From March 22nd until April 15th, Mercury will speed past the sun into Aries. Since the world became collectively aware of the weight of retrograde, we’ve begun to take care of ourselves in order to manage the chaos. What is Mercury retrograde?

When early astronomers observed the rotation of planets, there would be periods of time when Mercury appeared to thrust backward. Astrologers understood this to be a sign of imminent chaos on Earth, believing the actions of the stars and planets influence our lives directly. When we talk about Mercury retrograde, we’re adhering to the idea of “as above, so below.” What happens in the sky influences what happens down here. We believe there are secrets coded into the map of the universe and secrets coded into the patterns on Earth.

When Mercury retrogrades, these patterns become less discernable and pockets of confusion and disorder become prominent in our lives. As we shed winter like old skin, we should also try to let go of toxic people. We should look into ourselves for toxic behavior and declutter the self. Mercury retrograde is always a wild ride, but we can use this period of transition to try and harness our best selves against the reign of chaos.

16Fire Signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius) – Don’t Try To Make People Like You. It’s Not Going To Work

There’s no point in going out of your way to make people happy during Mercury retrograde, fire signs. Nobody is going to feel on top of their game and neither will you, so it’s best to avoid trying to start new relationships or meeting new people unless it’s absolutely necessary. Even if it’s hard for your big and warm hearts to accept, don’t get discouraged if people seem colder to you than normal. You’re already appreciated by the right people, and things will come back to order soon. Now is a good time to be reflective and try to connect with yourselves, dear fire signs. Indulge in your introverted side that you often keep hidden away, and use this time to get to know yourself better.

15Aries – Your Blunt Honesty Is Going To Alienate People

Happy birthday Aries! It’s your season! But hold tight because Mercury is here to steal all the attention. While it might seem like Mercury is like a positivity vacuum, sucking all the joy out of your celestially ordained special time, it might actually be a good time to look inwards at your behavior and see how it affects other people. You’re bold and brash, you say what’s on your mind, but during Mercury retrograde, you’re probably going to make some people feel a bit funny. People are highly sensitive and touchy right now, so the last thing they want to hear is anything that could be interpreted as criticism. Consider this an exercise in self-control. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want somebody to say to you, and then don’t say it anyway.

14Leo – Don’t Give Too Much Of Yourself. You Won’t Get Anything Back

In a pre-emptive reaction against the oncoming chaos, you might find yourself trying to do damage control by employing kindness, patience, and understanding in situations you would otherwise have less of a tolerance for. It’s retrograde, after all! Here’s the thing. It’s not going to work out for you, so don’t do it. The best damage control you can do involves taking steps to protect yourself from leeches and people who eat up emotional labor, Leo. Be conscious of the energy you’re putting into your relationships and note what you get back. This isn’t going to be a time of fairness and balance, so you will either need to let things go or just don’t put them forward in the first place. Save your ego and pride the disappointment.

13Sagittarius – People Might Find You More Offensive Than Funny

You have a beautiful sense of humor, Sag. You’ve probably considered being a stand-up comedian because you’re never impressed with any of the Netflix comedy specials, and you know you can do better. I’ve got some bad news for you: Every funny thing you say is going to feel like a crappy Netflix comedy special. People will be offended, even if you didn’t mean to. Even if what you said was objectively not offensive. Retrograde is crazy. People are projecting their emotions like crazy onto people and situations, trying to find patterns they can understand while everything is uncertain. Saying the wrong thing, even jokingly, might set the wrong person off. If you want to diffuse tense energy with humor, reconsider and let somebody else ruin the mood.

12Air Signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius) – Now Is The Worst Time To Settle Because You’re Flighty As Hell

Now is the worst time to settle for anything because you’ll change your mind at the wrong time and make your friends mad. Don’t travel, don’t move, don’t sign anything, dear Air signs. You’re already going to regret it. Your friends are probably already mad at you, so maybe just stay home? Have you considered hibernating? While your friends might appreciate your sense of adventure and your desire to have new, meaningful experiences, the only thing they’re going to notice during retrograde is that you can’t really decide what you want to do, and they’re just hungry and will eat wherever. It doesn’t matter. Mercury retrograde is the perfect time for a solo staycation.

11Gemini – Roll With The Punches But Stay Focused. It’ll Be Over Before You Know It

Because you’re a naturally adaptive person, Gemini, you shouldn’t have too much trouble accommodating the crap that piles on during this season. You can see that the end is in sight and soon everybody will be back to normal. Don’t lower your tolerance for nonsense and don’t let people walk all over you. More importantly, don’t extend yourself too far and make any important decisions, Gemini. You won’t be satisfied with any outcome until retrograde is over. Fundamentally, you’re going to come out of this okay, and you’ll manage the conflict well, but you don’t want to set yourself up to do something you don’t want to do or be somewhere you don’t want to be, especially when things clear up. Now is not the time to leave your comfort zone.

10Libra – You’re Literally The Devil During Mercury Retrograde So Consider Going Into Hiding

Mercury might be in Aries right now, but that doesn’t mean Libras aren’t sprouting horns. Because you value sociability and might tend more to extroversion than introversion, it’s likely that you spend a lot of time with other people. Unfortunately, now is not the time, Libra. While Mercury retrograde might make other people touchier and irritable, it brings out your indecisiveness and impatience. While other signs have their negative qualities emphasized (looking at you Sagittarius and Capricorn) during a retrograde season, your ability to sense weakness and hesitation in others will be heightened. Try not to kill anyone, alright? This is probably the worst time to interact with other people, so maybe keep it to a minimum and look into meditation.

9Aquarius – It’s Not Good For You To Spend Too Much Time Alone

Try not to get discouraged by the calamity, dear Aquarius. While everyone in the world seems to be traumatizing each other endlessly, you’re still probably better off out there than all by yourself. While Mercury retrograde has a lot of influence over the way people treat each other (and it’s bad… you already know), you will probably find that feelings of loneliness will be heightened. While being around other people poses a risk of negative interaction, overall you’ll be better off around other people than despairing by yourself in your room. If you tend towards introversion, this might seem counterintuitive, but try to be social if at all possible. If you tend towards extroversion, you might find the creeping loneliness to be overwhelming. Don’t give in!

8Earth Signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn) – You’ll Prioritize Material Things Over Your Real Relationships

If you’re an earth sign, chances are that your credit card is going to get a lot more love this season than any of your friends and family. Call it Celestial Capitalism. Shopping is easier than dealing with people. Just remember to make the minimum payment every month at the very least. Similarly, don’t neglect your relationships by putting less than the absolute minimum. It’ll affect your clout. At the same time, don’t overextend yourself and commit to social obligations you won’t follow through with. It’s better to be upfront about your limitations, especially when mercurial chaos is the definitive look of the season. Don’t feel guilty about seeking comfort from material things.

7Taurus – Your Friends Will Annoy You, But Try To Get Over It

This is not the time to be a people-person, Taurus. You might love your friends, but during retrograde, it’s going to seem like they’re doing everything in their power to bother you. It’s not that they’re getting under your skin on purpose, it’s that they’re feeling just as off as you. Your sensibilities tend towards the more stable and practical, which means your tolerance for stupidity is extra low. Small caveat: Don’t be mean to your friends, even if they’ve pushed you to the end of your rope. They don’t mean it. You don’t mean it. You don’t want to be doing damage control once things have returned to normal. Cherish the time you spend alone and maybe use this time to take on some spring cleaning.

6Virgo – Get Used To Not Being Able To Understand. Patterns Mean Nothing

Mercury retrograde probably causes you to suffer more than the other signs in realms beyond relationships, dear Virgo. Mercury retrograde disrupts patterns and codes, interfering with your ability to understand the workings of the world around you. As somebody who has a natural tendency to recognize patterns – and if you’re spiritually inclined, appreciate the design of the universe – this season of retrograde is incredibly trying. Everything feels disconnected or disjointed. There’s no point in fighting it. You have to let go and stop trying so hard to be in control, whether this involves your job, your relationships, or expecting the people at Starbucks to get your order right when it’s really busy. The only thing you can be sure of is knowing that soon enough, Mercury will be out of retrograde, and you’ll be on solid ground.

5Capricorn – You’re Tongue Will Slip & You Will Say Something Extremely Rude

While you are normally a bastion of self-control and discipline, even if that means pulling an all-nighter before your papers are due (you’ll get an A anyway), retrograde is going to pull the rug out from under you, Capricorn. Your friends typically would not expect you to be the one to say something that makes them uncomfortable, but chances are that you’re going to slip up. Even with yourself, you might find yourself oversharing and making people uncomfortable. Try to avoid gossip and don’t be too hard on yourself. Your flaws will seem magnified by the lack of order, and it’s probably best that you avoid addressing this until everything falls back into place. Try to take care of yourself and don’t spend more time than necessary with other people. You’ll freak them out before you realize anything is wrong.

4Water Signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces) – You’re Highly Emotional During This Time, But Try To Keep Your Chin Up

This isn’t going to be easy for y’all. Water signs tend towards being emotional and sensitive. They have strong intuition and a desire to preserve and strengthen their relationships. When everything flies out of whack, and the order underlining the design is whisked away, water signs are going to find that their relationships will become points of contention. Now is a time to be aware of your emotional labor. Invest in self-care and don’t give more of yourself to any situation than you will get back, lest you end up exhausted and disappointed. You can probably justify hiding away from the world if you truly believe your relationships are at risk. Even if you already know things will go awry, don’t address these issues during the retrograde season. They won’t work in your favor. Save it until you regain some planetary strength.

3Cancer – Your Loyalty Will Be Tested To Its Limits

Your loyalty is one of your best qualities, dear Cancer, but it’s also one of your greatest weaknesses. You can hope that you won’t have to deal with being crossed by somebody you trust, but you never know how things will play out in Mercury retrograde. Wanting to protect your relationships and the people you love is a beautiful thing, but that puts you at a risk of being taken advantage of. People with ulterior motives can sense this out in you, and if they get what they want, they might hang you to dry. Keep an eye out for narcissists and sociopaths in your daily life. Don’t make any big promises, and don’t expect an even exchange of emotional labor during times of crisis. There are snakes in the grass, so maybe you should just stay inside.

2Scorpio – Don’t Share Too Many Secrets Because They Will Come Back To Bite You

You might be the kind of person who believes in cultivating a precious inner self. While exterior you might be weathered by conflict, the interior you remains true to your values and functions as a reliable mainstay in a chaotic world. When chaos becomes the predominant force governing the world – as it does during Mercury retrograde – you might feel the need to preserve this part of you against any weird struggles. Word of advice: Don’t withhold information or stay too guarded, Scorpio. People will find you rude, unapproachable, and won’t extend much sympathy. You’ll find your inner self-feeling misunderstood while the dust settles on the façade you’ve built outside. Retrograde is not the time to be understood by the world around you. Don’t even try.

1Pisces – People Will Be Meaner To You Than Normal. Because They Are

It’s not just you, dear Pisces. Everybody is a jerk. The person at Starbucks actually was rude to you. Your parents are probably a little bit annoyed over something you forgot you did. Your friends are being weirdly offensive and going a bit too far with the roasts. Celestially, there’s an answer to all the hullaballoo. Nobody knows what’s going on. Everybody forgot how to act. Because you’re typically a sensitive and gentle person, Pisces, people interpret these qualities as weakness and take out their anger on you. Even strangers who don’t know you will sniff it out of you and act out of turn before they’ve even realized what they’ve done. Just remember that it’s not really about you, and it’s not really about them, it’s about the intricate dance of stars and planets that controls everything in the universe from above our heads.