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.
Mercury Retrograde: April - May 2017
This Mercury retrograde begins on April 9th at 7:14PM ET and ends on May 3rd at 12:33PM ET. The shadow period is March 27th - May 20th. The first storm period is April 4th - 18th, and second storm period is April 24th - May 13th.
The next round of Mercury madness starts in April, and in earth sign Taurus. Here comes the laziness - sit down and take a nap! We’re extra lazy with Mercury retrograde in Taurus, lacking any energy and drive to get started or get things done. We just want to kick back with a big bowl of ice cream in our pajamas and binge watch some old TV shows, then fall asleep with drool. Why rush when there’s no need? Why push when you can just relax? Of course, there’s taking your time and there’s taking a lifetime. We may be taking several lifetimes!
We can find we’re much more stubborn, unwilling to budge from our positions, and much more indulgent, especially when we feel challenged. We can butt heads over our morals and beliefs, and we can feel insecure, unstable, lack confidence, or lack safety. Plus, Taurus rules our finances, so we may be splurging too much and spend ourselves into a hole, or we can be such misers that we think we can take our wealth with us. We need some moderation.
To add insult to injury, Venus is already retrograde when Mercury retrograde starts, and Mercury retrograde starts in one of the signs Venus rules (Taurus). Oh boy! So we’re extra off, feeling extra backward, and we can experience major communication and focus issues in our relationships and with our finances. Gotta work extra hard to keep the lines open. Venus isn’t retrograde the entire time Mercury is though, and ends April 15th, so they won’t overlap for too long. But a short time can be enough to drive you bonkers!
Mercury won’t retrograde entirely in Taurus for this round though. It’ll go backward into Aries on April 20th (1:37PM ET), so the rest of the retrograde occurs in Aries. Aries is a fire sign, a cardinal sign, and the sign of action. So we may be jumping to take action with things we haven’t done our homework with, don’t know enough about, but we don’t care, we just want to jump! And we jump right into a ditch, right off of a cliff, right out of an airplane without a parachute. No good! We go from extreme laziness and complete lack of drive to extreme impulse and doing too much. The retrograde starts and we need energy, the retrograde ends and we need to slow down.
Aries is the first sign of the Zodiac, so we may be focused on new beginnings. But with retrograde energy, brand new usually isn’t great, so it’s a better idea to focus on second chances instead. Think about something you’d like another shot at starting again with, and then take steps to get moving with it, but be smart about it. If you have to rush, listen to your gut as much as you can.
Tempers may flare much more with Mercury retrograde in Aries, so watch what you say and do. We can inadvertently hurt people and not be able to take it back. Hold back if you don’t have anything nice to say, and then scream into a pillow so you don’t explode on anyone.
Mercury will be anaretic as he enters Aries. The anaretic degree is the very last degree of any sign and a point of crisis energy, and Mercury will be anaretic in Aries April 20th - 22nd. Aries is the sign of action anyway, so anaretic Aries can REALLY make something happen. We’re pushed to do something fast, and we’re impulsive about it, impatient about it, and not thinking things through. There may be more violence, uprising, rebellion, or general unrest. Be calm, be calm.
This Mercury retrograde will make 3 major aspects, first being a conjunction to the Sun on April 20th (1:54AM ET). This is actually RIGHT before Mercury exits Taurus and goes back into Aries, so there could be some sort of big, last-minute, all-of-a-sudden development, decision, action, and a feeling of, now or never. Personally, you may experience this with the areas of life ruled by the house this conjunction occurs in.
Mercury then trines (positive aspect) Saturn on April 24th (4:15AM ET), helping us to be a little more focused, disciplined, and responsible, trying to keep the ship from sinking.
Mercury conjuncts Uranus on April 28th (10:49AM ET) in Aries, and this can bring about a big change, something unexpected, some randomly bizarre. We may all be feeling a little strange, do something a little strange, think of something a little strange, and this can play out with the areas of life ruled by the house location this conjunction occurs in your chart.
The retrograde begins at 4 degrees Taurus, so those of you Taureans born April 23rd - 27th can feel the start of this retrograde most. The retrograde ends at 24 degrees Aries, so those of your Aries born April 12th - 15th 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 Retrograde Preparedness