Retrogrades – a phenomenon that wanders many who believe and read in astrology. Many are cautious when certain retrogrades take place. However, are retrogrades something to be really be cautioned off?

In Vedic Astrology, retrogrades have a unique significance which is looked from two directions. One is from the direction of a planetary transit and the other based on one’s own personal birthchart with natal placement of planets.

What is a Retrograde?

We all may be aware that planets move consistently throughout the signs. They are not static. Therefore, when they retrograde, we call it a retrograde based on transit. Whereas for birth chart of an individual, it is slightly different. Our personal birthchart is based on the date, time and place of where we are born and in that time, if we take a snapshot of the sky with the planetary positions, that is our natal planetary positions. In that, we can also be born when one or two planets are retrograde. The meaning here can basically be different from the transit retrograde.

So what is a retrograde? Simply put is a planet that moves backwards. But is it really so? No, planets are constantly moving forward and orbiting around the Sun with varying speeds. In astrology, we take the Earth as a reference point and based on the movements of the other planets from Earth, we can determine retrograde motion. For example, if Mercury is orbiting slower than the Earth at a particular point, then when we look from Earth, we say that Mercury is retrograde.

In Vedic Astrology, the Sun and Moon are never retrograde. Rahu and Ketu are always retrograde which is why they are strongly associated with karmas especially the past lives. Other planets like Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can retrograde.

Significance of Retrogrades

Retrogrades generally means review, re-look, reflect etc. You may get my point. In transit, this is more so. During the retrograde of a planet, whatever the significations of the planet with respect to sign placement and house it is in, it will not manifest physically as much. It is because, it requires us to instead review and reflect and possibly re-plan, if needed, during that period. For example, if Mars Retrogrades, physical energy, courage and action will be very slow or there may not be any results. Reason being it is a time when we reflect within bringing courage and the energy within to review any issues or projects we may have to ensure we are on the path for our highest good. A retrograde based on planetary transit is not time to take action but to review and a chance to correct where we may feel that we have overlooked. If we act in accordance to its energies, it helps to propel our actions better when it goes direct.

Natal Retrograde Planets

When we are born with a planet in our chart retrograde, it is of a karmic nature. It means whatever we did in the last life with regards to that planet will need to be completed in the present life. Interestingly, in my experience, for some they are born for this very purpose itself. In some cases, it also linked to ancestral karmas.

There is significance when one is born with a planet in retrograde motion. It can have very much intense energy which is usually about completion which is positive. So each planet will have significance.

Let me list the planets and its retrograde significance in one’s birthchart:

Mercury Retrograde: One is born with a possibility of thinking process is reversed. In the past life, one was possibly impractical and impulsive thus creating some chaos in a situation. One is to complete the lesson of learning to be logical in thinking and developing communication skills in this life.

Mars Retrograde: Possibly in the past life, one did something regretful under the influence of a superior or another person and that anguish and guilt feeling where one were not being able to deal with one’s anger. In this life, one may not have the courage to face the anger within or to constructively speak up. So one may have sudden outburst. Therefore, one is to learn to garner courage to not only look within and understand the anger and origins but also courage to do what is for one’s highest good.

Jupiter Retrograde: In a past life, one was not able to achieve self-development. In this life one will need to use one’s free will and to be more active for achieving success in life. One is not to be a victim or submit to the fate of other’s. Developing one’s own beliefs, seeking truth and deeper meaning in life becomes important.

Venus Retrograde: It may indicate one was not faithful to one’ spouse, did not value relationships in general with others and also the improper use of luxuries. In this life, one may find hard to express love or emotions. So you may need to learn the real worth and value of people and things in one’s life.

Saturn Retrograde: It may indicate one had neglected one’s responsibilities in a past life. One may come into the current life, with a tendency to carry forward the same goals that one had left unfinished in a previous life. In this life, you may need to understand the value of responsibility, patience, focus, discipline and hard work.

All the above are general indicators. More can be said only when the personal birthchart is analyzed to take into account the sign, house and even the asterism the retrograde planet is in.

Retrograde planets actually bring in lessons for completion and at times, it may be intense. However, it promises to bring a lot of wisdom to any person who completes the lesson. So the next time when you hear about retrogrades, do not fear but smile and perceive that wisdom is arriving!

With much love and light,

Anura