In astrological terminology, a planet is in retrograde motion when it appears to be moving backwards in its orbit. However, the planets never actually change direction as they’re orbiting around the Sun — it just looks that way from our perspective here on Earth. What we see in the sky above may just be an optical illusion, but nonetheless, what we see is what we get! Observations over the centuries have shown us that retrograding planets have a significant impact on us terrestrial beings and our activities.
From a personal—as well as collective—point of view, a retrograde cycle symbolizes a time for retracing your steps, reviewing your priorities and going back over things. “As above, so below.” While it’s your choice as to how you respond or react to these energies, it’s obviously easier to go with the flow than trying to swim upstream!
Every planet (excluding the luminaries: Sun & Moon) has retrograde motion, although they differ in frequency and in length of time that they appear to be going in a reversed direction. The various concerns that come to the forefront during a retrograde depend upon the nature of the planet — and the astrological sign it is transiting.
MERCURY RETROGRADE: This is the most infamous, observable and widely-known retrograde of all — it has a well-deserved reputation for wreaking havoc with our best-laid plans! Mercury has more frequent retrograde cycles than the other planets (3 times a year for about 3 weeks at a time) because it’s in closest proximity to the Sun.
Since Mercury is the ruling planet of both VIRGO (accuracy, details & systems) and GEMINI (communication, distribution & transportation), its retrograde cycle can bring up snafus, bugs and breakdowns related to these matters. Murphy’s Law (“anything that can go wrong will go wrong”) is an appropriate adage for this cycle!Considering the potential for mishaps and setbacks, it isn’t advisable at this time to launch a business, start a new job, buy or list a home, sign documents & contracts, get married, undergo elective surgery, send out newsletters or promotional materials, purchase a car, computer, phone or electronic equipment, install new software, or initiate anything significant that you want to start off without a glitch!
Embrace this 3-week Mercury retrograde period, instead, as an opportunity to review, re-evaluate and catch up with yourself! Utilize this time to sort, file and clear off your desk, clean up your email and catch up with correspondence. Edit writing projects, make necessary repairs, reconnect with friends, review travel arrangements, confirm appointments and tie up loose ends. Allow extra time to get things done and, most important of all, maintain your sense of humor!
The issues that tend to arise with each retrograde cycle are determined by the sign occupied by Mercury at the time. For instance, if Mercury is retrograding in TAURUS, you’ll be going back over family affairs, domestic issues or property matters. So…plan, prepare, develop workable strategies and get everything lined up for when Mercury turns direct and you can move forward again. . .
VENUS RETROGRADE: The retrograde cycle of Venus comes up every 19 months and lasts for 6 weeks. This is a time for re-evaluating your social alliances, group involvements and collaborative efforts. Reconnect with friends & lovers, re-examine your tastes and pleasures, and put your life back into balance, peace & harmony.
MARS RETROGRADE: The retrograde cycle of Mars occurs every 2 years and lasts for 2 months. This is a time for re-evaluating your personal and professional goals, reviewing your accomplishments and reclaiming your power. It could be useful to redo your resumé, have a talk with the boss, re-examine your emotional and sexual desires, resolve inner conflicts and get your life under control.
JUPITER RETROGRADE: The retrograde cycle of Jupiter takes place once a year and lasts for 4 months. This is a time for going back over your belief systems, re-affirming your faith and calling on your inner wisdom & knowledge. Catch up on your reading, re-assess your educational goals or marketing plans, and clear out any excesses in your life. Prepare the way for increased prosperity and personal growth!
SATURN RETROGRADE: The retrograde cycle of Saturn repeats itself each year and lasts for about 4-1/2 months. This is a time to strengthen your foundations, cement your long-term intentions and solidify your commitments. Utilize this cycle to recycle outworn possessions, clear up debts & obligations, scrutinize insurance, tax, government or business matters, clean up your karma, re-evaluate your habits, and put your back, knees and teeth in healthy condition.
URANUS RETROGRADE: The retrograde cycle of Uranus comes about every year and lasts for about 5 months. This is a time for re-evaluating partnership & teamwork interactions, releasing any limiting relationships and clarifying your priorities. Review your metaphysical studies, investigate alternative approaches to solving problems and strive for equality in your one-on-one relationships. Free yourself up from whatever is holding you back!
NEPTUNE RETROGRADE: The retrograde cycle of Neptune wafts in every year and lasts for about 5-1/2 months. This is a time to deal with any unresolved health matters, get back to the gym, stretch, hydrate, catch up on your sleep and pay special attention to your dreams. Meditate and re-energize your spiritual practices; take your pet to the vet and re-evaluate your volunteer activities. Be especially compassionate to yourself.
PLUTO RETROGRADE: The retrograde cycle of Pluto replays every every year for about 5-1/2 months. This is a time to transform whatever aspects of your life are in need of renewal & rejuvenation. Reduce inflammation, purge outgrown attitudes or childish behaviors, and eliminate unnecessary activities. Take an in-depth look at your business or practice, redo your personal environment and prepare for a major metamorphosis once Pluto turns direct again!
© 2018 Diane Elizabeth Clarke