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**Whether astrology is science or magic, we’re open to most things, if they may be of benefit. ~ Ed.
If life has felt stuck this summer, take heart because things are beginning to shift.
In late April/early May, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all stationed retrograde in Capricorn. Pluto was the first to station on April 25th, and will be the last to return to forward motion on October 4th.
On September 12th, Jupiter was the first of the three to station direct, beginning our return to forward motion this fall. Jupiter is the planet of luck, abundance, expansion, philosophy, personal truths, and beliefs. In astrology, Jupiter is known as a benefic, a planet that brings blessings.
Our shift back to forward motion isn’t happening overnight (it won’t be truly complete until November 13th), but Jupiter now in direct motion again is already beginning to give us a sense of relief—Jupiter is the planet to look to when we are in need of a lift in spirits.
When planets are retrograde, they appear to be moving backward from Earth. Astrologically speaking, retrograde planets are in review. As they backtrack over the degrees of the zodiac they have just covered, they move more slowly.
When planets are in direct motion, the expression of their energy is directed outward. When they are in retrograde, it is directed inward. The sign they are retrograde in is the energetic prism through which we are experiencing this review. For example, Mars just went retrograde in Aries (September 9th to November 13th). Mars is our motivation, passion, and self-assertion—our inner warrior—and during its retrograde, we are reviewing our relationship to this energy (hint: strategy, reconnaissance, and boundaries).
About this Summer’s Retrogrades in Capricorn
Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all go retrograde once a year, but they don’t always all go retrograde together in Capricorn. This year’s situation was made more intense because of January’s Saturn-Pluto conjunction at 22 degrees Capricorn, and the three Jupiter-Pluto conjunctions in Capricorn between early April and mid-November dancing over that same degree.
The Saturn-Pluto conjunction only happens every 34 years and these two are heavy hitters: power and authority.
In Capricorn, this is all being experienced through the energy of cardinal earth. Cardinal signs are the four signs that begin seasons: Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. (They are also the four signs of the equinoxes and solstices.)
These signs are known as initiators; they begin things. Earth signs are about the practicalities of life. Capricorn is about the structures and systems of society, and on a more personal level, the structures and systems of our lives. Capricorn rules governments, political systems, educational systems, and financial systems, making it the sign of serious business.
Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, and that makes Saturn a key player in all of this. Saturn is the last planet visible to us from Earth with the naked eye. Because of that, in astrology, Saturn is associated with limits and boundaries. Other associations of Saturn are: karma, time, aging, fear, depression, illness, restrictions, responsibility, authority, rules, obstacles, and discipline. In short, Saturn means business, too. Saturn can bring us hard lessons.
It also helps us grow so that we step into our own authority. For the Romans, Saturn ruled the harvest—making sure there is a successful harvest is definitely serious business. Thinking of Saturn energy in terms of the harvest can help us understand how to work with and honor this energy in our lives—where do we need to show up in our lives consistently to make the things we most value grow?
A Return to Forward Motion
Jupiter stationed direct on September 12th, Saturn stations direct on September 28th, and Pluto stations direct on October 4th. On November 13th, Mars, which has been retrograde since September 9th in Aries (challenging the planets in Capricorn), will station direct on the same day as the third and final Jupiter-Pluto conjunction.
What this means is that we have begun this shift forward, but we won’t really complete it until November 13th, although September 28th and October 4th will be key dates as we move along this path. (Expect bumps in the road around communication, messages, and maybe money over September 23rd and 24th—as Mercury in Libra tangles with Mars retrograde in Aries and Saturn retrograde in Capricorn—and again on the 28th as Saturn stations direct, challenged by Mars).
Let’s Break This Down
Jupiter, already direct, rules our beliefs. It’s the planet of philosophy, growth, and expansion, and as a benefic, is considered a bringer of blessings. We can access the magic here by asking ourselves what shifts in beliefs have occurred for us over these past few months while Jupiter has been retrograde. Now it is time to identify our new personal truths.
Jupiter also rules optimism, hope, and faith. It is our core personal truths and beliefs that give us safe haven in the the storms of our lives, so that we might befriend the unknown as we create something new. We have been doing some rewiring over the summer. Now it’s time to integrate as we begin to move forward again.
On a more somber note, Saturn retrograde in its own sign of Capricorn this summer has been tough. Saturn will station direct on September 28th, and in square aspect (a 90 degree angle that brings some challenge, and as a result, forced growth) to Mars retrograde in Aries. Saturn and Mars are considered malefics (planets that bring misfortune) in astrology. Even when Saturn finally stations direct, because of the square from Mars, it will likely feel like more of an obstacle or disappointment than a relief. (How difficult this feels will be in direct proportion to how much we have shown up for Saturn’s lessons over the summer.)
Saturn retrograde has brought with it a feeling of contraction, limitation, and restriction. It has brought fear, uncertainty, worry, doubt, illness, isolation, and depression. Mars retrograde in Aries is helping us with aspects related to Saturn’s retrograde, which has been going on since summer, but by the time Saturn turns direct, it still won’t have had a chance to finish this work yet.
Saturn is about making sure all the work gets done, and we still have a bit farther to go at the end of September. Where do we need to take responsibility, be disciplined, and act with caution and practicality? Saturn is known as the teacher and taskmaster, and the lord of karma—these are the areas to which this planet will direct our attention, and these are our clues to working with this energy in our lives.
Pluto is the Roman version of Hades, the Greek god of the underworld, and fittingly, spends about half of each year retrograde. Pluto rules death and rebirth, regeneration, transformation, and things like the taboo, sex, and money.
Pluto is also the planet furthest from the sun, and therefore the slowest moving through the zodiac, taking about 280 years to make one complete transit of all of the signs. Pluto has been in Capricorn, going retrograde every year, since 2008. This is the energy that is churning away just below the surface right now. It is the energy of complete transformation through destruction and creation, and it’s targeting all things Capricorn.
Specifically, Pluto retrograde brings attention to our relationship with power in our lives—this can be power dynamics with others and also what holds power over us. Pluto retrograde can show us unhealthy attachments, addictions, and patterns of manipulation in our lives; it can help us dig down deep to summon our own personal power to destroy that which might destroy us.
Over the summer, we have been on a major astrological review of the Capricorn energy in our lives, from the different “viewpoints” of Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto. The house that Capricorn occupies in our personal chart tells us the area of life in which this review has been happening.
As the planets return to direct motion one by one, we begin integrating this new information into our lives.
It is as natural for planets to have retrogrades as it is for us to have winter after summer, or night after day, or to need rest after exertion. We are contracting to expand. We are diving deeper to rise higher.
The final piece will come when Mars stations direct in Aries in November. Although Mars retrograde is very much a separate transit from the three retrogrades over the summer, it is serving not only as a wrap-up to these summer retrogrades, but a bridge carrying us forward into the future.