- The term retrograde is from the Latin word retrogradus
Retrograde is most commonly an adjective used to describe the
path of a planet as it travels through the night sky, with respect
to the zodiac, stars, and other bodies of the celestial canopy.
In this context, the term refers to planets as they appear from
Earth, to briefly stop and reverse direction at certain times,
though in reality they perpetually orbit in the same uniform
- Although planets can sometimes be mistaken for stars as we
observe the night sky, the planets actually change position from
night to night in relation to the stars. Retrograde (backward)
and prograde (forward or direct) are observed as though the stars
revolve around the earth. Ancient Greek Astronomer Ptolemy in
150 AD believed that the earth was the center of the solar system
but still used the terms retrograde and prograde to describe
the movement of the planets in relation to the stars. Although
we know today that the planets revolve around the sun, we continue
to use the same terms in order to describe the movement of the
planets in relation to the stars as we observe them from Earth.
Like the sun, the planets appear to rise in the East and set
in the West. When a planet travels eastward in relation to the
stars, it is called prograde. When the planet travels westward
in relation to the stars (opposite path) it is called retrograde.
- What Are Retrogrades
- In astrology, the chart of an individual and the planetary
affects are impacted and influenced by their spin and movement.
Typically, from our perspective here on Earth, planets rotate
on a forward path. There's a brief period, called the stationary
period, when the planets slow and appear to have stopped moving
altogether. But at times, after resting in a stationary position,
planets will also appear to be spinning backwards. This phenomenon
for astrologers means that the planet is in retrograde.
- A retrograde can
have an inverse effect on our world, through world events and
individual interactions. Retrograde effects can sometimes reverse
situations and change our feelings or activities, alter usual
communications between people, or affect our ability to discern
information in a complete and detailed manner.
- Each planet has its own unique cycle it takes to orbit the
Sun. This cycle determines a planets frequency and duration in
a retrograde period. The planets closest to the Sun have a shorter
cycle (for example, it only takes 88 days for Mercury to go full
circle, whereas Neptune requires 165 years). The effects of planets
in retrograde might vary based on your own astrological characteristics.
Just as when and where you were born affects your personal chart,
so do the affects of planets and their current cycle at the time
of your birth. You can check the current Retrograde Schedule
to help you plan for these affects.
- If you're looking to the stars for guidance, keep in mind
that a proper reading, such as your own unique astrological chart,
is the sum of all of its parts. Real astrology is quite complex
and analyses are made based on intricate calculations and it's
only a guide. Putting too much weight on any single aspect of
astrology is a mistake and can provide mis-information instead.
- Past Lives
- Wither you believe in reincarnation
or not, "Past lives" can be a metaphor to help understand
the meaning of a retrograde. If you do believe in reincarnation,
the lifetimes you've brought into this embodiment have a significant
impact on your current life.
- Looking to a past life for guidance, can help clarify the
lessons you need to focus on today. These past memories can help
to attain enlightenment by reviewing past choices that have created
karma, or shaped patterns in your life today. By reviving these
past memories, you can also retrieve knowledge and wisdom from
these past lifetimes which can help you make better choices now
and explain why you handle certain situations in the manner you
- If a planet appears in your birth chart in it's retrograde
cycle, they are indicative of a monumental happening that once
occurred in a past life. This could suggest that you pay attention
to the lessons you never learned in that past and that you strive
toward achieving these goals in this current embodiment. Each
of the planets represents a different lesson to be learned.
- There are some basic attributes of planets in retrograde
and their characteristics that can be a guide to each person.
But keep in mind that how these planets appear in your personal
chart can add more detail and clarification to how a retrograde
effects you personally. Below you'll find a synopsis of these
common characteristics, as well as, the Past Life implications
of each planet.
- You will find a Schedule
Of Retrogrades on the Witchcraft & Shamanism section.
Chiron | Jupiter
| Mars | Mercury |
Neptune | Pluto |
Saturn | Uranus |
- Chiron is an asteroid/comet and not a planet. But it's discovery
in 1977 brought a great deal of speculation that it was a planet.
You can learn more about Chiron from NASA.
Consequently it was quickly added to many astrological charts.
It takes 50.7 years to orbit the Sun. It's stationary period
occurs for approximately 8 to 10 days. It's retrograde period
lasts for about 5 months each Earth year. It takes Rules over
spirituality (or the higher purpose) in everyday business matters.
- When Chiron goes into retrograde, the potential for corruption
increases. Through stealing, cooking the books or making unfair
business deals. Those in positions of power put their reputations
and their businesses at risk for sake of the bottom line and
greed. And it's during this retrograde period that their practices
can easily be caught.
- Chiron Past Life:
- If Chiron is in retrograde in your chart, you face issues
of arrogance and/or greed. You may have overwhelming desires
to exceed at any cost and at the expense of others. Looking for
the easy way to reach easy street, even if it means making unscrupulous
deals in the process.
- From a past life perspective, you were probably a person
who lived in poverty or were destitute or both. Or you may have
been expected to succeed, pressured at all turns, but failed
in some manner. Only to be blamed, disrespected or ostracized
from those you cared most about. Either of these situations possibly
left you with seeing the suffering of those you loved, which
left a very strong impression on your soul. These past incarnations
have left you with a drive to succeed at any cost.
To overcome these lessons, it's time to realize that success
is not measured by financial wealth and position. Even the richest
of people can be left alone and lonely, not knowing who to trust
or what friendships to value based on merit or money. Be thankful
for the little blessings in your life. Gratitude for a loving
family and an abundance of friends is the true gifts of success.
- It takes 12 years for Jupiter to travel around the Sun. It
pauses into a stationary position for 5 to 8 days. It's retrograde
period lasts for about 4 months or so, approximately once each
year. Jupiter rules over your need to grow, expand and learn.
- One of the two social planets, Jupiter can affect people
in a very holistic manner. This retrograde causes society to
reevaluate ethics. Spiritual beliefs and positions are questioned,
laws and acceptable or unacceptable behaviors are re-evaluated.
Jupiter's retrograde reminds us we're all interconnected, as
a society, culture and people. From this view point we see more
of the things we have in common, instead of differences. We look
at those behaviors that may have once been unacceptable, or had
a stigma to them and find compassion and acceptance.
- Jupiter is also a ruler of travel. When in retrograde, travel
plans are often adversely affected. Even the best well laid plans
can fall apart. Luggage can be lost, means of transportation
can develop mechanical problems and reservations can be mixed
up or canceled.
- Jupiter Past Life:
- If Jupiter is in retrograde in your chart, searching for
ethics, values and fairness is probably a strong part of your
personality. You seek truth and look for deeper meaning in life.
Scientific or philosophical research maybe of great interest.
You may shun spiritual beliefs and feel a lack of respect for
those who have a strong sense of spirituality in their lives.
But not having this type of spiritual connection in your life,
makes you feel flat and sometimes empty.
- You probably feel bogged down or boxed in by routine, rituals
or blind faith. You continually question the latest fad or intellectual
thought, only to feel disappointed in the end. You're looking
for that perfect spiritual path mixed with intellect, hoping
to find the right balance between the two.
- From a past life perspective, there may have been a lifetime
when you were persecuted for your spiritual or ethical beliefs.
This experience has probably left you feeling uneasy about embracing
anything larger than yourself out of fear of another existence
of persecution. You may be concerned about showing your wisdom,
feeling fearful of responsibility or for jeopardizing the positions
of those who listen to you.
- To overcome these lessons, try to listen to your inner voice
or intuition. We all have gut feelings, and a healthy amount
of skepticism is a good thing. But too much can keep you from
finding the balance you seek. Take a little step and start with
meditation. Even if you don't want to associate it with a spiritual
path, you can't deny the scientific benefits of such an exercise.
When you do meditate, take time to listen to your inner voice
and you might find the perfect path you're looking for.
- Mars requires 687 days to travel one cycle around the Sun
depending on the time of year. It's stationary for up to 5 days.
Its retrograde period happens every 2 years and it stays in this
state for 2 to 2 and a half months. Mars rules over physical
needs or physical expressions of emotions.
- As the Planet of War, when Mars is in a retrograde period
it can create anger and discord. Often it turns inward and people
go through periods of great self doubt. Passive aggression, inner
angst, stress and anguish are all contributions of the Mars retrograde.
This inner angst can be released in unhealthy ways, and directed
at others. Such as creating illness, heightened stress, an increase
in conflicts and severe road rage. But people who are fairly
balanced individuals, both in emotion and nature, may not be
as affected by this retrograde as others might be. But be assured
that no one escapes it's affects. Short tempers can be applied
to even the most calm and patient people.
- Mars Past Life:
- If Mars is in retrograde in your chart you may find that
you have difficulty in speaking up for yourself. A lack of self
confidence, lack of direction or other self-imposed emotional
blocks can hold you back from achieving your dreams. You probably
look to others to fight your battles and are always disappointed
when no one steps forward in your defense. You may also have
feelings of being a doormat for the one you love.
- If you do speak up, it's probably when you've taken all you
can. The anger builds and when released it's often out of proportion,
quickly and often times extremely harshly directed towards others.
This could be caused from a past life experience when you directed
to perform regrettable acts under someone else's orders or demands.
Such as a soldier, a guard or potentially a criminal.
- To overcome these lessons, try hobbies for focusing your
frustrations and stress in a productive manner. Such as building,
hammering, gardening or other types of physical activities. Learning
techniques for relaxation can also be of great value. Not only
for calming your emotions and stresses, but also for looking
inward to examine and overcome those issues you've brought into
this lifetime to work on.
- The Mercury retrograde is perhaps the best known retrograde.
It requires 88 days to make a complete pass around the Sun and
remains stationary for anywhere between a few hours or a few
days, depending on the time of year. This planet goes into retrograde
3 times a year for about 3 weeks each time. Mercury has the highest
frequency of retrograde, but stays in this cycle for the shortest
length of time. Mercury rules over communication and thought
or thinking things through.
- Communication is greatly affected by this planet's pull.
During this period, individuals may find their messages can be
conveyed through other less familiar mediums. Messages may be
misunderstood; whispers may be overheard and mail or email may
be misdirected. Reviewing legal matters can become confusing,
or unclear. Public speaking can become difficult, and those giving
speeches can be easily misquoted.
- You may find it easier to provide self-expression through
other forms rather than verbal or written.
- Mercury Past Life:
- If Mercury is in retrograde in your chart, communications
are probably tough for you today. You may find your words can
get you into trouble or you may be afraid to speak your mind
for fear of the consequences. As a past life influence, it's
likely that you were once scorned for speaking out; perhaps your
words significantly hurt a person, or a people. You may have
even influenced a riot and were then punished for your words.
A Mercury retrograde symbolizes that you are afraid to say the
wrong thing, or that people take your words in the wrong way.
So you may find it easier to not speak at all.
- To overcome these lessons, you should believe in yourself
and the ability of your communication skills. Practice public
speaking and celebrate the achievement of speaking to a group.
- It takes 165 years for Neptune to circle the Sun. It can
spend 14 years in each Sign of the Zodiac. and remain stationary
for about 2 weeks. Neptune goes into retrograde 5 months out
of every year. Neptune rules over logic and the importance of
balance or the flow of life.
- When in retrograde, logic falls to the wayside. People gain
an increased interest in intuition or esoteric matters. Dreams
and psychic abilities find new followers, as people beginning
to analyze their inner natures. New outlets of communications
come to the surface as artistic abilities get expressed.
- Neptune is also the ruler over bacteria, viruses and the
immune system. So when it goes retrograde, allergies may kick
up or worsen. In addition, children who are given vaccinations
during this time, can develop stronger reactions to the drugs.
Many people will suffer with an over-sensitive immune system
and can develop more serious diseases.
- Neptune Past Life:
- If Neptune is in retrograde is in your chart, you are prone
to escape reality through delusion or dream. Few people really
knows what goes on in your mind, wither you're sitting across
from the dinner table or at your desk in the office. Even while
you're working, you have a strong tendency to drift off into
daydreams to more pleasurable pursuits. This can be one of the
most dangerous retrograde positions in the Astrological chart
system. This position can cause people to be inhibited and lack
the confidence to reach for their dreams in reality. Consequently
they may find escape from the proceeved failure through an abuse
of drugs or alcohol. They may also fall into an escape from reality
al together and have bouts with various forms of mental illness.
- From a past life perspective, you may have had a lifetime
where your dreams were laughed at, put down or forbidden in some
fashion. Or you may have been forced to give up your life long
dream in exchange for other responsibilities, such as becoming
the bread winner for your family unexpectedly. These past restrictions
may cause you to have a penchant for escapism, or to have extreme
expressions of your creativity. This has probably gotten the
best of you and caused other problems in various aspects of your
- To overcome these lessons, you need to learn how to rise
above challenges that come across your path. If you abuse drugs,
alcohol or use other unhealthy behaviors to escape your responsibilities
or the unpleasant moments of life, you will need to seek help
and overcome these habits and desires.
- To rise above these challenges, use your creativity in a
positive manner. Learn to control it and not let it control you.
Focus your efforts to not only better yourself and your life,
but consider helping others who are going through much tougher
situations than you are.
- It takes 248 years for Pluto to rotate around the Sun. So
this planet can spend up to 21 years in each Sign. It typically
spends 17 days in a stationary position and about 5 months in
retrograde during each Earth year. Pluto rules over generations,
learning from each generation to the next. It also rules over
history and learning from the past.
- Pluto's retrograde brings change, with fresh starts and dead
ends. During this period, things we hang onto the most can suddenly
be taken away causing us to reevaluate what we value most. Change
can occur through destruction and rebuilding or rejuvenation
and regeneration. Outside forces are at work as well, including
government upheaval, weapons and war. Change can often be difficult,
and sometimes being forced into change is the only way to push
some people forward in life.
- Pluto Past Life:
- If Pluto is in retrograde in your chart, you face issue of
control. Feeling as if you must control all things in and around
your life. Often to the extreme and at expense of others. Holding
onto relationships so tight they become suffocating to your partner.
Or holding onto past relationships, refusing to let go and move
- From a past life perspective, you were probably ostracized
from your family, community or exiled from your home country.
You may have been the scapegoat for the community and you stood
alone for bad deeds that perhaps you didn't even commit. These
past incarnation have left you feeling mistrustful of others,
especially those close to you.
- To overcome these lessons, it's time to learn trust, of yourself
and of others. People are not out to get you in this lifetime.
If you do allow the manipulation of others to affect you, you're
letting them control your emotions and your actions. So you must
learn to let the weaknesses of others slide off you. Don't give
them the grip to hang on and they'll be forced to find another
to focus on. Use your knowledge and wisdom of the past as benefit
to hone your instincts, learn who to avoid, who to trust and
most of all how to believe and trust in yourself.
- Saturn's average cycle around the Sun is 29 and a half years.
Its stationary period, lasts for about 11 or 12 days. And once
a year it goes retrograde for about 4 and a half months. Saturn
rules over status or your desire to protect your position, in
life or in opinion/belief.
- One of the two social planets, Saturn slows everything down.
But in retrograde it can be a tough taskmaster. It can make us
work harder or take longer to think things through, for both
our actions or the events occurring around us. There are no short
cuts during this time period and detailed plans shouldn't be
rushed. Take time to breathe and do things right the first time.
- Issues with authority may also be in the forefront during
this retrograde. Working on legal matters, such as contracts
or deals may be delayed. Deadlines may be extended and may find
yourself working on something you thought was already complete.
- Saturn Past Life:
- If Saturn is in retrograde in your chart, you may always
be in conflict with authority. You may feel persecuted by your
boss or upper management. Or you may abuse your own authority
or position. You have difficultly in setting limitations, or
determining the limits of others around you. You may have problems
with voicing your opinions to those in authority, therefore allowing
yourself to be victimized. Patience will also be a lesson.
- From a past life experience you may have had a lifetime in
an abusive situation. Either as the victim or the abuser. You
may have been a prisoner, enslaved or you may once been an abusive
ruler. Along with these situations, you were probably immensely
impatient. Looking for an easy way out of being abused or looking
to make your life easier by making others do even the simplest
of tasks for you.
- To overcome these lessons, you must learn the lessons of
patience and the accountabilities of being a leader. If you feel
abused, hold those in authority accountable for their actions.
If you can learn to constructively voice your concerns and opinions,
the rewards will be great. You will be able to take control in
this part of your life and end the cycle of victimization.
- If you are abusing your authority, you must learn to respect
those around you. Rather than continuing with an unrestrained
lifestyle, focus on making plans, setting strategy and working
hard on your own tasks.
- Uranus takes a full 84 years to orbit the Sun. It's very
long year can cause this planet to remain in each Sign of the
Zodiac for about 7 years. The stationary period for Uranus is
2 weeks, and its retrograde lasts for about 5 months out of every
Earth year. Uranus rules over motivation, goals and originality.
- Uranus in retrograde, suggests you expect the unexpected.
Surprises come out of no where. This can be wonderful or undesirable,
depending on the situation. Uranus is the odd ball of the planets
in our solar system. It can bring whims of fancy that amaze and
amuse. Or it can come with chaos either externally in the world
or internally to the individual.
- At this time, some people might find their wilder side coming
to the surface, or the outgoing person can become uncharacteristically
shy. Extreme variations or opposites in your personality are
not uncommon and you'll find yourself behaving very differently
than other people perceive you.
- Uranus Past Life:
- If Uranus is in retrograde in your chart, you probably live
your life to the extreme in many aspects. Wither you're an extreme
extrovert, or extreme introvert. There is little middle ground
in your frame of mind. You see life as black and white with little
to no gray areas at all.
- In one of your previous lives before this one you were probably
a rebel or a revolutionary. Always fighting the establishment
or looking for battles that challenge fairness. Though this lifestyle
has its merits, it can be pushed to the extreme. Your extreme
lifestyle has always interfered with or perhaps even destroyed
many other facets of your life.
- To overcome these lessons, you need to learn that giving
an inch can sometimes gain you a mile. Find the middle ground
and learn the art of compromise. Learning compassion can help
you live in someone else's shoes and seeing the other side. It
can also help you to accept that others have different views
or beliefs. Those alternative views aren't wrong, they're just
different. All this will help you find the gray areas in life.
Take a moment to appreciate the useful aspects of structure.
Chose your battles and accept that some structure in life is
not just a good thing, but in some cases it's also required.
- Venus revolves around the Sun in 225 days and remains stationary
for 3 to 4 days. Every 18 months or so, this planet slips into
retrograde for approximately 6 weeks. Venus rules over relationships
- A Venus retrograde focuses on romantic relationships and
intimate emotions. Suppressed feelings may come to the surface
and you might find new ways to expressing them. People may reevaluate
what they want, from life and from those around them. And during
this retrograde, they may also seek these new desires elsewhere.
Even individual value systems can come into question. What we
valued most may seem unimportant, or what we disagreed with before
can some how not seem so bad or different. We may find ourselves
re-evaluating the meaning of personal views, such as friendship,
love, intimacy or even spiritual beliefs.
- Venus Past Life:
- If Venus is in retrograde in your chart, you may have some
relationship issues to overcome in this lifetime. It's likely
that in a past incarnation you feel inhibited or restrained to
seek what you really wanted in life. There were probably also
external forces beyond your control to keep you and your lover
apart, in either the same past life or another that's also influencing
your current embodiment. Therefore you may have never learned
how to conduct a mature, productive relationship in this lifetime.
- Today you probably find it hard to fulfill your dreams or
desires from the people who are close to you. You may have difficulty
connecting with your mate and sustaining intimate relationships
with friends. You may also seek fulfillment from your partner,
but that always seems to come up short.
- Some of this influence that applies to emotional matters
can also apply to financial issues as well. Especially in today's
society where we place personal happiness and financial security
hand in hand. So you may never quite feel that you have enough
in your pockets and therefore your self-worth can become a personal
issue for you.
- To overcome these lessons of relationships in this life,
try to focus on what you really want in a relationship and consider
your choice of partners carefully. Good advice for everyone,
but especially for those with Venus in retrograde. But remember
happiness cannot be created by taking it from others. Only you
can make yourself happy. So look within yourself and ponder what
you give back to your partner and those you are close to as well.
Source: 1, o22,
- Created: 09.28.1998 Updated: 12.29.2011