Mercury goes retrograde 3-4 times each calendar year. The Mercury retrograde period lasts approximately 2 weeks. Mercury is the planet that rules communication.
Mercury retrograde is basically when the planet Mercury looks like it is moving backwards on it’s planetary plane. It is not actually moving backwards, it is an optical illusion. It appears to wobble, stop and then move backwards as Mercury looks like it moves from it’s normal path onto the pre-shadow, pre-shadow intensified, Mercury station, actual Mercury retrograde, Mercury direct, Mercury post-shadow intensified, Mercury retrograde post-shadow.
Many people do not pay attention to the pre-shadow and post-shadow phases, counting only the Mercury station through Mercury direct as the problematic dates, but we find it’s more accurate to pay attention to the pre-shadow and post-shadow phases. There always seems to be some issue that starts during the pre-shadow phase that intensifies through the Mercury retrograde. During the post-shadow phase, the energy gets lighter and issues start resolving.
Mercury is the planet that rules communication, travel and technology. It can affect your car, electronics and relationships because of the strange energy. When Mercury is in retrograde, it affects people differently depending on numerous factors - including their astrological charts and how the people around them are affected. We always recommend planning ahead for chaos, double checking travel plans, triple checking any signed documents, waiting to switch technology and taking it extra easy. When you know Mercury retrograde is happening, you can plan ahead for crazy situations and use your planning to your advantage.
Every Mercury retrograde has a pre-shadow and post-shadow phase. During these phases, the energy can be thrown off much like how it is during the actual Mercury retrograde period. It is actually the time where people start making minor mistakes that may intensify as Mercury goes into the Mercury retrograde station.
Mercury retrograde station is where Mercury actually looks like it stops before looking like it is headed backwards. This is when Mercury is officially in retrograde. Mercury station through Mercury direct are the dates that are usually quoted as Mercury retrograde.
It is true, this is when Mercury retrograde is official. The pre-shadow Mercury retrograde lasts about 10 days. The energy intensifies with the pre-shadow Mercury retrograde 3-4 days ahead of Mercury station. Mercury retrograde lasts approximately 2 weeks. Then there are 3-4 days of the intensified post-shadow phase with the post-shadow winding down for about 10 more days.
Updated October 2019