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 because it's nearest to us, 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.
The shadow period for this Mercury retrograde starts April 14th and ends June 7th. This Mercury retrograde begins April 28th at 1:20PM ET and ends May 22nd at 9:20PM ET. Normally, we have two storm periods for Mercury retrograde, one at the start and one at the end with a break in the middle, but this time, we’ll have one long storm period from April 22nd - June 1st. No break - sorry!
It’s Mercury madness time! This entire retrograde occurs in earth sign Taurus. This can make us waaaaay lazier and more indulgent - so very Taurus! We have a hard time getting anything done at all. Taurus can take a while to get started, and with the retrograde, we just may not start at all. We can think it, but that alone takes away all of our energy. Then we need a nap!
Taurus rules money, so we may have some financial issues with this retrograde. We can see prominent financial scandals or financial secrets coming out that floor us, and individually, we have to focus on having a better handle on money. It is what makes the world go round, after all (anyone who says love does is kidding themselves).
Taurus rules stability and security, so with Mercury retrograde in this sign, that can go out the window, and everything seems far more unstable and we’re far more insecure. On the flip side, things can be so stable that we’re bored out of our minds and want to change things up pronto, but can’t for some reason, or it goes very wrong when we try.
And Taurus also rules stubbornness, which always seems to be at all-time highs when Mercury retrogrades in this sign. Immovable object meets immovable object and no one is budging, even if it means getting slammed by something else!
Mercury makes 3 major aspects while retrograde, the first being a conjunction (in the same spot) to the Sun on May 9th. This is usually a good time to get something started for the next 1-2 months, but try to focus on something you want a second chance with. Mercury trines (positive aspect) Pluto in fellow earth sign Capricorn on May 12th, and we can take control, make some positive transformations, or find out something that’s been hidden to us. Mercury conjuncts Venus on May 13th, and we can feel good, but with Venus being the natural ruler of Taurus, that energy can be amplified too. The retrograde ends trine (positive aspect) Jupiter in fellow earth sign Virgo, so we can end the retrograde with some positive energy on our side, and we can be more optimistic.
The main problem with this Mercury retrograde is that Mars will also be retrograde at the same time. Egads, double madness!!! So we’re going to have double the trouble, in many respects. Mars will be retrograde in Sagittarius at the same time Mercury is retrograde in Taurus, and with both being rulers of beliefs (Taurus rules our value systems, Sagittarius rules our religious beliefs), we may see a lot more going on with terrorism with these retrogrades. And we’ll all need to be much more open to differing beliefs, otherwise we get into it bad. The miscommunications of Mercury retrograde lead to all-out fights with Mars retrograde. Keep your cool, and find an outlet.
The turn retrograde begins at 23 degrees Taurus, so those of you Taureans born May 2nd - 7th may feel the start of the retrograde most. The turn direct occurs at 14 degrees Taurus, so those of you Taureans born May 12th - 15th may 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: The Mercury, Venus and Mars Retrogrades page for general interpretations