by Glenn Mitchell
Due to the concentric orbits of the planets around the Sun, it sometimes appears from our vantage point on Earth that a planet is moving backwards in the zodiac. This is a condition called “retrograde.” A retrograde planet is at its closest to the Earth, at its brightest in the sky, is stronger than usual, and is powerful in its effects.
When a planet is retrograde in the birth chart, its energies are turned inward. It becomes more subjective. Its energies are slower to manifest in the external world. Partly, this is because the individual with retrograde planets tends to think more deeply about the energies involved. Many notables have retrograde planets. 62.5% of the charts in the Astro Databank have one or more retrograde planets.
Mercury involves mental processes and communication, exploring ideas, seeking knowledge, writing, public speaking, making contacts, short trips, and commerce. Retrograde Mercury turns the mind inward, with a tendency to ruminate over prior events and lessons.
Natal Venus retrograde can cause difficulty achieving fulfillment or finding the right romantic partner. The individual might be more in love with their ideas about love than with any real person. Strong personal aesthetics and unconventional creative expression often make these people artists. Idealism or an unconventional attitude regarding love suggests problems finding satisfaction in relationships.
When Mars is retrograde in the natal chart, it operates with great intensity. Retrograde Mars causes difficulty for an individual in asserting themselves because they’re afraid of the consequences of releasing their anger. They might tend to overthink before they act. An individual with retrograde Mars might find that they’re waging an internal battle. The aggressive energy of Mars is experienced inwardly. This results in a buildup of pressure, which can suddenly explode.
Jupiter begins the process of socialization, and retrograde Jupiter can cause individuals to encounter one impediment after another in their search for understanding and positive experiences, especially in early life. Positive abilities, talents, and skills tend to come later in life. Higher education is prone to be delayed (if it comes at all).
Retrograde Saturn individuals are extremely introspective, conservative, frugal and serious. The energy of the planet of structure, when experienced inwardly, leads to strong resilience, endurance, and steadfastness. Also, a chronic adherence to pre-formed attitudes. The individual becomes less adaptable, less flexible, and therefore suffers when the external situation requires change.
Uranus retrograde creates difficulty in being aware of and expressing inner individuality. The planet of freedom and rebellion turned inward, gives a need to rebel against oneself. This can lead to extreme individualism and even self-destructive behaviour. The individual must be original; must explore the new; must share their ideas with others. They are a free spirit.
Neptune retrograde gives the desire to unveil mysteries and to expose religious shams. When Neptune is retrograde, the individual finds it a challenge to use available knowledge to uncover life’s mysteries. The planet of dreams and illusions, expressed inwardly, makes the individual inclined to retreat into a subjective world of fantasies.
While individuals wrestle with their inner conflicts when Pluto is retrograde, outside forces are likely to upset their life. When driven inward by retrograde motion, Pluto’s quality of destruction and regeneration can produce real spiritual progress, if it is in a good position in the chart. In other cases, Pluto’s power plays can reverse, making the individual into the ultimate outcast.