The retrograde Mercury in Aries is a period which requires a great deal of conscious effort on your part with regards to your communication style and content with others. There is a strong tendency to blurt things out or to be blunt in ways that are less than useful.

Your perception of what other people say may be skewed by your overly eager and anxious desire for action. You are highly impatient to get things moving and that translates to impulsive words that may cause quite a stir in others. One of the hardest but most important feats to accomplish during this period is self-restraint, especially when feeling most passionate about a subject.

You will create equally passionate responses, and some of them will not be so fun to deal with. Make sure you say nothing that you'll regret later, especially words that are harsh and critical. Your words are more likely to be misconstrued even if you have good intentions.

Likewise, you are likely to misconstrue a comment someone else makes to you. One way to circumvent a potentially hostile conversation is by using neutral, non-threatening language. Try to stay on lighter subjects, if you can.

Learn more about Mercury retrograde in the signs: Mercury retrograde in Aries, Mercury retrograde in Taurus, Mercury retrograde in Gemini, Mercury retrograde in Cancer, Mercury retrograde in Leo, Mercury retrograde in Virgo, Mercury retrograde in Libra, Mercury retrograde in Scorpio, Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, Mercury retrograde in Capricorn, Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, Mercury retrograde in Pisces

Neptune is often called the planet of illusion, because it rules all things illusory -- the intangible, the ethereal, the abstract and elusive. Dreams and fantasy fall within this planet's realm, as do spirituality and idealism.

It's easier to understand Neptune if you think of it in terms of that which can't be defined -- things that are changeable, that not only have no discernible boundaries, but that you literally can't put your finger on.

This is the planet that can make your day pleasant with daydreams but that can simultaneously confuse your sense of reality. Have you ever fallen asleep and had a dream, only to find when you woke up that you just couldn't be certain whether what you imagined was real or not? That's the filmy curtain of Neptune, drifting slyly between reality and fantasy and blurring the lines between the two.

Neptune makes life both more pleasant and more difficult. This is the planet that makes it easier to be taken in by a con man or a liar, someone who wants to capitalize on your vulnerability to artfully crafted stories that don't contain a lick of truth; but it's also the planet that increases your intuitive skills and your sense of spiritual connectedness to the universe.

Neptune is responsible both for the overwhelming sensation of falling in love, and for the utter disillusionment of finding out that you've been misled.

Neptune rules the dreamy sign of Pisces. Read about Pisces to learn more about this sign and how Neptune influences it.

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

We’ve all heard about Mercury Retrograde -- how communication gets confused, traffic slows down and luggage gets lost when this little planet appears to start moving backward in the heavens. Mercury, however, is not the only planet that turns retrograde. In fact, all the planets except the Sun and the Moon go retrograde regularly.

So, what is this mysterious retrograde motion? It’s a simple optical illusion that occurs when a faster-moving planet passes a slower planet in its orbit. It’s like driving down the freeway at a very high rate of speed. If you pass a car inching along in the slow lane, it will appear that the slower car is moving backward. It’s not, of course, but it appears that way to you, in the faster car. In astrology, retrogradation is the apparent temporary 'backward' motion of a planet when measured against the background of the celestial zodiac.

The periodic backward motion of the planets was first observed many thousands of years ago, and in fact, the urge to understand retrograde motion was a driving impulse in the development of mathematics and sciences.

When a planet is retrograde, it’s as close as it can get to Earth, and if it’s visible, it’s very bright. These facts give us a clue as to the importance of retrograde planets: Their effects are strong!

A retrograde planet makes three crisscrosses over the same few degrees of the zodiac within a limited time span. That illuminates another clue for interpreting its effects: During a retrograde period, you’ll have to try extra hard to focus, and sometimes, you’ll have to do things more than once before you get the job done right.

Often planets in retrograde are considered to have a negative effect, but this is not true. A much better interpretation is that retrograde motion turns the energy of the planet inward. That energy is now in concentrated form, helping us to understand and integrate it more holistically and completely. You could look at retrograde motion as a planet inhaling, and direct motion as the planet exhaling. It’s the breath of the solar system.

The most important points in the retrograde cycle are the degree at which the planet turns retrograde, and the degree at which it once again returns to direct motion. At these points, the energy of the planet is particularly noticeable and strong.

Find out more about Mercury retrograde, Venus retrograde, Mars retrograde, Jupiter retrograde, Saturn retrograde, Uranus retrograde, Neptune retrograde, Pluto regtrograde

The retrograde Mercury in Libra could indicate a period of disharmony between people involved in relationships with one another. Misunderstandings tend to arise within close relationships between romantic partners, business associates, or even best friends.

Normal communications seem to go haywire for no apparent reason. Whether it's a simple misinterpretation of a few words or general disagreement about larger issues, your usual synchronicity with your partner can be off. You may not see eye to eye on matters.

What is required of you is extra patience. Instead of pushing forward aggressively, you may wish to take a step back and listen to what your partner has to say. Old grievances may also arise so this could be a chance for you to address problems that have remained unspoken but entrenched in each of your minds.

You may or may not wish to be more compromising, depending on all the factors involved. But if you choose to avoid an overdue confrontation, you may find that you can't escape it altogether. The conflict may resurface until it is dealt with. This planetary influence also makes social gatherings a little awkward since it is not conducive to friendly chatter or small talk.

Learn more about Mercury retrograde in the signs: Mercury retrograde in Aries, Mercury retrograde in Taurus, Mercury retrograde in Gemini, Mercury retrograde in Cancer, Mercury retrograde in Leo, Mercury retrograde in Virgo, Mercury retrograde in Libra, Mercury retrograde in Scorpio, Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, Mercury retrograde in Capricorn, Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, Mercury retrograde in Pisces

Mercury Retrograde is a phenomenon that has worked its way into mass consciousness. The moment a communication snafu occurs, folks blame Mercury Retrograde!

The truth is, not all miscommunications can be laid at the feet of this little planet. But it does behoove us to observe a few simple principles about this event.

Mercury appears to turn backward in its path around the Zodiac three times every year, for about twenty-one or twenty-two days at a time. So every four months, you get a three-week pause in which to catch up on old correspondence, read the book that’s been sitting on your nightstand and make phone calls to friends and family.

Everyone knows that Mercury Retrograde is a great time to do things that start with ‘re’: repair, reduce, reconsider, recreate. But what else can you do to bring out the best energy of this period?

Certainly, thoughts turn more inward than outward, so taking care of personal affairs is a great idea. Follow your gut instead of following your head. This is a great time to practice yoga, meditation or any activity that centers your mind and body.

If you can avoid signing a contract during Mercury Retrograde, fine. If not, go through it carefully a couple of times and get help if you need it. Try not to buy electronic equipment during this period, or travel, because delays and snafus seem to abound. Above all, don’t worry! Life moves forward even when Mercury seems to be going backward.

Find out more about Mercury retrograde in AriesMercury retrograde in TaurusMercury retrograde in GeminiMercury retrograde in CancerMercury retrograde in LeoMercury retrograde in VirgoMercury retrograde in LibraMercury retrograde in ScorpioMercury retrograde in SagittariusMercury retrograde in CapricornMercury retrograde in AquariusMercury retrograde in Pisces

Pluto has an energy that is as subtle and yet powerful as mind control, which is just one of the many things that falls within this planet’s realm. Sometimes referred to as the planet of power, Pluto seeks to control and influence on a grand, if hidden, scale.

In fact, Pluto is all about the hidden side of existence -- secrets, affairs, behind-the-scenes manipulations and so on. But more than that, it’s about power, whether it’s negative or positive. Powerful experiences such as sexuality, death, destruction and regeneration are within this planet’s realm, as are powerful urges like will, control, obsession and, again, sex.

In order to understand Pluto’s influence in your life, think of a time when you were utterly overtaken by something or someone. Perhaps you fell in love and grew obsessed with the object of your desires, or maybe you were involved in a relationship with someone who tried to control your every move. Maybe you’ve had a memorably intense sexual experience, or an equally memorable period of self-destructiveness or addiction.

All these experiences define Pluto’s energy, one that has the simultaneous power to create and destroy, to make life both amazing and terrible; or, in short, intense. It can grip you in its jaws and rip down everything you’ve come to depend on, but it can also force you to learn the power of strength -- of standing on your own two feet, come what may.

Pluto rules the intense sign of Scorpio. Read about Scorpio to learn more about this sign and Pluto's influence on it.

Pluto is a very dark, cold, slow (dwarf) planet, and is the furthest known planet from our Sun, visible only with a powerful telescope. It was only recently discovered, in 1930. Unlike other faraway planets, Pluto is not gaseous: It has a sold body.

Pluto takes 245 years to orbit the Sun. It is quite eccentric in that its orbital plane is tilted by about 17° off the ecliptic, unlike the orbital plane of other planets. This creates a strange effect as Pluto circles around the Zodiac, because it spends much longer in some parts of the Zodiac than in others. For example, it takes thirty years to travel through Taurus, but only fourteen years to make its way through Scorpio!

From Earth’s perspective, Pluto appears to be retrograde 54% of the year, which makes the retrograde somewhat insignificant in itself. However, the stationary position of Pluto -- when it seems to stand still as it changes directions -- is when the qualities and characteristics of Pluto are likely to be very noticeable.

During a retrograde period, we are often forced to step back and pause in our own evolutionary processes. The stations and retrograde periods of Pluto give us a chance to stop and consider our situation and the next course of action.

The Pluto Return occurs outside of the human life span, so we look to other points in the cycle for significance, such as the Pluto square which often indicates a time of mid-life changes and turmoil.

However, because of Pluto's eccentric orbit, it’s not always a mid-life thing: The square can happen as early as age thirty-seven and as late as age ninety-two!

The retrograde Mercury in Taurus affects your judgment and interactions on financial matters, so you will need to use extra care as you go about your business during this period.

Any new venture should be regarded with a great deal of caution, especially when dealing with large sums of money. You're more likely to meet with resistance during negotiations, so allot extra time for compromise and last-minute details. Avoid taking any risks, especially with regard to the stock market or even with big purchases.

If you must make important decisions on money matters, read through details carefully. Do not skim lightly over clauses and disclosures on contracts, use your magnifying glass, and ask questions when in doubt. One of the more effective uses during this planetary period is to revisit your financial papers of the past. Look through receipts, review your financial statements, refinance mortgage payments, and solve any tax questions you have.

This period may also find you at odds with others during conversations. Try not to be too rigid in your thinking and know when to yield, when given good reason. Bullheadedness can be a potential symptom of this celestial influence, so try not to inspire resistance.

Learn more about Mercury retrograde in the signs: Mercury retrograde in Aries, Mercury retrograde in Taurus, Mercury retrograde in Gemini, Mercury retrograde in Cancer, Mercury retrograde in Leo, Mercury retrograde in Virgo, Mercury retrograde in Libra, Mercury retrograde in Scorpio, Mercury retrograde in Sagittarius, Mercury retrograde in Capricorn, Mercury retrograde in Aquarius, Mercury retrograde in Pisces.

The retrograde Mercury in Capricorn doesn't provide much inspiration if you're searching for lovely lyrical luminous words that poetically reveals your heart and mind.

In fact, language seems to be somewhat stilted in general. It is not as if you're incapable of communicating a point, it's more as if the words you select don't come off quite as you planned.

What you consider as direct verbiage may be misconstrued as an accusation or command. Even a simple request that you regularly make may be heard as an aggressive order. This planetary period is not conducive to flowery expressive language, so creative writing and song lyrics aren't to be attempted just now.

Your tolerance for idle chatter is also at an all-time low. You would rather get straight to the point, which leaves you little patience for Grandma Betty's long-winded explanation of her quilting strategy.

Make sure to say 'please' and 'thank you' often, however. Avoid controversial subjects and certainly don't initiate new projects. Use this time to check on your financial health. Do home repairs, and reassess career goals you made five years ago. This is a fine time to take catch up on piles of old work.

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