work. Coworkers and siblings may also cause conflict.


The tendency to procrastinate and to prioritize personal interests over career goals, the fear of not making a lasting impression, a reluctance to accept responsibility and work hard to succeed, overcoming an aversion to facing real problems, developing gratitude for a supportive domestic environment, developing maturity and commitment to achieving your full potential.


Inability to express emotions or deal with emotional issues due to early home conditioning, lack of physical closeness and emotional intimacy in the home because of an excessive emphasis on rational and practical thinking, confusion and misinterpretations, fear of boredom or stagnation, domestic conflicts or arguments, and the tendency to project mental characteristics or attitudes onto patriarchy or father figures.


A radicalised or non-traditional mindset resulting in learning difficulties, quarrels with siblings or neighbours, examining how early life experiences continue to impact present behaviour and beliefs, boredom, having a variety of interests but not necessarily disciplined in any, paying more attention to words and content rather than stylistic concerns.


Developing knowledge and skills to increase earning potential, demonstrating or valuing creativity more to attract attention and opportunities, staying informed and learning even outside of formal training, being unyielding in views and resistant to others’ suggestions or criticism, remaining open to communication with others, even when you disagree.


Identifying the needs and expectations of the public, disregarding those who have played a vital role in your success, utilising communication skills and not underestimating/overestimating your own worth, not utilising creative talent and ideas is a disadvantage; responding to the needs of society and taking advantage of creative talent for the benefit of others.


Exploring the unconscious to understand what drives actions and thoughts, building a bridge between the conscious and unconscious, reflecting on how your early life experiences or memories distort and obscure your interpretation of present events, sorting through and potentially discarding learned impressions and memories from the past, becoming lost and needing to be rescued.


Consideration and understanding of groups other than your own (if you belong to any), reliability and honesty in friendships, avoiding projecting thoughts and decision-making onto others, being open to different perspectives and experiences, working on communications and better understanding with siblings or in-laws.

[For a more personalised and in-depth look at your chart, Ang is available for private consultation, remotely via Zoom. Click here to book your appointment.]