So, you may remember earlier this month when I answered the question, “How long will this transit last?” for the fine folks at the Chart Harmony Discord. I liked my answer so much, I made it into a blog post:

With that as a foundation for understanding astrological timing, let’s talk about the reason you’re still feeling the effects of Mercury retrograde even after they’ve gone direct.

When Mercury (or any planet) goes retrograde, it appears as though the planet is going backwards.

Let’s say you are walking down the street and you start at 38th and you get to 42nd, then YOU go retrograde. That would mean you stop at 42nd, turn around, and walk BACK toward 38th.

Eventually, you’ll go direct. Let’s say you’ve gotten back to 40th by then. Since now you’re going direct, that means turning back around and heading toward 42nd again.

Now, there are a few steps you’re basically doing over again, right?

38th —> 39th —> 40th —> 41st —> 42nd
40th <--- 41st <--- 42nd END RETROGRADE AND TRAVEL BACK
40th —> 41st —> 42nd
—> 43rd —> 44th —>

Can you see that, visually? (I’ll probably do a Canva infographic on this at some point.)

There’s an astrological concept called “shadow” (many people call it “retroshade”). When the planet FIRST crosses degrees that it will REVISIT during retrograde, that’s the pre-retrograde shadow period (the days before the planet goes retrograde, when some folks can feel the snags of Mercury coming).

When Mercury goes direct, they have to travel back across some of the degrees they’ve ALREADY traveled! So, this is the post-retrograde shadow, and it’s in the days after the planet goes direct… when some folks can continue to feel the snags of Mercury’s mischief.

(Head over here for some tips on bringing GRACE into your Mercury retrograde experience.)

Back to the example of you walking up and down the street… you start at 38th, but by 40th, you start feeling the shadow (because you will return to 40th during retrograde). After retrograde, you’ll again walk along streets you already traveled (until you get past 42nd). That’s more time spent in shadow, which you may feel.

Now, if you’re the type who prefers straight-up astrological explanations and infographics to my folksy “walking along 8th Ave. in Manhattan” example, here’s my favorite retrograde shadow graphic (by Roman Oleh). Click the image for way more info where that came from.


Feel free to ask follow-up questions below in the comments or over at our Discord. I’ve gotchuu! I hope you enjoy all your retrogrades! Planetary and otherwise! 😉


Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

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