You made it through March’s Mercury retrograde with (most of) your dignity and sanity intact. We’re not gonna lie, that one was a doozy! With the messenger planet backstroking through plumb-the-depths Pisces, buried issues resurfaced all month long. Along with that came unprocessed emotions like grief, resentment and fear. Did you have at least one sobbing, ugly cry? You’re not alone. Hope it was cleansing?
Mercury has corrected course as of March 28, so you can tuck away the hankies and leave the waterworks to Mother Nature and her April showers. But that doesn’t mean you’re done reviewing the past. April is retrograde season, as a trio of slower-moving “outer planets,” shift into reverse: Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto.
Don’t freak out! This actually happens every single year and there’s no way to cancel it. There are, however, ways to use these irritating backspins beneficially. Like a celestial sabbatical, these forced slowdowns help you integrate changes and adjust your strategy without so much pressure. Here’s how you can make the most of these inconvenient planetary shifts. Summer is coming!
Jupiter Retrograde in Sagittarius: April 10 – August 11
First to hit the brakes is worldly, jovial Jupiter, the planet of growth and expansion. Since November 8, 2018, Jupiter’s been barreling through its native sign of Sagittarius, which only happens every 12.5 years! This double-dose of optimism may have given you the courage to take some major risks. Jupiter in Sagittarius may have expedited some major life moves like going back to school, moving to a new city, raising funding for a start-up or stepping outside your comfort zone to diversify your social portfolio. From April 10 to August 11, the red-spotted planet will be in reverse, a time to be a little more cautious—or just to play catchup! Things have been developing as warp speed with Jupiter galloping through speedy Sagittarius. If you’ve lost control, you can use the next four months to your hands back on the wheel again. By the time August 11 rolls around, you’ll be ready to cruise ahead with your epic plans—and make them “bigger, faster, stronger” without feeling like a wild-eyed gambler at the Bellagio Villa Prive.
For retrograde relief, play it safer with…
Fire Signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius): Public image and presentations. Those fast-and-loose Facebook rants and tell-us-how-you-REALLY-feel Tweetstorms could be your undoing. Lead with facts and not opinions and put a more polished face forward. And hey, maybe that means setting up a private account (under a pseudonym) so you can unleash your rants. This is a good time to work with a stylist, graphic designer or branding pro.
Earth Signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn): Your Intimate Relationships. Jupiter’s tour of Sagittarius has made you more outspoken than is usually the case for your well-mannered sign. But some of that candour could be burning bridges instead of building them. If you’ve been serving up unsolicited advice, ditch the volunteer life coach role and make a point of asking questions and listening. Also, who have you been neglecting or avoiding in your family or inner circle? It’s time to make amends.
Air Signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius): Relationship-building. You’re a natural connector—and Jupiter’s tour of Sagittarius may have ratcheted up your popularity to new extremes. While the likes and follows feel amazing, how many of these people truly have your back? Pick a few key relationships that you know will be win-wins and nurture those this summer. Whether you’re falling in love, starting a band or supporting a presidential candidate, your focused attention will have a powerful impact.
Water Signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces): Work and finances. With risk-positive Jupiter making you less fearful about spending and earning, you might get the urge to quit your day job or make some other bold move. Make sure your safety line is hooked up! While it may indeed be time for change, you don’t want to leap without a net between April 10 and August 11. Some kind of “bridge job” or interim earning plan may still be necessary. Love what you do for a living? Sign up for a summer webinar or workshop/playshop to stay on the cutting edge of your industry.
Pluto Retrograde in Capricorn: April 24 – October 3
Saturn Retrograde in Capricorn: April 28 – September 18
In April’s final week, power-monger Pluto and structure-hound Saturn both turn retrograde. This year, they are traveling in close proximity with both retreating through Capricorn—the sign that rules integrity, long-term plans and the skills we master over time. With this probing pair pointing us to the past, get ready to take a Marie-Kondo level inventory of your life. While you don’t have to spend every warm day sorting through “clothes, books, papers, komono and mementos,” it sure wouldn’t hurt to open up those storage spaces—literally and figuratively.
Pluto rules the unconscious and all things hidden in the shadows, while Saturn rules tangible results and responsibilities. Pluto will be retrograde from April 24 to October 3 and Saturn from April 29 to September 18. Incidentally: Saturn is the ruling planet of Capricorn—and only visits its home sign for a few years every 29.5 years! Consider this a double-dose of motivation to get your s#!t together!
Given that, the next five months will be like a pre-construction inspection. Before you can build like a Capricorn-fuelled mogul, you have to excavate the site and make sure everything is up to code. If it isn’t, Saturn will blow the whistle and demand a thorough audit. Fortunately, Pluto retrograde will actually make the process of exploring dark corners liberating and transformational.
For retrograde relief, strength and create structure with:
Fire Signs (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius): Your Financial Planning
As a creative fire sign, money can burn a hole in your silk-lined pocket. What’s the point of having all those pretty things if you’re constantly stressing about keeping the lights on? This is a time for temperance, but not deprivation! Set up a savvy budget that allows you to save, contribute to your investment account and still have funds earmarked for pleasure. Don’t forget to focus on earnings! Do you need to master a skill or develop a product to put more funds in the bank? The retrograde provides the perfect window to learn and earn.
Earth Signs (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn): Your Personal Ambitions
Modest earth signs are generally the last ones to too your own horn, but what’s the point of toiling away if nobody sees all that amazing work you’re doing? Use the retrograde to learn savvy self-promotion. Take a workshop on digital marketing or social media strategies. Tap into your network of influential friends to see how you can collaboratively pump each other up. If you keep getting distracted from the project you want to finish, enlist a coach/trainer/accountability buddy to keep you focused on finishing that goal by the fall.
Air Signs (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius): Your Closest Relationships
Air signs tend to be the buzziest bees in the garden, flitting from one metaphoric flower to the next. But your mercurial M.O. can also prevent you from properly “pollinating,” if no one gets enough time or attention from you to create a true connection. During this year’s Pluto-Saturn retrogrades, try to stay put a little longer. Don’t worry, you won’t stagnate. Think depth, not breadth when it comes to your relationships. Chances are, you’ll discover some amazing dimensions to the people who have been in your life for years.
Water Signs (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces): Your Social Standing
Water signs are highly emotional, which can make you reticent about letting new people into your life. But once they’re in, they are in…like in a chosen family, love-you-for-a-lifetime kinda way. But what if every interaction didn’t have to be girl-gang serious? What if it was actually okay to have some surface-level connections that weren’t actually a waste of time? While you’ll always stay “far from the shallow,” keeping healthy boundaries in place can be good for business—and your bank account. Go vent to your friends about your shitty coworker, yah, but stay focused on the big goals (and productivity) when you’re in work mode. You can collaborate on a project without becoming BFFs and there’s nothing wrong with that.
This article first appeared on ELLE US.