What to Do When Mercury, Venus, and Other Planets Are In Retrograde

Planets in Retrograde

Right now, Venus is in retrograde. But, if you enjoy astrology (and even if you don’t), you’ve probably heard people blaming Mercury in retrograde for causing things to go sideways.

But, did you know that, at times, other planets appear to be in retrograde as well? Here’s your guide to what it means when a planet looks like it is moving backwards, how astrologists believe it can impact you, and each planet’s retrograde dates for 2023 and 2024.
Planets in Retrograde

What Does It Mean If a Planet is in Retrograde?

Let’s clear one thing up first. When a planet is in retrograde it doesn’t actually mean it’s moving backwards. That’s not how our solar system works. If it did, we’d have a lot bigger problems then your iPhone being annoying.

Typically, planets move west to east across the night sky. But, when they’re in retrograde, they appear to be slowing, stopping, and changing direction. This is due to their position relative to Earth. It happens when a faster moving planet (like Mercury) catches up with a slower moving planet (Earth).

When a planet is in retrograde, it also appears to be brighter because we are closer to it. This means retrograde is also the best time for observing a planet either at your local observatory or at home with a telescope.

From an astrological perspective, when a planet is in retrograde it can feel like things are moving slowly or going backwards in that area of your life. Things just don’t feel quite as much “in flow.”

Retrogrades can be a good time to examine areas in your life that aren’t working, rethink or try to get a different perspective on things that feel stuck, or work with your shadow side.

Each planet has a period of time it is in retrograde. But, because of their distance from the Sun, each has a different length of time they’re in retrograde and each is said to impact a different area of your life. If you want to be super mindful of the planetary alignments, each retrograde also has a pre-shadow and post-shadow period and the advice below is relevant to those times as well.
Planets in Retrograde - mercury in retrograde sign

1. Mercury Retrograde

Mercury is the Roman God of Communication, medicine, and more, so when Mercury is in retrograde, expect communication to be clunky. It’s the time when texts can easily be misinterpreted, so add extra emojis and be super clear about what you’re trying to say.

It’s also said to be a time not to sign contracts, purchase new electronics, or start a new relationship, though we recognize that isn’t always practical.

It’s also the time when your exes might come out of the woodwork. However, this also makes it a good time to reach out to friends, contacts, or family members who you miss but haven’t been in touch with.

What to Avoid When Mercury Is In Retrograde:

  • Signing contracts
  • Sarcasm or dry humor over text
  • Your terrible ex
  • Sending invites
  • Starting new relationships, jobs, or businesses
  • Picking a new roommate
  • Updating your phone or computer’s operating system
  • Purchasing electronics

What to Do When Mercury Is In Retrograde:

  • Prepare for difficulties with travel
  • Be clear in your communication
  • Backup your files
  • Reach out to people you miss
  • Revisit projects or business ideas you forgot about that still excite you
  • Be patient
  • Clean out your closet
  • Work with your shadow

Mercury Retrograde Dates for 2023 and 2024

  • December 29, 2022 – January 18, 2023 in Capricorn
    • (Post-shadow lasted until February 7, 2023 Eastern Time)
  • April 21 – May 14, 2023 in Taurus
    • (Pre-shadow begins April 7-21, post-shadow lasted until May 31)
  • August 23 – September 15, 2023 in Virgo
    • (Pre-shadow begins August 3, post-shadow lasts until September 30)
  • December 13, 2023 – January 1, 2024 in Sagittarius and Capricorn
    • (Pre-shadow begins November 25, post-shadow lasts until Jan 20)
  • April 1-25, 2024 in Aries
    • (Pre-shadow begins March 18, post-shadow lasts until May 13)
  • August 4-28, 2024 in Virgo and Leo
    • (Pre-shadow begins July 16, post-shadow lasts until September 11)
  • November 25 – December 15, 2024 in Sagittarius
    • (Pre-shadow begins November 7, post-shadow lasts until Jan 2, 2025)

Planets in Retrograde - venus

2. Venus Retrograde

Venus rules the aspects of beauty, love, fertility, and abundance. So you might expect some slowdowns in these areas when her planet goes into retrograde. She goes into retrograde about every 18 months. So, unlike other planets, that means there isn’t one every year, including 2024.

During this time, relationship issues might be more frequent or you might discover that money is suddenly tight.

When she does, it’s a good time to reflect on what patterns or blockages are getting in your way when it comes to giving and receiving love and sustaining a stable, secure relationship. It’s also a great time to clean out any expired beauty products.

What to Avoid When Venus Is In Retrograde:

  • Updating your look or hair style
  • Fighting with your partner over dumb stuff
  • Getting married
  • Starting a new relationship or accepting a job
  • Trying out a new way to make money
  • Purchasing beauty products, expensive goods, or aesthetic items

What to Do When Venus Is In Retrograde:

  • Assess the core values that are driving your life
  • Do shadow work and figure out how old patterns could be in your way
  • Be extra patient with your partner
  • Be even more self loving and ok with yourself if you’re feeling down
  • Do a financial review
  • Examine your beauty routine (but make adjustments after)
  • Take stock of your heart-centric relationships

Venus Retrograde Dates for 2023 and 2024

  • July 22 – September 3, 2023 in Leo
    • Pre-shadow began June 19, post-shadow lasts until October 7

Planets in Retrograde - mars

3. Mars Retrograde

Mars is the Roman God of courage, determination, passion, and war. When this fiery red planet goes into retrograde it’s easier for unnecessary conflict to arise. You might also feel drained of energy.

The planet goes retrograde once every two years, so while it can be an intense time, it only lasts about 11 weeks and it doesn’t occur very often (at least not when compared with Mercury).

What to Avoid When Mars Is In Retrograde:

  • Starting new projects or relationships.
  • Engaging in unnecessary fights or lawsuits.
  • Overexerting yourself physically.
  • Sharp objects, weapons, and anything related to battle.
  • Being hard on yourself if you don’t feel in the mood as often.
  • Buying anything mechanical.

What to Do When Mars Is In Retrograde:

  • Be gentle with yourself as you might be feeling more melancholy or fatigued.
  • Find ways to ease tension or impatience you feel arising.
  • Examine your relationship with anger and frustration.
  • Resist the desire to be dramatic.
  • Be diplomatic in your tone and conversations.
  • Make plans but don’t execute on them until Mars is direct.

Mars Retrograde Dates for 2023 and 2024

  • October 30 2022, January 12, 2023 in Gemini
    • Post-shadow ended on March 15, 2023
  • December 6, 2024 – February 23, 2025 in Leo and Cancer
    • Pre-shadow begins October 4, post-shadow lasts until May 2, 2025

Planets in Retrograde - jupiter

4. Jupiter Retrograde

Jupiter is the wise king of the gods and over the aspects of luck, expansion, law, fortune, and is known as the Great Benefic. So, when this planet goes into retrograde, it’s probably not a good idea to play the lottery.

However, it is a good idea to consider where you could be looser when it comes to structure and where you are blocking yourself from allowing luck to flow within your life.

What to Avoid When Jupiter Is In Retrograde:

  • Making travel plans.
  • Starting any legal matters as they might not end well or could last for longer than they would otherwise.
  • Being rigid.
  • Saying yes to everything.

What to Do When Jupiter Is In Retrograde:

  • Do some soul searching, trust your to intuition, and explore your desires.
  • Find ways to release blocked energy.
  • Be flexible.
  • Create boundaries around your time and energy.

Jupiter Retrograde Dates for 2023 and 2024

  • September 4 – December 30, 2023 in Taurus
    • Pre-shadow began June 11, post-shadow lasts until March 23, 2024
  • October 9 – February 4, 2025 in Gemini
    • Pre-shadow begins July 15, post-shadow lasts until April 30, 2025

Planets in Retrograde - saturn

5. Saturn Retrograde

Saturn is father of the gods and the planet of rules, structure, authority, fear, and constriction. If you’re finding things feel particularly hard to make forward progress on, it’s worth checking to see if Saturn is retrograde as it is four and half months of each year.

And, while, it’s not a great idea to start things during almost any retrograde, not starting new projects during Saturn’s four months is likely a little unrealistic.

When it’s in retrograde, your responsibilities may feel heavier or more present and it might be harder to feel like your free spirited self. It’s a good time, though, to review the structures that are in place within your life to see if they are in alignment with you.

What to Avoid When Saturn Is In Retrograde:

  • Taking risks. Saturn is the king of rules. Breaking them now is not going to win you any favors.
  • Conflict with authority. Try and stay on your boss’s good side.
  • Adding too much to your plate. Instead, look at what you could remove.

What to Do When Saturn Is In Retrograde:

  • Review your commitments. Especially if you tend to over commit to projects at work.
  • Assess what you could simplify within your life to allow for more flow.
  • Get organized.
  • Be fiscally responsible.

Saturn Retrograde Dates for 2023 and 2024

  • June 17 – November 4, 2023 in Pisces
    • Pre-shadow began March 11, post-shadow lasts until February 7, 2024
  • June 29 – November 24, 2024 in Pisces
    • Pre-shadow begins March 23, post-shadow lasts until February 18, 2025

Planets in Retrograde - uranus

6. Uranus Retrograde

Uranus rules over the sign of Aquarius and the aspects of change, innovation, rebellion, and creativity. When the planet goes into retrograde, it’s the time where structures can get shaken up, usually in a good way. It can help you get unstuck and give you some insight into how to be your authentic self. (Think of it as the opposite of Saturn in some ways.)

What to Avoid When Uranus Is In Retrograde:

  • Sticking with the norm.
  • Blindly listening to authority figures or dogma.

What to Do When Uranus Is In Retrograde:

  • Reflect on your current goals and intentions.
  • Expect some sudden breakthroughs, especially on things you’ve felt stuck on.
  • Try something new or consider doing something differently than you usually do.
  • Don’t be surprised if you get a creative idea out of nowhere.

Uranus Retrograde Dates for 2023 and 2024

  • August 24, 2022 – January 22, 2023 in Taurus
    • Post-shadow ended May 9, 2023
  • August 28, 2023 – January 26, 2024 in Taurus
    • Pre-shadow began May 12, 2023 post-shadow lasts until May 12, 2024
  • September 1 – January 30, 2024 in Taurus
    • Pre-shadow begins May 15, 2024 post-shadow lasts until May 17, 2025

Planets in Retrograde - neptune

7. Neptune Retrograde

Neptune rules over intuition, dreams, and spirituality. If things in your life have felt confusing, Neptune’s retrograde period might offer you more clarity.

While astrologers recommend that for many other retrogrades you don’t start new projects, Neptune’s is a good one for following your heart and your dreams.

What to Avoid When Neptune Is In Retrograde:

  • Second-guess your intuition.
  • Letting your thinking mind rule over all decisions. Follow your heart.

What to Do When Neptune Is In Retrograde:

  • Dig into your spiritual side.
  • Consider doing more meditation to help you go inward.
  • Listen to your intuition as it could be louder at this time.
  • Make forward progress on your dreams.
  • Launch that new business venture or project that excites your soul.

Neptune Retrograde Dates for 2023 and 2024

  • June 30 – December 6, 2023 in Pisces
    • Pre-shadow began March 9, post-shadow lasts until March 25, 2024
  • July 2 – December 7, 2024 in Pisces
    • Pre-shadow begins March 11, post-shadow lasts until March 28, 2025

Planets in Retrograde - pluto

8. Pluto Retrograde

Pluto oversees everything related to the underworld, so if you’ve been holding onto things that you really need to let go of, this planet’s retrograde will help you release them at this time.

However, as it moves slowly, so you’re more likely to notice these things in slow ohhhhhh moments.

What to Avoid When Pluto Is In Retrograde:

  • Clinging onto things that no longer serve you.
  • Resist change or transformation.
  • Being surprised when stuff you thought you worked through comes back to the surface.

What to Do When Pluto Is In Retrograde:

  • Work with your shadows self to unpack and release baggage that’s holding you back.
  • Begin to rewire your own unhelpful patterns of thinking and behavior.
  • Break unhealthy or addictive habits.
  • Allow for closure.
  • Work on self-acceptance.

Pluto Retrograde Dates for 2023 and 2024

  • May 1 – October 10, 2023 in Capricorn and Aquarius
    • Pre-shadow began January 8, post-shadow lasts until February 1, 2024
  • May 2 – October 11, 2024 in Capricorn and Aquarius
    • Pre-shadow begins January 9, post-shadow lasts until February 2, 2025


Mars, Venus, and Mercury Retrograde Dates for 2023

Planets in Retrograde - 2023 + 2024 calendar

The Pagan Grimoire
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