Retrograde Planets – What’s It All About
By Marie O’Neill
I have recently returned from a wonderful three-week Buddhist retreat in Southern France, working with the mind. There are some people who believe going on a Buddhist retreat is relaxing and all about sitting on a cushion chanting ‘OM’. This is as far from what actually happens as one can get. There is a lot of work involved in being on an authentic retreat. Working with the mind and thoughts is no easy task. I won’t go into the particulars of the experience, however, I will say: I am glad I went. Learning how the mind works is a key component in reaching the goal of ‘seeing clearly.’ My wish is for all of us to have the opportunity and the desire to spend a few weeks alone each year, paying attention to our thoughts – contemplating their origin, why we have certain thoughts and ways to transform them. This brings me to the point of this month’s article – retrograde planets.
This has been an amazing year astrologically. So I thought it would be a good idea to talk a bit about what is going on. For me, I have had to bring an amazing amount of mindfulness and awareness to almost every action – including thoughts. That’s not a bad thing, as we will discover. It’s all about growth.
Back in April and May 2016, we had five planets in retrograde – Jupiter, Mercury, Saturn, Pluto and Mars. The month of August will see Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Saturn (direct August 13) and Mercury (retrograde August 30) in retrograde. What does it all mean?
First let’s clear up what retrograde means. Planets don’t actually go backwards – they just appear this way based on our vantage point on Earth. As we know now, the earth orbits the Sun; as do the other planets in our Solar System. Each planet’s rate of orbiting the Sun is different. For example, Mercury and Venus’ orbit is faster than Earths’, because they are closer to the Sun. One other thing – the Sun and Moon never retrograde.
As we also now know – what is going on in the sky affects us. The axiom: As above so below is a Universal truth. When a planet is retrograde it turns its energy inward. This doesn’t mean the strength of the planet is diminished in any way. The focus of part of its energy is internalized rather than expressing outwardly. This is also a time for us to turn our minds inward in contemplation and analysis. This is a good thing.
Having planets retrograde either in the natal chart, by progression or transit is not something to feel bad about. The Universal Intelligence – the Creator, has set our Solar System up in a way that is the most beneficial for the expansion of our consciousness. There has to be time set aside for us to be in deep thought, contemplating various aspects of our lives. Of course, the choice is ours – we don’t have to use our time this way but it is to our advantage to follow the natural flow of the Universe based on the motion of the planets.
When a planet is retrograde in the natal chart, it does cause the person to appear a bit awkward, illicit a lack of confidence and shy around the area related to the house, planet and sign position. This is because the focus of the energy is inward. The same thing occurs when planets are retrograde by transit or progression. The only difference is the length of time – it is a temporary state of being. There is also a lot of independence around this aspect of the person’s life. There is a treasure trove of wisdom and information available – it is just buried deep in the sub conscious mind and has to be accessed.
Just before a planet turns retrograde or direct, there is a period of time we call stationary. This just means the energy of the planet is more intense during this period. I tend to pay close attention to these periods by planning my activities accordingly.
Here are a few key words for each planet when it is retrograde, Remember, as we evolve our consciousness so does our reality, which means how the energy of the planets manifest also changes.
- Mercury – inwardly thinking; imagination, tongue tied
- Venus – self worth insecurities, shy, creative, awkward socially
- Mars – determined, anger internalized, passive
- Jupiter – internal faith, serious, possible emotional inhibition
- Saturn – self sufficient, may be a loner, emotional self discipline
- Uranus – mind free to cultivate personal truths through deep psychological investigation, cultivation of personal truth
- Neptune – imagination, possible inner confusion, highly intuitive, idealism
- Pluto – inner intensity, may hesitate to speak truths one sees, emotional extremes, secretive
When a planet is retrograde and we want to know what it is asking of us individually or collectively we must look at our personal birth chart or that of the nation, state or city of interest. For example – living in the United States I might want to know what is happening for us collectively. (well, maybe not) To do this, I would look at the nations birth chart along with the progressions and transits as they relate to the natal chart – paying attention to the planetary placements by sign, house and aspect. This would give me a very good pulse of the nation and what the Universal Intelligence is asking us to contemplate or revisit.
Marie A. O’Neill, the founder of Padma Life Coaching She offers Life Coaching, Astrology, Tarot, Past Life Regression services and a Life Renewal membership club. Visit http://www.padmalifecoaching.com to join her email list, become a member-client or to peruse the website.