What is Mercury Retrograde Shadow?

Mercury Retrograde is the best-known astrology cycle in the world. It is also the cycle that most people get wrong. Why? They don’t understand the shadow.

What is Mercury Retrograde Shadow? It’s the days before and after, when Mercury ‘loops the loop’ and it is often when the biggest problems occur. Don’t be fooled by the internet giving you bad information. Mercury Retrograde does not end until the shadow ends. It lasts longer than a lot of people think.

As I write this on Friday 8th September 2017, I see way too many media reporting ‘Mercury Retrograde was over on 5th September.’ Wrong! The proof? Hurricane Irma is on track to hit America’s busiest airport and it is now four days later . The strongest earthquake to hit Mexico in a century also happened on the shadow, beyond 5th September . And that’s just the start. Mercury Retrograde did not end on 5th September.

How September 9th Proves Mercury Retrograde Shadow

Anyone who read an astrology website or a newspaper like The Sun telling them ‘Relax! Mercury Retrograde is over!’ back on September 5th is now living with Irma in America (on September 9th).  Oh, and Google Drive down. And  a hack of 44 million Britons and their data. Why? We’re in the Mercury Retrograde Shadow period and Mercury Retrograde never ended.

Mercury Retrograde Shadow – don’t be caught.
Mercury Retrograde Shadow and Google Drive


What You Need to Know about Mercury Retrograde Shadow

What you need to know about Mercury Retrograde Shadow is simple. If you are planning to take a vacation or a long holiday, then have Plan B so that you are covered. If you are planning a major change, like moving house, you may want to do it away from the dates I’m about to give you. Be aware that computers may play up.

Back in 2015 on this cycle we saw the world’s worst traffic jam! (below).


What is Mercury Retrograde Shadow? This! October 9th 2015 via Twitter.

Correct Mercury Retrograde Shadow Dates to 2018

2017 July 25th to September 19th
2017 November 15th to January 11th 2018
2018 March 9th to May 5th
2018 July 8th to September 2nd
2018 October 29th to December 25th

Always use the shadow, front and back, and you will know about issues like extreme weather before they happen. These dates (above) are longer than you will read about in some websites and media, because they include the shadows. And they work. These cycles should not stop you from doing what you want to do – but be cautious – have a back-up – have Plan B.

What To Do on Mercury Retrograde Shadow

  • This is a good time to rehearse anything. Try things out and be prepared to change them later. It’s first-draft time.
  • Put ‘re’ in front of most things in life and you’ll know what to expect – rescheduling is the big one.
  • Mercury was the Messenger of the Gods so the worldwide web, airlines, transport, telephones or mail is affected.

In general, it’s a time of frustration, muddles and mix-ups. As I write this, for example, I’m hearing stories from two of my aunts, about the same thing – receiving proper replies and compensation for lost luggage and product malfunction. I personally just saw Emirates refuse me a seat on a flight I had booked six months before (but being an astrologer, I had Plan B). I am sure you have your own stories of typical Mercury Retrograde Shadow to share.

Mercury is the Messenger of the Gods. You can see him, below, in London. This sculpture sums the cycle up. Mercury is going backwards and forwards, and also stuck. This is what happens on Mercury Retrograde Shadow.


Mercury Retrograde Shadow perfectly illustrated at Peterborough Court in London.

I have a Twitter account where people regularly send me stories about their own Mercury Retrograde ‘rolling’ issues. Why do they roll? Because the planet does, on this cycle. It rolls back and forth and gets stuck, like a pinball machine gone wrong, so if you want to avoid pinging around with a refund (for example) you’ll do it away from these dates.

Obviously if Mercury Retrograde goes over the same sign and degree where you have a horoscope factor you will be personally affected. If you are a Premium Member and have your chart, check. You can ask me questions about that in Comments.

What is Mercury Retrograde Shadow? How the Cycle Works

Using July-September 2017 as an example it’s easy to see how the pre-shadow and post-shadow works. Think of Mercury acting in a loop and you can see how the planet of communication, information and transportation starts in a particular zodiac sign, at a particular degree (number) and then goes back and forth.

Mercury should move one-two degrees every day, through a sign. On Mercury Retrograde Shadow it can hang on one degree for days. Then it does other weird things. It actually goes backwards.


The cycle begins on July 25th when Mercury is at 28 Leo. It then moves to Virgo, the next sign along and appears to be moving normally – but it’s not. It’s in pre-shadow! It’s shadowing the same signs and degrees where it will shortly get stuck/reverse.

August 13th – Mercury goes Retrograde at 11 Virgo and gets stuck
August 14th – Mercury 11 Virgo
August 15th – Mercury 11 Virgo
August 16th – Mercury 11 Virgo
August 17th – Mercury 10 Virgo
August 18th – Mercury 10 Virgo
August 19th – Mercury 10 Virgo

The planet appears to be moving backwards through Virgo when it should be moving forwards – so it skids past 10 Virgo, 9 Virgo, 8 Virgo, 7 Virgo all the way to August 31st when it sits at 0 Virgo. It then slips back into the previous sign, Leo.

This is where the shadow comes in. Remember how the cycle began with Mercury at 28 Leo on 25th July? The planet repeats itself, going to 28 Leo again in the first week of September.

This is where so many people get Mercury Retrograde wrong. Because they see it moving direct on 5th September they tell everyone to relax. Well, try telling that to people in Florida!

How People Get Fooled by D for Direct

When it goes D for Direct, Mercury then retraces its steps through signs and degrees it already passed through. So it is actually completing a stuck loop. This is where so many people get fooled – D for Direct does not mean the issues are over.  You know when the chaos of the 1929 Wall Street crash happened? On Mercury Retrograde Shadow. 

September 5th – Mercury 28 Leo
September 6th  – Mercury 28 Leo

On it goes, moving from 28 Leo, to 29 Leo, then onto Virgo 0, 1, 2, 3, and so on – until finally on September 19th it finishes the shadow and completes the loop, back at Virgo 11 where the whole cycle began. (Depending on your world time zone you may see it end a little later, but by September 20th the whole world should be back to normal.) Read more here.

The Most You Need to Know About Mercury Retrograde Shadow

  • Many astrologers who have not studied their history still get the cycle wrong and tell you it’s over – when it’s not. Be aware.
  • We have this cycle three times a year to slow us down  and make us think, contemplate and rehearse solutions.
  • Mercury Retrograde Shadow starts earlier and ends later than some websites and newspapers tell you – be careful.
  • The biggest chaos can happen in the shadow – Saturday 9th September, from Irma to Google Drive – is proof of that.
  • Don’t let the cycle stop you living your life but always have Plan B and maybe Plan C – do not expect ‘normal’ at this time!

10 thoughts on “What is Mercury Retrograde Shadow?

  1. Hey, Jessica! I was literally LOLing when you re-posted the Merc retro article you wrote all annoyed! That was awesome – I totally felt your passion and understood how frustratating it is when people say “we’re in the clear”. You made me laugh! I actually have been thinking about this retro cycle and (cross your fingers) it has been the best one for me – feeling barely any affects – why do you think this is so? Maybe bc I’m aware and let things go more since I’m patient? Or is it my chart? Also, I always think everything is BS on these cycles and don’t care to meet people or take people’s word as I know it’s not “real”…am I wrong about this? Thank you and I love your words always! Xxx

    • I may have to tone that story back a bit, but I do become annoyed that people give astrology a bad name by putting out wrong information. The fact is, we are in the thick of Mercury Retrograde Shadow right now and almost 50 million Britons just had their data hacked (announced yesterday). Your chart is not triggered by this cycle so you are not feeling it. And you shouldn’t really assume you are being lied to, automatically – that only happens if your chart is well and truly hit, as Britain’s was during the pre-war period when Hitler lied to Chamberlain.

  2. Hi Jessica,
    Just need some clarification. How long does the Mercury shadow last? I am planning a trip in March/April next year. Cannot go any later or earlier I am afraid. We will not be flying and will be camping.. Great thing about camping is that we can change our destination at the last minute if weather is bad. Would love your thoughts on how this retrograde may affect me during March to May 2018.

    • Always have Plan B, sometimes have Plan C – I never avoid travel on this transit but I do have back-up. I had major problems flying with Emirates Dubai-London days ago (Plan B was another airline!) Just read the dates in the stories I have posted here, when you are more certain about your camping trip end/start times and have a back-up. Sometimes the issue is six degrees. Right now Google Drive is down. That is affecting a lot of holidays out there!

  3. Hello Jessica,
    I read your other top Mercury Retro article last night and wondered if I was born during a Mercury Retro shadow. I just looked up in the ephemeris for 1963 and the Mercury Retro shadow started on August 18 at 20 Mercury in Virgo. I was born on August 25 at 28 Mercury, so I’m a shadow. So would having the shadow still mean you have Mercury Retro in your chart?
    I have noticed that I always have to double check stuff and I’m always in trouble if I assume something without checking. Actually, next week I have to ring Translink about a missing bus stop sign. I also have to sort out an unexpected debt next week which I wouldn’t have if I checked the particulars in the beginning. All Mercury shadow tasks!
    Anyway, any Mercury shadow insights about my chart would be great.

    • JC, yes, you were born when Mercury was out of phase. You won’t notice this unless you have transits going over that spot – and so this current Virgo weather may be influencing your work and daily routine. The other thing you’ll find is that people in their fifties who were born with Uranus or Pluto right ‘on’ or conjunct your Mercury could be the triggers!

  4. Dear Jessica,
    Great as usual! Used your info and helped couple expecting to go to Ireland today.
    They listened and had Plan B – Travel Insurance. Saved thousands of dollars. First
    ever cancelled trip. Your last info to me was correct as well. Looking forward to future with what I have and will learn from you. Any advice for the rest of this year or important topics I should study in your writings that would apply to me or mine?
    Thank you again.

    • Thank you Don. I am happy to hear you used Mercury Retrograde warnings to help save these people thousands of dollars on their Ireland trip. The most important thing to know about the next 12 months is that we have a ton of Leo weather and Leo rules the heart. This strongly applies to you and the people who are close to you – avoid triangular situations where it’s about three, not two. Three can take up a lot of time and energy. If you do feel you need some emotional healing though, this is possible. In fact it’s a little like open heart surgery in that miracles can occur and everything can be turned around. The fact is, you don’t see these scenarios unless there is rich passion there and a huge capacity to give and receive love. So that is literally at the ‘heart’ of everything and it’s not to be sneezed at.

  5. Mercury is retrograde for 6 of the 12 months in a year so half the things that happen or dont happen will b during retrogrades _ no astrology in this just probability.

Comments are closed.

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