Astrology: What Does Retrograde Mean?

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By Angel

Okay. So, none of the planets have been in retrograde for weeks. What about it?

Do we all even understand what a retrograde is? It’s one of those astro-buzz words people toss around, but what the hell does it really mean? The deal is that when a planet goes into retrograde, two things happen. On a physical level, the planet itself actually slows down to the point that it appears to be going backwards. Its journey around the sun is halted for weeks and sometimes even months. But what does it mean on an astrological level? Imagine that you’re walking down a street and you spot something in a shop window as you approach. It’s exactly the color you’ve been looking for and you have that party for your boyfriend’s (or girlfriend’s) co-worker this weekend. You’re going to slow down to the point that you stop at the window to look, or you pass it only to back yourself up to check it out. Is it the right color? How much is it going to cost. You know how expensive this store can be. What else do you have in your closet that’ll go with it? Should you just shut up, go in, and look at the damn thing?

You, my love, are in retrograde.

A retrograde is a time to slow down and reflect on the issues bubbling up to the surface at that specific time. Now, it’s best to know your chart to understand exactly how it’s affecting you. Regardless of that, you can still sense the retrograde energy and learn to generate an understanding of how to work with it in your life. There’s usually always at least one planet in retrograde, yet lately that hasn’t been the case.

Since the end of last year, every planet has been moving direct. This happens occasionally, but never for four weeks like it has this year. Now what does that mean exactly? Well, every planet’s energy has been working without that need to pause, so there’s been no time to question. We’ve seen those amazing shoes in the window and now we’re wearing them. There have been strides made in certain areas of our lives, or realizations have appeared that have helped to navigate life’s waters with more ease. That retrograde pause is nowhere to be seen, so your intentions are clear and your passions high. This is then the best time to reflect on what’s been at the forefront to truly understand what matters for you right now. What have been your greatest ideas this month? What about your biggest obstacles to overcome. Who are your best relationships with right now? Let’s look at the major planets and get a better understanding of how to look at ourselves through this lens of a life, sans retrograde.

Let’s start with Saturn, who just ended its forward motion on January 26th. It has spent the last couple of days slowing down and entering into a retrograde phase that will last until June, so it’s the best time to reflect on what it’s brought up for us. (Five months seem like a long span of time, but it’s rather usual for a Saturn retrograde, given it’s one of the slower moving planets.) When Saturn retrogrades, it pushes us to examine certain structures in our lives and how they’re working for us. It wants us to question our fears and expand beyond our self-imposed limitations. Again, depending on your chart, it could vary. However, Saturn is in Libra, the sign of balance, so it’s been directly asking all of us to find equilibrium in some part of our lives this month.

  • Where in your life have you recently been struggling to wed the two sides of yourself?
  • What fears around that have been coming up for you?
  • Have you found yourself shifting some of the structure in your home life? Your career?

Perhaps Saturn could be pushing you to probe a certain relationship. Some of the changes presenting themselves may even seem irrational to you at the time, but they’re presenting themselves for a reason and you have to answer the call. Take a strong look at what fears have been coming up for you. Have you been pushing through boundaries that were keeping you from finding that much-needed balance in some part of your life? Perhaps you’ve been fighting it and now have to take the retrograde to re-visit some of these issues. You may also be staring more directly at what you fear most these days. Most likely, you’ve realized that it has no real merit and ultimately stands in the way of what you truly want. Continue to ponder why this barrier exists in your life and how you can continue pushing through it with the goal of moving forward to a happier, better version of you.

Mercury in retrograde is the one that we always hear about. “Oh no,” we think. Things are going to break down, and it’s all Mercury’s fault. Yes, Mercury rules communication, so phones may break and computers may not load properly. But perhaps, Mercury just wants you to put some of those devices down so that you really get communicating with others, and with yourself. Mercury wants you to pause and examine what’s been running through your head. Its retrograde is actually a gift of reflection. Now, without a retrograde in sight, and with every planet’s energy supporting it, Mercury is running at full throttle.

So what have you been thinking about lately? Specifically, Mercury has been in Sagittarius, the sign of the inspired truth seeker, and is now in Capricorn, the keeper of our long-term goals. What ideas have excited you the most since the start of the New Year? Did you get excited to start a new health regimen and really stick with it? Did you decide that you’re going to get out of that toxic relationship, or did you commit to finally putting yourself out there to find a new one? The transition into Capricorn mid-month probably pushed you to push some of these thoughts into action. Take this moment to really focus on what’s been coming up for you mentally and continue putting energy in that direction. Weed through the muck and become aware of the thoughts that passionately motivate you. Those are the inklings that could manifest into the real things you want for the long-term this year. Mercury moves uninterrupted until the end of March, so focus your thoughts to gain the personal insight you need to successfully make your dreams into a reality.

Mars and Venus aren’t looking to get into the retrograde dance anytime soon, so their energies are currently moving undeterred to help you generate some exciting opportunities for your life. Venus did have a retrograde back in the fall, so you probably found yourself re-evaluating some relationships or at least your approach to them. Now, Venus travels through Sagittarius, where it wants you to get to the truth of who you’re relating to and why. What lessons are your friends teaching you at this time? Do you find yourself drawn more to those who inspire and excite you? Now is a good time to connect with those who motivate you to greater heights. Use all of that stimulating conversation to learn some truths about yourself that can then be transmuted into the change you seek. Mars is a little further along in Aquarius, the visionary who is driven by affecting the world at large. Together, these planets are asking you to figure out how you want to make your mark on this world. As Venus shines her light on those who can assist you in your goals, Mars is fueling the changes to occur. Why not make ’now’ the time to step towards the life purpose you sometimes only imagine you have? We all have the capability for greatness – we just have to acknowledge that we can’t achieve that greatness alone. Dream big right now, and don’t be surprised when some helpful souls open the unexpected doors you need to access the abundance you desire.

Jupiter spent a good part of the second half of 2010 in retrograde, but it’s now starting a straight seven month shoot into Aries and the beginning of Taurus. Jupiter is the planet of luck and prosperity, so we may have felt a bit stalled in certain areas during the summer and fall months. With the last few months, Jupiter has been asking us to expand on the spiritual level. Some of us have probably been more intrigued lately by practices such as yoga or astrology. There could just be a draw more to activities that allow you to “zen out.” For some, it’s being creative or just relaxing. That’s the Jupiter in Pisces energy. Now, moving into Aries will see that energy shift into action. Whatever insights that arose from this time of internal connectedness will materialize into new careers, relationships, homes, or hobbies. Some of those newfound hobbies may even become the careers we want now. It’s time to get out of that Pisces water and make some real things happen. Jupiter is on your side here and wants to see you grow in a creative way. If you’re tepid about the change, Aries will eventually force you to evolve. So take advantage of the universal energy at play and take some risks. Be a daring Aries and have no fear. Jupiter will pull the barriers down. You just have to trust.

This is all a lot to take in. But know that it’s all just a broad roadmap laid out to help jar you into meditating on your life more deeply. Some of it may seem unconnected to what’s going on for you right now. However, really find the time to breathe the questions in to your mind. You may just find that the planetary messages being offered right now could awaken a much-needed communication with your soul. Happy exploring!

Angel reads for clients in Los Angeles, San Francisico, and New York. He works in both theater and film, and is an avid music lover. Angel lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at ariessoul30@gmail.com.

About Angel

Angel is the author of ASTRO MUSINGS FROM AN ARIES SOUL. His interest in astrology started early, when at age 5, he found the daily horoscope in the back of his local newspaper. Years later, he was pulled more deeply into the world of mysticism when he began working at a metaphysical bookstore. His passion for astrology and other forms of divinity quickly blossomed as he studied with a variety of teachers, and by age 23, he was working as a professional astrologer. Angel has since read for clients in Los Angeles, San Francisico, and New York. He has also worked in both theater and film, and is an avid music lover. Angel lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at ariessoul30@gmail.com.

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