The Complete Guide to 2021 Retrogrades

Posted on January 21, 2021

Person standing with their clothes backwards.

Happy 2021!

We’re now well into the new year, and one of the things we have to focus on every year astrologically is retrogrades. So let’s explore the 2021 retrogrades now! What do they have in store for you?

What Does Retrograde Mean?

In astrology, a planet or body (like an asteroid) is called retrograde when it appears to be moving backward through the zodiac. It isn’t actually moving backward. It just appears that way.

Normal movement for the planets is forward, so when they appear to move backward, this throws off that planet’s energy. We’re chugging along just fine, and then everything gets thrown in reverse.

Some retrogrades seem worse than others and certainly have a reputation for it. Mercury retrograde is first among them, and these retrogrades are the times of year we experience all sorts of tech and communication issues (ruled by Mercury).

Mercury retrograde comes most often, 3-4 times each year for about 3 weeks at a time. The Mercury retrogrades of 2021 will come 3 times, each in the Air signs (Aquarius, Gemini, and Libra).

Venus, the planet of love and money, retrogrades about every 1 1/2 years for about 1 1/2 months at a time, and in 2021, it will come at the very end of the year in December. We’ll end 2021 and start 2022 with Venus retrograde in Capricorn.

Mars, the planet of energy and drive, retrogrades about every 2 - 2 1/2 years for 2 - 2 1/2 months at a time. We experienced Mars retrograde in Aries in 2020, but Mars won’t retrograde in 2021. So at least our energy won’t be so thrown off, and we can maintain motivation!

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, and Chiron retrograde every year for several months. Their retrogrades tend to be more subtle because of that, unless they are the natural ruling planet of your Sun, Moon, or Rising signs (then you can feel them stronger!).

The Impact of Retrogrades in Different Planets

  • Jupiter: helps us find blocks that have kept us from expanding, exploring, and experiencing life, and pursuing opportunities.
  • Saturn: more restrictive than usual but exposes karmic issues to work on.
  • Uranus: slows down the big changes, which can help with stability and increase impatience and rebellion.
  • Neptune: makes reality more difficult to grasp, and strong intuition becomes more important.
  • Pluto: provides an opportunity to adjust to massive transformations.
  • Chiron: makes us more introspective and reflective so we can remove blocks to healing.

The Sun and Moon are the only two planets that don’t retrograde.

Your Guide to the 2021 Retrogrades

So, when are the retrogrades of 2021 coming?

Here is the full list of the 2021 retrogrades, which includes when they start and end, the locations in the zodiac they start and end at, which signs are most impacted, and an idea of what to expect. They are listed in order of when they begin!

Mercury Retrograde: January 30 - February 20, 2021

Starts at: 26 degrees Aquarius

Ends at: 11 degrees Aquarius

Signs most impacted: Gemini, Virgo, Aquarius

The first Mercury retrograde of 2021 occurs entirely in Aquarius. It comes when we’ve got a big group of planets in Aquarius (including the Sun, Jupiter, and Saturn, and Venus will enter Aquarius during the retrograde), and Mercury conjuncts Jupiter on February 14th.

This retrograde is activating the Aquarius energy in a very, very big way!

Aquarius is the future, change, the unconventional and new and different, while Mercury retrograde often wants us to reflect, to look back, and to inspect. Combine the two, and Mercury retrograde in Aquarius is begging us to be more thoughtful, careful, and smart with the changes we’re making and the future we’re building.

Read all about Mercury retrograde: Your Ultimate Guide to Controversial Mercury Retrograde

Pluto Retrograde: April 27 - October 6, 2021

Starts at: 26 degrees Capricorn

Ends at: 24 degrees Capricorn

Signs most impacted: Scorpio, Capricorn

This retrograde has come every year for over a decade with Pluto in Capricorn (but with Pluto moving to Aquarius in 2023, it’s not for much longer!). Pluto in Capricorn has been responsible for major transformations in politics and governments and the structures we’re building.

The retrograde slows down the transformations to give room for adjusting and giving us some time to reflect on what has come to pass to put together a better plan for the future.

Check out this article for more insights: Transform With These Crystals for Pluto Retrograde

Saturn Retrograde: May 23 - October 10, 2021

Starts at: 13 degrees Aquarius

Ends at: 6 degrees Aquarius

Signs most impacted: Capricorn, Aquarius

This Saturn retrograde comes fully in Aquarius, and we can start focusing on issues and blocks that have kept us from creating the future we hope to have. There may be some karmic lessons waiting for us to learn.

It may not be super comfortable learning the lessons or dealing with the blocks, but it can make room for more progress and growth as the year goes on (and through 2022 with Saturn in Aquarius to early 2023).

Mercury Retrograde: May 29 - June 22, 2021

Starts at: 24 degrees Gemini

Ends at: 16 degrees Gemini

Signs most impacted: Gemini, Virgo

The second Mercury retrograde of 2021 comes entirely in Gemini, a sign of the mind, and one of the signs Mercury naturally rules. This means our focus, communication, and expression isn’t just off for this retrograde - it’s completely wrecked!

We have to be much more mindful of our words, how we express ourselves, and we may need to find new ways of getting our point across. We likely also need to focus on improving and opening communication lines since it’s not just your own expression that’s important but listening as well.

There is a bright spot with this Mercury retrograde, and that’s the June 10th Solar eclipse in Gemini, which is conjunct Mercury retrograde. That makes for truly amazing energy for a second chance (so if there’s a big second chance you want to take, maybe plan for June!).

Interested in learning more? Make sure to check out: The Ultimate Guide to Lunar & Solar Eclipses

january-astrology-calendar-cta

Jupiter Retrograde: June 20 - October 18, 2021

Starts at: 2 degrees Pisces

Ends at: 22 degrees Aquarius

Signs most impacted: Sagittarius, Aquarius, Pisces

This Jupiter retrograde starts in the Water sign Pisces, and Jupiter moves into this sign on May 13th, so it’s only been in it for just over a month at the start of the retrograde. This can be a time when we’re much more in tune with intuition, imagination, and the subtle energies all around us.

Karma may be something we’re thinking a lot more about, along with our spiritual baggage and subconscious issues. It’s a quieter period for digging deeper into our souls.

Jupiter retrogrades back into Aquarius on July 28th.

This is the only retrograde in 2021 that will change signs, oddly enough. The retrograde in Aquarius can get us focused on change, the future, what we hope and dream about, and how we can better use the opportunities we have to make what we want to happen.

Read more about Jupiter retrograde: How to Use Jupiter Retrograde to Improve Karma

Neptune Retrograde: June 25 - December 1, 2021

Starts at: 23 degrees Pisces

Ends at: 20 degrees Pisces

Signs most impacted: Pisces

Neptune retrograde is usually a time when foggy energy prevails, and we struggle with seeing things as they really are, thinking things through clearly, and being focused. Neptune rules intuition, so Neptune retrograde is a reminder that we need to trust our intuition and forge a strong connection with it to get us through these times.

Since Neptune is the natural ruling planet for Pisces, these Neptune retrogrades in Pisces make the point even stronger. Develop stronger instincts and trust in yourself.

Get all the information on Neptune retrograde: 5 Things for All Zodiac Signs to Expect During Neptune Retrograde

Chiron Retrograde: July 15 - December 19, 2021

Starts at: 12 degrees Aries

Ends at: 8 degrees Aries

Signs most impacted: Aries

Chiron rules our wounds and how we heal and grow, and Chiron retrograde is a period where we focus on blocks to healing and growth. We can be more introspective, reflective and look deeply within to understand.

In Aries, Chiron retrograde can focus on our identity, who we feel we are, and what we connect with on a personal level. Any blocks that have kept you from fully living as you really are may get your focus now.

Get the details about Chiron retrograde: What to Expect During Chiron Retrograde

Uranus Retrograde: August 19, 2021 - January 18, 2022

Starts at: 14 degrees Taurus

Ends at: 10 degrees Taurus

Signs most impacted: Taurus, Aquarius

With Uranus being the ruler of change, Uranus retrograde tends to be a time when changes slow down. This can help us to get used to changes we’ve experienced and prepare for new ones to come, but it can also make us restless and impatient if we can’t move forward with a change we want.

In Taurus, things can slow down when it comes to changes regarding what we value, what we respect, our own confidence, how we create stability and security, and financially. We can work on plans for changes coming out of it that are smarter.

I’ll also note that Uranus to start 2021 (ended last week), so we’re coming out of this energy as well right now!

Mercury Retrograde: September 27 - October 18, 2021

Starts at: 25 degrees Libra

Ends at: 10 degrees Libra

Signs most impacted: Gemini, Virgo, Libra

The third and final Mercury retrograde of 2021 comes entirely in Libra, which targets our relationships and connections. We may struggle with coming together, with compromise, and with diplomacy.

Some relationships and partnerships may come apart, especially if existing issues are already making it a challenge to continue. In contrast, people from the past can make reappearances (but will they stick around, or should they?). Things can be hardest at the start of the retrograde with Mercury square Pluto, and power struggles are top of mind.

This is a period where we need to find some balance and peace to help with focus, and we need to work on issues in our dealings with others to cut down on chaos.

Venus Retrograde: December 19, 2021 - January 29, 2022

Starts at: 26 degrees Capricorn

Ends at: 11 degrees Capricorn

Signs most impacted: Taurus, Libra, Capricorn

The year closes out with Venus retrograde, and this comes entirely in the sign of Capricorn. Old issues that may link back to the Capricorn stellium of 2020 may be much more present, especially in our relationships with Venus.

There can be extra responsibilities for some, especially in relationships, and there can be more scrutiny for those in power. Some may become much more committed to those in their life, while others may crumble under the weight of problems.

With Capricorn ruling our goals, we may experience setbacks and delays or feel like we’re completely off track and lack focus or motivation to get back on. Old goals may become a priority again, and new or current ones may need to be saved for later.

Your Full List of 2021 Retrogrades!

Now you have the full list of the 2021 retrogrades! Make a note of them in your calendars and keep track as they come along. Our first starts in just over a week!

Make sure to see what they’re doing to your birth chart to get a full idea of the scope of impact for you personally. If you don’t know yours, you can use the free birth chart generator.

Good luck with the retrogrades this year!

Related article: The Ultimate Guide to Retrogrades

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Nic Gaudette’s astrology career began in 2004. She’s performed thousands of astrology readings, helped thousands of students learn astrology, has written over a dozen horoscope… Learn More About The Author »

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