Pardon us for interrupting frosé happy hour, but we feel morally obligated to deliver this astro-alert: Mercury will be retrograde from July 7 to 31. And with the messenger planet backing up through drama-loving Leo until the 19th, then ultra-sensitive Cancer until the 31st, July’s mood board is looking pretty prickly.
While we wish we didn’t have to deliver this news, forewarned is forearmed, right? So, let’s talk about advance preparation, so you can sail through these signal-scrambling waters without getting sucked into the undertow…or canceling summer!
Mercury Retrograde in Leo: July 7-19
What to look out for: Two orchestra seats, please! Even while not in retrograde, Mercury’s annual tour through Leo amplifies the collective flair for the dramatic. But from July 7 to 19, the show could get downright Shakespearean. Anticipate people’s overblown reactions—and avoid using triggering language that could send them spiraling over the Montague-Capulet edge. Even more crucial? Monitor your own responses, and don’t be quick to clap back at the first sign of a Twitter drag. Tension escalates quickly while Mercury is in reverse‚ and for all you know, you could be misreading someone’s innocent intentions as an attack. Even if shade is thrown, best to hash it out in private than on the social media world stage.
With Mercury taking a knee at Leo’s iron throne, power struggles are bound to erupt. But how badly do you want (need) to be queen? Your inner Daenarys could skew your better judgment, and if you let Mercury retrograde take hold of your brain, you could burn down the metaphoric King’s Landing trying to prove a moot point.
Since Leo is the sign of fame, life could start looking like the first round of So, You Think You Can Dance? tryouts. Don’t jump into the talent show unless you’ve properly rehearsed! Same goes for the dating game. In romantic Leo, Mercury’s moonwalk could rouse toxic exes from the cesspool. While their return might even feel a dash exciting—especially if your ego got crushed during round one and you want to show them that you have the upper hand—don’t kid yourself. Your pride could take a tumble once again. When that 2AM “What ru doing?” text pops up, ignore, delete and block.
What to do more of: When it comes to Mercury retrograde, think of the prefix “re,” as in review, revive, revisit, reprise. The first half of the backspin would be an ideal time to tap Leo’s creative juices and pull a half-done project out of the archives. Polish it up behind the scenes; see if you don’t get a second wind of inspiration.
If you’re in a style slump, go retro! While we caution against making a long-term fashion moves, there could be some great vintage pieces tucked away in your storage unit. Bermuda shorts have made a comeback, and your 90s kitten-heeled sandals could get a second life. And if there were ever a time to make like Leo Kylie Jenner and clip on the bangs, July 7 to 19 is your mane extension moment. Pro tip: Reschedule the tattoo consultation or the microblading sesh until after July 31.
In love, there’s always a case for seeing what’s up with “the one that got away,” so long as you aren’t trying to break up bae’s happy home. But if you suspect you might both still be single—and that divine timing could be on your side in 2019—it wouldn’t hurt to casually holler at ‘em and see if you get a response. Just don’t pin all your hopes on this reconciliation. It might be wiser to just make a list of your unrequited love’s greatest traits, then, try to find someone new who ticks all the same boxes.
Mercury Retrograde in Cancer: July 19-31
What to look out for: When Mercury rows back into Cancer’s sensitive seas, the current will get rough on the emotion ocean. If someone asks for space or tells you it’s not a good time to talk, respect that! Forgive the bad zodiac pun, but this literally could be the crabbiest time of year for many people. And attempts to push them out of their shells could be rewarded with a painful pinch…or worse, a friendship breakup. Yes, of course they are overreacting. But try telling that to people while Mercury is retrograde in this high-strung water sign. Ouch.
Your own emotions could be dialed up to 11, but it will also be hard to express them without raging or bursting into tears. For this reason, it’s best to take cooldown breaks before going in for the heart-to-hearts. But don’t harden your own shell and shut people out; or worse, ghost. A failure to reply to messages in a timely fashion could cause major communication breakdowns.
Cancer is the sign of home and family, and from July 19 to 31, there could be more trouble than usual brewing under everyone’s own roof. Don’t attempt political talks or peace accords with the most trenchant relative on the family tree, because dialogues could go sideways fast. If you’re sick of your roommate leaving dirty dishes in the sink, don’t start slamming around pots while you angrily scour the baked-on pomodoro sauce from her pasta dinner. Call a house meeting; setting it for a time when you’ll both be your calmest. Be open to creative solutions, like say, divvying up chores in new way. Dry-cleaning deliveries in exchange for ongoing kitchen clean-up? Hey, that might be a win-win.
What to do more of: It’s high season for nostalgia as the Cancer segment of the retrograde can bring fond memories of childhood, and the good times you had with your homies from back in the day. Is there a friend group you’d love to reconnect with? A beloved relative to visit for a slumber-party-style catchup? There’s no shortage of warm-fuzzy vibes for these “familiars” while Mercury’s journeying back through Cancer from July 19 to 31. (Just leave early for the airport or keep a spare in the trunk if you’re traveling for these reunions.)
While in Cancer, Mercury retrograde might ruffle your nest-feathering instincts. Easy does it though! This is not the time to embark on any mega renovations, but it is a fine time to research and pin all the dreamy possibilities for turning your space into a sacred oasis. If you already have contractors on the job, pop in regularly to make sure everything’s going to plan. If you’re going full-on Marie Kondo on your space, Mercury retrograde can make the process a bit more pleasing, since you’ll actually have fun sifting through some of those old boxes. But maybe wait until after July 31 to haul the “does not spark joy” pile off to the thrift store donation line, because there are bound to be a few misgivings.
Don’t: Overwhelm people with passionate declarations of love or start listing all the things you want to improve about the relationship.
Do: Meet people for fun activity dates, instead of sitting around for brunch or drink; but never force yourself to rally for a hangout if you’re exhausted and want to stay home. Be upbeat and enthusiastic, but not at Level: Golden Retriever
Don’t: Embark on major home renovation projects or try to make nice with difficult relatives and frenemies. They are best ignored in July.
Do: Plan (and host!) reunions with beloved relatives and friends; work on media projects behind the scenes. Become a regular at a great spot in your zip code.
Don’t: Make promises that involve spending more money than you currently have. Spill tea about coworkers or get caught up in office drama.
Do: Use your gift of gab to nurture relationships with people who could one day become clients, customers or crucial professional contracts. Tighten up your belt and stick to a budget.
Don’t: Opinion-poll other people about what’s best for you instead of trusting your inner voice. Spend your self-care funds on other people, especially if you’re feeling depleted!
Do: Surround yourself with people who honor your strength and reflect your best self back to you. Review statements with a fine-toothed comb and cut out extraneous charges.
Don’t: Dim your lights in order to help other people shine. Compromise your creative vision, especially when you know you’re being divinely guided.
Do: Be the noble lion, looking for ways that everyone can win together or sharing the spoils from your victories with the people you love most.
Don’t: Go along with groupthink for fear of rocking the boat; or avoid your friends because you are afraid of voicing a conflicting point of view.
Do: Mingle with people who share your more soulful and creative values. Reconnect with a group that supported you through a hard time.
Don’t: Join forces with people who haven’t earned your trust. Post anything online that could compromise your professional reputation and standing.
Do: Reconnect with colleagues who supported your success in the past. Organize collaborations with people who are innovative and pro-level.
Don’t: Let professional projects balloon out of control, even if you are excited about their potential. Scatter your energy and lose focus trying to keep up with the Joneses.
Do: Connect with people in other parts of the world who share your #interests. Travel to reunite with someone you adore. Just leave early for the airport and triple confirm all reservations.
Don’t: Try to put rules and limits on people who need to be free—including yourself! Spiral out into the future and let worry and anxiety overtake a relationship. Take gambles with your money.
Do: Sit back and let people show you their true colors. If they are meant to be in your life, they’ll keep showing up! Invest in things that will bring a return, not just a one-time hit of pleasure.
Don’t: Settle for vague relationship agreements and handshake deals. Allow toxic exes to permeate your emotional field. Make excuses for people’s bad behavior.
Do: Insist on fidelity, honesty and clear terms from people who call themselves your partners, whether for business or pleasure. If they can’t step up? Bye!
Don’t: Fall into a martyr role at work or in relationships. Feel bad about saying no to social activities if you need time for self-care.
Do: Set clear limits with coworkers and vocalize your boundaries in your personal life. Be disciplined about wellness without forging all decadence.
Don’t: Sacrifice your health to stay up super late helping friends—or pushing yourself to party like a rock star when you know you need a grandma moment.
Do: Fuel up on the rainbow bowls and iced matcha lattes. Ramp up your self-care this July and ignite your vitality. That lit-from-within glow will be your most attractive asset.