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As people throughout the world are blowing sighs of relief due to the mercury retrograde’s end, the dreaded shadow period of the retrograde begins. Due to this, I wouldn’t go hog wild just yet with a celebration, because the shadow of the retrograde can be intense.

The Mercury retrograde is most known for the chaos that ensues throughout its duration. Many find their entire lives completely upside down, and even experience immensely wild ideas for handling it. And no matter how well we prepare for this period, there is no way of completely avoiding its devastation. Think about it, in the past few weeks, what has gone on in your life? Have things felt a bit off kilter, leaving you scratching your head at yourself and the world around you?

And while the retrograde itself might be over, the shadow period is not. You see, before the retrograde begins, a two-week shadow period takes place. Conversely, the same happens at the end of the retrograde. And what takes place during these two-week periods can make all the difference.

The shadow period is a time to unwind, to reflect and to recuperate after the retrograde, while the pre-retrograde period is a good time to prepare. When the ending shadow begins, it is best to continue to use caution, at least for a week or two. This will allow for the healing and rebuilding necessary after the retrograde.

“Until May 22, we should all take the necessary Mercury retrograde precautions, moving ahead at a gentle clip and giving our good senses a chance to resume,” the Astrotwins wrote on their Astrology blog, Astro Style. “Back up all data to password-protected (or firewall-protected) storage, changing overused login codes, and making sure that all important bills are being paid in a timely fashion.”

And it would pay to remember that all retrogrades have shadows as well. While may of us may regard to retrogrades as frustrating, annoying, and interfering, they do provide us with the time necessary to evolve. As each retrograde passes, we are given the most important opportunity to truly review, refine and reconfigure our lives for the better.