Shadow Phases

As we near the next Mercury Retrograde, I thought it might be a good idea to recap on some commonly used Astrology dialect. Now that we are officially in the pre-shadow phase of the next Mercury retrograde, it’s more than fitting for us to discuss just exactly what this means in general as well as for the collective. Mind you, Mercury is not the only planet that goes retrograde, they all do, Mercury is just the one that gets talked about the most for this subject. Go figure considering that Mercury is the planet of communication and thrives on being the one most talked about. 

Any who, there will be separate posts on what exactly retrograde means as well as what this next Mercury Retrograde of 2022 is sharing with all of us but, for now let’s talk about shadow phases. A shadow phase is a time both before and after a particular planet enters retrograde. Just for the sake of clarity, in a nutshell, retrograde means that a planet is moving slower than its normal rotational speed. Since we are all affected by the planets, sun, moon, etc. it only makes sense that when there are significant changes occurring within the Cosmos that we experience the effects of those changes here in the physical realm; as above, so below. 

Since the force needed to move a planet is far greater than I would even describe or think to explain to you all here, it makes sense to say that when a planet goes through a change in speed it doesn’t just happen at the snap of a finger. Just like us, planets need time and space to speed up and slow down especially when it comes to energy that is outside of their typical movement. The pre-shadow phase is the space and time between a planet moving from its normal rotation speed to a much slower retrograde speed while the post-shadow phase is the space and time between a planet moving at that slower retrograde speed back to its normal rotational speed. Seems pretty simple, right?

While most of us get caught up in the hype of retrogrades because it’s an aspect of mainstream news; yes, even in Astrology. Just like I’m always sharing not to sleep on your Rising sign, there will be a post to come about this as well, I highly encourage my clients and myself not to sleep on these pre & post shadow phases. As humans, we need a why in order to fully comprehend most aspects of life. So, heres why; because they’re fucking potent! The boasting of retrogrades does hold significance however, think about yourself and when you are shifting from one thing in your life to the next. Yes, the change itself is very obviously noticed however, that process of getting there as well as the integration period after are where the real shit goes down. I think one of the main reasons these phases, both with the planets as well as ourselves, are not talked about as commonly is because there is so much intimacy and personal stuff unfolding within the shifts. It’s kind of like when an artist locks themself away for days, weeks, months, sometimes years in order to create their next masterpiece. That locking away is the pre-shadow phase of their next retrograde or big shift. The aftermath of integrating all the knowledge and learning from this shift/change is the post-shadow phase. And news flash; we are the artists/creators of life! 

There is a reason that the Sun is denoted as the ultimate Creator of the Cosmos. Even in certain religions, there is talk of things birthing from the light, as well as a reason that male energy comes before female energy. Both are equally important, they need each other but, the Sun is inherently masculine because of the nature of its dominating element: fire. Aries, Leo, and Sagittarius are all the fire signs of the zodiac and guess what, they are all masculine signs. Now you must be thinking to yourself, “Ok, GiGi has really lost it because we were just talking about shadow phases and now we are talking about the Sun/masculinity?!” Stay with me here, light and dark are binary pairs meaning not only does one help to explain the other but, they also compliment each other as counterparts. In order for us to experience all the fiery sparks of the Sun/Source/Creator masculine energy, we must equally honor and sit with the dark/shadow phases of our feminine energy. 

These are the periods of time that allow us to pause and honor what we are shedding/leaving behind before we experience all of the inherent intensity of these changes we are moving towards. Think about caterpillars transitioning to the beautiful butterfly. I don’t know about you but, in second grade we studied these fascinating animals through and through. Part of these studies included an experiment of watching the caterpillars go through their amazing metamorphosis beginning with the chrysalis, then into their cocoon and out the otherside as a butterfly. The chrysalis/cocoon phases as well as the reentering of the butterfly into the world are equivalent to the pre/post shadow phases and understanding them from this perspective allows us to connect back to childhood and possibly some of the magic of that period of our lives that we may have forgotten about over time. 

So, now that you know what pre/post shadow phases are, here are some helpful tips on how to navigate yourself as well as your energy through them. First, take time to acknowledge what is going on with the collective and then bring this acknowledgment back to yourself. Since we are gearing up for a planet to slow down in the pre-shadow phase, how can you get yourself ready to align with this slower energy. Many of us may already be experiencing this slower energy from the recent shift of season into feminine Taurus, who just so happens to be the first Earth sign. Think about running against the wind, it’s nearly impossible, right? Or, if you can make it happen with some movement, you’re really not accomplishing much by this other than potentially aggravating or harming yourself. This is the same as continuing to move at your normal pace/speed when we enter the pre-shadow phase instead of slowing down and aligning yourself with where the collective energy is currently moving in order to harness and utilize this energy to your advantage. Second, take time to rest and recharge yourself for what you are experiencing through this pre-shadow phase. Remember the caterpillar from second grade, who has just entered their chrysalis phase and is now forced by nature to honor stillness and the growth that occurs so magically through this stillness. Yes, we can grow and often times more significantly, when we are still instead of what society tells us in the form of toxic expansion which can only be birthed through constant action. Not only is this concept absolutely untrue, it has created a culture of toxic action that has most people burnt out and still convincing themselves they can keep going. It’s like expecting the battery of your phone to last/run forever without charging it. Once that cocoon is nice and hard, creating the layer of protection needed for this valuable shadow phase, next comes the change itself also known as retrograde, the beautiful blossoming butterfly. Finally, we have the post-shadow phase where all the beautiful butterflies are learning how to integrate all their new and amazing butterfly skills into the world. These shadow phases are opportunities to hold space in time for ourselves, a proverbial hitting of the pause button in our lives if you will. 

Remember, everything in this life is truly all about perspective. These shadow phases as well as retrogrades may be intense however, that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing. So, even amidst the chaos, if you hold the perspective for yourself that this is all happening for the greater and highest good of your current as well as future self/Self, then you know, trust, and believe deep down in your heart that there will always be a beautiful butterfly that emerges from every dark chrysalis/cocoon phase of your life.

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