What You Need To Know About The "Shadow Period"

You might be letting out a huge sigh of relief that Mercury Retrograde is over, but actually it's not. I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but Mercury Retrograde has a "shadow period" two weeks before and after its cycle. The Mercury Retrograde shadow period after the planet's celestial backspin is a time to reflect, whereas the two-week period before the event is a time to prepare. So, if you've thrown all of your Mercury Retrograde cautions to the wind, you might want to wait a few more weeks.

"Until May 22, we should all take the necessary Mercury retrograde precautions, moving ahead at a gentle clip and giving our good senses a chance to resume," the Astrotwins wrote on their Astrology blog, Astro Style. "Back up all data to password-protected (or firewall-protected) storage, changing overused login codes, and making sure that all important bills are being paid in a timely fashion."

The Astrotwins dub this additional planetary adjustment time "retroshade," a two-week period that follows Mercury Retrograde when the stars still mess with your life. At this point you probably want to snap your computer shut, or close your app and say, "To hell with this astrology crap. I'm going to ignore you and go look at pictures of cute kittens."

I know you've been hit with a deluge of retrograde rants in 2017 from Jupiter to Venus to Pluto to Saturn and Mars (not until 2018 but such a doozy you need to plan ahead for this retrograde). I know it's frustrating, and you just want to live your life without worrying about the galaxy far, far away messing with your mind. I get it. I don't want to you stop your life for every retrograde. Instead, think of it like checking the weather. If it's going to rain you grab an umbrella, right? You don't stop living your life because of few rain drops, but you might drive more slowly, wear a hat, and not eat lunch outside. It's the same with astrology.

The post-retrograde shadow period for Mercury is actually pretty tame, and it's more of a time to have a "what have I learned" post mortem. "What do you know now that you didn't know before?" Evolving Door Astrology wrote on its blog. "How has this knowledge changed your perception of how to proceed? How can you change your direction (or your attitude) to take this new information into account? Or do you even need to change direction at all? Maybe you can resume the same course but with new knowledge and perceptions."

In its most basic form astrology helps you work through things like emotions, triggers, and trauma so you can stop repeating the same patterns. "If you've been struggling with 'inner demons' (uncomfortable feelings, impulses, fears, etc.), this phase is a good time to try out new ways to deal with them and express them," Evolving Door Astrology wrote. "You often have opportunities to try out a new strategy to deal with the situations that trigger those feelings in you."

So, if your life is feeling a bit like Groundhog Day, it's important to remember that one definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This shadow period is your opportunity to break old patterns that always seem to deliver the same dismal outcome. This pattern can literally go on for years, and only you can decide when you've had enough.

Personally, I am stubborn AF, and it takes me a long time to learn a lesson, often to my detriment. The good news is that you hold all of the power to change your life, and you don't have to be like me. You can change the outcome of your actions if you change your pattern. And, it can take as long as you drag it out, or you can seize the opportunity to make changes now.

Sometimes having the power to chart our own course can be intimidating, and that's OK. Over time you'll start to feel empowered that you are taking control of your destiny, and you'll be happy that, because you checked your astrological weather forecast and prepared accordingly, you stopped getting stuck in the rain without an umbrella. See how that works?

"You might still fall into the same 'hole in the sidewalk,' but you will have taken another step toward finding a way to avoid it," Evolving Door Astrology wrote. "And you might actually change the outcome, or perhaps change your position within the situation."

So, the bottom line? Don't let that retroshade dim your shine. Now is the time to stop living your life in the shadow of the you you're meant to become. If you're feeling a little "meh" about all of this, don't worry, you'll have this opportunity during every shadow period for every planet. It really is all up to you.