Graphic by Emily Rose Thorne
Hi witches, friends, and readers, and welcome to the next installment of Star (Em)Powered. I’ll give you the weekly astrological rundown 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.
But before we get to that, let’s check in. How are you all? Last week, we talked about Mercury Retrograde, and I’ve been feeling its effects ever since. I’ve been having intense dreams, an ex slid into my DMs (hello, block button), my credit card got declined, my dryer broke, and my key card to enter my apartment stopped working. Needless to say, I’ve been struggling with my motivation to work, study, and socialize. It’s not just me, either: Facebook and Instagram crashed last week, and New York City suffered a massive, inexplicable power outage this past weekend.
I did what I could to honor what the planets are teaching me by taking Sunday’s Sagittarius Moon to rest and write by myself with a cup of coffee—okay, two—some incense, and my favorite podcast, and I can finally say I’m starting to feel refreshed. I hope you are, too! Now we have to do what we can to move forward, so let’s see what’s going on this week.
Tuesday, July 16, greets us with a major astrological event: a total lunar eclipse in hardworking, cautious Capricorn. While last week’s solar eclipse occurred at the Capricorn New Moon, lunar eclipses occur during a Full Moon. Solar eclipses disconnect us a bit from what’s real, but lunar eclipses illuminate what’s a little too real: the shadow self. It’s the negative, or repressed, parts of ourselves that hold us back from manifesting our best lives.
Full Moons bring closure, transition, breakthroughs, and opportunities to release what doesn’t serve us for the purpose of growth or recovery. Put it all together and we get the overarching theme of this lunar eclipse in Capricorn: it’s time to identify what’s holding us back in our creative or professional lives and move past that sh*t! Your tarot reading down below will reveal how you can do that most effectively, but in general, it’s a time for balancing any conflicting energies in your life and working through the traumas or past tensions that Mercury Retrograde is so keen on bringing back into our consciousness. Personally, I scheduled a therapy appointment and am using the tarot to uncover which aspects of my shadow self need the most attention as I prepare for it.
Sounds like a lot, right? Well, it doesn’t end there. On July 19, Mercury will transit into Cancer to join Venus and the Sun. Fire and water signs are most likely to feel this aspect in their lives this week. Aries, Sagittarius, and Leo will be called to wrestle inner conflicts, while Cancer, Scorpio, and Pisces may feel the need to forge a new interpersonal connection or mend a strained relationship. Whatever your sign, the reading down below will help you narrow that down, too.
Let’s go ahead and tune into the tarot. This time, I’m going to pull two cards for each of the 12 zodiac signs, one for how you should work with your shadow self during the eclipse and the other for how Mercury in Cancer will affect you based on your Rising sign. (Check your birth chart to discover your Rising sign, also known as your Ascendant, for this reading!)
Photo by Emily Rose Thorne
Aries: Six of Swords Reversed & The Hierophant
In reversed form, the Six of Swords signifies slow or stagnated progress and feelings of entrapment. It’s unclear whether you’ve been feeling trapped or if you are, or were, the one entrapping others—but that’s up to you to decide during this eclipse. Either way, your shadow this time involves either having been unfairly limited or unintentionally limiting someone else. The Hierophant is a major arcana card that references a kind, wise teacher or sage imparting helpful knowledge onto you. You should seek support from someone you trust, particularly a mentor, throughout the rest of Mercury’s retrograde period, and keep yourself from acting impulsively or selfishly.
Taurus: Three of Wands Reversed & The Hanged Man Reversed
The Three of Wands speaks of an undesirable return: a forced visit home, a trip for unfortunate circumstances, or simply revisiting past disappointments, regrets, or shadows. Similarly, when the self-sacrificial Hanged Man falls in reverse, it can foreshadow a missed opportunity, a soiled relationship, or a necessary change you’re unwilling to make. You’re likely to find this week full of extremely frustrating events, but remember: this is exactly what the eclipse wants you to think about. Focus your energy on recovery and resolution rather than brooding (which the Cancer-dominant astrological landscape might propel you to do).
Gemini: Four of Swords & Eight of Pentacles Reversed
The Four of Swords promises a nice period of respite, but in the context of your shadow self, it might indicate that your current path to healing or plans for progress just aren’t getting you the results you want. You may need to try something different to get to the end of what you’re experiencing and find your balance again. Part of your lack of progress may be exacerbated by the Mercury Retrograde in Cancer before you can redirect yourself. It’s always darkest before the dawn, and the reversed Eight of Pentacles is all about being lazy, idle, mopey, careless, or resigned to failure. Don’t let yourself retreat in the face of adversity. You just need to make a new plan, and that’s okay!
Cancer: Justice Reversed & Temperance
Both of these cards refer to personal and spiritual balance, and folks with Cancer in their chart need that more than ever during this particular Retrograde. Justice in reversed position suggests karmic action, too. In terms of the shadow self during the eclipse, think back to a relationship or situation in which you may have won the upper hand over someone else through less-than-fair means and consider why you acted the way you did. Or think about the dualities within yourself and whether you’re giving one more attention than the other. Is there an imbalance that you created? Or one that you let continue out of fear of addressing it?
Leo: Three of Swords & Eight of Cups
The Three of Swords get a bad rap for being the heartbreak card, but it doesn’t necessarily foreshadow a break-up in this context. You may need to reflect on past heartbreaks and what role you played in past relationships. How did you respond to the conflicts or disagreements? And how do those experiences continue to affect you in your new relationships? Your charge this eclipse season may be to identify and release what you’re still holding from past traumas so they don’t seep into the new life you’ve created and affect those around you who don’t deserve it. The Eight of Cups affirms this: it can imply that you feel stable in your ways right now, but that you may still be hurting someone (or multiple someones) because you’ve resigned yourself to a thinking pattern or a belief that no longer applies.
Virgo: Nine of Pentacles & Queen of Cups Reversed
Pentacles and Cups together create a balance of the physical world with your emotional state, but the Queen of the intuitive suit is in reverse, signifying a potential lack of emotional maturity and inability to access your intuition. The Nine of Cups can suggest self-centeredness, and together they point to an overflow of your inner child in your relationships. Your shadow self may be someone who asks too much of others and projects their own feelings into situations that don’t involve them. Put simply: arrogance. During this Mercury Retrograde in Cancer, you may find yourself so overwhelmed by your own emotions that you can’t understand that you need to listen to others, too. This can cost you when it comes to material possessions, your physical health, or the state of your environment by making them tumultuous. Work to stay grounded.
Libra: Nine of Cups Reversed & Nine of Wands
The Nine of Cups in reverse is, unfortunately, a deeply unhappy card. It comes with emotional baggage involving poor mental health or an inability to cope with past traumas. Your shadows are many and dark right now, and they require much more attention that you’re currently giving them. These problems are rooted deeply in you, and you must work hard to resolve them. If you have been looking for a sign to seek help or permission to give yourself the attention you may not feel that you deserve, this is it. The Nine of Wands indicates that you possess a great intellect and a sound, logical mind, but that you are perhaps unsure if you deserve to use it on yourself or your own issues. Listen, friend: you are worthy of healing and of self-love, and what better time to begin that journey than today?
Scorpio: Wheel of Fortune Reversed & Two of Wands
What goes around comes around, and this Retrograde is bringing something back that you do not want to see. In reverse, the Wheel brings bad luck and setbacks that can be disappointing. Your Scorpio placement means you’re predisposed to patience, and now is a good time to use it. Your shadow self is one who struggles when you’re not in control of your reality at all times, but you need to accept that feeling of powerlessness and perhaps analyze what has caused you to feel so scared of it in the first place. The Two of Wands suggests the creation of a new relationship, but likely a platonic one, and in this instance it may be one that can help you engage the self-awareness and emotional understanding that you need to move through the period of misfortune that the reversed Wheel brings.
Sagittarius: Four of Wands & Ace of Swords Reversed
The Four of Wands is generally a very positive card signifying peaceful and harmonious unions, either ceremonial or interpersonal. It’s the early payoff from a seed you have planted or the first signs of progress after you’ve begun a new endeavor. Perhaps your shadow self is one who loves to start projects but falters when it comes to the finish, or who loses their drive to continue the hard work needed for the sustainability of something once you’ve seen the initial reward. The Ace of Swords upright can mean that you’re beginning a new project or study, but in reverse it can amount to everything crashing down due to poor decision-making, lack of communication, running out of ideas or intellectual energy, or simply not seeing clearly. These astrological movements this week could make you feel highly emotional, either in a positive or negative way, and your challenge is not to let those feelings cloud your vision in your important pursuits.
Capricorn: Two of Swords Reversed & Six of Cups Reversed
In reverse, the Two of Swords says you’ve got a decision to make or a situation to mediate, and your shadow self might not want to do it. On a larger scale or in the long-term, this can manifest as anxiety or emotional turmoil, which is sure to only be exacerbated by this week’s astrological events. Your challenge is to remain grounded, but not guarded or stuck in the past; the Six of Cups reversed suggests that you’re clinging to some former attachment or past memory that you’ve already learned everything you could from. You have to let go, and a lunar eclipse is the perfect time to do it—especially while it’s in your sign!
Aquarius: Five of Swords & The Star
Depending on how deep you want to get with this reading, the Five of Swords can indicate a feeling of having been defeated, having surrendered without a fight, or having seen or survived violence, assault, or even sexual abuse in your past. Whatever it is, your shadow self has a lot of healing left to do, and is being weighed down by a past trauma most likely associated with your physical body. It may manifest as self-doubt and self-consciousness, or as overconfidence and arrogance that might ramp up this week if it’s one of the ways you cope with emotional instability. You may be prone to self-sabotage, but you can use the energies of the eclipse to avoid that impulse and instead focus on groundingand reminding yourself that you deserve space and compassion to heal from what’s hurt you. The Star provides hope and contentment; it’s a reminder that everything’s going to be okay. It may help you to identify a concrete goal or journal about what you want to see in a future iteration of yourself to give you something to aspire to as you embark on your healing journey.
Pisces: Four of Cups & Two of Pentacles
The Four of Cups suggests that your shadow self is plagued with regret or remorse, either from how you may have treated someone else or for how you reacted when you were being treated badly. It’s likely that self-doubt led you to turn down a person, offer, or situation that you know would have been beneficial to you, but either a distrust of yourself or a fear of change led you astray. You may want to meditate on these decisions during the eclipse: why did you act the way you did and how can you unravel the thought patterns that led you there for next time? The Two of Pentacles suggests difficulty finding balance, especially when it comes to making decisions that serve you well. As an emotional sign, you may be hit pretty hard by Mercury’s retrograde in Cancer, so work on putting your energy into the most positive space you can. Take what comes as a temporary learning experience— nothing more, nothing less—and you’ll make it out just fine.
Thank you for trusting me again this week. Come back next time 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.