Last night, I had an insane dream about being a rollercoaster designer in a theme park, and Danny DeVito (dressed as a gremlin) came up to me and offered me a chance to buy three piranhas for a thousand dollars. Then, right when I refused, I was whisked away to Russia, where I joined a Siberian fire-dancing tribe who performed for Mongolian royalty.
The night before that, I dreamt of getting eaten alive by rats in a Burger King. Three nights ago, I was an Olympian at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Nazi Germany.
You could say I’ve had some strange dreams lately.
And I blame the retrogrades.
Why do we have such vivid dreams during planetary retrogrades? Right now, we’re dealing with four retrogrades: Mars, Saturn, Neptune, and Pluto. Within a couple weeks, Mercury and Uranus will also slip into retrograde. Yikes.
Read This Now: What Does Mercury Retrograde Mean?
Retrogrades are tricky — during a retrograde, a planet loses its speed. This gives the illusion that the planet is moving backward, but it’s actually closest to the Earth during this time period.
The main spiritual concept of a retrograde is going back and processing certain aspects of your life, often depending on which specific planet is in retrograde. Many of these retrogrades are frustrating times of confronting negativity in one’s life. Productivity tends to stall during intense and rare retrogrades, because we spend time in our own heads second-guessing past and future moves.
In dreams, we also spend time subconsciously analyzing aspects of our lives. Without intention, we process events of the past and how they affect our mental state and our future actions.
So what do retrogrades have to do with our dreams? It’s mostly about Neptune.
Neptune spends half the year in retrograde. This planet is known to be very artistic and creatively healing. However, in retrograde, boundaries disappear, leaving us open to deception and delusion. Neptune seeks the ideal world, and therefore is involved in a lot of fantasy and dreaming. When we are most affected by Neptune, we tend to overindulge, and there is a non-linear consciousness to it.
The Neptune retrograde is usually subtle because it lasts for five to six months, but it can be affected by other planets’ retrogrades and positions. Even though Venus isn’t in retrograde, its higher octave location in regard to Neptune leads to idealistic romance: lust disguised as love. Again, this is where the Neptune powers of delusion and fantasy come into play.
Meanwhile, Mars embodies our drive, survival instinct, and general choleric emotions. When we have dreams like first-person survival scenarios, it demonstrates the duality of competing Mars and Neptune retrogrades. When Mars is in retrograde, we tend to get frustrated by a lack of forward movement, so these dreams can often be about frustrating situations without an obvious escape route.
On the other hand, Mercury has a similarly chaotic energy during its retrograde, but with a basis in very honest interactions and brutal honesty. Dreams mixing Neptune and Mercury’s qualities might include public embarrassment, sudden realizations, or unusual conversations.
Saturn is a planet that rules boundaries, limits, responsibilities, discipline, and authority. During its retrograde, we might deal with a sense of burden in our dreams or having to square up with an authority figure. Turning in a project to your boss late in last night’s dream? You can thank Saturn for that.
Our darkest dreams — think family members dying, abuse, fear — tend to occur during the most intense days of Pluto’s retrograde. However, since Pluto’s retrograde also lasts for half the year like Neptune, the effects on our lives are much less extreme than some of the shorter retrogrades. Otherwise we’d have nightmares for six months out of the year!
It might sound like a lot of negativity during these retrogrades. However, these challenging dreams provide us with the opportunity to face the problems in our lives and process them. Processing issues requires a lot of sensical thinking: what the problem is, who’s involved, what the risks and consequences are, and how it can be solved.
The next time you wake up from a strange or frightening dream, write it down right away! These dreams could be planets in retrograde trying to help you solve life’s problems, big or small, fire dancing in Siberia or competing in the Olympics.
Saturn April 17 – September 6
Pluto April 22 – September 30
Neptune June 18 – November 24
Mars June 26 – August 27
Mercury July 25 – August 19
Uranus August 7 – January 6
— Casey Miller
Photo: Jared Rice via Unsplash