Mercury Retrograde Shadow Period: The drama isn’t over yet

If you’re in the throes of Mercury retrograde, the day it *finally* ends can’t come soon enough. However, just because the madness has an expiration date doesn’t mean it’s technically over. Finally, you have yet to contend with the Mercury retrograde shadow period, and believe it or not, the end of that pesky transit can feel even more intense than the retrograde itself!

With Mercury directing after a three-week communications crisis, it might even feel like the most confusing and dizzying part of the whole experience. The reason for that? Mercury, one of the fastest moving planets in all of astrology, slows down when in retrograde. And when it hits the ground, it suddenly picks up speed 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 review what has happened over the past month and come to your own conclusions for the future.

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. This is why the term “retroshade” was coined many years ago because – for lack of a better word – the *shadiest* atmosphere you will ever experience! Messy and shaky things happen during the retrograde shadow period thanks to the fact that Mercury is feeling more like a trickster than ever. Communications are unclear, travel delays loom, bad luck abounds and drama escalates out of nowhere to a feverish climax. Sounds fun right? …Not.

STYLECASTER | Retrograde Mercury

iMaxTree; Adobe. Design: Cierra Miller/STYLECASTER.

What is Mercury Retroshade?

Retroshade may sound like the title of a pop music album, but it’s so much more than a planetary catchphrase! “Retroshade” is what happens after spending a few weeks revising and rethinking our lives while Mercury is retrograde. Think of it as the epilogue to your Mercury retrograde experience; then you can look back on those conflicts and dilemmas with a clearer perspective. Now is your chance to make important changes. Therefore, it is very common for people to break up and take a new path.

The pre-retrograde transit, which usually occurs two weeks before Mercury retrogrades, sets the tone for the moon’s planetary walk. At this point you begin to see what you lack in stability and consistency. It is very common for the Mercury retrograde story to begin at this time as the pre-retrograde transit reveals the themes of the upcoming retrograde. Think of it as the prologue to your Mercury retrograde experience.

For example, if you were having issues with your significant other and getting into a fight just before Mercury goes retrograde, it means you will likely spend the next three weeks rebuilding and restructuring the relationship. However, after Mercury becomes direct, you may decide that you no longer wish to devote your time and energy to the relationship. You gave the relationship another chance during Mercury retrograde, and during the post-retrograde shadow you are guessing the decision and looking to get out of the relationship. See what I mean about this experience being challenging?

How to survive the Retroshade period?

STYLECASTER | Mercury retrograde May 2022

The best way to survive the Retroshade is to focus on yourself! Stop wondering what your ex is doing and whatever you do, *don’t* follow their social media. If someone ghosts you, let them remain a ghost. Confronting people during this time can bring a lot of ambiguity and additional confusion to the surface (and you certainly don’t need it). It’s also common for people to say things they don’t necessarily mean, so take things with a grain of salt. When people insult you, remember – they want 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 possible. Get a massage, take a hot bath and do things that make you feel good. Whatever you do, it’s important to remember that you are not being rushed by the universe. If you feel guilty about 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 hold on to reckless decisions you’ve made since the beginning of the preretrograde period. Remember – Mercury is walking slower than usual and is retracing a *third* time during this transit. Are you already dizzy? Clear your mind by using this time to your advantage. Make up with people you’ve had problems with in the last few weeks. But the most important thing is to come to terms with yourself.

Mercury pre and post shadow dates

Mercury pre-retrograde shadows:

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

Retrograde Mercury:

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 shadows:

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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