Mercury is in retrograde from 3/30-4/23 but the fun doesn't stop there! The shadow phase (the time before and after retro when Mercury seems to slow down and alter its course) doesn't end until 5/12, leaving plenty of time for hijinks to ensue.
But Sam, what does that all mean??
A few times a year, the planet Mercury looks like it is going backwards in its orbit. It isn't actually, it's just an optical illusion. It usually occurs 3 times a year although last year we had 4 retrogrades (and didn't it feel like it)! All planets have retrograde periods but none affect us more than Mercury's. And why is that?
Like the Roman messenger god, Mercury rules communication. It also impacts perception, education and transportation. If something can go wrong with any of these, now is the time it will. Misunderstandings are rampant. Communication in general sucks and is a lot more work than usual. Mail is slow, checks are held up, planned days go to hell, information can be wrong, emails misinterpreted, connections bad, travel plans messed up and your focus is really off. It's the wrong time to make life altering decisions like moving, starting a business or haircuts.
For instance: your morning is spent on the phone with inept customer service over a inaccurate bill; you go to pay for something only to find an unscheduled payment has gone through, messing up your balance; you sit in 2 hours of traffic for a usual 30 minute trip; you go to the store only to get home and realize you picked up the wrong item. Any of these are an inconvenience but retrograde will give you all of this and more in the same day.
Is there an upside? Depending on your chart, retrograde periods might be really lucky for you but for the majority of us frustration is the rule. However if you know and accept there will be blockages in your path right now then you can get over them easier, not take things as personally or seriously, which can help make your life better in the long run. This is just the universe's way of teaching us to roll with the punches. Patience, understanding and a good sense of humor are your friends.
This year's other retro periods are Aug 3-Aug 26 and Nov 25-Dec 14, with the shadow periods lasting roughly 20 days before and afterwards. Good luck!