Statistically, 92% of all humans have at least one retrograde planet in their natal chart. Many people are familiar with the Mercury retrograde cycle as it occurs regularly throughout the year. Yet the average individual is seldom versed on their own natal retrogrades. What adds even more confusion to this particular topic is that many astrologers are not entirely clear on the significance of retrograde planets in an individual’s natal chart. There is even controversy among astrologers as to the significance of retrogrades in an individual’s natal blueprint. But first, allow me to define a retrograde planet.
Planets do NOT reverse course. However, they will appear from OUR perspective to periodically reverse direction and actually back up.
There is a 3 step process in retrograde motion. This should help you to visualize it. Imagine a planet moving around the Sun in its orbit. Then the planet appears to stop and reverse course.
This is the first step. Eventually the planet again returns to DIRECT motion and once again moves forward. This is stage two. Finally, as the planet crosses the point at which the retrograde motion began, phase three of the process is initiated. Each one of these points carries with it a subtle yet pervasive psychological shifting of reflection concerning past and future. According to Martin Schulman, the 3 stage retrograde process is defined like this:
STAGE 1: Jumping ahead trying to live the future now.
STAGE 2: In the process of living out the future now, experiencing the feeling of deja vu and that one has done it before.
STAGE 3: Mentally repeating once again the future, but this time from the perspective of actually having lived it. One may surmise from this process that retrogrades impel the individual to reflect deeply on certain recurring patterns — the goal being complete and final resolution, once and for all.
The particular planet, the house and sign it resides in, and any aspects this planet makes while transiting adds a complexity to analysis that seems to relate to recurring patterns in the individual’s life. In fact, one concise interpretation of retrograding planets is that in a past life the person had the opportunity to grow and advance in a particular area but did not entirely complete the process. So, the retrograde is an indication of this unaccomplished goal. Challenges will show up in the present life to complete the goal each time this particular planet goes retrograde, and the conditions of this current challenge will be defined by sign and house placement, and the new aspects this planet makes to the natal planets. As we continue through the present life and fail to address these patterns effectively, the consequences continue to grow. Most people can identify with these patterns when presented because they keep recurring.
If you have a copy of your natal chart you need only look for an “R” next to each planets glyph. Then you can utilize the internet to get a description of your own particular pattern for each retrograde planet. You would want to look up the definition of the particular retrograde planet by house and sign. The result could be a real eye opener.