The Month of Retrograde

This spring, half of the earth’s solar system is moving backwards. Venus will be especially vulnerable in Pisces, Pluto will force tarry truths upon us from the depths of denial, and Saturn will take us back in time to resolve our karma. These planets are all moving backwards. Oh, and so is Mercury. Ha, joy! There is an upside, though. Venus will go direct again on April 15th (phew).

Still, it is the Month of Retrograde. Spring might usher in the sun, but she will not let us forget the shadows we must walk with to create fuller lives. It’s a shadow month. If you feel something “unlucky” is happening…ahm, chances are you may have had it coming for a while.

April is edging us towards a higher consciousness and it can feel painful. But this is the kind of pain that kneads out the knots. Think of April like a ruthless masseuse. The powerful retrograde energy propels us to examine toxic patterns and addictions — then think about what to do about all that gunk (because “demons” is a strong word). The most accurate reflection of consciousness is action. Not reaction. Action.

And what better time. The world is glitchin.’ While Mercury will go retrograde April 9th, there will be no shortage of revolt to follow. Secrets will come out in our global and personal politics. The memes will come a’ floodin’ and you know that frenemy who makes your innards harden? Yeah, you were always right about them, and you’ll find out exactly why. But to understand why we’ve created a world where we quit bosses and not jobs, point fingers at fake-as-sh*t leaders, and feel slighted by anyone who looks at us wrong, we have to understand what we did to get us here. April is a history lesson.

The world is craving authenticity right now. April is bringing us closer to it. It’s an active sky — this is no walk in the park so brace yourself. For worship, go with what you know. I’ve always looked to the kohl-lined eyes of vintage glamazons. They were avatars on earth. You’ll see…


In Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Williams threw a birthday party for his son complete with cake-nibbling ponies, set to House of Pain’s “Jump Around.” That’s a scene to frame your month. You’re about to rock everyone’s world. I hear bass and ritual. You’re dancing to your throne as high priestess. The world is spinning on your fingertip and then some. On the 7th, Sun in Aries opposes Jupiter in Libra. Jupiter rules prefrontal cortex functions like rationality and long-term planning. Aries Sun says nah, and so the excess begins. And the party don’t stop. You know who you are, Aries. And so will everyone else! On the 20th, Aries Sun will tell Sagittarian Saturn that it’s prime time to sign the contract, submit the manuscript, and take the trip. Between big moments, there will be lots of mingling. Aries Sun is engaging lots of guests, flirting with Pisces many-a-time. Isn’t Beauty and the Beast out? From what I can remember from the animated film, the candlestick had a very cheeky romance with the feather duster.

Your vintage glamazon is Helen. Helen was the hot af item girl in hits we still hear being remixed today. She was one of the few stars who was known by an exotic, Anglicized first name. (What would yours be, Aries?)

Helen in Sholay (1975).


As planets swivel like tops and we all pay the price, you are our sweet respite. The stars are forming around you , Taurus— they’re cinching the fabric of the sky to get closer to you. That is because you have a psychic, healing touch. Touch as many shoulders as you can this month, and watch them sink back into their sockets. You are April’s activist-nurse — we know who we will turn to when we need a place to lay our heads, and you will keep your quarters stocked with crystal grids, maps of the underworld, banned books, and dangling lanterns. And lots and lots of snacks. The world is your oyster and we are your babies. It’s because of you that your communities will be nourished this month. That is because of your good traditions and commitment to educating future generations. It is prime time to do this work. Others will trust the industry of your hands and the cushion in your hugs.

Your vintage glamazon is Sadhana. She was an elusive, delicate beauty who possessed a magic yet to be replicated. Sadhana was a fashion icon who adopted a glittering and diaphanous style palm-printed with geodic jewels and patterns.

Sadhana in Budtameez (1966)


Your sensitive and analytical nature is making you vulnerable to the month’s retrogrades. This means something for moving your life forward. It may be a daunting feeling at first but if you relax yourself into the small canyons of your days, you will feel a little cool against your back. Picture yourself like a bright yellow crescent moon at rest. Heat does not always soothe. One way to physically manifest the cooling in your life is to use an ice pack on the back of your neck before bed. It slows the firing of the nerves. I am advising you so because you might be thinking through a lot while past and present clash in bizarre and serendipitous ways. In other ways, you will be acting out your karma. Dues will be paid this month but do not confuse these with slights. You are not a film projecter. The universe is nudging you to look at your life’s reel like a scrolling mirror instead of a mess on the cutting room floor.

Your vintage glamazon is Parveen Babi. She was the first Indian movie star to appear on the 1976 cover of TIME. She also had a highly controversial personal life of which little is known. In her cinematic roles and private life, her mystique was as punchy as the uppercuts in her eyes.

Parveen Babi (unknown film credit)


This month, you will be riding off similar energy as Gemini except you might feel it on a more somatic than cerebral level. The Month of Retrograde is gonna bake you crazy. You’re in an oven and the TV looks like a safe haven but even those waves will fry you. You should throw it out the window and watch it shatter and crunch. Then, it will be time for healthier release, like tightening your face and letting it go, sticking tape or clothesline clips above your brows, pulling your lower lids down to reveal the veiny fascia of your eyeballs, or doing the same with your gums — pull your lip down so low that you can feel that tenuous 2 millimeter line of flesh that keeps your mouth above your chin. The point here is to stretch and release, stretch and release, stretch and release. It’s the only way you’ll keep your sanity this month as you get caught in the rocky tow of the universe’s gnarly waves.

Your vintage glamazon is Hema Malini. Hema Malini was a twirling sweetie who married Dharmendra, the biggest heartthrob in retro Bollywood cinema. She continued to act in 21st-century films while staying on lock for her family through their illnesses and scandals.

Hema Malini in Waris (1969)


Uh-oh. A Leo’s revenge is one of the most stunning. The retrogrades are uncovering secrets like gems, and you’re plucking them up and building a shrine (dedicated to yourself, of course). There are pits of anger and grief underneath those secrets. It is you who can will these emotions to vibrate at their highest frequencies this month. Put them in art. Put them in music. Stitch them up and wear them when you face someone who digs into your back upon your pivots to the door. This is when you begin the active phase of your healing journey. You’re finally beginning to clear any glittering fog your eyes couldn’t earlier bear to turn away from. You won’t have an ugly fall because you just overcame a winter convalescence. Create fearlessly now. The whole time, the world will be privy to your inventions— just how you like it. You know how to do all this, Leo. So let’s see what you’ve got. The signs are waiting on you.

Your vintage glamazon is Zeenat Aman. She was a groovy dancer in Qurbani, a carefree beach babe in Heera Panna, and the gun-wielding heroine in Don. She had her feet on the ground and her paws in the air, all eyes on you.

Zeenat Aman in Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978)


It seems like your work never ends. Let that sigh out. Then tie your hair to the wheel of the ship, to the pillars, to the hooks of the sails, and to the bar handle of the escape door. You’re in control of all of this as Aries carries on a rager, Cancer has a bodily crisis, Pisces seduces every crew member, and Libra cries a deep cry. You’re the circuit path this month, a conduit for electricity. Everyone goes through you to survive. They may not know it, but they do. Next month, you can knead the furrow from your brows but, right now, you have your responsibilities set out for you. Call on the capable for help, anyone who can keep their feet on the ground for more than half a minute will do. With a slight of your hand, they’ll know what you’re pointing to. And while it may feel like your competence may often go unnoticed, it does keep the world from veering off its axis.

Your vintage glamazon is Madhubala. She was regarded as “The Venus of Indian Cinema.” Her personal history was highly sought after. To this day, it is only offered in snapshots from her family members and inner circle — vivacious, “aware of her beauty,” highly private.

Madhubala in Mughal-e-Azam (1969)


After being thrown off the seesaw earlier this year, you’ve finally climbed back on the bar but may find yourself precariously standing on a wooden block that won’t stop wobbling at its hinges. You can slowly start to strengthen your core for an easier glide, kind of like riding a Libra-fied version of a mechanical bull. Your spine will straighten itself out in summer but spring is just beginning. Take note of any pain that staples you into yourself. It may mean taking off the rose-colored glasses. The cold air may hurt your face and make you cry and cry and cry. The eyes hold onto a lot, those slime-filmed balls of nerves and water. Make space for grief, the kind from fifteen years ago and from yesterday. Doing this work now will better ease you into summer. Once a lesson is learned, it ceases cycling into your life. The retrogrades carve space for a mess. That is what is supposed to happen.

Your vintage glamazon is Meena Kumari. She was the elegant and troubled beauty of Bollywood’s most poetic films. Her characters often engaged others’ deceptions — she picked roles that explicated what it means to walk through the world as a shrewd and soft woman.

Meena Kumari in Pakeezah (1972)


Fuck the retrogrades. Fuck them. Fuck the confusion, passivity, sheepishness, and churning enlightenment. You are not experiencing this retrograde season like any other sign, Scorpio. Whether you are a newborn Scorpio or an elderly Scorpio, you have already lived a thousand lives. And this month, you will just go ahead and let everyone know. You have choice words for the bullies and choice words for the complacent. You are whipping people around to face their latent courage. It may be a bizarre time for others to be around you. You may throw someone’s kid into the air, really fucking high so they almost hit the ceiling fan, then catch it and cackle as onlookers try to will your remorse. Well guess what. You don’t have any of that. You’ll do it again, throw the kid into the air. And the kid will love it. This Spring, you are clear-eyed to a fault. Your ruling planet, Mars, continues on its forward path and you just do what you gotta do and say what you gotta say.

Your vintage glamazon is Rekha. Rekha is everyone’s favorite because she is everyone’s master. In 1996’s Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, she played the role of a sex teacher, guiding new courtesans into their lucrative careers. She is immortalized as a woman of power and perception.

Rekha in Umrao Jaan (1981)


Your ruling planet, Jupiter, is here for the party. Jupiter is a Jovian planet, meaning huge and gaseous. In Greek mythology, the word for Jupiter is Jove, meaning agreement. That’s the type of diffuse, prolific energy you’re bringing to the table this month, Sagittarius. You’re at Aries’ thing with the birthday ponies and egging on baby-throwing Scorpio. Just because you mold to your surroundings, though, doesn’t mean you have weak convictions. A chameleon changes colors but is still a chameleon. And one thing you believe in is, well, the things you believe in, whether that’s couponing or a one-man protest. So you’re chillin’ with the more outspoken, strong signs this month. You’re April’s extrovert. As long as you surround yourself with energizing vibes, you will stay clear of drama. But it doesn’t always go that way. Some may mistake your soul’s levity as frivolity. Try not to engage gossip or sob stories because it can be used against you as emotional manipulation. Pay attention to your gut feelings during social interactions.

Your vintage glamazon is Mumtaz. Mumtaz was Bollywood’s bohemian bunny. She was the fire-lite faerie: spirited, pragmatic, cheeky.

Mumtaz in Sawan Ki Ghata (1966)


Deadpan humor will be at its best in April because your ruling planet, Saturn, is in retrograde. Anyone who shows their idiocy might be vulnerable to your straight face and a dead-end question. You don’t have patience for that roundabout social dance people do and may feel compelled to be direct about your feelings. For that, you will get exactly what you want because it is exactly what you asked for. It’s that easy. Why haven’t other people figured that out, yet? You’re one of the more stable signs this retro season so you’ll likely be a helper on the lurching ship that Virgo is trying to steer. One thing you can do well is nurture with your boundaries intact. You can dress a wound without falling victim to a victim’s victimhood. Like Scorpio, you’ve lived a few lives, so you don’t have a problem holding a mirror to people’s faces. Maybe not in the eager way a hair-stylist does, but you are so not in the mood to coddle.

Your vintage glamazon is Nargis Dutt. Known mononymously as Nargis, she led a complex life which bizarrely reflected itself in the gothic nature of her films.

Nargis in Babul (1950)


You are April’s warmest lover. You make up for the coldness of Capricorn and the alienating focus of trekking Virgo. Love is an infinite resource. You live in this belief. You’re like a radiator that everyone wants to gather ‘round. But even you might get your toes wet in the month’s drama. Possession lurks in the territories of the gregarious. So-and-so doesn’t like that you “liked” what’s-his-face’s photo because of an old fight that you know of but don’t care for. Some friends want you to walk the line of their webs. Try not to get in the middle of it because these small battles will only last until May, when Venus and Mercury will finally be direct in tandem. Personal health is built on relationships. Ask yourself which ones nourish you and which make you a little uneasy. You don’t have to trash the latter but you can choose to simmer your engagement. Whatever you do, do it based on your judgment alone.

Your vintage glamazon is Sharmila Tagore. She was an iconic sex symbol who snagged fashion-forward roles and birthed the dapper man we now know of as Saif Ali Khan.

Sharmila Tagore in Sawan Ki Ghata (1966)


Aries is gonna dress you up this month, Pisces. The high priestess is gonna wrap you in red. You know you like it, so just own it. You are not Jasmine in Jafar’s weird death trap. Channel Janet Jackson in Feedback, her spirit is “heavy like a first day period.” April is your kickdrum to open the floodgates. Your groupies are waiting to be dowsed. Aries and Scorpio especially want it. Bad. And Aquarius is amazed someone can be so…emotional. Don’t be embarrassed. You know your friends love this about you. Venus is in your sign so it is no wonder you’re feeling attractive. Don’t you dare shy away — there’s no room for that even if you wanted to play the sweetie card. Venus in Pisces is going direct on the 15th, and the day after that it will be kissing Mars in Taurus. Not even kissing. Making out. You are no sweetie this month, Pisces. Remember when Aaliyah said “sometimes I’m goody goody, right now I’m naughty naughty?” That is your lyric.

Your vintage glamazon is Vyjayanthimala. She was sugar, spice, and everything nice. Vyjayanthimala was a trained dancer, a hot cinnamon roll of a person who had a beautiful creative life and a tragic personal one.

Vyjayanthimala in Amrapali (1966)