Which Way Is Retrograde?

This past Dec 22nd, 2013, Venus went retrograde, and then it went direct on Jan 31, 2014… but then Mercury went retrograde a few days later on Feb 6 and won’t go direct until Feb 28 but… but then Mars goes retrograde on March 3rd until May 19th… and all of the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune + Pluto) spend a few months every year going retrograde. And Mercury does retrograde 3x a year! What can a poor soul do?

In astrology, “retrograde motion” (Rx) is when it looks like a planet is “backing up” instead of going forward. We know it isn’t really backing up, but planets in retrograde motion often indicate a kind of reversal-of-fortune, based on what the planets symbolize. And if the Rx is directing affecting any of your natal planets, you might feel it a little stronger than others.

Since I have become an astrologer, more and more people are aware of Mercury Rx. I hear people blaming it for all kinds of mishaps. Mercury symbolizes communications, local travel and technology (among other things) and so Mercury Retrograde can bring about dropped phone calls, missed appointments, cancelled plans and maybe some computer issues.

I believe nothing is astrology is doomed to yield bad results, but you do need to work with some things, as they may not flow smoothly unless you are paying attention.

Since the outer planets spend so much time retrograde every year, this post is not concerning itself with them, but is taking a look at the “personal” planets retrograde: Mercury, Venus & Mars.

OK, yes… Venus Rx can symbolize reversals with relationships, and Mars Rx can indicate actions that do not turn out as expected… but there is something else going on when planets retrograde. Many things in life do not happen on a straight path, and retrograde favors those situations. Retrograde favors all the “RE” actions… like REassessing, REpairing, REexamining, REbuilding, REcreating. If you started a project and it went wrong, Mars and/or Mercury Rx are excellent times to re-tackle it, re-write and finish it. If your relationship with someone else (romantic and/or close friend) has hit a snag, then Venus Rx is reassessment time.

And even if you don’t know exactly when a planet goes retrograde, if something in your life is not moving forward no matter how hard you try, it is time to reassess and reexamine… maybe even simply taking a break is all you need to do to see it fresh, but sometimes it has to be torn down and rebuilt from scratch. Maybe… maybe even retreat might be called for. Even seasoned generals know there are times when retreating is the best option all around.

So when the astrological worrywarts start cursing Mercury Rx, (or any other Rx) and blaming it for everything going wrong, take a positive backwards view of things. Maybe plan ahead and leave a little extra time to allow for snafus and mix-ups. Maybe try taking a fresh look at an old problem.

Life can sometimes be like a maze: when you go down the wrong path and end up at a dead end, it’s time to back up and take a fresh route.


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