Jupiter, that big, fat, gaseous giant of the solar system, is retrograde about one-third of the time. Both the retrograde and direct stations -- the points at which Jupiter seems to turn around in its orbit -- occur when the Sun trines Jupiter, which is considered to be a favorable aspect.

This leads us to suspect that, unlike the common perception of other planets’ retrograde periods, Jupiter Retrograde has a positive effect.

During Jupiter Retrograde, the Sun opposes Jupiter. At that time, Jupiter rises exactly at sunset and grandly marches across the sky all night long. It is very bright and close to the earth during this time.

Since Jupiter rules expansion and exaggeration, these regular turning-back periods are kind of like a self-cleaning oven: They keep things from getting out of hand. Retrograde motion slows down Jupiter’s tendency to make things bigger. It’s almost a sort of automatic braking system.

Jupiter is very much about our belief systems, and when it’s retrograde, we are more likely to follow our own path rather than be led by others. It’s an excellent time to clarify within yourself where you stand on any particular issue, and also to develop personal faith, self-reflection and independent learning.

At the times when Jupiter turns in either direction, it’s best to avoid long-distance travel or legal appointments, if possible. Jupiter’s energy is strong at these times, and you may find headlines that reflect Jupiterian themes.

Learn more about the other retrograde planets: Mercury retrograde, Venus retrograde, Mars retrograde, Jupiter retrograde, Saturn retrograde, Uranus retrograde, Neptune retrograde, Pluto retrograde

Jupiter is referred to as the planet of luck because it brings opportunities and advantages into your life that can look like a stroke of luck to the untrained eye. But look more closely, and you'll find lessons much deeper than the workings of simple chance.

Jupiter can bring you opportunities in certain areas, such as relationships, finances and so on. But this planet is also about learning, intellectual pursuits and spirituality -- in short, the expansion of the soul.

Jupiter doesn't want you just to enjoy the spoils of your good luck; it wants you to look for the deeper meaning, to graduate to ever-higher levels of understanding the universe.

It's wonderful if money, jobs or good health just seem to come your way with no special effort on your part, but Jupiter wants you to remember that not everyone has these same advantages. How are you going to use these special gifts to make the world a better place for everyone?

Keeping a sense of humility or restraint is hard when something amazing falls into your lap. If you won the lottery, would you run out and start spending or would you find a way to invest your cash? Jupiter knows the answer!

This planet also rules excessive behavior, so if you're the type to party now and pay later, you'll have a great time -- that is, until that credit card bill comes due.

Jupiter rules the carefree signs of Sagittarius and Pisces. Read about Sagittarius and Pisces to learn more about these signs and how Jupiter influences them.

The planets are: Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto

Jupiter is a gas giant, although it is speculated, but not confirmed, that it has a small core of rocky materials. Above the core lies the main bulk of the planet in the form of liquid metallic hydrogen.

This vaporous giant is the largest planet in our solar system, bigger than all the other planets, moons, asteroids and comets combined. A day on Jupiter lasts less than ten hours; considering its size, it’s amazing how fast it spins! Jupiter has sixteen moons, which were seen first by Galileo with his new telescope in early 1610. Jupiter is the brightest planet on average (although Venus rivals it for brightness).

From the perspective of Earth, Jupiter appears to go retrograde slightly over thirty percent of the year, or for roughly three-and-a-half months. During a Jupiter retrograde, you may notice a tightening of purse strings. People tend to keep themselves from expanding too much. Egos can sometimes get deflated during the retrograde. There seems to be a withdrawal of energy in general.

Jupiter takes twelve years to orbit the Sun, so it returns to its natal position every twelve years. The return is considered a lucky period, excellent for viewing long-term cycles in one's life; fortune and good spirits that were in play previously may repeat themselves in the year of the return. Generally speaking, Jupiter offers an optimistic, grand influence that propels one forward into the future with big plans.