Tuesday Toolbox

Tuesday Toolbox 16


Following on from last weeks Toolbox, this week I’ve had emails asking about the shadow.

Questions like:

I’ve read about the Mercury shadow- what is that?


Some astrologers say that you shouldn’t do anything while a planet is in shadow- what does that mean?

I’m glad you asked.

Essentially, the shadow is that part of the zodiac that will receive multiple passes by a planet.

Remember how last week, we talked about how a planet will pass a single point on the zodiac once as it moves through the first time, once while it’s retrograde, and again as it turns direct? That part that is crossed three times is known as the shadow.

Ok, let’s put this into context using the current Mercury retrograde.

  • Mercury turned retrograde at 15 Libra 54’
  • He’ll travel back to 1 Libra 8’ and will turn direct here on 8th
  • Mercury first passed 1 Libra 8’ back on 29th From this date until he turned retrograde on 17th September, Mercury was said to be in shadow.
  • Once he turns direct on 8th October, he’ll be in shadow again until he reaches the point at which he turned retrograde ie 15 Libra 54’…around 24th

So, Mercury is either retrograde or in shadow from 29th August all the way through to 24th October.

You can see how for the slower moving planets, that shadow period is longer.

  • Jupiter turns retrograde at 23 Virgo 14 on 7th January 2016.
  • He’ll travel back as far as 13 Virgo 15 and will turn direct here on 8th May, 2016.
  • Jupiter will first pass 13 Virgo 15’ on 13th October 2015- and will be in shadow from this date.
  • Once he turns direct on 8th May 2016, he’ll be in shadow again until he reaches the point at which he turned retrograde ie 23 Virgo 14…around 7th August 2016.

Jupiter will, therefore be in shadow or retrograde from 13th October 2015 all the way through until 7th August 2016.

Pluto is even more extreme- spending most of the year either shadow or retrograde. Eg Pluto turned direct at 12 Capricorn 58’ during last week. He first passed this position on 27/12/14. He turned retrograde at 15 Capricorn 32’ on 17/4/15 and will next pass this point on 15/1/16.

See what I mean?

This is why I don’t consider the shadow period for any of the slower moving planets- in practice, anything from Jupiter out.

As for the whole business about taking care not to take drastic actions during the shadow period for Mercury, Venus or Mars? I sort of get that- to a certain extent:

  • Some issues arising during a retrograde period have a tendency not to be resolved until after the shadow is complete.
  • Some projects commenced during the shadow before the planet turns retrograde have a tendency not to gain traction until after the shadow is complete.

Overall, though, I tend to take note, take care, and proceed regardless. But that’s just me.

These things affect different people in different ways- I know many astrologers who have an opposite viewpoint to me, and wouldn’t consider undertaking Mercury type activities (for instance) during the Mercury shadow. If you want to see how it affects you, drag out an ephemeris and your calendar and mark in the retrogrades and the shadow periods for the personal planets and make your own call on it.

Next week we really will be back to chart shapes…I promise…