Mars begins its retrograde period on April 17th in Sagittarius, backtracks into Scorpio on May 27th and remains there until it turns direct on June 29th. Following the retrograde cycle, Mars will exit Scorpio and enter Sagittarius on August 2nd. It is particularly noteworthy that Pluto begins its retrograde period on April 18th, less than 24 hours after Mars.
When Mars begins retrograde in Sagittarius, intuition sends a stronger signal and prompts a tough questioning and soul-searching period. Mars retrograde in Sagittarius serves to curtail that which has run rampant or wild or has grown out of proportion. What looked like opportunity can prove to be out of reach, a liability, lost, or non-existent. What had seemed so clear, so justified, can become indistinct, confused and irrelevant. At the same time, this necessitates the intake of more diversified information and experience. It can prompt or force consciousness to open up to more varied ideas, concepts and opinions. We are now in the position to re-assess our current projects, our approach to getting what we want, and our desire nature. There can be passive-aggressive behavior during this cycle. We may be instigating problems or arguments rather than dealing with issues directly. When Mars enters into Scorpio at the end of May, you will find this to intensify our soul-searching introspection. Here, the soul is consciously and deliberately choosing to confront, examine and question itself. Instincts are now in a state of deeper questioning. Mars retrograde in Scorpio seeks to merge self and soul more consciously and completely.
Adding to our desire to get to the heart of us, Pluto turns retrograde from the 18th to September 26th, and we feel pressured to eliminate and release the old, outdated and obsolete in our lives. We are urged to let go of attitudes, thinking or communication patterns and rigid emotions and undertake an internal form of house cleaning. It is a good time to research into our own Souls in order to determine exactly what we do or do not need. Pluto's backward shift makes us reflective and forces us to look inward. Like its namesake, the planet Pluto rules over the shadow side of everything and everyone. When Pluto goes retrograde, it forces us to focus on our own personal shadow sides, specifically, the unpleasant parts of our personalities that we may not really like. Two big themes that Pluto likes to highlight are power and desire. With Pluto retrograde, we'll have to get honest with ourselves about how much we're motivated by a need for recognition, money and authority. This is a period of personal reckoning and once we see the traits in ourselves that we dislike, we can work to improve them. Pluto retrograde sheds light on the darker corners of our experiences. In this way we can grow, which highlights Pluto's key role in our lives - transformation.