What You Didn’t Know About Mercury Retrograde: The Pre-Shadow and Post-Shadow Periods

Posted on March 18, 2018
Updated on November 03, 2020

There are subtle effects before and after Mercury retrograde that, if we are aware of them, can help us manage our expectations of when things will move forward and when blocks will clear. It’s a time to embrace our own psyche because we can see more clearly.

Those little mishaps that occur in our travel and communication can help open us up to stronger interpersonal skills and more self empowered ways of approaching life because we can shed our conditioned ways of behaving during these periods.

The pre-shadow period occurs before Mercury stations retrograde and people will already start to notice a shift in their own consciousness. They may start thinking about the past or experiencing people from their past showing up or making plans to show up.

We can start to see the movement from a forward linear fashion to a less linear dimension, where we can notice how our past is affecting our present.

The post-shadow periods happen after Mercury stations direct and we are not completely out of the influence of Mercury retrograde. Some people may be waiting for the flood gates to open so the items that were paused are back on track - yet we really don’t see things go full speed ahead until the post shadow period is gone.

These periods can be tricky because there’s a little bit of both energies, but it can certainly help us manage our own expectations of the timing of events as I’ve observed time and again like clockwork.

Here is some more in depth information about how these periods will shift our psyche and how we can capitalize on this time to improve our lives. It’s nice that the change isn’t abrupt, because it allows our energy to adapt to one grain and then another without lurching.

Just like slowly changing a diet is better than shocking our body, planetary movements that are gradual but shift the momentum greatly can be prepared for, embraced and realized because of their crescendos.

Know the Dates Ahead of Time

This calendar shows the pre-shadow and post-shadow periods of Mercury retrogrades for the year. They take it one layer deeper to distinguish between the pre-shadow phase and the pre-shadow intensified phase as well as the post-shadow intensified and post-shadow phases.

This just means that as we get closer to Mercury stationing to begin it’s retrograde, the effects become more noticeable. Similarly, as we move away from Mercury stationing direct after it’s retrograde, the effects slowly taper off and become less noticeable.

If you make note of these dates, especially when the full blown retrograde is, you will have a better idea of what to expect to be on people’s minds and what events you can expect to start to see more of.

In the pre-shadow phase, we might start noticing little hiccups in schedules, emails, messages and travel arrangements, so double check your plans and speak clearly enough that you know people are receiving what you intend to say. For example, maybe call someone instead of texting so the message is delivered directly.

If you want to know more specifically what area in our minds we will be having difficulty with, look on the calendar to see what sign Mercury retrograde will be in and then note which type of energy that sign has so we can be aware that the planet of communication has that distinct flavor.

For example, the March Mercury retrograde is in Aries, which has a quick temper and can be overly blunt, so try to encourage yourself to speak slowly and patiently so you don’t blow up on people out of frustration.

These Times can be Very Beneficial and Here’s Why

True astrology buffs look forward to these changes because we have experienced how it helps us be more self aware and improve on our own crunchy communication habits. We can notice if we are guarded and closed off, if we are reactive, or where a past experience such as a broken heart is keeping us from opening to love.

In business, we can see if our resentment or laziness is taking its toll on our attitude and we can make that attitude adjustment to shape our words into more constructive masterpieces worthy of promotion!

As we wade through the waters of the past we can finally resolve and let go of our pain. We can heal our wounds and be free of the fear and anger that come from memories ghat haven’t been dealt with. When we allow ourselves to recognize the emotion, even if it’s from twenty years ago, we no longer have to repeat the experience.

We can be free of it just by looking into the depths of our own emotional closet and shining a light into the corners. When we see that something someone said a long time ago shaped our belief systems and doesn’t have to, we can finally get our power back.


Retrogrades help us shed the layers of maya (illusions created by the mind) that keep us from having an authentic connection to our true self, our soul. When we clear the debris, the layers start to come off and we realize how simple and magical life truly IS.

When we are finally able to let go of the lower vibrations we have been subconsciously carrying around just by recognizing them, we are finally able to soar to higher states of consciousness, where we see the interconnection of our thoughts in creating reality.

As we start to see that we are not our body, but a soul having a physical experience, we can more easily create positive emotions that activate the law of attraction and start honing our vision of a better future for everyone. If we didn’t have the time to reflect and regurgitate the past, we wouldn’t know if we were still digesting it.

The purging of our past is necessary for our own success in our relationships with others and ourselves and it is a time to embrace much more than it is a time to be disgruntled about.

Sharing our perspectives of the value of Mercury retrogrades, the dates of the pre and post-shadow periods and how to use it can be beneficial for the healing of our friends, family, community and loved ones.

As we develop and experience the benefits of astrological timing, we can help others become more empowered to see the interconnectedness we are all experiencing, whether we are aware of it or not. Just saying your computer is malfunctioning because of retrograde, could help alleviate stress.

Telling someone their ex came back so they can finally let them go could also help make sense of the chaos they may perceive the world to be. Helping them see the tides that affect us and how to ride them can empower them and be a gift beyond value.

Related Article: Debra Silverman - Mercury in Retrograde: Flipping the Script on Old Thinking

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Shannon Yrizarry has taught metaphysical subjects since 2013 including the deeply esoteric lineage of kundalini yoga. She has worked as a healer, clairvoyant and card reader and… Learn More About The Author »

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