A Guide to Planetary Retrogrades and How They Affect You, According to an Astrologer

From Mercury to Pluto, an astrologer breaks down different planetary retrogrades and the meanings behind them

<p>Getty</p> Planets in space


Planets in space

You've probably heard of Mercury retrograde — the time of year when communication goes a bit haywire and suddenly your text messages are being misinterpreted, your internet is glitching and Instagram and Facebook are down for the umpteenth time.

However, Mercury retrograde isn't the only planetary shift that can potentially turn your world upside down. As it turns out, all the other planets in the cosmos are capable of going retrograde, bringing about unexpected changes in our lives.

Still, the planets moving backward doesn't mean total doom for us. Depending on which planet is retrograde, you can actually use that time to re-evaluate your plans, rekindle relationships or take stock of your own behaviors.

"People run away from retrogrades. They’re scared, and I understand that, but I use these retrogrades as a way to improve," Psychic Winston, premier astrologist at California Psychics tells PEOPLE. "I use them as a challenge for me to get better. I get excited. When a retrograde is on the horizon, I look at it as [an opportunity] to dig in and be the best version of myself.”

Read ahead for a complete guide on planetary retrogrades and how they affect you.

Related: A Guide to the Planets in Astrology and What They Mean in Your Birth Chart

What does retrograde mean in astrology?

In astrology, a retrograde is like a big reset. Instead of looking at retrogrades as events that cause havoc, in astrology, retrogrades "are opportunities for recentering, rebalancing, and refocusing certain aspects of our lives," says Winston.

What does it mean when a planet is retrograde?

A planetary retrograde is about how we see the orbit of other planets from our vantage point on Earth. From our perspective, these planets appear to be moving in reverse motion — moving backward through the zodiac. The length of each retrograde varies, as some happen for just three weeks and others for half a year.

Everything in the universe is constantly moving, however, so something like a Mercury retrograde can happen around three to four times a year because it’s the closest to the sun.

What are the different types of planet retrogrades?

Again, because the universe is in constant motion, every planet is subject to going retrograde at one point. Below is a breakdown of each planetary retrograde one and what it can mean for you.

Mercury retrograde

Mercury retrograde is about communication and information, so it's best to prioritize clarity during this time — whether that's in a relationship with a romantic partner, a family member, with friends or with coworkers.

"We tend to wait for someone else to reach out first. The focus in Mercury retrograde is to be the more proactive person," advises Winston. "Open yourself up to interaction and make sure that clarity is prioritized, so there is no misunderstanding."

Venus retrograde

Venus is the planet of love, so when in this particular retrograde, Winston recommends everyone examine how they love people — including ourselves. "Self-love and how you love yourself is going to be truly vital to how you love other people," he says.

Mars retrograde

A Mars retrograde is about focusing on re-energizing yourself and reflecting on your goals and dreams, as well as celebrating your wins and what you’ve been able to accomplish thus far. At the same time, it's important to do a little digging and think about what steps you want to take to clear the obstacles preventing you from getting to where you want to be.

Jupiter retrograde

Ruler of good fortune, expansion and healing, a Jupiter retrograde allows you to focus on abundance and growth. "It’s important for you to focus on what I’d like to call 'your inner child'" says Winston.

"[Think about] your curiosities, the things you haven’t thought about in a long time that you might dismiss as fodder. [During Jupiter retrograde,] remember that the only boundaries that truly exist are the ones that you set for yourself."

Saturn retrograde

During a Saturn retrograde, the focus should be on the visual and the empathic. Saturn is known to be the disciplinarian in the zodiac, overlooking structure, order and responsibility, so this is a great time to hone in on your foundations.

Take full stock of the things that make you feel spiritually, mentally and emotionally sound. "Don't be scared to make necessary adjustments and upgrades during this time as it can be very challenging for us to be transparent about who we are or who we’ve become," urges Winston.

Uranus retrograde

The primary focus when it comes to Uranus is innovation and creativity. Think about the mandatory or necessary changes that are needed in your overall life. "It takes a lot to ultimately go into this without fear of judgment, without fear of people projecting their issues onto you," explains Winston. "Go with your passion, what you love to do — what you would do if money weren’t a thing. That’s what [Uranus retrograde] is about: innovation, being creative, and not being afraid of judgment."

Pluto retrograde

Pluto retrograde is all about focusing on transformation and taking a look from within. The focus should be on transformation, revisiting those things you’ve essentially abandoned, like your New Year’s resolutions, for example. If you can lock in on those during this time period you can find a better center of balance.

Related: All About Saturn Return and How to Navigate Yours, According to an Astrologer

What planets are currently in retrograde?

According to Winston, we're currently in Pluto retrograde. The next one will be Saturn retrograde, which begins June 29. A few days later, we get Neptune retrograding starting July 2.

What happens when there are no planets in retrograde?

Having no planets in retrograde might sound like a cosmic crisis, but it's a time to give it all a rest. Instead of charging forward or making big decisions, Winston advises you to simply follow your heart's desires.

"[These periods are] an opportunity to take a deep breath. Just get out there and do what you know you’re capable of doing," Winston says. "Accomplish what you’ve always set out to do deep down because we only have one chance in this life. When there are no planets retrograde, go all in."

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