Pluto the planet of transformation, in structured Capricorn turns retrograde on April 22nd and remains there until early September. During its regular orbit, Pluto rules rebirth and helps us rise above the ashes to a better life. Pluto is the catalyst of change. Capricorn, a cardinal earth sign ruled by Saturn, is all about following the rules and hard-work. There are no short-cuts in Capricorn’s world.
As May begins, there are five planets trekking through a retrograde cycle: communicator Mercury, forceful Mars, expansive Jupiter (although Jupiter will turn direct on May 9th), structured Saturn and transformative Pluto. Despite their poor reputations for disruption and chaos which is not without merit, Retrogrades are also an important time to slow down, step back and correct course. Are you on the best possible path or are you just charging ahead blindly? The Universe is giving us a grace period to sort that all out.
For the next few months, we need to be clear on who we are, what we are doing, where we are going and start practicing it. These 4 months are our gift to learn how to be our true authentic selves. Here is a short overview of the energy you can experience from each planet:
1. Mars causes feeling of “I want to move forward but I can’t”. It is a fast moving planet and hates slowness but we are forced to re-evaluate how we react and our actions so we can be a more aligned path with our authentic self.
2. Saturn wants us to take slow, steady steps with lots of time for reflection. We learn to look at our beliefs, thoughts, movement, action in life and business. Are you trying to do too much, are you glossing over things and are you not walking your talk.
3. Jupiter asks us to look at how we want to expand our lives and make sure we are being true to who we are. How can you love and honor yourself more?
4. Pluto challenges our beliefs, perceptions, our inner selves and shadow side. It wants us to really dig deep and clear out things that no longer serve.
5. Mercury wants us to look at everything about communication, contacts, technology, appliances and vehicles. What need to be repaired, redone or fixed? Are all your “I’s” dotted and “T’s” crossed.
It is a beautiful gift if we choose to see it that way. Our energy and time is precious. Do the groundwork now. Build your foundation and shine authentically.
Each planet affects a different part of your chart. I can provide you with a road map to help you see what you need to work on and to watch out for during the next few challenging months. If you want a retrograde astrology chart, please click here.
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.
Just when we get ourselves back in “go” mode after winter’s lethargy, April comes along and hits the pause button. To be fair, the month starts out energetic enough. If you’ve got new projects you want to launch, kick them off before April 5th. After that point things begin to slow down – way down. But with a little planning, we can get through it.
There’s a New Moon in Aries on April 7th and normally this is an energetic Moon inspiring you to move forward. But the Moon has difficult aspects with Uranus and Pluto and it’s more likely you’ll find yourself motivated by fear and anxiety. If that’s the case, take a deep breath, and remind yourself it’s just a moment in time. The mood brightens a little the following week and you’ll have a second chance to launch what you couldn’t the first few days of the month.
Then we hit the brakes. We already have Saturn in retrograde motion pushing us to re-evaluate what we hold dear and then our action planet Mars, begins his 74-day retrograde on April 17th . During his reversal we may feel more restrained and unwilling to take risks. The very next day, transformative Pluto begins his retrograde transit. Now typically, Pluto spends 6 months out of the year Retrograde and so its impact is expected, but the combo with Mars is trying under the best of circumstances.
Not to be left out of the party, Mercury turns retrograde on April 28th in Taurus. In addition to the classic communication snafus (get those files backed up) Mercury retrograde in Taurus brings stubborn blockages connected with new ideas, powers of concentration and putting ideas into a practical format. Access to the most direct route to your goals is likely to be blocked by breakdowns in communication and unwillingness to compromise.
The Sun moves into Taurus on April 19th and brings much-needed patience for dealing with slow-moving situations. But it also means that for a few weeks, no planets have any va-va-voom, what astrologers call essential dignity, so motivation is at a low.
And finally, the Full Moon in Scorpio on April 22nd isn’t the easiest of Moons either. The polarity of the Sun and Moon are in fixed signs, so what we're dealing with is deeply rooted, stubborn, possibly stuck in one way of doing things.
But before you throw in the towel - take heart! With a little awareness, however, there are things you can do to turn things to your advantage.
Consider April the perfect month to:
- Practice mindfulness. Be in the moment. Things may not go according to plan, but focus on what you can do. Slow down and do one thing at a time.
- Use the pleasure principle to motivate yourself. Once you’ve managed to get something checked off your list, be nice to yourself and indulge in a little reward.
- Finds was to incorporate meditation into your day. With the planets giving you the opportunity you might as well take advantage of the time for reflection. Plus meditation is a great way to relieve stress.
The world of Scorpio is where we'll encounter power struggles, intense emotions and cathartic transformation, but we'll also find deep acceptance of ourselves and the door to unconditional love. In Libra, we're challenged to acquire the fundamental skills of relating to others on a one to one basis. We learn how to interact, how to compromise and how to balance who we are with what we perceive in the other person. While Libra focuses on the surface topography of relationships, ensuring that we dance together in symmetry and grace. Scorpio, on the other hand, delves into the deeper, messier issues that inevitably arise. In Scorpio, we deal with power struggles, deep psychological dynamics, control urges, and the aspects of ourselves and others we'd rather not know about. Scorpio navigates the undercurrents, the hidden and unspoken.
The water sign of Scorpio is fixed and by modern Astrology, ruled by Pluto. Pluto, the moving emissary of Scorpio energy, is associated with power issues, elimination, death, rebirth and deep transformation. It transforms by forcing us to peer far below the surface, with eyes open, to behold what lurks there. But this can be difficult for the average person. Most people don't exercise their Pluto energy on a fully conscious level and some avoid it at all costs. It is not a journey for the weak, although it can ultimately strengthen those who undertake it. Transformation, the utmost Plutonian agenda, is essentially the process of evolutionary change based on new information and experiences. Repeated, continual change and adaptation gradually produces a fundamental shift in who we are because the process forces us to frame ourselves and the world differently. This can be an upsetting, frightening or painful experience, since it tends to shine light into dark corners that have remained happily hidden for some time. It can force us to acknowledge and deal with aspects of ourselves, others and life that we'd rather not know about. Pluto demands that we learn to look upon these secret parts of ourselves without flinching, but also with compassion and understanding. One is never the same after taking the pilgrimage. One emerges scathed but renewed, with a fresh picture of the complexity and the simplicity, the fragility and the resiliency of the human soul. We often have a new appreciation of ourselves as neither flawless nor defective, but as simply human. It is this deceptively simple realization that opens the door to a more compassionate realism and unconditional acceptance of oneself and others. This does not mean we must condone malicious or maladjusted behavior; rather, we have a more grounded awareness that we all do the worst things for the most poignant of reasons. Scorpio and Pluto challenge us to bring light to the depths of who we are, so that we can know our true inner reality, the truth of what forms the bedrock of our human experience.