This Year’s Pluto Retrograde Will Push Us To Confront Our Biggest Fears and Embrace Transformation—Here’s What It Means for Your Sign

Photo: Stocksy / Yury Goryanoy
We often associate “spring cleaning” with physical clutter. Old, damaged clothing, take-out sauce packets, and expired cosmetics are all up for disposal during this time. Clearing out your physical space can feel amazing, but clearing your life of intangible clutter (say, old habits, or grudges) can be much more difficult. If you’ve been putting off a spiritual spring cleaning, astrologers say that the 2024 Pluto retrograde—which kicks off today, May 2—presents the perfect opportunity to start.

In astrology, each individual planet holds different meanings and rules over different zodiac signs. Pluto is the ruling planet of Scorpio and is associated with themes surrounding death, rebirth, and regeneration. “Pluto is a slow-moving planet that permanently transforms us collectively and personally,” explains Ryan Marquardt, Los Angeles-based astrologer and founder of BizmosCEO. “Pluto relates to the subconscious, so it can confront us with our deep-rooted fears, taboos, guilty pleasures, unresolved issues, and anything we prefer to keep hidden.”

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And when the small-but-mighty planet turns retrograde, these themes are further intensified—so much so that we can feel forced to confront the shadow side of ourselves head-on, rather than run away from them. To learn more about the 2024 Pluto retrograde and how it will affect you, read ahead.

When is Pluto retrograde in 2024?

In 2024, Pluto will begin its retrograde cycle on May 2 at 1:47 p.m. ET, where it will remain in retrograde until it stations direct on October 11. The planet of transformation, power, death, and rebirth will begin its retrograde cycle in Aquarius before backtracking into Capricorn on September 1, where it will remain until the cycle ends in October, says Marquardt.

The themes usually present during Pluto retrograde—death, rebirth, and transformation—are especially profound this year since this retrograde will mark the final time that Pluto will touch Capricorn for a whopping 250 years. “Once Pluto retrograde ends on October 11, it will begin to move forward again and re-enter Aquarius on November 19 where it will remain until 2043,” says Marquardt.

What happens when Pluto goes retrograde?

When Pluto goes retrograde, the planet appears to move backward through the zodiac. From our point of view on Earth looking up toward the sky, Pluto will seemingly travel in the opposite direction. At this time, aspects of ourselves that we tuck away neatly might bubble to the surface, forcing us to confront them head-on.

“Pluto retrograde is a time for brutally honest introspection and extreme healing; we shed old, decaying layers within us so we can evolve and become more resilient and empowered,” explains Marquardt. “We learn to view and accept our traumas during a Pluto retrograde—not to senselessly relive them, but to purge them so they no longer hold us back.”

Letting go—whether you’re letting go of a relationship, a habit, or a job—can be difficult. But according to Marquardt, letting go allows for the entrance of new things that better align with the futures we envision for ourselves. “Pluto doesn’t destroy for sport—it destroys to create,” he says. “It’s the planet of transformation and regeneration, which is the ultimate result of its death and rebirth process. Pluto retrograde will only remove something from your life if it’s holding you back and your soul is ready to move into a healthier space.”

And once the retrograde cycle has completed, you’ll be happy you embraced the change, says Marquardt. “Once the Pluto retrograde cycle is finished, we emerge feeling purified,” he explains. “By eliminating the dead ends in your life, Pluto creates space for you to begin anew in a profound way.”

What big themes can we expect to surface during Pluto retrograde 2024 in Aquarius and Capricorn?

Pluto in Aquarius is associated with innovation and progress; until the icy blue planet enters Capricorn in September, we’ll be called to confront our own futures and the ways we either hinder or facilitate the futures we envision for ourselves.

Pluto’s backward movement in Capricorn, on the other hand, will prompt us to collectively examine the societal systems in place (healthcare, government, banking, and so on). This could result in major political shifts or societal revolutions in regards to these systems. And during the entirety of this retrograde phase, we’ll find ourselves on the cusp of substantial change, forced to decide and let go of what no longer serves us.

However, the extent to which this revolutionary energy influences your life will depend on the house that Pluto will be in for your zodiac sign as it transits through both Aquarius and Capricorn. Curious to know how Pluto retrograde 2024 will affect you? Read ahead for your sun, moon, and rising signs to get a better understanding of what you can expect this retrograde. (Psst! Unsure of what zodiac signs make up your “big three”? You can use a natal chart calculator like this one to find them).

What the 2024 Pluto retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn means for each zodiac sign


aries horoscope slide

Change is a comin’ this Pluto retrograde, dear Aries—for you, this will likely manifest as shifts within your social circles and professional networks. This is because Pluto will first move through your 11th house of friendships and associations before transiting through your 10th house of career and reputation.

“This can be a time where Aries begins to rethink their professional ambitions and the role they play within their community,” says Marquardt, adding that this period may prompt you to confront the power dynamics at play in your career. Use this time to consider whether your current career path aligns with your true purpose in life, and reflect on the friendships or professional obligations that no longer serve you. “It’s time to make room for new connections and for [your] professional dreams to emerge,” says Marquardt.


taurus horoscope

It’s time to embrace a fresh perspective, Taurus. This Pluto retrograde—which will touch your 10th house of career and your ninth house of discovery and adventure—is bound to transform the way you view the world. This retrograde marks “a period of time where Taurus will feel more introspective about their belief systems,” says Marquardt. In other words, your moral compass might

We know, we know—fixed signs like yours tend to struggle with change, especially on an esoteric level. The prospect of deep, philosophical transformation can seem like a huge undertaking (in fact, the process might even feel like an existential crisis of sorts, says Marquardt), but this shift might be the push you need to explore a more progressive career path, or actively pursue a more purpose-driven life. “They could be drawn to embark on a journey of self-discovery through education, travel or spiritual practices, thrusting themselves into the unknown and the unfamiliar, only to emerge with profound insights and epiphanies that give them a new perspective on the meaning of life,” says Marquardt.


gemini horoscope

No one loves an intellectually-stimulating conversation more than you, Gemini. Ruled by Mercury, you’re renowned for your stellar communication skills and you tend to be confident in your abilities to express yourself. However, “this Pluto retrograde cycle will have Gemini maneuvering through deeper thoughts than usual,” says Marquardt; as such, you’ll be tasked with diving deeper into your subconscious, a territory you don’t typically feel comfortable traversing.

This year’s Pluto retrograde will touch your ninth house of discovery before moving through your eighth house intimacy, taboos, and deep emotions. “They’ll be diving into the depths of their subconscious, bringing up information to the surface to make sense of the patterns they unknowingly operate from, for better or worse,” explains Marquardt. This retrograde, he adds, will force you to confront your deepest fears and desires in regards to sexuality and intimacy, on top of the emotional and financial commitments you’re currently entangled with.

“This can feel like a vulnerable and exposing time for Gemini, but they have a chance to release emotional baggage that has been weighing them down for far too long,” notes Marquardt. “As they come out of the retrograde, Gemini will feel lighter than ever, hungry for a new adventure without feeling pressured by others, limited by their fears, or burdened by their past karma.”


cancer horoscope

For better or worse, your relationships will be taking center stage during this Pluto retrograde, sweet Cancer. Consider this your sign to do an audit of your closest partnerships; Pluto will be moving through your eighth house of intimacy and your seventh house of partnerships during this time, shining a light on any toxic relationship dynamics or trends that lie beneath the surface of your professional, romantic, and platonic relationships.

Unresolved traumas from past relationships might resurface, says Marquardt, but you’ll need to embrace vulnerability and let go of control if you want to foster deeper connections with people going forward. Trust in the ability of others to expand your life in positive ways, and use this time to tackle any lingering fears from past relationships. “After the retrograde, Cancer will have successfully repelled anyone who might threaten their well-being and magnetize people who can truly offer a greater sense of mutual support,” says Marquardt.


leo horoscope

Take a long, hard look at your daily routines, habits, and schedules during this Pluto retrograde, Leo. The retrograde will kick off in your seventh house of relationships before entering your sixth house of daily rituals.

As such, Leos “might find themselves reevaluating the role they play in their relationships with committed partners and work colleagues and examining the consistency of their relationships,” says Marquardt. You’ll be called to reflect on how the people you connect with the most can influence your daily habits and wellbeing, he adds. You may come to realize that some folks are bringing you down rather than pushing you forward.

The same goes for your habits—Pluto is encouraging you to shake up your everyday behaviors in the name of long term success and health. If weekday wine nights or online shopping sprees are throwing a wrench in your personal goals, consider swapping them for something more substantial. Future you will be glad you did!


virgo horoscope

Express yo’self, Virgo! It’s time to break down the barriers that keep you from living your most authentic self outwardly, says Marquardt. This year’s Pluto retrograde will touch your sixth house of daily rituals before moving through your fifth house of creativity and joy. You’ll benefit from considering where both aspects of your life overlap: Do you make space for self-expression every day? Or are you stifling your creativity in lieu of sticking to a rigid schedule?

“Pluto retrograde wants Virgo to regenerate their pleasure in life, and make it a part of their daily routine,” explains Marquardt. “A passion project from the past may return during this time, and Virgo could monetize it into a side hustle or simply indulge in it regularly for the sheer joy of it.” Your life may have felt a little too black-and-white lately; if that’s the case, consider this a sign from Pluto to inject some color back into the mix.

“Similarly, if Virgo’s romantic life has felt bland, Pluto retrograde can bring a much needed confidence boost that thrusts Virgo back out into the dating scene, or helps them reignite the spark in a current romantic relationship,” adds Marquardt.


libra horoscope

This Pluto retrograde, you’ll find yourself reconciling with emotional matters in your home and family life, Libra. After moving through your fifth house of creativity, the icy planet will enter your fourth house of home and family, prompting you to grapple with some foundational matters of your life that you tend to keep under wraps, says Marquardt. You may find yourself reflecting on how your childhood experiences have shaped you into the adult you’ve become—for better or worse.

This will be an intensely personal time for you, adds Marquardt; you’re a social butterfly at heart, but some time spent in solitude may be in order for you to fully sort through your feelings and heal your inner child. This reflection will bring about a deeper understanding of yourself and may even inspire you to make deliberate lifestyle changes in order to wipe the slate clean, like moving to a new city. If you do the work, you will “come out of this retrograde feeling a greater sense of emotional security and feeling more bonded to your family or chosen family,” says Marquardt.


scorpio horoscope

Do you feel connected to your community, Scorpio? If not, this Pluto retrograde will bring that disconnect to the forefront as the transit touches your fourth house of home and family and third house of communication. This will be an introspective time for you, an opportunity to learn more about your communication style and how your connection with your community—or lack thereof—is impacting your way of life, says Marquardt.

“Scorpios might feel uninspired by their neighborhood and decide it’s time to move to a new city, state or country all together,” Marquardt says, adding “they might not feel like they relate to the people around them anymore, and begin to forego social outings for more quiet nights at home while they sort through their thoughts.”

There’s a silver lining, though: “Unexpected yet meaningful connections with others could also take place during this time, so Scorpio should take advantage of any intimate talks that seem to arise,” says Marquardt. Stay open to new conversations with unlikely sources—small talk might seem superficial, but it may lead to a thought-provoking discussion that further changes your worldview.


sagittarius horoscope

Sagittarius, your financial status and sense of self-worth are both up for a heavy renovation this Pluto retrograde, says Marquardt. Despite being two totally independent markers of value, they’ll both be under a microscope this retrograde for you. Pluto will first grace your third house of communication and connection before moving through your second house of personal value.

“This will be a time where Sagittarius confronts the way they think about money and the way they value themselves,” says Marquardt. Scarcity mindsets are best left at the door; if you’ve been struggling with one lately, this retrograde could force a reconfiguration of your material world, inspiring a new way of measuring your own worthiness. “Sagittarius should reflect on their relationship with material possessions and the importance they place on financial security,” advises Marquardt. “If there are any fears holding them back from achieving financial abundance or greater self-esteem, they’ll need to release those outdated attachments to experience more sustainability and freedom in their life.”


capricorn horoscope

According to Marquardt, this Pluto retrograde will feel like taking a long, hard look in the mirror for you, dear Capricorn. The retrograde kicks off in your second house of personal value and resources; after Pluto leaves Aquarius, it’ll enter your sign on September 1, entering your first house of self identity. This retrograde will prompt you to take control of your life and prove that you can handle the independence you so crave.

Too, this transit will force you to look back on all the ways you’ve changed since Pluto entered your realm 15 years ago.“They’ll be reflecting on their life and evaluating the ways they’ve grown, but also the ways they still hold themselves back,” says Marquardt. This makes it the perfect time to take stock of what’s actually under your control and what isn’t, especially in regards to your identity, appearance, and personal desires. Surrender what you can’t change and take responsibility for the things you can; you only have to prove your worth to yourself right now.


aquarius horoscope

Your spirituality will be front and center this Pluto retrograde, dear Aquarius. Pluto first entered your sign last year, and it’ll continue to move through your sign until it enters Capricorn on September 1. Touching your first house of the self and your 12th house of dreams and the inner psyche, this retrograde will likely force you to confront your spiritual beliefs, says Marquardt.

Now’s the time to get really real about whether the identity you’ve built for yourself on the outside actually lines up with the one that lies beneath the surface. An inner wisdom will be bubbling up within you, says Marquardt, causing you to grapple with mental health matters you’ve been putting off, or destructive behaviors you’re struggling to let go of.

“Aquarius will be dealing with their deepest fears and subconscious beliefs behind closed doors, which can feel like an isolating experience,” says Marquardt, “but on the outside, people will witness the transformation they’re achieving.” Self-actualization can be scary, but when the work is done, you’ll emerge from this retrograde as a more spiritual and peaceful version of yourself, says Marquardt.


pisces horoscope

It’s all about balance, baby! Pisces, consider this Pluto retrograde your opportunity to reassess how you’ve been balancing your social life and private life, says Marquardt. As the planet moves backward through your 12th house of dreams and the unconscious and later, your 11th house of friendships, you may begin to realize that your current friendships don’t quite align with your spirituality.

Pluto is all about transformation, but sometimes, that transformation can be bittersweet—especially for someone as sensitive and empathetic as you. Nonetheless, this retrograde will push you to rid yourself of unhealthy relationships and partnerships, opening you up to new groups that better fulfill your need for community. “This retrograde is asking Pisces to eliminate the shallow social networks they spend too much time nurturing so that more authentic bonds can develop with people who share their same humanitarian ideals,” adds Marquardt.

Your ego will likely take a backseat during this period, too. You might feel compelled to focus on how you show up for others, whether that be through acts of goodwill, volunteering for your community, or simply engaging in more random acts of kindness, he says.

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