Astrology Numerology
Home  |   Astrology Index   |   Numerology Index   |  

Retrograde Planets

From early schooling, we know the planets in our solar system revolve in orbit around the Sun. In astrology, all of these orbits are considered from our place here on Earth. As individuals, our place here on Earth is our place of birth. Thus, as the Earth revolves around the Sun, our view of the other planets in the solar system can become somewhat skewed and distorted. Because the other planets are moving at different speeds, there will be times when it will appear from Earth that a planet is not moving at all, and at times that a planet is actually moving backwards when viewed against the backdrop of a fixed star. In such periods, the planet is said to be in retrograde motion.

On some charts, and in the ephemeris (an almanac of the daily planetary positions), planets which are in retrograde are denoted by a tiny R after the degree and minute designation. While older astrology books may suggest that retrograde planets in the birth chart are debilitated in some way, modern literature has mostly dropped this. At most, a suggestion that a retrograde planet may denote delayed development of factors relating to that planet. Many astrologers barely mention the retrograde status of a planet in the natal chart.

Modern astrologers do pay attention to retrograde planets in their transit. Again, the tendency is to view periods of retrograde as being negative. The most popular planet to watch is Mercury. When Mercury goes retrograde, astrologers believe that many of the everyday affairs ruled by Mercury are disrupted. When Mercury is retrograde, mental mistakes abound. Travel plans are often messed up. Misunderstanding occur. Diehard believers will refrain from making any sort of contract when Mercury is retrograde.

Perhaps the greatest impact of retrograde planets can be felt when the outer planets turn retrograde while forming a transit aspect to one of your natal planets. If, for example, transiting Neptune has formed a conjunction with your natal Sun position, the interpretation might be:

"T Neptune conjunct N Sun on the positive side tends to increase your sensitivity and compassion for others. You may be much more inclined to set aside your own ego and lend a helping hand to those in need of your assistance. Neptune causes the ego drive of the Sun to diminish. It is from this aspect of the contact that the negative influence of the conjunction emerges. A common reaction to this transit is fatigue and an attitude of being defeated. You are likely to feel disappointed or especially sorry for yourself, as well as for others. This is not a good aspect for anyone who has a problem with drinking or drugs. The body is extremely sensitive to external influences and less able to resist strain of any type. Another result of this transit is that you may be inclined to deceive others, as if your ego energy is trying to make you appear as something other than what you really are. You are likely to be unusually idealistic under this transit. It's necessary to insure that these ideals are rooted in reality and are not merely a device for escaping it."

Now if Neptune were to go slow to a stop and start to slowly travel in reverse for a while, this aspect might stay in orb for a number of months. The potential for a negative impact would be significant. If you were predisposed to a drinking or drug problem, this lengthy transit aspect could be devastating. At a minimum, you would feel very tired and somewhat confused as to why.

Thus, some of our longest runs of good luck and of bad luck can be traced to an outer planet in transit forming aspects to planets in the natal map.

© Michael McClain 1996-2012.  Permission is granted for unlimited noncommercial use.  All other rights reserved.

Relationship Reading

astrology Sky Within