Pluto Retrograde:Embrace Your Fears, Transform Your Life

From April 14, Pluto planet of rebirth and transformation, will shift to retrograde motion in Capricorn and will remain so until 23 September. Now, to just touch back on the retrograde rules for one moment – it is all an illusion as obviously planets really don’t move backwards across the sky. However, with most retrogrades what we usually experience is chaos in the area that planet rules. The retrograde we are all most familiar with is of course, Mercury who rules communications and how we get around. So, many of us will be all too familiar with the crossed wires, communication breakdowns, travel delays and snafus a Mercury retrograde delivers. The outer planets appear to turn retrograde far less frequently due to their distance from Earth. And while when a planet is retrograde we can usually say its influence is suspended and all bets are off, with Pluto the retrograde can make him even more potent than he usually is. In other words – expect an acceleration of the transformation process.

Pluto rules our fears and our shadow side and if you’ve read the general astrology forecast for April 14 then you will have read the fabulous quote from Charles S. Dutton in the film Fame – Everything you’re ashamed of, all the parts of yourself that you keep secret, everything you want to change about yourself – it’s who you are. That’s your power. Deny it and you’re nothing. Of course, when we deny our shadow – and our fears that lurk within it, we lend them power. Pluto retrograde is the perfect opportunity to examine our fears and to see them for what they really are and in doing so free ourselves of them – for good.

The thing about the fears that lurk in our shadow is that we may be totally unaware of them or not even recognise them for what they are. One of the most pervasive and goal-derailing fears we can carry around with us is the fear of success or to put it another way, the thing we want most can be the thing that terrifies us the most. If you’re sitting reading this and thinking; That’s just nonsense! How can the thing people want most scare them? – let me explain. Have you ever seen a friend attain a really big goal only for it to somehow ‘go wrong’ or for them to sabotage it in some way soon afterwards? Chances are you have or else this has struck a chord and you’re now thinking: ‘Hang on a minute! This sounds like the time I landed my dream job/relationship and then six months later I felt it was a nightmare. Everybody thought I was mad to walk away but . . . ‘

So, what is happening in our subconscious mind when this happens and how can a Pluto retrograde help? If we have allowed an inner critic to take control of our subconscious – or even an outer one as in a parent, teacher, ‘friend’ or partner, we are carrying around messages in our heads that we aren’t good enough or don’t deserve abundance or success. When we reach a goal and get whatever it is we were after – that fantastic career opportunity, that loving and supportive partnership – this of course immediately sets up a challenge to this belief who is now going to fight tooth and nail to maintain its existence. We then start to experience feelings of panic – something isn’t right and instead of looking within to where these feelings are originating – we look outside ourselves. After all – your shadow side doesn’t want you looking within and finding out who is truly responsible for these feelings – it wants to send you off in totally the wrong direction. So you start to question whether that job, that opportunity or that relationship is really all it’s cracked up to be. Instead of seeing all the plus sides, you start looking for the negative sides. And no matter how good things are, we all know if you look closely enough, you’ll find them – or more to the point – make yourself believe they are there. Once you’ve managed to convince yourself this is the way things really are you will have put yourself into a situation where there will be no other choice in your mind but to get out – which of course is the mind’s classic reaction to stress – flight.

With a Pluto retrograde we can face this kind of fear and see it for what it is. What is more, instead of just giving in to it, we can deal with it differently. It’s a simple trick and used by people from psychologists to the military, from sports men and women to gurus. Once you recognise you are in the grip of a shadow fear take a note of where you feel the fear in your body. You may be surprised it’s not in your mind as you thought! Now – breathe deeply into that body part – breathe right into the fear. Don’t try to rationalise it or analyse it or even dismiss it. Acknowledge it and breathe – as deeply as you can. Then slowly breathe out. If you need to repeat this process, continue but most people find an amazing shift occurs right from the first breath. They literally feel the fear and the power of the shadow dissolving as they do.

This exercise works because it grounds the fear instead of denying it, allowing it to harmlessly dissipate and for you to see it as it really is instead of operating in denial. You ‘breathe’ in a new perspective. As you become more aware of your shadow side you can repeat this exercise whenever you need to, but it will be particularly effective during the Pluto retrograde. As Franklin D. Roosevelt once said ‘We have nothing to fear but fear itself’. But fear itself doesn’t have to rule our lives – or stop us from reaching our potential if we can remember to just breathe.


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