We've collectively enjoyed a Mercury retrograde-free decade so far (all one month of it, anyway), but all that's about to change on Feb. 16 — just a couple of days after Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, your boxes of chocolates and bouquets of roses are not safe from the retrograde's messy antics, as Mercury retroshade winter 2020 begins on Feb. 2, and will be in full swing come Valentine's Day, leading up to the retrograde itself. Cue the violins: this Mercury retroshade Valentine's Day is gonna be a doozy.
In case you're not already aware, Mercury retrograde periods are the pesky astrological transits that take place 3-4 times per year, during which Mercury (planet of communication, rational thinking, scheduling, and transportation) takes a backspin, sending the areas of our lives that it rules into a confusing, messy standstill for about three weeks. Retrogrades are book-ended by what are called the pre- and post-retrograde shadow periods, which last about two weeks and take place right before and right after the backspin itself. During the pre-retrograde shadow period (aka the retroshade), which we'll be in the thick of come Valentine's Day, we begin to feel the obnoxious effects of Mercury retrograde before it even beings.
Bustle chatted with astrologer Lisa Stardust about the effects of the retroshade on Valentine's Day this year. "Mercury’s pre-retrograde shadow looms [and rears] its ugly head during Valentine's Day," Stardust warns. "We may all feel the effects of the indecisive planet as our plans may get cancelled or an ex may come back and ruin our current romantic relationships." Yikes. Mercury retrogrades (and their shadows) are notorious for bringing ex-lovers out of the woodwork — most likely not a cute look for Valentine's Day. It also makes pinning down solid, well-communicated plans exceedingly difficult, which doesn't bode well for V-Day dinner reservations or romantic getaways with your boo, either.
So yes, plans with your S.O. might explode in your face, and the dreaded ex might show up in your DMs with their tail between their legs — but at least you can count on some classic Valentine's Day chaos to spice things up? Silver linings, y'all. "Whatever happens, the only thing that's for sure is that it won't be boring," shares Stardust. Ain't that the truth!
Everyone will feel the effects of this transit a little bit differently depending on how Mercury is hitting your chart, so here's how Mercury retroshade winter 2020 will affect Valentine's Day, based on your zodiac sign.
Aries (March 21 - April 19)
The retroshade is causing you a headache and a half this Valentine's Day season, Aries. Don't push your luck — plan to have a super chill night in and keep any major plans to a minimum. "Cuddle up in bed with bae or with your favorite stuffie to rest your head and mind," advises Stardust. Your brain's been on overdrive, and you need a break! Clear the schedule and enjoy a V-Day night in.
Taurus (April 20 - May 20)
Things might feel a little tense with your close friends or significant other during this retroshade, Taurus, as these periods often re-open old wounds and bring tensions boiling to the surface. "An old argument with a friend may resurface now," warns Stardust. "Don’t argue back until they’ve said their piece. Then resolve the matter kindly." If there's unresolved baggage there, expect to have to address it.
Gemini (May 21 - June 20)
Scheduling errors and failed attempts at communication in the workplace might leave you forced to clean up your colleagues' messes — a decidedly not romantic vibe for this season. "Unforeseen issues at work may stand in the way of your romantic plans," explains Stardust. "Don’t stress! You can celebrate later in the evening." Be flexible in your plans and you can still have some Valentine's Day fun.
Cancer (June 21 - July 22)
Traveling without major snags is notoriously difficult during Mercury retroshade, and unfortunately, your V-Day weekend plans might take a hit. "Your plans for a romantic getaway may be dampened," warns Stardust. "But, that’s fine — you can plan an evening in town for you and your boo." Stay flexible and get creative, Cancer — you can still have a memorable and romantic date night without having to leave town.
Leo (July 23 - Aug. 22)
Schedules are messy and communication is even messier, and all these sloppy, fall-through Valentine's Day plans are making you super cranky. "Keep your emotions in check and try to set boundaries for yourself — and others," advises Stardust. There's no point in trying to fit a square into a circle, Leo. Plans will be hard to keep, so just worry about taking responsibility for your own plans and actions and setting boundaries.
Virgo (Aug. 23 - Sept. 22)
Mercury is your ruling planet, so the retroshade is hitting you in exactly the worst ways this Valentine's Day season — specifically when it comes to your crush. "You may have more than one Valentine — but the one you are really crushing on isn’t giving you any attention," says Stardust. "Poor Virgo!" There are a lot of mixed signals and miscommunications going down, so try not to take perceived slights too personally.
Libra (Sept. 23 - Oct. 22)
The retroshade's usual antics are driving you up the wall, Libra — so come Valentine's Day, you should prioritize the chill factor and spend some quality, self-care-focused time with your S.O. "Spend time relaxing with your sweetie by going to a spa to release tensions and anxieties," advises Stardust. A soothing couple's massage or hot tub sesh is exactly what your astrological doctor ordered.
Scorpio (Oct. 23 - Nov. 21)
Retroshades and ex-lovers go together like bread and butter, unfortunately, so beware of past relationships coming back to haunt you and trying to sabotage your current affairs. "An ex may come back your way, which may put a damper on your plans with your new crush," warns Stardust. Don't let someone who's already had a chance ruin your chances with someone new. Set boundaries.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21)
The retroshade has you feeling less than celebratory this Valentine's Day season, Sag, and that's OK. Indulge your need for downtime and privacy. "You’re in the mood to spend time at home, away from the spotlight," shares Stardust. "But that doesn’t mean your boo won’t come over to celebrate with you." Give your night in a romantic twist by planning something intimate with your significant other.
Capricorn (Dec. 22 - Jan. 19)
Retroshades are hell when it comes to clear communication, and you're feeling the effects of this in an intense way this Valentine's Day season, Cap. "Gossip may consume your peer group," warns Stardust. "But you’ll find out the truth soon enough." Don't dwell on rumors you hear in passing. Stay open minded in conversations with your lover and close friends, and you'll be able to outsmart any Valentine's Day drama.
Aquarius (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18)
Managing money is tough during a retroshade, as our thinking gets blurred and we run into snags. Unfortunately, that could affect how much freedom you have to make Valentine's Day arrangements with your boo. "Your finances may hold you back from your plans," warns Stardust, "which will serve as a shock, considering you didn’t know your bank account was dwindling." Plan a fun night in on the cheap instead.
Pisces (Feb. 19 - March 20)
Making solid Valentine's Day plans feels nigh on impossible to pull off right now, especially with this retroshade happening in your sign, Pisces. "You may feel confused about how to celebrate Valentine’s Day and whether you want to spend it with your crew or boo," explains Stardust. So long as you remain flexible and don't get your heart too set on specific plans, you'll find that things end up falling into place.