What Pluto Retrograde Means for You

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Welcome to Pluto retrograde. Our backward spin through the underworld. Our dance with transformation. Our reclamation of our shadow. Our return to the depths of our own becoming.

Although Pluto retrograde draws less airtime than the well-known Mercury retrograde, its invitations are just as influential, impactful, and deserving of our attention. When it appears to reverse its course, there is an invitation to come into communion with the parts of ourselves that we have yet to accept so that we may reclaim every aspect of who we are.

How Long Will Pluto Be In Retrograde?

Pluto retrograde will take place from May 2 to October 11, 2024.

What is the Meaning of Pluto Retrograde, Exactly?

Pluto is referred to as an outer planet in astrology. It sits outside of the asteroid belt, as opposed to the inner planets of Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.

(Illustration: Anastasiia_M | Getty Images)

Whereas the inner planets are fast moving and shifting between signs often, the outer planets are much slower in motion,  representing years of our lives. When we connect with the movements of the outer planets—which also include Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune—we connect with larger chapters of our life. When they move, we feel the shift deeply. When they transition, we initiate an entirely new era.

Pluto can stay in one sign of the zodiac for up to 21 years and retrogrades every year for anywhere from five to six months. In the last year, Pluto has been undergoing an era-defining shift in our cosmos from Capricorn to Aquarius. It represents a moment in time in which we also find ourselves somewhat straddling two worlds—the old and the new.

Pluto in Capricorn is the old or the existing and Pluto in Aquarius is the new or what is to come. We are dancing intimately with change. We are preparing for a new era. And Pluto retrograde is an integral part of the dance.

After lingering 16 years in Capricorn, Pluto entered Aquarius in March 2023. Due to Pluto’s slow movement, its retrograde last year took it straight back into Capricorn. This retrograde, we observe Pluto dancing between Capricorn and Aquarius in the last stage of its transition before beginning an entirely new era of Pluto in Aquarius, which will continue until 2043.

Pluto begins its retrograde in Aquarius on May 2 and will shift back into Capricorn on September 1 where it will close its retrograde cycle on  October 11. Its forward movement will take it back into Aquarius on November 19 and it will remain there the next 19 years.

What Pluto Retrograde Means for You

It has been theorized that as we move further away from the Earth, the more complex, misunderstood, mysterious, and subtle the  invitations and frequencies of the planet. Pluto, sitting at the edge of our known solar system, is no exception.

Named after the Roman god of the underworld, Pluto and its influence cannot be grasped with the mind. It represents the unseen, the mystery, and the hidden aspects of self and humanity. It is the reserves within us that are not often journeyed, including our shadows, darkness, and vulnerabilities. It is the unconsciousness and power, death and transformation.

Retrogrades in astrology represent “re” words, such as review, revise, reconsider, realign, revisit, and so on. They are the one step backward to allow for the many steps forward. They are a sacred pause inviting us to look around, review who we are and the direction we are walking, integrate our past experiences, and bring closure to what is needing it.

This is all so that we can arrive present, centered, and aligned before continuing forward. Retrogrades remind us that, no matter how we try, that life is not linear. Our journey is cyclic. We move sideways, upside-down, and every other direction possible in our outer and inner worlds, especially under the influence of Pluto.

Pluto is the kind of cracking open that brings change down to the roots of who we are. Pluto journeys through our underworld, our psyche, our unconscious, our emotional body. Pluto excavates. It brings to light. Pluto retrograde shows us what is hidden within us and waiting for healing. Waiting for acceptance. Waiting for closure. Waiting for our presence.

Here, we are revisiting what is ready to be transformed. Throughout Pluto Retrograde we may find what we have labeled “old” emotions, stories, or pain resurfacing. And while transformation is rarely easy, it is deeply nourishing.

It is where we feel imprisoned within ourselves that Pluto asks us to find our freedom. It is within the experiences where we have felt powerless that Pluto invites empowerment. And it is through cracking open from within that Pluto welcomes light into dark spaces. If old stories, wounds, or fears present themselves to you throughout this time, give yourself grace. How can you befriend this part of you? What is waiting on the other side of this wound? What would it feel like to descend into it? What does this part of you need? How can you create safety while you journey with this?

Pluto represents aspects of humanity that, for many, are uncomfortable. To journey through one’s inner shadow and face what sits within the discarded parts of us isn’t easy. It is necessary, however. And it is deeply healing. Pluto is the missing piece of the puzzle that brings us home to the wholeness of our human experience.

This retrograde invites us to be vulnerable while it peels back layers to sit with what lies underneath. To witness parts ourselves we have disowned and cast into the shadow, all so that we may reach into acceptance and reclaim ourselves, piece by piece. To witness what has been keeping us chained, dimmed, powerless, and fearful, all so that we may remember our freedom, power, and light.

Your Invitation

As Pluto begins its retrograde, allow the cyclic journey of your becoming and unbecoming to be what it is. Not only are we in the space of retrograde, but we are dancing deep within the era-defining changes of Pluto from Capricorn to Aquarius. This retrograde begins your final return to spaces within you that have been running beneath the surface, shaping your experience, and influencing your movements in ways conscious and unconscious for years.  This is your chance to observe them, question them, and release them.

Pluto lives in the realms beyond our control, beyond our grasping. Our role is that of surrender, presence, and grace. To allow our humanness to be as messy as it desires for this time. For we are quite literally taking a step back, picking apart the pieces, making a mess, and then placing them back together in a way that is aligned, empowering, freeing, and real, all in time for our forward movement. It’s time to close a chapter.

Explore the effects of the Moon on you, what your opposite sign means, and how astrology intersects with your everyday life with our astrology email newsletter.

Learn more about the influence of astrology in your life, including astrological events the Moon cycles, your Sun and Moon and rising signs, how journaling can help you connect with the current influences, and more with Jordane Maree at Girl and her Moon.

This article has been updated. Originally published May 16, 2023.

About Our Contributor

Jordane Maree is the founder of Girl and Her Moon, a platform and community exploring Soul through the lens of astrology, tarot, and energy healing. She is a writer, intuitive astrologer, energy and soul guide, and host of Girl and Her Moon, The Podcast. She is inspired, every single day, to be the mirror for you to see all that you truly are, you in all your infinite abilities, in total expansion, in infinite opportunity and love. 

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