The Final Mercury Retrograde of the Year Could Slow Your Roll Into 2023—Here’s What To Expect for Your Sign

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If the new year is all about fresh starts and forward momentum, Mercury retrograde is….just the opposite. The astrological transit—which happens when the planet appears to orbit backward—is synonymous with a cosmic slowdown, generating communication and travel snafus that often impede smooth progress. So, it may not seem ideal that the two things coincide this go-round, as Mercury is retrograde in Capricorn from December 29 to January 18, 2023 (at the tail end of peak holiday travel season). But according to astrologer Maria Sofia Marmanides, author of The Oracle Card Journal, the celestial prompt to take a beat could be just what we need right now to enter the year with more sustainable, values-based goals.

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Generally, Mercury retrograde is a time when astrologers recommend against starting anything new, whether it’s a project, relationship, or any other kind of commitment. Instead, they suggest reviewing, reassessing, and reflecting upon past projects or goals—which actually coincides nicely with where our thoughts tend to go anyway at the end of a calendar year, says Marmanides. This particular Mercury retrograde is in Capricorn, which is a sign that’s all about “responsibility, initiative, ambition, and success,” she adds. All that reviewing and reassessing will be in service of those themes during this transit.

“[During this retrograde], we’ll be deeply considering (and reconsidering) where we want to be and what we want to do for our careers and work.” —Maria Sofia Marmanides, astrologer

That means we could find ourselves thinking long and hard about our 2023 goals and—if you believe in them—New Year’s resolutions. “As this Mercury retrograde in Capricorn begins, we’ll be deeply considering (and reconsidering) where we want to be, what we want to do for our careers and work, and what our level of commitment and satisfaction is with where we think we’re headed,” says Marmanides.

If you were to charge full steam ahead into new commitments or try to revamp your entire lifestyle in one fell swoop, you’d likely be disappointed, she warns. (After all, Mercury retrograde is about slowing down, not achieving quick progress.) Instead, the cosmos is essentially pushing us to take our time in aligning our goals with our values and figuring out a plan for achieving them that’s actually doable. “Consider what habits you can initiate, what self-limiting beliefs you can let go of, and what positive affirmations you can incorporate as you navigate this New Year's period,” says Marmanides. “This is a great time for self-assessment and taking accountability for our future and the pathway forward.”

Exactly how you’ll experience this cosmic pause button will depend on which astrological house the transit falls in for your sign. Below, Marmanides breaks down how this Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will affect each sign, specifically, so you can prepare accordingly.

Here's how this Mercury retrograde in Capricorn will affect each zodiac sign, according to an astrologer


Double-check that email before you hit "send," Aries. This Mercury retrograde in Capricorn hits your 10th house of career and reputation, potentially shaking things up at work. "If you were hoping to gently ease back into work after the holidays, you might have a few unexpected surprises heading your way," says Marmanides. Given that Mercury rules over communication, "these mishaps could come in the form of minor frustrations around communication, like 'as per my last email' comments or faux pas like CC-ing your boss on an email meant for a friend," she says. You've been warned.


Have travel plans around the new year, Taurus? You'd be wise to err on the side of caution when it comes to packing and laying out your itinerary. With this transit hitting your ninth house of adventure and exploration, things could get wonky on the travel front, says Marmanides. (Expect delays, lengthy security lines, traffic, or other travel woes.) If you're not traveling, you might still find that things outside of your control or your comfort zone—also reflected by the ninth house—seem to challenge you. Your best bet is to be open-minded to new ideas or people's divergent opinions, says Marmanides.


Other people could be the source of your Mercury-retrograde mayhem, Gemini. This transit falls in your eighth house of shared resources, investments, and intimacy, and has the potential to wreak havoc on your boundaries, says Marmanides. "People in your life could change their minds about commitments or plans or create some instability in your structures or routines," she says. "It's up to you to know what your needs are and to be willing to communicate what you will or won't accept from others." If you sense that you need to restate or reposition your boundaries, chances are, you do.


Crossed wires with a romantic partner or friend could be on the docket for you, Cancer. Mercury's upcoming backspin falls in your seventh house of one-on-one partnerships, potentially throwing a wrench in your ability to see eye-to-eye with someone. In the same realm, it's also possible that conversations or arguments from the past will bubble back up to the surface, says Marmanides, or that an old flame re-appears in your life. While you're discussing (perhaps arguing over) your similarities or differences with another, it's important to get clear on where your feelings lie, she adds: "What patterns or behaviors do you want to commit to, and which would you rather let go?"


Someone or something could throw your daily routine for a loop, Leo. Perhaps you forget to add an important meeting to your calendar, or unexpected traffic leads to your missing a flight. In any case, this Mercury retrograde in Capricorn hits your sixth house of rituals, making it tough for you to stay on your normal schedule, says Marmanides. This could also mean that the habits you usually abide by for your everyday well-being fall to the wayside—or prove not to be as functional as they once were. "In terms of long-term planning for 2023, you might think about revamping your wellness routine and being open to trying new exercises or self-care practices, or switching up your cadence for these activities," she says.


Your side gig or creative pursuits could hit a snag, Virgo. This transit touches your fifth house of creativity, play, and pleasure, which, for you, likely refers to a project about which you're particularly passionate. "It's possible that you receive some critique or criticism of this work," says Marmanides. (And you tend to be more fond of giving than receiving feedback, she adds.) "Your reminder is to not get so caught up in what isn't working that you decide to abandon the project completely," she says. "Instead, use this time to fine-tune and edit in order to prepare whatever you're working on for a future debut."


Home is where the retrograde hits for you, Libra. With Mercury in Capricorn highlighting your fourth house of home, family, and ancestral roots, it's possible that you could find yourself dealing with literal or metaphorical cracks in your foundation—as in, home devices or appliances being on the fritz or ghosts resurfacing from your past, says Marmanides. In either case, "it's best to practice your trademark patience," she says, "and take this time to honor your past in whatever way feels aligned or even cathartic for you."


Messages getting lost in translation may be a universal theme during any Mercury retrograde—but you'll be feeling that most directly, Scorpio. Your third house of information is where Mercury resides in this transit, creating the potential for miscommunication—"like screenshotting a text from a potential date to discuss with a friend, and then accidentally sending it back to that person," says Marmanides. As a result, she advises being cautious about any messages you send or what you post on social media, "as it may be misunderstood or leave behind a more public mark than you might otherwise choose to make," she says.


If you made a few splurge-y purchases during the holidays, you may want to set a budget come the new year, Sagittarius. This transit falls in your second house of personal resources and worth, putting your wallet in the cosmic hot seat. Remember that things aren't always crystal-clear during Mercury retrograde, and what you think sounds like a good purchase amid this transit might not necessarily have long-term value, says Marmanides. In particular, avoid splurging on anything that involves a contract or monthly membership fee, "as this transit is a time for rethinking financial commitments, not engaging in new ones," she says.


With Mercury retrograding in your sign, you could feel this shakeup on a deeply personal level, Capricorn. (Yeah, not the best birthday gift.) It's possible that you might feel the need to make some big change to your identity or the way you come across to the world, particularly given that the sun is also in your sign. But Marmanides suggests just entertaining the possibilities, rather than committing during the Mercury retrograde. "Just notice where your mind gravitates, and jot down plenty of notes for what you want your 2023 to look like, so you can commit to that vision once Mercury stations direct again," she says.


This period of time could surface some inner turmoil for you, Aquarius, as Mercury retrograde in Capricorn falls in your 12th house of the unconscious and the psyche. Perhaps you're finally able to address feelings or emotions you had suppressed beneath the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, says Marmanides. "These could point to some underlying patterns or dynamics that are due for processing or integration," she says. As a result, this is great time to "explore healing modalities that might assist with some energetic clearing of the past," she says, "and to give in to any urge for silence and solitude."


Your version of a "text from an ex" could come from an old coworker, boss, friend, or mentor. That's because this transit hits your 11th house of community and social networks, rustling up these relationships. "You could have the opportunity to make peace with someone with whom you've had a falling out," says Marmanides. But just be sure to write out a clear plan for how you're going to do that before opening your mouth, she says. (Remember, this is a Mercury retrograde, and communication during these transits is fraught overall.) If you take the time to prepare, however, you may be able to smooth over old tensions.

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