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A Guide To Retrograde: How Each Planet Affects You

By Ani Sep 22, 2021
Each planet in our solar system goes retrograde and with patience, we can learn how to use the energies to our benefit.
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Often, the word “retrograde” has a negative connotation in astrology. But it doesn’t have to be scary or annoying! In fact, every planet in our solar system goes retrograde, some for even 6 months at a time! The energy of each planet’s retrograde affects us differently. Keep reading to learn how to survive each one!

To understand how each plant affects you when it goes retrograde, you first must understand what a retrograde is. As a planet rotates around the Sun, it reaches a point where, from the perspective of the Earth, it looks like it’s moving backward in the sky. During this time, the areas of life that planet rules over seem to be backward, have things go wrong, or become more complicated. Though this sounds inconvenient, this is actually a great time for reflection, slowing down in those areas.

Mercury Retrograde

Mercury is the planet of communication and technology. Mercury retrograde can make these things go a little haywire!
Image source: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/resources/771/colors-of-the-innermost-planet-view-1/?category=planets_mercury

Mercury retrograde happens 4 times a year and lasts for about 3 – 4 weeks. Mercury rules technology, communication, travel, and contracts. This retrograde can cause these things to go a little haywire. Because Mercury Retrograde happens so frequently, we feel it the most and often find ourselves asking “When is Mercury retrograde over?!” But there are ways you can work with the energy of this transit to ensure you don’t have such a hard time.

If you have to travel during Mercury retrograde, make sure you check your details more than you feel is necessary and leave room for delays. Be flexible with your plans as they might change. Look over any contracts you have to sign with a fine-tooth comb.

Additionally, you can use this time as an excuse to not make too many plans. Slow down and really listen to what others are saying so that nothing gets confused or misconstrued…and have patience when it does. But most importantly, relax and practice going with the flow.

Venus Retrograde

During a Venus retrograde, it's best to avoid starting new relationships or making drastic changes to your appearance.
Image source: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/resources/2524/newly-processed-views-of-venus-from-mariner-10/?category=planets_venus

This planet’s retrograde happens about every 24 months and lasts about 6 weeks. Venus retrograde affects love, relationships, your appearance and can cause issues around money.

Old relationships might surface during this time. Or, if you’re dating someone new, it’s easier to have rose-tinted glasses around this person and overlook important flaws or red flags. It’s best to try not to commit yourself to someone new during this time. If you do, be aware of the possibility of not enjoying who they are as a person when Venus goes direct.

Because Venus rules over our appearance, it’s best to hold off on changes to how you look during this time. This includes major haircuts or color changes, tattoos, and body modifications like piercings. You risk ending up with something you don’t like that might be difficult to fix.

During a Venus Retrograde, reflect on how you can improve your relationships. Think about where you can be more generous, giving, or loving to the people in your life. Additionally, reflect on how others can support you and ways you can communicate to achieve that.

Since Venus also rules money and values, this would be a good time to look over your budget and re-evaluate your spending habits. Think about how you can more value your money and resources.

Mars Retrograde

Mars is the planet of aggression and physical vitality. You might feel physically tired during a Mars retrograde.
Image source: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/mars/by-the-numbers/

Mars goes retrograde every 24 – 28 months and lasts about 4 months. Mars retrograde affects your physical energy and also the energy behind your work and projects. Things tend to slow down, and you may feel a lack of progress, or like you’re “stuck.” Anything started during this time can slowly lose momentum and fizzle out, so avoid starting new projects or anything you want to last.

Take time to re-evaluate any plans, businesses, etc. Though launching something new isn’t the best idea, this is a great time to make plans and decide how you will take action once Mars moves direct.

New relationships might begin full of fun, excitement, and passion during a Mars retrograde. However, they have a tendency to burn out as quickly as they started. So, if you’re looking for something serious, you might want to wait until this retrograde is over.

This retrograde is also a great time to reflect on how you deal with anger, frustration, or aggression. Do you get riled up too easily or do you tend to repress your feelings? Understanding how you deal with your more fiery and primal emotions can help you better deal with more frustrating events as they arise.

The following planets – Jupiter, Neptune, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto – are considered outer planets. They move much more slowly across the sky than the previously mentioned personal planets. Because of this, when outer planets go retrograde, their effects tend to go unnoticed, and changes happen slowly over time, usually across society rather than individually. But you can still realize and harness the energy of each outer planet’s retrograde if you pay attention.

Jupiter Retrograde

Jupiter retrograde is a great time to reflect on your spirituality and ways to be more generous.
Image source: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2020/hubble-captures-crisp-new-portrait-of-jupiters-storms

Jupiter goes retrograde every 14 months and lasts for 4 months. Jupiter is the planet of growth and expansion, so you might feel like your growth is slowed as it goes retrograde. Jupiter is also the planet of generosity. Be wary of the impulse to act more selfishly or from a place of greed during this time. In fact, take this retrograde as a moment to think about how you can be more generous with others as well as with yourself.

During a Jupiter retrograde, re-evaluate your relationship to your spirituality and personal philosophies to make sure they’re working for you. Consider any changes you need to make to realign with your beliefs. This is a great time for a spiritual retreat.

Try not to force things, as things will naturally feel slower. Settle into the slowness and learn what you can while you’re there.

Neptune Retrograde

When Neptune goes retrograde, it's time to be real with yourself about truths you've been avoiding.
Image source: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/30-years-ago-voyager-2s-historic-neptune-flyby

Neptune retrograde happens one time a year and lasts for about 6 months. Because Neptune rules illusions and delusions, logical thinking might be inhibited. Neptune also rules addictive behaviors and escapism. During its retrograde period, engaging in these behaviors might backfire as you’re hit with the reality of your actions.

As Neptune moves backward in the sky, consider places in your life where you’ve been disillusioned or allowed a veil to fall over your eyes. Think about truths you’ve been avoiding and how you can prevent yourself from avoiding them in the future. Neptune going retrograde can bring about moments of clarity surrounding things that aren’t what you thought they were.

Saturn Retrograde

Saturn retrograde is all about discovering areas in your life where you can be more disciplined and responsible.
image source: https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2019/saturns-rings-shine-in-hubbles-latest-portrait

Saturn goes retrograde once a year and remains retrograde for about 4.5 months. Saturn is the planet of boundaries, lessons, and responsibility. During a Saturn retrograde, issues around these themes might arise for each person individually or the collective.

During a Saturn Retrograde, take time to reflect on your goals and what you want to establish for the future. Assess important and long-lasting commitments and decide whether the actions you’ve taken over the previous 6 months are working out or if you need to pivot focus to something better. This could be anything that requires time and dedication to grow. Focus on what you established and decide if it’s beneficial to you or something you should let go of.

You would also do well to focus on how you’re spending your time. Are you using it wisely, or are you wasting it? Think about what you can do moving forward to make better use of your days.

Uranus Retrograde

Uranus retrograde gives us space to learn how to be more flexible with the ups and downs of life.
Image source: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/planets/uranus/overview/

Uranus goes retrograde about once a year and stays retrograde for just under 6 months, give or take. Uranus carries unpredictable energy and can cause chaotic and unexpected change. So during retrograde, things actually cool down a little bit, and you have a moment to reflect on how you handled the ups and downs of life in the previous 6 months.

The urge to change and transform yourself might settle down for a bit as well. It’s a great time to go inward and take an inventory of all the growth you’ve experienced thus far. While Uranus is retrograde and things are calm, reflect on how you can better adapt and become more flexible when unexpected events arise.

Pluto Retrograde

Pluto retrograde is all about transformation and shadow work.
Image source: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/resources/654/pluto-in-true-color/?category=planets/dwarf-planets_pluto

Pluto retrograde happens once a year for about 6 months. Pluto is the most intense planet in our solar system. This planet deals with transformation, rebirth, destruction, and power. When Pluto goes retrograde, often truths within our society and our governments are revealed.

On a personal level, take time during a Pluto retrograde to reflect on the things that have been difficult for you to talk about. Use this energy to transform yourself through therapy or other deep healing modalities. Do shadow work. Most importantly, be honest about yourself when doing inner reflection – Pluto is all about truths and can make things difficult if you’re not being real. Have patience and work through the transformational process as opposed to trying to force your way through it.

Often, people hear the word “retrograde” and want to go running for the hills! When a planet moves backward in the sky, the changes in energy can be a bit frustrating. But if you shift your perspective and learn how to work with the energy instead of resisting it, retrogrades can be an amazing time of change, transformation, growth, and rest! Additionally, understanding the retrograde cycles can help you take a step back and cultivate more patience for those around you. The planets affect each and every one of us here on Earth. Realizing that can help deepen our understanding, empathy, and compassion for others.  

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