As of April 28th, there are now a total of five planets retrograde! A line up like this only occurs once a decade or so. Retrograde planets move backward through the astrological houses, essentially retracing the steps of sign degrees where they have just been, then going over them a third time once they turn direct (move forward), and then continue on in a forward motion through the signs as usual. This is why retrograde periods are so closely associated with revising, reviewing, revisiting, and recalibrating — that is what the planets themselves are doing.
I find retrogrades to be widely misunderstood. The pervasive fear of them is unjust. The level of awareness we bring to them determines how they will unfold for us. Retrogrades, in my experience, can bring magical insight, synchronicity, as well as much-needed time for revision and rest.
As much our business-centered world encourages constant progress and development in one single direction, that type of trajectory simply does not exist in the natural world. Everything in nature cycles through birth and death, blooming and wilting. When we think about the planets, it’s important to understand that retrograde is nothing more than a healthy aspect of the planet’s movement and energetic flow. All planets spend some time retrograde, with varying frequency and duration. Just as tuning in with the seasons, the rise and set of the sun, or the moon cycle can help us to feel calm and in flow, tuning into the flow of the planetary energies can help us know when to slow down and when to forge ahead.
Here’s a guide to the current retrograde landscape and how to work most effectively with these energies:
April 28th-May 22nd
The infamous mercury retrograde! Mercury Retrograde has gotten a bad rap pop-culturally, but there are many benefits to the time this planet reverses course. Mercury in the sign of Taurus wants us to look at the ways we nourish ourselves and nurture others. Honestly, assess how solid your self-care practice is and modify as needed. Set aside extra time for enjoyment of the sensual side of life. Mercury and Venus will both be in Taurus for the duration of the retrograde, so there is a strong emphasis on time spent in nature and the beautification of our lives.
Mercury retrograde is a wonderful time for journaling, therapy, energy work, and generally slowing down and reviewing recent months or even life themes as a whole. Look to the area of your chart where you have Taurus to see a more refined message of which area of life you can especially be nourishing or revisiting. Gemini Sun/Rising and Virgo Sun/Rising may experience mercury retrograde more strongly since their signs are Mercury-ruled. (And do regard some the general mercury retro advice: don’t purchase expensive technology, sign contracts, or be careless with communication during this time.)
April 17th-June 29th
Mars is, of course, an action planet, and having the planet of action and aggression retrograde could seem like a roadblock. Ultimately, retrogrades point backward (revisiting the past) or inward (connecting with an inner drive that can be harder to hear when charging forward). The key to using the retrograde Mars energy effectively is to channel it inward in a positive way. Rather than feel frustrated that a project isn’t moving ahead as planned, or that a key person is M.I.A. (most likely a man, as Mars is correlated with men), this is a time to connect to your deepest inner drive and commit to actioning that during the retrograde.
Whether it’s a quest to get healthy, make more money, or improve your relationship, take this Mars energy and use it to do the inner work necessary for the outer goals to occur. Scorpio Sun/Rising and Aries Sun/Rising folks may especially feel slow down since Mars rules those signs, and to see where your personal mars retrograde is happening, look at the early degrees of Sagittarius and the late degrees of Scorpio in your own chart. One of my favorite astrologers, Mystic Medusa, emphasizes that it is not in our favor to be the aggressor or an initiator of hostile action with Mars is retrograde. If you need to take legal action, for example, best to wait until after the retrograde period.
March 25th-August 13th
Saturn teaches us structure, the alignment of form and function, and responsibility. Capricorn Sun/Rising will be especially impacted as Saturn rules Capricorn. Progress may feel slower as if the process of building something requires us to be even more slow and steady than usual. We may need to go back and clean up tax errors or planning decisions that haven’t worked out. Saturn encourages us to revisit existing structures and revise what is not working. Unpaid bills? Been meaning to make that dentist appointment for the past nine months? Saturn Retrograde wants us to get in there and clean up the underlying structures of our lives so that we can thrive and achieve mastery. Take care of pending responsibilities and watch the rewards come. To see the area of life where Saturn is especially relevant to you right now, you’ll want to look at the house of your chart where you have Sagittarius.
January 7th-May 9th
Jupiter is a happy planet of luck, abundance, generosity, and expansiveness. This retrograde has just a little over a week left, so we are near the end. Planets are not as powerful for outward action when retrograde, so it can be considered fortunate that Jupiter is about to go direct, especially for Sagittarius Sun/Rising folks since they are Jupiter-ruled. To see where you are about to get an extra dose of luck and expansion, look to the area where you have Sagittarius in your chart. The time when Jupiter turns direct can be an excellent moment for making a powerful wish, so be sure to do that! In the meantime, be especially gentle and willing to cooperate with so many planets retrograde at once.
April 18th-September 26th
Pluto goes deep. Plutonic power is about transformation, surrender, destruction, and rebirth. Part of why Pluto moves so powerfully in part because of its incredibly slow course, spending nearly half of each year retrograde. Our most powerful energies will want to run deeply and somewhat secretly during this time when five planets are retrograde, including Pluto. We are refining ourselves and our sense of who we are and where we’ve been. This will be especially felt by Scorpio Sun/Rising folks, as Pluto rules Scorpio. We feel Pluto the most when it connects with one of our personal planets, so look to the area of your chart where you have Capricorn (or any planets at 15-17 degrees) to see where Pluto is asking you personally to regenerate and rebirth yourself.
There you have it, an overview of this wondrous array of planetary retrogrades! My most loving suggestion is that you take this rare and beautiful moment in time to pause, reflect, and do whatever it takes to become willing. There is power in surrendering to the energies at play, as we are encouraged to go inward and do the deep work that will allow us to step into the next cycle of our lives with ease, elegance, wisdom, and grace.
How are you experiencing this retrograde period? I would love to hear in the comments!