Here's what you can expect during the sun's annual trip through the balance-seeking, beauty-loving sign.

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Annually, from approximately September 22 to October 22, the sun makes its trip through the seventh sign of the zodiac, Libra, the cardinal air sign wired to bring balance, harmony, and justice to their work and relationships. Through the Scales' season, no matter what sign you were born under, you're likely to be drawn to working with others one-on-one, interested in hearing both sides of any debate, and driven to get centered, splitting your time more equally between work and play. If Virgo season was all about getting more organized and productive, then Libra season is about continuing those efforts in a way that prioritizes beauty and balance.

The romantic, idealistic air sign also emphasizes connection, socializing, and getting along with others, thanks to its ruler, Venus, the sweet planet of love. So although what we think of as the holiday season might still be several weeks off, it'll be no surprise if you start craving more time with friends and loved ones spent enjoying fun-loving fall traditions. Libra vibes are all about finding any excuse to get together and have an Instagram-worthy celebration.

But while the sun moves through Libra every year, the moon and planets move at different paces and patterns in our solar system, so you can expect a unique experience during every sign's season. Here's a glimpse at Libra season 2021.

Libra Season Explainer
Credit: Alex Sandoval

Mercury retrograde is a major player this year.

Three or four times a year, Mercury, the planet of communication, transportation, and technology, appears to move backward through the sky, spurring a three-week slowdown period that promotes reflection and revision over new projects and plowing ahead. This year, the third retrograde of the year syncs up almost exactly with Libra season, beginning officially on September 27 and lasting until October 18, and Mercury will be moving backward in the cardinal air sign. That said, you can expect this retrograde to have a distinctly Venusian vibe, potentially requiring that you go back to the drawing board and tend to old business and loose ends related to partnerships, beauty, art, earning money, and values. (Related: WTF Is Really Going On During Mercury Retrograde?)

But other months-long retrogrades will come to a close.

Although, yes, there will likely be perpetual griping about Mercury's backward turn, Libra season will see three outer planets going direct (aka ending their retrogrades). First up to bat is Pluto, the planet of transformation, which has been retrograde since April 27 in cardinal earth sign Capricorn. On October 6 — the same day as the Libra new moon, but more on that in a sec — it'll go direct. As such, you'll slowly (and finally) begin to act on any meditations you've had on toxic relationships, patterns, and behaviors over the past five-ish months.

Then, on October 10, Saturn, the taskmaster planet currently in fixed air sign Aquarius, will end its retrograde which began on May 23. Again, any inner work you've done since then can fuel the creation of future-minded structures, rules, and boundaries that promote your growth and success. (Related: How to Set Boundaries with Anyone In Your Life)

And on October 17-18 (depending on your time zone), buoyant, expansive Jupiter will end its retrograde, which began on June 20 in mutable water sign Pisces and is culminating in Aquarius. Jupiter retrograde asks you to consider if you're truly comfortable with the ways in which you've expanded our lives since its last backward turn. And now that you've spent the past nearly four months in that headspace, the post-retrograde phase will allow you to put what you've learned into practice to boost your fortune and self-actualization.

The end of Jupiter's retrograde could also prove exciting on a global scale, given that Jupiter's forward movement means it's on its way back to Pisces, where it spent time from May 13 to July 28, spurring a good deal of optimism around the end of the pandemic. (Related: Quarantine Made You Crave Major Life Changes, But Should You Follow Through?)

You can look forward to a variety of "activating" moments.

At the beginning of any cardinal sign's season, you can expect tense albeit activating squares to transformative Pluto, currently in cardinal earth sign Capricorn. On September 22, just before the sun moves into Libra, messenger Mercury will square Pluto, boosting a deep-dive research as well as coercive tactics. Pay attention to what transpires, because, thanks to Merc's retrograde, these two power players also clash again on October 1. On October 17, the confident sun butts heads with Pluto, potentially highlighting control issues, destructive behaviors, and power struggles. Finally, on October 22, action-oriented Mars and Pluto duke it out, possibly bringing even more aggression and paranoia to the mix.

But relationships get an adventurous boost.

Until October 7, Venus, the planet of love, will be in Scorpio, a spot where it's considered to be in its "detriment," or a position in which it feels uncomfortable and struggles to do its thing. Scorp rules the eighth house of death, rebirth, sex, and transformation — all themes that you generally encounter in an LTR — but that can't help but clash with Venus' desire to keep things light, airy, personable, and romantic. But from October 7 to November 5, Venus will be more content in fun-loving mutable fire sign Sagittarius.

In the sign of the Archer, Venus will bring a free-spirited, jovial, unfiltered, philosophical, and optimistic tone to relationships as well as pursuits of beauty and money. If you've been wanting to plan a road trip with your S.O., take an eye-opening class with your bestie, broach straightforward, no-nonsense real talk conversations with loved ones, or take a chance swiping on someone who seems to be anything but your type — or even happens to live in a different country — this phase will support your efforts.

A new moon and a full moon could host fiery showdowns.

When you think of a new moon in Libra, you might think of kicking off new partnerships, artistic projects, or earning opportunities. But with Mercury retrograde, old business is emphasized over anything new, and the Scales' new moon, occurring on October 6, pairs up with aggressive Mars, making this a potentially passionate (at best) and confrontational (at worst) lunar event. It'll be especially important to keep an eye out for impulsive behavior stemming from unresolved anger. (Related: How to Have Healthier Relationship Arguments)

And the full moon, happening on October 20, is hosted by Aries, ruled by Mars, which in itself sets the stage for fighting with an eye toward winning at all costs. And as if that wasn't enough, the confident sun and Mars will be super-cozy in Libra, producing a lot of adrenaline, assertiveness, and gung-ho energy, which will need to be channeled strategically to avoid blowups. Then, Mars will be heading for a tense square with burn-it-all-down Pluto, giving way to power-related clashes, manipulation, and obsessions.

In other words, for several days around both of these lunar events, you'll want to be especially aware of Mars' hotheaded, antagonistic vibes, burn off extra energy in healthy ways, and keep your cool. And when in doubt, do your best to embrace Libra's M.O., prioritizing balance and minimizing conflict at all costs.

Maressa Brown is a writer and astrologer with more than 15 years of experience. In addition to being Shape's resident astrologer, she contributes to InStyle, Parents, Astrology.com, and more. Follow her Instagram and Twitter at @MaressaSylvie.