What Is the Mercury Retrograde Shadow Period? Here’s Why The Chaos Isn’t *Really* Over Yet

When you’re in the throes of Mercury retrograde, the day it *finally* comes to an end can’t come to soon enough. However, just because there’s an expiration date to the madness doesn’t mean it’s technically over. After all, you’ve still got the Mercury retrograde shadow period to deal with, and believe it or not, the end of this pesky transit can feel even more intense than the retrograde itself!

When Mercury stations direct after a three-week long communication crisis, it might even feel like the most confusing and dizzying part of the whole experience. The reason for this? Mercury, one of the fastest-moving planets in all of astrology, slows down when it’s retrograde. And when it’s stationing direct, it suddenly begins picking up the pace again, leaving you with what can only be described as “cosmic whiplash”. The best way to use the space between Mercury retrograde and Mercury direct is to rethink what occurred over the course of the past month and to come to your own conclusions going forward.

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As a professional astrologer for nearly 20 years, I have seen people make life-changing decisions during the pre- and post-retrograde phases of Mercury. That is why the phrase ”retroshade” was coined many years ago, because—it is for lack of a better word—the *shadiest* part of the whole retrograde experience! Messy and wonky things happen during the retrograde shadow period, thanks to the fact that Mercury is feeling more like a trickster than ever. Communication isn’t clear, travel delays are imminent, bad luck is aplenty and drama escalates to a feverish high out of nowhere. Sounds fun, right? …not.

Image: Adobe. Design: Sasha Purdy / StyleCaster
Image: Adobe. Design: Sasha Purdy / StyleCaster

What Is Mercury “Retroshade”?

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Retroshade may sound like the title of a pop music album, but it’s so much more than a planetary buzzword! “Retroshade” is what happens after having a few weeks of revising and reimagining our lives while Mercury is retrograde. Think of it like the epilogue of your Mercury retrograde experience; it’s when you can look back on these conflicts and dilemmas with a clearer perspective. Now, you have the opportunity to make changes that matter. Therefore, it’s very common for people to break-up, move on and start embarking down a new path.

The pre-retrograde transit—which usually occurs two weeks before Mercury turns retrograde—sets the tone for the planetary moonwalk. At this time, you start seeing what lacks stability and consistency in your life. It’s very common for one’s Mercury retrograde story to begin at this time, as the pre-retrograde transit reveals the themes of the upcoming retrograde. Think of it like the prologue of your Mercury retrograde experience.

For example, if you were having problems with your significant other and arguing right before Mercury goes retrograde, it means that you’ll probably spend the next three weeks rebuilding and restructuring the relationship. However, after Mercury turns direct, you may come to the decision that you don’t want to dedicate your time and energy to the relationship any longer. You gave the relationship another chance during Mercury retrograde, and during the post-retrograde shadow, you’re second guessing the decision and wanting out of the partnership. See what I mean about this experience being challenging?

Image: Elia Pellegrini/Unsplash; Adobe. Design: Sasha Purdy / StyleCaster
Image: Elia Pellegrini/Unsplash; Adobe. Design: Sasha Purdy / StyleCaster

How Do You Survive The Retrograde Shadow Period?

The best way to survive the retroshade is to focus on yourself! Stop wondering what your ex is doing and whatever you do, do *not* stalk their social media. If someone ghosts you, let them remain a ghost. Confronting people during this time can bring a lot of ambiguity and extra confusion to the surface (and you certainly don’t need that). It’s also common for people to say things they don’t necessarily mean, so take things with a grain of salt. If people are insulting toward you, remember—their intent is to hurt, because they’re probably frustrated with their own retroshade drama. 

In lighter news, the retroshade period is a beautiful time for self-care. Catch up on your beauty sleep as much as you can. Get a massage, take a hot bath and do things that make you feel good about yourself. Whatever you do, it’s important to remember that you aren’t being rushed by the universe. If you’re feeling guilt over some of the frivolous purchases you made during Mercury retrograde, feel free to return it (that is, if you haven’t already lost the receipt).

Don’t feel obligated to stick with reckless decisions you’ve made since the pre-retrograde phase bega. Remember—Mercury is running slower than usual and retracing it steps for a *third time* during this transit. Feeling dizzy, yet? Clear your head by using this time to your advantage. Make amends with people you’ve had issues with over the past several weeks. But most importantly, make amends with yourself

Mercury Pre- And Post-Shadow Dates

Mercury pre-retrograde shadow:

December 29, 2021 to January 14, 2022

April 25, 2022 to May 10, 2022

August 22, 2022 to September 9, 2022

December 12, 2022 to December 29, 2022

Mercury retrograde:

January 14, 2022 to February 3, 2022

May 10, 2022 to June 3, 2022

September 9, 2022 to October 2, 2022

December 29, 2022 to January 18, 2023

Mercury post-retrograde shadow: 

February 3, 2022 to February 23, 2022

June 3, 2022 to June 18, 2022

October 2, 2022 to October 16, 2022

January 18, 2023 to February 23, 2023

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