In recent years, Mercury retrograde has been a hot topic of conversation (and blame), but what exactly does it mean when a planet ‘goes retrograde’? Is Mercury the only planet that goes retrograde? Should we be fearful?
Ancient astrologers observed the movement of the planets for centuries, from the earth’s perspective. When a planet ‘goes retrograde’, from our earthly viewpoint, it can appear that it’s going backwards, but planets don’t change direction – it is all a perspective thing.
If you can imagine yourself in a train, hurtling forward at a very fast rate. As you come up to, and pass, a slower train travelling in the same direction, the slower train appears, from your perspective, to be travelling backwards.
That’s how retrogrades work. It’s an optical illusion. It reflects a change in how the planet’s energy is operating for that time.
The Sun and the Moon do not ever appear retrograde, but all other planets do. There is nothing to be fearful about. It’s a time when the energy of the planet is directed inward. It’s a time to slow down and look inside for answers.
A retrograde planet allows you to revisit and revise the activities associated with the planet. It’s a re-do. A do-over. To make sure that you are doing you correctly. If you avoid what you are being shown/encouraged to do, there may be then consequences. Not punishments – consequences. You are being shown an easier way to do something. Delaying or avoiding it will make things harder. Consequences.
E.g. You’re low in petrol and something inside you (and the petrol gauge) is telling you to stop and get petrol. But you keep avoiding the petrol station, because you have to get to a meeting, or you’re late for class – eventually you will run out of petrol (this may be a true story). So instead of a fast 10-minute petrol stop, you will spend 1 to 2 hours waiting for the roadside service or tow truck to give you the help you need. You knew you should have stopped, but you didn’t. Consequences.
The Retrograde Shadow Period
There is a period of time before a planet goes retrograde, where glimpses of what is to come are shown to you. This is known as the pre-Retrograde Shadow period.
When a planet is moving direct (or forward) it passes the degree that it will ‘return to’ when it goes retrograde. From that degree, to the degree where it commences it’s retrograde path, is know as the shadow e.g for Mercury, it's generally the two weeks before the retrograde cycle starts.
If you pay attention to what is happening around you at that time, with regards to the activities of the planet involved, you may see what you need to be working on during the retrograde.
Remember, the planets are not doing this to piss you off. It’s meant to give you time to re-evaluate how you do you. A time to stop and catch your breath. Are you doing the best job you can? Run with it … and you’ll find things just work out better.
Just review, revisit, reflect, make plans, go over old territory, but don’t take new action until after the planet returns to the degree in which it began its retrograde.
So if you have followed me so far (look, you're still here!), here’s a quick guide to what each retrograde planet is about:
Mercury – It involves :-
a) All aspects of communication – speech, computers, journals, reporters, emails, letters, texts, mobile phones etc.
b) How or what we think, our mind, education and study, local travel, our cars.
c) Our everyday work routines and out health routines.
Make sure your car has petrol, back up your computers, double check every communication before you send it, check all travel plans and leave in plenty of time to allow for delays.
Start looking at how you communicate with others. Is it appropriate, fair, kind? Where are you moving too fast? Where do you need to slow down and take your time to avoid errors, delays, and miscommunication?
Revisit an old writing project, tidy up your social media profile, plan your next blog post.
Organise your pantry, alphabetise your spice rack.
Plan a new exercise or diet routine.
Venus - It involves:-
a) Things that you put value on – your material possessions, your money, your self worth, gardening and beauty.
b) How we relate to others and who/how we love.
Start or revise your budget – are you spending wisely? Putting away savings?
Start clearing out your cupboards – what don’t you need anymore? Get rid of unnecessary clutter.
Where are you not valuing yourself? Where do you need to work on your boundaries with others? Do you take time out for yourself?
How do you relate to those around you? How are your relationships going…all of them? Do you find time for those important people in your life? Are you fighting because you are right or because you hate to lose? Is it important enough, in the big scheme of things, to risk your relationship?
Take long baths, long walks, think about a savings plan, Start looking for new hairstyles, plan a date night, be a better friend, call your mother, tidy your garden.
Mars – It involves:-
a) Frustrations, impatience and resentments – which can lead to explosive outbursts.
b) Accidents and injuries.
c) Reassessment of what drives us – our goals and plans – what are we passionate about.
d) Energy depletion, inability to move in any direction, motivation and drive are non-existent.
Don’t start any new project under the retrograde. Just assess where you are and where you want to go and put plans in place for your forward movement, after Mars turns direct.
Be careful when travelling and around sharp objects, and don’t schedule any surgery around this time.
Learn to compromise. Take anger management classes if necessary.
Jupiter– It Involves:-
a) Travelling back to old favourite places – be aware that travel plans may be delayed, so slow down and allow plenty of time.
b) Re-evaluation of spiritual beliefs and social ethics.
c) Re-evaluate your beliefs around success and abundance – what does that mean to you? What would you need to feel successful or abundant?
Plan to go back to school – finish a degree or a course you didn’t complete.
Plan a trip to your home town/country.
Sit quietly with your self and journal.
What are your fears around success and abundance?
Reflect on your personal values and beliefs and assess whether or not they support you.
Saturn– It involves:-
a) A chance to rethink your own set of rules.
b) Looking at where your boundaries are.
c) A time to examine your limitations and failures, and move on.
d) A time to face reality/get real– where have you been time wasting, daydreaming, avoiding what is really happening?
e) Going slow, taking your time, no short cuts.
f) Looking at who your authority figures are – what is your relationship with them? Can it be better?
Do some deep soul searching. Get real with yourself, for once. What are you avoiding/ignoring?
Don’t shirk responsibility.
Look at your definition of integrity and accountability.
Look at your workflows – how can you improve them to be more efficient.
Remember your ancestors – do a family tree, visit a gravesite. Pay your respects.
What are your priorities – do you need to reset them?
Uranus– It Involves:-
a) Feeling disillusioned with your life – is it too dull? Is it time for a change?
b) Feeling anxious – increased nervous energy.
c) Feeling rebellious and disruptive.
d) Feeling out of our comfort zone
e) Many ah-ha moments.
Uranus will shake us up and motivate us to change what is holding us back.
Uranus will awaken you and reveal things you never thought possible.
What does freedom mean to you?
What needs to change to achieve the freedom you dream of?
Neptune– It Involves:-
a) Going into a deep exploration of your psyche – what makes you tick?
b) Gaining insights through intuition, dreams and hypnotic trances.
c) A big wakeup call - facing reality by exposing the illusions you have been creating.
Explore - Meditation, creative pursuits, record your dreams.
Question your beliefs, do healing work, visit a therapist, develop your intuition.
Avoid co-dependency, escapism (especially through drugs/alcohol).
Pluto: It involves:-
a) Exploring your shadow side
b) Look at what areas of your life you can control, and what do you need to let go of.
c) Look at who is controlling you, and how can you take back your power.
d) A time of transformation – your inner world is changing. Go with the changes, no matter how difficult. Resistance is futile.
Experience a past life regression or hypnotherapy.
Clear your space – both physically and energetically.
Protect yourself against negative energies and people.
When a planet retrogrades, there is nothing to fear. It’s better to go with the flow, than to fight and resist.
You have to look back occasionally at where you’ve been, to know how to move forward.