How To Use Pluto's Retrograde To Make Peace With Your Toxic Traits & Heal

Huge things typically happen when Pluto is on the move. The planet associated with the underworld moved from Capricorn, where it's been for the past 15 years, and entered Aquarius in March 2023. It went retrograde in Aquarius on May 1, 2023, and will stay that way until June 11, 2023. Pluto will re-enter Aquarius in January 2024 and will remain there for the next 20 years.

Planetary shifts are nothing new, but this recent movement is a cause for attention — the tiny but powerful planet hasn't entered Aquarius since 1777, so it's a fairly unprecedented situation. In mythology, Pluto was the god of the underworld, and the planet still holds those associations — it often points to what lies beneath the surface, and what causes monumental shifts in the inner workings of our relationships. It touches on tensions within hierarchies and power, and it's linked to our toxic thought patterns, ruminations, and ties to death.

Things are even more potent now that Pluto is in Aquarius, the air sign that's all about equanimity, creativity, and imagination. While we can expect societal shifts toward greater equality, we can also expect transformative shifts in ourselves. Just as eclipses near a birthday can prepare you for major life changes, you can make the most of the changes that will come from this retrograde. As Pluto moves backward, we can expect the planet to dredge up some serious things — but thanks to Aquarius, we can expect these visits from our deepest selves to transform.

Cleaning house during Pluto's retrograde

It's a good time to let go when Pluto digs deep into our psyches and stirs up some long-settled patterns. For instance, Pluto's place in your birth chart reveals inner struggles to overcome for personal growth. You can prepare for deeper shifts now that the planet is in Aquarius — this tiny planet won't stir up evident external things, as it's all about unsettling toxic traits and habits that are holding us back. "Pluto's energy is about clearing out the patterns, places, people, and things in your life that have met their expiration dates," spiritual mentor Andrea Donnelly told Well+Good. "It's about embracing how cathartic it is to make peace with [and let go of] parts of yourself that no longer align with the truth and complexity of who you are."

The good news is that Pluto is all about transformation from within. This is the time to notice those moments of intuition and pay heed. If your gut has been telling you something and you haven't been able to accept it, now is the time to trust it. It's also time to question certain thought patterns and beliefs that you've been holding onto — look for thoughts that are holding you back or bringing negativity into your life. Now is the time to flip those on their heads in order to experiment with different ways of thinking. Let Pluto's retrograde deep clean your innermost self.

Prepare for a total transformation

Now is the time to get ready to ride the wave of transformation. The best way to take advantage of Pluto's retrograde is to energetically embrace the inner changes that are coming. If a certain belief or mindset has been dragging you down or hurting your relationships, consider the possibility of a total shift in thinking.

For many of the zodiac signs, you can expect to revamp the ways you see others and the world. In order to make the most of this, contemplate where you are narrow-minded or fixed in your thinking — this is a time for deep introspection. In order to create healthier relationships, you can expect to purge some toxic ones. This period is all about culling what no longer serves you — no one said Pluto's retrograde would be easy! If you're in a romantic relationship, prepare to deepen the romance, and don't be afraid of a stronger infatuation. If you're trying to control aspects of your life — specifically interpersonal relationships — let go and see what happens.

What's so uplifting about this retrograde is Aquarius' role in it. The air sign is all about truth and freedom, so prepare to purge what's not authentic to you. Embrace what makes you unique and even wacky in order to fully emerge as your most authentic self. Try to pursue what's been buried deep inside you but you've been reluctant or afraid to explore. It may be intense, but it can be exciting.