Lynn Hayes has been a practicing astrological consultant in beautiful North Carolina for over 25 years, working with clients all over the world both in person and by phone. She focuses on

Lynn Hayes' Blog
Astrological Musings
exploring planets and possibilities
Think astrology is all about Sun signs?  Think again!
Astrology is actually the study of the movement of the planets from our perspective on earth. 
therapeutic and healing approaches which encourage greater empowerment and personal growth. Read more of her blog entries at
Pluto Retrograde,
April-September 2011

As we know, astrology is not astronomically correct and planets don’t really move backwards. But occasionally from our perspective the apparent direction of their movement changes, which we call “retrograde.”

Most of us are familiar by now with Mercury retrograde periods, which (because Mercury is the messenger planet and deals with all kinds of communication and communication devices) tend to bring about communication glitches and endless renegotiations of contracts.  Even people who don’t “believe in” astrology know that when Mercury is retrograde, things are just different.
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This doesn’t mean, though, that retrograde periods are “bad.”  The sort of “two steps forward, one step back” flow of life that we experience during retrogrades are essential for cleaning up old messes, perfecting projects, re-establishing friendships – anything that involves going back over an event that has already occurred to be sure we are finished with it.

No planet is better at completing old patterns and clearing away the leftover detritus than Pluto, and when Pluto is retrograde, as it is for about half the year, we are forced to look backwards at our successes, our mistakes, our plans, our relationships – anything in our lives that has unfinished business will be re-examined during this time and anything that we are carrying around that is no longer needed will be swept away like the pollen after a rain.

Pluto is the planet of destruction and regeneration, and it also deals with issues of power and its uses.  Its not surprising that now, with Pluto having been stationary in the sky (from our perspective here on earth)  for the past few weeks as it prepared to change direction, things have been so intense for so many of us.  When a planet is stationary it shines a laser-like beam of energy that reflects the energy of the planetary symbolism, and Pluto is all about intensity and getting to the root of the matter.

If Pluto is transiting your chart, as it is mine at this very moment, this laser-like beam may feel like a razor blade, cutting through any unnecessary claptrap that keeps us from delving to the core of the issue at hand.  Anywhere we are not honoring ourselves truly – any relationship that disempowers us – any old emotional pattern that no longer serves us will be excavated as we are taken into Pluto’s underworld during this time.

Retrograde Pluto offers an opportunity rather than a punishment – an opportunity to clean out the basement of our lives so that when this project is finished we can enjoy our lives that much more.
Neptune in Pisces

Neptune will be in Pisces until August 4 2011 when it will retrograde back into Aquarius until February 3 2012 at which time it will move fully into Pisces and remain there until 2025.
The transit of Neptune in Pisces this time around once again (as it did in 1848-1852) coincides with a strong aspect between Uranus and Pluto that inspires revolution and radical change and the destruction of the status quo.  The Neptunian influence can cast a spell of delusion over the fever for revolution, or it can inspire us to greater love and compassion for all of humanity.

As we move from the age of Pisces into the age of Aquarius, humans are waking up out of their sleep of delusion that religious dogma has cast over the world during the past 2000 years of Piscean mystery.  Aquarius is more concerned with the rights of the individual, although it can be brutal in its efforts to accomplish social equality as we have seen throughout history in events such as the French Revolution.

As we stand at the doorway of the Age of Aquarius, this passage of Neptune in Pisces represents a completion of sorts – a final test of our ability to rise above the urge to lose ourselves in unconscious urges and escapist behavior and instead achieve a higher level of conscious awareness in the elevation of our ideals and dreams.

For the first eight years that Neptune moves through Pisces Chiron will be there as well.  In its role as the Wounded Healer (or as I prefer to call it, the Soul Healer) Chiron reveals any area in our world which requires release and healing so that a greater wisdom may emerge.  We are likely to see a more advanced wave of “designer” drugs – pharmaceuticals designed to evoke certain experiences.  The legalization of marijuana for medical use, and its adoption by pharmaceutical companies for profit, is likely to come rather quickly.

The ways in which we entertain ourselves are certain to change as well.  Games such as the Wii will transform into more realistic virtual worlds, and televisions will go beyond 3-dimensional to provide an experience that intensifies all of the senses beyond what the human experience can offer on its own.  This is likely to result in a new type of addiction as the more subtle forms of experience of the natural world takes a back seat.  We are already seeing a form of this in the realm of sexuality, where the wide availability of pornography on the Web is creating sexual dysfunction in a growing number of men for whom a sexual experience with a live person cannot compete with the intensity of the pornographic experience.

Astrology Liz Greene calls Pisces the “Celestial Dustbin,” because it is the sum total of all of our experiences.  In Pisces we long to return to the source – to merge with a greater experience that goes beyond the limits of our senses.  The collective consciousness, or unconsciousness as the case may be, is more readily accessible under the Piscean influence and with Neptune traveling through Pisces life could become much more confusing as the veils between the realms of experience become thinner and easier to traverse.

Neptune wants to inspire us to transcend ordinary reality, and its ideal expression is to seek this transcendence through a connection with the divine.  This is the source of the creative fire, as we channel any type of creative output through our more limited conscious experience.  As Neptune travels through Pisces we have an opportunity to more easily stretch ourselves beyond the limits of our intuition and conscious awareness.  Our capacity for compassion for the suffering can grow and our hearts can open.  If we ground ourselves in a spiritual practice we will be able to take advantage of the opening flower of divine wisdom that will be available to us, especially during the period in which Chiron is also in Pisces.

With Uranus squaring Pluto over the next four years, revolution and radical changes in the global landscape will be a major part of our experience.  Neptune in Pisces can inspire us to either escape from the difficult intensity into new heights of avoidance, or to seek the higher path of elevated consciousness that can help us to create real change and transformation.  Neptune in Pisces offers opportunities for unparalleled creativity and imagination which can combine with the powerful Uranian influence for invention in ways that can create amazing things for the world of the future.

The symbol for Pisces is two fish swimming in opposite directions.  Pisces is said to be the sign of the saint and the sinner, the priest and the addict. It is our choice, as it always is, whether we will take the easy road of sleep and unconsciousness,  or remain awake and utilize the powerful energy of change that is coming.