Your Mercury Retrograde Survival Guide

Art by Mariano Peccinetti and Karen Lynch.

Art by Mariano Peccinetti and Karen Lynch.

Jake Register (@jakesastrology) breaks down everything you need to know about this month’s most dreaded astrological event.

The most dreaded astrological event of all time, Mercury retrograde, happens this month, and spends most of July shuffling backwards through the zodiac, re-tracing its steps in the signs of Leo and Cancer, for the entire month of July. In English: anything and everything under Mercury’s rulership—travel, technology, and communication—spends the next three weeks working in a backwards, funky sort of way that makes life way harder than it needs to be. Schedules go crazy, your ex’s name pops up in your DMs, and you’re basically forced to put life on pause while you revisit and rework old relationships and projects with problems that need addressing. Make sure you spell-check every email you send out, confirm that you’re sending texts to the right person, be super careful about who/what you gossip about (because it’ll 110% come back around to bite you in the ass if you’re not), and make sure you have your travel plans lined up perfectly if you’re taking any summer trips, because shit can hit the fan fast with these areas of life when Mercury retrograde comes around!

Mercury retrograde starts off on July 7 in Leo, a sign known for being bold, flirty, self-centered, and dramatic. So far this month, Mercury in Leo has been pretty beneficial—it gives your sense of humor a little boost, gives you a more theatrical and over-the-top POV, and makes you want to throw a little glitter in with everything you say and do. Once it turns retrograde, Mercury in Leo’s dark-sided traits are more likely to pop out, making you become more self-absorbed, which leads to being more self-conscious and hard on yourself, which eventually leads to you being super sensitive and taking everything that isn’t a compliment as a personal attack. One trick that will save you from endless headaches this month? Keep track of how much you’re saying “me,” and “I,” and try to keep it to a minimum. Instead, make sure you’re asking questions that start with “do you…” and “are you…” All you need to do is make sure you’re taking others into consideration and acknowledging the people around you and making them feel validated—that’s all Mercury in Leo wants, after all—to stay out of harm’s way while you wait for everyone else to finish clawing each other’s eyes out!

On July 19, Mercury exits Leo to take a dip back into the waters of Cancer, the sign of the crab, where it was for a majority of June. Mercury in Leo made you feel super self-critical and sensitive, but Mercury in Cancer is a whole ‘nother level! The playful, romantic vibes of Leo dissipate once Mercury goes back into Cancer, and are replaced with a more subjective and moody feeling that clouds your judgement and makes it hard to think straight or communicate clearly. Cancer is also the sign of family and home life, so the drama and conflama of the retrograde trickles down into your living space and the family group chat after the 19th. A little bickering with your siblings or an argument with your parents isn’t the end of the world, but if you don’t have a great relationship with the fam, this could be a stressful few days where you have to take care of unfinished business with them. 

The retrograde finally ends at the very, very end of the month on July 31. This doesn’t mean any issues brought up during the retrograde are magically over and done with, but it does mean that you don’t have any more bullshit to deal with after that point! This is when you can start doing damage control and get a better grip of the positive components of Mercury in Cancer—getting more in touch with your feelings, communicating your emotional needs more effectively, and discerning who really has your back and has the privilege of being a part of your chosen family. 

Any lingering remnants of this summer’s MR are long gone by August 15. It sounds super far away from now, but it’ll be here before you know it, and then you can celebrate the end of your summer free of drama! The point of this Mercury retrograde is to make sure you’re self-aware and in-tune with your feelings, so you can make sure your emotional needs are being met by others, which helps you cut off toxic relationships, and focus instead on the nice people in your life instead! August has some of 2019’s best astro-weather, so making it through this month’s shit show of planetary drama will be well worth it when you’re with your friends, relaxing on the beach, enjoying your summertime with a fruity cocktail in one hand and passing a blunt to your bestie with the other!