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How to survive Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn: Here’s what experts say about the phenomenon

Mercury will be in retrograde beginning 13 December and ending on 2 January

Olivia Hebert
Los Angeles
Thursday 14 December 2023 11:07 GMT
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Related: Astrologist reveals child-parent zodiac combinations that bring about ‘guaranteed tantrums’

The final Mercury retrograde of 2023 is in motion. This time around, the planet of communication will be going backward from the astrological sign of Capricorn to Sagittarius starting on 13 December and ending on 2 January 2024.

Astrologer Lisa Stardust explains how the timing of this year’s retrograde coinciding with the holiday season could lead to some Christmas chaos, especially concerning travel plans.

“Remember to stay relaxed,” she wrote in an article for British Vogue. “And go with the flow to enjoy the Christmas spirit and festivities without any unnecessary stress.”

“You might bump into people you haven’t spoken to in quite some time. Use this as a moment to let go of any problems or arguments from the past and to heal old wounds. After all, ‘tis the season for forgiveness and kindness, so let it go and try to move on in a positive way if you can,” she said.

Themes that have been prevalent throughout Sagittarius season, which runs from 22 November to 21 December, will be also be revisited during this time. This retrograde has a planetary square with Neptune, which astrologers predict may result in previously internalised frustrations making themselves known. Stardust cautioned that people should be mindful of how they word phrases and what they say to others in the weeks to come.

According to Vox, astronomers have long believed it’s a basic fact of the universe that Mercury “goes into an apparent retrograde motion”. Meanwhile, astrologers have deemed Mercury retrograde as the least wonderful time of year, believing the planetary motion to be the cause of an extraordinary amount of chaos.

The idea that planets can influence people’s lives has been around for centuries. However, astrology has recently become more prominent in pop culture thanks to the prevalence of social media. New age astrology has gained an uptick in popularity amongst Gen-Zers for its relatable horoscopes and astrology-centric listicles.

“There’s something that’s happened in the last five years that’s given it an edginess, a relevance for this time and place, that it hasn’t had for a good 35 years,” astrologer Chani Nicolas explained to The Atlantic in 2018.

Despite astrology becoming ubiquitous in pop culture, the idea that Mercury in retrograde can cause chaos is a much newer idea, according to independent researcher Joanna Martin. While conducting research for her 2018 masters dissertation on Mercury retrograde’s cultural history, Martin explained to Harper’s Bazaar that she had traced Mercury retrograde back to as early as the 1970s.

Although the idea of Mercury retrograde may be recent, both astrologers and astronomers can agree that something is going on with Mercury - but it might not be what you think. Because of the way Mercury appears to humans in the sky, they see the planet seemingly moving backward in an optical illusion.

Planetary scientist David Rothery explained to The Atlantic that the planet was essentially “overtaking us on the inside track” and when Earth catches up, Mercury appears to go “prograde” or go back. This is primarily because Mercury orbits closer to the sun and therefore makes its trip around the Sun in a shorter amount of time - 88 days as opposed to Earth’s 365 days. Humans, as a result, witness the optical illusion over three weeks, for three to four times a year.

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