Graphic by Emily Rose Thorne
Hi witches, friends, and readers, and welcome to our newest column. Star (Em)Powered will give you the weekly astrological rundown and a general tarot reading about what’s in store for you and how you can show up as your best self, no matter what’s going on with the planets. I want to create a positive space for you to work your power as guided by the stars and the cards. Thank you for starting this journey with me!
And what an interesting time to launch an astrology and tarot column: we’re coming off the total solar eclipse from the New Moon in Cancer July 2, and we launched into the infamous Mercury Retrograde July 7! While it’s true that this period can cause some serious frustrations, if you’re prepared for it, you have the power to turn the experience into a positive one. I’ll break down how each sign can show up as their best selves and pull some cards about actionable steps. So take a deep breath, light some incense, and buckle up — but don’t freak out; you’ve got this!
First things first, though: pick your cards. Listen closely to your intuition. Which pile do you feel most called to choose? If it’s more than one, that’s okay too.
Now let’s get to the good stuff. Mercury goes retrograde on July 7, while transiting through the sign of Leo. He’ll set himself back on course July 31. That’s what’s known as going direct, while this retrograde period is so called because he appears to be moving backwards. Physically, it’s just an illusion, but energetically, there’s a lot happening.
For starters, Mercury rules communication and technology, including writing and editing, buying and selling, speaking and listening, and making business transactions. In terms of the zodiac, he’s most associated with Virgo and Gemini. That means if you have these signs somewhere else significant in your natal chart — like your Sun, Moon, Ascendant, or Mercury — his movements might hit you harder than others.
Not everyone will feel this much of a disruption, though. Let’s take a look at how each element might be affected.
Earth signs (Taurus, Virgo, and Capricorn):
It might feel like the whole world is against you when Mercury goes retrograde if your chart reflects a lot of earth energy. Whatever plan you’ve had or goal you’ve been working towards might slow to a stop due to factors outside of your control. You might feel impatient or impulsive in response, and this could even make you angry or aggressive towards others, depending on the other placements in your chart. Make sure you aren’t blaming the wrong people or aspects when your plans fall through or if you just don’t feel as solid in your routine as before. Mercury Retrograde wants to shake you up on purpose — it’s time to embrace what you can do when you aren’t focused on certainty! Earth signs’ power lies in staying grounded, so you could work on some meditation, yoga, or breathing techniques to help you return to your serene state if you start to feel overwhelmed.
Fire signs (Aries, Sagittarius, and Leo):
Fire signs thrive on fast action and direct confrontation, so it’s no wonder this period can be really frustrating. You hate it when your goals and plans don’t go as planned, but where earth signs might give up, you go the other direction and act out. Similarly, if you’re thinking of traveling, don’t follow the age-old advice that says not to during this time, but do plan ahead so you don’t end up angry if your car, computer, or calendar start wildin’. I know, I know, that’s not your favorite piece of advice, but Mercury Retrograde is a perfect time to work on your patience!
Some fire signs, especially Leos, like to be in the spotlight or leading the way, either in the business world or just among your group of friends. However, easily embarrassed folks can really struggle if they find their best-laid plans spiraling off track. You might falter in a situation where you’d normally shine, such as during a presentation if you’re in class, or while performing if you’re a theatre person. Practice surrendering control to the spiritual and the unknown, and even more importantly, forgiving yourself unequivocally should something go wrong. It doesn’t reflect on you as a person!
Air signs (Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra):
Get ready to feel irritated. Luckily for air signs, though, this is about the worst you’re going to experience this month. Your traditional modes of communicating with others, such as through social media or text, won’t be as reliable right now (Instagram and Facebook went down last Mercury Retrograde, and it happened again this time, too!), so you’re going to have to use your gift of innovation to make it through. You enjoy a challenge, especially Aquarians. The changes coming your way might seem insurmountable, but you’ll realize that it’s an opportunity for you to improve some aspect of your life, or even yourself. This season is going to ask you to find an alternate way to do what you want and need to do. Don’t get annoyed, or at least don’t sit with frustration for too long. You know it’s not productive.
Mercury Retrograde loves to bring back what we thought was said and done, and this can be a jarring experience for air signs, who thrive on self-advancement. People from your past remind you of who you used to be, and you’re probably not the most comfortable with past iterations of yourself. Take this time as a chance to make peace with them. We grow and change for a reason, and it’s a beautiful process — nothing to be ashamed of. If you’re a Libra, you might get anxious about the re-emergence of someone from your past. You’re going to have to decide whether or not to let them back in. Relationships are very important to you, but make sure you’re not letting people have access to you who don’t deserve it. You likely feel a need to make peace, but your mental health and well-being are far more important.
Water signs (Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces):
For water signs, emotions run high all the time, so Mercury Retrograde might make you feel like a total mess. Intuition, your usual guiding light, is flawed right now, particularly for Pisces. Your sense of security at home might be disrupted, causing moodiness, especially if you’re a Cancer. You might feel yourself going into protection mode if you feel disempowered. Cutting people out, though, will only make you feel that much more isolated, and when your relationships aren’t at the forefront, you get a little emo. Luckily, water signs are well-equipped for this unstable period if you’re up to the challenge of recognizing your strengths and utilizing them with confidence. You are resourceful, creative, wise, and — if you’re a Scorpio — probably patient. Lean in to those aspects of yourself and think outside the box when you encounter problems, despite your likely instinct to shut down instead.
Thanks for trusting me to help guide you this week, friends. Take this time for what it is: a cleverly disguised opportunity to practice your ability to adapt. Come back next week for more empowerment-based astrological projections and tarot readings. Merry meet!
Emily Rose Thorne is a junior at Mercer University and an aspiring multimedia journalist. She’s been involved with Step Up Magazine since 2017 and is now helping guide the editorial team as Senior Editor. Previously, she interned as a journalist for both Atlanta Magazine and Girls Rock Athens. She’s also served as Staff Writer, Lead News Writer and News Editor of her campus publication, The Cluster. She is currently the Digital Editor of The Cluster and a 2019 John M. Couric Fellow at the Center for Collaborative Journalism. This summer, she'll start producing audio and writing copy for Georgia Public Broadcasting in Macon.