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Here's How To Combat All Of The Effects Of Retrograde

Each planet means something different, and so do their retrogrades.

Life & Travel

As of late, retrogrades---and in particular, Mercury retrograde---bring on a lot of feelings of grief and dread for many. But what exactly is a retrograde? Let's start from a literal definition: basically it means that a planet appears to be moving backward as the Earth passes by on its orbit. However, we know that planets do not actually move backward, it is an illusion that occurs because the planets are moving at different speeds when they pass one another. That is the very science-based definition of retrograde for all you science folks out there.


However, for astrology/zodiac purposes, we have to first talk about what it means for a planet to "go direct". Most of the time each planet is in the motion of being direct or "normal". A planet moving in retrograde motion means that it is contrary to the normal flow of things, presenting an exception or challenge to a sense of normalcy. Also note, each planet has its own retrograde time period and its own direct time period. Simply put, Mercury is not the only planet that goes retrograde. They all do, and each planet's retrograde means something different. How can we combat the negative effects of retrograde and use this time to our benefit?

Your Guide To What Planets In Retrograde Means

Mercury Retrograde & What It Means

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Mercury (Communication): Mercury normally goes retrograde three to four times a year and serves as a quarterly check to evaluate your communications, how efficient you are being with your tasks, and how effectively you are going after your goals. Normally during Mercury retrograde, communication gets muddied, technology starts to malfunction, and things may seem to not be working to your advantage.

What you should do: Mercury retrograde is not the time to start anything new or to any projects. The likelihood of its success is low. Your time is best spent reevaluating and improving on existing systems and structures.

Venus Retrograde & What It Means

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Venus (Love and Money): Venus goes retrograde every 18 months and urges us to re-evaluate our love lives. During this time, old relationship issues that you may have thought were solved will reappear. You may also find yourself reevaluating your finances and how to improve our budget.

What you should do: Venus retrograde is a great time to deepen your sense of self-worth and honing in on your closest values. All areas of your life that you honor yourself are up for review. Take this time to reflect and adjust where necessary.

Mars Retrograde & What It Means

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Mars (Aggression and Assertion): Every two years, Mars goes retrograde. Mars is in control of aggression or how you assert yourself, particularly in your sex life, ambitions, and when you are angry. During Mars retrograde, you will start to struggle with making things happen for yourself.

What you should do: During Mars retrograde, it is best to find new ways to channel your energy to be productive and pleasurable. We don't focus on pleasure enough, so this is a great time to be selfish. You need to tackle these things head-on, and at the end of retrograde, you will be more focused than ever before.

Saturn Retrograde & What It Means

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Saturn (Restrictions/Responsibility/Fears/Self-Discipline): When Saturn retrogrades, it is occurring for about ⅓ of the year and averages about 20 weeks. This retrograde is all about keeping us in line. Saturn wants all of us to accomplish our goals, live a balanced, healthy life, and work hard. If you are not living up to Saturn's standards, this time will remind you of how karma works. During Saturn retrograde, we get a break from the new lessons and a chance to revisit old ones but gentler and familiar.

What you should do: To make it through Saturn retrograde, you need to reflect on previous life lessons you learned when Saturn was direct. Make sure you understand the lessons so you don't repeat them. And if you're interested in learning more about Saturn and its influence on life, listen to this episode of xoNecole's Happy Hour Podcast.

Neptune Retrograde & What It Means

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Neptune (Dreams, Imagination, and Unconscious): When Neptune goes retrograde, it is normally for about 23 weeks. Neptune retrograde shakes up your perception of reality and aims to teach us about how we deceive others, suppress our own fears, manage our anxieties, and hold on to unhealthy attachments. When Neptune is direct, reality can become distorted, causing us to see things through rose-colored glasses.

What you should do: To do work during Neptune retrograde, you need to remove the rose-colored glasses and see yourself more clearly. Use this retrograde to get real with yourself. This time can be used to clear a path and navigate any confusion correctly.

Jupiter Retrograde & What It Means

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Jupiter (Luck and Gifts): Jupiter goes retrograde about ⅓ of the year for about 120 days. Jupiter brings fortune and expansion wherever it exists in your heart. This can be one of the gentlest retrogrades you experience. The retrograde wants you to avoid getting lazy with all Jupiter brings.

What you should do: Work toward achieving your dreams. Combat Jupiter retrograde by tackling your complacency, and pinpoint the areas of your work where you could be going just a little bit harder. Then turn up the heat.

Uranus Retrograde & What It Means

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Uranus (Innovation/Rebellion/Progression): Uranus retrograde happens for about 22 weeks of every year. You may feel like the rebel inside of you takes a nap and calms your need for freedom, change, and chaos. This is a time of less intense energy.

What you should do: Look for new ways to accomplish older intentions. Focus on using Uranus energy to link creatively and get outside of the box. Let your creative flag fly.

Pluto Retrograde & What It Means

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Pluto (Power/Intensity/Obsession/Control): The influence of Pluto's retrograde is about half the year and approximately 185 days. At this time, Pluto urges you to evaluate your relationship with power. Are you feeling empowered or power-hungry?

What you should do: Evaluate whether you are stepping into your power or shrinking away from it? If you are not tapping in, it's time to embrace your inner warrior goddess and use it to empower others. Step into what is meant for you and forget everything else.

Each planet is responsible for affecting, influencing, and/or changing how we navigate our daily lives, and the retrograde time requires something different from us to help evaluate rather than punish.

There are basic things we can do to use the energy of the ruling planet and successfully make it through any retrograde. Take a moment to become present, and ask yourself, what is this time asking me to do? Surrender to the energy around you and reflect on lessons that you learned or lessons you need to learn. Retrogrades are here to reveal things we need to adjust and what will help us progress.

Get honest with yourself, meditate, feel all the feelings, and journal your thoughts about what the energy is telling you. If you use this time constructively for positivity, surviving any retrograde should be no problem.

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Feature image by Shuttershock.

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You may not know her by Elisabeth Ovesen – writer and host of the love, sex and relationships advice podcast Asking for a Friend. But you definitely know her other alter ego, Karrine Steffans, the New York Times best-selling author who lit up the literary and entertainment world when she released what she called a “tell some” memoir, Confessions of a Video Vixen.

Her 2005 barn-burning book gave an inside look at the seemingly glamorous world of being a video vixen in the ‘90s and early 2000s, and exposed the industry’s culture of abuse, intimidation, and misogyny years before the Me Too Movement hit the mainstream. Her follow-up books, The Vixen Diaries (2007) and The Vixen Manual: How To Find, Seduce And Keep The Man You Want (2009) all topped the New York Times best-seller list. After a long social media break, she's back. xoNecole caught up with Ovesen about the impact of her groundbreaking book, what life is like for her now, and why she was never “before her time”– everyone else was just late to the revolution.

xoNecole: Tell me about your new podcast Asking for a Friend with Elisabeth Ovesen and how that came about.

Elisabeth Ovesen: I have a friend who is over [at Blavity] and he just asked me if I wanted to do something with him. And that's just kinda how it happened. It wasn't like some big master plan. Somebody over there was like, “Hey, we need content. We want to do this podcast. Can you do it?” And I was like, “Sure.” And that's that. That was around the holidays and so we started working on it.

xoNecole: Your life and work seem incredibly different from when you first broke out on the scene. Can you talk a bit about the change in your career and how your life is now?

EO: Not that different. I mean my life is very different, of course, but my work isn't really that different. My life is different, of course, because I'm 43. My career started when I was in my 20s, so we're looking at almost 20 years since the beginning of my career. So, naturally life has changed a lot since then.

I don’t think my career has changed a whole lot – not as far as my writing is concerned, and my stream of consciousness with my writing, and my concerns and the subject matter hasn’t changed much. I've always written about interpersonal relationships, sexual shame, male ego fragility, respectability politics – things like that. I always put myself in the center of that to make those points, which I think were greatly missed when I first started writing. I think that society has changed quite a bit. People are more aware. People tell me a lot that I have always been “before my time.” I was writing about things before other people were talking about that; I was concerned about things before my generation seemed to be concerned about things. I wasn't “before my time.” I think it just seems that way to people who are late to the revolution, you know what I mean?

I retired from publishing in 2015, which was always the plan to do 10 years and retire. I was retired from my pen name and just from the business in general in 2015, I could focus on my business, my education and other things, my family. I came back to writing in 2020 over at Medium. The same friend that got me into the podcast, actually as the vice president of content over at Medium and was like, “Hey, we need some content.” I guess I’m his go-to content creator.

xoNecole: Can you expound on why you went back to your birth name versus your stage name?

EO: No, it was nothing to expound upon. I mean, writers have pen names. That’s like asking Diddy, why did he go by Sean? I didn't go back. I've always used that. Nobody was paying attention. I've never not been myself. Karrine Steffans wrote a certain kind of book for a certain kind of audience. She was invented for the urban audience, particularly. She was never meant to live more than 10 years. I have other pen names as well. I write under several names. So, the other ones are just nobody's business right now. Different pen names write different things. And Elisabeth isn’t my real name either. So you'll never know who I really am and you’ll never know what my real name is, because part of being a writer is, for me at least, keeping some sort of anonymity. Anything I do in entertainment is going to amass quite a bit because who I am as a person in my private life isn't the same a lot of times as who I am publicly.

xoNecole: I want to go back to when you published Confessions of a Video Vixen. We are now in this time where people are reevaluating how the media mistreated women in the spotlight in the 2000s, namely women like Britney Spears. So I’d be interested to hear how you feel about that period of your life and how you were treated by the media?

EO: What I said earlier. I think that much of society has evolved quite a bit. When you look back at that time, it was actually shocking how old-fashioned the thinking still was. How women were still treated and how they're still treated now. I mean, it hasn't changed completely. I think that especially for the audience, I think it was shocking for them to see a woman – a woman of color – not be sexually ashamed.

I hate being like other people. I don't want to do what anyone else is doing. I can't conform. I will not conform. I think in 2005 when Confessions was published, that attitude, especially about sex, was very upsetting. Number one, it was upsetting to the men, especially within urban and hip-hop culture, which is built on misogyny and thrives off of it to this day. And the women who protect these men, I think, you know, addressing a demographic that is rooted in trauma that is rooted in sexual shame, trauma, slavery of all kinds, including slavery of the mind – I think it triggered a lot of people to see a Black woman be free in this way.

I think it said a lot about the people who were upset by it. And then there were some in “crossover media,” a lot of white folks were upset too, not gonna lie. But to see it from Black women – Tyra Banks was really upset [when she interviewed me about Confessions in 2005]. Oprah wasn't mad [when she interviewed me]. As long as Oprah wasn’t mad, I was good. I didn't care what anybody else had to say. Oprah was amazing. So, watching Black women defend men, and Black women who had a platform, defend the sexual blackmailing of men: “If you don't do this with me, you won't get this job”; “If you don't do this in my trailer, you're going to have to leave the set”– these are things that I dealt with.

I just happened to be the kind of woman who, because I was a single mother raising my child all by myself and never got any help at all – which I still don't. Like, I'm 24 in college – not a cheap college either – one of the best colleges in the country, and I'm still taking care of him all by myself as a 21-year-old, 20-year-old, young, single mother with no family and no support – I wasn’t about to say no to something that could help me feed my son for a month or two or three.

xoNecole: We are in this post-Me Too climate where women in Hollywood have come forward to talk about the powerful men who have abused them. In the music industry in particular, it seems nearly impossible for any substantive change or movement to take place within music. It's only now after three decades of allegations that R. Kelly has finally been convicted and other men like Russell Simmons continue to roam free despite the multiple allegations against him. Why do you think it's hard for the music industry to face its reckoning?

EO: That's not the music industry, that's urban music. That’s just Black folks who make music and nobody cares about that. That's the thing; nobody cares...Nobody cares. It's not the music industry. It's just an "urban" thing. And when I say "urban," I say that in quotations. Literally, it’s a Black thing, where nobody gives a shit what Black people do to Black people. And Russell didn't go on unchecked, he just had enough money to keep it quiet. But you know, anytime you're dealing with Black women being disrespected, especially by Black men, nobody gives a shit.

And Black people don't police themselves so it doesn't matter. Why should anybody care? And Black women don't care. They'll buy an R. Kelly album right now. They’ll stream that shit right now. They don’t care. So, nobody cares. Nobody cares. And if you're not going to police yourself, then nobody's ever going to care.

xoNecole: Do you have any regrets about anything you wrote or perhaps something you may have omitted?

EO: Absolutely not. No. There's nothing that I wish I would've gone back and said to myself, no. I don’t think at 20-something years old, I'm supposed to understand every little thing. I don't think the 20-something-year-old woman is supposed to understand the world and know exactly what she's doing. I think that one of my biggest regrets, which isn't my regret, but a regret, is that I didn't have better parents. Because a 20-something only knows what she knows based on what she’s seen and what she’s been taught and what she’s told. I had shitty parents and a horrible family. Just terrible. These people had no business having children. None of them. And a lot of our families are like that. And we may pass down those familial curses.

*This interview has been edited and condensed

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Feature image courtesy of Elisabeth Ovesen

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