We've been #blessed with a 2019 free of planetary retrogrades... so far. That's right: There's a shadow creepin' in, and there's really no escape, because Mercury retrograde's pre-shadow period starts on Feb. 19 — two weeks ahead of the planet's official retrograde, which begins on Mar. 5. During a planetary retrograde's shadow period (which take place right before and right after a retrograde), the creeping (and lingering) effects of the backspin can definitely be felt — and in the case of this Mercury retrograde pre-shadow period, we're going to want to start preppin' ourselves for what's to come once Mercury Rx officially hits. Working with crystals for Mercury retrograde's pre-shadow period is a great way to ensure you're well-prepped and energetically protected for the retro-haze that's about to settle upon us.
So, a quick review: Mercury is the planet of communication, technology, day-to-day travel, and the overall sharing of information. Like clockwork, this planet retrogrades a few times per year — in other words, from our vantage point here on Earth, it appears to move backward on its elliptical instead of forward. Subsequently, this perceived backward motion also turns the Mercury-ruled areas of our lives topsy-turvy astrologically, too — upping the chances of miscommunications, scheduling errors, travel snags, and technological breakdowns. Durng the pre-shadow period of a planetary retrograde, we begin to feel the effects that are to come — and we have an opportunity to tie up some loose ends before the Rx hits and really puts us through the ringer.
All in all, this is a time for preparation. "During this cycle, we should all take the necessary Mercury retrograde precautions, moving ahead at a gentle clip and not rushing into anything binding," explained AstroStyle. "Back up all data to password-protected (or firewall-protected) cloud storage, changing overused login codes and making sure that all important bills are being paid in a timely fashion." Don't wait until the retrograde period actually begins to get these things together, folks — cause that could very well be too late.
Be responsible — retrograde responsible, that is. Here are some crystals that can spiritually accompany you on your merry way to Mercury retrograde and help you keep your cool as you take advantage of the pre-shadow period's shifting energy.
Raw Aquamarine Crystal, $30, Etsy.
The upcoming retrograde falls during introspective and deeply emotional Pisces season, so as we enter this shadow period, working with an aquamarine crystal can serve as the ideal inner-stabilizer to help you move forward with grace. "It also can protect you from your own painful emotions, which may be amplified during this time," explained Mumbles and Things on its site.
How to use it: "A stone of natural justice, Aquamarine utilizes compromise and negotiation, and gives quiet courage and clear reasoned words in confrontational situations," explained Crystal Vaults. "Pass Aquamarine over any written complaints you receive or before you send any out[.]" Given Mercury Rx's penchant for screwing us over in the clear communication department, this'll be a good habit to get into during the shadow period in prep for the real thing. If you need to find me, I'll just be over here, waving an aquamarine over my phone before hitting "send" on any text.
Jet Exotic Tumble Stone, $4.99, Nature's Treasures.
Jet is an amazingly protective crystal that has the power to not only block negative energy, but direct it away from you, like a boomerang. As you work to start protecting your energy during Mercury retrograde's shadow period, jet can help keep your energy field free of debris. Plus, it's great for calming anxiety, too — always helpful when we know there's a retrograde on the horizon.
How to use it: Jet is associated with goddess Manat, ruler of time, destiny, and death, who is symbolized by the waning moon. Since the moon will be waning during the entire course of this pre-shadow period, use jet on your altar along with daily affirmations, staying aware of and in sync with the lunar changes leading up the retrograde.
Raw Citrine, $7+, Etsy.
Once Mercury enters its retrograde period, you can bet you'll be forced to pump the brakes and slow your butt down, because you're going nowhere fast. That said, the pre-shadow period is sort of your last chance to get sh*t done (albeit carefully, since Mercury's influence will indeed still be felt). Enter citrine: a sunshine-y, energized kick-in-the-butt that will motivate you, fill you with creativity, and help with mental clarity.
How to use it: This stone will inspire and protect you simply by carrying it around. "Natural Citrine is an excellent crystal for those who are overly sensitive and extremely vulnerable to outside energies and influences," explained Crystal Vaults. That basically describes all of us as we approach Mercury Rx. "Worn, carried, or used in crystal healing, [citrine's] radiant yellow color will increase the amount of light surrounding the body and protect the aura."
Tree Agate Stone, $6, Energy Muse.
Staying grounded during astrologically-turbulent times is key, and tree agate is a fantastic stone to help you grow your roots deep into the soil and keep your feet on the ground. Energy Muse described this crystal as being "ideal as a protective talisman to protect you from energy vampires trying to knock the wind out of your sails," so working with it during Mercury Rx's shadow period can help you clear out the space and find the footing you need to prepare for what's to come.
How to use it: "The best way to access the lush and invigorating vibes of the Tree Agate crystal is by meditating with it on a daily basis," explained Energy Muse on its site, and described the following ritual: "Hold a crystal in each hand and notice how it feels to the touch. Sit quietly with the stone and imagine breathing in the highest white light into your spirit. Give your Tree Agate a job to do by visualizing an intention, which it will store for you to call on whenever you feel the intuitive pull of its energy." Try to incorporate this into your daily practice during the two-week shadow period to ground yourself before the retrograde officially starts.
Tangerine Angel Aura Quartz Crystal Cluster, $9.45, Etsy.
Clear thinking and motivation is what we need to responsibly prepare for Mercury Rx during this shadow period, and tangerine quartz is the perfect bright, posi-vibes crystal for the job. "Tangerine Quartz is used to enhance mental capabilities, and provide for an inspiring atmosphere," explained Crystal Vaults. "It assists with the focusing of energy to create new ideas, and to 'kick up' the emotions to energize both the body and spirit."
How to use it: With its bright orange hue, tangerine quartz resonates deeply with fire energy. Do a pre-shadow period candle ritual and incorporate your tangerine quartz into the process. As the candle burns and you focus on your intentions for the upcoming retrograde, vibe with the energy of the quartz to help you find your flow and see clearly what needs to be done before the Rx hits.