Retrograde Planets in Astrology
Every now and again a planet in astrology goes ‘retrograde’ and all hell seems to break loose! What's that all about? Well, first things first: no planet ever physically stops to go ‘retrograde’, i.e. backward. But as the earth nears then passes a planet, said planet appears to slow down, stop and move backwards. Eventually one body moves on and the effect goes away. Ever been on a moving train as a faster one overtakes? You suddenly feel as if you’re moving backward! You know it’s only an illusion but it feels no less real for that. So does a retrograde! And its effects in your life are no less real too. When a planet is retrograde it is closest to the earth, appearing bigger and brighter in the sky. Likewise, the matters it represents ‘draw the eye’ and take on greater importance in your own life.
You’re best advised to ease into a retrograde, then back out of it. Why? Because each retrograde has a ‘shadow’ period before and after it (when a planet appears to slow down then speed back up again). And so the effects last longer than the retrograde itself. Watch the stationary points especially, which can feel quite intense! It's always a bad idea, say, to sign papers just after Mercury has stationed direct or buy electronic items just before it moves retrograde in order to 'avoid' the retrograde. No such thing. Keep a safe distance.
In actual fact, there’s rarely a moment throughout the year when some planet or other is not retrograde - and that's saying something! - at least when we count all the planets from Mercury, Venus and Mars all the way to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Chiron and Pluto… But it’s the personal planets, Mars, Venus and - famously - Mercury that are the worst offenders. These are the ones that affect our brains, our affections and our energy in the most unpredictable ways! Heck, Mercury retrograde is so famous, it has even been put into song! But is it really all that bad when a planet goes retrograde? Here is what each retrograde means.
Retrograde Planets Meaning
Every planet goes retrograde at some point - apart from the sun and moon that aren’t planets (but the moon often goes void of course) - so let’s take a closer look at what each retrograde planet means in astrology and how to make the best of it!
Mercury goes retrograde approximately 3 times a year for about 3 weeks. You know the drill by now. Don’t sign papers or buy major items. Double check everything! You cannot take anything for granted as every small little thing can potentially go wrong - from words, keys, papers, emails and communications to transport and technology. Mercury retrograde turns your thoughts back in on themselves and on the little things that make your life tick. It’s a good time to do research, rethink and reconsider. Mercury’s stations can be rather nerve-wracking too! The next time Mercury turns is 22 March 2018 until 15 April.
You won’t experience Venus retrograde every year, which makes it even more eery when it happens. Venus goes retrograde every 18 months for a month and a half, a strange time indeed. Relationships come under the magnifying glass as the love and understanding you normally count on suddenly seem all but gone. The love trail goes cold. Worse yet, you’re suddenly into someone you’d normally never even look at twice! Your taste is off when Venus is retrograde. On the plus side, you can get a second chance at an old love affair or any matter that is greatly important to you. It’s a good time to examine your values, relationships and financial attitudes. Watch Venus' stations for they can bring odd relating experiences! Venus stations retrograde next 5 October-16 November 2018.
Mars goes retrograde every 2+ years for 2-3 months. This is the most tiring transit of all, tending to have a very physical effect. Often that is because you’re mustering all your forces and pouring them into rebuilding, redoing and renovating, changing things, demolishing and digging. Roadworks, building works and drilling all around add to the noise and obstruction. It’s a good time to revisit, redo, repair and marshal your forces, as well as examine any suppressed sexuality, anger or rage. Mars’ stations are powerful focusers of energy! The next Mars retrograde is 26 June-27 August 2018.
Jupiter goes retrograde regularly once a year for about 4 months. It’s a good time to review your vision and hopes for the future, reconsider your opinions and prepare yourself for growth. Jupiter’s stations can feel like 'too much' at times. They feel restless and exhilarating, giving you a sense of 'great expectations'. Jupiter tends to be the second brightest planet after Venus and even brighter when it’s retrograde - you can’t miss it. Follow its bright star to your goals! Jupiter goes retrograde next 8 March-10July 2018.
Saturn goes retrograde at regular yearly intervals for 4-5 months. During these periods, you’re urged to examine the glue that holds your life together - your life’s security structures. It's a time to face your inhibitions and work on your long term goals. Rather than looking to higher ups, develop your own inner authority and character. Saturn’s stations often bring a milestone or reality check, solidifying something and bringing moments of sobriety and importance. Saturn goes retrograde next 17 April-5 September 2018.
Like all outermost planets, Uranus goes retrograde once a year for about 5 months. This is a time to ponder what freedom means for you and ready yourself for change. It's a time to get used to new ideas that might have come as a shock before. It can be a creative time for innovation and technology! Uranus’ station is powerful. It's surprising, antsy and electrifying! Uranus is retrograde right now (since August) until 2 January 2018.
Neptune goes retrograde every year for about 5 months. That’s a time to revisit your spiritual connection and romantic longings and process any disappointments. Cleanse your spirit of this debris and look for inspiration within. Neptune is retrograde right now (since June) until 22 November 2017. The next time is June-November 2018. Neptune’s stations can be a highly sensitive time, emotionally or spiritually. They can equally inspire or overwhelm!
Pluto goes retrograde for 5-6 months every year. These are times when you’re processing major changes that are slowly taking place in your life and finding your inner power and strength. It’s a very intense moment when Pluto stations and you’re likely to feel alert, poised, even threatened or exhausted! Pluto goes retrograde next 21 April-30 September 2018.
Chiron is not strictly a planet (nor is Pluto for that matter) but its retrograde is no less meaningful. It happens once a year and lasts for about 5-6 months. It’s a time to distill wisdom from experience and reintegrate cut off aspects of your life and character. You may feel more vulnerable yet at the same time able to release resistance when Chiron stations. Chiron is retrograde now (since April) and until 5 December 2017.