Summer Horoscopes for Writers
Happy summer solstice! Here’s what this season holds for literary types, plus a writing prompt for every sign
If you enjoy reading Electric Literature, join our mailing list! We’ll send you the best of EL each week, and you’ll be the first to know about upcoming submissions periods and virtual events.
This is the summer of retrogrades. Almost every planet in the sky will be retrograde at some point this summer — Mercury, the planet of communication; Mars, the planet of action; Jupiter, planet of expansion; Saturn, planet of responsibility and work; Uranus, planet of revolution and change; Neptune, planet of dream and vision; Pluto, planet of transformation.
It’s also a summer of solar and lunar eclipses — three of them, starting in July and going through August. Two of these eclipses are in Leo and Aquarius, completing a story of eclipses we had in summer 2017 as well as early 2018; work you began last summer may feel as though it is now reaching its fullness. Alternately, if there were projects you began last summer, especially around end-of-summer eclipses, and then left for dead, now may be a time of rebirth. After all, retrogrades are a good time to do anything with a “re” in front of it. Revise the work you’ve been meaning to get to. Return to old projects, or nascent ideas, that have been on the back burner. Allow yourself the time for revitalization. And rest. Also rest. Always rest.
For writers, we will focus on two retrogrades in particular: the personal planets. That’s Mars, which will be retrograde all summer — June 26–August 27 — and Mercury, which hits us with a quickie July 26–August 18.
Retrograde is also a time to slow down — especially when it’s Mercury and Mars retrograde, which it will be for most of summer. Instead of starting something new, consider starting something old so that it feels new. A project that you abandoned. A turn to a genre that you forgot about loving long ago — turning back toward the essay form, or returning to your fiction roots. Now is a time for memory: Neptune is retrograde in Pisces, its home planet, a place where it feels comfortable to dream, to imagine.
Instead of starting something new, consider starting something old so that it feels new. A project that you abandoned. A turn to a genre that you forgot about loving long ago.
Meanwhile, the moon is active, with multiple major eclipses continuing in the signs of Leo and Aquarius. You don’t have to be a Leo or Aquarius for this to be important. These two signs are each others’ opposite; the 12 signs of the zodiac divide into six pairs, each of which tells us something unique, revealing a central tension in the human existence. Leo and Aquarius highlights the tension between the ego and the group. For Leo, all the world’s an audience, while Aquarius is known as the humanitarian of the zodiac. How do we hold these two wildly divergent creative energies within us? Both are deeply, richly creative: Leo shows us how to express the richness of personal experience, while Aquarius teaches us how to integrate our own experience with that of others within our own community.
The first eclipse of summer, though, kicks off in Cancer, which deals with the private, with the family. The moon is at home in Cancer, but at this eclipse, it is directly opposing Pluto in Capricorn — the public to Cancer’s private, though both are concerned with legacy. Pluto is the planet of transformation. The moon rules our emotions, so we’re looking at short-term emotional disruption meeting long-range emotional disruption. The feelings and realizations that this eclipse unlocks, here in the dog days of the summer, will set the tone for the rest of the season — and possibly redirect your creative course.
This is going to be a big summer for you, Aries. Uranus, the planet of revolution, turbulence, and change, just rolled into your house of value and material assets, shining a light on how you treat your cash, your budget, and your possessions. New financial opportunities coming your way? Probably — especially given that this summer is supercharging your creative energy and social consciousness. Get out there and pitch, but be extra-savvy about what you’re worth.
First, the universe wants to clean house. Mid-July boots you in the ass with an eclipse in your house of habits, work, and health, revealing that what has worked for you in the past may not work for you going forward. Does the amount of time you spend on your writing life match the value you’re getting for your career? The eclipse on July 12th is going to provide you with an opportunity to release what isn’t working and set some new intentions around newer, healthier habits.
Meanwhile, this summer will highlight your relationship between your sources of inspiration and how you implement that inspiration in your daily work. Mars retrograde through your house of social consciousness asks you to reexamine your relationship to the group, which in our case means writing communities. Whether in-person writing groups or online author communities (Twitter, anyone?), this summer gives you an opportunity to reboot how you interact in the group. Is it time to step it up, or is it time for a much-needed break? How can you revise the role you play? It’s not always on you to be the kindling.
Writing Prompt: What is the eye of the storm in your current project? Where in your life do you currently feel like you are the eye of the storm?
Retrograde season feels comfortable to a Taurus. Finally, everyone is moving at your pace. You know how to grow shit. You know that things take time. Everyone else is slowing down, and that suits you just fine.
Uranus, the planet of rebellion and change, has just moved into your house of self and identity — and it’s gonna be here for, umm, seven years. There’s a massive shift that’s starting underneath your feet — in how you present yourself, in how you understand yourself. You know, better than any other sign, how to grow and nurture; how to take a seed of a project and make it something spectacular. But now you’re the seed, Taurus, and Uranus is here to disrupt the fuck out of you. If this summer starts to feel turbulent and unsettling, like a big ol’ thunderstorm watering all those new plants, remember that growth takes time.
The good news? The first eclipse of the summer, on July 12, will jumpstart your writing, hitting your house of communication and short-term plans. Now is a great time to focus on pitching, newsletters, PR — any communication that has to be public-facing.
Shortly after, the next eclipses arrive, on July 27 and August 11. These ones are hitting two diametrically opposed parts of your chart — the house of home and hearth, and the house of fame and public recognition. In other words, the relationship between your home and your career. Even if you work at home — especially if you do, or if you write at home in the morning, evening, or on weekends — you should think about where you’re drawing your boundaries. Literal boundaries, in terms of where you work and where you don’t, but also emotional boundaries, in terms of the work you bring to yourself and the self you bring to the work. Historically, what have these boundaries looked like for you? How are they changing? Where are you redrawing lines?
How is your concept of yourself changing? What have you discovered through therapy, spiritual work, journaling, or other self-discovery over the last few years? How are you integrating that into your overall identity? And how — if at all — has that affected your idea of yourself as a writer?
No one moves faster than you, Gemini — but this summer, maybe take a pause. You’ve got some major eclipses and retrogrades coming for your house of communication and short-term plans, as well as your house of travel, philosophy, and long-term plans. What does that mean? You’ll be reviewing what you want to do now, and what you want to do later — and how it all fits together. Plus, since your house of long-term plans also rules philosophy, religion, and travel, you’ll also be considering how your underlying beliefs fit in with where the heck you want to be in all of this.
Meanwhile, Uranus in Taurus is digging up some buried stuff in your most private house of rest, retreat, spirituality, and intuition. Now is a good time to journal, to meditate, to do the unconscious work of creativity and writing. Sometimes, we just need to sleep and let our minds do the unconscious connective work that our conscious minds can’t always force.
Uranus is revolution, turbulence. Uranus whips shit into shape. Uranus disrupts. And it’s transiting the house that the ancients called “the house of self-undoing.” Certainly, a good zone for a writer like you who delights in the unpredictable — but also something you want to be sure to have a handle on, to make sure you’re taking care of yourself.
Feed your curiosity. Get a bead on your latest interest — you know, the one that can do you absolutely no good right now (can’t make you money, can’t get you that person you’re interested in, can’t be of use to you). Something that has no utility, but something that just fucking interests you, and that you haven’t managed to make time for yet. That one. Go do that thing, and then write about it.
The summer solstice marks the beginning of Cancer season: summer is your time, Cancer, meaning that you get an extra energy boost for your solar return even as the energy around us slows into a season of retrogrades. The first solar of eclipse of summer on July 12 is also in Cancer, in your first house of self and identity, putting the spotlight on you. The first eclipse will give you a confidence boost, that’s for certain, and it will be a great time for pitching, publishing, PR, sending newsletters. Mark your calendar.
The next eclipses highlight your zones of assets and intimacy. Mars retrograde will have you focusing on sexuality and intimacy, doing deep work; Mercury retrograde will have you reviewing your money and material possessions. Especially for freelancers, this is a time to clean up your budget, check for any unpaid invoices you have lying around, and see who owes you what. Get your money tight. You’re running a business. But also consider how your business is working for you: What do you need for your business? Have you been making do, skimping?
After the nurturing of Cancer season, Leo season comes along and asks us to invest in ourselves, to see ourselves as worthy. The Leo eclipse in your house of assets and material possessions hits the nail on the head. Whether it’s investing in gear for your desk that will prevent carpal tunnel, paying extra for a personal trainer at the gym once a week, or hiring someone to come in and clean your house, your ideas around money, worth, and value — and specifically, what is worth money, and what is valuable to you — are going to be up for review. (Also? Maybe think about your freelance rates. Just a thought.)
What do you most need — and deserve — to take credit for in your work life? In your writing life? Write about that, from the perspective of the person who most pumps you up. You are a great support for others, Cancer — but sometimes you need to be able to cheerlead yourself. This summer, get ready for that solar eclipse that’s going to put the spotlight on you.
All eyes are normally on you, Leo, but this summer, they’re really on you — you’ve got planets and eclipses lighting up your house of self and identity. For you, this summer is about the self you want to be. The self you’re growing into. The self you’re becoming. So the question is: how do you feel about that? Are you happy with where you are, with who you are? Is the work you’re producing an accurate reflection of you and your values?
This will particularly be on your mind since Uranus, the planet of revolution and change, has just entered your house of fame and public recognition (also called the house of career). Leos are known as performers who crave a stage, but what kind of stage do you crave? Uranus in Taurus is going to rock the shit out of your public face, out of your fame, out of your career, and this is a time to reconsider the alignment of that public self with your identity. Just because you love a stage, Leo, doesn’t mean that you always have to reveal your most private self to the world.
Early this summer, take advantage of the first eclipse on July 12, which will hit your house of rest and spirituality. Late summer — late July and August, especially — are really your time to shine. Get some rest and rejuvenation (spa days, writing days, alone time) while you can get it.
Another major theme for you this summer, although not perhaps explicitly connected to work, is committed partnerships. Eclipses later this summer will be lighting up your house of committed partnerships — which can be romance and marriage, but also major business partnerships and long-term contracts. How are you ready to partner? Is the work you’re doing bringing you into alignment with the kind of identity you are growing into?
If you were guaranteed an adoring audience for your most obscure, wild, mind-boggling, budget-blowing creative project, Leo, what would that project be? The sky is (probably not) the limit.
You don’t like focusing on yourself, Virgo, but your house of rest, intuition, and spirituality is going to have a big bright spotlight on it late this summer, unearthing all the shadows, with an eclipse and a Mercury retrograde. With your analytical, taskmaster self, you’ll have no problem identifying areas for improvement — the key this summer, with retrogrades tripping us up everywhere, is slow integration.
You have a mind for efficiency, but don’t push yourself to do everything at once. Don’t insist on finding all the patterns or needing to do all the shit now, immediately. Give yourself time to uncover new things. Time to rest. Time to recuperate. And time to integrate new discoveries into your work habits, into your daily routine; your house of daily habits, work, and health is getting an eclipse, too. Eventually, everything you’re learning about yourself and your creative process will be grist for the mill — but don’t rush it.
An idea: occupy your mind with a new class, skill, or hobby this summer, to keep yourself sharp while avoiding the unproductive hamster wheel and allowing those other parts of your mind and spirit to rest.
Also? Uranus has just entered your house of long-range plans, philosophy, religion, travel. You like security, but Uranus, the planet of revolution and change, is shaking that up. Hold things loosely, with an open palm. Uranus is in Taurus right now, and when it’s in Taurus, it likes to grow things. Some plans you’ve had for a while might be up for review, which might scare you a little. But lucky for you, Virgo, you’re the master of the harvest, adept at identifying the right time to move in, scoop up the crop, and take the win — a useful skill. Be open.
The devil is in the details. Make a list of all the projects you’ve been meaning to get to, or forgot about, or abandoned. Sit for a minute, and think about what you forgot about. Now: list what you want to do that you won’t even let yourself list because you don’t think you have the time or money. How can you integrate these lists? This is the list for your Summer of Retrogrades, Virgo.
Summer technically starts with the solstice in late June, but it really greets you, Libra, with a solar eclipse on July 12 that lights up your house of fame and public recognition. Cancer season gives your career an energy boost anyway, and this eclipse puts all eyes on you. Take advantage — this is a great time for you to be in the limelight. Get your work ready for publication, line up some PR, and get those Twitter threads ready. to. go. Since the spotlight will be super amplified, just be sure to polish up everything and make sure you’re putting your best foot forward (but we probably don’t need to tell Libras that, right?).
The opportunities you create for your career during Cancer season will continue to grow and manifest as we move into Leo season later this summer. Leo season brings with it an eclipse and a Mercury retrograde in your house of social consciousness, friendships, and the internet, which means putting extra time into reviewing your online presence, newsletters, and any social or professional commitments that come your way this summer. This isn’t to say don’t do those things — just, take time to review! Dot your i’s and cross your t’s.
Mars retrograde lasts all summer and will be hanging out in your in your house of creative energy. If you find your work changing a bit, or coming more slowly than usual, don’t sweat it. Pick up a meditative activity that helps you really sink into your process, and be gentle with yourself. Things will pick up again when Mars goes direct on August 27. Until then, enjoy the lessons that the planet of action has to teach you about the ebb and flow of inspiration.
Go to your favorite place to hang out and eavesdrop on an interesting conversation. (Yes, eavesdrop.) Write down some of the best dialogue — maybe even spiff it up a bit — and then imagine the backstory for the people involved.
Mars, the planet of action, is moving backwards through your most private house of family, home, and nesting, scraping the nooks and crannies of your most privately held moments and memories. You’re a private person, already, Scorpio, so this summer might have you might be feeling extra raw. While this is happening, the sun shines a light on you, with a big ol’ solar eclipse in your house of fame and public recognition — great for your career, great for publicity, not so great when all you want to do is crawl into a corner and write your feelings away.
So there’s a real tension, with both the inner core of you going through some major reassessing while you’ve got some good attention coming your way. For deeply self-protective Scorpios, a solar eclipse lighting up your house of fame and public recognition is going to force you — uncomfortably — into the limelight, reckoning with owning the achievements you have been working for, all while Mars, the planet of action, is moving quietly behind the scenes, needling through your home and rooting up the most private and uncomfortable of issues from the past. Meanwhile, you’re creatively bolstered by Jupiter, the planet of expansion, which is tracking through your house of self and identity, making you even more magnetic than usual.
This summer, you’re both tremendously vulnerable and a positive magnet for attention. How do you hold all of these feelings simultaneously? How do you feel raw and exposed within, while also putting on an authentic face publicly and owning that deserved recognition without feeling fake? This summer is a time when you learn multiple things can be true.
If you could rewrite one myth, what would it be? How would you retell it?
The summer opens with Cancer season, including an eclipse that highlights your house of intimacy. The deep waters of intimacy are not so much your comfort zone, but we’ve been spending a lot of time here over the last year — what have you been learning about yourself in intimacy, Sagittarius? When you dive deep into Cancerian water, you can end up finding a treasure chest — and this is gold for your creative process. When you understand the depth and the darkness of what drives you, there is magic.
You can transmute that in Leo season, where you get to indulge your adventurous, freedom-loving spirit, with lots of attention paid to communication, travel, philosophy, and your plans. The catch? There’s a lot of retrograde action — which could slow you down. Remember: any word that starts with “re.” Revisit, revise, rebirth. You don’t like to be contained, and your fire always has any number of projects going — maybe take one of your projects off the back burner? With an eclipse hitting your sweet travel spot, a trip might be just the thing to help jumpstart an old project.
Meanwhile Uranus has just entered Taurus and is revolutionizing your house of work, daily habits, and health. Put extra attention on health stuff that might flare up. Drink water. And dream big.
What is your favorite place to visit? Why? Take us there: smells, sound, visuals. Make a map.
The summer solstice opens with a full moon in your sign, Capricorn — and not just any full moon, but one that’s right next to Saturn. You’ve been doing some intense growing, and Saturn, moving through your house of self and identity, is rooting through the weeds, pulling up everything that no longer represents who you are. The full moon is a time of releasing, doubly so since by this point in early summer, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Pluto will all be retrograde, asking you to seriously slow down and do the work.
Now’s the time to get ready, because come mid-July, the eclipses start coming in like lightning. First up is a solar eclipse in Cancer, which lights up your house of committed partnerships. Next is a lunar eclipse in your house of value and assets, followed by a massive solar eclipse in Leo, which highlights your home of intimacy.
This summer of retrogrades and eclipses — Leo and Aquarius, the signs of self and other — directly hit your houses of value and intimacy. You’ll have Mars retrograde in your house of value — how do you take action when it comes to materiality, but also to determining what and how you show what you value? You have a reputation for being all about money and finance (which are really just things that provide a means to an end for you), but this summer will really highlight how you use those energies in your life. Remember that ultimately, money is a resource, an energy, that enables you to do other things. (Writing is a business, but it’s not just a business. Are you taking on projects that you actually enjoy, that contribute overarching value to your life?)
Stewardship and legacy is a major theme of your life, and this summer will bring that out for you. Meanwhile, Mercury retrograde in your house of intimacy will highlight the deeper emotions underneath the values, getting at the root of your relationships, not only with others, but also with yourself — how do you communicate ideas around sexuality and intimacy and, yes, value?
Write your dream book tour. What are you wearing? Who is introducing you? Where are you going? Who are you working with? What cities and bookstores are you traveling to and why? What publications are you excerpting in?
This is a big summer for you, Aquarius. Eclipses in Leo and in your own sign of Aquarius have been rocking your houses of self and other, of identity and partnership, for the last year, and they will continue to push on that story throughout this summer. Who you are and how you partner is changing, which means your work is probably changing, too.
As an Aquarian, you get a reputation for being someone who can roll with the punches, but here’s the thing — your classical ruler is Saturn, the planet of rules and responsibility. Yes, you’re an independent and forward thinker, but you are a fixed sign (read: stubborn AF) who can be a bit particular about how things are done. With so much disruption in your life lately, the routines in your life have probably shifted dramatically over the last few months, which might have you feeling pretty unsettled. The good news is that with so many retrogrades this summer, you’re going to get to slow down a bit and get some time to adjust.
Retrogrades allow us to review, revisit. This is a good time to pick up old projects. Meanwhile, Neptune is in your zone of value and assets, encouraging you to reconsider and watch for any monetary opportunities you may have let go of (in other words: go through your inbox — and social media DMs, for that matter — again).
Uranus (your modern ruling planet) is going through your house of home and hearth, of your family and your roots. Uranus is the planet of revolution and change, and it’s coming for a seven-year ride through this part of your chart to completely reconceptualize your relationship with home, whatever that means to you. Think about the environments you work in. Where do you work, and how? A home office? A desk in your bedroom? Where is home, to you? Why? While it isn’t perhaps the time to move across the country or completely undertake a home renovation (or, idk, maybe it is), there is a lot of energy around opening up your space and making sure the world you live in is working for you, and not against you. The spaces we occupy affect us, and Uranus is here to remind us of that.
If you haven’t done spring cleaning around your bedroom, now is the time to do it. If you have a storage unit you haven’t visited in a while, go clean it out. Donate old clothes. Rearrange your bookshelves. Undertake a task around your work space in your home, Aquarius, small or large, and write about whatever that experience kicks up. (And then? See how changing your space affects your writing routine.)
Just before the summer solstice hits, marking the beginning of the season, Neptune turns retrograde. But this isn’t the start of Neptune’s story for you: the planet of dreams has been trekking through your house of self and identity, rippling through your most treasured beliefs about yourself, turning over childhood fantasy and adolescent illusion. This can be a challenging transit: it can reveal fantasies and illusions for what they are just as easily as it can instil the greatest and grandest hopes and desires. But a Neptune transit done well is rewarding beyond measure, especially for a Pisces. After all, Neptune is your planet. Neptune asks, what’s the dream? Who do you want to be? Who did you dream of becoming as a child, and who do you want to become, now? Neptune delights in the unconscious, just like you. Neptune invites you to swim along for the ride.
Meanwhile, Uranus, the planet of rebellion, has just entered your house of communication, perhaps disrupting your writing and communication. What genre do you usually work in? What’s your typical writing routine? If you’ve noticed a shift — or if you experience a shift this summer — Uranus might be asking you to plant some new seeds. Don’t be afraid of experiment.
On a more practical level, the summer’s eclipses are lighting up your houses of work and daily habits, of rest, spirituality, and intuition. The everyday right alongside the subconscious and ecstatic. It can be tempting, to push through the everyday when there’s that still, small voice telling us to slow down, to tap into mystery instead of going with the known. Listen to that voice.
Plan activities or time or trips for yourself this summer that enable you to get in touch with your subconscious, with your creativity, with your spirit, with your past, with your rest. Remember: breakthroughs take time.
Describe a story you wrote as a child. The first one that comes to mind. Do you see any similarities to any stories you’ve written now, as an adult? Any characters, places, themes, settings?