The year 2023 began with a Mercury Retrograde in Capricorn, so it's almost too fitting that the somewhat chaotic astrological year will also end with one. The final Mercury Retrograde of the year is upon us, beginning on December 13th, 2023, in the sign of Capricorn and moving into the sign of Sagittarius on December 23rd before wrapping up on New Year's Day - January 1st, 2024. While we've already survived two Mercury Retrogrades this year, this one coincides with the winter holiday season, which may test our patience during a time of year that many of us find stressful.
This new Mercury Retrograde is picking up right where the one at the start of 2023 left off, meaning you may experience a resurgence of issues that may have come up for you earlier this year. The current retrograde is a poignant time to process anything left over from that time and close off any loose ends, allowing for a fresh start as you move into the first week of 2024.
Mercury Retrogrades are frustrating for many of us – they're often associated with communication issues, interrupted plans, problems with technology, and delays. As you can imagine, combined with the already busy holiday season - it could be a recipe for some chaos and frustration. Four retrogrades in 2023, and the last Mercury Retrograde ended on September 14th.
Combining the holidays with a Mercury Retrograde means that your travel plans may be intense and somewhat stressful – you might want to prepare for possible delays. Glitches with electronics like cell phones, ipads, and laptops are also to be expected, along with potential miscommunications with friends, romantic partners, and family members.
The good news is that with some self-care, patience, and LAB.OTANICA's Mercury Retrograde Survival Guide – you can pass through the challenging retrograde energy unscathed – and potentially even thrive throughout the 2023 holiday season.
What is a Mercury Retrograde?
Before we dig into the best tips and tricks for surviving and thriving throughout the 2023 Mercury Retrograde - let's talk about what exactly happens during a Mercury Retrograde. To put it simply, Mercury Retrograde is an optical illusion. It is three weeks, to be exact - when the planet Mercury appears to move backward across the night sky.
The backward movement appears to happen because Mercury's orbit around the sun is shorter than Earth's. It takes only 88 days for Mercury to make an entire orbit around the sun, so it's running laps around the Earth, and when this happens, it will appear to reverse course a few times a year. The same thing happens with other planets, but Mercury is one of the most common, with retrogrades happening three to four times per year.
Astrologists believe this occurrence can have a noticeable effect on people living on Earth, causing us to revert to old patterns along with all the other problems with technology, plans, and communication.
When is the Next Mercury Retrograde?
The final Mercury Retrograde in 2023 begins on December 13th and ends on January 1st, 2024.
Mercury Retrograde 2024
Following the final day of Mercury retrograde on January 1st, 2024, there will be four additional Mercury Retrogrades throughout the year. The next Mercury Retrograde will be in April.
April 1st - April 24th
August 4th - August 27th
November 25th - December 15th
Surviving the Mercury Retrograde
Now that you understand what is in store during the final Mercury Retrograde of 2023, you're likely wondering how to get through it unscathed. The most important things to remember during this retrograde are taking things slow, going with the flow, and creating plenty of time for positive self-care.
As Mercury Retrograde moves through Capricorn, we will be invited to consider structure in our past and present and how we want to show up in the world. During the retrograde period, you may begin to question some of your long-term goals or set more boundaries with people in your life. Capricorn is a very work-focused sign, so during this phase, it's essential to give yourself some grace and not be overly critical regarding your work or productivity. At the same time, consider your spending carefully. This retrograde could negatively impact finances, so be careful when it comes to staying on budget during your holiday shopping.
Around December 23rd, Mercury Retrograde will move through the Sagittarius sign, which could cause even more drama. Ensure you're avoiding ruminating and negative self-talk, and practice lots of self-love. Travel-loving Sagittarius may have everyone feeling a little restless during this time, and you may feel particularly irritated if holiday travel plans go awry. Cultivate inner peace and patience to keep a fiery temper at bay and focus on the big picture when delays or setbacks arise. Remember to go with the flow! The key is to work with the energies of Mercury Retrograde instead of fighting against them.
Enjoy Plenty of Citrus Fruits
Not only are delicious fruits like oranges associated with the winter holidays in some parts of the world, they're also the fruit essence of Mercury. Oranges begin to ripen in the United States in the Autumn, and many are at their best in December. Keep around a fresh bowl of lemons, oranges, and limes to add to water throughout the day, and consider incorporating citrus fruits into ritual bathsor even all-natural holiday decor. Eating these citrus fruits will also ensure that your body gets plenty of Vitamin C, which can help fight off seasonal illnesses that are common throughout the winter months. Spiritually, these fruits help open up the channels of communication to ensure that you can speak clearly and intentionally with loved ones.
Create a Nightly Self-Care Ritual
A simple nightly ritual can help ground and relax you after a long day. For many of us, the holidays are a very social time of year when we spend extra time out and enjoy holiday parties and time spent with friends and family. While the connections we feel are lovely and nourishing, they can sometimes be draining, especially when Mercury Retrograde affects our communication. Wind down and find inner peace at the end of each day when you engage in your self-care practice. Your ritual can be as simple as washing your face with our soothing Revelation Bi-Phase Rose Cleansing Oil, followed by Clear-Voyant Facial Toning Mist,and finally moisturizing with our cult-favorite Alchemic Brightening Facial Oil.
Candles are a beautiful symbol of light in dark times, which is one of the reasons candle-lighting ceremonies are a familiar ritual around the Winter Solstice in cultures around the world. Lighting a candle can help you create intention and find a sense of calm while creating a welcoming environment in your home or office. LAB. OTANICA's Trust The Journey Intention Candle is made with the positive energy of the full moon with natural, fair trade ingredients. Each candle is hand-poured and includes a crystal inside as a keepsake once you've completely burned your candle. To create a ritual:
Hold your candle close while breathing in deeply.
Hold your breath for a few moments and then let it go, surrendering to the universe's flow.
Create an intention and hold it as you light your candle.
Support Your Body, Mind, and Spirit with Plant Magic
Plants are some of our biggest supporters, and many of them are packed full of medicinal properties that can help heal us from the inside out. In addition to the many physical benefits of these herbal superheroes, some plants possess essences that can assist in healing our minds and spirits. During the chaotic energy of Mercury retrograde, we invite you to embrace the magic of lavender, chamomile, and calendula as plant allies.
Lavender is an incredibly supportive plant throughout Mercury Retrogrades, and it will help keep you calm and centered. Consider adding some lavender essential oil to your bath, or keep a bundle of dried lavender near your bedside to help you relax and prepare for sleep at the end of the day.
Calendula is comforting and warming and helps us to open up and be receptive to others' communication. It can help keep us from falling into arguments. It also increases confidence and respect from others while adding strength.
Chamomile is one of the ultimate flowers for achieving a sense of calm and balanced energy. It is deeply comforting and protective energy.
When you perform your skincare ritual, consider cleansing with our Clearity Micellar Cleansing Floral Water, which uses chamomile to help calm the skin and cleanse away dirt and negative energy you may have accumulated during your day. We invite you to add our Clear-Voyant Facial Tonight Mist,which incorporates Lavender and Calendula into its formulation to help cleanse your skin and energetic aura.
With these tips, Mercury Retrograde can be a potent time of self-reflection and even healing. As 2023 winds to a close, we invite you to join our plant magic community by following us on Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube for all the best natural skincare tips and tricks so that you can love the skin you live in. If you’re still looking for a great last minute holiday gift, check out our Intentional Gift Giving Guide.