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This Year’s Pluto Retrograde

2023 Retrograde Cycle and Stations

Pluto is currently retrograde (i.e. moving backwards)

You’ve likely heard of Mercury Retrograde, the celestial event most discussed by the astrological layman. But did you know that other planets go retrograde as well?

When Pluto, the lord of death and transformation, goes retrograde, it can mark a period of major metamorphosis and rebirth. But this period can also be a deeply gratifying one and bring you closer to your true self, if you know how to handle it.

What is Pluto Retrograde?

“Retrograde” means “moving backwards.” That means that when Pluto is retrograde, it is moving backwards in apparent motion from our viewpoint here on Earth.  In other words, instead of progressing forward through the zodiac, Pluto is actually backing up.  It may be a visual illusion, but it’s a meaningful and measurable one.

What is a Pluto Station?

Pluto spends more than half of every year moving forwards (or “direct”, as astrologers say). But when Pluto slows, stops, and changes direction, we call that moment a “station.”

When Pluto ceases moving forwards and is in the process of changing direction, we say, “Pluto is stationing retrograde.” On the other hand, when Pluto has stopped backwards motion and is in the process of turning forwards, we say “Pluto is stationary direct.”

I call these stations “pivotal days.” That’s because the planet in question is literally pivoting. In addition, stations tend to lead to pivotal events for those of us Earthlings who are most affected by them.  These pivotal events trigger deep Plutonic changes.

Pluto Transits: A Long, Dark Night of the Soul

A Pluto transit is the most profound of all the planetary transits: it is nothing less than a total and complete transformation from one way of being to another. In nature, this is best illustrated by the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly.

In the cocoon, the caterpillar’s structure melts down to a mass resembling stem cells. Miraculously, it is from this gooey mass that the animal finds a new shape as butterfly.

During a Pluto transit, we are plunged into the psychological process of metamorphosis. We feel “lost in the dark” as we are completely melted down into something unrecognizable. And frighteningly, we have no idea how we will come out on the other side.  However, once we emerge, we will be a stronger and truer version of ourselves– the proverbial butterfly.

Death and Rebirth Through Pluto Retrograde

The nature of a Pluto transit is to prompt metaphysical death in service of a rebirth into something ultimately more true. We become more authentic through the confrontation with and processing of shadow material and past trauma. The transit brings toxic habits to light in order to be cleansed and transformed.

Pluto can transform your toxic relationships (Venus), toxic emotional patterns (Moon), or toxic attitudes towards work and status (Saturn). Actually, it all depends on where Pluto functions in your chart, where it is transiting, and what natal house it rules.

In order to change us, Pluto must unearth what is rotten. However, if we accept and allow the process to happen instead of fighting it, we can come out closer to ourselves than we ever have before.

Pluto Retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn: Transformation of Social Hierarchy

Pluto has been in Capricorn since 2008. Since then, we have spent 16 years or collectively transforming traditional power structures. This period revealed the widespread corruption of those in power and societal power dynamics.

Pluto left Capricorn for the first time in 2023, beginning its transition into Aquarius. As Pluto enters Aquarius, our attention shifts into transforming problems revolving around emotional detachment, rebellion, collective humanitarian ideals, technology and futurism.

For more about this momentous astrological event, read our blog post about Pluto in Aquarius 2023-2044.

The Span of Pluto Retrograde this year:

In 2023, Pluto travels forward to 0° Aquarius, then stations retrograde and travels backward to 27° Capricorn, stations direct, and travels forward past 0° Aquarius again. Then it moves into the next patch of degrees, where it will do the same thing next year.

How does Pluto Retrograde affect you?

This means that if you have any planet in 27° to 29° of Capricorn, or any planet in 0° of Aquarius, Pluto is heavily transiting that planet this year. Because Pluto in Capricorn forms a challenging aspect to Cancer, Libra and Capricorn, if you have any planet in 27° to 29° degrees of any of those signs, Pluto is also transiting that planet.

Likewise, Pluto in Aquarius forms a challenging aspect to Taurus, Leo and Scorpio. Consequently, if you have any planet in 0° degrees of any of those signs, Pluto is also transiting that planet.

Understanding the Pluto cycle can help you
integrate past trauma and allow you to
live your life in a more authentic way.

To learn how Pluto functions specifically in your chart
and how to use a heavy Pluto transit in the best possible way,
contact Pandora Astrology for a Natal and Transits Reading.
Pluto Retrograde 2023 transit span

Peaks in the intensity of Pluto’s transit:

We feel a transit the most strongly when it’s exact to the degree. Additionally, we feel transits most strongly during their stations, or pivotal days. For example, if you have Mars at 28° Capricorn, you’ll feel Pluto’s influence the most strongly when Pluto is passing through 28° Capricorn, and on the days it turns retrograde and direct.

How to Handle Your Pluto Transit:

Pluto’s process calls for a deep trust in the ways of nature and in oneself.  It requires letting go of what needs to pass away and allowing the new to come forth from the unknown.  This is abjectly terrifying for us human beings, who want to be in control.

During a Pluto transit the need to be in control can lead to out-of-control behavior, addictions and power struggles, both within and without.  But does it have to be this way?  Not really. You can meet this transit head on, learn to let go of control and allow change to pass through your life. Of course, this is easier said than done.

Understanding the Pluto cycle can help you integrate and process past trauma, and allow you to live your life in a more authentic way. A professional astrology reading can help you identify what is asking to be transformed in your life and why. To learn how Pluto functions specifically in your chart and how to use Pluto’s transit in the best possible way, contact Pandora Astrology for a Natal and Transits Reading.

Go Deeper

Pluto in Aquarius 2023-2044: A Transformation of Ideals. 
Little did we know… Pluto has a heart!

Pluto in Capricorn conjunct Jupiter 2020.
Learn about all the transiting planets in signs this year.
Here’s how to know if you’re having a transit this year: Are You Currently In Transition? And cast your own chart here.
Read my Frequently Asked Questions about astrology.

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