This astrological symbol indicates a retrograde planet in a birth chart. A retrograde planet means that, to us here on Earth, that planet appears to be moving backward.
Of course, retrograde planets are not really moving backward. It is an optical illusion. Take Mercury retrograde for example. He travels around the Sun faster than we do, and every 4 months, Mercury passes us in his 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.
Retrogrades turn the energy inward and to the past.
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. There is often a link to the past, or concern with the past. Some karmic astrologers believe that retrograde planets show a link to a past life.
With Venus retrograde in your natal chart, your concept of beauty comes from a different place than those around you. 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.
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Thanks to my first teacher Lance Ferguson, his teacher Dona Shaw, and the many teachers before them who gave us the following.
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 that contains the retrograde planet. 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. People with many retrograde planets in their chart have to “go the long way” to find their path. People with zero retrograde planets tend to be the ones who decide “what they are going to be when they grow up” in childhood. Then, they actually do it.
Outer planets are retrograde roughly five months of the year. Thus they’re often found retrograde in a birth chart.