The basics: A retrograde occurs when a planet appears to be moving backwards from our vantage point here on Earth. It isn't actually moving backwards, it just appears that way. Mercury turns retrograde most often, about 3-4 times per year, and lasts for several weeks. When a planet retrogrades, what that planet rules tends to be thrown off, along with what the sign it's retrograding in rules.
With Mercury retrograde, we experience a shadow and a storm. The shadow period starts when Mercury first hits the point in the Zodiac it will turn direct at, and ends when it last hits the point in the Zodiac it will turn retrograde at. Most people don't feel the effects of Mercury retrograde until it enters the storm period though.
The storm period of Mercury retrograde is when Mercury is moving at its slowest, less than 40 minutes per day. Mercury is a fast-moving planet and hates it when he's moving slowly. There's usually two storm periods, one around the time Mercury turns retrograde, and one around when it turns direct.
This Mercury retrograde begins on July 7th at 7:14PM ET and ends on July 31st at 11:58PM ET. The shadow period is June 23rd - August 15th. The first storm period is June 29th - July 19th, and second storm period is July 23rd - August 7th.
Here comes another round of Mercury madness! This Mercury retrograde begins in fire sign Leo, which can create some serious drama and theatricality. We can turn mountains into molehills with Mercury retrograde in Leo, so we need to watch ourselves. Not cool to be so desperate for attention that you go crazy over nothing! If you’re feeling like you need attention, maybe ask yourself why that is.
Leo is the sign ruling love, so we may feel we need more love and affection. This isn’t necessarily bad, as long as we’re controlling ourselves (and not looking for love in all of the wrong places!). Be good and considerate of others.
Who and what we love comes under Leo’s domain, so we may want more time with loved ones or experience issues in love relationships, and we may want more time to play and do the things we love, or may feel that we just don’t have enough time for it and keep wishing for a vacay. With Leo, creative outlets can be very helpful, so try to inject creativity into whatever you do.
Mercury doesn’t retrograde entirely in Leo though, going back into water sign Cancer on July 19th (3:06AM ET). This can bring out super emotional energy, and we need to take care of our emotional needs. BUT we also need to be considerate of the emotions of others, and not get totally stuck in our own feelings that we ignore everyone else’s. That can create problems we don’t need!
Comfort and support, familiarity and what we know best can be more important, and we may stick to that as much as we can, yet feel like the outside world is trying to push us away from that, and it makes us feel even more shaky internally. Try not to lash out, and have healthy outlets for your emotions, and be more flexible in life.
We may feel that something bottoms out around this time, that we have to get back to basics in some way, or focus on the foundation of something that is shaky. We may have more issues at home or with family to address, and can reconnect with family or make improvements to our living situations, or go back to places we’ve lived before.
During the retrograde, we’ll have a lunar eclipse in Capricorn on July 16th, and when Mercury retrograde ends, Mercury will be opposite the eclipse point (and it’s reeeally close). So the end of the Mercury retrograde may trigger the eclipse, and factor in that it’s so close to when the eclipse actually is, we can feel this energy crazy strong! We need to be careful with emotional energy, and watch ourselves very carefully. There may be some issues with Cancer/Capricorn that play out in the world, and we need to make sure we’re finding balance between the two energies instead of letting them fight each other.
While Mercury is retrograde, Mercury will make 3 major aspects, first a conjunction (aligned with) with transit Mars on July 8th (6:27PM ET). This is the day after the retrograde starts, so it starts conjunct transit Mars. This brings super high energy, super impulsiveness, rash, impatient, reckless. We need a positive outlet for the energy at the start of the retrograde, otherwise we may experience accidents (I’m actually a little worried about an accident or some violence!). The retrograde also starts square (hard aspect, 3 signs away) transit Uranus in Taurus, but this isn’t exact at any point, only in orb. But that adds to the wonky energy to start the retrograde, and makes it more important for us to be careful, cautious, and in control of our energy.
Mercury will make a conjunction to the Sun on July 21st (8:34AM ET). This is called the inferior conjunction, and can be a good point in the retrograde to get started with something new that you focus on for the next 6 weeks or so. Mercury retrograde also conjuncts Venus in Cancer on July 24th (8:26PM ET), and this can bring pleasant energy, help us focus on the people in our lives, or make compromise, balance, and diplomacy more important. Watch for stubborness, vacillation, or overindulgence.
Mercury retrograde will end opposite transit Pluto in Capricorn, so this may bring out power struggles and fighting. We may feel like we’re struggling for control of something, and want to tear something down. We need to avoid trying to dominate and control, and watch for hatred, anger, and rage.
I’ll be honest, I’m not super liking the energy of this retrograde at all! I’m very concerned about accidents and violence. Cancer is ruler of the homeland as well (your country). Sooo . . .
Mercury will be at a critical degree, points of critical energy, July 23rd - 25th, at 26 degrees Cancer. There can be some extra hot energy at that time, especially emotionally. But that can pale in comparison to when Mercury is at 29 degrees Cancer July 19th - 20th! 29 degrees is the last degree of any sign and called the anaretic degree. It’s a point of crisis energy, and with retrogrades, tends to trigger some crazy energy (and sometimes crazy events). So everybody, just stay calm, for crying out loud!
The retrograde begins at 4 degrees Leo, so those of you Leos born July 25th - 30th can feel the start of this retrograde most. The retrograde ends at 23 degrees Cancer, so those of you Cancerians born July 13th - 19th can feel the end of the retrograde most.
For the rest of you, check the house(s) Mercury will be retrograding in of your own natal chart, and any aspects Mercury will make during its retrograde to your natal planets, to fully understand how it will impact you personally.
If you have Mercury retrograde in your natal or progressed chart, you may not feel the worst of this. Those individuals generally don't experience the difficulties of the retrograde because it feels more natural to them. Of course, chances are everyone else around them doesn't have the same aspect, so they can still experience difficulties brought on by others.
Suggested Reading: Mercury, Venus, and Mars Retrogrades page for general interpretations