This week’s Roguescopes by our resident tarot queen Sarah Maria Griffin marks the end of Mercury being in godforsaken retrograde, gives each starsign a ten-day reading…
This Sunday marks Mercury’s exit from Retrograde, which means things are about to settle down, and we can’t blame our problems on the cosmos anymore! This sounds like something you might see written in gilded script on the side of a millennial-pink mug sold out of somewhere like Urban Outfitters, but equally – yes.[restrict]
Mercury has, finally, turned around and is going the other direction. Did you know this describes a literal phenomenon? Three times a year the actual planet of Mercury turns, and orbits the sun in the opposite direction than it usually does. The reason we attribute times of miscommunication and conflict to this reversal in Mercury’s journey, is like the planet’s namesake, it governs communication, transport, technology, machinery.
Mercury was an interpreter, a translator – and what happens when all of that is spun the wrong way around? We are picked up wrong. Things break. Conflict seems bigger, uglier than it should be. As I said last week, the reason that I’m telling you this isn’t so you can literally blame your problems on the movement of a distant celestial body – oh, if it were that simple, man. I am telling you, so that you can take a step back, as order is allegedly restored to the cosmos.
I’m telling you so you can pay closer attention to what is within, and outside of, your control. Mercury turns the other way again in October, in fact, it does so three times a year every year. What we should learn from this movement is to be mindful of how we communicate. All of astrology, and largely the tarot, asks us to pay attention. Paying attention isn’t done with a slightness, it isn’t done lightly. It’s a payment of our energy. It’s a slowing down.
So with that in mind, on the other side of the retrograde, in the shadow that the movement casts, here are the cards for each sign for the next two weeks. Hold steady. The year is half over, and you have grown more than you could have imagined.
4 of Swords
This card invites Aries to do something an intense, cardinal sign known best for being passionate and impulsive may struggle with: the four asks you to rest. It asks you to down weapons, and sleep. There is more work done when we are still and sleeping than we can possibly know: it is half the job of living, though the manner of late-capitalism tells us we need less and less of it. This is a dangerous lie: you need to rest like you need to eat. How can you carve out the space in this chaos to close your eyes and drift? How can you protect this space as though your life depends on it? The four is early in the suite and suggests there is work to be done ahead: your best preparation at this time will be done by allowing yourself to rest.
4 of Wands
I love this card: especially in the busy, intense suite of Wands, it represents stability, home, security. It challenges us in some ways to be thankful for the stable touchstones in our lives, for the architecture that surrounds us, be it literal walls and a roof, or one of emotional support. It asks us to reflect on the journey that has brought us to this home, and hang a figurative (or literal) wreath around what we have achieved. Alternately, if we find ourselves in times of turmoil, or shift, or movement, it invites us to consider alterative architectures. Where is the roof, for you? Who are the people that make you feel like you are at home?
The first Major Arcana card of this week’s spread, The Empress is an auspicious and pronounced card that calls note to an important time in your life, be it your interior journey or your life in the material world. This card calls attention to, and celebrates the body: it is a card of fertility, luxury, safety, power. A gorgeous card, to be frank. The Empress wears a crown of stars on her head and oversees a live and growing realm. She is often representative of mothering: but please don’t take this at face value. To nurture and to love is a human condition, not one exclusive to or reserved especially for mothers, and that in itself is a damaging notion. In this case, I would ask of you to consider where you can best place your love, Gemini. Is it best bestowed on the people around you at this time? Or is it time to reflect that huge power back at yourself?
7 of Cups
So rarely in the deck do I ever feel like a card is directly a warning, Cancer, now isn’t than an ominous sentence to start off with – but this card is quite nakedly that: a warning. This card asks us to stop in our tracks and really look, really, at what is in front of us – because it might seem like a lot of opportunity. The cups in this image each contain something different: some are blessings, some are curses, some are unnamable things. The suite of cups speaks of emotion, love and creativity, rather than material things, work, or the intellectual: so this could reflect a matter of the heart, or of family. There are many paths, and some of them, frankly, are not so great. Some of them will glamour you deliberately and lead you stray. Some of them are the right thing, but how can we even know what the right thing really is? What this card asks us of is to pause. To inspect what is ahead of us. To make no choice at this time led by intuition alone: go beyond your heart, this time.
2 of Cups
This is a gorgeous card, Leo. It’s not The Lovers, from the Major Arcana – but frankly it might as well be. It represents union – being seen for who we really are and connecting with another individual. It also speaks to celebration, to being witnessed in some way in this connection. Please excuse me for saying synergy to you, but divorce that term from business-speak a moment: this is a card about synchronising your energy with another person. To be an old-school magazine mystic for a second – you might meet someone, or be falling in love at this time. Or, you might have a collaborator with whom it feels like there’s a lot of potential – but this is a card of cups, so it speaks to the heart. How can you ensure there is balance in this meeting? How can you be brave enough to bring your fullest self, your cup overflowing, to this toast?
Another Major Arcana card this week, card number one in the deck. The Magician has everything they need: all the tools of their trade and magic are laid out before them, the infinity symbol over their head signifying enlightenment. This card is an interesting one for me as a reader, because I often wonder who that Magician is: is it you, Virgo? Or is it someone around you from whom you can learn, a mentor? The Magician asks us to lay out our tools: in fact, they demand this honesty of us. I have little to no interest in smoke and mirrors, and nor should you: change should not come in a whirl of glitter and illusion. How can you demystify your practices, your progress, as opposed to couching it in mystery? Real magic is in making something where there was nothing before: it is in making things different.
The High Priestess
This card appeared last time for Capricorn, and it is here again for you Libra. This is a card about divine intuition, about knowledge – about the intersection we can find ourselves at between the dark and light worlds. It calls on us to attune ourselves to this knowledge, and our senses of what is right and wrong. This is also, on a more day-to-day level, about secrets. The High Priestess knows a lot: and what she does with that information is up to her. So in some ways, this card could be about gossip. It could warn us to move carefully with the information we have: to use it for good, not for the shallow and banal joys of being the one to spill truth or pass on word. Because this is a Major Arcana card, it speaks loudly: at this time, be mindful of what you do with the information you have. How can you share it appropriately? What should you hold your peace on?
The King of Cups
So many cups in this week’s spread, it’s almost as if everyone is overflowing with emotion lately. The King of Cups is the ultimate card in this suite, representing a leader who has achieved balance between their heart and their head: a person to whom others look for guidance, for sustenance, for support – and a person who is capable of giving those things. However, a warning with the King of Cups: this figure could equally have gained their power by using their emotions to leverage their position. This can be a tempting position for those whose emotions are accessible and intense: manipulation can almost happen by accident. Sagittarius, I would ask you this week who you consider the emotional figureheads in your life. Who holds the most power in the realm of your heart? How did they achieve this power? Keep your eye keen for those who will use emotions as leverage: you do not have to serve them.
The King of Wands
Two Kings in a row in this week’s spread – but this ruler is a very different one from Sagittarius’s King of Cups. The King of Wands has high, high expectations, as the ruler of the suite of work and momentum – and the question I have this week for you, Scorpio, is about these expectations. Who is defining how hard you work? Are the expectations being placed on you too severe, and coming from a righteous place, or are they positioned more towards keeping you in control, or a performance of power? Equally – to reverse this, is there anyone you’re flexing on, right now? What kind of a taskmaster are you – do you approach work as a collaboration, or an act of service? Either way – the house of wands is one of momentum and pace. Take a step back and consider the structures in which you work: time and distance will permit clearer perspective.
7 of Pentacles
This card is a really clear sign: coming towards the end of the suite of Pentacles, which govern material things and finance, our figure feels as though the work before them is insurmountable. The foundations have been laid the seeds have been sewn, they have grown and blossomed, but the reaping is still work, too, and this card signifies, well, just being tired, and not wanting to do it. I feel you, Capricorn, and for such a driven and work-oriented sign it must take a lot to tire you out. This card invites a moment of pause and rest, but not so long that we take our eyes off the task at hand. How can we motivate ourselves when the work seems to never end? How can we reimagine our goal and enliven it with hope, again?
Knight of Pentacles
Oh, if it were all as simple as a knight in shining armour rolling up with a giant golden coin in his hand, right, Aquarius? Messing aside, this card is about methodical work. This knight is a journeyman, inviting us to stick close to our day-to-day routines, to remain focused and though there may not be glamour or celebration just yet, he promises reward will come. How do we stave off boredom in our daily tasks? Is there beauty to be found in the detail of our work, satisfaction in repetition? In The Empathy Exams, Leslie Jamison challenges the notion that intentionality is the enemy of love – that to exert effort defeats romance. I think about this all the time. There is work to be done every day that is not enormous, not confetti, but it is necessary – and it is up to us to find beauty there.
9 of Wands
Oh Pisces, sweet water dweller. This is a card about exhaustion. The figure we see is almost at the very end of their rope: they are beaten, barely standing, wrecked. I don’t blame you, Pisces. It’s been a hell of a year. But the Tarot is a fairly direct story – our figure is not lying down: this is not a card about defeat. You’re still up, aren’t you, against all odds. We all are. The nine, so close to the ten and final card in the suite before the royals, asks us to keep going. It asks us to hold our strength, and promises that the battle will be done soon. It encourages us to refuse defeat: to truly inquire what it means to be resilient. It asks us to be stubborn. Gather your supports, Pisces, but don’t back down now. You’re almost there.