Do you have any retrograde planets? I do. A retrograde planet is any planet that looks like it is going backwards through the sky. It’s not actually moving backwards though, but because of its orbit and our position in our orbit it gives the appearance of temporarily backtracking its path through the sky. To check and see if you have a retrograde planet in your birth chart go to astro.com > free horoscope > extended chart selection to create your chart. Then, if you look at the table of planet placements you may see an ‘r’ next to a planet’s position, letting you know it is retrograde. Here you can see I have Mars retrograde. The Sun and Moon will never retrograde.
What does it mean when a planet is retrograde? Some astrology sources will say it makes the energy move backwards, however I prefer to say it moves in a way that is different than the average expression of that planet. Nothing is wrong with you if you have a retrograde planet, but it can make it a little bit more difficult to express that planet in the way the world wants (and often expects) you to. You have your own way of dealing with that energy that not everyone can relate to. Ultimately you have to learn to view the energy in a different light.
During transits, a planet will retrograde going back over a part of the sky it already covered. This gives us a chance to reevaluate the way we have played out that part of the zodiac’s energy. It does this by making the energy pass through us internally first before we project that energy outward. This in a sense forces us to place more value in how we use the planet’s energy in our lives. As an example, Saturn went into retrograde this morning (March 23, 2016) and will keep moving backwards until August 13, 2016. Saturn rules our discipline and structure. It is our career and our pubic self. It’s where we tend to work hard now so we can play hard later. Now that it is retrograde, it is a little bit harder to just create outward structure because first we must use our Saturn energy to assess our own inner structure. This means we have less Saturn energy for outward expression. The structure we create outwardly needs to be carefully thought out because this is not a time for us to waste energy that we don’t have. This is happening in Sagittarius which rules our intuition and our thirst for higher knowledge and expansion. We have to be careful to trust our intuition during this time. Let it led you where it needs you to go. Look to which house has Sagittarius for you to see which house this energy will occur in. Mine is in the sixth house of daily routine and order. I have to relearn how to trust my intuition on a day to day basis. Once Saturn turns direct again, going back over what it just reviewed, we will be so much more ready to create a strong empire for ourselves based on our new found trust in our gut feelings.
If you were born during a retrograde period, that planet’s expression for you naturally expresses inward first. This means you have to take care in learning how to efficiently use that energy in the outward world. If you were born in a Saturn retrograde period, to continue our example, your energy always works the way Saturn Retrograde energy feels like. The way you supply discipline and structure in order to create a career and public self always has to carefully pass through you internally, making where you invest this energy outward very crucial. Normally, it can be hard for you to build up a career and it is possible that people around you get upset at you for not working hard enough or having a big enough career, however a lot of that comes from them not seeing that you have to invest energy in running through you first, so what you put out into the world already feels like overtime. During a Saturn retrograde period, though, you tend to feel a little bit better about responsibilities then everyone else. While those of us with direct Saturn’s are stressing out, trying to adapt to the new way of energy movement, you feel right at home. This is the case for any retrograde period and planet. I have Mars retrograde, so when Mars is doing its reevaluation, I feel right at home, but those around me may be uncomfortable trying to adapt to the different way of expressing Mars.
By being aware of what planets you have retrograde (you may have none, you may have several. No matter how many you have, it’s normal) you are able to better understand what to expect with that energy expression. With my Mars retrograde, asserting myself into the world doesn’t come easy. Physical effort doesn’t come natural either. For me, the energy I have to put myself out there has to pass internally first. When it comes time to assert myself when people disrespect me, it can be challenging, but I have come to appreciate the ability to actually peacefully assert yourself in a partnership without backing down. I’ve also learned to appreciate the way my body moves through the world. I can’t always go to the gym and do a heavy work out every day of the week, but I can do yoga every morning to wake my body up in a way that best works with my introverted Mars energy. I didn’t find out about my birth chart until I was 20 though, so my teenage years were spent with me getting angry at myself for not being able to perform like everyone else. If you understand your retrograde placements it’s easier to be more understanding with yourself, which you can then extend outward to those around you.
When it comes to the sign and house of your retrograde planet, it can often feel like you express the opposite energy in a more unhealthy way. I have Mars in Leo and the second house. Leo rules the ego and a while a typical Leo Mars would be great at standing up for themselves, my Mars naturally wants to act like an Aquarius, putting humanity over my own needs. This is not fair to myself however because I deserve to be able to balance my own needs with how I help others. The second house energy normally brings stability, grounding, and the ability to bring in a lot of money, while the eighth house is abuse, intimacy, and transformations. I have seen a lot of how people can use masculine energy in abusive ways and I tend to spend a lot of natural energy in some of the darker elements of the eighth house. Again, just like the balance of Leo and Aquarius, it is okay for me to use the energy of the eighth house, transformations are great, but I also need to consciously work towards building stability and resources for myself.
To read about how the opposite signs work together you can read my post about balance here. I also have a post about the houses here if you want to incorporate the house your retrograde planet is in as well. I find that I’m often disappointed in the lack of information about how each sign and house placement effects the retrograde planet so I plan on writing about that in the future, so keep an eye out. For now though, I will explain how each planet may work when it is retrograde and you can work to mix that energy with what you know (or can find out) about that sign and house. Hands on learning is the best learning, after all, so don’t be afraid to mess around with it. Astrology is about SELF discovery.
Mercury rules our mind and how we communicate with other people. It is the energy we have to explore the world in short bursts on a day to day basis. A natal Mercury retrograde will make it important to think your words out carefully before speaking. Maybe you tend to stick your foot in your mouth, or have trouble communicating as clearly as you need or want to. This is because Mercury wants you to carefully pass your thoughts through your filter to decide what is truly deserving of being expressed. You have a lot of great thoughts to contribute to the world, but a retrograde Mercury asks you to take the time to carefully refine your message so you say exactly what you need it to say. A lot of musicians have a retrograde mercury, showing that it doesn’t stop you from having a successful voice. You may also find that you really don’t have a lot of energy for the things that are fleeting. Mercury usually moves in rapid bursts, and you can too, but it happens on an internal level first. Your hobbies and your day trips tend to matter because you might not have a lot of energy for them. Mercury also rules our siblings, so it’s possible with this placement that your relationship with them is rocky, though not doomed by any means.
Venus rules partnerships and our ability to balance and harmonize. It also rules love and beauty. With a Venus retrograde your ability to harmonize and find beauty must first go inward. You have to learn to love yourself and find a partnership with yourself before you can form strong partnerships with others. This means that the energy you have for balancing outward partnerships can feel a little low. It is important that you are careful in selecting the partnerships you select, allowing them to come from a place of self-love. This is a position that will not allow you to just pass through life without learning to love yourself first. You may find that you need a lot of time away from partnerships, or that you really rather not keep that many deep relationships and that is perfectly fine. For you quality over quantity is important. Venus retrograde is a sign that if you are searching for love, which most of us, to start from within. The rest will follow. With retrograde energy, once you learn how to truly manifest it to its highest power, you can do amazing things. You have so much love, so allow yourself to embrace it.
Mars rules your physical energy. It is masculine energy, or the energy we have for the outward world. It’s the energy we have to put our heart into action. When this energy is retrograde, it becomes inward. When you move the energy dedicated towards outward expression and direct it inward things can clash. When it comes to anger, you tend to bottle things up, deeming them not worthy of bringing outwards. This causes things to explode over something small and people are going to be confused about why you are so upset over such a little thing, but that’s because it wasn’t just one little thing, it was a thousand little things that you just tried to ignore. You may find that you often have to internally hype yourself up for physical activity. Ultimately if you’re going to do something that requires any physical strain, it better be worth it. With this placement, you learn how important it is to try to speak up for yourself as you go along. Anger doesn’t have to come out in an explosion like a volcano. Anger can mean walking away until you can find some grounding, and then reproaching the situation in a level way, communicating why you are so upset and how you want to work towards fixing the issue. Take care not to beat yourself up so much, try to direct some of that highly masculine, yet frustratingly introverted energy in some more constructive ways.
Jupiter rules luck and expansion. It is our quest for understanding and our ability to trust our intuition. When Jupiter is retrograde in your birth chart, it can feel like the outward world doesn’t always have your back like it does for others. Finding luck may be a little bit harder for you, but that is because luck isn’t actually luck, its people letting their gut guide them and it working. For you, letting your instincts and intuition lead you somewhere doesn’t come as natural for you as it does for others. It may be harder for you to quiet down all the voices of the world to get to the heart of what your soul is trying to tell you, but as long as you look inward, it is there. Take the time to let yourself expand internally. You have a whole unexplored world inside of you. You may find that your thirst for adventure doesn’t really manifest all that often outward, but it can inward. Listen to what your soul wants, what path it sees for you, and then take care to bring it into the world. You can be lucky too, as long as you truly seek out where your opportunities lie. Learn to ask yourself why and listen to the answers, rather than searching for the truth out in the world. You have everything you need to walk your path, but it starts from within.
Saturn, as mentioned earlier, rules structure and discipline. It represents our father figures, where we learn to get a sense of authority. With a retrograde Saturn, your father may not have been the best at teaching you how to create a career for yourself. For you, it is important to turn inward to find inner discipline and structure. If you try to build a career without first creating your own inward structure it will be hard. You have something great to offer the world and the public, but it is up to you to carefully refine it internally first. Find out what type of structure works for you. You probably won’t be the type of person who agrees with authority, and that is perfectly fine. You can be your own boss, but first you have to define what that means for you. What is the career that you want to build, and what kind of inner structure are you going to have to find to build this career, and then go after it.
Uranus is our ability to challenge society for the good of society. It can be our energy for activism, humanitarianism, rebellion, or innovativeness. It is where we are different. Different tends to challenge the status quo, which can be good. Stagnation can stall progress. Uranus shakes things up so we can get moving again. When this energy is retrograde, it can be hard to stand up for your oddities in the face of society. First you must challenge your own status quo before you can challenge society’s status quo. It is important for you to learn to embrace the unexpected, the weird, and the unconventional in yourself. When you do that, you learn to value inner differences so much more. That gives you a lot more fuel to the fire when you challenge the world. While initially it can be difficult to rebel against your own inner ideals of what is right and what is wrong, once you learn to work with the changes, you can help the rest of society in very powerful ways. Your appreciation for Uranus energy is so much higher, and that is beneficial to the people in and of its self. Until you master this energy, however, you may find a lot of very sudden and internal upheavals. These are signals to you that somethings can no longer work for you, and it is time to move forward.
Neptune tends to blur the boundaries, especially when you are around other people, giving you a chance to truly feel the other person’s soul, typically this requires you to first know your own soul but after you figure yourself out it’s pretty easy to extend out the spiritual understanding of others. When this energy is retrograde, however, it can be harder to understand people on a soul level. First you must blur your own internal boundaries and get to know yourself on an even more inner and personal level than a direct Neptune placement. It may be hard to have a spiritual connection on the outward surface as well, and this is because you must first find that connection inward. You have to first establish your relationship with your own soul before you connect to the collective. There can be a fear of seeing things in a positive light, the proverbial rose colored glasses that Neptune gives us that allows us to take chances on ideas and people that may be worth it needs to be first directed inward. You have to first build up the courage to take a chance on your own soul, and then extend that outward to others. When you begin to look at yourself from a position of understanding and unconditional love, your empathetic connection to others deepens. You have a beautiful ability to find value in human souls, but it must start from your own.
Pluto rules transformations. It is often times where painful things occur: death, abuse, trauma, manipulation, rape, control, or abandonment. It can show where we have been hurt and where we tend to control to prevent further hurt. The goal with Pluto is to learn that control ultimately brings more hurt, and that in actuality we should learn to rely on our personal strength to survive life’s ups and downs rather than trying to prevent the downs all together. When this energy is retrograde, you try to control yourself, rather than others, to avoid pain. You may limit your transformations because you’ve learned to fear loss, and that includes the loss of parts of yourself. It is important for you to embark on these major internal transformation though. You will always be you at your core, that will never change, so trust that these internal changes are what you need. The more you try to control your energy and how you express yourself and where you open up to others, the more you will find yourself being hurt. You may also be afraid of diving into the darkest parts of who you are, however it is important for you to understand these parts of you. If you try to ignore them, you won’t understand how to work with them, giving them more opportunities to hold you back. As you learn to walk through your shadows, you will find intimacy with other people becoming easier. Trusting other people, despite their shadows, because you trust yourself, despite your own shadows, to always be okay, is what truly matters. You can form deep bonds with people, so make sure they come from a place of love and understanding, not of fear and control.
Let me know where your retrograde placements are and how you feel it effects you in the comments! Do you notice any struggles trying to express that energy in a ‘normal’ way? How can you be more understanding of YOUR flow of energy? I love your feedback, it only adds to the knowledge pool at hand.
Positive Energy and Love!