Retrograde literally means “backwards.” Although none of the planets ever really throw their engines in reverse and move backward, all of them, except the Sun and Moon, appear to do so periodically, from our perspective here on Earth. What’s happening is that we’re moving either faster or slower than the planet that’s retrograde, and since we have to look over our should to see it, we refer to it as retrograde. Retrograde motion pulls back and gives you an opportunity to take care of your past (old business).
The way retrograde planets seem to affect our affairs varies from planet to planet. In Mercury’s case, it means often looking back at Mercury-ruled things – communications, contracts, and so on. Keep in mind that Mercury correlates Hermes, the original trickster, and you’ll understand how cleverly disguised some of these errors can be.
Communications become confused, or are delayed. Letters are lost or sent to the wrong place. Emails bounce or end up in cyber space, never reaching their destinations. We sign a contract or agreement and find out later we didn’t have all the correct information, and what we signed was misleading in some way. We try repeatedly to reach someone via telephone but can never catch him or her at home, or our communications devices themselves break down or garble information in some way.
We feel as if our timing is off, so short trips often become more difficult. We leave the directions at home or write them down incorrectly. We’re late for appointments due to circumstances beyond our control, or we completely forget about them.
A constructive use to this time period is to reflect and take stock of what has happened to us over the past three months, and assimilate our experiences.
A rule of thumb with mercury retrograde is to try to confine activities to those that have “re” attached to the beginning of a work: reschedule, repair, return, rewrite, redecorate, restore, replace, renovate, renew, for example.
Retrograde Motion of Other Planets
With Venus retrograde, relationships and money matters are delayed or muddled. Venus represents Love and beauty, therefore these two areas of our Life slow down and basically take a back seat. Old relationships may suddenly reappear, proper diet and exercise may be put on the back burner and basic beauty and hygiene regimens may not seem as important. Incidentally, this is NOT the time to have plastic surgery since it is a beauty business. There is just an overall lack of appreciation for all things that represent Love and beauty. This is not a Good time to shop for new clothes.
The feelings of Love are not as apparent as they once were during Venus retrograde. If there is unfinished business with a Loved one or a former relationship, the relationship or issue may resurface. If you are involved in a court battle and you are looking for a settlement, watch for a slow down because Venus naturally rules Libra in the 7th house of contractual relationships, marriage and business partnerships.
Venus retrograde re-surfaces and re-ignites unfinished business with past relationships or re-hashes issues with current relationships. During Venus Retrograde any new relationships developed over this time can feel like de’ja’vu, which in astrological interpretation is the recurrence of a past-Life relationship that was significant to us.
Venus Retrograde is a time when issues with Love and/or relationships needs to be settled once and for all. When Venus takes us “back” to the past, it is a time to clear the past and grow exponentially as a result of that relationship or Love, whether or not that ‘Love’ is still with us. It does not necessarily mean a reconnection or reconciliation but then again, it could mean just that.
With Mars retrograde (for eleven weeks, and then direct for twenty-two months), actions initiated are often rooted in confusion or end up at cross-purposes to our original intentions. Typically, under a Mars retrograde, the aggressor or initiator of a battle is defeated.
Mars is the natural ruler of the 1st house because it naturally rules Aries which is Sun Sign ruler of the 1st house. It takes Mars about 2 ½ years to transit through all 12 signs. This also takes into account its retrograde periods. Mars rules activity and motion. It also rules men in a woman’s chart. To a certain degree it also rules work and your health.
Mars affects your appearance and personality because it is the natural ruler of the 1st house. Mars is not only action-oriented and forward moving but it is resistant as well. Mars moves so quickly forward that it often has to retrace it steps, so there is a movement of forward and backward continually. This is exactly why most people with heavy Mars influence move forward quickly and then have to retrace their steps; thereby moving in a backward motion. This is why those with a heavy Mars influence or those naturally ruled by Mars (Aries is naturally ruled by Mars) have a a reputation as being a good starter but not necessarily a good finisher.
Jupiter retrogrades for four months and is direct for nine months. When Jupiter goes retrograde, our perspective and perceptions change, which makes this a perfect time to go deep within ourselves for understanding, introspection and enlightenment. It may seem as though the energy stops or slows down significantly in the house that Jupiter is moving through in your Natal Chart. The best way to handle this energy is to go within and seek self-improvement. If Jupiter is “outer” on a global level, then retrograde motion would cause you to go “inner” or “inward” to seek answers. It’s very cool when you think about it. What a great time to pursue and understand yourself.
This slowdown is commonly referred to in astrology as driving with the parking brake on. It’s not like you can’t move forward, it just feels strange, might smell a little bad but nonetheless, you are still moving forward until you stop driving with the parking brake on. Since the parking brake is set by the Universe, then you might have to take a different route . . possibly walk but you are still able to move forward. Not to mention, walking (or going inward) is still serving Jupiter’s intended purpose. This has nothing to do with a car, it is merely a metaphor. You just have to slow down and get creative with how you will proceed forward. The speed at which you move might be slower but the slowness is for a reason.
This is a wonderful time to improve yourself so that you can be prepared to handle bigger, better and more when Jupiter returns to its normal state. Too much of a Good thing can actually cause problems. Just like the person who wins the lottery and does not take the time to gain a clear sense of self-perspective. Once they receive the money, they spend it haphazardly and end up worse off than they were when they won the money. The winner who embraces the internal reflection and seeks answers as to what to do with the money will ultimately prove to be a success. This is like the fable of the tortoise and the hare. The period of slowness that the self-reflecting winner voluntarily embraces rather than appearing on the news to reveal their winnings to the world will make all the difference in their future dealings.
Refrain from choosing fear when a planet goes into retrograde motion. The retrograde motion is an illusion where you naturally respond through perspective in order to upgrade your character with the house involved in your Natal Chart.
Saturn retrogrades for approximately 140 days and is stationary about 5 days before and 5 days after retrogradation.
Keywords for Saturn: Fear, past, karma, patience, contraction (squeezing), effort, discipline, responsibility, restriction, teacher, taskmaster, lessons, hard, father, authority, seriousness, stability, caution, mature, concentration, endurance, work and persistence.
When you look at those keywords, you would think that Saturn is trying to tell us something. Those keywords make it clear that Saturn is set on challenging us to grow up, fly right and get our act together. Now what do you think will happen if you deliberately choose not to take responsibility and discipline yourself? Take a wild guess . . . then Saturn will do it for you. OUCHY! Saturn will teach you a lesson, just like a father and authority figure would do. Saturn has no problem getting out the belt and whacking your behind for your own Good. Saturn will ground you and take away your toys. No going out for you on Saturday night if you cannot behave and act responsible. Saturn will also cause you to hold others responsible for their actions. Especially those from your past.
Wherever you find Saturn retrograding in your Natal Chart is where Saturn will be holding you solely accountable. When Saturn is in retrograde motion this is where your actions and reactions will be addressed.
Each of the outer planets – Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto – stays retrograde for about six or seven months of every year.
Neptune retrograde is a time where reasoning and all logic may be tossed aside in favor of mysticism, intuition and the esoteric. Dreams, visions and fantasy take over and it is important to use these gifts rather than escape into a dreamlike state through drugs and alcohol. This is a time where drug and alcohol abuse may run rampant, at the same time those who choose the alternative will build their intuition and be able to interpret their dreams more fully.
Pluto retrograde has the ability to bring your worst fear standing in front of you as you finally look at it face to face. If you have not corrected your past or still have some deep issues in the house that Capricorn and or Sagittarius rule, then paybacks just may be hell. It will be best that you rectify any issues that you have on your own or what you have done, especially if you have done something to someone else before Pluto Retrograde calls you on your stuff and pays you back.
In general, remember that actions ruled by a particular planet quite often need to be repeated or done over when that planet is retrograde. Just make sure that whatever you’re planning is something you don’t mind doing twice.