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Did you hear how 2012 was supposed to be the end of the world? For the past millennium, Stargazers across the globe have foretold a cosmic maelstrom of events to happen this year because of the many extreme aspects the planets make. While 2012 probably won’t be the last year of human consciousness, it will be a year of unprecedented change, and there is a series of powerful retrogrades (currently in progress) certain to send us spinning in circles.
Mercury has now been moving in retrograde motion for two weeks, which means we’ve had three planets moving backwards through the Zodiac including Saturn and Mars, and it may have felt like an astrological apocalypse. In our current New Age of awareness, the many SNAFUs associated with Mercury in retrograde have become popular knowledge, but while Mercury has become a “pop” planet, the rest of the solar system has remained relatively “indie.” Underground culture has always been an influential but under-rated inspiration for the mainstream, and the same is true of the “underground” planets of the cosmos. Saturn and Mars have a huge effect on our lives when they are in, and out of retrograde. Understanding how to work with their energy is essential knowledge as we hike the cosmic path.
To help you out as you prepare to scale the celestial mountain range before us, I’ve prepared a guide to dealing with each planet as it retrogrades this year. Remember to mark these dates in your calendar, and pack your cosmic backpack accordingly!
You could say that dealing with a retrograde planet is kind of like trying to do a whole routine backwards on the eliptical. At first you think you’re working all the same muscles, but then you discover a whole new kind of soreness after your workout. When a planet goes retrograde, you should expect whatever area of life that planet rules to get a serious workout. Retrograde cycles are fated times, and it’s usually impossible to fight the flow of events. Right now, your Saturn and Mars might be feeling the burn in a big way, but the positive news is that when they finally get off the eliptical, they will be trim and toned.
Before a planet even starts moving backwards, it spends time slowing down, and then finally “stations” in one position before it begins to retrograde. This is one of the most important, but overlooked facts about dealing with planetary retrogrades because the events during the time before (usually around 2 weeks) will give you an idea of what you’ll be dealing with for the duration of the retrograde. If you can, try to meditate on the last two weeks, and the patterns that seem to appear might reappear while Mercury travels in reverse.
January 24th – April 14th
Mars the planet of Sex and War. It rules our actions, our level of energy, the way we express sexuality and aggression, and it exerts a certain extra level of control over men (remember women are from Venus, men are from Mars after all). When it began its retrograde cycle on January 24th, the universe starting started operating on seriously passive aggressive wavelength. Mars in Virgo alone makes us feel a little bit irritable and anxious, since Virgo is the most analytical sign of the Zodiac. The energy of Mars is slightly uncomfortable in Virgo, as we start to over-analyze ourselves before we act. Since Mars rules aggression, we have to be extra-sensitive to others when it goes in to retrograde, especially now since Virgo can be a surprisingly sensitive sign. Small disagreements easily escalate in to fights. Some astrologers say Mars in retrograde is not always such a bummer because we will be less tempted to make bold decisions and life changes during this time. Mars gives us a period of time to thoroughly contemplate our path, and allows us to speed ahead on a determined course once it moves forward. Right now Mars is beginning to move back towards forward motion. It’s not time to begin manifesting just yet, but listen to your Martian instincts now and by April 14th you will be ready to move on to the next plane of existence.
February 7th – June 25th
If you’ve felt a cosmic quake in your relationships over the past 9 months, you can thank Saturn in Libra for the unexpected changes. Saturn is in charge of all the major physical and psychological structures in our lives and it is the planet of rules, regulations, and government. It’s kind of like the “Dad” of the solar system. Without it’s influence we would lack guidance and foresight, but too much Saturn in your life will make you feel like you got grounded for smoking pot in the garage. Saturn allows us to set boundaries and make plans. Saturn transiting Libra, the sign of relationships, love, and creativity, might have been setting too many boundaries in these areas- or maybe just pushing and testing them- over the past few months. Libra loves to weigh the pros and cons of a situation, so for the past few months you might have been going back and forth on some important issues of love or wavering on a creative project. During this retrograde it is the time to contemplate what’s truly meaningful to you, and what’s just weighing you down on your cosmic journey. It has been an emotional trip since last summer when Saturn entered Libra., and the retrograde that began on February 7th, actually allows us to go back and reassess the changes we’ve made. It won’t be a time to make big decisions, in fact, things will hardly seem to move forwards at all during a Saturn retrograde. When Saturn finally moves forward, we will have laid the foundation for an inspiring future.
March 12 – April 4th
July 14th – August 8th
November 6th – November 26th
Mercury is the fastest moving planet, so fast in fact that it retrogrades three times a year. Ruler of the mind, and all matters related to communication and technology, people start to get pretty kooky whenever Mercury takes a trip backwards. With all of the brainwaves, radio waves, and cell phone signals that are already crossing paths in an attempt to communicate, it’s a miracle that we manage to share knowledge to begin with, and when Mercury goes in to retrograde everything goes haywire. It’s common for people to lose or forget things, and miscommunications abound. Mercury, like all planets begins its retrograde journey in one sign, and exits in another, and the issues related to this sign are highlighted during this time. For the past two weeks, Mercury has been moving back and forth between Aries and Pisces. Mercury is not particularly happy in either of these signs. In Pisces, Mercury becomes hazy and details tend to get lost in a layer of general confusion and mystery. You won’t have to deal with confrontations, but your friends might suddenly stop answering your texts and emails. In Aries, Mercury is combative, and we are prone to speaking before we think and regretting our glibness. People will tell it like it is when you just want them to “talk to the hand.”
April 10th – September 18th
Technically, Pluto is no longer considered a planet, and yet it is so powerful that it still manages to exert a huge amount of control over the Zodiac. It is considered a generational influence, and it’s power is felt strongly in the areas of government, and business. It is associated with issues of power and control and the process of death and rebirth. When Pluto goes in to retrograde this year, we can expect a period of shift in the structure of society. Pluto in retrograde reveals secrets and creates tension in government. Pluto and Uranus, the plan of revolution, strangeness, and sudden change will team up to create a massive universal shift, as they square seven times in the next three years. The first square will be on June 24th. The time leading up to each of these squares will be filled with exciting stories in the news, so make sure you update your subscription to Star Magazine after Mercury comes out of retrograde. Pluto in retrograde won’t directly effect our lives as much as one of the “personal planets” (Mercury, Venus, and Mars), it’s more of a macro planet. But it can certainly be a game changer in the long run as it has the power to completely alter the structure of our society. For those with negative Pluto aspects in their birth chart, Pluto in retrograde might bring about migraines and headache, so stock up on Aspirin just in case!
June 4th – November 11th
Neptune is the planet of dreams and illusions, and when it turns retrograde, it actually enhances our receptivity and understanding of the mysterious and the mystical. The “inner voice” will be doing a Raga chant all summer long, making this an exceptional period to practice your psychic abilities, take up Tarot, or begin any kind of spiritual studies. For those who are already spiritually sensitive, Neptune in retrograde might feel like a psychic overload, so it will be necessary to meditate often and take time to relax and recharge your aura. Use this time to expand your mind in to the next dimension, but remember not to lose it there! For those who are dealing with psychological trauma or depression, Neptune in retrograde can deepen feelings and create negative visions and nightmares. It is important to stay focused on the positive, and ground yourself in reality because Neptune can easily sweep you out in to a sea of dreams (or nightmares, depending on your mood). Neptune stimulates addictive personalities, so it will be especially important to avoid abusing drugs and alcohol during this time. This is the perfect time to use mind-expanding psychedelics like Mescaline, but depressants are to be avoided because they will only dampen your energy field. Take this time to cleanse yourself, mind, body, and soul!
July 13th – December 13th
Uranus will retrograde through the sign of Aries this summer, and the energy invoked will be revolutionary, and at times, very, very strange. There will be a need for psychic change and a shift in the collective consciousness. Uranus will heighten our desire for freedom, and it will be easy to manifest changes for ourselves and for society at large during this period. Uranus tends to bring out the weirdo within. This is going to be the summer of the eccentric, as Neptune sends us brainwaves from beyond and Uranus compels us to express our strangest thoughts. Uranus in retrograde can make us feel anxious, because unexpected events in all aspects of life are possible during this time, especially when Uranus is in the accident prone sign of Aries. Uranus in Aries is impulsive and sometimes even reckless; it can lead us to make hasty decisions. If possible, keep cool and collected during these hot summer months. Plan on expecting the unexpected and practice your mental yoga now, because your mind will need a lot of flexibility.