We’ve been talking about retrograde planets—why most planets appear to go backwards, or retrograde, for a time, and what that means.

So what if you were born during one of these retrograde periods? It’s not uncommon for a person to have a few retrograde planets in the natal chart.

Hi Molly,

What does it mean when some of the planets were in retrograde when I was born? Did I not fulfill my promises in my previous incarnation?

The natal chart is a circular map of the Sun, Moon, and planets relative to the earth and the stars at the moment of birth.

Each planet in your natal chart represents the way in which you use a certain energy. For example, Mercury is the mind, your ideas, mental energy. Venus in your chart describes what you value and how you reach out to others in love.

When a planet in your chart is retrograde, you experience the energy of the planet in a more subjective, internal way. Thus your experience and expression of the planet’s energy is very unique to you. There is also a link to the past, or a concern with the past. Some karmic astrologers believe that retrograde planets indicate a link to a past life.

With Venus retrograde in your natal chart, your concept of beauty is different, comes from a different place, than those around you. With Mercury retrograde, your thinking is different. With Jupiter, planet of philosophy, your ethics, morality and religion may differ from your family’s.

Is this because of a past life? Maybe. Some astrologers think so.

If so, is it a punishment? No. But, an astrologer who does not understand karma might choose to interpret difficult things in your chart as some form of punishment. We humans often make God in our image, forgetting that it’s supposed to be the other way around. Karma does not judge or punish. Those actions are from human emotions!

You chart shows your life’s lessons: those you have already learned and integrated, and those you’re still working on. It could be that you brought over the past life energy shown by the retrograde, to assist you in your soul growth in this lifetime.

The most important thing in karmic astrology is to use your chart as a map showing the way to inner peace and happiness, rather than to validate a negative view of yourself.