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There have been many significant events in 2018, which is especially true for those who study the astrological world. With 8 different planets shifting into retrograde movement at some time during the year, it’s been a wild one – but this shifting energy has also brought us some important lessons.

If you are at all familiar with the concept of planetary retrograde, the first image that likely comes to mind is that of Mercury retrograde and the chaos that it routinely brings into our lives. This little planet is better known for its impact, due to the fact that it shifts into retrograde movement 3-4 times every year, but it’s not the only planet that can turn our lives around in this way.

Retrograde movement is an interesting phenomenon. As the planets orbit around the sun, our ability to view them is altered – understandable, no? What you may not realize is that at some points, the orbit of another planet in relation to our own orbit causes an optical illusion in which it appears that the other planet is suddenly moving backward through the sky. While the planet certainly looks like it is moving backward, this isn’t exactly true. Astrologists assure us, however, the energy that we feel from this shift is anything but an illusion. The impact of planetary retrograde on our lives is very real.

Each of the planets is said to rule over a specific area of our lives – our love lives, our creative drive, karma, etc. When these planets shift from direct motion (forward movement) into retrograde (backward movement), this impact is suddenly turned on its head. This shift is one that can be incredibly difficult at times to handle. However, it is during life’s greatest challenges that we often learn our greatest lessons.

Check out these important life lessons brought to us throughout the Year of Retrogrades:

#1. Jupiter Retrograde (Mar 8, 2018 – Jul 10, 2018)

A planet known for both luck and thinking, Jupiter pushes us to explore philosophy, spirituality, and the depths of our minds. At the same time, it encourages us with the concept of luck, teaching us that if we want to prosper, we need to learn to trust the path that we are traveling and Jupiter’s impact on our lives. However, when this planet shifts into retrograde movement that forward motion is suddenly slowed or halted entirely. Rather than looking at the luck we possess and where it can take us in life, Jupiter Retrograde teaches us the importance of self-reflection and introspection in order to grow and become the best version of ourselves. Why is this important? If you are going to accomplish things you’ve never accomplished, you have to become someone that you’ve never been. This can only happen if you’re willing to look within, identify the necessary areas for growth, and stick out the sometimes difficult and painful process it will require.

#2. Mercury Retrogrades (Mar 22, 2018 – Apr 15, 2018, Jul 26, 2018 – Aug 19, 2018, Nov 16, 2018 – Dec 6, 2018)

The most popular and best-known of the planetary retrogrades, Mercury Retrograde causes great confusion, chaos, and frustration in our lives. The planet Mercury is known as the ‘Planet of Communication’, enabling us to communicate our thoughts, feelings, and ideas to others more effectively as well as encouraging us to explore the logic and reasoning within our own minds. It is also said to have an impact on any devices used as a means of communication (computers, cell phones, etc.) When this planet begins it’s perceived backward movement and miscommunication sets in, it will create problems in all areas of our lives including at work, in our personal relationships and more. There is no time in your life that you will learn to respect the importance of communication more than when it appears to be completely absent. This will teach you to prioritize communication in all areas of your life.

#3. Saturn Retrograde (Apr 17, 2018 – Sept 6, 2018)

If there is one planet you really want to avoid crossing, it’s going to be the planet Saturn. Why? Known as the ‘Planet of Karma’, the impact of Saturn on your life is directly tied to the effort that you are putting out into the world. If you’re working hard and dedicating yourself to personal growth and accomplishments, Saturn has the ability to reward you handsomely. However, if you’re slacking off, prepare for Saturn’s heavy hand to come down upon you. When this planet moves into retrograde motion, that ‘judgment’ is more prevalent than ever. For some, this will simply be a reminder of the things you are doing well, reinforcing your hard work. However, if there are areas in your life where you need to re-examine your responsibility, Saturn Retrograde is going to thrust them into the spotlight. You’re going to have no choice but to face your shortcomings and learn the difficult lessons of commitment, dedication and the importance of ‘growing up’.

#4. Pluto Retrograde (Apr 22, 2018 – Sept 30, 2018)

OK, you’re probably thinking ‘didn’t they prove that Pluto isn’t, in fact, a planet’, however, we’ve long seen that Pluto’s influence on our lives is real regardless of what title the scientific community places on it. For this reason, it still made the list. Associated with powerful energies of transformation, rebirth, and regeneration, Pluto can have a profound impact on our lives. When the planet moves into retrograde movement, however, that energy can take a darker turn. Pluto retrograde encourages you to explore the darker side of your personality and the way that this can impact your life. This includes your love for control, addictions, prejudices, compulsions or obsessions that you have excused away or hidden from the world. It’s never easy to face the fact that we all have a darker side of ourselves, but ignoring this truth isn’t going to do you any good. It’s only by acknowledging that these traits exist that we can then work to overcome them.

#5. Neptune Retrograde (Jun 18, 2018 – Nov 24, 2018)

A planet that encourages our creativity and passions, Neptune introduces us to a spiritual or fantasy world created only when our heart and our minds come into line with one another. There are times when this fantasy world will help us to move forward, allowing us to push the negativity of the world aside long enough to focus on what we have to do. However, Neptune Retrograde is the moment when that fantasy world suddenly drops away, leaving us with nothing but the harsh reality of the world we’re living. For most, this will merely be an eye-opening experience as we recognize little truths about our lives that we may have previously been blind to. For example, your financial struggles may be caused by your own spending on frivolous things you hadn’t even noticed you were spending on. For some, this is going to be incredibly difficult. Those facing addictions or burying away the effects of deeper seeded trauma will find themselves face to face with the truth during this time, and it’s not going to be easy. It clearly reveals the fact that we can’t bury our pain away forever, despite our best efforts.

#6. Mars Retrograde (Jun 26, 2018 – Aug 27, 2018)

When most people discuss the planet Mars we are immediately inundated with thoughts of war and violence, however, this isn’t the full truth. Mars is actually known as the ‘Planet of Passion’ as it drives and intensifies the things that mean the most to us. It is when we find ourselves incredibly passionate about something that we can then turn violent in an effort to protect it. We’re looking at the end result, rather than the root cause of the behavior that it brings. During Mars Retrograde, your passions are going to be put to the test. Do you really believe that strongly in a cause, or do you merely think that you do? Your dedication will be put to the test revealing your deepest feelings. You will learn that some perceived ‘passions’ are really nothing but a passing phase. At the same time, however, the things in life that you are most passionate about will be revealed to you. Never underestimate the power of true passion in life.

#7. Uranus Retrograde (Aug 7, 2018 – Jan 6, 2019)

Arguably one of the most profound planetary retrogrades that we have been forced to handle in 2018, Uranus Retrograde is going to call everything you believed to be true about your life into question. Why? The planet Uranus carries unique energy, one that calls on us to look at new things, expand our knowledge and rebel against conformity. As the planet shifts into retrograde motion, this impact on our lives suddenly grows incredibly, causing us to step back and look at our lives as a whole with a completely different perspective than ever before. This has likely been incredibly difficult to accept, after all, we come to rely upon our view of the world and the reality that we have created, however, it doesn’t have to be negative. Take this opportunity to face your fears, reassess your goals and set yourself up on a clear path to success. You’re thinking outside the box, so it’s the perfect time to reassess your current approach to making everything you dream of a reality. You can do this!

#8. Venus Retrograde (Oct 5, 2018 – Nov 16, 2018)

Known as the ‘Planet of Love and Money’, Venus has the power to bring great joy and happiness into our lives. It’s all about finding the pleasures in life and learning to truly appreciate them, including beauty, luxury items, good food, and drink, as well as the important connections we make in our lives – friends, family, co-workers, etc. While the planet Venus promotes and encourages these connections, Venus retrograde will put your relationships to the test. If you have been ignoring any small rifts or struggles, this time in our lives will force us to face these challenges head-on. No longer able to bury them away or ignore them, we found ourselves forced to resolve these situations once and for all. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it helps us to understand and accept that these challenges are often better handled when they first surface rather than trying to ignore them and push them away.

Image via Art Majeur