By definition, a planet is retrograde when it is moving backward in the sky. However, in astrology, the significance of a retrograde is much more complex than just an apparent motion. On average, we experience at least one planet in retrograde about 80% of the time, and understanding each retrograde’s true meaning, dates, and effects can prove to be a powerful tool.
Because of the different looping shapes, there are at least eight different types of retrogrades for each of the planets. These loops vary in shape much more with the planets that are closest to Earth. During their respective retrogrades, Venus, Mercury, and Mars all come closer to Earth than the sun, penetrating the interior heart space of our system. These retrogrades are more extreme in the distance the planet moves away from the ecliptic, which makes their loop shapes more exaggerated. These planets retrogrades provide the biggest challenges and require the biggest adjustments.
Jupiter and Saturn go retrograde more frequently, about a third of the time, and their loops shapes are more flattened and less extreme. So, we can interpret these retrogrades as being somewhat less personal, less challenging overall, and requiring smaller adjustments. The outer planets are retrograde about 40% of the time, so most people have at least one of them retrograde most of the time.
Since retrograde motion is so radically different than the norm, it’s not a surprise that many people often experience it as disruptive. The question, then, is whether disruption is in and of itself a bad thing. It seems that getting off the beaten track could be experienced as less disruptive when we know it’s coming and plan for it by building in some wiggle room. It also seems that relaxing our expectations, taking less for granted, and being more observant are all beneficial practices. Taking our time, getting a little distance, and changing perspectives may be very helpful. In the end, a change in perspective might just give us access to an opportunity we would have missed otherwise.
Viewed through this lens, perhaps retrograde misadventures can become worth it even transformative. Here is a list of this years upcoming retrogrades so that you can properly prepare.
- February 17th – March 10th: Mercury retrograde in Pisces and Aquarius
- June 18th – July 12th: Mercury retrograde in Cancer
- October 14th – November 3rd: Mercury retrograde in Scorpio and Libra
- May 13th – June 25th: Venus retrograde in Gemini
- September 9th – November 14th: Mars retrograde in Aries
- May 14th – September 13th: Jupiter retrograde in Capricorn
- May 11th – September 29th: Saturn retrograde in Aquarius and Capricorn
- August 12th 2019- January 11th 2020: Uranus retrograde in Taurus
- August 15th 2020- January 1st 2021: Uranus retrograde in Taurus
- June 23rd – November 29th: Neptune retrograde in Pisces
- April 25th – October 4th: Pluto retrograde in Capricorn
Node retrograde in Cancer and Gemini: all year long
Chiron retrograde in Aries: July 11th – December 15
There is no retrograde motion for Lilith, in 2020.