Having a stationary planet in your chart is generally quite fortunate. Stationary planets emphasize the planetary influence, making you the epitome of that planet’s attributes.
From our perspective here on Earth, planets appear to be spinning backwards after resting in a stationary position. This celestial phenomenon for astrologers means that the planet is in retrograde.
Planets in retrograde can have an inverse effect on the world, sometimes reversing situations and changing our feelings and regular activities. A planet’s retrograde influence can tell of an individual or cultural passive aggression, an internalizing of the surrounding environment and the skewing of emotional or physical communication.
Each planet has its own unique cycle of how many days it takes to orbit the Sun and its frequency and duration in retrograde. The planets closest to the Sun have a shorter cycle (for example, it only takes 88 days for Mercury to go full circle, whereas Neptune requires 165 years).
The effects of planets in retrograde vary depending on your own unique astrological chart, but the descriptions below reveal some of the more common attributes of planets in retrograde and their characteristics in general and for the individual.
The Mercury retrograde is perhaps best known of all retrogrades. This celestial body requires 88 days to make a complete pass around the Sun and remains stationary for anywhere between a few hours and a few days, depending on the time of year. This planet goes into retrograde three times a year for around three weeks each time. Mercury has the highest frequency of retrograde and stays in this position for the shortest length of time of any other planet.
Communication is Mercury’s main domain. Therefore, communication is greatly affected by this planet’s pull. During the period Mercury is in retrograde motion, individuals may find their message is better conveyed through another less familiar medium. Messages may be misunderstood; whispers may be overheard and mail or email may be misdirected. Those who are usually constrained by public speaking may have moments of clarity, while those giving a public address may be dramatically misquoted. This is a good time to explore new outlets of communication. Choose your words carefully.
If Mercury retrograde is in your chart, your tongue is likely to get you into trouble or you may be afraid to speak your mind for fear of the consequences. There may be an issue with intellect or intelligence. You may find your self-expression is “heard” through other forms rather than verbal or written.
Venus revolves around the Sun in 225 days and remains stationary for three to four days. Every eighteen months or so, this planet slips into retrograde for approximately six weeks.
In general, Venus retrograde forces us to take an examining eye to our romantic relationships. Suppressed feelings may rise to the surface, and we may reevaluate what we want and where we seek it. The rules that structure our value system may come into question; suddenly what we valued most may seem inconsequential. We may find ourselves rethinking the meaning of beauty and aesthetics. Financial issues may step into the limelight as well.
If Venus is retrograde in your chart, you may have some relationship issues to overcome. Oftentimes you feel too inhibited to seek what you really want and you withdraw from your partner. You find it hard to get exactly what you need from the people who are close to you. Some of this influence that applies to emotional matters also applies to money matters: You never quite feel that you have enough in your pockets. Self-worth becomes a large issue for you in your lifetime.
Mars requires 687 days to travel one cycle around the Sun and, depending on the time of year, this planet is stationary for up to five days. Its retrograde period happens every two years and it stays in this state for two to two-and-a-half months.
Mars is the Planet of War, and in a retrograde period it causes anger and discord to turn internal. Passive aggression, inner angst, stress and anguish are all attributed to this planet in retrograde. Turning emotions inward rather than releasing them in a more healthy manner can cause anger and hatred to be misdirected. Like Don Quixote, you are battling demons you can’t even see. Severe road rage and issues with internal wellness may be highlighted during this time. More balanced individuals aren’t as affected by Mars in retrograde, but during its influence none of us are as saintly as we’d like to be.
If you have Mars in retrograde in your chart you may find that you have difficulty in asserting yourself. Timidity, lack of direction and other self-imposed emotional obstacles hold you back from realizing your dreams. Often you rely on others to fight your battles; too often you feel you are being used as someone else’s doormat. You may find others around you to be particularly aggressive during the period when Mars is in retrograde.
It takes 12 years for Jupiter to travel around the Sun; then it pauses at its stationary position for five to eight days. Approximately once a year, for around four months or so, this planet is in retrograde.
Jupiter, like Saturn, is a social planet. Its actions affect people in a very holistic manner. The retrograde of Jupiter causes us to reevaluate our ethics as a society. Philosophies are rewritten, religious or spiritual beliefs are questioned and the very fibers of our being are scrutinized. Lessons that have become commonplace and routine are seen in a new light. The results of these changes can be either fruitful or inauspicious, depending on the individual, the culture and the situation. Working from the premise that the universe flows within us and that individuals are connected by a greater thread, we focus more on the similarities and trends that span the globe than on the individual. Jupiter in retrograde isn’t a great time for travel, as plans are likely to cave in on themselves.
If Jupiter’s retrograde is in your chart, you are likely to be the type of person who is always searching for ethics and values. You constantly seek truth and deeper meaning in life but rarely reach a stage of understanding. Ritual becomes a chore and you feel uneasy in your skin as you follow in blind faith. Oftentimes you jump onto the current intellectual bandwagon only to be disappointed in the end. You suffer from feeling the cold lack of spiritual fulfillment or you feel tugged at by the constant demands of your spirituality or philosophy. You strive to find the right spiritual balance.
29-and-a-half years is the duration of Saturn’s average cycle around the Sun, and once a year the planet goes into retrograde for about four-and-a-half months. The transition between the appearance of forward motion into retrograde motion is called the stationary period. During its stationary period, Saturn has the appearance of not moving at all for about eleven or twelve days.
Saturn’s effect on Earth slows everything down. This planet in retrograde is a taskmaster: It can make us work with extra effort or it can make us think deeply and contemplate our actions or the world around us. There are no short cuts when Saturn’s spin reverses, and one shouldn’t consider rushing through long and detailed projects. Take this opportunity to breathe and to do things the right way the first time around. Issues with authority may rise to the forefront; sealing deals and finalizing contracts may be put off longer than you’d like. Deadline extensions are granted and you may find yourself hammering away again at something you thought was complete.
If Saturn is in retrograde in your chart, it’s likely that you are constantly in conflict with authority. Either you feel persecuted by those who work above you or you are a person currently mismanaging your power position. Setting limitations and learning the levels to which others may be pushed are matters with which you must take issue. You are afraid of the risk needed to address the powers that be, but the rewards will be great if you can learn to gain more control in this part of your life. Patience will also be a lesson.
Uranus is quite far from the Sun, and thus it takes a full 84 years for this planet to orbit the star at the solar system’s center. A Uranian year is so long that this planet remains in each Sign of the Zodiac for about seven years. The stationary period for Uranus is two weeks, and its retrograde lasts for about five months out of every Earth year.
In general, when Uranus is in retrograde, we should expect the unexpected. Surprises pop out from every corner and this can be either marvelous or startling, depending on the situation. Uranus is the Wild Card of the Planets; it can bring drastic whims and shifts that amaze and bemuse. A Uranus retrograde could bring unexpected effects that could yield the complete opposite or even no change at all. During this time, chaos may be present either externally in the outside world or internally within the individual.
Uranus retrograde may set your wild side free or it could make a notoriously outgoing person uncharacteristically shy. Straight-laced school marms may suddenly be dancing on top of pianos and effervescent party types may suddenly feel more comfortable, calmly relaxing in a hot bath. Explosions in your personality are not uncommon; you may behave differently than other people perceive you.
It takes 165 Earth years for Neptune to circle the Sun one time, long enough for this planet to spend fourteen years in each Sign of the Zodiac. Stationary for two weeks or so at a time, Neptune goes into retrograde five months out of every year.
With Neptune’s retrograde, logic falls to the wayside in favor of esoteric interests and intuition. People begin to pay more attention to their dreams and explore more creative outlets. Neptune is the Planet of Illusion and Make Believe, and we may see shifts in film and television or entertainment media in general.
If the retrograde of Neptune is in your chart, you are likely involved in a serious escape fantasy into a dream world. No one really knows what goes on behind your eyes and though you may be sitting at a desk in an office, you’re probably dancing ballet or hunting wolverines in your mind. The position of this planet can make some people more inhibited and unable to realize their dreams. Alternatively, some can be plunged into a dream world from which they can’t resurface. This dream world may include drug or alcohol abuse, constant escapism, running away or absolutely shutting out reality.
A whopping 248 years must pass here on Earth before Pluto completes a single cycle of rotation around the Sun. Pluto spends, on average, twenty-one years in each Sign and five months out of the year in retrograde. In between its regular cycle and retrograde Pluto rests stationary for up to seventeen days, depending on the season.
Fresh starts and dead ends accompany Pluto’s retrograde stage. The things that we hang onto most tightly can suddenly be taken away. Pluto’s retrograde is also a time of destruction and rebuilding, rejuvenation and regeneration. We may be forced to reevaluate the things we value most. Heavy forces that are outside of an individual’s control are at play, including war, weapons and government upheaval.
With Pluto in retrograde in your birth chart, it’s all an issue of control. Depending on the circumstances, you may find yourself in the grip of someone else’s whim, feeling taken advantage of or manipulated. On the other end of the spectrum, you could be the person in the throne using your own power to destroy others and, ultimately, yourself and your world. Either way, the abuse of power is a very large issue for people born with a Pluto retrograde in their chart.
You don’t have to believe in reincarnation to heed your astrological past life. Past lives can be a metaphor to help you better understand the meaning of retrograde. When you look to your past life for guidance, you can see the astrological lessons you need to focus on today. Past lives teach us to attain enlightenment by reviving the old ghosts of important occurrences that shaped our personality. You must master this plateau before you can evolve spiritually and holistically.
Please keep in mind that Astrology is a guide, not a god. It is not a belief system but merely suggests methods by which we may live our lives to the fullest. Real Astrology is quite complex and assumptions are made based on intricate calculations. Putting too much weight on any single aspect of Astrology is fallacy. If you’re looking to the stars for guidance, keep in mind that a proper reading, such as your own unique astrological chart, is the sum of all of its parts.
If the following planets appear in retrograde in your birth chart they are indicative of a monumental happening that once occurred in a past life. Astrology suggests that you pay attention to the lessons that you never learned in the past and that you strive toward achieving these goals in current pursuits. Each of the planets represents a different lesson to be learned.
Mercury Past Life:
If Mercury retrograde is in your chart it’s likely that you were once scorned for speaking out; perhaps your words incensed a riot. Mercury retrograde symbolizes that you are afraid to say the wrong thing and that you don’t feel assured of your own intelligence.
To master this life lesson, you should believe in your intelligence and the power of your communication skills. Practice public speaking and celebrate the achievement of speaking to a group.
Venus Past Life:
You have difficulty connecting with your soul mate and sustaining intimate relationships. You seek fulfillment from your partner but always come up short. In a past life, there were external forces beyond your control to keep you and your lover apart; thus, you never learned how to conduct a mature, productive relationship.
Try to focus on what you really want in a relationship and consider your choice of partners carefully. Also, look within yourself and ponder what you give back to your partner. Search for ways to improve the gifts you share.
Mars Past Life:
In your past life you may have been a soldier in the military and performed regrettable acts under someone else’s orders. The anguish and the guilt this experience caused has left you crippled when it comes to dealing properly with your anger. Oftentimes you’re not even sure where your anger comes from, but it is released hastily, harshly and inappropriately.
Relaxation and focusing techniques will help you get through this tangled web, as will some inward examination on the forces that rile your blood in this life.
Jupiter Past Life:
With Jupiter retrograde in your chart you were perhaps persecuted for your iconoclastic religious, ethical or spiritual beliefs. This experience was troubling and has left you feeling uneasy about embracing anything larger than yourself out of fear of exile once again. You are also fearful of showing anyone the light of your wisdom as you don’t want to feel responsible for jeopardizing their social standing.
In this life you may have come full circle and snub religion or hold it in disdain. Your lack of spirituality or fickle relationship with spiritual beliefs may leave you feeling flat. Coming to terms with the things that make you happy and listening to your inner voice will set you free.
Saturn Past Life:
If Saturn in retrograde appears in your birth chart you may always have had a difficult relationship with authority figures. You were once severely abused by those with power over you; perhaps you were enslaved or, conversely, you may once have been a belligerent and abusive ruler. Always looking for the easy way out, you have a long history of being immensely impatient.
The only way you will evolve to the next level is if you learn the virtues of patience, hard work and responsibility. You must also learn to respect the people you work with. Rather than continuing with a freewheeling lifestyle, focus instead on making plans and setting strategy.
Uranus Past Life:
In the lives before this one you were a rebel or a revolutionary. You’ve always been an anarchist fighting the establishment; if there’s a battle, you’re there. Though this lifestyle has its merits, it can be pushed to the extreme. Your revolutionary lifestyle has always interfered with or perhaps even destroyed many other facets of your life.
You must learn that giving an inch can sometimes gain you a mile. Keep fighting an honorable fight, but as long as Uranus is in retrograde in your chart you need to master the lesson of compromise and, occasionally, conformity. Take a moment to appreciate the useful aspects of structure. Save your battles only for the occasions when it is necessary, not simply for the sake of rebellion or for a good fight.
Neptune Past Life:
Extreme creativity and a penchant for escapism have always gotten the best of you if Neptune retrograde is in your chart. Perhaps you have a long history of alcohol or drug abuse or you are constantly trying to free yourself of ties with stark and unpleasant moments in reality.
Needless to say, you will not develop personally, spiritually or astrologically if you are dependent on substances outside yourself. To rise above these challenges you must take control of your creativity and push it toward its tremendous potential. Take a look outside yourself and your own issues; consider helping others as a way to get outside your own problems. Learn to appreciate the esoteric side of life.
Pluto Past Life:
With Pluto retrograde in your chart, you know what it means to be ostracized from the flock. At some point in your history you were forced to be the scapegoat for the community and you stood alone for bad deeds that perhaps you didn’t even commit. You are familiar with being the apple of the public’s eye one moment and then defending yourself tooth and nail the next.
This experience has left you very untrusting of the world around you. Remember that nothing in the universe occurs in a vacuum and that all bodies are connected. Therefore, if you don’t trust in others you are also not trusting yourself. Believe in the people who have power over you, as they are sincerely looking out for your best interests.