Mercury in Retrograde During the Holidays


The last of four Mercury Retrograde phases in 2016 begins on December 19th and lasts until next year on January 8th, 2017. It begins in the sign of Sagittarius, and ends in the sign of Capricorn. In astrology, Mercury rules communication, travel, and technology—so these areas go haywire for about three weeks.

During Mercury retrograde, Mercury, the planet closest to the sun appears to slow down in its orbit and move backward for a short period. Mercury retrograde also has what’s called a “shadow period” so you may feel the retrograde a couple weeks before and after it actually happens.

This is the fourth time that Mercury goes retrograde this year and it happens during the holiday season, which will affect travel and shipping delays. The Retrograde starts in enthusiastic Sagittarius and ends in practical Capricorn and this is a reminder of all the ways we go overboard, then we find a strategy for more efficiency. Get your holiday shopping done early, or be cautious of spending out of control.

Mercury Retrograde starts on December 19th when the Sun is in Sagittarius. During this time avoid “putting your foot in your mouth”, this time can trigger opinionated thoughts and expressions.  On December 21st the Sun goes into Capricorn. Capricorn is the realm of responsibilities, plans, ambition, career, social status, physical and social structures, strategy, management, and control. Capricorn is also a very goal-oriented sign. Throughout this Mercury retrograde, we are making the necessary changes and adjustments, as well as receiving insight and gaining awareness, into these areas of our lives.

Mercury rules every aspect of communication. It affects the Post Office, delivery of letters, packages and emails/text messages. During the retrograde you may feel that nobody understands you. Communication can be “off” between you and others and there may be misunderstandings. People argue over nonsense things. You may suffer technology issues. For example, your cell phone erases itself, your computer may crash unexpectedly. The retrograde also affects travel and causes all sorts of delays.

Supportive suggestions for Mercury Retrograde

  • Mistakes may happen. Create extra time in your schedule for spontaneity

  • Double check details.

  • Be kind with yourself if you must redo or repeat something.

  • Remember: back up computers, take care of car maintenance and review receipts.

  • If possible, avoid major purchases, creating contracts, or serious surgery during this time.


1. Review all contracts and legal documents before signing.

2. Pause and breathe before speaking. (Repeat yourself if necessary!)

3. Read all emails and documents before you send.

4. Insure/track important mail and packages (Mercury rules the postal system).

5. Get your vehicles (or bikes) tuned up, pack an emergency roadside kit.

6. Leave early for any travel and appointments, since Mercury Rx can delay flights.

7. Renew your commitments instead of making new ones.

8. Focus on the prefix re-, which means to go backward (renew, review, revamp, redecorate, et al.)

9. Plan reunions with old friends & loved ones (but prepare for possible mishaps!)

10. Expect to hear from/run into people from your past at the weirdest moments.

11. Get sentimental. Reconnect with your roots, walk down memory lane.

12. Practice forgiveness. Finish processing what’s unresolved so you can let it go.

13. Confirm all dates, plans, meetings, appointments.

14. Think of the retrograde as a quarterly review period, a chance to pause and finish what you’ve started.

15. Back up your digital data (photos, contact lists, files) before the retrograde or ASAP if it’s started.


1. Buy new vehicles, electronic equipment or gadgets (unless they come with a good return/repair policy).

2. Sign contracts without a thorough review (delay until Mercury turns direct if you can).

3. Fly off the handle or jump to conclusions if someone misunderstands you.

4. Run into the arms/bed of an ex without careful screening (Mercury reunions aren’t always meant to last).

5. Shoot the messenger if someone from your past comes around.

6. Put anything sketchy into an email or text (you could hit “Reply All” or send to the wrong person!).

7. Leave late for flights or appointments.

Although these Mercury retrograde periods can be frustrating, they are often useful too, for they allow us to reassess, revisit, readdress, redo, and redesign our plans. Mercury retrograde allows us to stop, look, listen, and redirect our energies more productively. Mercury also helps us find closure to certain situations.

Reconnecting with old pals and relatives is very common during retrograde periods, and that can be one of the most positive and fun sides of this planet’s retrograde orbit. If you hear from an old friend or colleague during Mercury retrograde.

Try to make the best of this retrograde. The holidays are stressful enough and adding Mercury in Retrograde does not help! Try to be patient during this time and be aware of the do’s and don’ts. Taking these precautions will help you get through it.

Jaime Fitzpatrick