If you’re even mildly interested in astrology, you’ve probably been warned about Mercury in retrograde. You’ve probably been told to brace yourself, to get all of your necessary projects started before it comes on, to hold off on contracts, to be careful around technology, plans, and big decisions. If you’ve ever wondered why Mercury in retrograde affects these areas of our lives specifically or why Mercury’s transits don’t affect your life very much, well, there are some good astrological reasons.
Mercury—aka the Roman god of communication, finances, boundaries, and travel—is a planet that goes retrograde about three to four times a year. When Mercury retrogrades, it is thought to “move backward” through these areas of our lives and, so, it makes forward moves or new agreements an especially tricky affair. You are advised to spend this time reflecting on current deals, projects, and relationships, honoring the commitments you’ve already made, and thinking on changes you might make to improve conditions. Mercury is said to rule Virgo and Gemini so people with a lot of Virgo or Gemini in their natal charts are often especially affected by Mercury’s transits. In addition, it’s useful for us to keep in mind that although Mercury’s retrograde period happens numerous times throughout the year, it often happens under the influence of varying signs. So, Mercury’s last retrograde might have affected you differently than this one will—given your relationship to the current planetary transits and the sign it is stationed in.
This season, Mercury stations retrograde in Taurus. However, its shadow periods both occur in Aries. What does it all mean? Shadow periods are the days that precede and follow Mercury’s exact dates of transit. Hate to break it to ya, but we’ve already been in Mercury’s shadow period since March 27! Since that time, many of you might have witnessed the seeds of communication breakdown. Aries is the god of war so his influence can be hot-tempered. With Mercury in Aries (paired with Venus in Aries), many of you might have felt tension around your close relationships, especially having to do with connection issues, broken plans, and verbal misunderstandings. Think of a shadow period as, on one side, the foreshadowing of what’s to come and, on the other side, the dark feeling that occurs after a heavy time. These periods are especially tricky because they invite confusion and, often, a difficulty sorting feeling from fact. It’s hard to know what you know when the information is coming in full of static!
But, what about Mercury retrograde in Taurus April 9 to May 3? What about it? Taurus is very good at reflecting on past decisions and waiting to make the right choice rather than the easy one, so have faith. Taurus wants security, assurance, direct language, and clear intentions. And, although they may settle for less when their heart is torn, they will not settle for long. Taurus has a strong sense of justice and an even stronger will to change. These traits will influence Mercury’s retrograde transit and they will help us parse through whatever chaos this past winter’s bad decisions enacted. It’s an interior spring cleaning, a few weeks to assess what we’ve accumulated—what we need to take with us and what we need to let go of. In the end, you’ll know what you need to do. Just remember, dear reader, that it isn’t advisable to make any huge decisions—especially relating to partnerships—until the shadow period in Aries is over (May 20). Some of you will have a hard time holding out (especially guided by the impulsive nature of Aries) and we all know that planets and their advisories can’t always guide our day-to-day. Sometimes a contract needs to be signed and a plane needs to be booked. Be mindful and be impeccable with your word whenever you can. The stars will do their best to witness your good intentions and, if they don’t, the people you need in your life will. Finally, it’s always good to enter a Mercury retrograde period with this reminder: Sometimes a bad day is just bad day. It’s hard and then it isn’t.