Planets in the birth chart represent different facets of your character and psyche. Mercury represents your mind, your ideas, mental energy. Venus describes what you value and how you reach out to others in love. Retrograde planets add a little bit of a twist to the story.
A planet in retrograde appears to move backward. It is at its closest approach to Earth.
If there’s a retrograde planet in your birth chart, you experience that planet in a more subjective, internal way. You express that planet’s energies in a unique way, different from the rest of your family. It comes from within, not from without.
With Venus retrograde in your natal chart, your aesthetic tastes and values come from a different place than your family and culture. If Mercury is your retrograde planet, your thinking is different. With Jupiter, the planet of philosophy, your ethics, morality, and religion may differ from your family’s.
There is often a link to the past or concern with the past. Some karmic astrologers believe that retrograde planets show links to a past life.
Outer planets are retrograde roughly five months of the year. Thus they’re often found retrograde in a birth chart.
Usually, the planetary energies flow outward in the pursuit of the various energies represented by the planets. But with retrograde planets, the flow of that planet’s energy turns inward. No longer is the fulfillment of this planetary pursuit “out there” in the world. It comes from within– contrary to what we may observe in others having the same planets direct.
The retrograde effects register on the plane of activity that is represented by the element of the sign that planet is found in (earth air fire water sign). If it’s an earth sign, the physical plane. Air– intelligence, mental activity. Water– emotions. Fire– passion, ideals & motivation.
While retrograde planets do not deny, they do delay events in our lives. When you have a lot of them in your chart, you “go the long way” to find your path. If you have zero retrogrades, your path is closer to a straight line. You know what you are going to be when you grow up in childhood. Then you actually do it.
The Sun & Moon never turn retrograde. The North Node and South Node are always retrograde. The True Node is usually retrograde, but occasionally direct.
Thanks to my first teacher Lance Ferguson, his teacher Dona Shaw, and the many teachers before them who gave us many of these notes on retrograde planets.
Retrograde means that, to us here on Earth, that planet appears to be moving backward. It also appears to be glowing!
Of course, the planets are not really moving backward. It is an optical illusion. Take Mercury for example. Mercury travels around the Sun faster than we do, and every 4 months, Mercury passes us in its orbit. We here on earth witness Mercury appearing to go backward for three weeks.
When you were a kid, did you ever go on long car trips, lie in the back seat, and stick your feet out the window? If you pass a big car or truck, it looks to you like it’s going backward. Retrograde motion is a lot like that.
Hello! Beautiful synopsis. I am a Scorpio rising (and Pluto generation) but Pluto was retrograde so my charts say my ascendant is in the 12H. Am I interpreting that correctly? Or am I Scorpio rising 1H and Pluto Scorpio 12H? In my charts they fall on the same degree (19). Confusing!
Hi, my Pluto is in Scorpio in fourth house for Leo ascendent. Is it….
Please can you explain what do you mean by ” it will play inward”? Pluto retrograde in the 1st house conjunction ascendant in scorpio? I’m curious…. does it give the same 1st impression like Pluto direct does? Or what would be the 1st impressions people would notice with this placement? Thank you
I’m a pisces sun, scorpio rising and pluto retrograde conjunction in the 1st house. My natal sun is in the 4th house conjunction north node and venus. My question is: is my chart ruler weak here, a malefic? My dob is 1st of March 1989. Thanks
I have Saturn Retrograde in my natal chart conjunct my moon and Uranus in the 1st house. This aspects my 7th house of course. I also have Mercury, Jupiter and Mars retrograde in my chart. I have Venus located in Virgo. I am definitely a late bloomer whose life has been extremely difficult especially, my childhood and relationships. I feel as though everything I have to do in life is with extreme difficulty. I am a cancer sun in the 8th house with Sagittarius ascendant/moon
So many different interpretations of retrograde planets out there online! I really appreciate your insightful perspective and explanations, Molly — of this and other topics as well. Thanks for making these resources available to all.
I was researching retrograde planets after realizing that 6 out of 8 in my natal chart were Rx… Somehow I didn’t become a serial killer or a bohemian vagabond! lol