Astrology

In 2022, Mercury Retrogrades a Whopping 4 Times in 6 Signs—Bookmark the Dates Now To Prepare

Photo: Getty Images / Tim Robberts
Mercury retrograde cycles—which happen when the planet of communication appears to be traveling backwards because it’s moving at a slower speed—have an infamously ominous reputation in astrology for causing snafus in the realms of communication, travel, and technology. But, the retrograde cycles aren't all bad; in fact, they can serve as great opportunities to reflect and reassess. And, really, thank goodness for that positive effect because in 2022, there will be four (!!!) Mercury retrograde cycles happening in air signs (which rule the intellectual realm) and Earth signs (which deal with the practical realm). To be better prepared for those timeframes, consider bookmarking the following Mercury retrograde 2022 dates now:
  • January 14 to February 3
  • May 10 to June 3
  • September 9 to October 2
  • December 29 to January 18, 2023

It's worth noting that we typically only get three Mercury retrograde cycles per year, but rest assured, there's no significance of having four Mercury retrograde dates in 2022, says astrologer Stephanie Campos-Powell—especially since the last retrograde only touches 2022 for three days. Instead, the more notable feature of the Mercury retrograde 2022 dates is that they’re happening in more than one sign at a time. Also noteworthy? Mercury retrogrades in 2022 are happening exclusively in air and Earth signs—aka cosmic opposites—and will effectively blend both energies.

“When Mercury retrograde happens in air signs, the themes that may come up are related to communication, our social calendar, and our lives.” —Stephanie Campos-Powell, astrologer

“When Mercury retrograde happens in air signs, the themes that may come up are related to communication, our social calendar, and our lives,” Campos-Powell says. “It's a more intellectual retrograde, so we may be revisiting and rethinking our beliefs, the way that we process information, what we think about certain things, and our perspectives.” On the other hand, adds Campos-Powell, Mercury retrogrades in Earth signs have much to do with the tangible world. “Our processes, structures that are put in place on a collective level, [and] our finances,” can all be looked at during these periods, she says.

Before we get into exactly what to expect for each of the 2022 Mercury retrograde cycles, Campos-Powell has some reminders about general dos and don'ts during the transits.

Some helpful hints for surviving any Mercury retrograde cycle

Because the key marker of Mercury retrograde is that the planet appears to be moving backwards, humans could benefit from reflective and retrospective endeavors, like revising and reviewing important things. It’s particularly important to determine what is and isn’t working for you, and certain strategies may help.

“Journaling is a must for anyone who wants to navigate and figure out what their story is, especially because some of these retrogrades are going to be taking place in Gemini and Virgo—the home signs for Mercury,” says Campos-Powell. “A great way to work with this energy is to tap into mercurial things…something like journaling.” Campos-Powell adds that having a gratitude list or gratitude journal is also a great way to ensure that you actually spend time introspecting and reflecting, both of which may help you figure out the best path forward.

"There are absolutely misunderstandings and delays, but [Mercury retrograde] is really just to let us know that we need to move slower and be more careful, thoughtful, and intentional with our energy." —Campos-Powell

Mercury retrogrades are often vilified as cycles during which everything can and does go wrong, but this may be overstated. “There are absolutely misunderstandings and delays, but [Mercury retrograde] is really just to let us know that we need to move slower and be more careful, thoughtful, and intentional with our energy,” Campos-Powell says.

In order to do this, she suggests operating from reflection and self-awareness by asking yourself if there are any issues you’re avoiding dealing with by projecting them onto others. She adds that “it’s okay to do almost anything that you would normally do,” so long as you’re aware that there will be mishaps, which will require you to be more flexible.

What to expect from the 4 Mercury retrograde 2022 dates

1. Mercury retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn: January 14 to February 3

Campos-Powell says it's interesting that this transit occurs in “totally different signs” that are both ruled by Saturn, the planet of maturity, responsibility, discipline, and stewardship. For that reason, she anticipates this will be the most impactful retrograde of the year.

Consider that Aquarius is the visionary of the zodiac and Capricorn is the paragon of a go-getter. Aquarius is all about tearing down and replacing non-working structures, while Capricorn wants to protect the old, working structures that have been in place. “It’s almost like they have similar objectives, but they get there by different means,” says Campos-Powell. So, the first Mercury retrograde of 2022 will have you examining what is and isn’t working in your own life.

Ask yourself: What are my needs? What is and isn’t working for me? Have I been standing up for myself enough or do I feel like I could do a better job of this? Where can I redistribute balance in my relationships?

2. Mercury retrograde in Gemini and Taurus: May 10 to June 3

Since Mercury rules Gemini, it’s right at home when it’s direct in this sign, says Campos-Powell. When it’s retrograde, though, you have a formula for the stereotypical Mercury retrograde. “We get communication issues. We get misunderstandings. We get extra gossip,” she adds.

Because of that, the second Mercury retrograde of 2022 is a time to be extra cautious about what comes out of your mouth—especially when the planet moves into Taurus, an Earth sign that values thinking before speaking. Additionally, you might benefit from building a bit more time into your travel plans, whether you’re going near or far.

Furthermore, this is a good time to go over your beliefs and finances—two areas where Taurus craves stability, which can be problematic because Mercury retrograde cycles don’t quite provide that.

Ask yourself: What kind of information am I consuming, and does it have a good or bad impact on me? What are my values? Are they serving me and the greater good? How do my values differ from the people around me? Where is there an opportunity for me to be more open-minded? Where can I cut spending?

3. Mercury retrograde in Libra and Virgo: September 9 to October 2

Libra is often regarded as the fair, balanced romantic of the zodiac. Libra loves interpersonal harmony and hates conflict, which is why a Mercury retrograde cycle in this sign is the perfect season to bring up interpersonal conflicts that need to be addressed.

“This is a time when it's important for us to take a stand and address issues that have been bothering us—and to have that confrontation, no matter how scary it can be,” says Campos-Powell. If we’re able to resolve interpersonal problems during this time, we’ll reap rewards in the form of “a more solid foundation for our closest partnerships,” she adds.

On the other hand, Earth sign Virgo is usually the perfectionist, which can make Mercury retrogrades particularly difficult for them. “This may be a period of time when our daily routine is disrupted and we need to make adjustments,” says Campos-Powell, adding that this doesn’t quite connect with Virgo’s structured nature. Knowing this ahead of time, though, you can ask yourself questions that will help Mercury retrograde in Virgo feel less daunting.

Ask yourself: Where in my life could I be less codependent? Should I be separating more from my phone? What are the relationships that I need to revisit? What are the practices I hold and are they working for me? What am I spending my time doing outside of work? How do these things impact me? How is my physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental health?

4. Mercury retrograde in Capricorn: December 29 to January 18, 2023

While there will only be three days in 2022 that Mercury will be retrograde in Capricorn, this transit is still significant because it retraces the first retrograde of the year, says Campos-Powell.

“It kind of…picks up whatever your retrograde story was at the beginning of the year,” Campos-Powell says, adding that similar themes and topics come up during the final Mercury retrograde of 2022. “It could be a final completion to the story, if you felt like you made some progress, but there's a lot more to be done. This could be a time to have more momentum and reflect on how to move forward,” Campos-Powell adds.

Questions to ask yourself: How can I be more gentle with the way I communicate? Am I jumping to conclusions about anything? What issues in my life are still unresolved? How can I resolve them?

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