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


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.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.


We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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