What does a planet going Retrograde mean?

When Planets go retrograde

To many traditional astrologers planets going retrograde means that what we normally expression "outside" of ourselves, that means what others see, goes "inward" for a period of time. When we access what's on the inside of us we often take a deeper and much harder look at what lessons, goals, or issues we seem to be facing at a particular time. When we take the time to focus and go within we can find resolution and answers to problems or circumstances that plague us and thus find relief or solution. 

Briefly explained, a retrograde planet is a planet that is no longer moving "forward" or in it's natural cyclic pattern in our cosmos, it seemingly stops for a period of time, and then begin to move backwards. Thus you have the outward expression of energies vs the inward express of energies.  In astrology there are two types of retrogrades planets.  The first type is being born with planets retrograde. This simply means that a particular planet/s were moving "backward" at the time of your birth.  The second type are those planets that become retrograde during transits or planetary motion.  

Please keep in mind that a planet never truly goes backward, it's only the sun casting a shadow on the planet making it appear as though it has slowed down to the point of moving backwards. Although, it's not really going backward you do and will experience the affects of this shadow, the intensity will depend on what planet or angle you've got making any aspects (connections) to the planet that is retrograde.

Remember your birth or natal chart is like a picture of your life at birth! It doesn't change, however, the planets within our solar system is constantly moving and therefore influences your planets at birth, sparking the necessary changes, shifts, transformations and lessons we need to evolve and grow. 

Now there is another theory about the meaning and purpose of retrograde planets, not all astrologers are "traditionalists", many have intuited information over many years as to how our solar system works, blending both practical application of astrologer, intuition and science. These astrologers I call "cosmic" or "spiritual" astrologers. They may not consider themselves this, or even use this terminology to describe who they are or what they do and that's is fine, but it helps me in terms of knowing the difference.

Famous astrologer Barbara Hand Clow for instance believes that "retrograde planets allow us to bring gifts/talents, skills, knowledge and abilities from past lives, with us into 
the current incarnation." 

Certainly there is far more to the nature of these planets than just to "be" present in our solar system, many astrologers of this caliber believe that planets which were retrograde at the time of our birth indicate karmic lessons we’ve brought into this life.  Others believe that they’re an indication of latent genius in areas pertaining to the planet and sign in which the retrograde occurs, and which manifests later in life and that those with 
retrograde planets are here to increase consciousness and create change on a
global scale.

One of my favorite Famous astrologers Martin Schulman believes that "retrograde planets are ‘absorbers,’ causing us to absorb or draw energy from others. While those
with direct motion planets (those planets not in retrograde) are radiators: they
tend to radiate their energy outward to others."
 The same as "outward" or "inward" expression of retrograde planets!  Martin Schulman also believes "that
through the retrograding planets, one is constantly attempting to resolve past-life issues, which in the current incarnation, seem to be unfinished."

Others claim that those with retrograde planets in their natal charts are seldom 
seen as they actually are. In other words, their full and true potential is hidden, 
and that there is often much more to an individual with planets in retrograde than
 can be readily seen.  Because they are karmic in nature, this is an indication of 
a past life influence.

These Famous astrologers beliefs are embraced by most of the astrological community when looking at the spiritual side of astrological interpretation.  Let's take it a bit deeper, Many astrologers believe that the energy of a retrograde planet is expressed more on an inner level. 
Retrograde planets cause you to stop and reconsider consequences. Viewed in karmic terms, retrograde planets indicate areas it would be beneficial to review and perhaps “re-do.”  They can indicate internal struggles regarding achieved goals that one has not achieved or unfinished life lessons. Generally, natal planets in retrograde tend to internalize their influences, allowing you to work on your character and values.

Below the some key concepts in determining what a planet that goes retrograde will/can indicate: Keep in mind this is representative of those born with retrograde planets and those that go retrograde in TRANSIT throughout the year! To learn more about retrograde planets and how they influence your chart visit moonchildsdivinetemple.com for updates on up and coming courses! 


Natal Mercury Retrograde 
  • Thinks before speaking; takes the time to process information
  • Has a lot of inner conversation and thoughts as it works out daily challenge
  • Can express itself better in writing and often through puzzles or music
  • Sometimes can feel misunderstood as inner turmoil does not allow for clear expression during conversations or articulation

Our planet Mercury handles mental processes and communication, exploring ideas, seeking knowledge, writing, public speaking, making contacts, short trips and commerce. Mercury is retrograde at least three times each year, and is our most frequently retrograde planet. During this usually three week time frame, we’ve learned to look for misunderstandings to increase, mail to get lost, messages delayed, misdirection and frustration with miscommunication in all of its forms.

For those born with Mercury retrograde: this retrograde can have the opposite effect.  Typically this is true for any soul who was born with their natal Mercury retrograde. When Mercury goes retrograde through the year, it's been said that it empowers those who were born with Mercury retrograde, thereby allowing them to express what's been "bottled" up inside eloquently and powerfully. 

New ideas, new speaking or writing abilities are often revealed in souls whose natal Mercury is retrograde.

Questions to ask yourself are:  Are you normally hesitant or afraid to speak out? Do you find yourself very concerned with how others will take your words or what will happen if you speak your mind? You may tend to get improvements in both your usual internal and external dialogue.

When speaking of KARMA, natal Mercury retrograde suggests you may be dealing with old lessons about the consequences of uninhibited speech. Motives mean a lot to you. You could find yourself attracting criticism or opposition to your ideas. You can learn to overcome your fears. Apply your curiosity and take an active interest in the welfare or interests of people around you. Half of your ability comes from listening.  If speaking to groups of people makes you nervous, let your thoughts escape into the outside world by writing. Make small talk wherever possible about any topics of interest, while you boost your self confidence and begin to overcome your hesitance of expounding your personal views in public.

Natal Venus Retrograde 

  • Is hesitant when expressing love or affection
  • Can relate awkwardly to others
  • Can be insecure or doubt the love that is given from other's 
  • Can become obsessed in relationships
  • Can often feel let down by the lack of commitment by others

Our planet Venus involves pleasure, love, what we want, our self worth, our value, romance, relaxation, aesthetics, peaceful feelings, harmony, money, and values. Venus tends to work by attraction. Venus also rules our female relationships and can be what men are attracted to in a woman, which is shown by SIGN placement.

While Venus is retrograde you are may find yourself  concerned with achieving or maintaining external beauty, your flow of steady cash, exploring your desires for pleasure, beauty, or even reevaluating your feelings about romantic relationships.

Questions to ask your self are: Do you find yourself inhibited about seeking what you really want from your romantic partner? Does your ability to attract the money and attention you feel that you need seem to cause you problems? Is your natal Venus retrograde?

A natal Venus retrograde can cause you difficulty achieving fulfillment or finding your right romantic partner. You may be more in love with your desires or what you want out of love than you are with the reality of the person. 

Let's talk about KARMA you need to complete a life lesson about giving and receiving love and affection. You are here to determine what is truly of value to you and learn about creating a balance of give and take in your romantic life. You will have to be willing to experience loving and being loved in order to attract what you desire into your life and create the feelings of security you need.

Natal Mars Retrograde 

  •  May hold back displays of aggression and anger
  •  May have difficulty in competitive moments
  •  Can repress the expression of sexuality and sexual behaviors and by doing so can become depressed or passive

Our planet Mars represents direct energy, physical expression, individual action and assertiveness, as well as anger, desire, sexuality, competitiveness and motivation for self interest. Mars energies tend to burst forward, with short duration. When Mars goes retrograde during the year what often results are frustrations in daily life as emotions become internalized.

If you have natal Mars retrograde, you may find that you are waging an internal battle.  This causes you difficulty in asserting yourself because you are afraid of the consequences of releasing your anger. You may tend to over think before you act. You may find that you have a tendency to hold back in moving forward or moving at all. Those with Mars retrograde are also prone to be uncoordinated physically and experience sexual difficulties. 

Let's talk about that KARMA,  you could be looking to correct some mistakes or deeds from a past lifetime.  You are learning and delving into your authentic self by defining who you are which is favored by what actions you take. You will need to let go of timidity or a lack of direction in order work out how you can initiate certain actions that facilitate soul growth, without creating chaos or senseless destruction.

Lastly, the other planets in our solar system go retrograde as well, Jupiter and Saturn go retrograde during the year and are also considered the last of the two PERSONAL PLANETS.  The outer planets Uranus, Pluto Neptune go retrograde during the year too. These will be discussed in another blog! 

Happy Retrograde! 
Moon HP


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