We’re back with the 2nd Mercury retrograde occurring in 2023, and this one is entirely in the Earth sign of Taurus. Fun fact: all the Mercury retrograde cycles this year will be in Earth signs!
There tends to be significant anxiety in popular astrology around Mercury retrograde, and a lot of focus on what not to do, but we try and engage with the retrograde process as an exciting invitation! Our goal with astrology is to see it as a tool that empowers us to connect with ourselves and alchemize our gifts, So this Mercury retrograde we’re going to break down how it will impact us collectively, and what we can learn from it.
If you’re unfamiliar with the mechanics of Mercury retrograde, let’s talk through it!
Technically, retrogrades are an optical illusion called “Apparent Retrograde Motion”. Apparent because of our view of the phenomenon from Earth, and Retrograde Motion because it is function of two objects (Earth and Mercury) moving in the same direction at a different speed. In this picture, imagine you're watching the path of Mercury from the green dot that represets Earth. Mercury orbits around the Sun 277 days faster than the Earth does, so at certain points in the year when we “catch up” with Mercury it looks like the planet is moving backwards, or retrograde. Then, after about 3 weeks, it appears to stop, turn around and move forward again, or re-enter direct motion. That’s why Mercury has several short retrograde cycles a year, whereas other planets have less frequent and longer cycles. Visually, retrogrades are all about our Earth-based perspective.
Why is Mercury retrograde so important astrologically? As Jessica Lanyadoo delightfully explains, it is a beautiful time to slow down and follow the “rule of re”. This means that we get to review, reconsider, rethink, relearn, recommunicate, review, revise, research. You get the picture. This is why Mercury retrograde can feel confronting and difficult. Society and modern culture in general do not encourage us to spend time simply existing in our bodies, thinking and resetting ourselves. Instead, we are encouraged to push forward. We feel pressure to be in forward motion, constantly creating and producing, and priority isn’t often given to the time we need to recuperate. This is a time where we are encouraged to slow down, re-evaluate, and allow ourselves space for sitting with things before we move one way or another. It can be uncomfortable and even frightening, but it can be an essential process in all our pursuits through life. Time to sit with the discomfort of not having an answer and not knowing can be a valuable teacher.
Taurus is a sign of earthly delight, steadiness, and sensuality. Mercury retrograde in Taurus is an invitation to apply that “re” energy to our connection with nature, to how we view our bodies, work with our senses and what pleasure means to us (doubly confronting!). We might consider how better we can nurture our bodies or exist in a more sensual way. Note that the word “sensual” does not always refer to sex. It applies to the connection to the senses, the enjoyment of touch, smell, sound, sight or taste! This is a time to re-think how much energy and space we give to cultivating a pleasure practice, to reassess how we connect and interact with nature. Use this pause to relearn the messages that our bodies are sending us and take the time to revise our understanding of what we can build with methodical work. Revisit the physical space we exist in and see where we may be stuck in comfort and where we may be overly settled.
Mercury stationed retrograde on April 21 at 4:24AM EST at 15° of Taurus, where it is conjunct (very close together) Uranus in Taurus and sextile (harmoniously 60° apart from) Mars in Cancer, so there is a particularly revolutionary and willful flavor to the lessons of this Mercury retrograde. Then, on May 14 at 11:16PM EST it will station direct at 5° of Taurus with a sextile to Venus in Cancer and to Saturn in Pisces, bringing the energies of connection and taking responsibility to the integration phase. Review your chart! Notice if you have any planets between 5-15° of Taurus, as these are being most directly impacted by this transit. Notice any planets between 5-15° of any of the other Fixed signs (Scorpio, Aquarius, Leo), or the other Earth signs (Virgo and Capricorn) Any natal planets you have in this area will receive extra intellectual stimulation and thought-provoking energy from the passage of Mercury retrograde over them. Mercury will also have a cazimi (conjunction with the Sun) on May 1 at 7:27PM EST at 11° Taurus, so that’s a spot that will have a particular energetic push to review and renew.
The house that Mercury passes through while in Taurus will show you what area of life you get to focus this re-energy on so you can alchemize it into your own life! Below are some examples.
You can get a free version of your chart on astro-charts.com to see which house Mercury will be transiting for you. Just take note of which house Taurus was in when you were born!
1st house — review how you nourish your sense of Self
2nd house — relearn what your values look like on the material plane
3rd house — re-evaluate what your body is teaching you
4th house — reconsider your family’s relationship to pleasure
5th house — rethink how your creativity can be a sensual experience
6th house — revise how you can be in sacred service to nature
7th house — reanalyze your partnerships through nurturance
8th house — rethink how you can build something lasting in your subconscious
9th house — recommit to a learning practice through your senses
10th house — revisit your Earth magic in the public sphere
11th house — research how you can create stability for the community
12th house — review your pleasure magic ritual experiences