What is Mercury Retrograde? Making the Most of this Highly Intuitive Time

mercury retrograde 2023

What is Mercury Retrograde? At least three to four times a year, from our vantage point here on Earth, it looks like the planet Mercury is traveling backward, hence the term Mercury Retrograde.

During this time of apparent backward motion, astrologers started to notice repeating patterns and believed that the way we experience Mercury’s energy shifted.

Let’s take a look into the planet Mercury and what it represents in astrology-

Mercury: The Messenger of the Gods

Mercury is the divine communicator, a channel between the mortal and immortal worlds. In mythology, Mercury was considered the Messenger of the Gods and could pass down insights and information from the heavens.

Mercury rules over our mind, third eye, thoughts, and communication style. It also governs over technology, travel, contracts, media, communications, and transport. At times, it can have a playful, trickster energy that can inspire intelligent wittiness.

Mercury in Retrograde

Mercury enters retrograde three to four times a year, making it a normal part of its cycle through the cosmic skies. When Mercury enters retrograde, we may find communication a little more challenging. We could find it difficult to make decisions, or experience issues with technologies, travel, or contracts.

Ancient astrologers believed that when Mercury was retrograde, it traveled through the underworld, collecting lost, hidden, or untapped messages from deep within our subconscious.

For this reason, it is recommended to wait before signing contracts, having important conversations, buying expensive technology, or making travel plans until Mercury emerges from its journey, as upon its return from the underworld, it could have brought new information, changing how we feel and, consequently, our plans.

During Mercury Retrograde, we want to be mindful of:

  • Signing long-term contracts
  • Making long-term commitments
  • Losing or misplacing things
  • Miscommunications or saying something we don’t mean
  • Posting something on social media or sending an email we didn’t mean to
  • Technology mishaps
  • Traveling – especially when it comes to the logistics
  • Buying new technology, appliances, or watches
  • Getting back with ex-partners
  • Foggy, confusing, cluttered thinking

How to Use the Energy of Mercury Retrograde

While Mercury is moving through the underworld, it is a good time to slow down, go back over things, revisit the past, and pay attention to subconscious thoughts and programming. Mercury retrograde can be a healing and highly intuitive time when we use it this way.

Mercury Retrograde can also trigger our psychic abilities, guiding us to step away from the information in our seen world and instead rely on the information in the unseen world.

Our dreams may also become more prophetic at this time or give us deeper insights into our subconscious. (If you want to work deeper with your dreams during Mercury Retrograde, check out this workbook!)

To summarize, here is how we can use the energies of Mercury Retrograde in an empowering way:

  • Listen and trust our inner world and intuition
  • Pay attention to the messages in our dreams
  • Reach out to old friends or business acquaintances
  • Revisit projects we want to complete
  • Connect with how we really feel
  • Source information
  • Reconnect with the things that are important to us

Trusting the Timing of Your Life

Mercury Retrograde tends to have a negative reputation, but everything is neutral in astrology. It’s what we make of the energy and how we choose to use it.

While Mercury Retrograde may not be considered favorable to sign long-term contracts, purchase expensive travel tickets, or buy a new computer, life happens, and sometimes we have to take action.

Trust the divine timing of the events in your life and connect with your own inner wisdom. After all, Mercury is the Messenger of the Gods, which means it is your own personal channel between yourself and the Divine. Lean on your higher self under these transits and flow from that guidance.

Mercury Retrograde Dates and Journal Prompts 2024

Mercury Retrograde is a time to become a more thoughtful and intuitive communicator, thinker, and decision-maker, and these journal prompts are designed to help you with that.

You can work with all the prompts during the retrograde period or choose one or two that resonate with you the most.

Mercury Retrograde Dates 2024:

  • April 1st-25th: Mercury Retrograde in Aries
  • August 5th-28th: Mercury Retrograde in Virgo & Leo
  • November 25th-December 15th: Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius

Journal Prompts April 1-25: Mercury Retrograde in Aries

  • What three things do I need the most right now? How can I take action to give myself these needs?
  • What new beginnings do I wish to explore in my life right now?
  • Ten ways I can feel more confident about myself…
  • What three things bring you the most pleasure? How can you take action to bring more pleasure into your routine?
  • Identify three self-limiting beliefs about yourself and how they may hold you back. Is there a way to reframe these beliefs?

Journal Prompts August 5-28: Mercury Retrograde in Virgo & Leo

  • What are some things you do well that you often overlook or dismiss?
  • How do you typically respond to your own mistakes or failures? Can you reframe these situations with a more self-compassionate lens?
  • What are three things you can do to prioritize your health and well-being?
  • How do you feel when you have to ask others for help? Experiment with breaking free of some of these blocks to receive help when needed.
  • Set an intention for each day this week, and then plan your daily schedule around that intention. See how it helps shift and change your week.

Journal Prompts November 25th-December 15: Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius

  • What would it feel like to achieve your goals? Take a moment to visualize this. How can you bring these sensations into your body every day?
  • Reflect on three things that happened this year that inspired the most growth. Honor yourself for making it through these situations.
  • What area of your life would you like to improve and why?
  • How can you bring more adventure and play into your life?
  • Place your hand on your heart. Without getting stuck in your head, write down the first three things that come to you after reading this – “My intuition wants me to know…”

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About the author


Tanaaz is the creator of Forever Conscious. She is an intuitive astrologer and aims to use her writing to heal and inspire. She is also the author of several books including the Power of Positive Energy, Messages for the Soul, and My Pocket Mantras. She also runs online courses and in-person retreats.