I pay attention to astrology and planetary movement, not only for the interest in the energy, but also because, sometimes, knowing that there are outside forces at work makes me feel better about getting on with whatever I am being called to get on with. A bit fatalistic, but acknowledging that circumstances are out of my control makes the surrender easier and allows me to focus on the positives and the recovery of challenges rather than feeling like Charlie Brown with a little rain cloud over my head.
The entire year of 2016 has been about retrogrades. Planets go in and out of retrograde with some regularity, but to have five planets at the same time has not occurred in over a decade. As of this writing, there are technically only four planets in retrograde since Jupiter went direct last Monday. The great retrograde motions of 2016 began with Jupiter on January 7. The planet of time and karma, Saturn began its lumbering retrograde on March 25, followed by Mars on April 17, and then Pluto on April 18. Because he cannot help the temptation of stirring the pot, Mercury went retrograde on April 28. Just for some cosmic elbow nudging and giggles, we also had a solar and lunar eclipse in March. A little retrograde with a side of eclipses never hurt anybody. Snort.
Retrogrades are all about the R’s: review, revisit, retrace, remember, revise, rewire, redo, reclaim, release, reconsider, you get the picture. I vote for retreat (like to an underground bunker with Netflix and lots of chocolate), but retrogrades always find you exactly where you are. The planetary effects are not just physical, but muddle and morph mind, body, soul, spirit, karma, and every other level of being-ness. It is at once a glorious, initiatory, clusterf*ck of ecstatic madness. And something that we will totally appreciate … after it’s over.
So, how do we embrace the ecstatic madness? Ride the bucking bronco into the sunset without falling off and breaking our necks?
This is why we practice. As I was doing a late night emotional dump with a friend recently, she reminded me that Goddess, God, our practices, our spiritual tenets, and the way we approach life are not just there for the easy moments. They are HERE for the now that sucks or feels scary. Our practices, our paths are the sacred refuge that give us comfort, fortitude, and they are the deep breath that sends us back into the middle of the ring. Pick up your mala, stuff a medicine bag with all the good, pray, lay on Gaia and absorb the good vibes. We have everything we need. Let me say that again … We have everything we need. Use it.
Empathy. We are all in this together. For my insane laundry list of things like losing 22 email accounts and archives, watching photo archives from 2011 to present disappear in a little whirly wheel, feeling like a Bernie Madoff target, deep breathing through bottom lines reaching new bottoms, and having past relationships resurface not once, or twice but three painful times, I bet you can give me a laundry list too of your past 4+ months. While planetary retrogrades hit different areas of each person’s life according to their charts, everyone is feeling the effects. “We are all in this together” is reassurance you are not alone and it is most certainly not just your life. If people are acting a bit weird, don’t take it all personally. Do girls nights in, have bestie slumber parties, spend time in late night pillow talk. Embrace your favorite humans and BE human with each other. Or your favorite furry face, this works always.
Pay attention. At the end of the post, I am sharing the general effects for each retrograde. Remember the R’s of retrogrades and really pay attention to repeating trends, recurring lessons, and what information is coming to you. This information is the root of transformation, take the rough ride and invite the lessons to become powerful motivators to action and needed change. This is not all for nothing. For the mindful participant in life, you are being given super-charged cosmic directions and assistance even if it arrives in an uncomfortable manner. What is the Universe telling you, deeply, directly, soulfully?
“With the equanimity of an open heart, the slings and arrows of our difficult and frustrating lives find less purchase, and suffering becomes a doorway into love.” ― Kristin Neff
Be compassionate. Be kind. Be love. Life is not for sissies. When things go sideways, be gentle with your Self. Love your Self. Allow your Self to be your very own knight in shining armor and BFF. Treat your Self … do the long walks, visits to the ocean, sushi runs, take as much downtime as you can, embrace the evening of tv binges, and no judging. Resist the urge to completely cave and open your heart to wonder, magic, and the next awesome thing.
Here are a few dial-ins and links to the effects of particular retrogrades so you can start putting the R’s to work for you. Getting a chart reading is always a good idea and I highly recommend Mary Lomando, she has been doing my charts for years.
Jupiter is all about expansion, joviality, good fortune, wealth, and positive living. Since Jupiter went retrograde on January 7, it has felt a bit like our security blanket was taken away for the first part of 2016. The good news is that Jupiter has gone direct as of May 9! This is a wonderful time to re-evaluate your New Year’s goals and begin to take positive action towards manifesting these goals, especially if they have felt mired in molasses and going nowhere fast. The Jupiter Retrograde impacted finances, personal growth and development, and the ability to receive material and spiritual blessings. Look carefully at these areas and how the past four months have unfolded. The shift with Jupiter going direct was palpable for me personally. That sense of relief can help give us steadier footing for the trek through the rest of the retrogrades, welcome renewed energy, and a potential return of cash flow.
All of our stories are right now attempting to be unraveled, like balls of wool that have been in tight balls for a long time. Attaching to stories and illusions that are in the process of unravelling will only create more knots and make the whole process take longer. (danamrkich.com)
Saturn Retrograde – March 25, 16 ° Sagittarius – Aug 13, 9 ° Sagittarius – The Lord of Time and Karma, Saturn, loves rules, discipline, commitment, and did I mention rules? When Saturn is in play during our infamous Saturn returns and during retrogrades, we feel constricted, sluggish, and embattled. The tough side of Saturn is all about shedding the dross and making us shiny and new. Saturn’s challenges always have a reason, even when we can’t see it. The Saturn retrograde is propelling us to a better version of ourselves and one that is more capable than when we started months ago. The best advice for Saturn is surrender. That which you resist will persist and since Saturn is doing a big, ole karmic cleanse, let it all go and focus on the the liberation coming.
Mars Retrograde – April 17, 9 ° Sagittarius – June 29, 23 ° Scorpio – Our hearts are on fire. We are ready to lash out first and ask questions later. Everything that has to do with our passion, our drive, our motivation has come into question. Big, deep, what do I want to be when I grow up questions.
Mars moves us. Mars is energy. Red, hot, untamed energy. Mars is drive. Mars is passion. Mars makes us aware of our desires. Our desire to be an individual. Our desires to do what we want. Our desires are dangerous if we deny them. They demand entrance into our life. Desires are not arbitrary. Desires are road maps that lead us toward our potential.
… This [retrograde] will give us ample opportunity to examine our relationship to all things Mars. Our anger, our drive, our determination, our desire. Mars retrograde can be a time that is better used refining our relationship to it rather than trying to take large leaps in the world. Chani Nicholas
Allow these questions to arise and lead you. For me, I had put my Hungry Goddess food site on hold last fall. Life was busy and I had other, bigger projects that needed attention. About a month ago, I returned to my internal and external Hungry Goddess and realized that I had put a huge part of ME to the side. Renewed energy, passion, and a clear direction came pouring through and I have been cooking and eating at one of the best levels of my life. This is part of my personal Mars retrograde and Saturn retrograde, combining my passion, my drive, with stability and nutritional support of my core. I am redefining my definition of “comfort food” and finding new, exciting embodiment. Don’t be afraid of the questions. Step forward and let your heart burn bright.
“For that I must descend into the depths, as you do in the evening when you go below the sea and bring light also to the underworld, you superabundant star!” Friedrich Nietzsche
Pluto Retrograde – April 18, 17 ° Capricorn – Sep 26, 14 ° Capricorn – this Pluto Retrograde is about descending to rise, detoxification, and a seemingly ruthless impetus to transform. One of the astrologers compared Kali to the Pluto retrograde and She syncretizes the energy perfectly. Ma Kali is ready to tear down needless structures and does not care about the why of them. She simply knows that they are not needed and the end goal is complete liberation from ghosts of what we think we need. This is the Tower in the tarot, as well, dipping us into our unconscious, shadow worlds to face fears and release, release, release.
When Pluto spins backwards (which it does five months per year, so we’re all relatively used to it) it’s a time to face old fears, disengage from dysfunctional relationships, ditch bad habits, and end patterns of self-sabotage.
“Accepting Pluto’s quest leads us to authentic empowerment, but the journey is not for the faint of heart,” says Haiba. “‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ could well be Pluto’s mantra.” But if we do successfully clear away old debris in our life, it leaves room for new growth. Stylecaster
Mercury Retrograde – April 28, 23 ° Taurus – May 22, 14 ° Taurus – Mercury retrogrades are familiar territory to many of us since they happen several times a year. What is not familiar about a Mercury retrograde is how it will manifest. You can bet that Mercury will hit you unexpectedly leaving echoes of his laughter as he flies away. The cosmic jester. Oh yeah. Communications, delays, tech issues, more tech issues, mechanical mayhem, travel setbacks, Mercury rules over it all and keeps us on our toes. I read an article yesterday about the insane, long security lines at Chicago’s airport. That situation had Mercury’s prints all over it. There is no avoiding Mercury, so roll with it. You can prepare, but also prepare to have your preparations turned upside down.
“As with all Mercury retrograde periods, things from the past will be reevaluated, re-examined, or understood differently.
We can get a new look at ideas, ways we’re communicating and understanding what others are communicating to us, and get new insights into all things ruled Taurus, such as values, money, resources, assets, and how we use all of these to secure our existence, and specifically all things related to the house(s) where we have 24 to 15 Taurus.
For example, we may get new insights or understanding about something we have, in terms of its true values or lack thereof, or we may find someone or something of value returning to help us make something real.” MysticMamma.com
This particular Mercury retrograde, combined with the other retrogrades, has personally manifested tech issues left and right so I have been feeling a bit grim. Hours on the phone to my web host and other tech support can do that to you. Thankfully, it passes quickly. Right. RIGHT?
Are you ready for the take-away? Life happens. Retrogrades happen. We learn to surrender after getting batted around a bit like a mouse to the cosmic kitty. And joy happens. Love happens. We learn to grab onto the positive, life-affirming, heart-centered good stuff.
Take good care of you during these retrogrades. Be open to the information that makes it worth the roller-coaster and stay open to the blessings. Because there are ALWAYS blessings!