Retrograde in Astrology

All of the planets except the Sun and Moon occasionally appear to move backwards through the signs. This is called retrograde motion in astrology and is symbolized by a small r next to the planet.

Most astrologers agree that a transiting planet in retrograde will often act out its negative characteristics rather than its positive ones. Mercury retrograde is a popular example, precipitating delays, errors, or misunderstandings where communication is involved.

In the natal chart, the meaning is similar but more profound. Someone with Mercury retrograde, for example, will be prone to making error judgements or statements and often be misunderstood, but in an esoteric sense he will be reenacting early or past life difficulties in communication.

Statistically, most of us have one or more retrograde planets in our charts. Sometimes it's the inner planets and sometimes it's the outer planets(or both). Whatever the planet, it will signal past issues that need to be revisited and resolved. Notice the re in all three words: re-trograde, re-visited, and re-solved.

In fact, I find that most words beginning with re are keys to describing or defining the retrograde phenomenon. Let's examine a few:

Re-incarnation: most esoteric astrologers link retrograde planets in the natal chart with past lives. Someone with a natal Uranus retrograde, for example, abused the truth in one or more of his or her past lives, causing pain or suffering to others. In this life, he or she must re-live or re-visit these events and try to correct the damage.

Re-membering/re-taining/re-calling: Retrograde planets cause you to remember, even if subconciously, events that need to be brought back up and dealt with. Someone with Neptune retrograde, for example, may have been involved in some form of deception or treachery or even poisoning or drowning and must face this again and resolve or overcome the issue.

Re-morse/ re-pent, re-frain, re-coil: Someone with Venus retrograde, for example, may have had adulterous affairs or other indulgences in the past, and will in this life be tempted to do so again, but must develop more discrimination and discipline or re-straint.

Re-generate re-new, re-birth, re-boot: Someone with Pluto retrograde may have gone to excessive extremes in past lives that led to his or her destruction, and must, in this life, attempt to purge these dark tendencies out of his or her system and rebuild or regenerate.

And so on with the other planets and re words.

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