The Gaia Guide to 2019 Eclipses and Planetary Retrogrades
Yes, astrology is subject to interpretation, but there are celestial events that punctuate historical timelines — Pluto’s fingerprints can be found on important war dates, and Pluto and Saturn were in influential configurations during the trigger events of WWI and WWII. These two “malevolent” planets featured heavily in Adolf Hitler’s chart on Sept. 1, 1939 — the day Germany invaded Poland, and the opening of WWII.
Eclipses and planetary retrogrades, the periods when planets appear to be in backward motion from earth’s perspective, have their own impacts on human activities, and can feel personal when they fall on trigger points in an individual chart. In 2019, five eclipses are on the calendar.
Eclipses mark turning points, particularly for those with planets and signs in relationship to the degree of the event. For example, those with planets and aspects around 15 degrees Capricorn, Cancer, Libra, and Aries, may experience turning point events around Jan. 5. Many astrologers use a rule of thumb; no sudden moves two weeks prior and three days after the eclipse date. Some believe that plans falling within an eclipse season will come to nothing — others watch excitedly to see what new chapter unfolds. Eclipses are turning points — beginnings and endings.
Eclipses come in pairs, two weeks apart on new (solar eclipse) and full (lunar eclipse) moons. They move through a cycle of opposite signs as well — in 2019, they’ll roll through Capricorn and Cancer with a single partial lunar eclipse in at 0° Leo on Jan. 21.
Below are the dates, signs, and degrees of the 2019 eclipses.
- Jan. 5: Partial solar eclipse, 15° Capricorn
- Jan. 21: Total lunar eclipses, 0° Leo
- July 2: Total solar eclipse, 10° Cancer
- July 16: Partial lunar eclipse, 24° Capricorn
- Dec. 26: Annular solar eclipse, 4° Capricorn
2019 Planetary Retrogrades
Many a skeptic has been swayed by the effects of Mercury retrograde, coming to respect the tiny planet’s power to delay, disrupt communication, and render well-laid plans null.
Here’s how a retrograde works. Imagine riding in a car travelling faster than a train running in the same direction next to the roadway. When the car overtakes and passes the train, looking in the rearview mirror, the train appears to be travelling backward, with the key word being ‘appears.’
The mind knows that the train isn’t travelling backwards, but the eye perceives it is. So it is with retrograde planets — if the Earth overtakes and passes another planet in its own orbit, from our geospatial perspective, the other planet appears to be travelling backwards, even though it is still in its true forward motion. Planets do not literally stop and reverse course, but they can appear to. We experience this apparent backward planetary motion as a retrograde.
Rx: March 5 to 28 in the sign of Pisces
Rx: July 7 to 31 in the sign of Leo and Cancer
Rx: Oct. 31 to Nov. 20 in the sign of Scorpio
“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride.” ~ Sophocles
Mercury retrograde can mean three weeks of lost keys, misunderstandings, schedule changes, late or cancelled flights, tech malfunctions, and MIA mail. Importantly, new information often surfaces during retrogrades, or shortly after.
Because the Roman god Mercury, Greek god Hermes, rules every form of communication, written and spoken, as well as commerce, business, contracts, and technology, these areas take the brunt of the backward “illusion.” Tempers grow short, and blame is hard to assign, as trails of breadcrumbs lead nowhere. Try to remember, when dealing with colleagues, friends, and family; this is not about incompetence or intentional sabotage, it’s about Mercury on vacation. No scapegoating please.
Things that have been waiting to break or expire, like mechanical stuff, slow tire leaks, technology, appliances, etc. tend to fail when you need them most during the retrograde. You may observe others soundlessly (closed windows) pounding steering wheels in traffic.
Things will get back on the rails after Mercury is on track, but it can take a couple of days. Wait three days, then celebrate with a sigh of relief as things ease back on track.
Mercury Rx: Things to Avoid
During the two days before, the entire retrograde period, and three days after, try to delay:
- Signing contracts.
- Buying expensive anything, like cars.
- Making long term plans.
- Booking airline tickets, unless travel was planned before the retrograde season.
- Purchasing computers, printers, the newest iPhone, etc.
- Forgetting to proof every communication, email, text, etc. prior to hitting send. Double-check that you’re using the right email address, and if possible, wait an hour and re-read to be on the safe side.
- Making etched-in-stone promises and commitments.
Here’s the thing with Mercury Rx — information that has been hidden or unavailable will tend to surface during the retrograde. For example, if you’ve been eyeing a property with plans to make an offer, wait. If the house has mold or asbestos or needs expensive repairs, you’ll find out by the end of the retrograde.
Mercury Rx DO List
Most anything that begins with the letters “RE” (as in REtrograde).
- Rearview mirror — cast a glance.
You get the idea. Step back, pause, and reflect. REsist the impulse to acquire shiny objects, take care of yourself, and proofread everything. Kick back, relax, and let the world turn inside out for a little while. That goes double for those under Mercury’s rulership; Virgos and Geminis.
Rx: April 10 to Aug. 11 in the sign of Sagittarius
“You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.” — Cormac Mccarthy
Don’t panic — big, benevolent Jupiter’s retrogrades do not punish. Instead, Jupiter Rx is time to count blessings, consider goals and intentions, and let things unfold organically. It’s as easy as a retrograde gets — but Sagittarians may want to lay off the slots for a little while.
Rx: 18 April to 6 December
“Time wounds all heels.” ~ John Lennon
Strangely, Saturn doesn’t mind going backwards for a while. Since Saturn is the lord of karma and time, the Rx is a period of Saturn’s crows coming home to roost — lessons to be completed. As the lord of time, Saturn doesn’t care how many days, months, or years it takes; he plays a long game, and never forgets, so there’s no getting around unfinished karmic business. The places where you’ve shirked responsibility and discipline are Saturn’s tactical areas of responsibilities. He wants to help you step up and be accountable. Harsh? Sometimes. Valuable life skills? Absolutely. If you’ve got your work ethic straight and have been practicing the golden rule, Saturn may reward you.
But Saturn Rx can be a time of limitations and restructuring, creating detours and roadblocks. Stay patient, there may be new structures emerging — the lord of time and karma also rules frameworks and underpinnings, like your bones or the foundation of your house. And because things may slow down during this period, it’s an excellent time to evaluate systems and standard operating procedures.
Saturn Retrograde Don’t List
- Shirk responsibility or accountability.
- Sign big contracts, if possible. If you do, they may carry some karmic lessons.
- Start a business — well, you can if you want to, but likely you’ll be doing lots of restructuring later.
- Get into arguments with authority figures, including Dad.
Saturn Retrograde Do List
- Examine your definitions of integrity and accountability. Are they well integrated into your personal ethos?
- Look at the systems in you life — for paying bills, schedules, etc. Are they efficient? Do they need to change?
- Avoid being swamped by much negative or depressed thinking.
- Try to embrace learning opportunities, even if they’re uncomfortable. Humility is good.
- Consider thanking your ancestors for the good qualities and gifts you’ve inherited. This could be as simple as putting a flower in a vase and dedicating it to them with gratitude.
Rx: Aug. 12 to Jan. 1, 2020 in the sign of Taurus
“Chaos in the midst of chaos isn’t funny, but chaos in the midst of order is.” Steve Martin
Figuratively and literally, Uranus rules shock, — shocking events, inventions, electricity, and people (Aquarians). He is the revolutionary, and prefers freedom and chaos to order, particularly if old structures hinder rather than serve. He’s quite happy to blow things up and doesn’t care where the debris falls, because his job is disruption. Leave structure to Saturn.
Uranus’ influence tends to be generational and geopolitical, but if you find yourself feeling constricted or wanting to “break out,” you may be feeling the Uranian revolutionary impulse getting under your skin. Much will depend on where Uranus falls in individual charts, and how it aspects planetary positions within the chart.
Rx: June 21 to November 27 in the sign of Pisces
“Time is indeed the theater and seat of illusions; the mind stretches an hour to a century, and dwarfs an age to an hour.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
The third biggest planet, Neptune is a gas giant with no discernable surface below its swirling outer mists. Named for the Roman god of the sea, Neptune rules water, things that live in water, mood-altering substances, “bhakti,” or devotional styles of spirituality, sacrifice, and inspiration. Neptune also rules the dream realms and magic. He wants us to be compassionate, but he can also turn sleazy — con artists, confusion, illusion, smoke and mirrors; film and video, addiction, escape, and guilt. Neptune is the places in us that are so painful we’re driven to seek oblivion. There can also be religious or cultural persecution and victimization on large scales.
Neptune Rx impacts geopolitics, cultures, and societies. The lord of the sea is not as personal as other planetary retrogrades. Mainstream news may report sleazy activities, cover-ups, and the man behind the curtain running the smoke machine. There can be public false accusations and misuse of power.
So while there are not granular recommendations for Neptune Retrograde, consider protecting sensitive information like credit card number, check your computer’s security system, and keep your wallet close — Neptune, along with Mercury, rules pickpockets and sleight of hand.
Rx: April 24th-October 2nd in the sign of Capricorn
“Transformation is an acquired taste — not for the faint of heart.” ~ Bob Anderson
Pluto is tiny, cold, and very far away. Its discovery in 1930 ushered us into the atomic age, and nothing has been the same since. Pluto was discovered by Clyde Tombaugh, but named for Percival Lowell (initials PL = Pluto), who searched for the planet for 15 years, convinced of its existence. Pluto is also named for the Roman god of the underworld.
Pluto, co-ruler of Scorpio, is the lord of death, rebirth and transformation. Like the great goddess Kali, Pluto will rip away identities, cherished beliefs, vanities, situations and people that have become irrelevant. When he tears off the duct tape, he doesn’t care if it hurts. He’s not a sadist, he’s just doing his job. If he doesn’t kill you, he makes you stronger — but more than that, he can turn you from dirty coal into a sparkling diamond — granted, not without some discomfort.
Pluto’s dark side is obsession, jealousy and subversion. His illuminated side is transformation to higher levels and dimensions, and power subjugated and rededicated to the service of all. He is the ruler of things like “black ops,” but is also the powerful spotlight that throws hidden secrets into stark relief.
Like Neptune and Uranus, Pluto, as an outer planet, expresses himself through big geopolitical activity and reality-changing scientific discoveries and breakthroughs. But his retrogrades can be useful.
For those interested in doing some heavy spiritual and psychological lifting, Pluto Rx is a good time to confront the shadow.
We all have one. We all like to pretend that we don’t. But the shadow is a universal archetype, and when we don’t flush it out it tends to run things, causing shame and self-loathing. There’s an old saying: “If you let the devil ride, he’s gonna want to drive.”
The sneaky shadow can drive us to do things that are at cross-purposes with our better instincts and basic goodness. It can show up as procrastination, indifference, arrogance, or destructive impulses.
When we confront the shadow and bravely look it in the eye, it withers away like Jack Nicholson at the end of “The Witches of Eastwick.” That’s the way it is with demons, personal and otherwise. They shun the light.
It’s not hard to find; just think about the things you’re ashamed of and want to hide from others. Again, we all have them. Do not succumb to the vanity that you are uniquely worse than others, or that your shame is more profound. It’s not. By simply grabbing on and confronting the feelings, and staying with the experience, the shadow begins to fall apart. If you can hang in with with the unpleasant feelings in your body, they’ll start to change. Hang in long enough and they’ll evaporate.
Judgement of others and self, criticism and condemnation, or self-loathing are all aspects of the shadow, and Pluto Rx is standing by to help you do battle. When you score a win, you’ll know Pluto has your back.