There may be a lot of uncertainties in the world, but there's one thing we know for sure: Mercury retrograde is here. On May 10, Mercury will begin its backwards dance in the playful and clever sign of Gemini, and then move into reliable Taurus on May 22. All the while, it'll be throwing our technology, travel, and communications out of whack up until June 3 when it turns direct. It's quite the ride — but it's nothing we can't handle.
2022's Mercury retrogrades are a bit out of the ordinary. Normally, the planet will stay in one sign during its backwards dance, but this year, all four Mercury Rxs will spend their time in two different zodiac signs. The first retrograde of 2022 started on January 14 and spent time in both Aquarius and Capricorn — this one will hang out in both Gemini and Taurus.
We're not going to sugarcoat it for you: This particular retrograde is going to be a little rocky, mainly due to it occurring in the middle of eclipse season and when Uranus, the Planet of Unpredictability, is very active in the sky. Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer for Astrology.com and author of Moon Signs: Unlock Your Inner Luminary Power, says this transit carries a very specific astral imprint. "All these events overlapping could make us feel quite ungrounded and nervous."
Lisa Stardust, astrologer and author of The Love Deck, says that this particular Mercury retrograde will allow us to understand the power that our words have. "Being that it starts in Gemini and heads back into Taurus, we are understanding that we can hurt, heal, love, and cut with a single phrase," she tells Refinery29. "Therefore, it’s important to understand that we should be kind with the way we choose to express ourself in order to keep the relationship going smoothly." To do this, don't make any assumptions about a person or a situation until you know all the facts — Stardust warns that it can cause detrimental harm to partnerships if you make false judgments.
While Mercury retrograde is in Gemini from May 10 to May 22, Iva Naskova, astrologer at Nebula, says that taking care of our mental health will be a top priority — it always is, of course, but try and let those 12 days be filled to the brim with self-care. "It is best if we make time to meditate, practice yoga, and try to find ways to calm our minds and gain clarity in our thoughts," she says. "Otherwise, this transit can be very overwhelming, especially for Gemini and Virgo, since Mercury is the ruling planet of these signs."
Mercury enjoys being in Gemini, and Montúfar says that this is the more-positive half of the retrograde, since "it will help the process of re-orientation as we go through profound changes."
The vibe shifts when Mercury enters Taurus on May 22 — compared to Gemini, the sign of the bull is more stubborn, diplomatic, and inclined to indulge. "Many of us might feel an increased desire to take things slow and loosen up," Naskova says. "However, if your schedule is overflowing, this kind of behaviour can add only stress and tension, especially for the Sagittarius and Leo, since retrograde Mercury directly impacts their job and career."
Mercury doesn't necessarily like being in Taurus, since the planet often wants to go, go, go, while the sign is all about feeling slow, slow, slow. We'll feel the urge to take our time and chill out, but because of the retrograde motion of the Planet of Communication, this energy could be to our detriment. While it's important to let your self rest — we know that burnout is real — keep yourself aware of when leisure becomes laziness.
While the transit is in Taurus, Mercury will be locked in a tight square with Saturn in Aquarius, which Montúfar says "will translate into limitations and challenging situations with authority figures." Now is the time for us to focus our energy on discerning what is useful to us and what is not. "Since Saturn is the Planet of Time, the work and mental energy we invest now will be worth it in the long run," she says.
This very same square happened on April 24, 2021. Leslie Hale, psychic astrologer at Keen.com, advises us to look back at this date, as themes and events or situations tend to repeat themselves. "This will be a serious two-week period, and many of us will just have to plug along," she says, but there is room for us to accomplish a great deal if we use our analytical abilities to diffuse any negative thoughts.
There are plenty of things we shouldn't do during Mercury retrograde: Start new projects, buy pricey items, sign contracts, you get the picture. "It is time, however, to clean out the closets — both literally and metaphorically — wrap up old projects, and reconsider what we are doing and where we are going," Hale says. "When Mercury retrogrades occur, we often uncover new information we need to move forward in the most competent manner."
Although scary, Mercury retrogrades are just one part of the larger astrological cycle. "Mercury retrograde always marks a time of deep introspection, when the universe asks us to slow down," Montúfar says. "If we hear the call to dive into deep reflection, the retrograde of Mercury can actually help us ground and reconnect to our centre at a time when we need it the most."
Tough? Yes. Unbearable? Not so much.