the astrology of 2023 | part I - the inner planets - Mercury in 2023, reviewing, revising and remaking the physical structures of our lives, becoming more useful, grounded and stable

OK, we are moving ahead now. Time to unpack the astrology of 2023!

Let's begin with a look at the inner/personal planets - Mercury, Mars and Venus. We will start with Mercury and maybe the most important part of his annual journey known as the dreaded 'Mercury retrograde'.

There is alot of non-sense out there about Mercury Retrogrades, and, of course, some people who would just disregard them entirely. I remember when most people had never heard of a Mercury Retrograde and now it seems like poor Mercury (planet of communication and MAGIC) is being shamed/blamed for everything that goes wrong.

This is probably because - 1. the internet has exposed many more people to astrological teachings 2. most people are moving so fast now that any sort of slowdown feels like a problem  3. it's a convenient excuse when stuff falls to sh*t, especially stuff that would normally be considered our fault. The truth is the things that breakdown/fall apart/reverse course during a Mercury retrograde are always symbolic of 'what's not working' or what is 'backward' in our thinking/behavior, etc. Yes, even that broken washing machine during the last Mercury retrograde cycle - what else needs to be brought up to date or better maintained?

The truth is, although we don't want to spend too much time looking backward, we can't full steam ahead through life either, so Mercury goes retrograde, as viewed from our position here on Earth, three times a year (sometimes four). Mercury, think Hermes here, is "the Messenger", the "Trickster", the "Cosmic Magician". He/she rules the signs of Gemini and Virgo. Collectively this is our - words, communication, siblings, early childhood education, our local community, commerce, tech devices, transportation, our daily life, our service, our health, our work - our collective 3rd and 6th houses and our personal, natal Virgo and Gemini houses and their themes. 


We are going to focus here on Mercury's retrogrades in 2023.


Mercury retrograde periods are times to slow down/to look within. Anything started with "re" becomes the most effective use of our time. Re-thinking, re-evaluating, re-flecting, re-peating, re-unions, re-novations, etc. Mercury retrogrades are re-curring opportunities to shift out of old mental patterns. We are often asked to pull back from the world and face our shadow self in some way. When we’ve exhausted the possibilities for what we can gain by projecting our shadow self onto the external events and people in our lives, we are ready to face them within our own mind (and heart).


On a practical level we see things that were concealed when Mercury was in direct motion. Maybe because we were going too fast to notice them or maybe we took a wrong turn two miles back and need to change direction. Maybe there is a road out up ahead that we don't know about yet. These retrograde periods are always useful/always needed even when they are a major pain in the ass and we appear to incur delays, re-dos, reversals and roadblocks. 


Imagine you are walking somewhere and you stop walking. You turn around and begin walking back the way you came. Then after a time you stop again and turn back around and walk forward again - back the way you were going in the first place. You can visualize how you are walking the same ground three times and that you will be covering ground you walked before for awhile until you get back to where you turned around in the first place. We think of Mercury retrograde as the time he is backtracking and things get wonky, but the story is LARGER than that - his journey (inside us) actually takes us over situations and issues three times - we go forward, we go backward (doing the "re's") and then forward for one final time after we've had time to re-do, re-examine (whatever the situation calls for) whatever is happening. 


For people, with planets and points within the degrees Mercury travels during these retrograde, there will be a bigger situation seeking to resolve itself in some way. For other people, retrograde events will be more minor, but the retrograde has still worked its frustrating kind of magic, just in smaller ways (not every retrograde is uber-important for every person).

Mercury has three retrograde periods in 2023 - all in Earth signs. These will be times of practical re-visions. We are becoming more useful, helpful, grounded, stable. 


We are going to spend a GREAT deal of 2023 with fast-moving Mercury in slow-moving Earth. 


This tells us a few things - we will spend about a third of the year going back over PRACTICAL CONCERNS. This will be about real things we can hold in our hands/take to the bank, etc, and we will want to take advantage of this - and, two - when Mercury is in the faster moving air and fire signs, things will greatly speed up (and we won't have alot of this energy this year), so we will want to take advantage of this, too. Mercury retrograding throughout 2023 in Earth signs speaks of a collective need to "re" - re-think, re-vise, re-novate, re-do, etc - the practical STRUCTURES OF OUR LIFE. 

Collectively, the first retro will be about our careers, goals, reputations, authority. The second retro will be about our values, money, resources and self-esteem. And the final retro will be about our day-to-day life and habits, our work and our health. 



December 8, 2022 (Mercury shadow starts - 8 degrees Capricorn), Mercury retrograde : December 28, 2022 - January 18, 2023 (24-8 degrees Capricorn), February 7, 2023 (Mercury shadow ends - 24 degrees Capricorn)


As I write this in late January, we are in the shadow period FOLLOWING this year's first Mercury retrograde, so Mercury (as us) is walking degrees of Capricorn we have already walked twice before. We have had the chance to - via circumstances/situations - re-view, re-do, re-think, etc our Cappy ambitions, goals, career, our public reputation, our personal Capricorn house theme, the structure of our lives and now the delays/revisions are behind us. It will be easier to make decision/plans/chart our course. During the first few months of 2023, the North Node is still in Taurus and the South Node in Scorpio, so finding ways to move from something that is complicated/depleting to something more simple/abundant, will be beneficial. Mercury in Capricorn is about serious/sober language and thinking. When we take our words and ideas seriously other people will, too, and then, as we step into our responsibilities/authority, we will have to walk our talk. Hopefully we have spent the Mercury retrograde getting some ducks in a row and now - through at least April 7th, we are making decisions/plans and moving forward. Note - Mercury will begin walking new degrees on February 7th, so that is when this whole Capricorn renovation process is officially OVER. Note also - this has been an important retrograde since Mars in Gemini (also retrograde for part of this process) is answering to Mercury during this entire cycle. We will talk about this more in the Mars 2023 post. People with planets/points in the cardinal signs will feel this retrograde strongest.




April 7, 2023 (Mercury shadow starts - 5 degrees Taurus) Mercury retrograde : April 21, 2023 - May 14, 2023 (15-5 degrees Taurus), May 31, 2023 (Mercury shadow ends - 15 degrees Taurus)

So, the second retrograde of 2023 will unofficially begin on April 7th, when Mercury reaches 5 degrees Taurus and starts walking degrees he/she (as us) will walk two more times. So, events/situations/news/conversations from April 7 - 21, will be some of the things we are re-vising, re-viewing during the retrograde period. Once Mercury stations retrograde there will be delays/changes of direction. During Mercury's retrograde in Taurus, we have the chance (and circumstances can conspire to force our hand with some of this) - to re-view, re-do, re-vise, etc, our resources, money, values, self-esteem, our connection to the planet, our Taurus house theme. Taurus is fixed Earth. This is not a fun place for Mercury, although he CAN be effective here. The pace slows, the plot thickens. Mercury in Taurus gets results through self-sufficiency, by bringing ideas and concepts 'down to Earth' - by being sensible. The downside to Mercury in fixed Earth Taurus is we can get stuck, so his retrograde is likely designed to un-stick us (or to entrench our thinking/firm our resolve with situations where we have been waffling). By the end of this Mercury retrograde cycle on May 31st, we will know where we stand having figured out just what we must have - what is ESSENTIAL. Note - this Mercury retrograde is also an uber important retrograde because, among other things, it will start, on April 21st, with Mercury conjunct chaotic change-enabler Uranus and within hours of our first Solar Eclipse in Aries and the Sun, at 0 Taurus, making an intense square to Pluto at 0 Aquarius (yes, 0 Aquarius!). People with planets/points in the fixed signs will feel this retrograde strongest.



August 3, 2023 (Mercury shadow starts - 8 degrees Virgo), Mercury retrograde : August 23, 2023 - September 14, 2023 (21-8 degrees Virgo), September 15, 2023 (Mercury shadow ends - 21 degrees Virgo)

The final Mercury retrograde of 2023 will unofficially begin on August 3rd when Mercury reaches 8 degrees Virgo and she/he (as us) starts walking degrees we will walk three times. Events, situations, news, conversations form August 3 - 23 will be some of the things we are re-vising re-viewing, re-doing during the actual retrograde. Once Mercury stations retrograde there will be delays/changes of direction. During Mercury's retrograde in Virgo, we have the chance (and circumstances can conspire to force our hand with some of this) to re-view, re-do, re-vise, etc - the day-to-day structure of our lives/our habits, our work, health, pets, paperwork, what needs to be corrected/fixed/cleaned up, our natal Virgo house theme. Mercury rules Virgo/is strong here, so this MAY be the easiest of the retrogrades. Although with Virgo ruling traditionally Mercurian things, the things that go wonky/get delayed, etc, might be more noticeable. With Mercury in Virgo, our thinking, writing and communication will be more practical and commonsense. We will be all about the details. Nothing gets by Mercury in Virgo, but lots of things get dismissed (or over-analyzed!). If it's not real, if it doesn't work - it's gone. People with planets/points in the mutable signs will feel this retrograde strongest.


With Mercury spending so much of 2023 in Earth signs, it is uber important to pay attention to our language - we will want to be precise. We want to honor Mercury. Think about what you are thinking about. Watch what you are watching. What you are reading, talking about, hearing - will matter now. Notice how you verbally get in your own way - use unnecessary negative words (like saying something "isn't bad" when you mean it is good) - double speak, babble, gas-lighting, lies. Avoid that "sorry" thing some people say moving through life. We aren't really sorry anyway right - so why are we saying it. Words are powerful. They are one of the most powerful tools we have to move through life on planet Earth - let's not hold ourselves back by tossing around stuff we don't mean/don't want to have/be.


OK, next post we will look at Mars in 2023, once again spending over four months of the year in Gemini! - then Venus - who will retrograde in 2023, spending her 40 days and 40 nights in Leo, so her story (within us) is a bit more complicated. Mars and Venus will also switch positions in 2023, with Venus going from ruling the North Node (Taurus) to the South Node (Libra) and Mars moving from ruling the South Node (Scorpio, ancient ruler) to the North Node (Aries). The Nodes will change signs in July. 

After the Mars and Venus post we will look at the middle planets - Saturn and Jupiter. Saturn moves into Pisces in early March and this will be one of the biggest changes in 2023, since Saturn has been in signs he ruled for the last five years and now he will be in much more uncomfortable territory - this will have it positives and its challenges for us. Then we will look at the nodal change from Taurus/Scorpio to Aries/Libra, the dwarf planets/asteroids (particularly Sedna into Gemini and BML in Leo) and finally the outer planets in 2023 with an emphasis on Pluto since he changes signs temporarily in March, testing the fixed air of Aquarius, activating the "world starts up again degree" from December 2021 and giving us a preview of the next 20 years!


Back with the Mars/Venus post. I am going to put these 2023 posts in a link at the bottom of the blog, so we can find them again and we'll do a big wrap-up at the end.


xo all 

In you are reading this in late January 2023, keep in mind all the planets are direct now, the Moon is waxing and Venus is exalted in Pisces (and she rules the North Node/best way forward) - GET GOING/GROWING! There is nothing stopping us now. I am going to get a February monthly post up, too - maybe this weekend, even before the Mars/Venus. I haven't dug into February yet, but at a quick glance it looks like the easiest month of 2023 - there are some surprises as the Aqua planets square Uranus, but there is alot of support and smooth sailing coming up too. An easier month than we've seen in awhile - we'll take it!

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