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Home > Astrology > Mercury Retro > Mercury Retro's Shadow Periods

Dr Z Looks at Mercury's Pre-retrograde Shadow and Post-retrograde Shadow Periods

Question: Dr Z, Why haven't you written anything about the shadow periods of Mercury Retrograde?

Answer: Yep! It would certainly appear that a large number of astrologers out there buy into (and want to make sure that you buy into) the "pre-retrograde Shadow" and "post-retrograde Shadow" periods of Mercury.

Sorry to disappoint you, mi amigo y amiga... but I just can't bring myself to swallow the whole enchilada.

If you've already read my article on Mercury Retrograde, then you already know I'm not a typical astrologer that enjoys handing out restrictive orders involving what you absolutely must not do during Mercury Retrograde, itself. So you shouldn't be too surprised that I can't (and don't) buy into these extended shadow periods.

The Evolution of the Shadow Periods
A long, l-o-n-g time ago, all you ever occasionally heard of were the alleged post-retrograde shadow periods, and that you should continue to be wary of Mercury until he once again reached the spot in the sky where he'd originally gone retrograde.

It all seemed to make a fair amount of sense... but then somewhere along the line the dreaded pre-retrograde shadow periods were added into the mix...

Do The Math For Yourself
Mercury experiences a retrograde cycle approximately once every 4 months, and during any given retrograde cycle Mercury remains retrograde for approximately 3 weeks. The pre-retrograde Shadow Mercury periods last 2 to 3 weeks. The post-retrograde Shadow Mercury periods last 2 to 3 more weeks.

So add them all up - the pre-retrograde Shadow Mercury periods that last 2 to 3 weeks, the Mercury retrogrades that last 3 weeks, and then the post-retrograde Shadow Mercury periods that last 2 to 3 more weeks.

Yep! According to these jokers, you should then refrain from significant communications, signing contracts, and the like for an average of 40% of the time during any given 365 day period.

In unique calendar years where Mercury goes retro 4 times (rather than the more normal 3 times), such as in the year 2009, sticking strictly to the 2009 calendar year, it's slightly over 50% of the days in 2009 that you should be concerned with Mercury.

Doesn't that sound like pure, unadulterated, ________ to you? Modern astrologers with our sophisticated, cutting edge, astrological calculation software have way too much time on our hands.

Don't get me wrong... some of my best and most talented astrologer friends believe in one or both of the shadow periods of Mercury retrograde. (And they're probably wagging a scolding finger at me as they read this.)

Besides... being a Jungian/archetypal astrologer I almost always like a good "shadow," but this is ridiculous! Nowadays, I'm sitting back and waiting with bated breath for the pre-pre-retrograde Shadow and the post-post-retrograde Shadow periods.

Sometimes... less is more...

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