YOUR TOTAL GUIDE TO THE 2019 RETROGRADE CYCLES

As Mercury stations retro for the first time this year, savor the slow down with Rebecca Farrar‘s total guide to ALL the 2019 retrograde cycles …

Photo: Hugo Alexandre

Ever wish you could enter a time machine for a do-over?

Every planet in our solar system—except for the Sun and Moon—spends time “in retrograde.” These periods each bring powerful opportunities for collective and individual slow down and renewal, calling us to bring awareness to situations we may have glossed over or rushed past.

Mercury Retrograde has gotten a pretty bad name! But rather than harbingers of doom and gloom, all retrograde transits are opportunities to choose free will over fear.

When a planet is retrograde, it appears to move backwards in the sky, an illusion caused by the Earth passing by these slower moving planets. As these shifts occur, it’s up to us to decide how we’ll handle the themes they reveal.

With awareness of a planet’s areas of influence, we can notice how those energies move through us and can uncover new ways of relating to them. For example, if we tend to be non-committal, a Saturn retrograde transit may help us understand where more effort and hard work is needed. If we over-identify with our intellect, Mercury retrograde can reconnect us to our intuition.

Since January 6, 2019 all of the major planets have been in their forward motion. This ends on March 5, when Mercury stations in the last degree of Pisces before retrograding for most of March. As retrograde season 2019 begins, use the guide below to embrace these times of deep transformation, growth, and healing …

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Mercury // March 5—March 28 (retrograde in Pisces); July 7—July 31 (retrograde in Leo); October 31—November 20 (retrograde in Scorpio)
When the planet of communication and linear thinking moves backwards, our minds may feel a bit fuzzy, especially since this year’s first Mercury retro occurs in the imaginative and intuitive Pisces. Take this time to:

  • Complete old writing projects, revise your resume, reignite a journaling practice.
  • Edit and review emails more closely to make sure you are articulating what you want to say as clearly as possible.
  • Reorganize closets, drawers, and cabinets, as Mercury likes to keep things in order.

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Ceres // April 9—July 17 (retrograde in Sagittarius)
When the largest asteroid in our solar system is in retrograde, we may become more familiar with all of the places we need to up our self-care regime. Ceres’ 2019 retrograde cycle helps us contact our inner nurturer and recover our self-parenting tools. Utilize this retrograde for revisiting what you need to feel your best, both emotionally and physically. Use Ceres retrograde to:

  • Try out new recipes or new healthy eating habits and take care of your own needs before helping others.
  • Focus on the many ways to practice self-care, from salt baths to voicing your emotions.
  • Read books on attachment theory and emotional support such as Attached by Amir Levine, David Richo’s How to be An Adult, and the work of Rachel Heller.

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Jupiter // April 10—August 11 (retrograde in Sagittarius)
The largest planet in our solar system, Jupiter’s slow down often reveals new visions. This year, Jupiter will be stationing in its own sign of Sagittarius, and this backward motion may evoke a sense of contraction or constriction. Use this time to:

  • Plan a trip or mini-adventure somewhere you’ve never been or revisit a favorite place—Jupiter loves to travel.
  • Notice places of over-indulgence and how you can cut back on waste, perhaps bring your reusable cup to the coffee shop or carry around bamboo silverware.
  • Take an honest look at the vision for your life and values, and write it down this time to make it feel more real.

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Pluto // April 24—October 3 (retrograde in Capricorn)
Pluto brings us closer to the domain of shadow and the underworld, asking us to take a closer look at the “un-pretty” aspects of ourselves and to confront discomfort. When in retrograde, it helps us uncover places where we haven’t gone deep enough before. This year’s retrograde occurs as Pluto moves through Capricorn, along with Saturn, and asks important questions about power structures. Use Pluto retrograde to:

  • Dive into shadow work with a therapist or guide, or take a long hard look at the things you are annoyed and angry about, as the shadow shows up the most in our projections.
  • Get caught up on taxes or get your will in order; Pluto wants to prepare for the inevitabilities of taxes or death, as well as topics that may be uncomfortable to talk about.
  • Read up on the occult and mystical traditions that intrigue you, or pull out the Tarot deck you haven’t used in a while.
Photo: Felix Mittermeier

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Saturn // April 29—September 18 (retrograde in Capricorn)
Similar to Jupiter, Saturn spends a third of the year in retrograde and offers clues about where we may need to re-commit or become more disciplined. In 2019, Saturn retrogrades in Capricorn, alongside Pluto, and can help us reclaim our sense of authority and responsibility where we may have avoided it in the past. Saturn represents the longer cycles of time and existence and when in retrograde, it can take us back in time to clean up old pain. Use this transit to:

  • Look for places to slow down and practice more discipline, whether it be at work or in relationships.
  • Rethink your long-term goals from the standpoint of the legacy you want to leave, write a 10-year plan, or even 40-year plan.
  • Contemplate your priorities over the next several months and discern where and with whom to focus your energy.

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Neptune // June 21—November 27 (retrograde in Pisces)
When dreamy Neptune moves into retrograde, it brings a time to examine our illusions and fantasies. This planet connects us to our spiritual side and the myriad ways to feel in tune with the divine essence of who we are. The 2019 Neptune retrograde cycle occurs with Neptune in its favorite sign of Pisces, so projections may be at an all-time high. Use this cycle to balance fantasy with reality.

  • Resume a creative project, especially if it is related to a flow state such as photography, film, or painting.
  • Start up a meditation practice, or restart an old one, as Neptune desires a connection to the divine.
  • Take a break from substances that contribute to altered states of consciousness or disassociation.

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Chiron // July 8—December 12 (retrograde in Aries)
Chiron is a bridge between different parts of ourselves, and helps us identify what still needs healing. During its retrograde phase, we can rely on this planetary body to help us rewire or release old painful patterns, as well as help us regain our sense of wholeness. Chiron’s 2019 retrograde moves through Aries, allowing for old confrontations to be addressed and an inner understanding of our anger. Use this transit to:

  • Take a class or receive a session of reiki or massage therapy (Chiron comes from the word for “hand”) to understand the power of hands-on healing.
  • Boost your self-esteem by making a list of your strengths and keeping them nearby.
  • Reorient to yourself by making a list of situations where you put others first, or a list of your non-negotiable needs for relating.

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Uranus // August 11—January 10, 2020 (retrograde in Taurus)
This year’s Uranus retrograde transitions us from 2019 into 2020 with opportunities to rethink our creativity and uncover new ways of doing things. As Uranus re-enters Taurus on March 7, the retrograde occurs in the same sign and may revisit themes from things that occurred in May 2018. Use Uranus retrograde to:

  • Join a new community (IRL preferably) or attend group events you may have thought were not for you, as Uranus encourages us to try new things and also meet new people.
  • Activate your inner activist by recommitting to causes that mean something to you.
  • Update your technology or reread your smart phone manual—Uranus loves the future and feels at home with technology.

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Vesta // September 23—December 29 (retrograde in Taurus)
Baby planet Vesta bridges heaven and Earth through ritual and devotion to personal ceremonies, and brings magic to the mundane through feeding our sacred flame. During its retrograde cycle, we may find ourselves pulled more deeply into our sacred practices, and during this year’s Vesta retro in Taurus, we’re asked to cultivate the sacredness of pleasure. Use this cycle to:

  • Explore sacred sex rituals such as Tantra or Kama Sutra, or create your own sex magic ritual.
  • Take a human sexuality class or write a sexual autobiography to understand more of how this sexual flame moves through you.
  • Create a new ritual for the moon cycles or even in your own daily routine, as a reminder of the many ways to connect to the sacred in everyday life.

CANCER SEASON 2018: A JOURNEY DEEP INSIDE

Cancer Season 2018 brings a deep dive into our healing process, along with opportunities for true and lasting intimacy, says Bess Matassa … PLUS check out the latest installment of our Astrocast podcast with Bess and Sandy Sitron

Photo: Maria Badasian

Slip into your swimmies and prepare to be fully submerged. The night-blooming flowers of Cancer Season 2018 are ripe and redolent, ushering in a month to tuck into our vulnerability, bear witness to our own softness, and validate every feeling tone that emerges.

With Mars, Chiron, and Neptune all traveling retro, it’s time to stage a farewell party to outmoded illusions, drifting slowly and steadily towards new shorelines. For tapping into underground power sources that don’t need to be proven to be potent. Beneath any surface desires for action and achievement, subtler tidal shifts in soul expansion are sounding their siren song.

So skinny-dip into your shimmering sensitivities, water birth new notions of personal triumph, and let your longings lead you back home to your own private island. You belong to all the selves your secret cavern can hold …

Get the quick and dirty on the four key astro events of Cancer Season 2018 below—and listen to the full Cancer Season 2018 report from Numi resident astrologers Bess + Sandy HERE in the latest edition of our Astrocast podcast …

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Photo: Mong Bui

Sun in Cancer (6.21-7.21) // Think … Terrarium Building

Cancer’s cardinal water energy washes us back onto our own shorelines, and activates themes of privacy, belonging, and soul-centered security. Think of the luminous lunacy of your inner lifeworld as your own tiny biodome, a carefully tended shelter for your wildest dreams. Use this image to play with the edge between guarding your treasured visions, and slowly exposing them to the sunlit world.

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Mars Retrograde (6.25-8.27) // Magic Animal Growing Capsules

As the planet of frictional force and engine-revving libido slows its roll, it’s a glorious moment for considering your relationship to “being” rather than doing. For celebrating the “actions” that happen on a soul level, even when you can’t see them directly manifest in the material world. Make this a month to allow for all flavors of growth and movement. Think of all that you can build without having to go hard or prove your right to exist (and check out the YouTube clip at the link above for some magically wacky inspo!)

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Mercury and Venus in Leo (6.29-9.5 and 6.13-7.9) // Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl”

“Hey baby, you’ve got to remember …” As the planets of pleasure and vocalization travel through the glitter kitten terrain of Leo, pin your bedazzled-heart to a ruffled-sleeve with this classic roller rink anthem of unabashed passion. Venus in Leo teaches us that allowing our affections to spill over generously and vulnerably is the gateway to loyal loving that lasts, while Mercury in Leo seals each messages with a magenta-lipped kiss. Come clean about your right to your fluffiest feelings and adorn your most cherished romantic hopes in their truest colors.

Photo: Simone Perrone

Jupiter Direct in Scorpio (7.10) // Film Noir Chic  

As the planet of wild expansion stations direct in deep sea diver Scorpio, there are gems to be mined in our most intimate partnerships. How can fully embracing your own shadow lead to the veneration and celebration of your only-human partners? How can you integrate and assimilate your own darkness as simply another quality of the light? Play with the complete range of feeling in deliciously dramatic, film noir inspired fashions and remind yourself that taking this seriously is a tasty affirmation of your right to feel it all.

WHAT LIES BENEATH: A YOGA SEQUENCE FOR CANCER

With this simple yoga sequence for Cancer, Ash Baker shares three poses to help you access the jewels of your subconscious…Images: Abby Wright for MF Jewelry

June 21 to July 22

Ruler: Moon
Element: Water
Modality: Cardinal
Anatomy: Chest & stomach

4th sign of the Zodiac

Happy Solstice lovers!

We are now entering the sign of home, our roots and the subconscious realm of lady Luna. This marks a lovely midpoint to the year, regardless of your residing hemisphere. Expect to find yourself craving security, a sense of nurturing, and the desire to be surrounded by the people you call family.

We have some heavy planetary action going on in the heavens throughout the crab’s month-long sojourn. Saturn is retrograding back into the depths of Scorpio, as Neptune also retrogrades through ethereal Pisces. This equates to a high volume of water energy, and with two outer planets retrograding there is fertile ground to go within – for the ultimate benefit of the collective.

Utilize this energy to cultivate your intuition, check in with your soul DAILY, and seek the inner jewels that make you feel nurtured. The Cancerian is always looking for treasures to make themselves feel more secure and at home. This is a beautiful time to connect your mind to your body and soul, and to enrich your own inner sanctuary.

:: Plank Pose / Creating heat within ::
Come to your hands and knees. Make sure your shoulders are directly over your wrists and that there is a slight micro bend to your elbows. Straighten both legs out behind you and keep them zipped close together. Take a slight tuck in your tailbone and engage your lower belly. Spread the collarbones wide. Don’t let your bum/hips droop. Press energetically through your heels. Feel the strength and heat being created in your body. Hold for five breaths, up to one minute if you are more advanced.

:: Upward Facing Dog / Open the heart, collarbones and chest ::
From Plank pose lower down to your belly. Place your hands next to your ribs/torso so that your elbows are perpendicular to the floor. Keep your legs stretched out behind you with the tops of your feet on the floor. Inhaling, press your hands firmly into the floor and begin to straighten your arms. Lift your torso off of the floor while keeping your thighs firm and slightly rotated inward. Scoop the tailbone down and open the collarbones wide. Take three rounds of breath and flow back down to your belly and chest.

:: Child’s Pose / The ultimate surrender pose ::
From hands and knees, inhale and begin by bringing the big toes to touch. Gently exhale and sink your hips back to sit on your heels. Reach the arms loosely out in front of you and rest your forehead on the floor. Pause and breathe here for one minute. Then tent the fingers and lift up slightly. Walk your arms over to the right and sink down again. This will give the left side body a nice stretch. Stay, breathing there for a few rounds. Then tent the fingers, lift up slightly and walk the arms over to the left. Stay for a few rounds of breath before returning to center. Two minutes total.

Mantra for Cancer: “I seek the treasure only found within”

I CAN SEE CLEARLY: NEPTUNE RETROGRADE FOR YOUR SIGN

King Neptune, planet of intuition, imagination and illusions, has begun its annual backward spin of the Zodiac. Ruby Warrington gets to grips with this elusive but powerful entity, and asks what this retro period will ask each sign to confront.

Neptune is the planet I find it hardest to get my head around – but then, that’s to be expected. Ruler of Pisces, Neptune is the dreamer and the empath of the cosmos, the planet ruling our imagination, our intuition and our ideals. One of the slower-moving celestial bodies (or “collective,” as their influence extends over generations), in the natal chart of anybody born between November 1970 to January 1984, and again briefly between June and November 1984, Neptune will be in Sagittarius, a sign where this deep-sea diver feels quite at home.

Sagittarius appreciates high ethics, prophetic thinking and spiritual seeking too, and has been working hand-in-hand with King Neptune to wire today’s thirty-something generation to idealize a broadening of our collective worldview. Welcome to the global village, baby, where the lure of escape into foreign cultures and spiritual codes is felt like the pull of the poles, altruism is aspirational and even the yoga or meditation practice we idolize is often seen as a gateway to a higher state of consciousness.

For Neptune the escapist and the mystic, mind-altering substances are another portal to the other dimensions that are always there in our peripheral vision. And with expansive, optimistic Sag on hand to pour or roll us another one, “go on, why not, it’ll be fun!”, it’s not surprising we found a stairway to heaven through ecstasy culture and invented binge drinking in the 1990’s. Or that addiction is the symptom of so many Neptune-in-Sagittarius casualties. Lucky we’ve learned to embrace the Neptunian notions of self-help and self-love too.

With Sagittarius rising, I have also have Neptune in my first house. Enter the body dysmorphia that led to an eating disorder in my teenage years, compounded by my controlling Scorpio North Node return – but also, Sag, for granting me the compassion to love myself out of it, allowing me to learn from it and refusing to let me take it too seriously. Neptune in the first house can also mean an effortless slide into the deeper reaches of the imagination, an alluring shape-shifter and a storefront displaying the mysteries of the Universe. So go figure, Numis…

Why all the Neptune research this week? On June 9, he began his annual retrograde cycle. Of all the outer planets, Neptune spends the most time treading water in retrograde motion – 158 days every 12.07 months – a fitting pattern for the planet that also governs subconscious memories of distant childhood and even past lives. In a Neptune retrograde cycle, the mysteries he usually conceals are brought to the surface for us to examine in real time. Our intuition is given more currency. Dreams demand to be interpreted. Illusions, and delusions, are exposed, and creative ideas that have been gestating come forth and begin to take shape in the material world.

Currently in Pisces, Neptune’s cosmic castle, I was curious to explore what this might mean for me in the coming months (he resumes direct motion November 16) and what subtly sensed waves his backward strokes will send across the Zodiac at large.

* For a truly accurate reading, get your birth chart for free here. As an Aries with Sag rising, I will feel ripples of Neptune retro in Pisces in both the twelfth and fourth houses. But as Pisces actually rules the third house in my natal chart, I’ll look here for the most meaningful and relevant insights.

Aries / Aries rising (twelfth house)
Here is your chance to dive deep and rise to the surface of your subconscious with that most highly valued prize: the truth. Pay close attention to the neuroses that occupy your thinking now, and be bold in seizing the opportunity for healing that comes with smoking them out. Avoid indulging in mind-altering substances. Be honest with yourself and embrace clarity as a tool for lasting personal development.

Taurus / Taurus rising (eleventh house)
Choose not to ignore your paranoia about issues affecting any area of your life where group dynamics rule. Demand to know the details of the political dealings you rightly sense are going on behind the scenes. Then, think not what your friends can do for you, but what you can do for your friends. Fall into compassion and fire up your humanitarian efforts. Meditate on the germ of a revolutionary idea, and watch it flourish.

Gemini / Gemini rising (tenth house)
Duties or responsibilities you’ve been avoiding can no longer be ignored. It’s time to take the reins and begin to steer your ship into deeper waters, however intimidating this might feel. Don’t be afraid to tap into your inner ball-breaker. Act “as if” you’re the boss. When the limelight beckons, don’t hide away in the shadows. Get real about the sacrifices you need to make if you want your career to take off the way you envision.

Cancer / Cancer rising (ninth house)
Come out of your cave and give in to your wanderlust. A spiritual awakening could be in store for you when you open your mind and put paid to fears you can now see are completely unfounded. Dive into your studies in the University of Life, and embark on a vision quest or spiritual pilgrimage. To achieve enlightenment, deal only in what you know in your soul to be the truth, and demand the same of others.

Leo / Leo rising (eighth house)
Like a butterfly, you are on a journey of transformation and rebirth. But now you’re being asked to come clean about wherever wallowing in your comfort zone is stunting your personal growth. Escape into obsession and control will only compound your sense of being stuck. Ignore your intuition at your peril, and pick up creative projects with Leonine gusto. A mystery about an inheritance or money owed could also be resolved.

Virgo / Virgo rising (seventh house)
Expect a breakthrough in your couple’s therapy sessions, as deep-seated fractures in your closest relationships come up for air and healing. Embrace situations that show your creative and business collaborators’ true colors, and resolve to accept what you see. Give in to the notion of compromise. See past your ego for ways for justice to be served. Accept that the skeletons in your closet could actually be good PR.

Libra / Libra rising (sixth house)
Any flaws in your logic will be exposed now, so arm yourself with a backup plan. Details you’d prefer to gloss over will demand your attention. Tackling mundane-seeming tasks could actually lead to the breakthroughs you’ve been looking for. Knuckle down. And no more excuses about your emotional over or under-eating. Your health and wellbeing is at risk if you continue to delude yourself about your diet. Be ready to redraft a creative project to perfection.

Scorpio / Scorpio rising (fifth house)
A clandestine affair or flirtation could come to light, or maybe you’ll be asked to play your hand in matters of the heart. Your secret vice won’t stay a secret for long. A creative project you’re personally invested in could come to fruition now, and this fertile creative phase could also see your parental urges kick in. Be wary of situations that allow you to escape into over-indulgence. A hidden talent for the performing arts could also be revealed.

Sagittarius / Sagittarius rising (fourth house)
Expect the unexpected from a family situation, as whatever’s been going on behind the scenes is unveiled. Family constellations therapy could prove especially insightful. In all other areas, embark on a Dream Quest to get to the heart of the matter, and let your subconscious be your guide. Now examine your daily habits. What nourishes you and what is holding you back will be clearer to you now.

Capricorn / Capricorn rising (third house)
Be ruthless in speaking the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Allow yourself to hear the same in what others are saying. A hidden affinity with writing or speaking may come to light, embrace opportunities to explore this. Allow your logical mind to be infiltrated by your intuition. Journal about your dream life. False advertising won’t be tolerated. A sibling’s or neighbor’s secret may be revealed.

Aquarius / Aquarius rising (second house)
Get real about your finances and banish your credit cards to the back drawer. No more hiding your head in the sand and spending beyond your means, especially if shopping is a means of escape for you. Ask yourself; who am I without my luxuries and creature comforts? A creative way to add to your income may be unlocked. Look out for it, leave no stone unturned. Then act.

Pisces / Pisces rising (first house)
You’ll see past what’s in the mirror and view body image issues for what they really are: nothing but a figment of your insecurities. Now is the time for honest self-observation. Get real as you analyze your actions. In what ways do you allow your emotions to sabotage your personal vitality? Clean up your act. Insist on clarity of self-expression, no lying to yourself or your inner child.