On Wednesday, Pluto — planet of transformation, renewal, and the subconscious — goes retrograde in Capricorn, where it will remain until October. This is the start of a long period of reflection, or slow rebirth, or quiet reckoning with your deepest self. Pluto is the outermost planet, and its retrograde pull might feel remote, somewhere far in the back of your mind. It isn’t personal — just a faraway gift, a distant song, a quiet chance to change.
The strategies that can keep you alive and happy right now aren’t necessarily the same ones that will keep working for you in the future. This is a week for working to know the difference. It’s a week for working to know that it’s okay for there to be a difference. The important thing is to know what kind of rules you’re playing by right now, and to know that you have other options if these rules stop making sense.
This is a week to practice not being rushed, not letting other people’s expectations move you any faster than you’re prepared to move. This applies to the short-term everyday business of living, but also to your longer projects and bigger goals, to the wide arching path of your broad creative energies. Let your roots expand slowly underground while you open yourself up to the sun. Exist, unhurried, in your truest, fullest embodied self.
Your expectations might feel out of alignment with what the world is offering you right now. Maybe you’re hungry for movement and risk but the world keeps offering stability; maybe you’re desperate for glitter and shine but the world keeps offering softness. It would be easy to expend all your energy this week pushing against the towering forces that stand in your way, but you don’t have to. You can return to your thoughts instead, still free and full of fire.
Flexibility is a skill and a gift, but sometimes it can feel as if other people take advantage of your willingness to bend and change your mind. This week, you have the power to be as steadfast and unyielding as you want to be. You can still adapt and bend, but only when you want to. You can still be flexible and generous and sweet, but not for just anyone who demands it of you. When you want to move, you can move, but nobody else gets to force you, or tell you how to be.
Even for you, saying no can be hard — there’s so much in the world that’s worth doing, so many people who rely on your power and light. Protecting your own space, your own time, your own pleasure can feel nearly impossible in the face of everything else that needs to be done. This week, remind yourself that it isn’t your job to be constantly available, or to glow bright enough to light every path in the world.
Stop for just a moment this week to notice the vast forces aligned against pleasure, against ease, against sweetness in your life. Stop for just a moment to really notice how much of the world’s power is invested in making it feel nearly impossible to relax, to trust your own free time. You can keep fulfilling your obligations, and doing them well, but do at least one thing for no other reason than that it feels good, and that you want to.
The task, this week, is to decide what’s worth your time, and then stand by your decision. This might mean that it’s a week heavier on refusals than you’re accustomed to. It might mean that you’re saying no to what feels like an unbearable number of opportunities, or feelings, or people. But the goal right now isn’t to keep all options equally open for the rest of your life.
It’s okay to hold onto the past sometimes, and it’s okay not to rush into a weird and uncertain future. You can distrust certain glamorous notions of progress, and you can reject certain easy kinds of optimism. You can see through the comforting lies other people might try telling you. Just don’t let this poison your capacity to dream on your own terms, quietly or strangely or magically.
Maybe some of your more restless dreams will soften this week. Maybe you’ll find yourself suddenly free from the nagging notion that if you moved to a different city, or found a different job, or traded in your friends for ones who understood you better, then everything would suddenly make sense again. At least temporarily, let yourself stop dreaming of escape from your own life. There’s magic to be found right here in the street, in the soil, if you can stop moving long enough to notice.
This week, your body might ask you to relax, to move slowly, to spend your time doing things that seem to be of no particular use to anybody at all. This might sound unbearable — there’s so much on this planet worth doing. It can seem like you’re being asked to waste your time, or to break some kind of natural law or pact with yourself. Try to trust what your body is asking of you anyway. Maybe you’re tired and you need to rest; maybe there is meaning that will only become clear later.
Sometimes, your own convictions get you thinking that everything must constantly be in motion, everything must constantly be made new again. Sometimes, it’s other people who ask you to keep scrambling after the new. This week, try to stop for a moment. The moon moves in cycles and so do the plants sprouting small and green outside. There are things in your life worth leaving, and things worth keeping, too.
This is a week for remembering the full solid truth of your body. Imagine what it could mean not to be at the mercy of anybody else’s whims, anybody else’s feelings, anybody else’s pettiness or neediness or greed. Feeling what it might mean not even to be at the mercy of anybody else’s love. You live in a world full of other people, but that doesn’t mean you have to endlessly blend into them. You have a body that can move and feel, and it belongs to you alone.