With both Pluto and Mars retrograde from 17 April two powerful engines of the self are turned inward. This brings the number of planets currently retrograde to four, along with Jupiter and Saturn, and marks a period where many people will be directing their efforts inward, consolidating matters that have been neglected and putting their internal affairs in order.
The period of Mars retrograde is fairly short with the planet of energy and vitality turning direct on 30 June. Pluto on the other hand will remain in retrograde motion until 27 September. As Lyn Koiner points out in her excellent article on the subject, Pluto retrograde is “a time wherein we should seek to gain greater control over our personal life…” During Mars retrograde we will have the required period of quiet and reflection to do just that.
With Venus currently in square aspect to Pluto relationships will be a focal area of work for many. Issues of power and control may need to be addressed, especially where you can see that one person has an unhealthy hold over the other. Fortunately a trine from Venus to Saturn will help stabilise matters so that any conflict or tension that arises can be channeled constructively, and another from Mercury to Pluto will keep our heads clear and focused.
Those who are used to a high level of physical activity may experience Mars retrograde as a period of lethargy, especially as Mars stations retrograde in exact square to the Moon and loosely square to Neptune. It may be difficult to motivate yourself and emotions may not be so easy to express in a positive way. Mars is in Sagittarius, not a placement known for its stamina so keeping your eye on the goal may be challenging.
Jupiter and Saturn are also actively involved in this t-square, an energy that tends to bring things to a head. Although it will never perfect, due to Jupiter turning direct in May, the fact that the Moon and Mars are activating this configuration over the next week is likely to create some inner turmoil around setting boundaries, sorting fact from fiction and establishing where your responsibilities begin and end.
How will Pluto and Mars retrograde affect you?
If you have strong Aries or Scorpio in your chart you’ll feel Pluto and Mars retrograde strongly, probably feeling less assertive and dominant than usual. In fact you may find that it’s uncharacteristically difficult to express your anger or maintain overt control over a situation. On the upside you’ll probably be more patient and less obsessed with getting your own way.
Some people may find that Mars retrograde makes it difficult to pinpoint the best moment for action, or make them impatient to get things done when what they really need to do is sit back and allow things to ripen naturally. In general Mars retrograde is not a good time to begin new endeavours. Instead put your efforts into consolidation, shoring up weak areas and finishing things left undone. Making improvements and streamlining existing systems is also favoured.
To get a feel for how Pluto and Mars retrograde will affect you personally take a look at which houses they are transiting in your chart. For example in my chart Mars in currently right on the cusp of my 7th House suggesting that this is an important time to put energy into strengthening my relationship with my partner. This is appropriate given that our first child is due to arrive in mid June.
Meanwhile in another part of the cosmos
The Sun will move into Taurus on 20 April bringing practicality, stamina and groundedness to our creative lives. Remember that the Sun is our magic, our powers of manifestation, so whichever sign it is passing through will have a powerful affect on the way our lives unfold. In Taurus the Sun wants to bring us to a place of stability, abundance and security. It’s a great energy for gardening, hand-crafts, building and financial management.
Two powerful oppositions along the Virgo-Pisces axis, Jupiter opposed Neptune and Chiron opposed North Node, are currently activating the tension between these archetypes. While Virgo is rooted in the here and now, maintaining order between the parts of the whole through everyday tasks and attention to detail, Pisces cares only for transcendence and merging with the divine. An imbalance between the two creates either a monotonous, stale routine or the inability to stay focused and fulfill our commitments to others.
Working with Pluto and Mars retrograde
During Mars retrograde we’re all likely to take life a little more slowly and these are the perfect conditions for doing the inner work that Pluto retrograde and other current transits demand. Some of you may already be feeling this in your own lives. If so, please feel free to share your experiences below.