Mercury turned Retrograde Saturday night — are you feeling it? Mercury is in Taurus — the slowest sign of all — and during this particular Retrograde I’m feeling that S-L-O-W-I-N-G influence especially acutely. Or maybe it’s just the contrast to that energizing surge of Aries New Moon energy last week.

If we resist the slowing down that wants to happen, impatience, frustration and irritation are the likely consequences. But if we can cooperate with the cosmic energies, the next few weeks (Mercury is Retro until May 11) can be productive, fulfilling and even pleasurable.

Slowing Down for Simple Pleasures

“[T]he energy of Taurus is languid, primitively nuzzling with the natural world. As the bees buzz through the increasingly fragrant fields, Venus incarnates, making Taurus the most sensually intelligent of all the signs. Taste, texture, color, music — all nourish the Taurean, who knows that one can starve from aesthetic as well as caloric deprivation.”Caroline Casey, Making the Gods Work for You

Pleasure and slowness are intimately connected, and both qualities are represented by Taurus. As of yesterday, when the Sun moved from Aries to Taurus, we officially entered the season of the Bull. Taurus is an earthy, sensual sign, reveling in the delights of the physical realm. To fully appreciate all the riches of the body, the Earth, the material world that surrounds us, we need to pause, be still, notice and feel and tune into our senses.

Mercury Retrograde in Taurus, as the energy slows and we lose momentum for rushing forward with grand plans, is a time for rethinking and reconnecting with pleasure. It’s a time for more being and less doing. From this quiet, present-time, unhurried place in ourselves, we can access the highest vibration of Taurus — gratitude and appreciation.

What really matters? What do we value enough to make time for? Mercury Retro in Taurus calls for reflecting upon these questions, so that when it’s time to push forward again, we can be sure that we’re moving in a direction that’s in alignment with our values.

The shadow side of Taurus is stuckness and stagnation. The energy can be so fixed and earthy that there’s no movement at all. Because Taurus loves comfort and security, there can be a fear of change, a fear of letting go of “stuff” (literal or metaphorical) that is actually blocking greater abundance and pleasure.

This Mercury Retro period highlights these themes, bringing our attention to places where we’ve become stuck or stagnant, inviting us to reexamine our “stuff” and let go of what’s in the way of creating what we want. Moving slowly, deliberately, persistently, patiently is the best approach — while stopping to roll in the grass, smell the lilacs, and bake a batch of cookies along the way.