Find out what the first Mercury retrograde of the year has in store for your sign.

By Melanie Fiver
Updated Jan 31, 2020 @ 10:30 am
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We could all use some added warmth this time of year, and the stars very well may deliver on that front this month — at least for the first week or two, anyway. Mark your calendar for the 9th, when the full moon in the expansive fire sign Leo will have us positively radiating energy, generosity, and, for some of us, a little extra drama. This could be a great day to shoot your shot for any lofty Valentine’s Day plans you’ve had in mind — from its post in rough-and-tumble Aries, Venus will give you a boost of flirtatious confidence. When the 14th rolls around, don’t be afraid to pursue your lover, take your S.O. somewhere new and exciting, and let your playful side out for a romp.

If you miss V-Day and are hoping for a belated whirlwind romance, it just may have to wait. We’ll find it exceedingly difficult to act spontaneously, let alone playfully, from the 16th onward, when the first Mercury retrograde of the year begins in sensitive Pisces. As is always the case with these periods, it’s wiser to look before you leap than charge blindly ahead — no matter what your heart is telling you. Make sure you have the facts straight before you put your heart on the line.

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ARIES (March 21 – April 19)

Your birthday season is still a month away, but you’re in the mood to treat yourself nonetheless, Aries, and you have Venus to thank. The planet of love and beauty will move into your sign on the 7th and put your needs, wants, and deepest desires front and center (not that they’re ever too far from the top of your mind anyway). Not only will you feel more confident during this transit, but those around you will respond happily to your brazen approach.

Personal satisfaction will take a back seat to professional progress on the 16th, when Mars, your ruling planet, moves into Capricorn and jump-starts your motivation at work. You’ll have the energy to swiftly dispatch your to-do list, but you’ll be on the lookout for plenty of encouragement and praise along the way. If you realize your hard work is going unlauded, bring it up with your manager — but make sure you don’t lose your temper if it turns out they aren’t on the same page.

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TAURUS (April 20 - May 20)

Not that you’ve ever enjoyed a Mercury retrograde, but the one that starts on the 16th will hit you where it really hurts, dear Bull. Specifically, you may find yourself wondering which of your friends really deserves your trust. As one of the most loyal signs in the Zodiac, you shudder to think that your inner circle would have ulterior or selfish motives, but Mercury’s backspin will plant just enough seeds of doubt to rattle your perception. Try to keep a level head and don’t log every favor as debt that must be repaid. If a relationship starts to feel imbalanced or merely transactional during this period, lead with patience and an open ear — doing so will allow you to broach the subject with grace.

Although the retrograde will last through the month, Pisces season, which begins on the 18th, will help your worries abate somewhat. Rather than fretting over the power dynamics within your friendships, we urge you to nurture the new and potential bonds in your life. A new confidante could be waiting in the aisles.

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GEMINI (May 21 - June 20)

If you’re seeking a raise, a title change, or a whole new line of work, it’ll be best to work toward those goals before the 16th, Gemini. Otherwise, when the Mercury retrograde in Pisces starts whirling its way, Tasmanian Devil-style, through your professional life, your grand aspirations will wind up as dust in the wind. Prior to its retrograde, however, Mercury will actually be wind in your sails, alerting you to opportunities to network and chat up the workplace’s movers and shakers. From the 3rd (when the messenger planet moves into your career sector) to the 15th, you’ll see just how far talking can get you.

Once Mercury starts its retrograde, maintain a lower profile than usual, Gem. That isn’t to say you should become the office mute, but too much attention is a bad thing during this period. Instead, keep your eyes on your own paper and make sure the work you deliver is beyond any sort of scrutiny — yes, that means plenty of rehashing and revising your projects ad nauseum. When Mercury directs its course next month, this focused meticulousness will be well worth it.

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CANCER (June 21 - July 22)

While it’ll be nice when the sun moves into fellow water sign, Pisces, on the 18th, don’t take these final days of Aquarius season for granted, Cancer. This is your yearly opportunity to delve deep within yourself and resolve to change yourself for the better (think of it as the 2.0 version of a New Year’s resolution). Don’t be afraid to reckon with all-consuming matters — like, say, your relationship with money or your ideal definition of sexual intimacy — as the month begins. You’ll have until next Aquarius season to check in on your progress.

As if Mercury retrograde starting on the 16th wasn’t enough, this day will also see Mars, the red planet of conflict, move into your partnerships zone. While Mercury pulls your attention in eight different directions at once, Mars will test your temper all the more, especially around those closest to you. The very thought of fighting with a loved one probably hurts your crabby little heart, Cancer, but you may nevertheless find yourself chafing at the slightest, most innocuous comments from your friends and even S.O. The key to surviving both of these transits is actually the same: Think before you speak — and if you feel your blood pressure rising, walk it off.

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LEO (July 23 - August 22)

Last month’s full moon in sensitive Cancer may have been a little quiet for your liking, Leo, but this month’s is sure to remedy any remaining lunar doldrums. When the full moon reaches its peak in your very own sign on the 9th, you’ll feel empowered to share the whole breadth of your feelings with others, but with that openness may come a tendency to ignore the feelings of those around you. Rest assured, if you shut someone out, they will let you know — a Leonine full moon makes even the meekest more apt to roar.

You’ll be more than willing to shun your spotlight altogether when Pisces season begins on the 18th and awakens your inner hermit. Seek clarity around your relationships, long-term goals, and finances in the latter half of the month, even if it means facing up to some unpleasant habits you’ve allowed yourself to hold onto. When the new moon in Pisces arrives on the 23rd, you’ll have an opportunity to let them go and adopt a new way of living.

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Virgo (August 23 - September 22)

When it comes to dealing with cold, hard, objective facts, you’re as level-headed as they come, Virgo. It’s when feelings are involved that your inner worrywart takes the reins. When your analytical ruling planet, Mercury, moves into your relationship zone on the 3rd, you could find yourself overthinking every passing comment from your lovers and friends. You may be called upon to mediate conflicts, take the lead on a presentation, or make uncomfortable decisions — ones that will affect more than just yourself. Naturally, social burnout is very likely during this period, so keep your calendar light and populated only by relaxing, smaller engagements.

Your ruling planet will continue to stir the pot on the 16th, when it begins its first retrograde of the year. You may realize that you got too involved in someone else’s problems or made the wrong choice — you can’t turn back the clock, but you can slow down to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes again. Mercury retrogrades get a bad rap because they force us to own our missteps, but they do so in the hopes that we’ll learn from them in the long run. Don’t beat yourself up if something didn’t go according to plan, Virgo. You’ll get it right next time.

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LIBRA (September 22 - October 23)

Your sign makes maintaining a (relatively) flawless public image a priority, Libra, and all the work you’ve put into fine-tuning your reputation will come to a head during the full moon on the 9th. Word of your talents and skills will reach someone in need of such gifts — they may be a potential employer or a distant friend in need. The people-pleaser in you will find it hard to say no to any requests for help, and if your rep is on the line you’ll feel all but duty-bound to do what you can. Despite what you may think, stretching yourself too thin will not benefit you in the long run, even if those who benefit sing your praises. There’s a fine line between being a benevolent helper and doormat, Libra. Learn to walk it carefully.

Speaking of taking care of yourself, Mercury’s retrograde on the 16th will throw your self-maintenance routines into (potentially utter) chaos. Your sleep schedule could end up irreparably disrupted; you might backslide on your New Year’s resolutions; someone you’ve been depending on to keep your schedule straight could leave you hanging. Keep in mind: These frustrations are not the retrograde’s fault. The cause of these inconveniences have long been in place — Mercury is merely highlighting them so that you may root them out.

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SCORPIO (October 23 - November 21)

You know better than anyone else that still waters run deep, Scorpio — and this month your inner currents will be positively churning, even if you appear cool, calm, and collected on the surface. When Venus moves into playful and competitive Aries on the 7th, putting your nose to the grindstone will be the last thing on your mind. There’s nothing wrong with chatting or kicking back on the job, and you don’t always have to take the lead in order to succeed. It might feel out of character, but feel free to ride this laid back wave for a week or so, because your attitude toward work will change enormously on the 16th, when Mars moves into Capricorn.

The latter half of the month will see you newly invigorated and committed to your goals, itching to share them with others and to see them to fruition. This cosmic kick in the pants may be so strong, however, that every little thing you’d like to accomplish takes on the same amount of importance as your actual long-term dreams and desires. Try to stay focused on the milestones that matter most, Scorpio, and don’t squander this positive energy.

VIDEO: The Spending Habits of 5 Zodiac Signs

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SAGITTARIUS (November 22 - December 21)

This month’s full moon is your chance to break out of your wintertime rut, Sagittarius. It’s a brand-new month in a brand-new decade — what do you want to get out of it? Knowing you, your answer probably touches on the unknown, escape, and enrichment. When the full moon reaches its peak on the 9th, in fellow fire sign Leo no less, you’ll have a shining opportunity to work toward attaining those desires. Sign up for a mountaineering workshop, renew your library card (because escaping through your imagination totally counts), or just bite the bullet and book a one-way flight somewhere new. There will be time to sort out your more mundane needs later. Seize this lunar phase.

On the subject of mundanity, Mars will boost your earning potential from the 16th onward, revealing how you might optimize your budget and make a case for that raise you know you deserve. The challenge here will be to keep the long-term in mind and avoid basing financial decisions on whims and impulses (read: you don’t need to have the shiniest, newest toy right now if it means saving for something genuinely rewarding down the line).

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CAPRICORN (December 22 - January 19)

Mark, circle, highlight, and underline the 16th on your calendar, Cap. You’ll experience nothing short of a celestial double-whammy that day, when Mercury retrograde begins in your house of communication and logistics, and Mars, planet of war and passion, moves into your very own sign. The former will test your patience and demand the full capacity of your organizational skills — files may get lost, passwords could be leaked, and important phone calls might get dropped. Take a page out of the mountain goat’s book, Cap: Be nimble and keep looking forward and up. You will make it to the top, even if you have to get there slowly.

Keep that in mind when you field the demands of this latter transit, as Mars in your first house will be utterly incorrigible, asking such nagging questions as, “Why not now?” and “Why not you?” You’ll feel ill-tempered in the face of everyday challenges, and if greater difficulties arise you’ll be ready for a fight. Believe it or not, you can channel this fiery energy toward a productive end if you keep your feelings at bay. When you view your roadblocks with an objective eye, it’s easier to forge a way around them.

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AQUARIUS (January 20 - February 18)

The full moon on the 9th will be a romantic and social high point for you this month, Aquarius, as it’ll occur in your sister sign, Leo. This sign functions as a sort of foil for your own personality, highlighting when you could stand to learn from others. When the moon reaches peak fullness in this sign, the ways in which you can be a better partner will be illuminated. If you’ve been attentive and caring thus far, this is your chance to go the extra mile — and if you’ve neglected any of your friendships or put romance on the back burner, you can now make amends.

The other relationship you’ll have to tend to this month will be the one between you and your wallet. Mercury retrograde, which kicks off on the 16th, will cast a dire air over your financial situation. Bills could get overlooked, fees and interest charges could accumulate, and your pocket money may take on a newfound importance. Even if you’re relatively secure in your cash flow, managing it this month will come with a side of stress. Take this as your cue to tidy up your budget and try not to panic.

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PISCES (February 19 - March 20)

The days leading up to the start of your birthday season (which begins when the sun moves into your sign on the 18th) will see you setting on a journey of self-improvement, Pisces. The full moon on the 9th will awaken your inner wellness fanatic, inspiring you to take greater control over your approach to self-care and your well-being. This could manifest as a renewed commitment to getting eight hours of sleep every night or a desire to cut ties with the, shall we say, energy vampires in your life.

However you choose to optimize your life during the full moon, you’ll have an even greater opportunity to work on yourself when Mercury starts its retrograde in your sign on the 16th. This often-dreaded transit will, indeed, ask you to go over your self-presentation and image with a fine-toothed comb, but it will afford you the time and space to do so quietly and away from meddlesome people. Self-consciousness — and, in turn, self-doubt — will be at an all-time high during the retrograde, but resist the urge to let these feelings direct your decisions. When we’re alone, our own inner monologue gets much louder, but we can decide which parts of it we choose to listen to.

Was your January horoscope on point? Have a look back, here.