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.
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