With a current Venus Retrograde (among others) and an upcoming Mercury Retrograde, I thought it might be nice to touch upon what it is, what it does and what you can do to deal with the retrogrades. These are partially based on my own interpretation so by no means is this a law in any way, you are free to see it differently and act according to your own interpretation of it. I just hope this will help you understand them better.
You’ve probably heard of them, retrogrades, but what are they and what do they do actually?
There’s a little bit of science behind that. Retrograde is an astrological term for when a planet travels slower compared to earth and therefore seems as if it travels backward, while this isn’t actually the case.
There are however 2 astrological bodies that cannot go into retrograde: the Sun and Moon, also known as the luminaries. The sun is a constant center point in our planetary system, we move around the sun and therefore it cant be in retrograde. While the Moon can’t because it rotates around us directly, its nodes can be in retrograde. These are points in space where the path of the Moon crosses the ecliptic path we make around the Sun.
Apart from the 8 remaining planets, there are also Chiron and the Moon Nodes that can go into retrograde and they tend to be in retrograde more than not. I won’t be covering any asteroids or nodes in this post.
Retrogrades in an Astrology Chart
In a chart, you can see if a planet is in retrograde by the little “r” next to it. Retrogrades are also often referred to as “(Planet) Rx”.
The planet that appears in retrograde has its energy turn inwards instead of outwards as it normally is. This could mean for example that a normal Mercury influences outward communication and a Mercury Rx influences inward communication so it may obstruct any outward action for that matter.
According to some retrograde planets in your personal chart would refer to past lives. Whether this is true or not I cannot say but it is an interesting thing to look into if you believe so.
Retrogrades and their influences
You’ve probably read about the infamous Mercury Rx before somewhere, and it is often mentioned what you should avoid doing in that timeframe but rarely what you could do to help you. I don’t like the “don’t do this” kind of posts, sometimes you just have to do it, but it is good to be wary of it. Also, the reason you hear about Mercury Rx so often is because it turns into retrograde more often than any other planet, but outer planets are in retrograde for longer periods of time.
I won’t cover each retrograde in each sign, however, the sign influences the feeling of the retrograde, the planet the theme. If you are a natal retrograde of any of these then that may mean the influence of it is a semi-constant in your life. In my opinion, a retrograde its a very valuable time as it teaches lessons in life, it helps us discover ourselves on a deeper level each time they happen. Lessons aren’t always easy or fun, but they are necessary. So try to take extra care of yourself during these retrograde periods. As part of this, I wrote a mantra or affirmation to go with each retrograde that you could use during meditation or any other ritual that you seem fit.
Planet of thoughts, communication, and short distance travel. Mercury is in retrograde for about 3 weeks each time, 3/4 times a year.
A Mercury Rx messes with these themes and turns them inwards inviting doubt, worry and misunderstandings because people are so into their inner thinking world. This is why it’s often discouraged to sign contracts during this time, because you may overlook certain things that could otherwise be avoided.
What you can do during this time is really think about things that have been bothering, not to express them to the outer world, but to review them for yourself. I would say try to avoid things like contracts and important meetings but if you can’t for obvious reasons that life doesn’t stand still during a retrograde, you can take extra precaution when it comes to your internal thoughts and how they communicate to the outer world.
“As I review my thoughts and words, I will learn to speak my truth more and more.”
Planet of the beauty, gratitude, love, relationships. Venus goes into retrograde every 18 months for 4/6 weeks.
A Venus Rx messes with these themes and may cause insecurities so self-love and self-care can become an issue. This time usually puts stress on relationships as people try to understand what their relationships and love in itself mean to them, rather than in general in the outer world.
During a Venus Rx, it is extra important to not beat yourself up over things and take care of yourself. Your feelings are valid at this time, but that doesn’t mean that you should make impulsive decisions. Try to figure out why or what makes you feel like this in/about love or a relationship and see if it persists after the retrograde. Try to think about what you want or need from yourself or your partner, because you’re already in a relationship with yourself and should give it the appropriate care accordingly.
“As I learn to love myself, the relationships with others around me will evolve too.”
Planet of energy, action, desire, and anger. Mars is in retrograde every two years for about 2 months.
A Mars Rx messes with these themes and may cause you to feel like your timing is off, your energy depleted or acting impulsively. You may direct your anger at yourself. So starting projects may be difficult, or done impulsively to get it out of your system.
Because your energy is directed inwards it may feel like you cannot be productive as planned, and you really need to go at your own pace in order to combat this. Because you are more active within during this time, it may help you figure out different areas to focus on.
As someone born under a Mars Rx I’m internally very active and struggle to put things outwards, including passionate emotions, causing me to explode on occasions. Try not to contain your emotions for too long during this time as the retrograde may make you more explosive, or maybe rather implosive. Try to figure out if you are really to blame for your actions or if there’s an outside force messing with it, this may help stop you from unnecessarily punishing yourself.
“As I learn that standing still is necessary, I can express my energy more focused.”
All the outer planets are in retrograde for about 4/5 months every year, so because they happen more frequently and last longer they have a less sudden impact and can’t exactly be avoided. Because of this, they are often felt a little differently than the inner planets mentioned before.
Planet of abstract thought, education, philosophy, ethics, and religion. It also affects long-distance travel.
Jupiter in Rx causes these themes to go even further inward than they already are at their core. This is a time to learn from your own experiences, rather than that of others. You may worry more about the future or things beyond our grasp than otherwise, and religious things may start to seem different to you than they used to.
During this time remember that there’s not one way to view these themes. They are abstract in nature and getting hung up on how or why they are what they are can help clarify things for you, but don’t necessarily do for others. Try to study in different ways if you struggle during this time, if you always read, try to do or listen instead. Try out new methods of doing things or study subjects that help broaden or explain your views on different things. The energy of this retrograde may be more subtle but it works over a longer period of time so just take a deep breath and remember that this is meant to be a time of learning.
“The truth that resides within me is just a fragment of the knowledge in the universe.”
Planet of discipline, responsibility, structure, rules, and limitations. It’s seen as a higher octave of Mars.
A Saturn Rx causes us to feel more contained, limited and responsible for our actions. It invites fear, guilt, and self-doubt. You might be afraid of letting people down or not making the right choices on that which you’re responsible for. In contrast, it can also cause you to not feel able within set rules, and act more like a rebel (which is usually more Uranus its area). Especially when things call for rules, protocols and other limitations it may cause you to feel more anxious than usual, due to the uncomfortable nature of the retrograde.
The trick for a Saturn Rx is to just try your best to keep other factors and rules in mind when acting, but also letting go of your fear of messing up. Try to think “I tried, I looked into all I thought necessary, and if this fails then so be it. It happens. And I know didn’t act from irresponsibly.”. This retrograde teaches us where our control is limited, beyond us, and if we really have the discipline or responsibility we need. Maybe it’s too little, maybe too much, try to figure that out during this time. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
“As I acknowledge the necessity of limitations, I also acknowledge that I am human and am allowed to make mistakes.”
Planet of innovation, change, and revolution. Uranus also rules technology. It is seen as a higher octave of Mercury.
A Uranus Rx can make us fear change or mistrust new technologies and improvements. This retrograde acts more like a direct Saturn, as it tries to go against the revolutionary aspect of Uranus. However, because it makes Uranus turn inward, it may help you create internal revolutions, break open the shell and discover your own unique self if you dare go that deep within. This is a time of trying to be orderly, with peak rebellions to adjust to its discomfort.
During this time try and look for your own unique aspects, what makes your different. Don’t try to hold onto fear of change that may be present. Try to be openminded. You don’t have to go all in with the change at hand, but you can try to see why it would or wouldn’t be beneficial. You don’t have to make a choice, but you can try to understand it. If an (inner) rebellion rises up to try to figure out what caused these feelings to surface in the first place.
“It is alright for me to feel unique and different, and when I acknowledge this, I acknowledge the true power within myself.”
Planet of spirituality, visual arts, dreams, illusions, and karma. It’s seen as the higher octave of Venus.
A Neptune Rx might make us feel more uncomfortable expressing our spiritual side, vulnerabilities, and compassion. They are there but we rather keep them to ourselves. There may be a fear to dream big and being let down in response.
Write down all your dreams, your visions, no matter how unlikely they are to happen. Write them down as well as your fears. Then try to see what you can do to combat these fears. Because these retrogrades last quite a long time you will add to the list over and over again. By writing it down you can actively look for a way to work through them. Awareness is often the first step in order to move forward. Take this new awareness as a lesson.
“If I trust in the universe and myself, I know that my dreams can become reality.”
Planet of transformation and subconscious forces.
Pluto Rx makes us want to transform internally, but also makes us afraid of expressing that to the outside world, in fear of being vulnerable or losing control. We don’t want to be controlled or manipulated during this time (I mean we don’t in general but especially now).
What do you want to transform within yourself? What would that mean for you and your life? What would be consequences and do you want these consequences or are they necessary? We cannot stand still, and transformation, or rather the end of a cycle and the start of a new one, rebirth, is a constant in our lives. Sometimes more obvious and sudden than other times. Don’t be afraid to explore transformation during this time. Let yourself be reborn.
“All the change I invite in my life will help me become a better person. I am reborn like the phoenix from the ashes.”
These are just my interpretation, mixed with info already out there. It doesn’t have to resonate with you, that is entirely okay. However, I do hope this gives you new insights into these periods of time, or maybe even yourself if you have any natal retrogrades like myself.
If you have any tips for certain retrogrades feel free to share them in the comments, I’d love to read your thoughts on this (or if I made any mistakes).
Some sources used: