If you've ever felt personally victimized by a Mercury retrograde period, by all means, take this moment to celebrate. You made it through a year that, among its whopping total of 10 planetary retrogrades, featured three Mercury retrogrades that all took place in fire signs. But, as it tends to be the case with these pesky backspins, it's not over until it's really over.
Whenever a planet's retrograde ends, it doesn't instantly snap back to normal. It takes a little while to return to totally direct motion, and this period of time is known as the retrograde's "shadow." In this case, Mercury's shadow lasts about two weeks, so we'll be completely out of the woods by December 24, just in time for Christmas Day and New Year's.
While under Mercury's shadow, tread carefully. This time of year is riddled with deadlines, social engagements, and online shopping — all of which are perfect fodder for Mercury retrograde when it's in full swing. You may still encounter a hiccup or two if you do anything too risky or dramatic in these two weeks, but the consequences won't be catastrophic. Just try to dodge the major Mercurian red flags (signing contracts, visiting sketchy websites, gossiping) and you should be in the clear.
Most importantly, this means that we get to start 2019 off on the right foot, at least where Mercury is concerned (Uranus, the planet of change and innovation, will still be retrograde at the start of the new year). Given the areas of our lives that Mercury touches — communication, online exchanges, and social grace — this is no small blessing. If you view the month of January as a clean slate and an opportunity to start a new chapter in your life, consider Mercury's direct energy to be an additional source of confidence and motivation.