The Third Mercury Retrograde of 2023 Is Lighting Up Your Healing Era

The time between the tail end of August and the beginning of September tends to host both last summer hurrahs and our initial flirtations with fall. In other words, it's the perfect transitional season. By the end of that transition, you can't help but hope to feel like you're stepping into a whole new chapter. But unfortunately, that new chapter might be a tiny bit delayed in 2023, thanks to the third Mercury retrograde of the year.

When the planet of communication, transportation, and technology appears to move backward from our vantage point on Earth, we're nudged to review, reflect, and revise, as opposed to pushing forward on new endeavors. Occurring in Virgo, the service-oriented mutable earth sign symbolized by the Maiden, Mercury's backspin officially kicks off on Aug. 23 and wraps up on Sept. 15. Thankfully, understanding the themes of this particular Mercury retrograde can help you make the most of it.

What Does Mercury Retrograde Mean in Astrology?

To get a sense of what Mercury retrograde entails, it can help to understand how the planet functions when it's direct (or moving forward). Typically, Mercury, the messenger planet, speeds up our ability to connect, supports our mental energy, and keeps technology and transportation running smoothly. But three to four times a year, for three weeks at a time, it appears to slow down and move backward through the zodiac. And when this happens, miscommunications abound, transportation gets hairy, and our devices glitch out.

But again, it's not all doom and gloom. The planet of communication's frequent slowdowns encourage us to rest, recharge, take a step back, and contend with the past in order to make room for the future.

The General Vibe of Mercury Retrograde in Virgo

Mercury is retrograde in Virgo (ruled by communicator Mercury itself) from Aug. 23 to Sept. 15. As such, the overall tone of this particular retrograde is cerebral and self-reflective. It might also bring more blasts from your past social life as a result of Venus, the planet of relationships, being retrograde as well from July 22 to Sept. 3. You will most likely run into people who are total blasts from the past, have to figure out how to text — or avoid texting — an ex, and take special care to avoid misunderstandings in one-on-one bonds.

Thanks to Virgo's influence, it's actually an ideal retrograde for research, revision, and editing anything that has been throwing off your inner balance, especially on a day-to-day basis. The detail-oriented earth sign is, after all, associated with the sixth house of wellness and daily routine.

That said, Mercury's retrograde in Virgo can compel you to tackle everyday to-dos that you've put on the back burner and also rethink how you're caring for your health and being of service to others and to yourself. While fellow earth sign Taurus tends to get all the credit for being the sign that innately values self-care, one of the Maiden's key lessons is self-love and self-acceptance. So don't be surprised if you find you're being tested on these themes — and find yourself stumbling into sweet, everyday opportunities to hone how you're caring for yourself not only physically but also emotionally and mentally.

Given the cerebral and self-improvement vibes of this retrograde, these three weeks can be a wonderful time to go even further with ongoing self-work. Keep in mind that, around this time, you may also find yourself revisiting themes that came up around Aug. 3-23, when Mercury was cruising ahead through this same spot in the sky.

To better understand how you'll experience these often confusing but ultimately enlightening three weeks, read on for your Mercury retrograde horoscope, and be sure to read not only your sun sign but also your rising sign.

How Will the August 2023 Mercury Retrograde Affect My Zodiac Sign?

Aries (March 21-April 19)

The messenger planet's backspin in your sixth house of wellness and daily routine will turn your focus to health matters. If it's been a minute since you've gotten a particular checkup or you're itching to rework your fitness routine, now's your chance.

Taurus (April 20-May 20)

The trickster planet heads back through your fifth house of romance, potentially stirring up communication with old flames but also encouraging you to revisit a favorite date-night spot or go back to the drawing board on an artistic undertaking.

Gemini (May 21-June 21)

Mercury retrogrades just about always clobber you over the head because the messenger planet is your ruler, Gemini. This time, Mercury moves backward through your fourth house of home life, nudging you to tend to any loose ends related to family issues or, quite literally, your home.

Cancer (June 22-July 22)

The messenger planet cruises back through your third house of communication, so don't be surprised if those classic retrograde tech glitches and misunderstandings rear their ugly heads. It's a reason to slow down and be more intentional about how — and with whom — you're exerting your social energy.

Leo (July 23-Aug. 22)

The messenger planet's backspin in your second house of income is an opportunity to revisit your budget, values, moneymaking game plans, and relationship to material possessions. You'll also do well to reflect on whether you're being adequately valued for what you bring to the table in business endeavors.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

The planet of communication lands back in your sign and first house of self, which can help you revise the way you're putting yourself out in the world. You might want to edit your résumé, rework your website, or refresh your wardrobe ahead of pursuing a major personal goal.

Libra (Sept. 23-Oct. 22)

As Mercury moves backward through your 12th house of spirituality this time around, you might feel a bit stalled and sleepy. But you can also pour your energy into imaginative pursuits and mind-body routines you've previously adored.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 21)

Mercury's backspin through your 11th house of networking can help you revisit collaborative undertakings, team efforts, and platonic bonds that'll have you feeling more connected. Sure, wires could get crossed with colleagues and friends, but you can reframe these moments as opportunities to hone communication skills in this context as well as your sense of teamwork.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 21)

Mercury moves back through your 10th house of career, which allows you a chance to reflect on your approach to long-term professional goals. Now's your chance to review and revise your game plan for making your mark and earning recognition for putting your nose to the grindstone.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

As Mercury moves back through your ninth house of adventure and higher learning, you might be inspired to hit the books, brushing up on a particular skill set or planning a trip to a beloved long-distance spot where you previously spent time. Yep, even though you always hear that travel is a no-no during Mercury retrograde, revisiting a place from the past could lead to personal growth.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 18)

Mercury's backspin in your eighth house of intimacy requires you to review joint resources and what makes you feel comfiest when connecting with someone special physically and emotionally. Initiating tough conversations about past emotional wounds might not feel like the easiest thing to do, but it can be incredibly healing now.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20)

Mercury will move backward through your seventh house of partnership, which urges you to reflect on your one-on-one relationships, reciprocity within these bonds, and goals you're working toward with a friend, colleague, partner, or loved one. It's time to address unfinished business as part of a pair.