We're entering the Mercury shadow period known as 'retroshade'—here's what's in store

Mercury retrograde might be over, but the Mercury shadow period is just getting started

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(Image credit: Future)

Meet the Mercury shadow period, a.k.a. more time for the infamous planet to send us into a tailspin. 

Though most of us are hyper-focused on Mercury retrograde 2022, we actually have to concern ourselves with the timeframe before and after the event itself. So yes, this shadow period—aka retroshade—is an even greater helping of the trickster planet, a gift astrology fans are terribly anxious about. 

But don't fret, we promise things won't be as frightening as they might seem. 

mercury in retrograde, mercury planet, cosmic background

(Image credit: Nerthuz/Getty Images)

First thing's first, let's dig into the meaning of Mercury in retrograde. This takes place when the planet orbits in an opposite direction to other bodies within its solar system. 

Oftentimes when Mercury is moving backwards, we tend to struggle with connecting to one another and find ourselves misplacing items, as Mercury is the god of commerce and communication, according to ancient myths. 

The Mercury retrograde dates to look out for this year include: 

  • January 14 to February 3, 2022
  • May 10 to June 2, 2022
  • September 9 to October 2, 2022
  • December 29, 2022 to January 18, 2023

Mercury shadow period: what's Mercury retroshade?

Consider Mercury retroshade an opening act before the main event and the closing credits. The Mercury shadow period takes place two weeks before and two weeks after the actual retrograde. If you're feeling a bit off before the planet actually starts to move backwards, now you know why!

Overall, pre-Mercury retrograde, the planet slows down; post-Mercury retrograde, it speeds up. Both the pre- and post-shadow periods—which occur for all planets, not just Mercury—come with their own astrological mysticism.

Leading up to the event, it's not uncommon to get a sneak peak of what's to come, which can definitely feel a bit daunting. Conversely, when Mercury is in its post-retrograde shadow, it's reviewing the same zodiacal steps it took during the retrograde—only this time, it's moving forward and picking up speed, according to astrologer Nina Kahn (opens in new tab)

"You might find yourself dealing with some of the same issues that came up over the past few weeks and finally finding a sense of resolution," she says. 

Who doesn't love putting Mercury-related drama to rest?

What to expect during the June Mercury retroshade

As of June 3, Mercury is moving direct, but the retroshade period is an opportune time to assess what went wrong weeks before and what can change. 

"I would suggest being accountable for your actions or lack thereof," says astrologer Liz Simmons (opens in new tab). "Use this time to own your part to play to make the transition smoother within your connections and conversations."

She continues: "Generally speaking, the direct planet will affect the Taurus and Gemini themes in our lives. Taurus rules over money, stability, security, value, art, comfort and commitment, so we may feel more self-assured when thinking or talking about these aspects. 

"Since Gemini rules over interpersonal group dynamics, communication, learning, editing, and sociability, we may see an ease with these areas, especially if there has been any drama!"

How do I prepare for Mercury retroshade? 

Rather than worry about the Mercury retrograde effects, as many of us are guilty of doing, now is the time to be mindful. 

"Pay attention to any breakdowns in communication and look for small nuances of disruptions to your peace and daily life to scratch at the surface of what Mercury may have in store for you as it moves backward," says astrologer Renée Watt (opens in new tab)

Even though many of us are gearing up for disturbances, retrograde, retroshade and everything in between are not hindrances.

Watt suggests taking a look at your birth chart to see how Mercury's shift, and other planetary shifts, will affect you personally. It doesn't have to all be a negative experience, but just in case, you might want to set aside a designated place for your house keys. (Better safe than sorry!)

For an update on what's going on with all other celestial beings in the solar system, check out our guide to what planet is in retrograde right now. 

Liz Simmons

Liz is a self-taught astrologer and tarot reader who blends Hellenistic and modern techniques that utilizes the tropical zodiac, Placidus House system and Whole House system.

Renée Watt

Astrologer Renée Watt has offered her expertise for a variety of publications, including CosmoInStyle, Girlboss and more. She hosts a weekly podcast called "The Glitter Cast" (opens in new tab) and is a cohost of the occult livestream  “Betwixt The Shadows.”

Nina Kahn is an author and mystical content creator, covering the cosmos for Bustle, Horoscope.com and CosmicAF. Check out her books, Astrology For Life and The Joy Of Hex.

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Danielle is a writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life, covering all-things news, lifestyle and entertainment. 

The heart of her time at Future has been devoted to My Imperfect Life, where she's been attuned to the cosmos and honed in on astrology coverage within the Life vertical. She's partial to writing pieces about the next big TV obsession—anyone else impatiently waiting for "Conversations with Friends"—and keeping you up to date on new trends like the latest must-have from Zara. 

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, amNewYork and Newsday, among other outlets. 

When Danielle is not working, you can usually find her reading a new book, coffee at hand, or attempting a new recipe. (Recommendations always welcome!)