If you’ve been paying any attention to astrology, you’ve probably heard that there are currently four planets retrograde (Mars, Saturn, Neptune, and Pluto), with Mercury joining the retro party on July 26, 2018. What you probably haven’t heard is that retrograde planets aren’t terribly rare phenomena and that there’s usually some retrograde action (depending on the planet) going on each year. So, knowing that, why do we fear retrogrades so much?
Before we answer that question, let’s break down what a retrograde really is: scientifically speaking, it’s the illusion that a planet is moving backward based on how it appears to us from Earth. Astrologically speaking, a retrograde is a time for going backward and retracing our steps. For those of us that were born during a planetary retrograde (*raises hand*), the retro planets in our charts act a bit differently from the other planets – they’re a bit more introspective and often a bit self-conscious; while a transiting retrograde planet coincides with periods of time that call for review and reassessment based on what that planet represents. For example, under a Mercury retrograde, we’re called to review and clarify information as well as the way we communicate. If we were born with Mercury retrograde, we might find that communicating with others isn’t always the easiest to do, as we may need time to think or prep before we speak in order to be clearly understood.
In such a forward-driven and fast-paced world, retrograde planets are like the weird gang of misfit heroes that we never thought we needed but show us just how awesome and needed they are – especially when it comes to getting us out of a jam. A jam, I might add, that could have been avoided if we weren’t rushing haphazardly forward in the first place. And that’s the crux of a planetary retrograde right there: to get us to slow down and ascertain whether we’re on the right course or not. Retrograde planets and transits are not here to ruin our lives or to rain a torrent of hellfire down upon our heads. If a retrograde period feels particularly stressful, it’s probably because we’re not slowing down long enough to fully grasp the lesson. As human beings we seem to only love change when we can control the outcome of that change, but when has being a control freak ever really been a good thing? (Are the Earth signs shaking yet?)
Anyway,folks, that’s kind of all there is to it. Oh and p.s. – I’m not entirely sure why people fear the retrogrades the way they do but hopefully, this article has helped to put minds at rest. And just for a quick recap, here are the planets that are currently retrograde and what those retrogrades mean:
When the planet of action goes backward, it’s time for us to slow down and rethink what we initiate and instigate. Good for reevaluating themes concerning anger, our physical energy, and confidence. You could think of this as being kind of like an “I wish a bih would” phase; mostly “I wish a bih would calm down”.
With the planet of commitment and responsibility on a hiatus, it’s time to reassess our commitments, boundaries, and the foundations we’ve built as well as the facts. If we’ve been doing an undue share of the work or taking on undue responsibility, this retrograde will help to get us sorted out. Remember Mary J. Blige and that “Not Gon Cry” joint? Saturn retrograde is kind of like that. Then we Angela Bassett ourselves up by our bootstraps and handle our business. See also: BBHM.
When the planet of dreams and illusions retraces its steps, it’s like having a fog lifted. Neptune retrograde helps us find clarity as the myths we believe in become increasingly impossible to keep up with and we become more intuitive. Think of it as being kind of like when Lion-O from the Thundercats uses the Eye of Thundera to get “sight beyond sight” and stops Mumm-Ra’s shady butt in his tracks.
With the planet of power, subconscious motives, and deep transformation looking towards the past; it’s time to face our fears and the shadows we’ve been hiding from so we can reclaim our personal power. It’s kind of like every reluctant superhero story ever. (I’m looking at you Peter Parker).
One more thing: Chiron is currently retrograde too. And although Chiron isn’t a planet (it’s an asteroid), it represents the subconscious wounds we carry and must work to heal. Chiron retrograde tends to coincide with a reopening of a wound so it can be healed.
Of course, it’s worth noting that how these retrograde planets will show up in your life and affect you on a personal level will depend on your birth chart. Knowing your chart when it comes to any challenging astrological event will always be half the battle.