All The Planetary Retrogrades Set To Shake Things Up In 2023

Astrology is a practice that uses the positions of the heavenly bodies -– namely the sun, moon, planets, and constellations –- to pull back the cosmic curtain and predict how the events of the future might unfold. And while retrogrades are pretty universally feared in the astro community, it's important to remember that they don't always spell disaster. "When a planet retrogrades, it is time for us to take a step back and look at what the retrograding planet represents, and to polish that part of our life rather than moving forward," astrologer Leslie Hale tells Bustle. And when life feels chaotic, unpredictable, or out of control — understanding how these astrological events affect you personally can be very illuminating.

In astrology, retrogrades mark a period of significant slowdown that invites you to rethink and revise your current approach to things. When the inner planets such as Mercury, Venus, and Mars station retrograde, you'll feel the effects on a more individual level over a brief but intense period of time. Retrograde motion in the social planets, Jupiter and Neptune, mark major changes in your personal development and growth. And finally, retrograde in the generational planets like Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto influence our societal and cultural trends per Astro. So, while the number of retrograde planets this year may seem like too much to handle, they're not all bad — in fact, they're necessary. Here's a quick overview of all the planetary retrogrades in 2023 (via Cafe Astrology).

Mercury Retrograde 2023 Dates

Not only is this the most infamous retrograde on this list, but no other planet also experiences retrograde motion more frequently than Mercury. About three or four times a year, Mercury slows down significantly, and we experience a roughly three-week period of retrograde chaos (via Astrology Zone). Mercury is the planet of communication, intellect, memory, and technology, so when it goes retrograde, it can cause all sorts of communication problems, daily mishaps, scheduling snags, and technology glitches. During this time, it's common to feel misunderstood, self-critical, and disconnected from others. You might also feel more contemplative and introspective.

Keeping track of Mercury retrograde cycles can help anticipate any potential mix-ups or misfires and also gives you a chance to rethink your approach to communicating your point of view. The first Mercury retrograde of the year actually starts on December 29, 2022, in the sign of Capricorn, and lasts until January 18, 2023. After that, Mercury will retrograde again from April 21 to May 14, 2023, in the sign of Taurus. Then at the end of the summer, Mercury will go retrograde for the third time in the sign of Virgo from August 23 to September 15, 2023. And finally, we'll end the year with a Mercury retrograde across Sagittarius and Capricorn that lasts from December 13, 2023, to January 1, 2024, per Cafe Astrology.

Venus Retrograde 2023 Dates

When Venus goes retrograde, you can expect to see some fireworks. Venus is the ruler of all things love and money –- so when this planet is retrograde, you can expect to feel it in your love life, personal finances, value systems, and ideals. Of all the planetary retrogrades, Venus spends the least amount of time in retrograde motion. Venus stations retrograde once every 18 months, lasting for a period of about six weeks, per Astrology. During this time, it's common to feel more socially avoidant and reclusive. You might also have difficulty communicating your affection for other people. It's also common to have unexpected financial problems arise during this period of time -– so it's best to put off large or expensive purchases during this retrograde.

In 2023, Venus stations retrograde in the sign of Leo on July 22 and will stay there until September 3, 2023, per Cafe Astrology. Keeping track of Venus retrograde cycles can help anticipate any romantic drama that might come and force you to rethink your relationships and boundaries. It also gives you a chance to rethink your relationship with money, which makes it a good time to look at your budget and savings strategy. And because Venus rules aesthetics and beauty as well, you might want to put off any major changes to your personal appearance as well, so no impulse haircuts, tattoos, or piercings if you can help it, per Mane Addicts.

Mars Retrograde 2023 Dates

Mars retrograde begins every two years and lasts between eight to ten weeks, per NASA, making it the least common retrograde of all. But don't let that cause you to underestimate the power it has to shake things up. Mars is the planet of action, power, risk-taking, ambition, and drive, so when Mars goes retrograde, it's normal to feel less motivated and more frustrated, and it marks a period of introspection around what lights your passion and fire. Mars retrograde tends to invite aggression anytime it comes around. Repressed feelings and old disagreements are likely to surface during this time -– so you'll want to be mindful of checking your feelings before getting into any conflicts or fights (via Tarot).

The most recent Mars retrograde cycle began back on October 30, 2022, and lasted until January 12, 2023, with the post-shadow period ending on March 15, 2023, per Cafe Astrology. This will mark the long-awaited end to Mars' seven-month journey through the sign of Gemini. After that, Mars will cruise through the zodiac, unbothered by any retrograde delays for the remainder of 2023 and most of 2024. When Mars stations direct, it'll feel easier to overcome roadblocks and motivate yourself to take action. This stretch of time will provide the perfect conditions to aggressively work toward and pursue your goals. So, stay on top of your game and take advantage of the good vibes before Mars returns to the retrograde zone on December 6, 2024, per Astrology Zone.

Jupiter Retrograde 2023 Dates

Jupiter is the planet of luck, good fortune, knowledge, and expansion. When this planet is retrograde, you might be encouraged to do some soul-searching toward developing new attitudes and belief systems. When life gets too hectic for you to stop and see the big picture, this planetary retrograde swings through to prompt a time of personal introspection and pursuing deeper purpose and meaning. Jupiter goes retrograde about once a year, a period that lasts for about four months, and with it comes the chance to develop your spiritual and philosophical growth (via The Astrology Podcast).

In 2023, Jupiter will station retrograde on September 4 in the sign of Taurus and stay there until December 30, 2023 (via Cafe Astrology). Jupiter retrograde periods are notorious for forcing you to look at your current situation from a more realistic perspective and encourages you to rethink and reimagine the paths you're following. As astrologer and author Jane Evans writes, "while abundance may be [Jupiter's] keyword, it can mean too much of a good thing." Which makes Jupiter retrograde a great time to take inventory of how you're balancing things in your life and encourages you to get rid of anything that feels like it's holding you back. During Jupiter retrograde, astrologers recommend rethinking your approach toward success and reviewing all of your big plans in detail.

Saturn Retrograde 2023 Dates

When Saturn, the planet of karma, endurance, structure, and perseverance, stations retrograde, it's time to brace yourself for a cosmic reality check. Saturn governs all things related to discipline and self-control, so when this malefic placement stations retrograde, it's common to feel more overwhelmed and self-critical than usual. Saturn goes retrograde every year for about four months at a time, pushing you toward personal growth — whether you're ready or not. As astrologer Kelli Fox explains, Saturn often takes the blame when life drops an unexpected roadblock in your path, however, these "pitfalls" can often provide the most important lessons you need to learn to take the next step in life.

Saturn will take its annual backspin in the sign of Pisces from June 17 to November 4, 2023, placing an emphasis on your spirituality, creative practices, and your relationship with self–discipline. According to astrologer Lisa Stardust, Saturn retrograde "... gives us time to reflect on matters such as relationships and our roles at work." When you work with Saturn, you agree to prioritize what's most important over temptations and indulgences. "Saturn is about the real deal, no fluff, no time wasting. The satisfaction of accomplishment, the reward of mastery and becoming an authority are its gifts," Vedic astrologer Arun Thareja shares to Twitter. There's a good chance you've been neglecting your passion projects and hobbies or possibly even avoiding some tough feelings. Saturn retrograde shines the spotlight on where you've neglected necessary progress and what you need to face in order to move forward.

Uranus Retrograde 2023 Dates

Uranus is somewhat of an untamable force in astrology, so it shouldn't surprise you that its retrograde cycles are anything but predictable as well. Although Uranus technically starts a new retrograde cycle every year, Uranus retrograde periods can encroach on one another and occur twice in the same year. Uranus retrograde cycles are defined by the inner changes you make in response to the external forces of the universe. According to VICE astrologer Randon Rosenbohm, Uranus is the planet within our solar system that seeks to push past traditional limitations and beliefs — meaning its retrograde cycles will offer you the chance to embrace the absurd, throw caution to the wind, and reclaim your sense of uniqueness. Uranus' annual retrograde lasts between five to seven months, bringing with it a chance to seek freedom from expectations and follow your own path.

In 2022, Uranus went retrograde in the sign of Taurus and will stay there until January 22, 2023. And after a few months of direction motion, Uranus will station retrograde again from August 28, 2023, to January 27, 2024, per Cafe Astrology. "Uranus is already a very unpredictable planet, so its capacity to change, shock, surprise and upset the apple cart could be greatly heightened during retrograde cycles." evolutionary astrologer Amy Bird tells Glamour. Uranus retrograde acts as a mirror to your life, forcing you to face anything you might be struggling to confront on your own. Uranus retrograde is an ideal time for embracing change, so expect a few breakdowns and breakthroughs anytime this troublemaker swings through.

Neptune Retrograde 2023 Dates

Neptune retrograde can feel like falling through the looking glass, right into a dream-shattering wake-up call. Normally, Neptune governs your dreams, ideals, and fantasies and can be a major source of inspiration and escapism. When Neptune is retrograde, however, it's more difficult to escape into your dream world and ignore the harsh truth that reality needs you to face. Neptune stations retrograde about once a year and stays there between five and six months each time (via Labyrinthos). When Neptune goes retrograde, it's common for the collective energy to experience a subtle but impactful shift. When this planet is retrograde, it presents a time to revise your dreams and aspirations, as well as a chance to reflect on the steps you're taking to achieve them.

Neptune rules both dreams and delusions; it's common to struggle with making major decisions during its yearly retrograde cycle. In 2023, Neptune will station retrograde on June 30 in the sign of Pisces and stay there until December 6, 2023, per Cafe Astrology. During a Neptune retrograde transit, you may seek to escape from your feelings and escape your problems by indulging in your favorite vices. However, it's important to fight the urge to disconnect from reality and go deep within yourself instead. It's an ideal time to take up a meditative practice and reconnect with your spiritual side. You may even consider getting a tarot reading or astrology chart reading to gain insight into where you should be focusing your time and attention.

Pluto Retrograde 2023 Dates

Pluto rules over all that is hidden or unseen on the surface, so you can expect Pluto retrograde to dredge up hidden secrets, underseen problems, and power struggles. Pluto stations retrograde once a year and spends nearly half of the year retrograde, with these transits lasting about five months (via Astrograph). In astrology, Pluto shows the areas of life where you search for truth and deeper meaning. It can also indicate areas of life that you can give up power over and allow to be transformed in order to complete the cycle of your soul's journey. On the bright side, Pluto is associated with renewal and regeneration, as well as the cosmic cycle of growth and rebirth. So while change can be scary at times, Pluto retrograde is a chance to embrace personal transformation and accept your deepest desires.

2023 is a big year for Pluto; On March 23, 2023, Pluto leaves Capricorn and enters Aquarius, marking the beginning of revolutionary transit that's expected to challenge the status quo and help reshape the future. This will add an extra layer of frustration and stress to the upcoming Pluto retrograde from May 1 to October 10, 2023, during which Pluto will retrograde between Aquarius and Capricorn, per Cafe Astrology. The combination of these energies together can cause a looming feeling of doom, dread, or even dissatisfaction. However, when Pluto retrograde comes through and clears away the clutter that's stacked up in your life, it gives you the chance to start fresh and reimagine your place in the world for the better.