What is Mercury Retrograde Shadow?

Mercury Retrograde Shadow is the days before and after, when Mercury 'loops the loop' and it is often when the biggest problems occur.

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. Mercury Retrograde does not end until the shadow ends. It lasts longer than a lot of people think. It begins a lot earlier than most people think.

On Friday, 8th September 2017, you may have read ‘Mercury Retrograde was over on 5th September.’ But how could that be when we also read Hurricane Irma is on track to hit America’s busiest airport four days after the supposed end of the retrograde? The strongest earthquake to hit Mexico in a century also happened on the shadow, beyond 5th September.

Extreme weather is typical of Mercury Retrograde because it sets off a chain reaction of delay and rescheduling around the world. And Mercury Retrograde is always global.

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 to a new house, you may want to do it away from the dates I’m about to give you. Be aware that computers may play up. There may be data breaches. Hacking. The post may not arrive. Emails may go into spam folders. Product recall may hit cars, for example. And sometimes there is a ‘perfect storm’ when everything goes wrong at the same time.

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

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 7th to September 2nd
2018 – October 29th to December 24th

Space does not allow me to list every time zone in the world and these dates are averaged for London and Melbourne. You may find the shadow begins the day before, or the day after. If you are a Premium Member and have your chart, and you are concerned about a specific date, you can ask me in comments (if you are marrying on Christmas Eve 2018 for example!) People who live in Auckland or Los Angeles may have quite a different date affecting their chart.

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. These days I also say, plan C and plan D as well. It is amazing how often Mercury can stitch up your fallback position!

This is especially true with trains. I mentioned extreme weather. Extremes of cold or heat, or rainfall, can affect any train system. When that happens people turn to taxis, so there are none available. Or buses – same story – people are left standing. The extra vehicles on the roads create traffic jams. And on it goes!

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. A lot of people quit their favourite airlines on this cycle! Cancellations and delays of flights and trains are typical. Cars in general are affected – in July 2018 for example – Britons discovered that over 10 million customers of a car phone outlet had been hacked.

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. I really like this image. It is in the ‘astrology zone’ of London and we’re actually organising a London Astrology Tour podcast in 2019 to take you past it!

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.

It is great for ping-pong. You bat the ball, someone bats it back. The ball falls on the floor and you start over. Playing the ping-pong game with negotiations, planning, scheduling, the creative process (particularly that) and all kinds of visualisation and forward thinking can work, if you give yourself a couple of months to tool around.

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.

In general, if you have Mercury Retrograde going over the same zodiac sign where you have factors, and at the same degree or number, that period of around 24-48 hours will involve you with a person, organisation or situation which is stuck or going backwards, or will shortly do so. This is why when people make ‘absolute’ statements or huge announcements, and it hits your chart, you should be very wary.

What is one of the most notorious examples of Mercury Retrograde Shadow according to history? The 2018 episode in Aries, the sign which rules war. This was the time frame chosen by Donald Trump to negotiate ‘peace’ with North Korea. Watch. This was the same cycle that Britain negotiated ‘peace’ with Adolf Hitler last century.

Mercury rules the news and on Mercury Retrograde Shadow the news can be wrong, if it hits a spot on a country’s chart. This is exactly what happened when some U.S. media were declaring peace had been achieved. Astrology and history tell us – nope! Unfortunately, we are going to find out why.

HOW THE MERCURY SHADOW 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. Here’s how it all goes wrong.

MERCURY RETROGRADE SHADOW AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 2017

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.

The stuckness matters as much as the backward motion of the planet. This is when you hit traffic jams, or Amazon doesn’t reply, or you speak to three Amazon consultants about your gift voucher and get nowhere. It is when the bank doesn’t get back to you, and so on. The sign Mercury retrogrades through is key. It shows you the house or life department where things are held up or reverse – or even come to nothing. In 2017 we saw it in Virgo and you may remember August 2017 if you have Virgo factors in your birth chart, as this would have been about your work.

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

As you can see above – 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. Repeat the repeat the repeat!

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. Ahem.

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. Let’s go back to 2017 again.

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

As you can see, sometimes Mercury just goes through two signs. Again, if you have Leo factors, you may remember rescheduling, delays or other issues involving children, godchildren and young relatives, or youth projects as Leo rules all these.

In 2017, Mercury – moving from 28 Leo, to 29 Leo, then onto Virgo 0, 1, 2, 3, and so on – also set up issues for 2018! How does that work? Well, given that so many plans these days involve deadlines of 12 months or 24 months, particularly with large corporations or government departments – anything that launched on the 2017 retrograde with a deadline of completion on the 2018 retrograde is not going to happen as it should!

In 2017, Mercury got to September 19th then he finished the shadow and completed the loop, back at Virgo 11 where the whole cycle began. (Depending on your world time zone you may have seen 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

  • It does not begin when Mercury takes the first backward step or end when he takes the first forward step. Mercury is the trickster of astrology. It begins in the shadow. Pre and post shadow Mercury Retrogrades can be huge issues.
  • We have this cycle three times a year to slow us down  and make us think, contemplate and rehearse solutions.
  • Mercury Retrograde Shadow is significant in terms of the zodiac sign and house it is in, in your chart.
  • 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!

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24 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.
    Cheers
    JC

    • 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.
    Don

    • 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.

  6. Oh no, I met a lawyer on July 25th in relation to arrears from an educational organisation. Since this is in Leo and the institution is dealing with youth and students, I wonder if this cycle will delay proceedings to recover any arrears. I hope this is not so as I don’t have many factors in Leo (node and Apollo). Would love your insights Jessica. Many thanks, regards Jos

  7. Thank you for this great information Jessica…So this 28 degree Leo finally got serious with my resume yesterday. I literally worked on it all day, and I planned on going over it again today, but for the most part I think it’s complete…Did I just waste my time, lol…All of sudden I feel this urge to go out, promote myself and make some serious money. Also, separate, we’ll be looking to sell our home and move to a new community in the middle of next year May 2019…we’re not planning on selling until we are closer to that time. Any insight, suggestions you can offer is greatly appreciated. Oh and totally separate my dreams the last few nights were so vivid, if my father in law passes soon, I’ll be a little freaked. Thank you

  8. Hi Jessica,
    Thank you for your article on Mercury retrograde. I was born with Mercury retrograde… does it make a difference? It seems I’m more incline to write and talk on Mercury retrograde… my luck though it’s not great. My love broke up with me on Mercury shadow on July 10th, also when Jupiter went direct. Any chance of getting back together?

    • Yes, you could get back together with your former lover as Mercury Retrograde Shadow was/is in Leo in the Fifth House. I expect one of the issues was parenthood for one of you. Being born with Mercury Retrograde means that whenever it’s triggered, you get stuck or change your mind. You have it in Libra in the Seventh House of love, sex, marriage, common law marriage, divorce and separation. Whenever anything lands on your Mercury, you may find the conversation changes, the talking points reverse, or there are long and drawn-out communication issues.

  9. Hi Jessica, I am getting married on September the 1st 2018 at 11am and I was wondering what you would say about this looking at my chart and after I’ve just read about mercury shadow period?

    Thank you so much, your insight gratefully received. X

    • Congratulations. Venus at 24 Libra and Juno at 24 Taurus make a perfect pattern on 1st September and I am sure you know Libra rules marriage. Taurus is money and Juno is commitment. Who or what you wed yourself to. You can look up Venus and Juno for more information. You were born with Pluto at 24 Libra in the Seventh House of love, sex, marriage, common law marriage, divorce and separation and Venus will be conjunct your Pluto, with Juno also aspecting it. So you may also want to look up Pluto too.

  10. Also, I was born when mercury retrograde…does that mean I cope well when things change? It feels like I am very comfortable with change and ‘going with the flow’.

    Thank you again!

    • Not really. It just means when you have transits conjunct your Mercury, you go back and forth with the internet exchange, the meetings, the paperwork and so on. You hold things up or change your mind. This would be with groups and friends as you have Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius. It’s like being in the Peanuts gang and being stuck in a freeze-frame. Yet, it gives you more time to think about the way the episode is going!

  11. Hi Jessica!

    Please tell me about starting to date on a Hg retrograde cycle! After a freak storm on July 21, I met a lovely neighbor. We talked for ages and had a great connection. We went for a morning “date” hike on July 27 (I know – lunar eclipse blood moon!). I’m worried about starting a relationship now as I have set my sites selling my house and moving on both to find work and to save money. if I pursue this relationship, that will certainly tangle my plans.
    All I know about him astrologically is that he’s 58 and a Sagittarius.
    Your advice is so welcome!
    Thank you!
    Kris

    • You may want to find out about his children, or why he never had any (if he is child free). That, for him, is the greatest story at the moment. You don’t say if you have children or not. If you do, that would also be a huge factor for him. Hiking is a great way to get to know someone. Maybe make the next conversation about parenthood?

  12. Thank you Jessica for sharing this. I have a nagging question in my mind, please help me with that.

    Long time ago I opened an eBay account. When I looked back, the date was during mercury retrograde. It was a seller account.
    I am trying to sell tote bags with my uncle’s art printed on them. He is a very gifted artist and a photographer. I had problems with this account before as it was suspended because the payment gateway was not properly set up. It is all fixed now. I haven’t had any sales yet.

    I want to establish the trust with the buyers by giving quality product and timely service. I am very passionate about this new venture. The fact that I opened it during mercury retrograde, is nagging. Do you think I should open a new eBay account on a financially benefitting day?

    Thank you again.

    • Mercury Retrograde! Mercury rules sales and purchases – actually the root word ‘merc’ is hidden in merchandise, merchants and can be found in markets and marketplaces like EBay. Your account was suspended. You may want to leave this for the moment. I think this is actually about your Uncle’s chart, not yours, as not only Mercury Retrograde but these eclipses in 2017 and 2018 have been in Leo, and that’s you – the nephew whom your Uncle considers to be like a son to him. It’s actually your Uncle’s horoscope that is the problem, not so much your own! You may want to wait until September to really try again, but even so – it is possible that he developed the bags and you went along with it, during some of these eclipses, so it may not actually have been the greatest time to launch a venture anyway. If you want to open a new account you may want to try Jupiter (luck) in Scorpio (finance) semi-sextile Bacchus (pleasure) on Sunday 23rd September. Mercury is also in good shape that day.

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