Mercury Retrograde Shadow Period 2024 Has Begun

Mercury Retrograde Shadow Period 2024 Has Begun

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The days when Mercury retrograde begins and ends are essential dates that you want to consider noting on your calendar. But there is also a related, but far lesser-known, astrological occurrence to consider, and that’s Mercury retrograde shadow period.

Just as every hero’s journey has a beginning, a middle, and an end that cause us to traverse our inner shadows, so does Mercury retrograde. The three-week retrograde is only the middle of the story. What occurs before and after—the beginning and the end—are pivotal transits known as Mercury retrograde shadow periods.

If you need a refresher about Mercury retrograde, three and sometimes four times each year, the planet that governs our logic, communication, and cognition appears to reverse its orbit and move backward in the night sky. During this time, it’s blamed for all manner of tech glitches and misunderstandings and occasions for enhanced self-awareness.

Imagine a world-class orchestra playing in perfect harmony, when suddenly the entire string section goes out of tune. The initial dissonance is felt most acutely. This is analogous to Mercury entering and ending the shadow period. When you consider these are massive planetary bodies generating tonal vibrations that pulse through our solar system, it makes perfect sense. Every planetary retrograde feels amplified at the beginning and end of its cycle.

How Long is Mercury Retrograde Shadow Period?

The shadow period lasts a little more than two weeks before and two weeks after Mercury retrograde. During the first complete Mercury retrograde of 2024, the post-retrograde shadow period is from April 25 to May 13. 

What Happens in the Mercury Retrograde Shadow Period?

Before its retrograde begins, Mercury appears to slow its orbit around the Sun before eventually seeming to be stationary. This prelude to the retrograde can begin to stir up a sense of agitation and instability in life. Drawing on Joseph Campbell’s description of the hero’s journey, these preliminary shadow periods could be likened to “inciting incidents” that prepare you to handle the upcoming plot twists ahead.

The post-shadow period represents the end of your retrograde story. As Mercury transits back through the part of the sky it retrograded into, this is where you—as the hero of your own journey—have the choice to synthesize all that you’ve learned over the last few weeks and polish the skills and tools you were forced to discover and employ during that time.

Wherever your attention was needed during the retrogrades, it will still be required throughout the post-retrograde shadow period. The difference is that you’ve grown more capable of recognizing and reconciling the dissonance as opposed to identifying with it. What was once the subjective turmoil of the moment gives way to an objective truth that you recognize is yours to embody. Let Mercury retrograde shadow period be a time of integration. You’re still getting your bearings and trying to make sense of all that just happened. If you’re feeling off-center, you’re not alone.

What Not to Do During Mercury Retrograde Shadow Period 2024?

It’s less about obsessively avoiding certain things and more about where you want to focus your attention.  If you don’t yet have a regular self-care practice—be it yoga, meditation, breathwork, hiking, running, or whatever facilitates your mindfulness and well-being—now is a perfect time to begin. If retrograde knocked you off your mat, recommit to your self-care. And if it didn’t, well played.

Although remember, self-care is also not becoming overly regimented or structured with your self care. Be honest about what’s essential for you to feel like yourself, and if changes need to be made, do so at a slow and steady pace.

RELATED: When is Mercury in Retrogade 2024?

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This article has been updated. Originally published February 4, 2022.

About Our Contributor

Born and raised in the midwest, Ryan Seaman has long been on a quest to find the meaning hidden in the stars. This journey landed him in Egypt, where he discovered access to astrology on a level previously unknown to him. The aim of Ryan’s astrological analysis—which corresponds with his study of Gurdjieff’s 4th Way, Jung’s depth psychology, and a host of other disciplines—is to provide objective perspective in support of humankind’s harmonic convergence with the emergent new paradigm on planet Earth.

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