Retrograde planets meaning in Astrology Here’s What It Means When Celestial Bodies Go Backward
In Astrology, retrogrades significantly affect us in the natal chart and through transits. Here’s everything you need to know about regressive cycles from an Astrological perspective.
At this point in our culture, we’ve heard the word “Retrograde” used to describe the planet Mercury more times than we can count.
One of the things I frequently get asked when the atmosphere is off-kilter from clients is, “Um, is Mercury in Retrograde?!” Things are weird!” And a lot of the time, it’s not Mercury. It’s one of the other planets in their regressive cycle.
Even though Mercury Retrograde is the most common event we hear about, other bodies such as Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and the other outer planets have these cycles. And sometimes, multiple planets are in their inverse processes simultaneously, which adds to the odd tone in the air.
Since retrograde planets meaning in Astrology vary depending on which celestial body, it's good to understand how they can be experienced. That way, you can gain the best methods to deal with them.
Retrograde Significances In Astrology
When a celestial body appears to be moving backward from Earth's perspective, it’s in retrograde. This optical illusion is caused by the changing positions of the Earth's orbit. In other words, there are periods when the Earth is speeding up, causing it to pass another celestial body, which makes it appear to stop for a moment and then go backward.
The best analogy is the one that’s been said a million times because it’s relatable to everyone who's been in a vehicle. Think about being transported by car, train, or bus; your vehicle is the fastest.
As you’re in motion, you come across another vessel traveling slower, but it appears to be moving backward. Of course, this is impossible, but due to the velocity at which you’re traveling, the slower-shifting object seems to be reversing because you’re passing it.
Although transiting retrograde planets are not moving backward, they can significantly impact our lives. During an inverse phase, the planet's energy is said to be introverted and internalized. This is why we feel the retrograde energy shift in our atmosphere.
Because they are on the other side of the Sun, retrogrades in natal charts or transit are very strong because we are subjected to the complete energetic spectrum of the planet that is going inverse. This celestial body's power is tempered when it is hidden by the Sun, where solar energy is used to balance them. Because there is nothing to filter the planet's power, we experience it at full throttle.
Retrogrades have a unique way of showing up in our charts, but they affect everyone differently.
One person might be an observer of others going through a regressive period and not feel the effects themselves. We can see an inverse period play out more collectively than individually.
And in the case of someone experiencing a retrograde transit, the situation will vary from individual to individual. One person might only have three of the regressive period themes, while someone else has six retrograde topics occurring for them.
How we’re affected by these inverse cycles all depends on your astrological aspects and any retrogrades in your personal horoscope.
Therefore, this can lead to a feeling of being stuck or stagnant in our lives. However, Retrograde periods can also offer opportunities for reflection and inner growth. If we can learn to work with retrograde energy, we can use it to our advantage.
Retrogrades come in two varieties, natal and transits.
Natal Retrogrades occur when a planet is in its regressive phase at the time of our birth. Therefore, it's part of our chart placements.
For this reason, the energy of that planet is more impactful and pronounced in our lives. For example, if you have Retrograde Mars, there could be difficulties with asserting oneself. However, once a person has channeled this energy in a balanced manner, they can be more confident and stand up for themselves healthily.
Retrograde transits occur when a regressive planet moves across our birth chart. Events like this happen to everyone several times a year, and it can be a powerful time for growth and transformation. We can experience some retrogrades spiritually and others more physically. During a retrograde transit, we’re called to revisit old wounds or patterns that need to be healed.
We may also experience intensity around the areas of life ruled by the retrograde planet. For example, if Venus is in its inverse phase, there could be scenarios about our romantic situations and money that come up for review. That way, we can resolve those concerns so they no longer stifle our love life and financial stability.
Each Planets Retrograde
Only 8 planets have a regressive cycle. The luminaries do not go into regressive periods due to their functioning and orbit. Therefore, you will never hear anyone say the Sun and Moon are in Retrograde.
Most familiar to rarest retros:
Mercury 3 to 4 times a year
Pluto every 6 months
Neptune goes retro yearly for 5 ½ months
Uranus has an annual regressive sequence that lasts 5 ½ months
Saturn enters its inverse cycle once a year for 4 ½ months
Jupiter has a yearly retrograde cycle of 4 months.
Venus goes into its regressive period of 8% every 18 months.
Mars has the rarest retrograde phase at 7%, which happens every 2 years.
Personal Planets Retrogrades
The personal planets are Mercury, Venus, along with Mars, and their regressive sequences tend to be more noticeable than others. These celestial bodies govern daily experiences, so their effects can feel more urgent than most.
In transit, Venus and Mars affect us individually but also on a collective level. We can see more outward expressions and actions taken during these Retrogrades.
Oh yes, the Mercury in Gatorade!
This cycle gets the most attention because it causes mishaps with communication, clear thinking, and technological glitches. Mercury RX disrupts our routines 3 to 4 times a year which is why it's talked about the most.
Mercury’s regressive cycle is a time for us to go back and rethink, redirect, reexamine, and recalibrate situations involving this planet and sign combination. This, of course, affects our communication, the things we do daily, plans to be rescheduled and how we understand essential details.
The duration of the retrograde is 3 weeks, sometimes a little longer, depending on the orbit of this planet. Mercury has a pre-shadow and post-phase that lasts 2 weeks. So right before this celestial body goes retrograde, we get an indication of what we will have to contend with during the regressive period. Because of this, Mercury will spend a little over 2 months in a sign.
Natally, those born with Mercury Retrograde could have scenarios where they need to work on their interpersonal skills and embrace their unique intelligence.
They also tend to do better than those who don’t have it regressive in their natal chart. This is because it’s the energy you’re born with; therefore, you might hit your stride while others are having a more challenging time. These people tend to become brilliant at things ruled by this planet.
Everyone is affected by these periodic events no matter where Mercury falls in your natal chart.
Next time Mercury goes retrograde, be prepared for some communication challenges and take extra time to double-check your work. With a bit of preparation, you can minimize the effects of this cosmic event and sail smoothly through even the most challenging Mercury Retrograde periods.
Because Venus retrogrades are less common, its effects can feel more urgent than a Mercury or Jupiter inverse cycle, especially in transit.
Venus RX’s are about reconsidering what we’re doing in our love life and career. It could help us take off our rose gold-colored glasses to finally see situations for what they are instead of what we like them to be. This planet’s retrograde is about understanding what we no longer value, what’s below our standards, and why we need to practice self-confidence and worth.
A retrograde from this celestial body takes 40 days and nights to complete its backward motion. On either side, Venus has a pre and post-shadow period that lasts a month. So, this keeps the planet in a sign for almost 5 months during these periods when it would typically be there for 3 weeks.
Having Venus retrograde in your natal chart might create scenarios where you must find a balance regarding your love life. In other words, your relationships might have extremes, like being too closed off or moving too fast. Also, this could pronounce unrealistic expectations in your dating life.
Continuing with natal Venus Retrograde, this is tied to finances and how a person earns money, so it could bring to our awareness that it’s time to clean up our act regarding cash. Or it can give us the nudge needed to finally look for new employment because we deserve to work in an environment where we are valued.
Mars has the rarest regressive cycles, so its effects are more potent when it enters backward motion.
Once this planet goes retrograde, it can feel like everything decelerates and becomes stagnant. This is because Mars has to do with how we take action on what we crave in life. It governs our motivation, energy levels, assertiveness, and capacity for intimate performance. Therefore, its inverse periods slow our implementation, making it very frustrating.
The duration of its retrograde is 9 weeks. For the pre and post-shadow, it takes two months on either side. As a result, Mars will stay in one sign for a little over 7 months.
Natally having this planet Retrograde in your chart could cause your ability to be self-motivated to be low. However, once this energy is channeled correctly, there’s no stopping you. People with this planet retro in their personal horoscope grow to be ambitious, confident and learn healthy ways to use their strength.
Social Planet Retrogrades
Jupiter and Saturn affect us on a personal and a collective level depending on if they are aspecting anything in our chart. Because these guys have a slower orbit, more people have these celestial bodies regressive in their natal charts.
On a Transit level, we can see shifts in terms of expansion, education, and opportunities with Jupiter. Saturn's Transiting Retrograde tends to restructure shaky foundations, things to do with tradition, and publicly taking responsibility.
An inverse cycle from Jupiter is tame compared to the other rotations; however, it comes with complexities.
Since Jupiter is about our belief systems and how we chase opportunities, higher education, and travel, these areas could feel stiffed during its backward motion. We work on our sense of justice during these periods and seek a quest for higher wisdom.
With Jupiter Retrograde, we take things more slowly and reevaluate what we need to focus on rather than acting impulsively and going all in. As a result, instead of making snap decisions, we could be more careful and deliberate.
Jupiter’s retrograde motion last about 4 months. Its pre and post-shadow are about 3 months long.
Those born with a Natal Jupiter will work toward having more belief in themselves and how to be more optimistic.
Jupiter Retrograde in the Horoscope, however, is about making adjustments to things like your beliefs, boundaries, as well as dreams, and wishes so you can be ready to experience the luck of this planet without restrictions.
This is where having a retrograde Jupiter can feel like a drag since you can't obtain all of the rewards without working hard, which is not how this planet rolls. But once you’ve mastered your natal Jupiter retro, you’re able to experience improved luck and freedom.
Energetically, Saturn can feel heavy because it represents getting our sh@t together.
This planet's cycles last 4 months and 3 weeks in retrograde.
Saturn brings karma; therefore, no matter whether this planet is in its inverse or direct aspect, whatever needs to be resolved must be worked out. With Saturnian themes like structure, boundaries, and discipline, retrogrades of Saturn cause us to look inside.
As a result, much of your attention is directed here on a karmic level. Therefore, this is one of the planets with the highest spiritual lessons to learn in transits and retrogrades. Saturn's Retrograde is characterized by qualities of maturity, responsibility and establishing limits, and pairing down things that don’t bring a return on investment.
By doing this, we can give our lives structure. Therefore, this retrograde will bring a dose of reality to those it affects. In this Inverse Cycle, we develop discipline, which will help us one day construct something substantial.
Saturn's retrograde motion teaches you where you need to be honest in your relationships and how to say no to toxic individuals that obstruct your progress.
Natally, someone might be disorganized.
As a result, a person becomes more in tune with their rebellious side rather than following social conventions. You have a lot of inward work to do on yourself when Saturn is retrograde in your horoscope. Because they need to learn how to set limitations, some people struggle with boundaries.
But once they master their retrograde Saturn, these individuals build a life of excellence, achievement, sustainability, and outward security.
Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto are the slowest-moving celestial bodies and tend to have a more internalized effect. This could be expressed more psychologically than outward in a Natal Chart.
Transit-wise, these planets need to Aspect your chart for you to feel them individually. If aspected by these, it would last for 3 years or more and feel more like an internal shift.
For this reason, we experience these retrogrades on a more introspective and spiritual level. They do come with physical manifestations; however, we gain a ton of spiritual growth through these regressive cycles.
We feel that something needs to change with Uranus’s Regressive Period.
In other words, Uranus RX Phases highlight issues that have persisted for a while and require attention. Some subjects could be related to our careers, interpersonal relationships, personal goals, or even our constricted living conditions.
We look at the places where our comfort zone has become a trap during these retrogrades. Therefore, over the 3 years this planet is aspecting you, you could suddenly become more of your authentic self and bust out of a stale period in your life.
Technology can be buggy when this planet is stationing. Because it is the higher octave of Mercury, we experience glitches with electronics, devices, and internet connections that often have sudden hiccups.
When it is retrograde in the birth chart, you may not be open to change or be highly unpredictable.
Natal Uranus RX can also have a Saturnian tone, so the individual might experience rigidity. Therefore, a person may feel constrained and more inward-focused causing them to have a hard time showing their authentic self.
Those with this natal placement won’t stay stuck in a rut because once they master their retrograde, they will have a major breakthrough. Ultimately, they learn how to be innovative and alter the course of their lives radically.
When this planet is direct, it’s known to pronounce haziness, which governs confusion. However, once it goes retrograde, that function goes in the opposite direction.
As a result, we are gradually separating what is valid from things based on illusion. This could be a time when you learn how to use caution wisely and not always believe what you see or hear. With this inverse cycle, we get to see the truth for what it is so we can move forward from deceitful situations.
Neptune is regarded in astrology as how we communicate with our intuitive side, access our creative potential, comprehend faith, and idealize various circumstances in our lives.
So, in the natal chart, we may internalize these processes resulting in feeling more left-brained. For this reason, a person’s creativity can feel stifled.
Any Retrograde may be stressful because it can bring up a lot of lessons, and when Neptune is involved, it can feel even more perplexing. But, once you master your retrograde, you gain a massive dose of creativity, spiritual growth, and the ability to connect to higher frequencies.
The release of the things causing decay in our lives is a theme of Pluto retrogrades. We go through a cycle of getting rid of a form that doesn't work for us during these regressive periods, and then we emerge from it feeling renewed.
We must delve deep and deal with complicated issues that have been brushed under the rug over these inverse cycles.
So, difficulties we have been avoiding—such as suppressed emotions, control problems, harmful behaviors, and self-destructive tendencies, come up to be resolved.
Pluto's lengthier period in retrograde makes these situations feel continuous; thus, the experience could feel dragged out. Therefore, getting through these 3 plus years of this cycle requires developing better-coping methods during this regressive era because Pluto the planet dealing with our psychological makeup.
Astrologically, Pluto is about making a metamorphosis when we delve deep and release our suppressed emotions. Therefore, having this celestial body in retrograde could make these concepts more internally or somewhat repressed. As a result, those with Pluto Retrograde at birth may find it more challenging to access their capacity for transformation and to assert their own authority.
Naturally, having a retrograde Pluto in your birth chart can sometimes make you feel weighty. However, once you master your natal inverse cycle, it also gives you the strength to step into your personal power and channel your phoenix energy.
Stationing is when a planet in retrograde has stopped before it goes in or out of its backward motion.
These standstills of the planets are when a retrograde planet comes to a halt in the sky. This is considered an incredibly potent time when the energies of the Retrograde planet are at their peak power. Station Retrogrades are used for personal growth and transformation work. They can also b