Mercury retrograde has a frustrating way of creeping up on us and wreaking havoc on our plans. At least if you subscribe to that kind of thing: Among people who put stock in astrology — and a relatively high proportion of millennials seem to — Mercury retrograde tends to incite a kind of low-grade panic every time it rolls around, because it essentially functions as a little gremlin gumming up life's gears. And it takes a toll on our moods, derailing productive conversation.
"Mercury is the planet of communication and thought process," witch and astrologer Valerie Mesa tells Bustle. "He governs everything from our text messages to our emails, cars, transportation, reminders, technology." Mercury, the messenger planet, dictates the small daily details we're wont to overlook, but really shouldn't — we realize just how important the little things are when retrograde throws them out of whack and our systems go haywire.
When Mercury retrogrades — which it will on July 26, 2018 — it appears to scoot backward across the sky: The messenger planet makes a much tighter solar orbit than earth does, creating an optical illusion of retro motion. As it backtracks, we earthlings may feel that Mercury hurls wrenches into your best laid plans from its celestial perch, and pours molasses into the communication cogs. As a result, everything proceeds at an excruciatingly slow pace, messages get muddled, checks get lost in the mail, electronics go on the fritz, and answers to your burningest questions generally just don't arrive. And this summer, Mercury retrogrades in Leo, which will have consequences for the way we interact with one another.
"In Leo, Mercury is big bold expressive, because Leo is zodiac royalty."
"In Leo, Mercury is big bold expressive, because Leo is zodiac royalty," Mesa says. "Leo loves to be center of attention, and when Mercury’s in Leo ... we’re all more colorful, theatrical, expressive, Leo-like."
She says you may notice that conversations becoming more intense. "That can cause a little bit of drama, because Mercury’s already very dramatic," says Mesa. Our egos take the wheel, not only does that mean we might not come off exactly the way we'd like to, it also means unnecessary arguments. However, Mesa emphasizes that Mercury retrograde doesn't have to be a time of panic and bottomless frustration. It also doesn't have to be a moment of egomania.
"The theme when Mercury goes retrograde, when any planet goes retrograde, is to reverse and turn inward," Mesa says. "So for instance, because mercury is the planet of communication, it would be kind of a self-dialogue, it would make you reflect on the way you communicate and the people around you are communicating with you." And Mesa says Mercury retrograde actually gives you a chance to reflect and focus on projects.
Fortunately for all of us, Mercury will rouse itself from retrograde on August 18; unfortunately for all of us, it'll be a minute before Mercury is fully alert and functional. After Mercury retrograde comes Mercury retroshade, a period comparable to yawning yourself awake in the morning, slouching into the kitchen, and watching coffee drip slowly into the pot while you contemplate your life choices. So for the next month, expect Mercury to mess with your vibe. Here's how Mercury retrograde will affect your mood this summer, according to astrology.
Taurus (April 20 - May 20)
Taurus may end up feeling frustrated and a little hemmed in this Mercury retrograde — especially with respect to family or home life.
"[I]t’s best that [Tauruses] take a chill pill, really reflect on how it is that they’re communicating because this could bring some unnecessary bickering for them," especially where family is concerned. Siblings may prove particularly irritating, and make bulls feel like they need to get out of the house.
Gemini (May 21 - June 20)
"Gemini is already ruled by Mercury, so for Gemini it’s a double whammy," Mesa says. The cosmic twins may feel "hazier or foggier" when it comes to communications, like they're unable to make themselves clear. The feeling of not being able to get their point across may prove especially frustrating for conversation-loving Gemini, but they can also expect difficulty when it comes to contracts and travel — when it comes to the details, basically, because Mercury retrograde goes extra hard on this sign.
Cancer (June 21 - July 22)
Brace your bank account Cancer, because Mercury retrograde is coming for your "self-worth and finances," Mesa says. You may feel yourself in something of a rut when it comes to money matters. If contracts are on the horizon, retrograde may spotlight the crab's self-esteem. "Leos are ruled by the sun, their ego," Mesa says, so when you're hashing out payment terms or thinking about what you make, questions about your own worth may arise.
Leo (July 23 - Aug. 22)
Mercury retrograde will affect Leos directly this time around, because the slow-down will occur in their own sign. Leos need to be careful about "their first impressions, their messaging, the way that they come across," Mesa says. They may feel (or be) a little tactless. Mesa recommends Leos check in with themselves to avoid "coming across as egotistical" and putting off new acquaintances.
Virgo (Aug. 23 - Sept. 22)
Virgo feels Mercury retrograde intensely because, like Gemini, it's ruled by the messenger planet. This time around, Virgos may feel less outgoing than usual, and may prefer to turn inward. Mercury retrograde of summer 2018 will occur in Virgos' "area of subconscious and their hidden shadow self," Mesa says. "This could make them feel somewhat introverted and have even more of that self-dialogue."
As a result, Virgos may also feel especially psychic, Mesa says, even dreamy. Areas where they need but lack closure will be highlighted — "that haziness, that confusion, the anxiety". Mesa suspects Virgos will notice may mean they're sorting through the past on an intuitive level.
Libra (Sept. 23 - Oct. 22)
Libra may also have some issues with insecurity and loneliness this Mercury retrograde. "This is going to affect their extended community and their friendship circles," Mesa says. "They may feel a bit isolated, mood-wise, because it’s a time where they might not be seeing eye-to-eye with their regular circle. They’re sensitive. They may feel a little bit like the odd ball." It'll pass, Libra! Blame the messenger planet.
Scorpio (Oct. 23 - Nov. 21)
Scorpios may find themselves feeling cautious, especially as regards their public persona. Mercury retrograde, Mesa predicts, "is going to touch [Scorpios'] career zones. Emails related to work, anything that has to do with them in the public eye, if they’re doing an interview, if they’re having conversations with someone [who's] important," she recommends that you scorpions mind your words, because they may be more likely to come out wrong during retrograde. Scorpios should be mindful, and take care to be tactful — especially when using work email, or venting about co-workers or bosses on Slack.
Sagittarius (Nov. 22 - Dec. 21)
Attention, archers: The coming Mercury retrograde may leave you feeling even more restless than usual, if that's possible. It will "touch their area of personal philosophy and long-distance travel," Mesa says of Sag, so now isn't the time to plan a big trip. Not the best news, considering retrograde might make Sagittarius feel stuck, like they want to escape. Hang in there, Sag!
Capricorn (Dec. 22 - Jan. 19)
Take care to lock up your personal details and sensitive information, Capricorn, because Mercury retrograde may challenge your sense of security. "[Capricorns] may be feeling a little bit paranoid," Mesa says, "because this is going to touch their area of privacy, of intimacy, of secrecy."
Aquarius (Jan. 20 - Feb. 18)
Put your relationship conversations on hold, Aquarius — during Mercury retrograde, those might send you into a panic. Mercury retrograde will affect your partnership sector, so you may be feeling "anti-relationships," Mesa says. Your commitmentphobia may run high, so do your best to communicate those feelings to the people you're dating (even though communication will be shaky during retrograde) and save any big, future-forming talks for the fall.
Pisces (Feb. 19 - March 20)
Sorry, fish friends, but Mercury retrograde may leave you feeling stressed this summer. "This is going to affect their day-to-day routine, their health routine," Mesa says. That may mean you feel extra productive — booking appointments, choosing courses, running errands — or it may make you feel overwhelmed. Either way, you'll likely get the sense that you have much more responsibility during retrograde than you usually do.
Remember, Mercury retrograde doesn't automatically mean you're doomed. If you're feeling the effects of Mercury moving backwards, simply take a step back and reflect.