Everyone knows that the planets move around the sun, marching along their own little orbits, looping around and around. But from here on earth, sometimes it looks like they’re going backwards… like maybe they switched directions on the path? All the planets and one of the luminaries have retrograde periods every year, times when they appear to go backwards and so, astrologically, their energy seems to work in opposite or conflicting ways on us humans. If at this point you find yourself thinking “yeah I totally understand all those words and know what you’re talking about” then this guide is probably not for you. If you thought Mercury was the only planet that went retrograde and barely understood what that means beyond the “don’t sign contracts” advice you got from a psychic drag queen in an episode of Queer as Folk then you’re in the right place.
Maybe you’re just starting out and don’t know a lot about astrology yet, or maybe you’re like me and find the whole situation just a touch too mathy, but even without being an expert you can make the best of the planetary retrograde periods and their powerful energy. When you break it down, every retrograde period is a time to reflect on your inner self, your past, or maybe even a past life. It’s a time when energy and issues that have maybe been going stale get all stirred up and come to the surface. It seems inconvenient (it is) but it actually provides opportunities for spiritual growth.
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Keywords: Communication, Electronics, Travel Plans, Documents and Contracts, Slowing Down
Mercury goes retro the most often at 3 times a year. This speedy planet rules communications, travel, electronics and all business communications & documentation. When mercury moves retrograde you’ll notice an uptick in misunderstandings, mis-communications, computers & electronics crashing and plans going haywire. During this time you should pay more attention to how you communicate with the people around you, and double and triple check any written statements and announcements. You don’t need to move your wedding date to avoid signing a contract, just make sure it’s what you really want.
Taking a walk down memory lane can be extra cathartic around now, so if you have any issues from your past (or past life!) you’ll have the energy to work through them properly. It can also be extra fun to visit old neighbourhoods, call up old friends, and generally reach out to people you’ve been missing.
Do: Backup electronics and files, double-check documents and (hopefully sober) facebook statuses, tie up loose ends and finish old projects, clean and cleanse your house top to bottom
Don’t: Get scared and see MRx as an overwhelmingly negative experience, take chances with electronics, speak without thinking, instigate fights
Tips: Van Van oil is your friend around mercury retrograde. This hoodoo remedy for uncrossing is perfect to right the wacky energy of MRx. Light a candle covered in it, put it in room sprays and floor washes, and put just a dab on your throat before important conversations. Check out my podcast episode all about Mercury Retrograde – Mercury F@%#ing Retrograde!
Chakra: 5th Chakra – The Throat
Crystals: Amazonite, Black Tourmaline, Blue Kyanite, Aquamarine, Fluorite, Pyrite. These stones all offer protection, ease communication, help weather storms or difficult transitions and even help lessen electromagnetic stress.
As the planet of communication, Mercury Retrograde can affect your ability to get the right words out. A good strategy is to keep your throat chakra healthy and unblocked, and one way to do that is with tea! Plum Deluxe’s Wise Council herbal tea features Lemongrass, Mint, and Licorice – all of which are sacred to Mercury and the element of air- which keep your throat healthy and it’s accompanying chakra unblocked. It’s both calming and cooling which is perfect when you’re flustered and struggling to find the right words. It’s got a naturally sweet flavour, but I like it with honey!
Keywords: Love and relationships, self-love, friends & family, beauty, value, over-indulgence
This is another one that can make old friends and lovers re-appear in your life, so be prepared to be confronted with past relationships either in your real life, or even just in your own mind. This is a time to re-examine and analyze who you’ve been in relationships, and what kind of relationships you really want. Physical beauty is also a focus now, as well as how you feel about your own value. These two issues tend to get mixed up on an average day, so be careful about falling into the trap now. Examining your own ideas about beauty can be beneficial now, though, as the rose-coloured glasses may be off right now and you could be seeing more things for how they really are. Be careful about over indulgence in the “finer” things right now. This retrograde period tends to make people hemorrhage money, over-eat (especially sweets), and even booze and drugs can be a bit difficult. Venus retrograde can make you feel insatiable.
Do: Ask your online date a few extra questions and have a good exit strategy in place if you’re meeting someone new, examine your ideas about love and beauty, honour your natural and inner beauty, bring art or flowers into your space to counter-act a feeling that the world is maybe not as beautiful as you thought
Don’t: Make any major changes to your appearance. As someone who just dyed their hair is already re-thinking it, once VRx wares off you could find you don’t like that hair colour or those implants nearly as much as you did a week ago; make major decisions about relationships such as committing to another person or ending a relationship (if possible).
Chakra: 4th Chakra – The Heart
Crystals: Rhodonite, Chrysocolla, Rose Quartz, Ruby in Fuschite, Moss Agate, Celestite. In general, these crystals all offer shielding and protection for your heart, but allow it to stay open to strong feelings and messages from [insert wherever you believe messages come from]. Ruby in Fuschite is my favourite for when you want to examine what’s truly in your heart. Moss Agate could help keep some cash in your pocket and celestite can keep you feeling light and safe.
Keywords: Energy, Vitality, Passion, Initiative, Asserting yourself, Power, Success
Mars is the planet that usually serves up a happy helping of fire, but when it’s retrograde you can feel really burned out. You might notice a lack of energy, motivation, and follow through. New projects (especially at work) started during MaRx could end in disaster, or just fizzle out. You may find it difficult to assert or stand up for yourself if you’re regularly an alpha dog and it can really feel like you just can’t do anything right.
This offers you a chance to look a little deeper into your beliefs and attitudes towards power and success. If you’re regularly a “powerful” person think about how you interact with others to send this message. If you already struggle with success, confidence, and assertiveness this would be a great time to learn those skills so you can implement them when the retrograde period comes to an end! Though choosing a new job now would be unwise, doing some research and planning for future careers could go well around now as you have a different perspective and insight than usual.
Do: Take time to work on calming your anger and frustration, meditation and mindfulness practices are super beneficial now, talk less and listen more to people in positions of power or authority that you admire! Forget networking, it’s time to learn some new insider tips, go with the flow when set backs come up, work with or clear your root chakra which often aligns with Mars energy like activity and passion.
Don’t: let anger and frustration get the best of you! People tend to be volcano-like during a mars retrograde and blow ups can be costly, make big changes to your job or career, have an confrontations with authority figures (like your boss… or your partner’s boss…), start new projects
Chakra: 1st Chakra – The Root
Crystals: Fire Agate, Carnelian, Shiva Lingam, Snowflake Obsidian, Bloodstone, Red Jasper. These stones all help to bring fire, passion, creativity, and success into your life in some way. Some, like the snowflake obsidian, are stabilizing and grounding and some will increase your energy and connection to mars. The Shiva Lingam is regularly used to activate creative Kundalini energy, which comes up from your root chakra.
Keywords: Expansion, Freedom, Wisdom, Travel, Abundance and Luck
Jupiter’s energy is usually very sociable, lucky, and ready to hit the road! When it goes retro, however, this energy is reflected inward and we’re made to reevaluate our spiritual beliefs, our societal ethics and our philosophical approach to life. In other words, you may feel inclined to ponder the meaning of life and make a decision about where in the world you belong.
Travel plans can be delayed or cancelled right now, and if you have travel plans with a friend they could drop out. Luck can be turned on its head right now and it can honestly feel a little like the hype of mercury retrograde! Don’t be afraid though, Jupiter retrograde is an amazing time to make big changes in an area of your life you’ve been thinking a lot about – it usually has to do with where your living, and how you feel spiritually.
Do: Be extra careful with travel plans and come up with a plan b if you’re traveling with a friend (traveling alone can be very rewarding!), explore spirituality or religion more in-depth, take part in cultural activities and festivals (and food!), focus on non-material goals and aspirations, get involved in social activism or charity work
Don’t: try any get rich quick schemes or buy your weight in lottery tickets, spontaneously decide to move to a far-away country, ignore your spiritual side in favour of money or business pursuits – this is likely to fall apart when jupiter goes direct
Chakras: 3rd Chakra – Solar Plexus
Crystals: Citrine, Emerald, Lapis Lazuli, Malachite, Yellow Topaz, Tree Agate. These crystals are all great for increasing your luck and abundance (it’s especially important around now that if you receive lots of cash to use it to help others!), but also for keeping your feeling happy and social against all odds. Stones like malachite and lapis lazuli will help with introspection, meditation, and seeing what’s truly in your heart.
Keywords: Time, Discipline, Karma, Justice, Control, Boundaries, Learning from your mistakes
Saturn, the wise old ruler of Capricorn, is often thought to be the scariest and most up-tight of all the planetary energy. Saturn is the ruler of time and associated with karmic retribution. When it’s direct, that energy keeps us focused, grounded, and in control. When it’s retrograde you may find yourself having to take responsibility for past mistakes, struggling to assert your personal boundaries, and feeling like you need to fight against anything you see as oppressive. (Badass!) You might also struggle to keep a schedule or proper time. (not so bad ass!)
Now’s the time to assess your past mistakes or challenges, and learn how to move past them once Saturn goes direct. Take extra care not to take on more than you can handle right now, and take extra care with your personal care routine like sleep times and relaxing.
The most stressful thing about Saturn Retrograde can be that any battles now will be hard-won. You may find you have to work extra hard, extra long, and you may have to do things over and over before you can get it right.
Do: Be extra mindful about schedules and timing, leave the house early for important meetings, be introspective about your own role in your struggles, get involved with community groups and community action, assert your boundaries – it’s ok to say NO!, give yourself extra time to work on projects
Don’t: lose track of time, start unnecessary fights with authority figures, take on more work or tasks than you can, let yourself off the hook and make excuses for yourself, let anyone cross your boundaries, take short cuts or cut corners
Chakra: 1st Chakra – The Root
Crystals: Amethyst, Hematite, Sapphire, Clear Quartz, Onyx, Obsidian. Clear quartz is multi-purpose and can help with a wide range of issues with Saturn retrograde, but it’s especially good at clearing and healing any old wounds or issues. Amethyst can help you stay calm if you feel like you’re going to lose your temper or you’re not giving yourself enough personal time. The black crystals are all fiercely protective, help you assert your boundaries, and maintain your composure and strength. The sapphire can help you see and learn clearly and hold onto the wisdom you pick up during this retrograde period.
Keywords: Chaos, Unexpected changes, Opposites, Rebellion, Freedom, Shaking up your life, empowerment, original thought
Throughout this guide many of the planetary retrogrades are times to THINK about action but not actually take any, but Uranus’s retrograde is the exact opposite. This is the time to expect the unexpected and then still expect not to have anything figured out. Uranus retrograde is like riding the rapids and being excited to see where you end up. If you suddenly feel like your job is draining the life out of you, find a new one. If your relationship makes you want to glue your sweat pants to your body and never leave the house, bail out. Trust in your ability to ride out the storm and hold onto yourself.
It’s time for you to figure out what freedom really means to you, and to go out and get it. You may feel extra psychic and intuitive around this time and I encourage you to run with it. If you’re regularly an extroverted socialite, you might feel like being alone and chilling out. If you’re regularly more reserved, you could find yourself taking risks – which is good for you! It’s time for you to be your own, free, individual person; whatever that means for you.
Do: try new things, go new places, take risks, have fun, trust your intuition, listen to your inner guidance, make big changes in your life
Don’t: hold yourself back, let fear get the best of you, follow the status quo
Chakra: 7th Chakra – The Crown
Crystals: Fire Opal, Diamond, Clear Quartz, Rutilated Quartz, Aquamarine. Fire opal is kind of a wild and beautiful stone that can help you stay optimistic and excited about the general chaos of Uranus retrograde. Extravagant stones like the fire opals and diamonds bring kind of a wild ability to remain open to new possibilities and new life paths. Azurite can help you connect deeply to your intuition and the magick of life. Aquamarine will help you weather any storm and adapt to changes. Any variety of quartz (especially pieces that are sharp and wild!) will help align your chakras, and encourage a shift in your perspective.
Keywords: Mystery, Intuition, Dreams, Delusions, Illusion, Clarity, Meditation, Arts and Music
Neptune is dreamy, watery, and artistic. It’s often thought of as Venus’s deeper hipster cousin. Love and beauty might become a focus for you while it’s retrograde, but in more of a universal way. Less one-on-one romantic, and more how you feel about the love you have for the world in general. Your dreams could be more intense, more vivid, and more likely to cross over into your reality now. This could be good if you regularly dream up ideas and creative pursuits and struggle to make them real. If you’re someone who is trying to block out dreams you can be drawn to escapism around this time so watch out for substance abuse and self-isolation.
This is a good time to work with your intuition, dream magick, clairvoyancy, and speaking spiritual truths. This is another deeply introspective retrograde period, but it’s also one that foster beautiful art and music. You may be drawn more to those at this time, and creating your own can be extremely healing. You may pour your heart out to the extreme, so be cautious about who you share with.
Do: Pay attention to your dreams! Now is a time to start a dream journal and practice interpretation, allow your creativity to flow out in art and music, listen to your intuition, learn divination
Don’t: work under the “ignorance is bliss” model, as it can be difficult to shake this afterwards, ignore your dreams and intuition, cave to distraction from harsh truth or spiritual awakening, ignore difficult changes in your life
Chakras: 6th Chakra – The Third Eye, 5th Chakra – The Throat
Crystals: Labradorite, Fluorite, Amethyst, Sapphire, Larimar, Tanzanite. These stones all help ride the waves, increase and connect with intuition and psychic energy, promote clarity and truth, and bring joy and peace to your life. Tanzanite is best use in the form of a crystal elixir as it’s kind of rare, but it’s fabulously grounding without blocking out that dreamy, imaginative energy! Larimar is soothing and cool, and promotes creativity and artistry. Labradorite can connect you to your most magickal qualities, and can also help rein in some of our more aggressive qualities and can even help with things like running to a bottle when something goes wrong.
Keywords: Rebirth, Transformation, Upheaval, Shadow Self, Secrets
Pluto might not be an “official” planet anymore, but it’s still got some metaphysical cred and boy is it a doozy. Saturn gets the bad rap of being the task master of astrology, but Pluto’s insistence that we nurture and explore our dark side can be just as difficult. Pluto is all about death and rebirth, endings and new beginnings, and transformation at any cost. Though you can ignore your dark side most of the time, this retrograde period forces you to look at yourself in your entirety – that means the good, the bad, and the ugly are all visible.
Lots of changes come with Pluto retrograde, and you can either adapt or be dragged through that change kicking and screaming, but it’s coming and now is an especially good time to go with the flow. Embrace change, embrace your flaws and wounds, analyze your motivations and methods, and move forward.
Do: Embrace darkness as the flip side of life, work on changing bad habits for the right reasons, look inward and do some soul searching,
Don’t: Gossip or get into any secret or underhanded deals – it’s likely these secrets could bubble to the surface once pluto goes direct, ignore any tendencies for cruelty, anger or malice as these might surface extra hard now, fight against change and transformation
Chakras: All at once
Crystals: Black Kyanite, Snowflake Obsidian, Obsidian, Black Tourmaline, Smokey Quartz, Astrophyllite. I don’t think I really need to go into why all of these crystals are black, pluto retrograde is a time or working with and embracing the darkness that exists in all of us. These stones all have protective and grounding energy, and will help you maintain composure in the face of change or even tackle it with confidence and strength. Astrophyllite is difficult to get ahold of, and can be even more difficult to work with. This is a fairly advanced crystal for serious reflection on issues of shame or guilt or fear. This crystal shines light into the deep recesses of your subconscious and past and brings them to the surface.
Of course, which retrogrades you actually feel or “observe” is totally up to you, and how. These are some tips and a general overview of ways to work with the energy to move yourself forward, spiritually speaking. The most important thing is not to let the energy, or your perception of the energy, of the retrograde period completely take over your life. If something feels right and isn’t hurting anybody (including yourself) than why not try it?