Last year, if you remember (if you don’t you can find the article here), Venus, Mercury, and Saturn all went retrograde in April, giving way for shifts in energy that would allow for us to look at ourselves, the lessons we had not yet learned, our self-love, how we communicated with ourselves and others, and if we were actually getting what we needed for ourselves out of romantic relationships.

This year, rather than focusing more personally, the planets that have gone retrograde have done so more to help us walk through our own darknesses in a collective way, in order to heal the collective, in addition to healing ourselves as individuals.

Mercury went retrograde first at the end of March, giving way for us to be able to look at the way that we communicate, but more-so, I felt like this particular retrograde was a test of patience: Do you allow yourself to slow down? Do you allow others to slow down and understand that everyone works at a different pace? How do you handle situations where things go slightly awry (laptop crashing, phone breaking, benign car accident, things not happening on time or as planned)? This year, Mercury seemed to be testing our control issues more than anything else.

So Mercury went retrograde to get the “little” personal things out of the way first so that we could get to the deep, big lessons. About two days after it went direct on the 15th of April, Saturn went retrograde in the sign of Capricorn and less than a week after that on Sunday the 22nd, Pluto went retrograde, ALSO in the sign of Capricorn! Both are retrograde in Cap until September, giving us all summer to do the Big Work.

Okay, so right now this sounds like a bunch of mumbo jumbo. Let me break it down for you:

Saturn is the planet of learning lessons. It is the planet that makes sure that you have faced your doodoo and learned how to clean it up. It is also the planet that, well, if you haven’t learned how to clean it up, it makes sure to shove your face in it and make you really smell it until you do. For those of you who are in your Saturn return (if you don’t know what that is, it’s a wee bit important – but seriously – and you can read about it here), you get a little bit of a break from your life tests and lesson learning – they will slow down dramatically and you can take a bit of a breather.

However, if you are not in your Saturn return the lessons will come flooding right. about. now. You can find out if you are in your Saturn return by going to this link to get your free western astrology natal chart. If your chart says that Saturn is in Capricorn… well, congratulations, you started your Saturn return in December and you get a nice little break and slow-down in lessons and time to ponder until September. Plus, Pluto is here to help you whilst in your time out to make sure you understand what you did, young lady!… or man… or whatever!

Pluto is the ruler of the underworld, in charge of helping to guide us through the muck in our lives that we’d prefer not to look at. Ruled by Scorpio, people who prominently have Scorpio in their chart are going to be ecstatic about this – seriously, Pluto in retrograde is such an exciting time for me because I’m like, “Yippie!! I do this all the time and I will gladly volunteer not only to ride the gondola through the river Styx, I will help steer it!!” Yea… half my chart is in Scorpio. If you have a Scorpio friend or mentor or guide at this point, you will either be greatly annoyed at their enthusiasm at this point in time or you will be greatly grateful they are in your life because… how would you ride down the river without them?

So anyways, while Saturn is there to be like, “Hey! Have you learned this lesson, yet? Seriously?” Pluto is right by its side like, “Oh, but that’s not fair… they need to explore why they are learning this lesson right now. Let’s give them a chance to face their deepest, darkest emotions and memories during this time… please?”

And as they are both in the sign of Capricorn, (yes, both of them) which is an earth sign that is all about making lists and getting things done, basically having these two planets (yes, Pluto is a planet I will ignore you if you tell me otherwise, just like I’ve been doing for the last decade and a half with NASA) retrograde in the sign of Capricorn at the same time is allowing for us to do deep, serious dives into not only ourselves, but our communities, our countries, and our world as a whole, and to get it done quickly and methodically.

We get to take time to really dig into ourselves as individuals and as a human race to uncover the “why’s” of who we are and how we have been acting. It can be little things, like, “Hmm, I snapped at my mother when talking to her, just now. I should really keep a check on when I snap. Is it because I am triggered? No. Is it because I was already ornery? Yes. Why was I ornery? Because I haven’t eaten in 6 hours. Do I usually get ornery when I don’t eat for that long? Yes. Okay, time to a) keep a check on feeding myself regularly, and b) keep an extra close check into how I’m treating others when I’m aware that I haven’t eaten and it is likely affecting my mood.” Small, simple, mindful, cognitive behavioral awareness.

It could also be more complicated like, “Hmm. I snapped at my mother when talking to her just now. I should really keep a check on when I snap. Is it because I am triggered? Yes. What am I triggered by? I have been working 50 hour weeks and when she stopped by to see me she was bugging me about why I wasn’t able to find the time to deep clean my windowsills. Why did that trigger me? Because I don’t feel “seen” by her. I feel like she doesn’t understand how taxing the job I work is on me, how much it takes out of me, and how deep cleaning my windowsills is the last thing on my mind. How can I work to feel seen when I’m around her, even if I don’t feel “seen” by her? And how can I accept the fact that she doesn’t “see” me? Okay, is there anything else? Yes. I am also triggered because I feel like I’m never good enough- there’s always something I’m missing or not doing right. Where does that come from? My whole life growing up when she and others were constantly focusing on my shortcomings rather than my strengths and accomplishments. How can I work to feel like I’m good enough?”

… And ooooooohhhh this paragraph could go on forever, (which is why one-on-one sessions that I offer are always 60 or 90 minutes) because the more you dig the more you find. And that paragraph could then branch off into how your father reiterated all of that growing up. And so did your first cousin, Sammy. And so did your 6th grade teacher. And so did that one snooty classmate of yours. And so on, and so forth. Obviously these are just very niche examples – this process can happen with literally any point where you feel “off” or a deep sadness or nostalgia or anger or trigger, or even just plain happy…

“Why does eating peanut butter cups make me feel so at home and safe and joyous? When was the first time I ate one that I can remember? Oh yeah, it was that one time where I was at my best friend’s 5th birthday party and it was summertime and there was a slip n’ slide and we all had to go on it again when we were done eating the chocolate because it had melted all over us and we needed to clean ourselves off. Does the taste and smell and texture of this pb cup bring me back to that moment or that emotional feeling every time I eat one? Yes.”

…You get the idea.

So how does the full moon in Scorpio factor into all of this? Well, I already took the time to mention earlier that those of you with Scorpio prominent in your astrological charts (mainly sun, moon, Ascendant, and maybe even Mercury, Venus or Mars depending on what houses those fall in, which, again, you can figure out, here) are going to be ecstatic about all this cool, new, intrapersonal work you get to do with yourself, and then, all the cool new interpersonal work you get to help others do, intrapersonally. This is because Scorpio – in general – is the sign of diving deep. And, as we have the full moon in this sign, it’s like the moon is here to guide us. I literally feel the moon’s excitement right now; it’s like, “Oooooohhhh my goodness, I feel like Pluto waited until it knew I was going to be in this sign before it went retrograde! AND Saturn? Jackpot!!” The full moon in Scorpio is kicking off the start of our underworld journeys as we take a deep dive throughout the summer until the beginning of September.

In essence, this full moon in Scorpio is here to take us under its mighty water wing, wave us into the depths of ourselves, and take us into the undertow into the underworld to discover the core of our emotions, why they happen, where they come from, why they’ve manifested in us this way, etc. In that way, Pluto and the full moon in Scorpio are taking each of our hands – one on either side of us – and walking us down the lane of life into the mouth of the cave of our deepest fears about ourselves and about ourselves and society so that we can conquer them with bliss, compassion, tough love, and, at the same time, ease.

Here’s the kicker: Scorpio is known as the sign of cutting through the bs. In other words, if you’ve been hiding from your lessons or from taking the time to truly, intimately get to know yourself you won’t be able to this time. The full moon in Scorpio is going to help you to fully illuminate your deepest depths in a way in which it will be virtually impossible to hide from yourself and your emotional and spiritual goings on. Of course, even without a full moon in Scorpio, if you try to hide from your lessons right now in the first place, Saturn will just laugh at you and be like, “What? You want to hide from this lesson? Let me see how I can throw this one at you, again…Muahaha!” So, basically, Saturn retrograde and the full moon in Scorpio are working in tandem right now in forcing us to face ourselves and learn our lessons without trying to pull the wool over our own eyes.

So, in summary:

-Mercury went retrograde and then direct again earlier this month in the sign of Aries, helping us to really burn out some of our biggest, unhealthiest time and communication patterns before Saturn could go retrograde to make sure we’d learned those lessons (kind of like wiping the crumbs off your counter before a deep clean.)

-Saturn and Pluto are working together in the sign of Capricorn to help us swiftly and business-like-ly face our deepest, darkest sides of ourselves and ground out the facts about how we can get ourselves growing in healthier directions as individuals and as a human race.

-Pluto and the full moon in Scorpio are working together to help us slowly walk down the paths of our personal underworlds to uncover what has been dead inside us that needs to come alive, as well as the why’s of who we are, how we behave, how we conceptualize things, and the how’s of the development of limiting beliefs, doubts, self-concept, etc.

-Saturn and the full moon in Scorpio are working together to make sure we’re not trying to hide from ourselves in the process – that we are working to uncover our own masks, learn our own lessons, and be truthful with ourselves in the process, no matter how much it hurts.

I hope that helps to better explain a bit of what’s shifting here!
Wishing you love and compassion on your journey through the underworld.



Author:  Rachel Leah Gerson is a metaphysical practitioner at Doorway to Self. Rachel offers metaphysical inner guidance sessions and psychic training to help individuals bring answers to light and connect to the highest versions of themselves.

Learn more about Astrology in Rachel’s upcoming class on Thursday, May 17th at 6:30.