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

When a planet changes sign by moving backwards or forwards into a new sign.

The retrograde Mercury in Sagittarius can trigger an onslaught of opinions that would be better left unspoken. The tendency, under this planetary influence, is what is known as 'inserting one's foot into one's mouth.' You may feel the urgency to express yourself, feeling that your input is badly needed.

However, what can result from your high-minded comment is a high-volume response. Although you may feel the need to address a particular matter, you may in fact, make things worse. Generally speaking, your judgment isn't quite on the mark.

You could be overly optimistic, expecting your listener to embrace all of your views wholeheartedly. You may feel that you have all the right answers while your poor misguided friend doesn't see the simple solution right before them. Don't assume that your audience is receptive to your insights.

You run the risk of coming off as self-righteous or just plain old annoying. No one likes a 'smartie pants.' Use this time to focus on yourself. Review old notes from your current job or class.

Do recreational activities, but don't travel to far from home. Brush up on a foreign language. Try to be mindful before you offer your two cents.

The retrograde Mercury in Pisces is not the best influence for composing lengthy statistical reports on the use of widgets in the 1800s. Nor is this a great time to read up on the latest tax laws for the coming year. In fact, any task that requires detailed scrutiny should best be left alone until another time.

This dreamy period will make you stare off into space for hours on end. Conversations have a way of drifting into strange and surreal territory. Facts are hard to hold on to and your memory may be less dependable than usual. You are highly sensitive to the energy around you.

If you sense any aggression from the other party, you'll probably be tempted to run away and hide. This would not be the time to engage in any intellectual debates, for you may have a hard time defending your views. You can use this period for your creative benefit.

Artistic work that you might have started once, but shelved, can be revisited with positive results. You are also especially gullible and should avoid fast-talking salespeople peddling pink robots. Take this time to clean up clutter and organize papers.

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

Mars, the Action Planet, normally spends four to six weeks traveling through each sign in the Zodiac. But when Mars goes retrograde -- and that’s only about nine percent of the time -- it spends more than six months in one sign! Talk about focus!

Let’s consider what happens when the most assertive, forward-moving planet in the solar system slows down, stops, and seems to start moving backward in its orbit.

This doesn’t seem to make Mars happy. To top it off, Mars is as close as possible to the Earth at this time, so when retrograde, it shines very brightly, all night long. This adds up to a very strong influence.

Of all the planets, Mars Retrograde indicates the need to ‘do it again.’ Actions and work that you’ve already done come back for revision, and current projects run into snags. You’ve got a long to-do list but can’t seem to get anything accomplished.

Your to-do list may seem like some sort of exasperating sticky-note that you can’t get rid of. It’s frustrating and annoying. Sometimes projects you’ve been working hard on will even come to an unexpected end.

Mars Retrograde can indicate anger and temper issues, and these feelings may be turned inward instead of being openly expressed. This can lead to all sorts of unfortunate effects, including temporary depression. Initiative can be thwarted during this time.

Not everyone will be affected equally. The sign in which Mars makes its retrograde matters a lot, both on a general level and also in determining who will be more personally affected by its retrograde motion.

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

The second of the three ‘outer planets,’ Neptune is impossible to see with the naked eye, and was not discovered until 1846. Neptune is about the same size as Uranus but is twice as far away from the Sun. It is the outermost of the ‘gas giants’ -- planets composed only of gases, with no solid core.

Neptune orbits the Sun every 165 years, and has a nearly perfect circular orbit. A day on Neptune is roughly sixteen hours. It has eight moons. Like Saturn, it has outer rings, and it also radiates more than twice as much energy as it receives from the Sun, another similarity to Saturn. The ‘blue planet’ has wild storms with the strongest winds of all planets.

From our perspective here on Earth, Neptune appears to be retrograde 44% of the time, and as always, the most important times are the stationary points, when the planet appears to be standing still as it changes direction.

During the stations, it’s best to take stock of your emotional state. Consider your feelings and how you respond to crises. You may need to process your emotions, especially concerning a loss of something or someone in your life.

Neptune’s orbit is longer than the human life span, so astrologers don’t look at Neptune Returns. However, shorter divisions of the Neptune cycle, such as the Neptune Square that occurs around age forty to forty-two years of age, are important milestones.

During the Neptune Square, dreams and illusions get a reality check. No longer following pipe dreams, we tend to go for more realistic goals.

The retrograde Mercury in Aquarius can confuse the issues more than you would probably like. Rational thinking is possible, though you will have to work a great deal more in order to draw an accurate logical conclusion. You'll find that contradictions arise, which can challenge your perception of how things are.

Some of your preconceived notions may not be easy to substantiate. As you present your ideas, other opinions may defy your assumptions. Very few people like to have their belief system questioned, but that is exactly what is happening at this time.

The more you assert your views, the more you will butt heads with other cherished notions. Sometimes, in an attempt to convince another, you may take a far-out position that will alienate others from siding with you.

Use this planetary influence as an opportunity for intellectual growth. Instead of holding fast to outmoded suppositions, consider countering evidence with genuine curiosity. Do research, ask questions, and explore the facts presented to you.

Don't argue stubbornly out of pride or attachment to how things were. Change happens constantly. What was valid yesterday may not be valid today. You can't change the world if you can't change your own mind.

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 Gemini is a slippery influence that wreaks havoc on our information dependent society. Words have a way of being misconstrued or misunderstood during conversations. Sentences you speak have another meaning than the one you originally intended.

It almost seems as if you are speaking a different language than the person you are conversing with. What you can truly depend on, during this time, is that you can't depend on anything running smoothly.

Language, in all its various constructs, can be a quite a challenge. This includes writing, programming, and foreign languages. Speak slower and listen harder.

And don't think your computer is exempt from this planetary influence either. After all, our PCs are the great purveyors of information to us through the web. It too will frustrate you with crashes, loss of data, and general orneriness. Backup your files!

When you are frustrated enough to pull the plug on your computer and your mouth, stand back for a moment, and stop. Reroute your activities. Edit reports, rework passages on essays or articles, reread computer manuals for troubleshooting. Reconcile and apologize. Or watch a comedy with friends. In short, go with the flow, not against it.

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, one of the two outermost planets, has such a long orbit that it spends fourteen years in one sign! Although we here on Earth can’t see this planet without a powerful telescope, astronomers have plotted its course with extreme accuracy.

Like all other planets, Neptune has a retrograde period; that is, if we could see it with the naked eye, it would appear to slow down, stop and then temporarily turn backward in its orbit. After five months, it slows down again, turns around and resumes its normal direction.

Since Neptune is retrograde forty-three percent of the time, by itself, it’s not an enormously important factor. But the stationary points -- the points at which the planet seems to turn around in its orbit -- are enormously important. It’s at these times when the energy of Neptune are most evident.

Since this pokey planet can spend months at the same Zodiac degree when it is stationary, astrologers look for the span of just a few days that pinpoints when Neptune actually begins moving from the stationary point. It’s on these days when you’re likely to see Neptune’s influence on the news -- drug raids, new developments in the healing arts, magicians and escape artists, criminal activity, the Mafia and the oil industry, to name just a few.

What about on a personal level? Neptune is related to your creativity and spiritual life. When Neptune is retrograde, you’re more likely to be attentive to these areas of your life, and give them voice. You may not present the efforts of your inspirations right away -- that may wait till Neptune has gone direct -- but you will cherish them all the more for waiting.

Keep a dream journal, for your dreams are likely to be vivid and meaningful during Neptune Retrograde, if you take the time to interpret them.

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