Pluto Retrograde Isn’t Like Mercury Retrograde

Computer generated rotation of the planet Pluto in cosmic stellar space. 3d rendering of an abstract background. Elements of this image are provided by NASA.

Erase all the negative hang-ups you have about retrogrades. When used correctly, they can be a positive tool for growth — a change to reflect and move forward. Such is the case with Pluto retrograde.

From April 27 to October 6, the Planet of Destruction will enjoy a backwards dance in the ambitious sign of Capricorn. This isn’t an entirely new spot for Pluto; it’s been hanging out in the sign of the goat since 2008 — the year that gave us the first Twilight film and Barack Obama’s first term as president — and it’ll stay there until 2024. Pluto goes retrograde once a year, for around six months each time, so we’ve felt and survived the effects of this retrograde plenty of times before. Still, each retrograde has the potential to bring us new growth, so being prepared for can’t hurt.

Until Mercury retrograde, which has a habit of making itself known through communication and tech mishaps, it’s common for Pluto retrogrades to go unnoticed, says Leslie Hale, psychic astrologer for Keen.com.

Despite the subtlety, Pluto still affects our lives, in very specific ways. “Pluto’s farness from Earth is representative of the areas of life that it rules: psychology, power, regeneration, and the subconscious mind,” says  Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer for Astrology.com. “Basically, Pluto rules taboo topics that lie under the surface and that are hard to talk about.” When it retrogrades, we’re given the opportunity to review everything we’ve learned or experienced surrounding these subjects in the previous six months, while the planet was moving direct, Montúfar explains. “Unlike those retrogrades of the natal planets, Pluto’s take longer to manifest, but have more long-term effects,” she adds.

Madi Murphy, astrologer and founder of The Cosmic Revolution, says that this transit asks us to look at where our power is being challenged. “Since Pluto is in Capricorn, we are dealing with matters specifically involving business, structure, patriarchal constructs, karma, and stability, both on the individual and collective level,” she explains. “Under Pluto’s influence, we are called to examine themes like our psyche, our subconscious selves, shadow work, and transformation.” Murphy says that we don’t call Pluto the Planet of Destruction for nothing — the planet loves to “implode anything that is inauthentic.”

Luckily, this retrograde graces us with the energy to work on ourselves — which we’ll need, since we’ll be facing some pretty big (and sometimes difficult) truths about ourselves. Murphy says that this transit specifically asks us to be radically honest about where we need to take more accountability in our lives. “Pluto wants us to stand fully in the light of our truth by owning our deepest and darkest selves. You can use this transit for your personal empowerment by looking at the ways you self-sabotage or get in your own way and making small adjustments,” she says. “What are the things you do that hold you back from your spiritual evolution? When you face them and decide to make changes, you will become aware you have way more power than you realize.”

One thing to keep in mind: This transit is often more about thinking than doing, says Lisa Stardust, astrologer and author of Saturn Return Survival Guide and The Astrology Deck. “Pluto is a planet that pushes us to evolve, but when retrograde there are delays in moving forward with necessary changes,” she says. “It just means that we’re slowing down the movement towards growth. Matters will be exposed, but the way in which we go to correct them won’t be as swift as usual.” The key here is patience. If you’re solution-oriented, it can be frustrating to see areas of your life that need work without feeling like you can fix them. But sometimes, we just have to sit with some information for a beat before taking action to course correct.

Pluto retrograde is all about slow, transformational change. So now’s the time to ask yourself what in your life needs a refresh, and tackle it head on. The only thing you’ll regret doing during Pluto’s backwards dance is nothing at all.

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