It refers to the forward movement of planets as seen from the Earth. Direct motion allows an outward expression of a planet’s energy, as indicated by house, sign placement and its aspects.
Retrograde is the opposite of direct motion. The Sun and Moon are never retrograde. The retrograde refers to a planet that appears to be moving backward as seen from the Earth.
When a planet is retrograde in a Birth Chart, the affairs ruled by that planet are slowed down, and the person is more introspective concerning them. Because of this slowed motion, the person is able to profit from all the fine details that would otherwise be missed. The affairs ruled by retrograde planets are often conducted in a behind-the-scenes manner.
During a retrograde period, the energy of the retrograde planet is less assertive and more internalize. Sometimes, it reverses the situations, changes our feelings and regular activities. It has been said that retrograde also means “unfinished business.”
The influence of beneficial planets (Venus and Jupiter) is weaken when they are retrograde. And, when the malefic planets (Mars, Saturn and Uranus) are retrograde, their malefic is increased.
Mercury has a 20-24 days retrograde period; Venus, about 40-43 days; Mars about 60-81 days; Jupiter, about 120 days; Staurn, about 130 days; Uranus, about 155-200 days; Neptune, about 157-200 days; Pluto, about 160-210 days every year.
The way retrograde planets seem to affect our affairs varies from planet to planet.
About three times a year, Mercury turns retrograde, stationary, and direct again. If Mercury is retrograde in the Birth Chart, these persons are often shy early in life, they usually make up for it later on. They tend to be slow in their thinking and learning process, and cautious in communication. However, because of this process, deep insights are often gained. Their conditions of work and healths often undergo a process of revision and improvement.
When Mercury turns retrograde, it will have a greater impact upon those persons who are ruled by this planet, or those engaging in Mercury professions, such as teaching, writing, negotiating, or travel.
During Mercury retrograde, communications often misunderstood, become confused, or delayed. Letters were lost or delivered to the wrong places, or they end up in the drawer for weeks. We signed a contract or agreement, and later find out that we did not have all the correct information, or what we signed was misleading in some way.
During this period, our short trips often become more complicated, we leave the directions at home, or write it down incorrectly. Our cars are disabled suddenly for no obvious reasons. We are late for important appointments due to circumstances beyond our control, or we totally forget about it.
The retrograde motion has a major impact in the electronic industry because Mercury is exalted in Aquarius, ruled by Uranus, the ruler of electronics. It also causes communication devices breakdown, transportation problems, and late shipments in industry which results in production slowdowns.
Moving forward with new projects or plans does not work, because we are not supposed, or not ready to be moving forward yet. We need to carefully review the past in preparation for next stage of projects or plans. During retrograde periods, many factors become visible or available which enable us to revise our plans and make wiser choices or decisions in the long run.
The retrograde period is a poor time for signing contracts, or starting new projects. The making of important decisions, such as starting a new job, filing a law-suit, buying a new car, undergoing elective surgery, or getting married, should be held off until Mercury is direct, and has passed the degree at which it went retrograde.
The retrograde period is useful for planning and strategy. It can be utilized to take care of the unfinished tasks and business affairs that were started while Mercury was in direct motion. When Mercury turns direct in motion, communications, travel, decisions and business affairs proceed rapidly. Those persons can plan with confidence in new activities.
Retrograde Venus in the Birth Chart often indicates emotional frustration and loneliness. The emotional, social, and romantic affairs of these persons are subjective, and their feelings about them are not obvious to others. These persons often have deep feelings of love, and strong affections.
During Venus retrograde period (every 18 months for 6 weeks), relationship and money matters are delayed, confused or muddled. Retrograde Venus can cause a slowing down or restriction in financial affairs or in the acquisition of desired possession. This situation will persist until Venus goes direct in motion, then those persons will enter into circumstances that will enable them to express themselves effectively.
If Mars is retrograde in the Birth Chart, the desires and impulsiveness to actions can be delayed or frustrated by inner uncertainties, a lack of opportunity, or unfavorable circumstances. There may be a tendency to repress anger, and other desires, often with negative psychological consequences. These persons can channel their passions and anger into actions on global issues. If the retrograde Mars is handled properly, valued lessons in organization, perseverance, patience can be learned, and they can realize constructive accomplishments.
During Mars retrograde period (for 11 weeks, then direct for 22 months), actions initiated are often rooted in confused, or end up at cross-purposes to the original intentions.
Jupiter retrogrades for 4 months, and is direct for 9 months. If Jupiter is retrograde in the Birth Chart, these persons tend to be introspective about educational, moral, philosophic, and religious interests and activities. They often have a mystical approach to religion and philosophy. Retrograde Jupiter enables them to gain understanding, wisdom, and depth through a careful review of the moral lessons of past experience.
The Jupiter retrograde period is useful for people to rethink philosophical challenges and religious activities, re-evaluate previous beliefs, legal matters and management policies.
Saturn retrogrades for about 4 months every year. Retrograde Saturn in the Birth Chart indicates that efforts toward status and professional matters are based on the past experience. Often, these people are resolving unfinished business, or completing work that has been left undone, or has never reached full fruition. Their professional activities undergo constant refinements and revision. They tend to be successful administrators and career counselors.
During Saturn retrograde period, maintain the status quo in career or social position, and allow this retrograde period to pass before breaking ground for any new strusture.
Uranus stays retrograde for about 6 months every year. If Uranus is retrograde in the Birth Chart, old unfinished business may come up for review suddenly and unexpectedly. These persons view their lives in a more detached way, devoid of sentiment, yet they function well in a day-to-day world. Friends, group associations, and the direction of goals often have their roots in the past.
The Uranus retrograde period may not be a successful period for first time breaks from family, personal or business partnership. You may reconsider previous manifestations of separation, individuality, and invention, which may have filed before.
Neptune stays retrograde for about 6 or 7 months every year. If Neptune is retrograde in the Birth Chart, these persons are introspective and inclinded to evaluate and reflect upon their intuitive, and emotional feelings. They are often successful at educating others in the arts, music, or mathematics. If Neptune is afflicted, idle dreaming can keep them out of touch with present reality.
The Neptune retrograde period is a useful time to reivew spiritually, devoid of judgement, and criticism, and return to neglected artistic expression and talents.
Pluto stays retrograde for about 6 or 7 months every year. If Pluto is retrograde in the Birth Chart, these persons tend to act secretively and mysteriously. They will probably take an indirect approach to corporate affairs and matters related to insurance, taxes, and inheritance. Their efforts at self-improvement are not obvious, but, they are active below the surface.
The Pluto retrograde period is useful to cleanse away pollution that depletes our bodies and the environment, to learn the responsibilities of power, and how to teach others to use poweful tools without destroying themselves and others.
Summary During the retrograde periods, we usually reschedule, repair, return, rewrite, restore, redo, renew things or activities. In general, the actions ruled by a particular planet often need to be repeated, or redo when that planet retrogrades. Just make sure that whatever you are planning is something that you do not want to do it twice.
A planet is said to “make a station” when it seems to stop moving. A planet has a greater influence in the birth chart when it is stationary because its energy is concentrated and focused at the degree of the Zodiac it occupies.
There are two types of stationary planets. The first one occurs when a planet that has been direct is about to turn retrograde. Movement in the affairs of life ruled by this planet slows down in preparation for an introspective phase of experience.
The second one occurs when a planet that has been retrograde is about to go direct. The person, who has been in an introspective phase regarding the affairs ruled by this planet, is preparing to move out into new experience. A stationary planet focuses its energy in one spot and in one way, and therefore, produces a deep impression on the person.