Five planets are retrograde until July 10, which means that Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto and Neptune all appear to be moving backward relative to the Earth, while their gravitational pulls affect people in different ways.
Many people associate the planetary illusion with negative outcomes, but that is not usually the case. When planets retrograde, it is a time for collective reflection in order to better understand the best way to move forward in all aspects of life.
On a karmic level, these motions mean reliving past-life dynamics as a mode of growth, because the outward energy of each planet turns inward. That sense of reflection can translate to renewal if the power of retrogrades are productively embraced.
Over the course of a couple years, every planet goes retrograde. The most well-known retrograde is Mercury because it is the ruling planet of communication; however, each planet’s retrograde is important in different ways depending on what part of life the planet rules over.
1. Mars Retrograde (June 26 – Aug. 27)
Mars retrograde happens about once every two years and lasts for 55-80 days. In 2018, it will take place from June 26 to Aug. 27 in the signs Aquarius and Capricorn. Because those two signs rule government, community, career, reputation and friendships, people may need to reassess approaches to those areas of life during this time.
Mars is the planet of action and desire. It represents the survival instinct of humanity, so many people associate it with sex, war and wild energy. While Mars appears to be moving backward relative to Earth, people have intensified internalizations about being assertive — or the hesitancy to do so — second-guessing impulses and understanding anger.
During this retrograde, it might be an inauspicious time to start projects or be aggressive toward others because harsh energies and violence can get out of control. It is a good period, however, to take time to better understand individual sexuality, courage and natural instincts.
2. Jupiter Retrograde (March 8 – July 10)
Jupiter retrograde takes place about every 13 months; it is in Scorpio this year and lasts from March 8 to July 10. With this retrograde in Scorpio, there is a focus on personal value systems and morals and how they impact physical health — meaning it is time for a psychological detox.
Jupiter rules over luck, spiritual and mental growth, expansion and an individual’s broader purpose. During Jupiter retrograde, individuals’ behaviors and personality traits that need the most development will become obvious; the retrograde targets anything impeding personal growth.
Over the course of these four months, people are confronted with the opportunity to acknowledge and make transformations in the spiritual and philosophical areas of their lives regarding behavior. For example, selfishness, greed and extravagance could become important for an individual because this planetary motion manifests how those negative personality traits hold someone back.
3. Saturn Retrograde (April 17 – Sept. 6)
Saturn retrograde in Capricorn began on April 17 and lasts until Sept. 6. It occurs every year for about four-and-a-half months, so, nearly 40 percent of the time the apparent movement of this planet gives people a karmic reality-check.
Saturn is the planet of restriction, structure and karma. It governs the guidelines and rules people live by as a society, and reminds you of your responsibilities, commitments and limits. During this retrograde, it is particularly important to slow down and reassess what you put the most energy toward.
Since Saturn is Capricorn’s ruling planet and this year’s retrograde is in Capricorn, karma during this time is directly tied to responsibility, especially with regard to people’s thoughts and language.
This Saturn retrograde is all about hardworking energies that can allow people to move toward greater karmic heights in their career, relationships and self-discipline. Because this motion usually brings healing energies, it is a crucial time to release wounds that block full commitment and responsibility.
4. Pluto Retrograde (April 22 – Sept. 30)
Pluto spends five months retrograde each year and in 2018, it started April 22 and will end Sept. 30. Pluto retrograde is in Capricorn, which works in tandem with Saturn’s retrograde to put an emphasis on transformative shifts in understanding higher levels of consciousness.
Pluto is the planet of the subconscious. It is one of the most intense planetary forces of transformation because it represents divine love, death and renewal. Pluto rules over power dynamics, both interpersonal and internal, so this motion guides people to examine themselves on a deeper level to find new truths within their lives.
With simultaneous Saturn and Pluto retrogrades in Capricorn, this is the perfect opportunity to rebuild areas of loss in your life. Introspection is yet again another theme of these motions, encouraging people to increase awareness, improve intuition and heighten empathy.
5. Neptune Retrograde (June 18 – Nov. 24)
This year, Neptune appears to move backward from June 18 to Nov. 24 in the sign of Pisces. Neptune retrograde occurs for about five months each year and brings humanity’s collective sensitivity and insight to the forefront, causing people to grapple with their true realities regarding creative potential and spiritual self-development.
Neptune rules over spirituality and is often associated with dreams, inspiration and illusion. Since the icy planet is the planetary ruler of Pisces, and this retrograde motion occurs in Pisces, it is essential for people to understand that worry and regret will not change the past, present or future. This motion also forces people to stop ignoring the harsher aspects of life and re-evaluate what is truly important.
In order to overcome the distorted, dreamy reality and uncontrollable imagination that this retrograde can cause, people must be completely honest with themselves and others. If, and when, you do that you are able to use this planet’s apparent backward movement to stop dreaming about what you want in life and take action to achieve it.
Why These Retrogrades Matter
During any retrograde-heavy period, the universe is telling humanity to slow down and evaluate life from within. It is about working on what is already in front of you, rather than pushing onto the next thing. In order to take care of your holistic self, use the inward planetary shifts of energy to pause and find a greater understanding of how actions and beliefs manifest in daily life and the law of karmic return.
Overwhelmingly philosophical and self-reflective energies come with the five coinciding retrogrades, allowing people to explore new perspectives and opportunities. With so much inward energy from the planets occurring, it can be difficult to differentiate planets’ energies during this time; however, examining the retrogrades as a whole can help people discern what they do not need in their lives in order to move forward as better people with more clear understandings of who they are and what they want.