Mercury Will Be Retrograde 3 Times in 2024—Here’s What To Know, and How To Plan Accordingly

Photo: Stocksy / Serge Filimonov
We had a real lucky break from the cosmos to kick off 2024: Mercury ended its retrograde and went direct right on New Year's Day, allowing us to start the year without any hindrance from the communication planet—which, ICYDK, is known to cause crossed wires and travel mishaps when retrograde (or appearing to travel in reverse motion). But that doesn't mean we're any less likely to encounter our fair share of Mercury retrograde dates throughout the rest of the year.

Just so you aren’t caught by surprise, here are the Mercury retrograde dates to bookmark in 2024:

  • April 1 to April 25
  • August 5 to August 28
  • November 25 to December 15

The good news is, we don't just have to wait in dread. In fact, planning for Mercury retrograde dates can help you get ahead of potential havoc—and maybe even embrace the transit’s backward-leaning power.

Experts In This Article

Wait, what happens when Mercury is retrograde again?

When Mercury is retrograde, it appears to slow down and reverse its motion from our perspective on Earth. (That's just because it passes the Earth in orbit.) This backward-seeming motion is thought to similarly slow our roll in the areas of life over which the planet rules, like communication and travel.

To be sure, this doesn't mean you're guaranteed to have flight delays, conversational snafus, and the like when Mercury is retrograde. The way astrologers see it is, luck just isn't on your side in these realms—so, in scenarios where you aren't fully in control, or you may not have taken good care to prepare, snags are all the more likely.

In this way, Mercury retrograde isn't necessarily the bearer of bad news that it's often cracked up to be; instead, it can be seen as a reminder from the universe to slow down, double-check the details, and reflect on past actions.

The particular facets of your life this energy affects will depend on the zodiac sign through which Mercury is transiting while it’s retrograde. In 2024, Mercury is retrograde in all fire signs (with the exception of the first nine days of the second retrograde, during which it will be in Earth-sign Virgo). And as a result, this year's Mercury retrograde transits could have an extra tinge of fiery energy, especially affecting anyone whose sun, moon, or rising sign is a fire sign.

“People might be more animated, erratic, and hasty, which could cause them to overlook important details,” says astrologer and tarot reader Ryan Marquardt about the consecutive trio of fire-fueled Mercury retrogrades. “You may be tempted to add fuel to fires that are already raging, so it’s important to keep your temper in check when arguments or disagreements arise.”

How to get through any Mercury retrograde transit

First, it’s always helpful to expect the unexpected and minimize the fallout of any chaos by being proactive with your rest, says astrologer Stephanie Campos. The more space and time you work into your schedule, the better you’ll be able to navigate any surprise mishaps, miscommunications, or travel delays. (Without leaving at least some wiggle room in your schedule for things to go wrong—which they very well might—you’ll risk an unfortunate chain reaction of issues.)

Having some extra downtime built into your schedule also makes it possible to engage in all the “re” tasks that astrologers suggest for tapping into the transit’s backward energy: reflecting, reconnecting, reviewing, revisiting, reimagining, reevaluating, and the like. Remember, Mercury retrograde is all about reconsidering the past, not pushing forward into the future or starting something new (both of which fall on the list of things not to do during Mercury retrograde). “The more you’re able to engage in the reflection process of what may be arising for you during this time, the easier it will be to make adjustments as necessary,” says Campos.

“The more you’re able to engage in the reflection process of what may be arising for you during this time, the easier it will be to make adjustments as necessary.” —Stephanie Campos, astrologer

It’s also important to rethink how you view Mercury retrograde, in general, in order to see it for its long-term upsides (even if it’s inconvenient while it’s happening). “This period of delays and revising isn’t meant to frustrate us,” says Campos. “It’s meant to filter out what doesn't serve us.” And there’s an important lesson to glean from that message: “Mercury retrograde offers us a chance to be okay with stillness, to reconnect with our inner voice, and to appreciate the fact that slowing down is a necessary and healthy part of life,” says Campos.

What to expect from each of the three sets of Mercury retrograde dates in 2024

1. Mercury retrograde in Aries: April 1 to April 25

The first Mercury retrograde of this year is in notoriously confident, yet impulsive Aries, starting on April Fool’s Day (go figure). It may cause us to be more impatient than usual, resulting in unfiltered conversations and premature actions. Be mindful of what you say and how you say it during this time, as accidental word vomit could “lead to hurt feelings and misunderstandings,” says Marquardt. “Conflict avoidance isn’t a healthy habit, but it’s best to limit confrontations during this retrograde.”

We may also be pushed to reflect on past instances where we jumped to conclusions, made brash decisions, or made unfair assumptions about others, says astrologer Alexandria Lettman, founder of spiritual-wellness platform Jupiter Jewel. There’s a fine line between speaking your truth and sharing an unsolicited opinion, and this retrograde will cause us to consider whether we might be crossing it. “The energy is tense, though the combative Aries spirit is diluted, allowing us to be less reactive and sensitive as we re-hash conversations and learn to forgive ourselves and others for mistakes,” explains Lettman.

On April 15, Mercury retrograde will form a conjunction (aka meet-up) with the asteroid Chiron, which rules over deep wounds and trauma, heightening the guilt and embarrassment we might feel in regard to past mistakes. “People will be feeling more vulnerable, and old wounds can reopen,” explains Marquardt. “To use this retrograde productively, shift your attention to self-reflection—Aries is about your individual character, so engage in activities that are centered around self-discovery.”

2. Mercury retrograde in Virgo *and* Leo: August 5 to August 28

Last year, the final Mercury retrograde straddled two signs—Capricorn and Sagittarius. Similarly, the second Mercury retrograde of 2024 will occur in Earthy, pragmatic Virgo for nine days, and in fierce and flamboyant Leo for the following two weeks.

Early in this retrograde, on August 7, Mercury will meet up with Venus in Virgo. According to Marquardt, this planetary concurrence can make us feel more judgmental of or critical toward one another, and will cause “great reconsiderations around how we express affection and care, and whether our constructive comments have become insensitive criticism,” says Lettman. “We must work on finding the midpoint between being helpful and being loving.”

Since Mercury is the planetary ruler of Virgo, the planet's movement through Virgo for the first part of this retrograde will have an especially potent effect, says Marquardt. Virgo's penchant for organization and critical-thinking skills will be thrown for a loop, potentially causing prior plans to fall through cracks and leaving you struggling to figure out easy alternatives.

Add in the usual technological disruptions that can happen during a Mercury retrograde, and “you could feel like you’re exerting a lot of effort, but underperforming, which could lead to some negative self-talk,” says Marquardt. “Double-check your emails and text messages, and have backup plans ready in case your internet goes out or you unexpectedly get kicked off a video call.”

On August 14, the Mercurial tides will turn as the retrograde backspins into Leo. This shift can bring out our spiteful side, adding fire to ego-driven conflicts. According to Marquardt, your creativity gas tank will also be on "E," leaving you feeling uninspired and more than a little lackluster. “It’s like writer’s block, but for all creative endeavors,” says Marquardt.

Take this lapse in imagination and innovation with a grain of salt—you’ll get your groove back on August 28, when Mercury goes direct. In the meantime, “this retrograde can be beneficial for revisiting past creative projects that you’ve had on the back burner,” says Marquardt. “It’s also helpful for learning how to take constructive criticism and feedback from others.”

And because the lioness of the zodiac rules the heart, the Leo portion of this retrograde can also present an opportunity to rekindle past relationships or bring the spark back to current ones.

3. Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius: November 25 to December 15

Consider this your *official* warning to finalize the details of any winter holiday travel sooner rather than later. The third and final Mercury retrograde of the year takes place in Sagittarius, which is the sign most associated with travel, and it happens smack-dab in the middle of the holiday travel season. Both Marquardt and Lettman emphasize that it could result in canceled flights, issues with hotel reservations, or lost baggage.

And watch your step: The clumsiness surrounding travel may similarly affect our daily movements. “You’ll be more susceptible to making mistakes that you’d normally be better about avoiding, like texting and walking without paying attention, which leads you to accidentally trip and fall,” says Marquardt.

During this retrograde, several other planets will also be in retrograde motion: Both Jupiter and Uranus will be retrograde the entire time, Neptune will be retrograde until December 7, and Mars will enter the backward mix on December 6, staying retrograde until December 15. According to Marquardt, the dates wherein these retrogrades overlap will be “especially contentious,” peaking on December 6. In particular, you may find that you're quick to anger thanks to the influence of Mars's passionate, aggressive energy. Tread lightly, and try your best not to feed into petty arguments.

It’s not all bad, though: December 5 will give us a much-needed dose of optimism as Mercury retrograde meets up with the sun in Sagittarius. “This one-day alignment will help us focus our awareness and determine what we really think about a situation,” says Lettman. “Our purpose and direction will become clear for a moment.”

There's also beauty to be found in the open-minded exploration that a Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius can prompt; after all, Sagittarius is also the sign ruling over philosophy. "We may be reconsidering our morals, values, and outlook," says Lettman, "which can create a few temporary inconsistencies in how we think and communicate." Embracing the optimism and exploratory nature of the zodiac’s archer will help you reassess your principles with an open heart, says Marquardt.

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