By Kaye Berjot –
Many of us are familiar with retrogrades because of the Mercury retrogrades that happen three to four times each year for approximately three weeks at a time. During times of retrograde planets, most of us are told to watch out for any number of things, or to not do something until the planet comes out of its shadow. This can be confusing for many because life just doesn’t stop because a planet goes into retrograde. In fact, it would almost appear as though life speeds up and asks us to make quick decisions, because opportunities are presenting themselves faster than we are able to react.
I wanted to talk about retrogrades during this article because in the month of August we have Venus retrograde for several weeks, and for some it could be overwhelming, especially when we are seeking Venus oriented goals such as love, wealth, and values.
So what are retrogrades? Retrogrades are when planets seem to go backwards in the sky. I know that’s a pretty generic explanation, but this is how most texts describe it, and I wouldn’t be thorough if I didn’t at the very least mention it.
All of the planets are capable of going retrograde. The context of the retrograde depends upon the house and the sign of which planet is retrograding. When retrogrades occur in mundane astrology, we analyze them as we would transits. Remember that transits occur when a planet stops at a degree that is conjunct, trine, sextile, or in opposition to a natal planet in your chart, or when it moves through a particular house in your chart that may or may not have an aspect. In addition, retrogrades can also occur in your natal birth chart. In the natal birth chart there will be a slightly different set of criteria for analyzing the meaning of the retrograde. If you would like to revisit the article on Aspects and Transits you can find it on the Conscious Community Magazine website.
Retrograde periods are times when we are able to re-evaluate our course of action. They can bring back people from our past, opportunities that we passed up, or situations that can sometimes be a bit uncomfortable. In any case, retrogrades provide us with the opportunity to take a deeper look from a different point of view. For me, I like to think of them as a time when I can get a do-over. I may or may not choose to act upon whatever situation is being presented, but at a minimum, I get the opportunity to confirm, validate, and in some cases select a different option from the one that I’d previously chosen.
Let’s take a look at how you might experience a retrograding planet.
Mercury retrograde might be experienced as a lack of information that is needed in order to make an informed decision. It might require you to dig a little deeper to find the relevant information, so you might spend a lot more time researching and asking questions, not only of others but of yourself. A Mercury retrograde in your sixth house might have you asking questions about the best ways to get healthy, so rather than invest in quick fixes you might put in the effort to find many different options, so that you can eventually make the best choice for you.
Saturn retrograde could have you addressing stability and concreteness. When Saturn is direct and transiting a sign, some say that it removes components that no longer serve your purpose towards your higher mission. When it’s retrograde, the question becomes about whether or not we’ve overlooked a component that was unhealthy. When Saturn was retrograding through Scorpio it was asking profound questions such as, “are you sure this is what you really want?”
When we have a retrograding Uranus, expect sweeping changes. Some of those changes we will like, and some we won’t. When Uranus does go retrograde, you are being asked about reinvention, and how you might want to move forward with reshaping a particular area of your life. You might be faced with circumstances beyond your control that require you to reorient yourself, or to become strategic with your invention.
It’s hard to believe that Jupiter, the planet of growth, expansion, and good luck, could go retrograde, yet it happens as was the case in the latter part of 2014 until early 2015. During those times there is a definite lack, and it is felt immensely. Depending upon the area of your chart that is being impacted, you can
feel like it’s an uphill battle, and that no matter how hard you try to understand a situation that you just never quite get it right. Jupiter is associated with Sagittarius, which is all about the ability to understand and gain wisdom. So if you have retrograde Jupiter transiting your eighth house, you may have struggled with understanding other peoples’ values with regards to income, transformation, or overall growth. You could also have experienced this as questioning whether or not the values of others were beneficial to your own growth.
Pluto retrograde can be difficult for many because it asks you to re-evaluate how you’ve changed, and/or what you still need to change. Many of us want to change situations or elements of ourselves, yet we find it difficult to do when we don’t really know what actually needs to be changed. In other words, it is hard for us to see our own fly in the ointment. Therefore, a Pluto retrograde gives us the opportunity to take a look with an actual magnifying glass. This is usually a time when we have our “aha” moments as well as our “uh oh” moments.
Venus retrograde as previously mentioned is about self-worth, values, and yes, love. During these times we reexamine what we hold dear, and the importance of those things. It can be a time of bringing back past loves, unrequited love, or love of something that we once greatly valued. It can act like Neptune in that way. It restores faith in lost opportunities.
I like to think of Neptune retrograde as being a time when the rose-colored glasses come off. During this time, you might recognize that what you previously believed to be real wasn’t
so real after all. It’s an awakening of sorts because it causes you to see qualities of yourself, situations, or others that you’d previously turned a blind eye to. It can be quite a sobering effect.
Mars retrograde, to me, is like Mercury retrograde times 10. It’s a time when you feel like you’re stuck in quicksand, and for every step forward you try to make you take three steps back. Your energy can be low during these retrogrades, and thank goodness they don’t happen very often because nothing seems to move quickly. These are great times to meditate in because it’s as if the universe is requiring you to sit still and find yourself.
When planets are finished retrograding they go stationary direct. This means that they stop moving “backwards” so to speak. After this stationary direct period they will go over previous ground. So whatever decisions were up for reevaluation during the retrograde will be allowed to proceed once the planet has reached the point at which it originally went retrograde.
An example of this is Venus going retrograde at 0 degrees of Virgo in the latter part of July. It will stationary direct (begin moving forward) at 14 degrees Leo in early September, and will not return to 0 degrees Virgo until early October. The period between 14 degrees Leo and 0 degrees Virgo, after the stationary direct period, is what we call the shadow period; basically the planet is retracing its steps. So take a look at what was transpiring during the latter part of June, when Venus was at 14 degrees Leo the first time, to get an idea of what is coming up for reevaluation during the Venus retrograde.
As always, thank you for supporting the Conscious Community Magazine family. And until next time, be kind to yourself during these retrograde moments.
Kaye Berjot is a transformational astrologer who can be contacted for readings and guidance at: firstname.lastname@example.org.