Poet Adrienne Rich, a Taurus.
Photo-Illustration: by Preeti Kinha; Photos Getty
On Friday afternoon, Pluto, planet of darkness, upheaval, and rebirth, begins its annual retrograde period. Pluto is slow-moving and distant, so its retrogrades are typically less intense for us than, say, Mercury retrograde, which starts in May. Think of this as a time to reflect. Could you wield your own power differently? Are there painful cycles you’re ready to break free from? Then, on Friday evening, communication planet Mercury enters its home sign of Gemini, activating your curiosity and sense of fun, but also your susceptibility to distraction. Finally, Saturday afternoon brings a solar eclipse (the first of the year) in Taurus. Eclipses tend to bring changes that are unexpected — perhaps even unwanted — but necessary. If you’re offered a surprising opportunity, a chance to alter the course of your life, recognize that it might be just what you need.
You’re usually acutely aware that conditions won’t improve for you unless you make it so, that there’ll be no excitement or progress or fun unless you create it yourself. Waiting around to see what happens never feels like a smart or useful strategy. This week, however, it might just work. The earth will continue to spin if you take the day off. Fresh spring air will blow through whether or not you invite it. Beautiful, breathtaking changes are making their way toward you. The best approach is to watch and wait, to see what comes next.
In order to grow, you’re generally required to move into unfamiliar territory, to attempt what you’ve never done before or stretch in ways you feared impossible. But after a long or difficult journey, there’s much to be learned from coming home again, too. This week, you can return to a state that feels natural, to the people who matter most to you, to the principles that ground you. You can re-enter your comfort zone, braver than you were when you left it. You can reconnect with your truest self — and this won’t be a step backward, but in fact growth.
You know, better than most, how contradictory people can be: Our personalities are made up of conflicting traits, we often have incompatible desires and want multiple lives at once. For you, it can seem like the work of a lifetime to create order out of all the commotion inside your head, to reduce and simplify your imaginings, and reduce them again, until you find a common denominator, a single identity that makes sense. But this week, it isn’t your job to pigeonhole yourself: Other people do that enough already. It’s better right now to honor your multitudes, to trust that your complexities might be the best things about you.
You rarely make decisions based only on your needs, because a significant part of your mind is always dedicated to considering the people around you. What are they hoping for, what do they need from you? Can you maximize everyone’s happiness, not just your own? It’s a good and worthy way to move through the world. The only trouble is that it can then be challenging to tell the difference between generosity and an instinct not to make waves or let anyone down. This week, give yourself permission to disappoint others, whether that’s because their expectations of you are unreasonable, or because you’re compelled to stand up for yourself.
Some disappointments, whether professional or personal, are easy enough to bounce back from. You know that everyone hits patches of bad luck, that even the most beautiful people and…