Astrology Secrets Revealed by ERIC FRANCIS

Shadows or Echoes?


August 4, 2006


Dear Eric,


Hello! It would be wonderful if you could give us some insight into the shadow phase of retrograde planets.


-- Yuko K.



Dear Yuko:


First let's cover the technical side. The term "shadow phase" refers to the degrees of the zodiac occupied by planets before and after they are retrograde, but which cover the same degrees the planet is in when it's retrograde.


Retrograde motion is when a planet appears to be moving backwards. Why it does so is another question. But, let's say Mercury is going to station retrograde at 15 degrees of Aries and retrograde back to 5 degrees.


When Mercury reaches the 5 degree mark before the retrograde, that is when the shadow phase begins. This is because in a few weeks it will be retrograde in that degree range. Then the retrograde begins at 15 degrees, Mercury goes back to 5 degrees and stations direct again.


After the retrograde, Mercury re-covers the same 10 degrees where it was just retrograde. That is also considered the shadow phase.


So here is a one-sentence definition: When an inner planet is moving in direct motion in the degrees where it is about to be retrograde, or was just retrograde, that is the shadow phase. Here is another: the few weeks [or months] before and after an inner planet retrograde are the shadow phase.


Now, as for WHAT is the shadow phase as an actual effect: it would seem, from much observation, that while a planet is occupying the degrees of the retrograde, even if it's moving direct, you get some of the effects of the retrograde. What are those? That, too, is another discussion. But whatever you think they are, or say they are, or experience them to be, is what you're probably going to experience. Since Mercury is currently in the shadow phase, I've saved this document 445 times since starting.


I do wonder about the term "shadow phase," which is not entirely descriptive. Nothing is casting a shadow, or being shadowy. It would seem that the term "echo phase" works better, since you get an echo of the events of the retrograde during this phase. In the first echo phase, you get an echo of the retrograde-yet-to-come. In the second echo phase, you get an echo of the retrograde that's just happened.


Then, the planet enters new territory. As a horoscope writer, that's what I call it in my columns -- I don't say "shadow phase has ended," rather, I say, "Mercury [or whatever] enters new territory next week."


Anyone who has paid attention to retrogrades has noticed that there is indeed an echo effect before and after the retrograde. Note that the term only applies to inner planets. Outer planets for the most part are always in the echo phase, because they almost always cross and re-cross the same degrees of the zodiac three times. This counts for Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and any trans-Neptunian object. Depending on the phase of their cycle, centaurs such as Chiron cross all their degrees of motion several times, though at other times they behave more like inner planets, and are part of the time in either all new territory or the echo phase.


Saturn and Jupiter do a bit of both as well.


Here is a question I've never seen asked or answered: when Mercury is covering the degrees of a long-prior retrograde, is there an echo effect? Let's say for instance Mercury is in the degrees of a retrograde from 2000. Is there an echo back to that time period? It's worth studying. Simple chronologies of news or personal events would be enough to give a clue.


We have a good opportunity right now. Mercury retrogrades in water signs are pretty rare in these centuries of history. There was a water cycle similar to the one we're in now in 2000. Mercury recently covered the degrees of a retrograde in Cancer in the summer of 2000. And a little later in the year it will cover (and be retrograde close to) the degrees of a very special retrograde from October and November 2000 -- in the thick of the presidential election that put George Bush into office, an event that has impacted every person on Earth.


Let's listen for the echo, or look for the shadow.


Yours truly,


Eric Francis