The first Mercury retrograde of 2021 will begin on January 30, meaning it will cast its pall over this month’s usually lovey-dovey atmosphere. It’s taking place in Aquarius, that hare-brained air sign that would rather zig when the rest of us are ready to zag. We should brace for three weeks of scattered thoughts and debates that muddle opinions with facts, but we should also look forward to a period of innovation, of stunning (if less than realistic) strokes of genius. We might not have the wherewithal to put these ideas into practice, but that doesn’t mean they’ll have to sit on the shelf for long.
Mercury’s befuddling backspin aside, this month will be a wonderful time to think about the importance of community on both a micro and macro scale. What does your support system look like? Are you a part of someone else’s? What can you do to buoy those around you, while staying afloat yourself?
Aries (March 21 – April 19)
Prepare for mixed messages coming in from all sides, dear Ram: Venus is riding alongside a retrograding Mercury as the month begins, making it difficult for a straight-shooting sign like yours to know where to aim your frustrations versus your affections. Where the planet of love and beauty would like you to seek out human connection and cement your place within larger social circles (as safely as you can, of course), backspinning Mercury will throw these efforts into peril. With everyone ultra-sensitive and less willing to hear reason thanks to the retrograde, an offhand comment or innocent mistake could land your reputation on the chopping block.
You’re normally more likely to look out for number one (and very few others), but you’ll find it hard not to feel affected by how others perceive you this month. Some uncomfortable truths about your standing among others may come to light. If you’re unsure of whose opinions you should actually take to heart, the new moon on the 11th will help — use its quiet, reflective energy to compare how your network sees you with your own self-perception. Consider where the greatest gaps lie and make a plan to close them.
Taurus (April 20 – May 20)
You like things to be just so, as closely suited to your preferences as possible — and, as long as you can set the pace, you normally manage to attain those personal standards. It’s when you don't feel completely in control, when a force outside of yourself is dictating the pace, that you struggle to feel comfortable with your conditions. And that’s where February will, unfortunately, find you, Taurus, particularly at work.
You’ll want to feel at peace with your projects and in harmony with your coworkers, but Mercury retrograde will throw a wrench in those plans. Sudden changes may pull you away from your familiar workflow; you may feel simultaneously overwhelmed and neglected by your officemates. Simply put, precious few things will feel just so until Mercury stations direct on the 25th, at which point you can gradually start to seek more control over your career’s short-term trajectory. Until then, however, you’ll have to swallow your standards, exercise some anti-Taurean levels of patience, and take things as they come.
Gemini (May 21 – June 20)
Your ruling planet, Mercury, is enjoying its first retrograde of the year in fellow air sign Aquarius. Where others may find their thoughts too loud, too chaotic, to handle for the next three weeks, you’ll feel like you have a cheat code in your back pocket — after all, your whizzbang sign is used to having a busy mind. This is not to say that you’ll be exempt from the retrograde’s hazards, but there’s a chance you’ll weather them more savvily.
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Specifically, you’re likely to encounter many (many, many) minor delays in the goals you’re currently working toward. Whether you have aspirations at work or ongoing projects at home, you may have to retrace your last few steps to make sure you didn’t overlook or gloss over a few key details before you can move forward. Luckily, you aren’t afraid of digging into the nitty-gritty when the occasion calls for it — put your natural curiosity to work, dear Gem, and ask yourself the questions you know that others will ask you once you put your work on display. Make sure that you’ve covered any perceived lacks and that you have an answer for any hardballs that are lobbed your way.
Cancer (June 21 – July 22)
Mercury retrogrades are never invigorating periods, but this month’s will leave you feeling downright drained, Cancer. If all you can do to make it through these three weeks is hunker down at home, that’s perfectly fine. In fact, in taking refuge and seeking rest, you will likely attain the kind of stillness necessary to do the real work of this retrograde. From its post in independent Aquarius, Mercury is asking you to be aware of the foundation (literally and figuratively) on which you build your life. From where do you cull your material resources and where do they go once you acquire them? Who do you rely on when you’re feeling lost and fragile?
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If you have clear, defined answers to these questions, this is a lovely opportunity to express gratitude and give back. If you’re uncertain about your source of support, be it financial or emotional, it’s time to ask for it outright or seek it out elsewhere — but not before crafting a plan that outlines a careful, measured approach to getting what you have due.
Leo (July 23 – August 22)
Relationships are rarely, if ever, simple. This month’s celestial activity will serve as a potent reminder of the inherent complexity within your closest partnerships, Leo. On one hand, you’ll be in the mood for love and intimacy. But, on the other, Mercury retrograde is poised to snag your efforts: a compliment could be misunderstood; a message could land in the wrong inbox. It’s not a great time for remote or long-distance correspondence, or new romance, for that matter. Focus your attention on your long-term relationships (romantic or platonic) that you can nurture IRL.
The option to sweet-talk your way out of arguments will be particularly tempting this month — and, thanks to Venus’ placement in fellow fixed sign Aquarius, it’ll actually be pretty darn effective. But just because your charm is at its peak doesn’t mean you should use it to avoid having important conversations or addressing pressing problems in your relationships. While Mercury is retrograde, it will be wise to parse out the specifics and get to the root of the issue. Wiser still is to find a way to table challenging discussions until after Mercury directs its course on the 25th. After that, you’ll get to enjoy Venus’ effects to their fullest.
Virgo (August 23 – September 22)
Mercury, your ruling planet, is in the early stages of its first retrograde of the year and it’s got your wellness routines in its sights. Already one to second-guess even your most meticulous plans, this transit will chip away at your confidence in your approach to self-care and -maintenance, asking you whether you truly are on the right track to attain your goals. Resist the urge to ruminate on perceived mistakes or slip-ups and don’t beat yourself up for taking breaks. Instead, take the next three weeks to review what you’ve been doing to feel good in your body, then consider what kinds of (incremental, reasonable) changes you can make to feel even better.
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The full moon in your sign at the end of the month will remind you of everything you already have, all the work you’ve done to reach this point. Once it brings those efforts to light, it will ask that you hold them up as high as you do your goals and aspirations — and remember that, while you strive for a lofty future, you shouldn't deny yourself a moment of gratitude for the present moment. Pausing in this way is rare (and even a bit challenging) for you, Virgo, but doing so will restore your energy reserves before you return to the grind.
Libra (September 22 – October 23)
Venus, the planet of love, beauty, and all things aesthetic (plus your ruling celestial body), moves into your house of play and creativity on February 1 — the rest of the month will feel warm and rosy, despite the winter chill. You may feel tempted to shirk any tasks or responsibilities that don’t activate your pleasure centers, but that is hardly realistic. Instead, ask yourself where does it make sense to direct this carefree energy? What parts of your life could benefit from a little levity, a little bit of wonder? Take on a creative project to move dull weekends forward; establish a new brainstorming system at work; challenge your S.O. to a new game.
You’ll have all month to inject your everyday life with a little more playfulness, but, when the sun moves into your wellness zone on the 18th, you’ll be due for a reality check around how much play you can handle before some much-needed rest. This is your annual opportunity to tweak (if not overhaul) the routines you follow every day. Ideally, they should help you feel energized and capable of taking on your daily tasks, but it’s possible that, in their current iteration, they aren’t serving you as well as they could. Take stock, particularly of your approach to hydration, sleep, and mental restoration.
Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)
Normally, this time of year is your chance to celebrate your home and feel reaffirmed in how you define home for yourself. Thanks to Mercury retrograde, however, your concept of comfort, familiarity, and safety will feel more challenged than held up. If a move or remodel is in the works, you could falter on your way toward its completion, second-guessing anything from minor details to the whole entire project. Remember that you’re a water sign, Scorpio, and tap into your intuition when the doubts get too loud. Sure, this period might compel you to back out of a decision altogether, but it could also afford you the opportunity to look at what brought you to this point from a new perspective. While viewing your current situation from a different angle can be jarring, it can, in its own way, help you feel those same feelings of assurance, the sense that you're on the right track, that you’ve come to expect from Aquarius season.
If you feel rudderless while reevaluating what “home” means to you, look to the new moon on the 11th. This quiet, even nostalgic, lunar phase will remind you of what used to make you feel at home — and what, in your life right now, summons up those same feelings.
Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)
If there ever was a stereotypical Mercury retrograde, it would be the one that’s coming your way, Sag. From the messenger planet’s position in Aquarius, it will target your communication sector, clouding your brain, freezing your best-laid plans, and raining confusion down on your attempts at correspondence. Few things, even your longest standing routines and most air-tight schedules, will feel stable for these three weeks. Fire sign that you are, you’re likely to find this irksome, to put it lightly, but your best strategy will be to move at half your normal pace. Be patient, don’t take anything for granted, and do your best to accommodate and adapt to sudden changes. Resisting them, as the saying goes, will be futile.
Later in the month, you can look forward to smoother sailing, specifically at work. The full moon on the 27th will beam through your career zone, illuminating your recent efforts and accomplishments. Recognition — or a shining opportunity to ask for it — could be on the way.
Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)
Ruled by the sturdy element of earth and disciplinarian planet Saturn, you can’t help but feel a strong pull toward the material world. This is not to say that you wish to live extravagantly. It simply means that you like to attend to your physical, practical needs — and make sure those needs will be met for a long time to come. The fact that you prioritize stability as much as you do will make this month’s Mercury retrograde particularly trying for you, as it will unfold in your money sector. Your savings won’t go out the window, but the fear that they could will overwhelm you — don’t let these anxieties fuel any rash decisions. Continue with your five-year plan and stick with reliable, low-risk investments.
The new moon on the 11th will help you apply a measured, rational lens to any perceived financial vulnerabilities. Through this perspective, removed from personal concerns or fears, you may strike upon a strategy that will save a little pocket money — or an idea for an additional revenue stream could occur to you. Wherever you are in your money journey, the key this month is to handle your finite resources with a steady hand, one that’s slow to open but isn’t clenched into a fist.
Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)
Open your heart up to yourself, Aquarius. You’ve already been enjoying the warm, reaffirming rays of the sun since it beamed into your sign late last month, but Venus will sidle up alongside it on the 1st of the month and set your sense of self aflame. You spent January in a funk when it comes to self-love — you may have felt frustrated with how you express affection or struggled to show yourself the kind of care we all need to feel confident and safe within ourselves. Now that rosy Venus is at your side, however, you’ll shed this murky mindset and remember that you can be your best partner, as long as you nurture the relationship. Rest your body; nourish your mind; let your emotions breathe. This month is your chance to embrace your whole self.
The new moon on the 11th will be an exclamation point in this month-long story of self-love. This evening will ask you to think about how you can strike a balance between your goals for self-improvement and gratitude for who you are at this very moment. A realization around which goals actually deserve your efforts is incoming.
Pisces (February 19 – March 20)
The month opens quietly, as February always does for you, dear Pisces. The sun will soon enter your sign and kick off a month-long celebration, but before then you’ll spend the month in a state of soft reflection. Your focus will drift from the year that’s just passed and the year ahead, with questions around what you’ve learned so far and what you can do next rising to the surface in equal measure. These are grand, sweeping questions that may require long periods of solitude in order to answer. Of course, that sort of privacy might be difficult to come by right now. In its place, can you cultivate a mental space to which you can retreat for these reflections?
Things will get quite a bit louder on the 18th, when your birthday season officially begins. For the next 30 days you’ll undergo your sign’s annual astrological “new year,” so to speak. Your energy, confidence, and sense of self will be restored — and you’ll be downright magnetic to those around you. Don’t feel like you have to give your time to anyone who asks for it, though. Venus in Aquarius will reward you if you’re selective with your attention or simply take space for yourself this month.
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