Heads up stargazers: this weekend we’re about to enter another Mercury Retrograde. From December 3rd until December 22rd, speedy messenger Mercury stops fast forwarding and moonwalks backwards through the constellation of Sagittarius. During Mercury’s final retrograde journey of 2017, expect to see the shadow side of the worldly, honest, generous Archer.

Mercury entered his pre-retrograde shadow on November 15. During this time, morals became skewed, ethics questioned, emotions stalled, and world events completely atrocious, forcing us to hibernate in our little cocoons. Retrograde periods are a time to reassess values and truths. This particular regression acts as a reversal of values—as preachy, sanctimonious Sagittarius loses his moral footing and opts to judge our past scars, clandestine events and sentiments are unmasked. The globetrotting constellation, known for being a perpetual tourist and seeker of outside wisdom, looks inwards during this retrograde season, opting to mend the soul, rather than the world.

Mercury links up with Saturn (a karmic lesson teacher) on December 6th, revealing past secrets, scandals, and indiscretions. Mars, who is relationship-minded Libra, is playing mind games with the trickster messenger, carelessly opening up love triangles, arguments, and underlying issues in partnerships. Old wounds may be activated around December 10th, as Chiron (“the wounded healer”) brings us stinging news discovered by eye opening Uranus. On December 12th, expect a reprieve from the retrograde madness, as the Sun joins Mercury, offering an insightful day full of clarity. Over the top expressions of love and overspending on holiday presents will distract us from the mundane on December 15th, when Mercury and Venus align. Promises in relationships made on the 15th may be faulty, and gifts purchased may be returned. Hold on to your receipts and take flowery words with a gain of salt, as retrograde periods often pledge more than they can deliver.

Finally, Mercury will end his retrograde trip on December 22nd, just time for the holidays. However, the shadow period will last until January 10th, 2018, making holiday travel plans a bit scrambled and New Year’s resolutions slow to start. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take heart: even the most astrologically fraught times present us with an opportunity for growth. Before you know it, you’ll be looking into the light of the next year.

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