Small-but-mighty Pluto has been getting its shine astrologically as of late, largely because it just did something that only happens every 12 to 30 years: It changed signs, shifting from Capricorn to Aquarius on March 23. The rarity of these transitions is why each one is thought to signal major societal change; when Pluto last moved into structure-oriented Capricorn, for example, we saw the 2008 housing crisis. Now, the transformational planet is about to retrograde for the first time since entering Aquarius, moving back through the sign from May 1 to June 11 and then dipping back into the final degrees of Capricorn until October 10. The effect will likely be pushing us to reflect on what traditions and structures we need to release or reconsider.
In a few different ways, this Pluto retrograde reflects a moment of pause and reflection before one cycle ends and another begins. It’ll mark one of the last times we’ll see Pluto move through Capricorn before it starts its uninterrupted 20-year jaunt in Aquarius in 2024. It’s also one of the final Capricorn transits since the Great Transformation of 2020, when Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all converged in the government- and systems-focused sign—and we all know what happened then.
“This [Pluto retrograde] is a deep moment of closure and a deep invitation for reflection on what you’ve learned and where you’ve been since 2020.” —Madi Murphy, astrologer
“This [Pluto retrograde] is a deep moment of closure and a deep invitation for reflection on what you’ve learned and where you’ve been since 2020, and what still needs to change for you to move forward in better alignment,” says astrologer Madi Murphy, founder of the spiritual wellness platform CosmicRx.
Because Pluto is, ultimately, all about death, rebirth, and transformation, some of that change will involve letting certain things go—particularly the “old systems and old paradigms that are no longer serving us and our individual growth, and the old institutions that, on a collective level, have either stopped working or never really were,” says Murphy.
What big themes can we expect to surface during Pluto retrograde 2023 in Aquarius and Capricorn?
During the first chunk of Pluto retrograde, from May 1 to June 11, the revolutionary planet will retrace its recent path into Aquarius that began on March 23. “Aquarius is the most innovative and forward-thinking sign, always looking to adopt new sciences, technologies, and solutions for how humanity can sustain itself,” says astrologer Ryan Marquardt.
In turn, Pluto, chugging back through Aquarius, will turn our focus toward the future and how we can play a role in our own progress. “Many of us might feel called to help be on the side of change, while others might feel challenged to confront their resistance to change,” says Marquardt. “Either way, Pluto retrograde will ask us to reconsider the status quo and force us to look at new ways of thinking and living.”
“Many of us might feel called to help be on the side of change, while others might feel challenged to confront their resistance to change.” —Ryan Marquardt, astrologer
In that realm, we can expect a surge in collective talk about Aquarian topics like technology and science—and versions of both that are positive developments for humanity and civilization (also Aquarian themes). The push and pull that often happens between innovation, on the one hand, and ethical concerns, on the other, could also create more tension in the space of artificial intelligence, predicts Marquardt: “Some people will feel increasingly empowered by it, while others may feel deeply victimized or threatened by it.”
The weighty questions that surface during this period could foreshadow the major evolution of the next couple decades: “We’re getting a taste of the big ‘ask’ or the big transformation that we’ll all be asked to go through when Pluto lands in Aquarius for the next 20 years in 2024,” says Murphy. Right now is a moment to reflect on what that revolutionary change might be.
But before it arrives, Pluto dips back into Capricorn for the second part of the retrograde, from June 11 to October 10, as if to tell us that our work to transform or reinvent (Pluto themes) societal systems like government, health care, and banking (Capricorn themes) isn’t yet done.
“During the [Capricorn] part of the retrograde, we’ll shift our focus to the larger institutions that govern our world, and consider whether they’re too flawed to continue in their current form,” says Marquardt. “We’ll see a greater need for systems that empower, rather than control us, and we’ll feel more drawn to groups of people who share our core values.”
“We’ll see a greater need for systems that empower, rather than control us, and we’ll feel more drawn to groups of people who share our core values.” —Marquardt
Throughout the entire retrograde, essentially, we’re on the precipice of major change, choosing what old things to leave in the past and what new things to embrace for the future. But exactly how that revolutionary vibe will affect your life depends on the astrological house that Pluto occupies for your zodiac sign, as it moves through both Aquarius and Capricorn. Read on for your sun, moon, and rising signs to get a full picture of what you can expect.
What the 2023 Pluto retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn means for each zodiac sign
Who are your people, Aries? That’s what Pluto retrograde will ask you to rethink and reconsider in 2023, as it moves first through your 11th house of social networks and then into your 10th house of career and reputation. “There could be some sort of reinvigoration or change around those who are supporting you as you move toward your hopes and dreams,” says Murphy.
The reason why may be tied to a bigger shift in how you view your potential to make an impact in the world—and the people who can help you do so. “Aries has a big opportunity to step up into a position of influence within a group of people who truly need them, if they choose to accept that mission,” says Marquardt.
A major shift in your outlook and ambitions could be underway, Taurus. As you emerge from a particularly transformative couple of years, this Pluto retrograde could be the thing to crystallize your new direction forward in 2023, as it touches on your 10th house of career and ninth house of discovery, learning, and adventure.
“It’s likely that Pluto will lead you to realize where you’ve limited your own beliefs or how the conditioning you’ve received has caused you to have a narrow point of view,” says Marquardt. In turn, embracing travel or diving into a new course of study during this time could “blow your mind wide open,” he says.
As a result, you may find yourself “surrendering to a big life change or upheaval, or embracing a complete shift in industry,” says Murphy. (Yes, even fixed signs like yours have to face change sometimes.) “Either way, you’re being pushed to go within, learn things about yourself, and then move forward from a place of more coherence and clarity.”
Do you know the reason why you believe what you do, Gemini? This Pluto retrograde straddles your ninth house of perspectives and beliefs and your eighth house of intimacy, taboos, and deep emotions, pushing you to connect your thoughts with your feelings.
As a mutable sign, you “tend to see things from multiple points of view,” says Marquardt, “but this retrograde will push you to define your personal principles, so you can move through life with more clarity and intention.” This might involve going down a new spiritual path or even going to school for higher learning, according to Murphy. In any case, you’re being challenged to figure out your core belief system—which could certainly be different than one you’ve held in the past.
It may be time to disentangle yourself from old relationship patterns, Cancer. Pluto’s moves are shaking up your eighth house of intimacy and debts and your seventh house of partnerships, turning your attention toward the negative cycles you might be perpetuating, according to Marquardt. Are you undervaluing a partner? Or perhaps sacrificing yourself in the name of love? “If you can get brutally honest about the give-and-take—or lack thereof—in your close relationships, you’ll be able to ensure any emotional debts are paid off,” he says.
Because this period of time could push you into the “emotional deep end,” it may be wise to “dedicate yourself to working with a therapist or healer who can help you figure out why you may be stuck in an unhelpful pattern,” says Murphy, “and determine how to carve a new path forward.”
The energy you put out into the world is the energy you attract in return, Leo. (It may be true for everyone, but it’s especially true for you, as the sun-ruled fire sign of the zodiac.) And as this retrograde moves through your seventh house of relationships and sixth house of daily rituals, you could become increasingly aware of how a change in your everyday energy could bring new people and perspectives your way, says Marquardt.
Chances are, you need that. Pluto’s movements are here to shake you out of the everyday stagnancy you may feel, encouraging a dynamic change to a romantic, business, or platonic partnership, he adds.
It’s also possible that people from your past come back into your life during this period—and whether or not you choose to restart a relationship with them, you have a chance to review and reassess how things once were. “This is a time of seeing your inner world reflected or mirrored through others,” says Murphy. “It’s about examining how your own habits and actions have attracted certain people and relationships, and where that has helped or hurt you.”
Is your cup full, Virgo? If not, it’s worth diving into the details of your routines and figuring out how they could better support your well-being. This retrograde hits your sixth house of daily rituals and health and fifth house of creativity and joy, encouraging you to pay more attention to the quality of your everyday life.
“Are you not taking the time to move your body each day? Have you been ignoring your health or skipping over your doctor’s visits? Are you working a job where the commute is so long that you’re completely zapped?” Murphy suggests asking yourself. This retrograde isn’t about overhauling everything, so much as it is finding small ways to tend to your wellness and happiness each day.
It’s especially important to take the time now to prioritize yourself—and self care—because of what’s to come, adds Murphy. “Over the next 20 years, Pluto in Aquarius is going to be really affecting your sacred work in the world and showing you how to be of service,” she says, “which is why it’s so important to figure out now what kind of everyday scaffolding or foundation you need to be able to do that.”
Your inner child is ready to take the wheel, Libra. As this Pluto retrograde highlights your fifth house of creativity and self-expression and your fourth house of home and family, you could find yourself reflecting on the ways in which you once experienced joy as a child—and how you might revive some of that goodness in your adult life, says Murphy. This is about figuring out where you’ve “let your light become dimmed,” she says, and how to turn it back up.
It’s possible that when you go looking for childhood joy, you’ll also confront the ways in which your inner child needs to be healed, says Marquardt. The realization that you might be harboring childhood trauma isn’t about blaming your parents or anyone else, so much as it is understanding where you came from. “You can experience a creative renaissance during this retrograde that helps you feel more liberated and gleeful, but only if you’re willing to identify how you might have been restricted as a child,” he says.
Home might not exactly be where your heart is right now, Scorpio. This Pluto retrograde is moving right over your fourth house of home and family and third house of communication, which could leave you feeling “unrooted and restless,” says Marquardt. Perhaps you’ve just moved or are planning a big move, you’re selling a childhood home, or you’re doing a big renovation to your home; or maybe there are bigger shifts going on in your family dynamics.
Though all of these changes could feel overwhelming, the important lesson of this retrograde is that home is a mindset, says Marquardt, and constructing that mindset can help you feel safe. That might look like engaging more positively with your local community or your chosen family, he says. And it also might look like acknowledging or accepting the reality of your biological family, whatever that might be.
“This upcoming transit is going to push you to find a sense of security and belonging that comes from within,” says Murphy. “Our families aren’t perfect, our childhoods aren’t perfect—but how can you make peace with that, so you can step into more progress?”
Listening can be every bit as powerful as speaking, Sagittarius. And during this Pluto retrograde, which hits both your third house of communication and second house of personal value, you could find that you really benefit from playing the role of the student, says Marquardt.
That is, you might see that it’s in your best interest to listen and learn from someone else’s perspective, even if the experience initially feels humbling. With time, however, you could find that “the insights you gain from being open to learning—and not just teaching—have a big payoff, or other people value you even more for taking this approach,” says Marquardt.
You’ve been undergoing a big transformation at the hands of Pluto for the past 15 years, Capricorn, and you’re ready to step into your power. But before you can do so, Pluto’s moves through your second house of personal value and resources and first house of identity will ensure you’re not just grabbing at power for power’s sake, according to Marquardt.
This retrograde will encourage you to reflect on what you’ve learned about your self-worth since Pluto moved into your sign in 2008, and whether you’re leading your life with integrity. “Do you feel like your work in the world really matters? And are you being a good steward of the money you’re earning?” Murphy suggests asking yourself. If the answer to either question is “no,” you could be pushed to make a shift.
“If you’re pursuing something for status, reputation, or to flex authority over others, Pluto will push that dream further and further away,” says Marquardt. “You can’t grasp at the fruits of life for the wrong reasons, because life will bite back.”
This retrograde is the portal into a 20-year period of huge change and growth for you, Aquarius. As noted above, Pluto just moved into your sign—aka your first house of self-identity—where it’ll remain for the next two decades, and as it retrogrades, it retraces its path into your identity house, then dipping into your 12th house of the inner psyche.
Think of this period like the spiritual throat-clearing for what’s to come. It’s time to “get real with yourself,” says Marquardt, “and to recognize and release whatever is hiding deep within.”
Because diving into your own emotional depths might not exactly be your forte, consider doing some self-actualization work, like getting an astrology, tarot, or human-design reading, suggests Murphy. Or, just make a point of spending time with yourself. “During this retrograde, it might feel like the world slows down around you, and you find yourself with extra quiet time,” she says. “If that happens, know that it’s on purpose. The universe is like, ‘Hey, you’re about to go through this whole rite of passage, so let’s take some time to understand who you really are.”
Are you holding onto a weighty secret, whether from others or from yourself, Pisces? Pluto is retrograding through your 12th house of the unconscious, dreams, and your inner psyche, before shifting into your 11th house of friendships—and it could push you to confront what lies within or what you may be hiding.
Though you may feel the need to brush an old wound or painful truth under the rug, letting it surface is the best way to “heal it, integrate it, and move forward,” says Murphy. To describe why, she uses the metaphor of a herd of bison charging directly into a storm versus running away from it: Approaching something head-on gets you more quickly to the other side. In this realm, opening up to a close friend, therapist, or spiritual healer can also be a huge weight lifted.