The Next Mercury Retrograde Is Almost Here, and You're in For Some Serious Chaos

Whether you are astro-obsessed or couldn't care less, you've most likely heard of the astronomical phenomenon known as Mercury retrograde, along with the mayhem that is said to accompany it.

The astronomical event refers to an optical illusion in which Mercury appears to move backward in its orbit in relation to Earth. That's right: Mercury isn't actually moving backward when it's retrograde; it just appears to do so from our viewpoint on Earth.

Astronomers call it "apparent retrograde motion," and it's not exclusive to the planet Mercury. Other planets move retrograde, too, including Pluto, Saturn, and Neptune, just to name a few. However, Mercury's retrograde periods tend to cause inexplicable mishaps and tribulations, particularly in regard to communication, travel, and technology — all of the things the planet Mercury rules, according to astrology.

If you're fiercely determined to avoid as many obstacles sent down by the universe as possible, you'll want to know exactly what's going on when Mercury is retrograde. And JSYK, the third Mercury retrograde of the year will begin Aug. 23 in Virgo. Here are the other times you should be on the lookout for when Mercury is retrograde in 2023.

When Is Mercury Retrograde in 2023?

Mercury retrograde happens three to four times each calendar year. According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, Mercury is retrograde four times in 2023, so you could say it might be an especially hectic year. In 2023, Mercury will be retrograde during these four periods, according to Astrology Zone.

Each 2023 Mercury retrograde will happen in a single astrological sign — meaning, Mercury will be moving through that sign for the entirety of its retrograde period. Depending on which sign it transits through, Mercury retrograde can affect each of the 12 zodiac signs in different ways, according to astrologers.

Based on all the Mercury retrograde periods in 2023, it seems like the year will be full of unexpected events. So what exactly should you do to avoid trouble during these times when Mercury appears to be doing the moonwalk?

What Does Mercury Retrograde Mean in Astrology?

In astrology, retrograde periods essentially mean a time of slow movement, or when a planet is not moving forward at its fullest potential (and thus, neither are you). You may experience setbacks during all types of retrogrades, depending on the area of life a planet is said to govern.

Since Mercury is known by astrologers as the planet that rules all types of communication, it is important to be doubly aware of what you are saying and writing during these times, as your thoughts, words, and feelings may get lost in translation. Whenever Mercury is retrograde, make sure to double- or triple-check all forms of written communication, from emails to projects to text messages. The Old Farmer's Almanac also warns that it might be wise to avoid signing any contracts during this time.

Overall, being extra patient and flexible with timing and communication during these periods of retrograde — and when Mercury is retrograde in 2023, especially — will make any inconvenience feel a little less troubling, whether the planets have anything to do with it.

— Additional reporting by Maggie Ryan