planets in our solar system

Astrology 101: What It Means When Planets Go Retrograde

Whether you’re an astrology fan or not, you’ve probably heard about the infamous Mercury “retrograde” that supposedly creates a lot of miscommunication and glitches with technology devices such as computers and cell phones. If you are familiar with astrology, you probably know that Mercury isn’t the only planet that goes retrograde. In fact, Jupiter and Venus are currently retrograde in the world of astrology. So what does it mean when each of the planets goes retro for your horoscopes and personalized astrology charts?

The Effects Of Retrograde For The Inner Planets In Astrology

Inner planets in astrology are the planets closer to the earth who move in and out of retrograde cycles more frequently because they move through their 360-degree cycle faster than outer planets. Let’s start with Mercury, which is the best known retrograde. In addition to glitches with communication, astrologer Molly C. Gauthier notes that those with Mercury retrograde in their natal (birth) chart tend to be people who excel at independent study and seem to absorb new material even without a teacher. They also seem to have a knack for more abstract communication.

When Mercury goes retro, it’s a great time to reflect on internal ideas before presenting them to anyone else. With the increased potential for miscommunication, astrologers generally recommend avoiding making business agreements or signing contracts when Mercury turns retrograde.

the planets of our solar system and their orbits
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When we enter a period of Venus retrograde, as we did March 4, it affects our relationships and our home life, as Venus rules the second house of home and material possessions as well as the seventh house of partnerships and marriage. Plus everyone knows Venus is the goddess of love, right? Venus retrograde may inspire us to some feelings of nostalgia about our old flames and can make those currently in a relationship re-evaluate how that’s working for them.

Venus’ opposite, Mars, is the ruling planet for Aries and represents fiery energy with a tendency to be rather aggressive, given it’s named after the God of War. Having some of that influence toned down during Mars retrograde isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can still create problems of its own. For one thing, if you have a very strong Mars energy in your natal chart, you may find yourself more prone to accidents. Retro Mars is a good time to ease up on the gas pedal, metaphorically and literally.


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The Effects Of Retrograde On Outer Planets

The outer planets are those slow-moving planets farthest from the sun in our solar system, such as Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, and Neptune. Because these planets are travel at a much slower pace through their orbit, they tend to spend a lot of time in retrograde, but most people don’t feel their effects as strongly as the inner planets’ retrograde cycles. Gauthier notes these planets spend roughly five months out of the year in retrograde, and it’s very common for your birth chart to have one or more of these planets in retrograde motion.

Jupiter rules expansion, moving forward, and good luck. This planet is currently in retrograde until June and is in the sign of Libra, which represents relationships and balance. That means any effects of the retrograde will likely be felt in that area of your life. If you have been wanting to expand your current relationships — whether personal or romantic — it’s probably wise to expect some temporary limitations or setbacks until the Jupiter retrograde clears.

When Saturn goes retrograde, some astrology fans may rejoice and think that means that the planet of karma and limitations will ease up a bit while it moves in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, that’s generally not how astrology works, and expect that when Saturn goes retrograde, you’ll have to double down on work to hold your ground or make even minor progress. As if Saturn isn’t already harsh enough at times, this increased effect makes Saturn retrograde one of the most difficult of all the retrograde planet phases.

astrology chart
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The next cycle of Uranus retrograde starts August 3, 2017, heralding an intense time of rebellion even for those who already have a strong Uranian influence, as this is another of those signs where retro motion amps up the effects. In fact, this astrology event can create a situation where Uranus energies build to the point that you have a genuine “Eureka!” breakthrough, according to astrologer Lynn Koiner. It’s also a good time to study human behavior, whether in those around you or within yourself.

When dreamy Neptune turns retrograde, Astrology Answers says it can actually be a blessing in disguise. Where your dreams and visions may have been confusing with all the psychic input that comes from Neptune, when this planet goes retro the haze may lift and bring you increased clarity. This is definitely a great time to listen to your intuition.

Pluto rules birth, death, and transformations, so when Pluto goes retrograde it may sound scary, but the truth is this planet’s retrograde phases usually have minor effects. In fact, approximately half of the people on the planet were born with Pluto in retrograde, and they seem to be surviving despite it.

Astrology deals with the influence of planets, but nothing is ever set in stone. Always take these retrograde cycles with a healthy grain of salt, as they are simply tendencies we can overcome. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.

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