The Retrograde Breakdown for 2018.

Image: NASA

We’re in a strange time with the overarching theme of RETROGRADE. This year, we’re getting an overlap of six planets in retrograde at the same time.

With the popularity of “Mercury Retrograde,” people have come to think of retrograde planets as the harbingers of doom, wreaking havoc all over our worlds, but they kick up dust in varying degrees. While their intensities are different, each dust storm creates an opportunity for self-examination without training wheels, so to speak, when we can work on adjustments as we get a clear reflection of our past behaviours in the areas governed by the affected planet.


  • governs travel, abundance, good luck, self-reflection, introspection
  • Rx since March 8. Ends July 10th. Scorpio.
  • No big spends or inflexible travel if you can help it. Take time to self-reflect and research travel plans, etc.


  • governs “karma”, responsibility, structure, scheduling, self-discipline, obstacles
  • Rx since April 17th. Ends September 6th. Capricorn.
  • Dig deep into self-assessment, make a plan for what needs to change. Implement the changes once the rx ends. Assess failures, learn from mistakes, go slowly in doing things to avoid mistakes that repeat themselves. Watch out for a tendency to say yes to too many commitments.


  • governs transformation – major changes, inescapable lights shone on all aspects of your life – rx makes the light turn inward
  • Rx since April 22nd. Ends September 30th. Capricorn.
  • Embrace the fact that you drew a planetary “death” card – meaning a huge change. It can absolutely be positive, but it may not start out that way. You can use any huge change to make adjustments to your life for the better.


  • governs psychic and spiritual matters, dreaming – like Venus with her third eye open
  • Rx on June 18th. Ends 24th of November. Pisces.
  • This is the time to get into creative work, your inner truths and intuition, engage with art and beauty. Pay attention to dreams and dream-states.


  • governs passion, physical strength and activity, sexuality, aggression, initiative
  • Rx on the 26th of June. Ends August 27th. Aquarius and Capricorn.
  • Don’t fight it. Schedule downtime to minimize frustration, or see how a change in scheduling can benefit you in other ways.


  • governs technology of all kinds, plans, communication, meetings
  • Rx on July 26th. Ends August 19th. Leo.
  • Rx again on 17th November. Ends 7th December. Sagittarius and Scorpio.
  • Double check everything! As much as you can, use Mercury’s retrograde to focus inward and recalibrate, and take actions on plans when it’s out of retrograde.

Later retrograde periods this year:


  • governs familial, personal and business relationships and our relationship to beauty and art
  • Rx on the 6th of October. Ends 16th of November. Scorpio and Libra.
  • Watch out for big relationship decisions – starting, changing or stopping relationships during this time. Use the time to assess.


  • governs the unexpected – can spark beneficial revolution and creative thinking, but also chaos
  • Rx on 7th August 2018. Ends 7th January 2019. Taurus and Aries.
  • Embrace heightened intuition, assess what in your life is keeping you from your idea of freedom.
Anna Perenna engraving

Anna Perenna

We see you, Caesar. But I’m afraid the Ides of March, or mid-March to most of us, is far more interesting (to us 6witchers) because it’s the day of the Festival for Anna Perenna, the goddess of the cycle of the year, or the ring, or the wheel of time. Her adherents would gather near a fountain and a grove dedicated to her, celebrate her “ut annare perannareque commode liceat” – that they would complete the cycle of the year happily, and that she may grant them as many years of prosperity as cups of wine they could drink during the festival. She was also celebrated with bawdy songs and jokes, and associated with nourishing the plebian rebels of the secessio plebis – something like a massive, nationwide general strike of the working and serving classes – of her lifetime.

While Ovid recounted a legend that Anna Perenna was the sister of the goddess Dido, we might prefer the origin story that he himself also favored. From Wiki: “Ovid adds that… during the secessio plebis an old woman of Bovillae named Anna baked cakes every morning and brought them to the hungry rebels, in gratitude for which the plebeians worshipped her as a goddess. Ovid goes on to report that after old Anna had become a goddess, she impersonated Minerva to gain admission to the god Mars’ bedchamber, which is why coarse jokes and coarse songs are used at Anna Perenna’s festivities, and remarks that since the festival of Anna Perenna is in the month dedicated to Mars, it is reasonable that Mars and Anna Perenna should be associated as cult partners.”

Since her most essential story is lost to time, we’re left to wonder if she ever gained enthusiastic consent from ol’ warbringer and agri-guardian Mars*. Given that Minerva was Mars’s wife before and during his great affair with Venus, we’re not sure if Mars would have felt deceived or rewarded. 🤔 It’s tough to make a call either way from this time and distance, so we’ll leave that delicately placed on the floor in the past where we found it.

Today, we raise a glass, or two, to Anna Perenna, the Moon goddess, a face of Themis, Io or Amaltheia, and/or the face of mortal woman Anna who, through feeding striking rebels and gaining their allegiance, ascended to the heavens to become a goddess. The end.

(*Funnily enough, this is also the date of the Mamuralia, a festival when the Mamurius Veturius is driven out, thought to be a pre-cursor to the old year being driven out for the new year, where the old year is “old Mars.” Poor old war dude.)