In astrology, the term retrograde gets a bad rap. "Mercury is in retrograde," is a catch-all phrase uttered anytime anything goes wrong: a mis-sent email, a traffic jam (remember those?), a paperclipping ex. But all retrogrades aren't bad — least of all Pluto retrograde, which starts April 25 and lasts for nearly half the year, ending on October 4.
A retrograde occurs when a planet appears to move backwards in its orbit. Pluto is a planet of transformation; when it starts to backtrack, it creates space for reflection.
These next few months are a good time to contemplate the way society, big businesses, and governments need to change, says astrologer Lisa Stardust. These are subjects many of us are already thinking about right now, as we make our way through the coronavirus pandemic. The reflective energy of Pluto's retrograde might give you a new perspective on what actions you can take to support the type of shifts you hope to see.
This retrograde occurs in Capricorn. Since the sign of the Goat is associated with business, and Pluto is all about rebirth, this movement may bring with it a redistribution of wealth, Stardust explains. "Laws will start to be made to protect people in need and relief will be a topic amongst the politicians. Change is happening," she adds. Pluto's transformative energy can be healing, she notes, which is especially auspicious now, while the world is in the throes of the coronavirus pandemic.
On a more personal level, Pluto's retrograde may give us an opportunity to free ourselves from unhealthy dependencies on the material world. "When Pluto retrogrades, we are given the opportunity to get really honest with ourselves about why we might be negatively motivated by power, fame, wealth, influence, and dominance," says Narayana Montúfar, senior astrologer at Astrology.com and Horoscope.com.
This transit isn't necessarily one for eureka moments. After all, this retrograde lasts five months. But the effects can be profound. "Being the last planet in our solar system, the effects of Pluto’s long and slow retrograde happen at a psychological level and below the surface, meaning that it takes a good amount of awareness to even notice them," Montúfar says.
She suggests taking this time to work on self-improvement, focusing on getting rid of past hang-ups and old habits.
You can also turn the microscope onto your relationships. "One way of looking at Pluto’s retrograde is [as the] destruction of that which is no longer working, which will now become obvious," notes Leslie Hale, psychic astrologer at Keen.com. "Pluto wants to uncover things and bring them from the darkness or hidden realm and into the light so positive change may occur."
When Pluto turns direct again on October 4 this year, long-term power issues will surface again both in our personal lives and the world, Hale says. Until then, we have the opportunity to look at things from a different perspective and to instigate transformative changes.