This week both Saturn and Mercury go retrograde! They join both Jupiter, who went retrograde in February, and Venus, who went retrograde in March. Pluto will go retrograde on April 20th. In total, 5 planets will be retrograde in April, almost all at the same time! Venus will turn direct on April 15th, a few days before Pluto goes retrograde.
Astrology is geocentric, meaning the Earth is placed at the centre of the solar system and all the other celestial bodies are positioned in an astrological chart as if they all were orbiting around us (see below). Of course, from an astronomical point of view the sun is at the centre of the solar system (i.e. a heliocentric perspective), but astrology is about how the planets impact us humans, who live on Earth – not on the sun. It’s our perspective that matters here, and thus astrology is geocentric.
Technically it is impossible for planets to actually move backward, but because astrology is geocentric, and because of the varying orbiting speeds and the distance between celestial bodies, it appears to us on Earth, as if planets were moving backward. This is what retrograde means – moving backwards.
Almost all the planets go retrograde at least once per year. Mercury goes retrograde 3 times per year for a few weeks, while Venus goes retrograde every 18 months and Mars goes retrograde about every 2 years. The remaining planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto) go retrograde for long stretches every year.
So really, it isn’t a huge deal, especially with the outer planets whose impact is more subtle (depending on how the transits are interacting with your natal chart). However, the shifts, the period when the planets are changing direction, usually do stir up some energetic dust here on Earth. With three planets (Saturn, Mercury, and Pluto) turning retrograde in April, one retrograding planet going direct in April (Venus), and one planet continuing it’s retrograde journey (Jupiter) – that is aloooot of planetary shifting within a short space of time.
Did you know that the astrological symbol for retrograde (Rx or ℞) is the same symbol used by pharmacists to indicate medical prescriptions? The symbol’s history is a bit fuzzy, but it seems to have originated in Medieval texts, which used the abbreviation for the Latin word for recipe, meaning “to take”. The origins of “Rx” are also associated with symbols in both Egyptian and Roman myths that are associated with healing (i.e. the eye of Horus and Jupiter, respectively). So to draw a parallel here, a planet going retrograde is providing a prescription for healing your life material that is associated with that planet’s energy. A retrograde planet slows us down in that area of our life and beckons us to turn inward; to reflect, to reassess, to redirect, to recover or rediscover a part of us that we have lost or forgotten about.
With all the planetary shifts this month we may feel like we are being pulled both forward and backward; like we just can’t get comfortable and find that sweet spot. Our life’s rhythm may feel a little wonky. Hold tight! I’ll expand on the retrograding planets’ prescriptions for healing over the next few weeks.
Check out the Cosmic Forecast for…
Tuesday, April 4th
- Moon enters Leo
Today the Moon trines retrograding Venus just before leaving Cancer to enter Leo territory. Leo, king of the jungle – the energy of the sun, of the present moment, of the child, of fun, of play, of creativity, of celebratory enthusiasm, of passionate life.
Go find a sunbeam and dance in it. No sunbeams? Turn on whatever dance music floats your boat and spend at least 10 minutes letting your body move freely. Be silly. Be childlike. Do something that makes you laugh.
I’m welcoming this Leo energy with open arms. I feel like I have drowning in water energy this last week! In particular, Venus retrograding into fantasy-fueled Pisces last Sunday (while the moon was in Cancer) catalyzed some synchronistic events and stormy seas in my psyche. I am a Pisces Sun/Mercury, so I’m well acquainted with trying to navigate the Pisces’ nebulous boundary between the real and the imaginary, but Venus retrograding into Pisces on Sunday made this more difficult this week. My intuition runs strong, but my chart’s Earth element deficiency sometimes makes it challenging to clear out the ungrounded fantasies and delusions from my intuitive radar.
Chiron, the wounded healer asteroid, has been creeping up on my Sun/Mercury for a number of months now, and on Tuesday it is in EXACT conjunction with my Sun/Mercury. Ouch.
Leo energy will not necessarily ground me, or alleviate the harsh cleansing and purging force of Chiron, but it will hopefully inject a much needed lightness and buoyancy into my life – I would hope the same for you!
Forget your worries for a while. Go on, play!
Wednesday, April 5th / Thursday, April 6th
- Saturn goes Retrograde (at 27° Sagittarius)
- Mars (in Taurus) trines Pluto (in Capricorn)
**These transits occur shortly after midnight during the early hours of Thursday, according to my timezone (ADT).**
Oh Saturn, speaking from the midst of my Saturn Return, how I loath you sometimes. And yet, I appreciate your tough love.
My favourite archetypal personification of Saturn is that of a building inspector, one that regularly inspects different areas of our life to ensure our foundations are strong and secure. And if they are not? Saturn is pretty good at making us start over. But ultimately he wants the best for us. Not one to revel and party in the present moment, Saturn is focused on the long-term plan and strategy. He knows how shitty life can be and he wants you build on strong foundations so you can weather future storms.
Saturn is the teacher of the zodiac. The mentor. The strict grandfather figure. He exerts his energy in your life to teach you deep authenticity, how to be true to who you are, and how to be self-disciplined, responsible, and hardworking. He particularly likes tangible results and outcomes – he wants to see the hard evidence of your efforts.
So! Early on Thursday (ADT) Saturn stationed retrograde, and began to pivot in its tracks. Retrograde periods bring a planet’s lessons to the forefront. You may sense Saturn’s heavy presence over the next few days while it shifts direction, or you may not. Saturn will retrograde from 27° Sagittarius back to 21° Sagittarius, stationing direct on August 25th. Check your birth chart. If you have planets or sensitive points between 21-27° in any of the mutable signs – Sagittarius, Gemini, Pisces, and Virgo – these planets/points will get a special dose of retrograde medicine from the cosmic building inspector (due to oppositions, squares, and conjunctions). You may have some work to do!
I have my Sun, Mercury, Mars, and Uranus in Saturn’s retrograde zone. What fun.
How will you respond to Saturn’s lessons? We can experience Saturn as a cruel taskmaster, or we can lean into Saturn’s lessons to build that strong foundation that Saturn is so obsessed with.
Use today’s powerful Mars trine Pluto to bravely identify what Saturn might be asking you to work on.
Friday, April 7th
- Moon enters Virgo
- Sun (in Aries) opposite Jupiter (in Libra)
Ahhh, what a perfect time for the Moon to enter Virgo! Sandwiched between Saturn going retrograde and the upcoming Mercury retrograde, this 2.5 day transit of organization and attention to detail, will help you get an early edge on those Saturnian responsibilities and prepare for Mercury’s backward motion.
Even non-astrology folks associate Mercury retrogrades with technology and travel screw-ups. And while this is a little overblown, yes, Mercury retrograde can wreak some minor havoc. So go channel some Virgo Moon into your life and back up yer files! We always tell ourselves that we will back up eventually, but then we never do, right? Until it’s too late… Go grab that USB stick or log into your cloud, and back up!
Then pull out your notepad, your Google calendar, your agenda, and organize your goals. Break them down into smaller steps. Set a schedule. Plan out the coming week. Saturn would be proud.
Today the Sun is also opposite Jupiter, and tomorrow it is square Pluto. This means that it is triggering the big T-square between Uranus-Jupiter-Pluto that has been playing out since late last year and will influence most of 2017 (the Sun will conjunct Uranus next Friday). T-squares are aspects in astrology that hold a huge amount of energy in tension with each other. They can be challenging to integrate.
Sun opposite Jupiter: Grandiose dreams and plans. You may be aiming high and walking around with a double dose of confidence today. Beware of the risks of this aspect: Pushing your opinions on others, being egotistical and prideful, or overestimating your abilities and what is possible. Alternatively you may find yourself in conflict with people who are expressing the above traits.
Sun squared Pluto (tomorrow): Go deep, go deeper. Pluto won’t let you run from your insecurities, vulnerabilities, or secrets. What do you need to surrender to find a new freedom? What do you need to unearth and accept in your life, in order to step into your power? Perhaps there is tension between you and someone else, and this aspect is a prompt to make the first move toward reconciliation. Pluto calls us to be vulnerable in the areas we most stubbornly protect and defend. The Jupiter-Pluto square that the sun is re-activating this weekend, is all about going deeper internally – deeper into the mess and the chaos and the pain – before expanding outward.
FYI, on Wednesday Mars trined Pluto, and the influence of this aspect is still reverberating as the aspect separates. A trine is an easier aspect to handle in contrast to the square. The insightful and intrepid energy from the Mars trine Pluto aspect lingers in the Cosmos. This energy is available to assist you with climbing into the mess that Sun square Pluto stirs up on Saturday.
Saturday, April 8th
- Venus retrograde (in Pisces) squares retrograding Saturn (in Sagittarius)
- Sun (in Aries) squares Pluto (in Capricorn) – see above for interpretation
Roll those shoulders back and lift your head up. Saturn’s oppressive energy may be weighing heavily on your spirit today. Not only are we dealing with a painful Venus-Saturn square, but also a heavy Sun-Pluto square simultaneously.
Retrograding Venus’ square to Saturn is exact today, and will be exact again on April 21st after Venus has gone direct. However, the influence of this Venus-Saturn square will reverberate strongly throughout the entire month of April during which they are only a few degrees apart.
Venus, the youthful goddess of values, love, relationships, beauty, and pleasure, is having a difficult conversation the harsh old teacher of the zodiac, Saturn. Venus’ creative, joyful, lightness of spirit may feel sabotaged and waterlogged by Saturn’s stern reminders and rebukes. If we are intimidated and threatened by Saturn’s heavy presence, we may feel depressed, insecure, lonely, fearful, guilty, pessimistic, and empty. However, we can also work productively with Saturn if we chose to.
What is your Venus retrograde story? What key themes have emerged for you since March 4th?
Here are some tough questions Saturn might be asking you:
If love, sex, and relationships are the major Venus Rx theme for you, Saturn may be asking you if a relationship has the stamina and the foundation to sustain itself over the long-haul? What needs to be done to strengthen a valuable relationship? Have your personal boundaries eroded? How can you establish healthy boundaries again? Are you finding your sense of self-worth entirely through other people? How can you repair this? What barriers have you created in your life to protect yourself from being open to love? Are you blinded by an ungrounded fantasy of love? Do you need a reality check in your relationships? What is real love, what’s not? Who is important to keep in your life, who should you let go?
If values are the emerging emphasis of your Venus Rx story, then Saturn may be asking you, what do you truly value in life? How would you define “the good life”? Are your inner values congruent with your outer reality? Are you consistently acting on your core values? Have you replaced your core values with other people’s values and society’s values? Is it time to expire old values and develop new ones that resonate more deeply with your soul?
If self-worth is a key Venus Rx plot line for you, then check out my Know Your Worth: A Venus Retrograde Project, and see if any of these posts challenge you to rethink your perception of yourself.
Sunday, April 9th
- Moon enters Libra (after opposing Venus)
- Mercury goes retrograde (in Taurus)
Mercury is the trickster messenger god, ruler of information-processing, learning, short-distance travel, written and verbal communication and siblings. Mercury is going backward for a few weeks until May 4th. This means that everything related to Mercury is going to sloooow down.
I don’t believe that Mercury would cause such a headache for people if our modern world wasn’t so dominated by technology. Because what is today’s modern technology? HIGH SPEED information-processing that enables speedy fast communication, travel and learning. We’ve gone from vinyl records to mp3s, from horse and carriage to jet planes, from letter writing to instant communication through emails, text messaging and snap chat. And it is only going to get faster and faster.
This isn’t bad per se, but it isn’t going to jive well with a Mercury retrograde, which, like all retrogrades, wants us to slow down. Our job is to re-assess Mercury’s domain in our life and see if anything needs tweaking. For example, how effectively are we communicating? Maybe we need to do more listening. Maybe we need to do more meditating and journaling to check in with our inner self, in order to communicate more authentically. Maybe we need quality over quantity. Maybe we need to take a break from social media and have a long conversation with a friend – or a sibling for that matter.
So when technology is going haywire on you, just remember that fast isn’t always better. Take your retrograde medicine.
The first week of Mercury’s retrograde will overlap with Venus’ final retrograde week. Next week is Venus’ week, absolutely. All signs in the heavens point to our goddess of love and beauty as the protagonist at center stage. This means that for next week especially, Mercury’s retrograde is going to play into the Venus Rx story that is continuing in our lives. Mercury begins its retrograde in Taurus, which is ruled by Venus.
Oh and also on Sunday the Moon shines an emotional spotlight, highlighting Venus in Pisces through opposition, and then causally slips into Libra, the other sign that is ruled by Venus. As I said, next week is allllll about the Venus story. Stay tuned.