A planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. This traditional concept arises in the illusory planetary motion created by the orbital rotation of the earth, with relation to other planets in our solar system. It's a bit like travelling on the road watching another car beside you: when the other car slows down, or you speed up, it looks as though the other car is moving backwards. So planets are never actually retrograde or stationary, they just seem that way, due to this optical illusion.
Retrograde periods, although often problematic for us earthlings, are not particularly uncommon. Each planet retrogrades, except the Sun and Moon. As a rule, retrograde planets presage a period of seemingly inevitable or fated events, which relate to their sphere of influence. In particular, issues from the past that have not been resolved tend to reappear in order to demand resolution, so we can move on. Retro phases also present us with a series of events over which we seem to have little or no control, relating especially to the sign in which the retrogradation occurs. For example, transiting Jupiter retrograde in Aries presents quite different sets of circumstances from those generated when it retrogrades into Pisces.
When a planet is retrograde, its energies are turned inward and becomes more subjective. The energy is slower manifesting in the external world, partly because the individual with retrograde planets tends to think more deeply about the energies involved. Many geniuses and leaders have retrograde planets. According to Martin Schulman, in his Karmic Astrology: Retrogrades & Reincarnation, Vol. II, retrograde planets tend to break the time barrier. The individual brings memories of prior lifetimes into the present incarnation. There may be feelings of a “blending of lifetimes” characterized by the person attempting to resolve issues that still appear to be unfinished. The memories can be so vivid that the person does not recognize them as “memories.” In Schulman’s words: “He is living in a dulled phase of another time zone whose irresistible magnetism seems even more important than his current life.” The individual keeps re-living the experiences that relate to the particular retrograde planet.
Retrogrades operate through multiple dimensions at the same time. Thus, the person may “be either behind or ahead of himself in this life while still another part of self is not yet in this life at all. In addition to this lack of synchronization with chronological time, which in itself would be enough to upset most individuals, he also experiences on still another plane, a rather unique orientation in space.” (Schulman)
Schulman’s definition of a “Retrograde individual” refers to having either: 1) 3 or more retrogrades in the natal chart, 2) any one of the personal planets Retrograde, or 3) even one single Retrograde planet near the Ascendant or Midheaven (the 10th house cusp is called the Midheaven).
Again quoting Schulman: “The Retrograde planet, with its powerful karmic lessons being brought forward in this life tends to emphasize the matter or form side of life, throwing man into the more primitive parts of himself where his struggle for survival amidst the conditions and people around him becomes predominant over the fulfillment of his Soul. This becomes even more heightened in the case of the inner [personal] Retrogrades (Mercury, Venus, & Mars) through which man deals with the very same intimate, personal, and private parts of himself which he has been struggling with since his beginning in time.”
It is comforting and encouraging to know “that soul and spirit are above the laws of karma” and all difficulties can be resolved. Much spiritual growth can take place through the overcoming of the difficulties involved with Retrograde planets. The SUN and MOON do not go retrograde.
turns the mind inward, giving a tendency to repeatedly go back over prior events and lessons. The thought process is based in the subconscious rather than the conscious mind. This means the learning process is more Right Brain than Left Brain; you absorb the essence rather than the details. For this reason, you are likely to score lower on standardized and/or facts-oriented tests than those students not having mercury retrograde. A child with mercury retrograde is likely to be made to feel and told that he/she is less intelligent than he/she really is. This child’s learning process is different, not less intelligent.
The MERCURY RETROGRADE individual is capable of tapping into the collective unconscious and of perceiving knowledge from prior times. This process is unconscious. Because you know more than you can consciously communicate, frustration may set in. You may become preoccupied with the form of your ideas, creating barriers to the essence of your knowledge.
Creative outlets that require non-verbal communication, such as music and painting, are an excellent means of expression for MERCURY RETROGRADE. Many of our musical geniuses have MERCURY RETROGRADE. History is also a natural outlet.
MERCURY RETROGRADE KARMA: Relationships – with a tendency to react to others “as if” they symbolize persons from the past.
– indicates difficulty in expressing freely your love and affection for others. You may feel that you lack emotional fulfillment and tend to interpret life’s events through the lens of “how much am I loved or deprived of love?” Emotionally based relationships can be difficult because you tend to internalize and thereby exaggerate hurts.
VENUS RETROGRADE KARMA: Relationships – reveals that your soul carries memories of past life painful relationships and a great misunderstanding about the nature of love. The prior life intense emotional pain may result in a present tendency to cut yourself off from fully experiencing the richness of love—out of fear of being hurt once more. You will tend to react to the present as if it is the past, thereby pre-programming your present love relationships. You tend to block yourself from happiness by trying too hard to achieve it.
PARENTS: Encourage your VENUS RETROGRADE child to engage in all activities that add beauty, art, and love to his/her daily life. VENUS is the planet of beauty; teach your child to think and create in terms that focus on enhancing life’s situations. Loving an animal may be helpful; just make sure the child is also learning to love people freely and within the present context.
– shifts the outward thrust of energy characteristic of MARS and directs it inward. You will tend to expend a lot of energy reliving internally your past experiences. Because you are constantly to the past, you may inflict past life roles upon the persons in your present life’s environment. There is a strong tendency to place priority upon fulfilling your spiritual desires, resulting in neglect of the physical body’s needs. An intentional focus on holistic growth is needed. Sexual experiences can be less fulfilling because your energy is turned inward. However, sex that is deeply rooted in love between two partners and that strives for a mutual spiritual orgasm can be a much more natural expression for MARS RETROGRADE.
MARS RETROGRADE KARMA – indicates your actions tend to be an effort to recreate situations from your prior lifetimes. You may expend energy in attempting to find people in the present who can symbolize those who fulfilled you in the past. You may try to act out all that you could not express in prior lifetimes. You may over-react when your efforts fail to produce your desired results. This over-reaction can result in “coming on” too strongly, only to have people pull back.
PARENTS: Assist your MARS RETROGRADE child to form a daily routine of plenty of sleep, a nutritious diet, lots of outdoor exercise. Since MARS RETROGRADE tends to be more interested in spiritual desires, help the child to understand the physical body is the “Temple of God” and must be cared for accordingly.
With both VENUS & MARS RETROGRADE children, parents can be helpful by discussing with the child the difference between past life memories and present experiences. Help your child to discern when he/she is over-reacting.
WARNING, PARENTS: If you choose to assist your Venus Retrograde or your Mars Retrograde child to discern past life memories from present experiences, DO NOT DENY PAST LIVES. To do so would simply create more confusion. Instead, recognize the past life memories as real, then guide your child in discerning whether or not the events he/she remembers happened in the present environment.
PARENTS: I know this is hard to understand if you have not experienced it, so let me give an example from my life. Although my Venus or Mars are not retrograde, I have memories of having lived in Egypt for several lifetimes. When I entered my private counseling practice, I barely managed to hold things together financially. This went on for years. Finally, one day I was sitting at my computer and I heard myself think, “If I had plenty of money, I would not complete my soul’s mission for this incarnation.” Shocked, I realized that I had been telling myself that for years. I asked in meditation to understand this thought pattern and was shown a lifetime in which I had been very wealthy. Instead of using my talents in that past life, I used my money to play. It was—in Soul terms—a lifetime in which I did not complete my soul’s purpose. Completing my soul’s purpose and mission for this incarnation has been uppermost in my mind since a small child. I realized that, heretofore, I had not experienced financial abundance in this incarnation because that past life memory remained in my semi-conscious awareness. As a result of separating past life experiences from those of this incarnation, my needs are abundantly met as I continue to fulfill my mission for this lifetime.
Rules the Eternal Self, the Planet of Wisdom
Jupiter is a source of enthusiasm, optimism, and the urge to seize the opportunities offered to you in life.
JUPITER RETROGRADE turns its energy of expansion inward, so that much inner growth takes place, often through spiritually oriented studies. JUPITER RETROGRADE tends to procrastinate and to plan, then re-plan, to the point of failing to get anywhere with the thoroughly planned project. JUPITER RETROGRADE offers the opportunity for a highly spiritual incarnation. You must seek your own Truth; for, the mundane and status quo is likely to leave you feeling discontent. You are a free-spirit and cannot follow happily in the footsteps of others. Great wisdom and prophetic ability can be present, especially as you attain spiritual maturity. JUPITER RETROGRADE can bring many déjà-vu experiences; you can feel at home anywhere on the planet.
PARENTS, your JUPITER RETROGRADE child will likely find little value or meaning in much that our society regards as cherished traditions. Your child incarnated to live out the richness in life, both outwardly and inwardly. Too strict an environment can result in inner restlessness and discontent that the child may be unable to verbalize or define. Know that your child needs to explore a variety of places, activities, philosophies, and to determine for self the lasting significance of each. Enjoy the versatility and unique insights that your JUPITER RETROGRADE child can offer you.
THE DWELLER ON THE THRESHOLD
The planet of self-discipline, SATURN’s goal for you is perfection.
SATURN helps us bear our karma and successfully pass our tests. Until we willingly accept self-discipline, we experience SATURN as feelings of limitation, deprivation, delay, and disappointment. SATURN’s true desire is to grant us wisdom and compassion.
SATURN RETROGRADE is your signal that you are re-doing a lifetime. This incarnation is your 2nd chance; thus, you will feel the burden of dealing with two lifetimes at once. You can, therefore, experience inner doubts about your self-worth and your ability to overcome difficulties. The good news is that your soul knows you have achieved the spiritual maturity required to re-do successfully a lifetime. You have in prior lifetimes advanced through great personal struggles and sacrifices. Now, as you learn to flow with SATURN’s discipline, you will be rewarded with enormous wisdom. SATURN is comfortable in RETROGRADE motion, and as you flow with it, you develop the capacity to tap into all of your past life wisdom and talents. SATURN RETROGRADE is a sign of an old Soul who has advanced far on the spiritual path. Now, you have incarnated to perfect what you have learned.
PARENTS: your SATURN RETROGRADE child is likely to possess a serious nature and to feel overly responsible. You can assist your child by incorporating regular periods of play into the daily schedule. You might need to reassure this child that until he/she grows into adulthood, you will be the parent while he/she enjoys being the child. Self-discipline learned through play can be effective. Competitive sports may overload the child with the need to be responsible and do well for his/her team. Individual sports, such as swimming, track, and tennis may be more helpful. Observe your child and follow your intuitive guidance. Sculpture, sewing, and woodworking can be playful ways to satisfy the SATURN need to build structures.
SATURN RETROGRADE KARMA – the re-doing of a lifetime, with the extra weight that entails. SATURN RETROGRADE will be serious about getting it right this time.
URANUS RETROGRADE – creates difficulty in being aware of and expressing your inner individuality. There can be a rediscovery of ideas from previous lifetimes. URANUS RETROGRADE gives you a compelling sense of responsibility toward personal growth because you sense that human progress as a whole is enhanced as well. You are a forerunner of the future, very tapped into the richness of life. You must be original; you must explore the new; you must share your ideas with others. You are a free spirit and cannot be bound by seeking to have others understand what you are about. Your path may be long and crooked, but you can know extreme happiness while traveling it.
URANUS RETROGRADE KARMA – relates to karmic family and societal difficulties. In your efforts to both relate to others and to reform, your unconscious mind can be transformed. URANUS RETROGRADE can play havoc with relationships because of your changeability, which can make you appear hypocritical. Your mental and emotional bodies may struggle with each other, as you know you need to do one thing while feeling that you need to do another. URANUS RETROGRADE would have you lift your consciousness above the emotional/mental bodies and focus on the intuitive body.
PARENTS – appreciate your free spirited child. Encourage his/her originality and inventiveness. Do not try to possess this child; URANUS RETROGRADE is his/her own unique self and will rebel against all attempts to chain him/her.
NEPTUNE RETROGRADE – gives the desire to unveil mysteries and to expose religious shams. You will have an intuitive awareness of your subconscious mind, but may have difficulty making conscious attunement. NEPTUNE RETROGRADE attunes much easier to the subconscious/unconscious when the focus is diverted by the use of a tool, such as astrology, or while the conscious mind is occupied with the task at hand. It is, therefore, important to listen to and heed insights that appear to come to you from “out of the blue.”
NEPTUNE RETROGRADE indicates the urge to view the material world in terms of its significance to the Soul and its growth. Thus, NEPTUNE RETROGRADE offers you the opportunity to achieve a very advanced stage of spiritual evolution during this incarnation. NEPTUNE RETROGRADE requires that you live in the material world while remaining separate from it. To others, you will seem to lack the common sense that motivates the behavior of others. Instead, you vibrate to a higher music, possessing a direct attunement with your Soul. You are much more in touch with the cosmos than the material world and know far more than you can express in words.
NEPTUNE RETROGRADE KARMA – You are living through a karma of learning how to distinguish between the dreamsthat will bring true fulfillment and those that simply appear to do so. This learning process can mean that you attempt living one dream after the other. Because NEPTUNE RETROGRADE, functioning on the personality-centered level, can be confusing, you may tend not to trust your intuition—even though you are highly intuitive.
PARENTS – your NEPTUNE RETROGRADE child may appear impractical in comparison to society’s status quo. You may be tempted to stifle your child’s dreams or to dismiss them as “off the wall.” Know that your child lives in two worlds simultaneously. Simply be supportive and allow his/her uniqueness to manifest. This child will enjoy serving others, even at a young age. Artistic and musical activities are satisfying.
PLUTO RETROGRADE – turns its transformative energy even more deeply into the superconsciousness, bringing about an inner illumination long before you are able to give it expression in the outer world. PLUTO RETROGRADE indicates a carry-over of psychic powers from previous lifetimes. These powers are to be used in constructive ways only. You will feel the struggle humanity is going through within yourself—humanity’s struggle is your struggle. You are aware of and feel responsible for lifting your conscious awareness so that the consciousness of humanity can be thereby lifted.
PLUTO RETROGRADE KARMA – A karmic debt is owned to humanity stemming from the age indicated by the sign in which PLUTO is located. This debt is to be paid through selfless service to humanity. Tremendous spiritual growth is possible; you have the opportunity to rise above the karma of the human race and step off the wheel of rebirth. PLUTO RETROGRADE joins NEPTUNE RETROGRADE in asking that you live in the world, while remaining separate from it.
PARENTS – you will need to understand the psychic powers your child may naturally demonstrate and strive not to stifle them. Instead, help your child use them for constructive purposes while making no big deal over them. They are natural for your child; treat your child as you would any other child.
(PRECESSION OF AGES found in Lesson 4 will reveal the time of the Age indicated by the sign location of your PLUTO RETROGRADE.)