*If you still count Pluto as a planet, and I do because you can’t just MAKE A PLANET NOT A PLANET
When I say “retrograde”, there’s always two extreme reactions from either end of the belief spectrum.
“Oh my God oh my God, quick, grab the crystals and sage, we have to get out to the moon STAT. Hurry up Bex, oh and bring the wine too. Maybe some of the chocolate too.”
“That fucking rubbish, give me a break. Next you’ll be telling me we’re living our lives inside an alien’s marble.”
Depending on how much stock you place in astrology, the mere mention of a planet in retrograde can send you ducking for cover. The most widely known of these phenomenon is of course Mercury, which instills varying degrees of panic, anxiety and apprehension in believers, who reckon it causes massive breakdowns in communication and scheduling, and general chaos and confusion.
What does retrograde mean? Quite simply, it’s the term used when a planet slows down in its orbit, and Earth speeds up – meaning the other planet looks like it’s going backwards. But how the hell does that translate to an ex-boyfriend popping up out of the blue or your boss chucking a hissy fit?
The logic is when things go backwards, they eff up, essentially, which makes sense on a basic level. Different planets rule different areas of our lives, so when they retrograde, they can cause drama in those different parts. Their energy, instead of projecting outwardly, turns internal. When a planet slams on the brakes and reverses, we’re supposed to do the same thing – stop, think and adjust, and look inside ourselves for answers rather than at the universe.
Sage advice for the times, one would think. During a retrograde, issues resurface, unfinished business demands a finale and unfinished thoughts need an ending. And depending on what planet is in retrograde, depends what area of your life is about to go to hell in a hand basket.
Mercury usually gets all the glory here as the planet rules our ability to communicate – so when things get shunted out of whack of course that loser ex-boyfriend comes snooping around again, or your partner and you have a screaming match about absolutely nothing, or you arrange to meet a mate at a bar and end up going to the wrong one. Also, technology always seems to stuff up which is less than ideal in the iPhone-reliant world we live in.
So, as of 14 May, there are four – yes, four, planets in retrograde – Pluto (we still love you), Saturn, Venus and Jupiter. Out of all of these, you’ll feel Venus’ more keenly, as the closer the planet is to Earth, the more impact it’ll have, which is why Mercury’s retrograde is always such a little bitch. But the combination of all four means we have a hell of a lot of personal growth to do, as well as plenty of introspection, evaluating, reflection and refining to do at once. With all of the other shit storms swirling around us at the moment, you can choose to take this in two ways – an extra burden of uncertainty, or the perfect cosmological sign that it’s time to make some changes.
It’s the most intense week of the year astrologically, and the culmination of so many phenomena means it’s no surprise we’re feeling exhausted, strung out and just plain overwhelmed. So, here we break down each planet’s impact on our near future – and guys, it’s not all bad!
Pluto: 25 April – 4 October
Pluto spends almost six months in retrograde because it’s so far away. Its effects are the lesser of all the planets, but it’s still one worth noting, as it’s the planet of transformation. It zeros in on our darker aspects of our personalities, but also the aspects that harbour the most power. It encourages us to dig deep into ourselves, figure out what change we want and need, and find new perspectives on life’s issues. What isn’t working in your life anymore? Pluto also represents rebirth, so if you’re one of the thousands who have lost a job, now is the time to stop, think and figure out your next chapter. Pluto’s got your back.
Saturn: 11 May – 29 September
Saturn’s retrograde is exceptionally timely, considering the global pandemic currently raging – it’s all good news! Similar to Pluto, Saturn’s retrograde will have us pondering our lives in a constructive, broad and urgent way. Thanks to Saturn, all of you former employees will be considering giving your own side hustles a go, or switching careers, or trying out something new entirely. But Saturn is also all about karma. I mean obviously if you’re a good person with some points in the positive karma column, get ready to reap the rewards. But don’t fret if some of your past behaviour is haunting you either. Now’s the time for all past wrongs to be righted, and you’ll leave the retrograde feeling a heap better, as long as you can accept the energy, apologise wherever you need to, and get back on the right track.
Venus: 13 May – 25 June
Everyone knows Venus rules the two best things in life – love and money. While we’re dealing with a lot at the moment, Venus does have the ability to toss another log into the fire of chaos, especially when it comes to relationships. Basically, if it’s not working, you’ll know – and you need to address stuff that pops up within them. Venus retrogrades the least out of any planet, so when she comes, she comes in hard – and most astrologers reckon that’ll mean more breakups (I’m so sorry, but as someone who has been on Bumble for, er, a while, I’m kind of happy about the influx of new possibilities). Patience and kindness are your best friends here: basically, just keep doing what we’ve been doing for the last however many week. But, what love is – who you really love – will become crystal clear. And also lol, money matters aren’t great, but we didn’t need a bloody retrograde to tell us that. Keep that wallet shut for a little bit.
Jupiter: 14 May – 12 September
Jupiter is all about spirituality and charity, and looking at the bigger picture. Similar to its outer cousins, it’s one of the weaker retrogrades, and therefore its retrograde is more abstract, but it’s also one of the most positive. Reconnection with things that used to be important to us, like a faith or belief system, will be front of mind, as will a desire to help and be useful during times of crisis (hello). Jupiter is pretty to chill in the background during retrograde, and rather push us to do anything urgent, it encourages us to examine the broader situation, like pieces of a puzzle. Jupiter is known to bring peace, harmony and good vibes, so listen to whatever part of yourself that channels calm and joy. It definitely can’t hurt rn.