Take a deep breath, stargazers. We’re in for one dizzying summer. According to astrologer Annie Heese’s ephemeris (aka her table of future planetary activity), summer 2018 will see seven planetary retrogrades in total, although the most planets that will be retrograde at one time is six. If you ask us, that’s still plenty — more than enough to send astrology enthusiasts into a cosmic tizzy, that’s for sure.
If you aren’t familiar with retrogrades, they’re periods of time when a planet appears to be moving in reverse. While that backward movement is just an optical illusion, it carries major astrological implications. Regardless of the planet, a retrograde usually signals a period of delayed progress or disruption. Where we experience that stalling effect, however, depends on which planet happens to be retrograde.
Each planet rules a different area of our lives (Mercury oversees communications, Venus handles our love lives, Mars touches all things related to action and conflict). So, if Mercury is retrograde (which it will be in about a month), we’ll feel its effects most clearly when we’re trying to coordinate social plans or discuss touchy subjects with our partners.
With so many planets hitting their backspins at once, it can feel like your hands are tied and all you can do is wait for the retrogrades to end. Never fear, you can still go about your daily life with relative ease, though the heavens would appreciate it if you did so with a little more care for the next few months. Because, believe it or not, retrogrades don’t solely occur to drive us nuts. They can actually teach us to slow down and act more thoughtfully — as long as we’re ready to learn that lesson.
Ahead, we take a closer look at every retrograde we’ll experience this summer: how long they’ll last, how they’ll affect us, and which signs will be hit the hardest.
Starts: July 26, 2018
Ends: August 19, 2018
Mercury is the annoying sitcom neighbor of the retrograde world. It comes by way too often (about three times a year) and leaves a trail of awkwardness and frustration in its wake. Be careful what you send to your group chats and which projects you take on during Mercury’s backspin — communications and commitments are equally hazardous when the messenger planet is retrograde.
The signs that will be most affected: Cancer, Libra
Starts: June 26, 2018
Ends: August 27, 2018
If this retrograde had a motto, it’d be, “Don’t force it.” You don’t have to completely take your hands off the steering wheel, but it will be in your interest to take the scenic route during this Mars retrograde. Don’t act impulsively and try not to lose it when you don’t get your way. Besides, going with the flow is way more of a summer vibe than charging ahead.
The signs that will be most affected: Aries, Scorpio
Starts: March 8, 2018
Ends: July 10, 2018
We’ll only see the tail end of this retrograde during the summer, which is sort of a shame given its overall pleasant influence. In general, Jupiter rewards those who chase knowledge. When it’s retrograde, those rewards may be slow to come, but trust that they will eventually arrive. This retrograde is all about dwelling in uncertainty then seeking to learn from it — ultra-cautious signs will likely bristle the most at the cosmic challenge.
The signs that will be most affected: Taurus, Capricorn
Starts: April 17, 2018
Ends: September 6, 2018
We’ve been dealing with the stern effects of this retrograde for months now — and they’ll continue until after Labor Day. Since the ringed planet is currently in hardworking Capricorn, this backspin will hit our professional lives and ambitions the hardest. You may have to view how you use your time, money, and skills more critically than you usually would in order to reallocate and restructure your life for long-term success. Phew, this planet-sign combo isn’t messing around.
The signs that will be most affected: Gemini, Sagittarius
Starts: August 7, 2018
Ends: January 6, 2018
We have more than a month to prepare for this retrograde’s arrival. And, given the mind trip that Uranus retrogrades can be, this advance notice is for the best. Known as the planet of immense change and invention, Uranus turns those effects inward when it starts its retrograde, reminding us that before we can see major shifts in the world around us, we may need to make some changes within ourselves first.
The signs that will be most affected: Aquarius
Starts: June 18, 2018
Ends: November 24, 2018
Does it feel like you’ve been swimming in your feelings, distracted and unfocused due to the whirlpool in your soul, lately? Blame Neptune (for your feels and for that metaphor). When the planet of dreams is retrograde, our emotions, creativity and spirituality demand more attention. On one hand, this is your chance to get back in touch with your inner self. On the other, this could prompt you to lose touch with the outside world. If you have some Neptunian reflections planned, do them outdoors!
The signs that will be most affected: Pisces
Starts: April 22, 2018
Ends: September 30, 2018
Pluto might be the most distant (dwarf) planet from our home world, but that doesn’t mean we’ll dodge the effects of its retrograde. This period asks us to dig deep into our relationship with power and control — then potentially make adjustments. Can you ease up on the demands you make of your family and friends? Can you step up and ask for more at work? Take your time and, like with any retrograde, don’t rush your reflections.
The signs that will be most affected: Virgo, Leo