Pluto Retrograde 2022: Dive Inward and Face Your Shadow Side

Got a skeleton or two in the closet? Let’s face it, we all do. Pluto retrograde 2022, from April 29 through October 8, makes us all turn inward for some emotional and spiritual housecleaning.

What is a planet retrograde?

When a planet is said to go retrograde it means that from the vantage point of Earth, it appears to be spinning backward. What’s really happening? Well, the Earth is completing its orbit around the Sun faster than other planets outside its orbit. Periodically, it will outpace them—and that’s when retrograde mayhem breaks loose.

Much like a speeding car or train passing a slower one, the planet that’s being passed will appear to stop and move backward—which is the apparent retrograde period.

Then, once the Earth completely passes this planet in its orbit, the motion appears normal again. The planet is said to be “direct” or “prograde” (to use the snappy scientific term). Chances are, you’ve been in a vehicle that felt like it was moving in reverse when it was passed, so you know the feeling!

What then is a Pluto retrograde?

Like the other outer planets, Pluto spends approximately five months of each year retrograde. Like other planet retrogrades, we will often feel relief from the planet’s intensity.

Retrogrades are times for introspection, and deep-diving Pluto’s backspin can bring penetrating insights. While Pluto is in Capricorn from 2008-2024, we are reconciling issues of financial disparity, developing new monetary systems and grappling with the impact of industry on the environment.

We’ve seen huge worldwide shifts in these arenas for better and for worse! Pluto’s “tear it down, destroy, then rebuild” fingerprints are all over these markets. Pluto’s tour of Capricorn began with a mortgage crisis and bank bailouts in late 2008. As this transit waged on central banks got a literal run for their money with the growing adoption of cryptocurrency, which arguably puts fiscal power back in the hands of “the people.”

And some may argue, that the everyday American has never lived with quite so many luxuries, from our organically sourced food to our Primed packages and doorstop deliveries of basically everything. Inflation and supply chain issues are currently causing worldwide woes, perhaps preparing us for Pluto’s entry into progressive, collaborative Aquarius in 2023 and 2024.

What to expect during Pluto retrograde 2022

For the next five months of Pluto retrograde, you may have to face a few specters head-on. Because power-monger Pluto is a slow-moving outer planet (yes, we still call it a planet, despite what astronomers say), its effect can be felt worldwide.

Capricorn is the sign that rules the patriarchy—and with oft-sinister Pluto here, we’ve seen the worst of that rear up, especially at the midpoint of this Pluto cycle in 2016. Currently, this is being felt as a grave threat to Roe v. Wade that could turn back the clock on women’s reproductive rights. (Note: Pluto is the ruler of Scorpio, which rules reproduction, so we are not surprised that this cycle is bringing an alarming real-world representation of “A Handmaid’s Tale.”)

These power plays, along with voter suppression, have been in the works for a long time. Alas, shadowy Pluto plots quietly then unfurls its impact. In 2022, we are feeling the weight of the Capricorn-ruled systems of privilege bear down on many people’s rights.

During Pluto’s retrograde, the widening political chasm could be felt in ways that leave people feeling like prisoners of circumstance at times. But these events can also be mobilizing, bringing forward the light in us all to combat the shadows.

What, exactly, is shadow work?

The concept of shadow work springs from the term “the shadow self.” Psychologist Carl Jung coined it to describe the unconscious parts of our personalities that we often reject and project. Have you ever noticed that the people who get under your skin are actually mirroring a part of yourself that you don’t want to deal with? For example, maybe you can’t stand “entitled people,” but suddenly you realize that (glug) you’ve been acting a bit entitled yourself, becoming easily upset when circumstances don’t work out in your favor or insisting that you deserve X, Y or Z.

It’s human nature to project such unwanted qualities onto others and be blind to our own faults. Pluto is the planet that governs these buried parts of our psyche. Shadow work is a healing exploration of these “exiled” parts, whereby we gently and courageously examine them.

By not pushing away these so-called negative traits (fear or jealousy), we can learn to express them in healthy ways. Owning your fear, for example, gives you space to say, “That scares me,” then work from there. It gives you a lot more space to grow and play rather than pushing down your fear and rejecting anything that makes you nervous. Or perhaps puffing yourself up with bluster to compensate.

During the retrograde, there’s a chance to go deeper into an exploration of these hidden layers. But not to punish yourself! Bringing awareness to your shadows is a process that is best done with tons of self-compassion.

How to use the Pluto retrograde 2022 cycle

Pluto has gone retrograde during roughly the same time frame every year for the past few years. Our “spring awakenings” have been a bit rude as a result. However, it’s also an opportunity to deal with that matters you keep shoving aside, ignoring or glossing over. If your own integrity is questionable, use Pluto’s retrograde cycle to clean things up. There’s no fudging or excuses now; you don’t want to be at the center of a scandal. Keep your affairs aboveboard.

Transformational progress may go on hold during Pluto retrograde. We pause to process everything from pain to grief to revenge fantasies—without (thankfully) reacting to every emotion. While it may seem like nothing is changing on the surface during these retrogrades, when Pluto corrects course and flows forward for seven months, we can incorporate any necessary changes.

Of course, this high-key planet doesn’t do anything by half-measure. What flips after a Pluto retrograde can play out like “Extreme Makeover: Inner Self Edition.” But when we emerge for the big reveal, strong and rejuvenated, we’ll thank the god of the underworld for making us so damn irresistible and magnetic.

What Pluto retrograde 2022 means for your zodiac sign

Aries

The annual five-month timeout of Pluto from April 29 to October 8 be a blessing in disguise. Since Pluto is backing up through Capricorn and your tenth house of success, circumstances may conspire to slow you down and possibly even shift direction. Instead of resisting—or hitting the panic button—trust that this is the perfect thing for your career trajectory. Continue refining your vision and releasing the people and things that no longer support your mission.

In prominent Capricorn, Pluto can help you link up with industry leaders and insiders. Aim for authentic connections. Shell out the money to join that prestigious organization or a networking group. Friends in high places can do more to help manifest your dreams than all the workshops in the world!

Taurus

Pluto dips into its annual five-month retrograde through Capricorn and your ninth house of education, entrepreneurial ventures and global expansion, beginning April 29. At first, this may feel a bit jarring. In recent years, you may have taken steps to live a more independent life or embarked on a path of metaphysical studies or undertaken personal transformation work.

For the next five months you can pursue that—and more—but without having to worry about “results.” With Pluto in the time-out chair until October 8, you can let life feel more like a journey of discovery than a race to the finish line. Read spiritual books, take workshops, go on retreats and reconnect with friends in foreign postal codes. Let go of anything remotely dogmatic and you’ll stretch and grow in authentically fulfilling ways.

Gemini

Deep-diving Pluto turns retrograde in Capricorn and your secretive, strategic eighth house from April 29 to October 8. The “dwarf planet” does its backward dance annually for five months, so this isn’t altogether unusual. But here’s the question: Are you ready to go DEEP, Gem? Your preferred M.O. is to keep things light, but when the mysterious planet makes its annual backspin, you won’t have the appetite for small talk and frivolities.

This five-month period is perfect for doing the kind of transformative inner work necessary to unstick any protracted areas of your life. Cut loose fair-weather friends and cultivate closer connections with people you can count on and confide in. When you have these kinds of people as your wingmen and women, dropping your guard and becoming a little more vulnerable will be liberating.

Cancer

Alchemical Pluto dives into its annual, five-month backspin through Capricorn and your seventh house of relationships beginning April 29. The outermost planet moves slowly but is DEEP, often churning up intense emotions (like jealousy, competitiveness and obsession) that you might prefer to keep under wraps. But while retrograde until October 8, Pluto can offer a fresh perspective on affairs of the heart while offering you a much-needed break from all of its usual intensity and fever-pitch emotion. You may find it easier to talk about your emotions and sensitive topics without bursting into tears.

If you’re looking for a lasting love connection, this transit can help you examine how you interact with people. You might think you’re open and interested, but others may sense a protective suit of armor. Small gestures, like smiling more readily and making direct eye contact, signal interest. For the next five months you may find it easier to be vulnerable and communicate meaningfully, both with new people and the ones who THINK they know you well.

Leo

Transformative Pluto begins its annual reverse commute in your sixth house of work and service. Between April 29 and October 8, you may progress at a slower pace, which CAN be frustrating for your fiery sign. But if you hit any roadblocks, try to see them as the universe’s way of forcing you to evaluate whether the path you’re on is nourishing you on a deep level.

This is a transformational time for your health, too, so if your body could use a tune-up, go all in on the healing. Food can affect your mood, not to mention be the culprit behind painful inflammation or energy dips. With the doc’s okay, you might experiment with an elimination diet or try a food-based cleanse. Already in radiant health? Incorporate exercise that connects mind, body and spirit. 

Virgo

Penetrating Pluto kicks off its annual retrograde cycle from April 29 until October 8 in your fifth house of glamor and romance. You may suddenly feel like the unwitting protagonist of a mystery novel—or a star-crossed romance. Questions? You’ll have more than your usual amount, but the good news is, when Pluto goes retro every year, it offers a (usually needed) time-out from intense emotions like obsession, jealousy and competition. In turn, this offers you an objective peek at your inner life without getting overly anxious or reactive.

If you’re dealing with a breakup or the never-healed pain of a previous one, this sacred cycle can help heal your tender heart. If you’re in a committed relationship, you might not realize what deep feelings (or ancient wounds) are preventing your partner from getting closer. In the fifth house, transformative Pluto can cause your creative work to change direction—or deepen. Search for artistic, poetic and musical inspiration in new places. Allow yourself to free-write or draw (or jam) without fretting about how it will be received. Just let the juices flow!

Libra

Transformational Pluto shifts into reverse and begins its annual retrograde from April 29 until October 8 in your domestic fourth house. For the coming five months, you’ve got a golden opportunity to review your living situation and make necessary course corrections. You may discover, for instance, that you prefer living alone, or that you need some sort of peaceful haven under your roof. You might feel ready to get a roommate, rent your place out on Airbnb or move to a new city. Perhaps it’s time to get a dog!

If there’s unease with a family member, you have until early October to work through the ancient kinks in your relationship. This isn’t about being right, Libra; it’s about getting along with one of the most important people in your life. So do your thing, peacemaker! Until you get real about what YOU need to relax and recharge, you won’t be able to bring your best self into the wider world.

Scorpio

Your ruling planet slips into its annual retrograde in your third house of communication, mental processes and friendship from April 29 until October 8. During this lengthy cycle, you could get some harsh lessons in how to “finesse before you express.” Talk can be cheap, but to your deep sign, you’re not interested in that kind of chitchat. One of the best ways to make an impact is by being a good listener. If you’re a little too quick to dismiss others’ ideas—or tend to interrupt them mid-sentence—embrace the pregnant pause in conversations. Instead of rushing to respond, give their words your undivided attention. And before you say anything, ask them if there’s anything else they’d like to add. You might be blown away by the reactions you get.

Under this Pluto transit, partnerships may also deepen, especially with platonic (but intimate) friends and business associates. If you’ve been butting heads with a sibling—or colleague or neighbor—you may need to create a little space in your relationship, ideally WITHOUT cutting each other off altogether.

Sagittarius

Pluto spins into its annual, five-month reversal in your financial sector beginning April 29. Money management not your thing, Sagittarius? Just you wait. Ever since the heavyweight planet entered Capricorn in 2008 (where it will stay until 2023), you’ve been getting some valuable (if hard-earned) lessons about creating financial security for yourself. This year’s annual backspin lasts until October 8, and during that time, you may feel less pulled by some of your sign’s hedonistic urges. Or maybe you’re paring down to a more minimalistic lifestyle.

With Pluto in reverse, you might be thinking low-impact, too. Break the habit of buying things because they’re on sale and become a more strategic curator of items that are organic, sustainable and renewable. Embrace the challenge of seeing how much you can upcycle, repaint, repurpose or have altered. Since we vote with our wallets, when you do shop or dine out, choose to support small, local business folk who share your values.

Capricorn

Pluto kicks off its annual retrograde on April 29, reminding you that the only thing constant is change. You’ve seen proof of that everywhere since Pluto entered your sign in 2008, a cycle that will wrap up in 2023. During this five-month retreat, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to hit pause on your life and reflect, review and reinvent your notions about what makes your soul sing. Of course, to bring those kind of changes, something has to be released or destroyed (think: Phoenix rising from the ashes).

But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. While it might seem easier to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch, bear in mind that if you’re only replacing external circumstances with new scenery and a fresh cast of characters, that won’t lead to LASTING happiness. Better to go slowly, explore your own emotions, limiting beliefs and resistances first.

Like it or not, whatever you attract into your life is a reflection of what you are putting out into the world. Turn up the mindfulness and you’ll love what you magnetize between now and October 8.

Aquarius

Metaphysical Pluto kicks off its annual five-month retrograde and shakes things up in your twelfth house of healing, introspection and closure. It’s a good time to for self-inquiry: Might you be hanging on to limiting beliefs or grasping at outmoded situations that no longer serve you? Between now and October 8, delve into life’s—and your own—mysteries, alone or with some professional guidance.

Therapy, hypnosis, shamanic work and support groups can help you tap into hidden realms and reveal shadows and secrets that you weren’t aware of but that have been holding you back from reaching your highest potential. Rather than reflexively ask, “Why is this happening to me?” go in search of actual answers. Spiritual teachers say there’s always a lesson to be learned from our hardships.

So reframe your current challenge by seeing it as a rich opportunity to shift or grow. It’s important to acknowledge a sense of pain, hurt or defeat: Just don’t get stuck there, or you’ll miss the miracle that can come from getting to the other side.

Pisces

Secretive Pluto pivots into its annual retrograde on April 29. And since the backspin is taking place in Capricorn and your eleventh house of groups and teams, it could throw a shroud over things that your intuition usually sees beyond. Your willingness to give people the benefit of the doubt is endearing, Pisces, but between now and October 8, you may want to be a bit more discerning. With long-standing groups, you may feel like being less involved—or you may sense pushback from certain members. That’s okay, Pisces. You’re still totally lovable; it’s just Pluto’s mysterious way of shining lights on things you might otherwise miss. Just plan to coast for a while and not go all in on anything.

Since the eleventh house also rules all things tech, consider creating more privacy around your online persona. It’s not true that if you don’t post it, it never happened. Savor your seclusion! The flip side to that is, if you’ve a killer idea for an online business or app, Pluto’s backspin can help you do the research or necessary crowdfunding to test it. Go slowly and get a solid plan in place. Who knows? You might even attract an investor through your social circle.

Additional reading about Pluto

You may also like reading about how governments and economies around the globe will begin to reorient, anticipating a new epoch of human civilization that will coincide with Pluto’s reign in Aquarius between 2023 and 2044—what is termed the Aquarian Technocalypse.

Photo by Cory Verellen. All rights reserved.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AstroTwins

Identical twin sisters Ophira and Tali Edut, known as The AstroTwins, are the founders of Astrostyle.com and the authors of multiple bestselling astrology books. Their horoscopes reach millions here and through their resident astrologer column at ELLE Magazine.