Looking Back on 2018
2018: The year we took off the mask
2018 was a year that our guides and angels encouraged us to take off our masks, allowing us to shine as our most authentic selves. The theme this year was inflection—a theme many of my clients (myself included) have strongly experienced.
Many of us went through life-changing situations that caused us to inflect and internally reassess ourselves. This resulted in a massive internal reprogramming, but with not much external to show for it. It can be frustrating to do the self-work and unlike getting a degree or a driver’s license, not having the certificate at the end to prove it. If this sounds like you, know you’re not alone. This year produced the astrological equivalent to the perfect storm for internal revolutions. We have experienced every single planet in our solar system in retrograde this year. Yes, every. single. planet. This is not that common, especially with Venus, who only spends about 7% of her time in retrograde (and goes into retrograde maybe once every 2 years).
Attack of the Retrogrades!
OK, they’re not that bad. You may have heard of the term “Mercury retrograde”, and how things get a bit interesting during that time—but it’s not the end of the world, and I’ll explain why:
Retrogrades and astrological events as a whole are more like a weather forecast—if it might rain, you can choose to bring an umbrella or not. You can choose to be indoors and dry, or outdoors and have fun in the rain. How your energy reacts to astrological events is up to you.
But what are retrogrades?
Retrogrades are when a planet’s orbit gives the illusion that it’s moving backward, but it really isn’t—the planet just looks like it’s moving backwards due to the location of the person viewing the planet. Retrogrades, as defined by Wikipedia:
Retrograde motion, in astronomy, describes the orbit of a celestial body that runs counter to the direction of the spin of that body which it orbits. Apparent retrograde motion, in astronomy, is the apparent motion of planets as observed from a particular vantage point.
But why are they a big deal in astrology? Astrologers make a big deal out of retrogrades because the energy of the planet becomes more “introvert”. When a planet goes direct (back into its standard orbital view), the energy becomes extroverted again. Each planet “rules” certain energies in our lives. So when a planet goes retrograde, that can influence those energies in our lives, creating an opportunity to revisit, revise, second-guess, reassess or otherwise internally reflect on that energy and/or situation.
For example, Mercury rules communication, computers/electronics, travel, logic, intellect, education, books, news, and contracts. It’s a planet that governs intellect and communication, so when it goes retrograde it influences those areas in an introspective way. Mercury retrograde is notorious for being a time where computer issues are likely to occur, a time to refrain from starting new jobs or entering into new contracts, travel issues, etc…basically, when Mercury goes retrograde, we sometimes have to focus twice on the energies it governs.
Retrograde Planets in 2018
Here’s the list of planets that went retrograde in 2018. I also included the energies they rule:
Mercury Retrograde: March 22 – April 15, July 26 – August 18, November 16 – December 6, 2018. Rules intellect, communication, electronics, travel, business transactions/contracts.
Venus Retrograde: October 5 – November 15, 2018. Rules love, relationships, romance, self-love, self-esteem, aesthetic beauty, art and pleasure.
Mars Retrograde: June 26 – August 27, 2018. Rules animal instincts, drive, sexual desire, military, war/combat, action.
Jupiter Retrograde: March 8 – July 10, 2018. Rules abundance, optimism, expansion, growth, and luck.
Saturn Retrograde: April 17-September 6, 2018. Rules karma, discipline, restriction, patience, responsibility and dedication.
Uranus Retrograde: August 7, 2018 – January 6, 2019. Rules surprises and unexpected events, discovery, innovation, technology, and works at a higher octave of Mercury’s energies.
Neptune Retrograde: June 18 – November 25, 2018. Rules receptivity, psychic abilities, intuition, creativity, imagination, illusion and confusion.
Pluto Retrograde: April 22 – October 1, 2018. Rules transformation, rebellion, renewal, power struggles and endings & beginnings.
At one point, 6 out of 8 possible planets (sans Venus and Jupiter) were retrograde in 2018—all at once. That’s some intense energy. Just to give you an understanding, in 2019 a maximum of 5 planets will be retrograde at once—with Venus and Mars staying direct all year.
Why it happens
Planets go retrograde for the same reason life has its ups and downs: flux is the key to growth. Times of introspection, and there were many this year, cause us to grow. Many of us went through external changes, but that wasn’t the important part. The important part was the emotional reaction and evolution. Many of us were forced into some form of seclusion or withdrawal to: 1. mend, and; 2. learn how to fill our own emotional cups. By being secluded we learn how to become emotionally autonomous. This doesn’t mean you were meant to “go rogue”—it’s important to have friendships we can rely on, but it’s healthier to not expect your complete emotional fulfillment or validation from others.
The Energetic Process
Another reason we are asked and brought into circumstances that cause us to go into deep inflection and revision is because it sets us on a better path—not just emotionally, but physically, too. Everything happens energetically first. Then it happens physically. So all of that hard work you’ve done internally will eventually manifest into the physical. People who are doing constant self-work are constantly improving—internally and externally. That’s why you get a good feeling maybe days or weeks out before something good happens—you’re feeling it energetically first.
As you can see in the list above, Uranus is still in retrograde and Mercury goes direct December 6th. For the most part, we’re out of the massive retrograde energy this year. However, there is one last opportunity to officially “let go” this year. The winter solstice is an excellent time to release and make room for the new year. It’s also a great time to set positive intentions for the next year.
In addition to the winter solstice, the full moon happens the day after (December 22nd) at 0º in Cancer. This is the second in a series of 5 consecutive full moons with 0º in their respective signs. This is significant in astrology as 0 is a number of newness, God, and karmic beginnings. So the full moon in addition to the winter solstice will combine to form a great energy for karmic release and inflection.
What you can do
Any form of combined physical and energetic release will help with setting the intention to start the new year off right. So clean house (perfect timing for Christmas!), throw out stuff/donate to charity, recycle, sage and maybe light a candle. Give thanks through prayer to God and nature. Meditate. Maybe even light a full moon candle if you want. The point is, make it special, and make those two days about releasing.
Like I said earlier, everything happens energetically first. So if you’ve been through a lot and are ready to see some physical results of the energetic and emotional work you’ve done, it will happen. Sometimes the Universe creates situations and circumstances that force us to reflect, which helps us revise, which allows us to grow, and as a result raises our vibration to receive better blessings ahead.