When: December 12th, 2023 – January 1st, 2024

What: Mercury retrograde in Capricorn

Takeaway: When Mercury appears to move backward in the sky, tech and communication glitches tend to ensue. This particular retrograde has the potential to be messier than most. But the hiccups, bloopers, and mishaps will shine a light on what we need to reassess.

Double-check the details — the trickster strikes again

Mercury stations retrograde on December 12th. Cue: frenzied articles, urgent headlines, and jokes lighting up the blogosphere. The messenger appears to spin backward three or four times a year, making it relatively frequent fodder for people to fuss over. And for a reason. Mercury retrogrades tend to correspond with delays, lost mail, and malfunctioning devices here on Earth.

But never fear — there are ways to work with this transit beyond sending SOS emojis to your group chat. Patience is a virtue, as they say, and Mercury retrogrades test ours. But if we respond to minor mayhem with a few deep breaths and a willingness to rework, rewire, and reassess what’s glitching, this moment will pave the way for us to create more efficient and functional systems in our lives. Once Mercury has regained its forward motion, that is. 

This time around, Mercury begins its retrograde in Capricorn. This earth sign is the wise elder of the zodiac — practical, disciplined, and focused on winning the long game. For the first half of the retrograde, your organizational systems and habits will be tested for their longevity. Capricorn isn’t interested in flashy solutions as much as time-tested methods that are proven to work. So if you find yourself needing to slow down and do tasks the “right” way, the old-fashioned sea goat could be to blame. The sign of Capricorn is also concerned with taking responsibility and acting as a leader, which means honoring your inner authority will serve you well during this time. Focus on communicating in ways you’ll still be proud of 10 years down the line, and you’ll minimize any potential mischief.

The cazimi is a lightbulb moment 

Clarity briefly cuts through the confusion around 10:54 am PT on December 22nd, when Mercury joins the Sun in an illuminating moment called a cazimi. Stay alert for clues that arrive in dreams, resonant recommendations from trusted friends, or sudden flashes of clarity that land around this time. This cazimi is the lightbulb moment of this retrograde period, highlighting the insights that this transit is trying to impart to you. In Capricorn, the intel is likely to be grounded. Practical moves, like organizing your desk or calendar, will yield surprising breakthroughs.

Navigating the smoke and mirrors

Hours after its auspicious cazimi, Mercury removes its wise elder garb and dons a clown costume instead. The trickster enters Sagittarius at 10:18 pm PT on December 22nd, taking up the role of celestial court jester. Where Capricorn is controlled, committed, and shrewd, Sagittarius is expansive, freewheeling, and maybe a bit scattered. If you feel like the cosmos is laughing at you when you miss your train or autocorrect plays mad libs with your professional emails, it might be. But here’s a mental reset: it’s laughing with you, especially if you’re willing to relinquish a bit of your ego’s control. 

The jokes get extra messy when Mercury forms a tense aspect known as a square with Neptune, the planet of illusions, delusions, and imagination. If you thought this retrograde was already confusing, this aspect billows out another layer of fog.

Confusion peaks on December 27th, when Mercury joins Mars, the planet of vitality, aggression, and drive. Their proximity delivers a shot of heat and adrenaline to any mix-ups. If there’s a time during this retrograde when you might lose your cool, it’s at the end of December. So the usual Mercury Rx protocols about backing up your work, triple-checking your emails, and intentionally selecting your words apply more than usual at this time. 

Think of this period as an opportunity to understand where you’re misdirecting your energy. Underneath the jumble lies critical information about where you need to come back to reality, ground your approach, and refocus your attention toward the goals and ambitions that truly resonate for you. The trickster wisdom to glean here is that temporary disarray can be necessary to reorient you toward your most fulfilling worldly missions. Let yourself wander slightly off course in order to figure out where you need to reroute. 

When Mercury stations direct on January 1st it will usher in a new year — and sparkling clarity. Craft your intentions for 2024 according to the understanding you’ve gained during this period. Any minor chaos you experience will ultimately help set you up for success, even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. Until then, here are some helpful tips for navigating this tricky transit with relative ease: 

Our Mercury retrograde survival guide


  • Expect delays. Schedule buffer time for everything. When things do go smoothly, you’ll have room to relax. And when they don’t, you’ll be grateful to have plans B and C.
  • Back up your files. Emails, photos — all of it. Get ahead of potential technology glitches. (Your future self will thank you.)
  • Reflect, edit, organize, review, and notice what you repetitively think about during this period. There is meaning in what you keep returning to. 
  • Use this time to streamline your life and update your systems, both internal and external.
  • Focus on long-term solutions. Decisions made in the heat of the moment don’t always support your best future self. Commit to making choices that are aligned with your broader goals instead.
  • When in doubt, pause, rest, and belly-breathe through rising frustrations. 
  • Laugh at yourself when you make obvious mistakes. The point of this transit is to keep you humble and open to learning.
  • Listen to the Astrology of the Week Ahead podcast, as well as Your Reading in the “This Week” section of the CHANI app. There, you’ll also find journal prompts and other resources that will help you work with the lessons Mercury is bringing you this retrograde season.
  • Check the Transits tab in the CHANI app to discover if Mercury will be impacting one of your natal placements. You can also read your free Current Sky horoscope for Mercury in Capricorn to learn how your rising sign will be affected during this time.


  • Fear Mercury retrograde. It may be annoying, but remember that worrying is simply focusing on what you don’t want. Instead, treat this period as an opportunity to reassess your strategies.
  • Buy tickets, sign contracts, or plan events during this time, if you can avoid it. If you can’t, stay flexible and assume that adjustments may be needed after the retrograde cycle is over. And maybe even during it. 
  • Plan for big launches or make major changes to the way you do things during this period if you can help it — unless you plan to do them around when Mercury is cazimi at 10:54 am PT on December 22nd. Since Mercury moves into Sagittarius at 10:18 pm PT on the same day, exact timing is sensitive. (That said, you may still want to work with an astrologer to pinpoint the best possible moment for you.)
  • Put your life on hold. There are some things you should put off if you can, but otherwise, just make room for hiccups. Again, you shouldn’t fear this moment — just be wise to it.


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Looking for more intel? Read your daily horoscope:

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-Travo News

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