When: August 23rd – September 15th, 2023
What: Mercury retrograde in Virgo
Takeaway: When Mercury appears to trek backward in the sky, it corresponds to tech and communication hiccups. This particular retrograde will offer a gentler ride than most, but you should still prepare for some bumps. To help combat the chaos, practice solid digital hygiene and give your schedule some room to wiggle in.
Back up your data — the trickster planet is at it again
Yes, Mercury is about to station retrograde. Whenever the messenger spins backward, it triggers a predictable flurry of tech snafus, misunderstood texts, and minor travel mayhem. If you feel like this transit is always happening — or at least, constantly being posted about — you’re not entirely wrong. Mercury is retrograde three to four times a year. And even though it’s not the rarest occurrence, it still makes waves in the zeitgeist, as its inconveniences are hard to miss.
While this transit is notorious for messing with our communications, flight times, and electronics, it teaches us important lessons too. When your emails go to the wrong person or you miss your train, you have two options: 1) get frustrated, or 2) let it go and laugh off what you can’t control. Though it isn’t always easy to find the humor in the mishaps, these glitches help us keep perspective on what ultimately is and isn’t up to us. Mercury retrogrades deliver their wily medicine via small moments of humility.
But this retrograde has some lucky helpers…
The good news? As far as retrogrades go, this one is primed to unfold somewhat smoothly. Although slight chaos can never be ruled out, this particular retrograde takes place in Virgo, a dignified placement for Mercury. The planet of communication and ideas is comfortable in this practical earth sign because it has enhanced access to its analytical strengths. When a planet is supported in its essential nature like this, there’s less friction — which translates to less stress for us all. To make it even better, retrograde Mercury will form a harmonious trine to Jupiter, the planet of wisdom and fortune on September 4th.
Still, even with these helpers, clarity is always harder to come by when the trickster planet loops back. Simple memos tend to turn into unwieldy games of telephone. Scheduled dates and times quickly change. Travel plans are touch and go. And technology — well, let’s just say back-ups are your best friend. These auspicious configurations will help counter the kerfuffle of this retrograde though. Or, at the very least, they’ll provide abundant opportunities to remedy the blunders.
Plus, this Mercury cazimi is one of the most powerful of the year
The easeful aspects of this retrograde cycle come together in a particularly magical way on September 6th, when Mercury conjoins the Sun in an event called a cazimi. On this day, the Sun’s fiery rays will cleanse the Mercurial themes in our lives, burning confusion to a crisp and leaving clarified guidance in its place. Because this revelatory moment occurs when the messenger is holding court in its dignified sign (Virgo), while receiving support from Jupiter to boot, the downloads that come with this cazimi are likely to be in service to our growth, healing, and highest good. Around this date, stay alert for synchronicities and resonant phrases from dreams, overheard conversations, or books that fortuitously topple into your path. Wisdom can arrive in many forms — pay attention to anything that lands for you.
Remember: All retrogrades are opportunities to review, reassess, and rewire what isn’t working. To aid your reflection and minimize mischief during this period, consult these key dos and don’ts.
Our Mercury retrograde survival guide
- Expect delays. Schedule buffer time for everything. When things do go smoothly, you’ll have room to relax. And when they don’t, you’ll be grateful to have plans B and C.
- Back up your files. Emails, photos — all of it. Get ahead of potential technology glitches. (Your future self will thank you.)
- Reflect, edit, organize, review, and notice what you repetitively think about during this period. There is meaning in what you keep returning to.
- Use this time to streamline your life and update your systems, both internal and external.
- Focus on long-term solutions. Decisions made in the heat of the moment don’t always support your best future self. Commit to making choices that are aligned with your broader goals instead.
- When in doubt, pause, rest, and belly-breathe through rising frustrations.
- Laugh at yourself when you make obvious mistakes. The point of this transit is to keep you humble and open to learning.
- Listen to the Astrology of the Week Ahead podcast, as well as Your Reading in the “This Week” section of the CHANI app. There, you’ll also find journal prompts and other resources that will help you work with the lessons Mercury is bringing you this retrograde season.
- Check the Transits tab in the CHANI app to discover if Mercury will be impacting one of your natal placements. You can also read your free Current Sky horoscope for Mercury in Virgo to learn how your rising sign will be affected during this time.
- Fear Mercury retrograde. It may be annoying, but remember that worrying is simply focusing on what you don’t want. Instead, treat this period as an opportunity to reassess your strategies.
- Buy tickets, sign contracts, or plan events during this time, if you can avoid it. If you can’t, stay flexible and assume that adjustments may be needed after the retrograde cycle is over. And maybe even during it.
- Plan for big launches or make major changes to the way you do things during this period if you can help it — unless you plan to do them when Mercury is cazimi on September 6th. (That said, you may still want to work with an astrologer to pinpoint the best possible moment for you.)
- Put your life on hold. There are some things you should put off if you can, but otherwise, just make room for hiccups. Again, you shouldn’t fear this moment — just be wise to it.