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With a brand new year underway, you’re probably wondering about the retrogrades of 2023. After all, astrology lovers are well aware of the way planetary retrogrades can turn your life upside-down and encourage us all to step outside our comfort zones. Although retrogrades are always a complicated experience, here’s why they might be the source of your highest growth in the New Year.
Many of us are familiar with Mercury retrograde periods, as these are the most feared and well-known planetary retrogrades in astrology. Retrogrades occur when the orbit of Earth and whichever planet is retrograde match up in a way that creates an optical illusion that makes the other planet appear as though it is moving backwards. As we all know, planets cannot miraculously start to move backward in their progression around the sun. However, we can understand why this optical illusion takes place from a similar experience: when you are driving on the highway and the car beside you starts to go slightly faster than you do, it seems as if you are rolling backwards for a moment. This occurs with retrograde periods as well, and although all retrogrades are opportunities to reflect and assess, they will all affect different parts of our lives due to the planetary energy and whichever sign it is occupying during its retrograde period.
Mark these retrograde periods on your calendar:
Your Guide to Every Retrograde Taking Place During 2023
Mercury’s retrograde periods often increase the likelihood of tech issues, travel delays and miscommunications. Past relationships can also resurface. Mercury rules over our day-to-day expressions, technology, contracts and relationships of all kinds. When Mercury enters a retrograde period, all of these aspects of our lives seem to go a bit haywire.
Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn
December 29, 2022 – January 18
This time period may bring setbacks, stagnation, and miscommunication around your work, career, and/or finances. Allow yourself to find purpose and a sense of identity outside of your career path and financial status. If you find that you’re not feeling content with your work trajectory, I recommend that you hold off on making any life-altering changes until the retrograde period has ended.
Pre-shadow: December 13 – December 29
Post-shadow: January 18 – February 8
Mercury Retrograde in Taurus
April 21 – May 14
As Taurus is a fixed earth sign known for stubbornness and loyalty, this retrograde will test your most routine connections and obligations to see if they are truly meant for you. Your old belief systems will be resurfacing and getting tested during this time. Being willing to let go of beliefs, thought patterns, and habits that no longer fit with this chapter of your life. You will feel the most safe when you master how to show up for each chapter of your life, rather than treating them all the same in fear of making changes. You will want to be aware of what you say, write, and sign during this time period – especially with those closest to you. And with fixed signs being essentially immovable, the message with this retrograde is to go with the flow of life. Expect the unexpected, and shed compassion on yourself and others for missteps and mistakes.
Pre-shadow: April 7 – 21
Post-shadow: May 14 – June 1
Mercury Retrograde in Virgo
August 23 – September 15
Virgo is a Mercury-ruled sign, so this retrograde period will be more intensely felt than the others… sort of like a double-whammy of Mercurial energy! During this retrograde you may find it difficult to give yourself grace during this time. This will be a powerful time for you to reconnect with yourself and your intentions through journaling, meditation, and like Virgo’s associated Tarot card, becoming a bit of a hermit.
Pre-shadow: August 4 – 23
Post-shadow: September 15 – 30
Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn & Sagittarius
December 13 – January 1, 2024
Mercury will station retrograde in ambitious Capricorn on December 13, showing you where your true ambitions lie and shining a light on your ability to go back to square one and do what needs to be done. Capricorn is all about delaying gratification for the sake of getting the task accomplished, because it will make the reward taste that much sweeter.
Mercury will then retrograde back into Sagittarius on December 23. Like chatty Sagittarius, you will feel highly connected to others during this time, but expect an extra dose of confusion and misinterpretation. This might feel like a difficult period of time if you are studying or traveling as Sagittarius naturally rules over the ninth house of higher education and international travel. Remember, that anything that’s meant for you will never miss you, so be patient and wait until the Mercury retrograde period has passed to make any commitments or big life changes.
Pre-shadow: November 25 – December 13
Post-shadow: January 1 – January 15
July 22 – September 3
Venus is the planet of love, sex, beauty and money, and when she enters into a retrograde period, you can expect to see sparks flying! Going retrograde only once every 18 months, Venus is the least common planet to incur a retrograde period of the bunch. Because Venus deals with both love and money, you can expect the unexpected in both areas of your life during this time. You may be feeling more reclusive and prone to miscommunication while fears around love and intimacy may arise. You could also have unexpected payments to make, so be sure to reel back on any big purchases or committing to any hefty subscriptions. This is also a great time to rewrite your relationship to your finances, as the retrograde periods offer us opportunities to reassess and recalibrate with whichever planetary energy is being affected.
During 2023, Venus retrograde occurs from July 22 to September 3 in the fiery sign of Leo. Leo’s are fiercely loyal and sensitive pack leaders, so during the retrograde period, you may find yourself easily perturbed within your relationships, and this would be a great time to redefine your relationship and it’s boundaries in order to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Don’t be surprised if there’s a habit of over-spending on experiences or lavish dinner parties as Leo’s like to see and be seen. It’s time to break out the budgeting tools!
September 3, 2022 – January 12
Mars is our planet of aggression, forward movement, energy, sex and action and when this powerful planet enters a retrograde period it can cause us to feel sluggish, uninspired, and frustrated. Mars retrograde periods are the rarest of them all, happening only once every two years, but staying in its retrograde position for anywhere from eight to ten weeks at a time. We entered 2023 in the midst of Mars retrograde in Gemini, which started in it’s pre-shadow period on September 3, 2022 and stationing direct on January 12, 2023 but staying in the sign of Gemini in it’s post-shadow period until March 15 where it will finally enter into it’s next sign of Cancer. The rest of 2023 is free of Mars retrograde periods, moving freely in a forward momentum for the remainder of the year.
September 4 – December 3
Jupiter is the planet of expansion, good luck, and good fortune and when this planet goes retrograde, it can cause us to reassess our own habits that veer towards hedonism and overindulgence. We enter into 2023 still under the guise of Jupiter retrograde post-shadow until February 14. These retrograde periods help bring us back into reality and become more mindful of our decisions to find balance and remove anything that is blocking you from expanding once Jupiter stations direct again. From September 4 til December 3, 2023 the lucky planet will be retrograde in earthly Taurus. As noted, all retrograde periods are not moments in time to fear, but to utilize. This will be a great time to reassess the career path and financial trajectory that you’re on and make adequate changes in order to succeed at rapid speeds once it comes to a close.
June 17 – November 4
Saturn is the planet of rules, karma, and discipline and when it enters its retrograde periods this is a time where important life lessons will be served to you on a silver platter. These hard-hitting moments may make you feel swept up in life’s current, but they are “meant to happen” moments to help you make sure that your priorities are in check and that you are playing your role in life to your fullest potential. But as Saturn rules karma, you will see great rewards from its mastery. In 2023, we will have one (long) instance of Saturn retrograde in the dreamy sign of Pisces from June 17 to November 4, 2023. During this time, your relationship to spirituality, your belief systems, self-discipline and creative expressions will be the focus. Take this time to find proper balance between your dreams and your reality, your work and your pleasures, and the ways that you are expressing your deepest and truest feelings.
August 28 – January 27, 2024
Uranus, the planet of shake-ups and sudden changes, goes retrograde to help us push past limiting societal beliefs and social norms. These retrograde periods happen annually and last anywhere between five and seven months at a time. We will see ourselves enter into 2023 with Uranus retrograde in Taurus, stationing direct on January 22, 2023. However, Uranus will enter another retrograde period in Taurus on August 28, 2023 and stay in this position through the end of the year until January 27, 2024. These retrograde periods seem to cause even more unpredictability than Uranus brings in it’s periods of forward momentum. Expect the unexpected in food sourcing, imports and exports, the stock market, the economy in general, and your own personal finances and sense of stability with this bullish energy at play.
June 30 – December 6
Neptune is the dreamy planet of ideals, intuition, and spirituality and its annual retrograde period is happening this year from June 30 to December 6, 2023. Getting swept away by fantasies and full-blown escapism can occur during these retrograde periods, so the main focus here is to keep yourself grounded and centered during a time period that is prone to disconnection and indulgence.
Because Neptune deals with escapism and overindulgence, you will also want to make sure that you are not avoiding reality with vices or substances that could put you in a precarious position. These retrograde periods are great seasons of time to reassess your dreams and see if the goals that you have been moving towards are still viable for the present-day version of yourself. In other words, are you holding onto something just because you’ve yearned for it for a long time? Or do you truly still want the things you set out to find years ago? Let yourself reconfigure through spiritual practices, meditation, and writing – healthier and more grounded activities that can still give you the feeling of diving deep and creating a new, more dreamy reality.
May 1 to October 11
Pluto is our furthest planet, and even through its history of being considered a planet and being dismissed from the line-up, we still feel its energetic shifts. Focusing on regeneration, transformation, taboos, and the subconscious, we will feel its effects during the retrograde, happening in the sign of Aquarius from May 1 to October 11, 2023. Happening once a year and lasting for nearly six months at a time, we are not unfamiliar with Pluto retrograde energy, but its effects are much more subtle than the closer, more personal planets. These time periods will ask you to embrace personal transformation and the release of old chapters in your life. You may feel called to end relationships, move to new living situations or start following long hidden dreams. Your deepest desires hold the key to your life’s purpose and Pluto retrograde periods are great times of reflection to refocus on how to make changes in your life for the better.