What planet is in retrograde? Everything you need to know about 2021's celestial events

Curious what planet is in retrograde? Astrologers have provided us with all of the important details

Couple standing beneath a big sky of stars
(Image credit: Getty)

Do you know what planet is in retrograde right now? Before you let the term send you into panic mode, take a step back. 

The celestial motion is not necessarily a bad thing—in fact, it's a time to reexamine your situation and be kind to yourself. (It's a lovely excuse to stock up on zodiac teas and Birthdate candles, a.k.a. the coolest gifts astrology fans love.) Let's dive into the term that's oftentimes controversial, but actually misunderstood.

Mercury in retrograde has given the direction a bad rep, but planets are constantly moving backward, and this phenomenon actually provides us with opportunities. Believe it, folks! Retrograde is not synonymous with disaster.

"Because retrogrades ask us to go internal, they allow us to be more self-aware," says astrologer Renée Watt. "People like to feel like they can tap into the energy outside of themselves."

Ready to see what's moving and when?



What planet is in retrograde?

Here is a 2021 guide to all of the planets currently in retrograde (including the highly debatable "planet" Pluto). 

Pluto retrograde 2021

When: April 27, 2021–October 6, 2021

Pluto might be small, and oftentimes overlooked in the astronomy world, but it's fierce in terms of astrology. Plus, it's one of the lengthier retrogrades we experience throughout the year. 

Considering it's the planet of regeneration, Pluto does focus a lot on death and rebirth, but its retrograde should not be overlooked or feared: it should be a time in which people make changes personally or professionally that are sustainable towards their overall goals. 

"It's not necessarily an easy one, but it is something that has such a long retrograde period that we have plenty of time to really rethink about how we want to reemerge from it better than before," says astrologer Liz Simmons.

Saturn retrograde 2021

When: May 23, 2021–October 10, 2021

According to astrologer and author Narayana Montufar, Saturn is one of the big players in 2021. It's the planet that is responsible for our boundaries, structure and habits that keep our daily lives in check. Essentially, it's something to be mindful of when you're focusing on your career. 

As offices begin reopening and companies return to a somewhat "normal" schedule, this retrograde could provide an opportunity for you to uncover what passions set your soul aflame and what you want your work-life to look like going forward. You can use this as a time to make those professional dreams a reality.

Jupiter retrograde 2021

When: June 20, 201–October 17, 2021

Jupiter is the planet that is typically associated with growth, so this retrograde is a time to bring things to fruition. 

"It's about fine-tuning things that didn't fully manifest and adjusting our point of view, seeing more of the big picture," says Montufar.  

Set those goals and watch 'em come to life!

Neptune retrograde 2021

When: June 25, 2021–December 1, 2021

Neptune retrograde is the reality check of the celestial motion. During this time, you might find yourself wondering, "How come I didn't realize this before?" Neptune is most definitely keeping things in check.

"The good news is that if we are struggling with confusion and having the rose-colored glasses, Neptune retrograde can be a good time to put our feet back on the ground and see things for what they are instead of what we want them to be," Montufar says. 

Milky Way Colliding with Andromeda - stock illustration

(Image credit: Getty Images / MARK GARLICK/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY)

Venus retrograde 2021

When: December 19, 2021–January 29, 2022

This is an intense one, and all star signs are likely to feel the effects of the Venus retrograde. The main focus will be relationships, and not just the romantic kind. 

Since Venus will be in Capricorn, which gears towards work, this might be a productive time to hash things out with a boss or colleague. Need to reassess those boundaries? Want to grow closer as a team? Seize the opportunity!

Uranus retrograde 2021

When: August 19, 2021–January 18, 2022

Considered the wild-child planet, Uranus retrograde might yield unexpected results. Watts suggests we'll be affected on an internal level since the planet is further out than others, therefore it might not affect us quite as severely. 

Now is the time to make sure you're not acting on your impulses, so be mindful of your behaviors. Consider it a less intense Neptune reality check.

Mercury retrograde 2021

When: January 30, 2021-February 20, 2021
May 29, 2021-June 22, 2021
September 27, 2021-October 17, 2021

Ah, the infamous Mercury in retrograde, the planet that steals the spotlight, likely because it is most frequently in retrograde. While it's known for wreaking havoc on our love lives and misplacing objects, Montufar says Mercury retrograde forces us to approach challenges from a new perspective.

"All the setbacks, all the roadblocks, it's actually an opportunity to make things better," Montufar says. "It's just that from our perspective it can feel like it's ruining our high. But the truth is, Mercury in retrogrades are opportunities to get things right." 

Likewise, spiritual adviser Eshter McCann notes: "Ultimately retrograde can be a time where we make powerful decisions to leave the past behind and to break cycles. Often because of the collective energy, friends will be going through similar cycles and reflection can be found in each other which helps us not to feel alone in what is rising in us."

Thought you were alone in that feeling of panic? Not so! 

Mars retrograde 2021

When: Fall 2022

Fortunately, Mars is in retrograde every two years, and it's likely to be the case in the fall of 2022. 

"It's my least favorite," Montufar reveals. "Mars rules your drive and energy. You can't function at your best." 

Knowing that it has the tendency to make you feel lethargic, take note and make sure to enjoy your favorite self-care practices to feel rejuvenated. During this time, it's possible that sex might feel a bit awkward, so you'll want to take a cue from the experts about how to reset your sex life.

Important takeaways of retrogrades 

First thing's first, as Montufar states, retrograde shouldn't come with a negative connotation. 

"It's an opportunity to readjust the things that the particular planet rules and revise the way we're going after things," she says. 

So, embrace it! Renée Watt suggests taking a look at your astrological birth chart to see how each planetary shift will affect you personally and go from there. Let's look at these challenges as opportunities to enhance our lives, relationships and career. 

Retrograde panic? That's so last season.

Danielle Valente
Danielle Valente

Danielle is a writer for My Imperfect Life, where she particularly enjoys covering lifestyle and entertainment news. She was previously the editor of Time Out New York Kids and a news editor at Elite Daily. When she's not working, you can find her reading a good book and enjoying a cup of coffee. Follow her @dvwrites.