IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Mercury retroshade is the reason Mercury retrograde lasts longer than you think

Here's why you might start to feel the effects of the astrological transit weeks before it begins.

Ah, the dreaded Mercury retrograde is almost upon us.

Every few months, the planet Mercury begins to move backwards — or, at least, it appears to, thanks to an optical illusion. Typically, Mercury moves faster than the Earth around the sun. But during this astrological transit, Mercury actually moves slower, lending to the illusion it's moving backwards.

When this occurs, people often perceive trouble with communication, technology and travel, areas that the planet rules.

While Mercury retrograde lasts about three weeks, that doesn't quite capture the whole cosmic story. In my work as an astrologer, I have noticed that the two weeks before and after Mercury retrograde begins mark strangest time periods of the planetary moonwalk.

I coined a phrase to describe this time: "Mercury retroshade," signifying the lingering shadow that the retrograde casts on our lives. Essentially, you're not out of the woods.

Read on to find out about Mercury retrograde, and why you should pay attention to it.

What is Mercury retroshade?

Mercury retroshade is the "shadow period" of Mercury retrograde.

Two weeks before Mercury goes retrograde, we may start to experience shifts related to travel, news, information, gossip and technology. Think: Rumors spreading, technological fails (like forgetting your password, missed connections and beyond.

When the retrograde ends, we're still not out of the woods. The second half of Mercury retroshade is characterized by clarity. Expect things come to light.

Why does this happen? Well, Mercury travels through "degrees" during retrograde — points from 0 to 29. During the retroshade, Mercury passes through the same points, allowing us to see matters in a new way.

These are the Mercury retroshade and retrograde dates of 2022

There are four Mercury retrograde and retroshade periods in 2022.

  • The pre-retrograde shadow starts Dec. 29, 2021 and the post-retrograde shadow ends on Feb. 23. The retrograde lasts from Jan. 14 to Feb. 3.
  • The pre-retrograde shadow starts on April 25 and post-retrograde shadow ends June 18. The retrograde lasts from May 10 to June 3. 
  • The pre-retrograde shadow starts on Aug. 22 and the post-retrograde ends Oct. 16. The retrograde lasts from Sept. 9 to Oct. 2.
  • The pre-retrograde shadow starts on Dec. 12 and the post-retrograde ends Feb. 23, 2023. The retrograde lasts from Dec. 29 to Jan. 18, 2023.

Here are a few astrologer-approved tips for getting through Mercury retroshade

So, Mercury retrograde is longer than you thought. You might be reeling from this information. Below, find a

  • Break out your journal. I always recommend that my clients start journaling during this time period to know how the cosmic energy may be affecting them.
  • Take some you time. Find a few minutes away from the crowd and focus on yourself. Taking a walk and burning off excessive energy may be especially calming.
  • Try aromatherapy. Lavender and citrus are associated with the planet Mercury. During the retroshade, add lemon to your water to or place a bouquet of lavender flowers.
  • Read the find print. Give yourself extra time to proofread emails before sending them out. Double check documents when you are traveling. Don’t leave anything up to chance.
  • Choose your words wisely. If you find yourself in a conflict, decide how you want to react after thinking things through. The less impulsively you respond, the better your comeback will be and the easier it will be to do the right thing. 
  • Rest up. You may find that you are extremely exhausted during the retroshade period. Make sure that you are implementing more self-care into your daily routine and getting adequate sleep. If you’re feeling extra tired, then make sure you take a step back from strenuous activities, if you can, and decompress. Listen to your body.