All the planets will be retrograde sometime within the next seven months—many of them at the same time. This is a lot of energy to be moving inward, just as the more severe lock downs we’ve been experiencing are starting to reverse.
With so many planets going “backward,” it may seem like we actually won’t be getting much outward “traction,” despite heading back to business as usual.
What Is a Retrograde Cycle About?
Planets in retrograde ask us to review issues we’ve been working with over the degrees that the retro period will encompass.The degrees that the planet will travel back to, (and then over again, once moving forward), pinpoint the area in your chart that will be emphasized.
Questions or issues you thought were resolved may resurface for further discussion or exploration.
The goal of a retrograde is to refine a point of learning, throw off old patterns, or sometimes, repeat a lesson in order to integrate it.
Some things to consider:
- Do you have the transiting retro planet in retrograde in your birth chart? If yes, it’s possible you will be more comfortable during this review time, and be able to work more easily with the inward energy because you are familiar with it natally.
- Is the transiting planet also in aspect to any planets in your chart? If yes, then the retrograde period can be especially fruitful for integrating or chewing on the lessons the overall transit is providing.
If you don’t have a chart to look at, or don’t know your birth time, just be aware of the theme of the planet, and how it has been active in your life before the retrograde. It’s likely you will be revisiting or reviewing those themes.
Because so many planets are retro this year, there is no way to track every cycle. The best approach is to choose one or two planets to work with, based on what is most pressing personally in your life. Or, focus on the planets that will be retro in Capricorn, as we’re all having an emphasis in that sign right now.
Working With Outer Planets in Retrograde
The outer planets are Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (yes, I know, Pluto is no longer considered a planet, but it still works as an archetypal force in our lives, like the other asteroids). They go retrograde every year for several months. It is not as easy to pin down the energies of the outer planets, unless they are:
- Transiting a planet or angle in your chart
- Your ruling planet (the planet that rules the Ascendant, although this definition can vary depending on what method of astrology you use)
- Natally in a tight aspect with the Ascendant, Moon, or Sun
If you do have any of the above situations, you are always working with the energy of the planet because of the birth chart, so may be more familiar with its “teaching style.”
Otherwise, outer planets function as a bass note or drone in the background of our lives. They move slowly through a sign, and thus through any house. The themes are often meta-level, and apply to society at large, and how those themes trickle down into our lives.
The pandemic is a classic example of a Plutonian transformation event, one that disrupts society (Capricorn) in order to affect necessary transformation and change. We are affected by those disruptions personally as well as collectively.
Retrograde Cycles of the Outer Planets
I’m listing them in the order of retro cycle, rather than their actual order.
Pluto: April 25, 2020, at 25º Capricorn to October 4, 2020, 22º29 Capricorn. Pluto uses transformation, chaos, and death/rebirth cycles to affect growth. This archetypal force works slowly, thoroughly, and relentlessly. Pluto transits to personal planets can often usher in profound change via underworld-esque journeys.
The area in your chart ruled by and/or containing Capricorn has been a hot spot for the stellium of planets that are/have been passing through this sign. What themes in relation to the affected house have been up for you? Now will be the time to dwell in and explore the underworld, shedding your outmoded beliefs, desires, relationships, and anything else that doesn’t fit within the new Self that you are configuring. Please do not resist releasing things that seem to be falling away.
Saturn: May 11, 2020, 1º57 Aquarius to September 29, 2020, 25º20 Capricorn. Saturn uses slow-downs, time skews, obstacles, and stuckness as tools to draw our attention to the aspects of life that need to change. Shadow Saturn/Cap can cling to old societal systems—like white supremacy or patriarchy—becoming more brittle and rigid with fear until a break and crumbling inevitably occur.
The highest vibration of Saturn/Cap is inclusive of all, and includes leadership with integrity, and a societal structure that helps us thrive. How are these themes personal for you within your own sphere of influence?
We’ve just barely had time to feel the freedom and flickers of possible new realities as Saturn has dipped it’s toe into Aquarius before he changes direction to re-emphasize some final Cap lessons.
Neptune: June 23, 2020, 20º58 Pisces to November 29, 2020, 18º10 Pisces.
Neptune teaches us to surrender our personal ego will to the will of the Divine. Most people don’t like to do this, so Neptune transits can be difficult.
Cycles of clarity and confusion, confrontation with our addictions, and a gradual disappearance of those things we thought were inviolate are all part of Neptune’s remit. With Neptune, we learn that we are not in charge, and thus have to examine how we co-create with the universe, rather than try to control it.
Since we’ve all had plenty of time to work with our denial and avoidance strategies while sheltering in place, my guess is that Neptune’s retro cycle will have us examining our TV bingeing, emotional eating, and uptick in whatever else we self-medicate with. We will perhaps be able to realize that control, security, and “reality” are illusory. These are big issues that are usually uncomfortable, but can bring liberation when examined.
Uranus: August 15, 2020, 10º42 Taurus to January 14, 2021 6º43 Taurus.
Uranus helps us transform via radical change, trauma, and intellectual and scientific break-throughs that spur the individual or society forward. In the sign of Taurus, the big themes will encompass societal values, big earth issues like climate change, and an adjustment to how we survive. You can see these lessons already emerging as a result of the pandemic. Air is cleaner, people are discovering they can work from home or need to change how they work and survive, and perhaps some of us are questioning our life values in light of doing/having less. Financial and food security are just two big issues that come to mind related to Taurus.
By August, it’s possible that most states will have lifted shelter-in-place rules, and that the corona virus will be taking a summer nap. However, the second wave that experts predict will have us looking at what we coulda/shoulda learned the first time around.
Working With Inner Planets in Retrograde
Because they are the personal planets, we may feel their retrogrades more specifically. In my experience, you do have to be paying attention, though, to really get all the juice out of inner planet cycles.
Retro Cycles of the Inner Planets
Venus: May 13, 2020, 21º50 Gemini to June 25, 2020, 5º20 Gemini. Venus, as the ruler of Taurus, governs our values, methods of earned income, and what we desire. As the ruler of Libra, she governs relationships, fairness, equality, justice, and harmony. Transiting the sign of Gemini, any of these themes are fair game, but the flavor will be investigation, communication, truth-telling (or not), and learning. Venus uses our relationships to people, objects, beliefs, or money to teach us how to live more in alignment with our Self/Soul.
Take a look at all those self-help books cluttering your shelves, or the backlog of personal growth programs you bought but haven’t used. It may be time to use them to affect the change that attracted you to the resource in the first place.
Jupiter: May 14, 2020, 27º14 Capricorn to September 13, 2020 17º24 Capricorn. Jupiter brings opportunity, insight, wisdom, and, in its shadow, excess.
In retrograde, it’s likely we will be examining what we’ve been learning about ourselves and our worldview by spending time at home, or, for those who have been working overtime as our essential service providers (thank you!!!!), the wisdom has been gleaned by being in the role of front-line “warrior.”
For some of us, our spiritual/philosophical lives may have felt quite expanded during the last few weeks; the retrograde may feel like an integration of new insights, or possibly, a dampening of that surge as many get back to “normal.”
Mars: September 9, 2020, 28º09 Aries to November 14, 2020, 14º14 Aries.
Mars, like Venus, only goes retrograde about every two years. Mars rules our conscious desire nature and how we take action, and in his own sign of Aries will emphasize courage, exploration, and healthy self-interest.
Managing Mars retro effectively means reflecting on what other people need (Libra polarity) as well as what benefits us personally. We have to let go of the childish wish to have everything when and how we want it. Examine alternative paths and choices.
Mercury: June 18, 2020, 14º46 Cancer to July 12, 2020, 5º30 Cancer; October 14, 2020, 11º40 Scorpio to November 3, 2020 25º54 Libra. Mercury we are familiar with; he retros about three times per year. During the heightened retrograde season, the Mercury cycles can help us reflect mentally on the bigger themes being explored. In Cancer, the focus will be on feelings, and releasing emotional family patterning. I’d expect most of us to be dealing with emotions related to getting back out in the world; how have our family dynamics changed? Do we go back to business as usual, or take the time to acknowledge new ways of being emotionally?
In Scorpio/Libra, the emphasis will be on clear communication within our intimate relationships, and reflecting on the power dynamics of our closest connections.
The point of astrology is not to create fear. We don’t have to feel afraid of these cycles. Life is about change, and ebb and flow, gain and loss. From the soul’s evolutionary perspective, everything that happens is for our ultimate benefit, although this can be a big, bitter pill to swallow when in the midst of extreme hardship or pain. By working with the planetary energies, we can flow more easily with whatever is occurring. This includes making the most of the good times, as well as surrendering more deeply when the “bad” inevitably arises.
If you’d like help navigating your chart and what these retrogrades mean to you, be in touch.
Thanks for reading!