Retrograde Planets

Introduction to Retrograde Planets

In her book, Retrograde Planets: Traversing the Inner landscape, Erin Sullivan (1992) states that, retrogression is the period of time during which a planet in our solar system appears to be moving backwards as we see it against the fixed backdrop of the stars. This phenomena is entirely due to our Earth space perspective and was well known to the ancient astronomers.

Retrograde motion and the subsequent appearance of planets going backwards is, of course, only an illusion that is based on our view from earth into the solar system. Astrologers interpret these movements in terms of human behaviour and these times often coincide with periods of contemplation and re-evaluation, the quality of which is determined by the plant that is retrograde.

Mercury Venus and Mars are the faster-moving planets and as such their retrograde periods do not last that long, approximately 21 days, 41 days and 72 days respectively. Jupiter, Saturn are a little longer, approximately 121 and 138 days respectively while Uranus Neptune and Pluto can seem to last forever, approximately 151, 158 and 182 respectively.

Retrograde Periods 2016

Mercury (ruler of Gemini and Virgo). In general Mercury rules communication and short distance travel, however, these periods will be particularly felt by the signs ruled by Mercury

  • 5 January – 25 January; In Aquarius, spend time volunteering, use the Internet for research and as it moves backwards into Capricorn, reconsider your career options organise your home or work space and work out how you might manifest your dreams!
  • 28 April – 22 May: In Taurus, review your financial situation, invite friends to dinner or connect with family members.
  • 30 August – 22 September: In Virgo, give that critic that sits on your shoulder a rest, clean out your garage or review your daily habits and routines.
  • 19 December – 9 Jan  (2017): In Sagittarius where you might like to plan a trip take a stand on a social justice issue or as it moves back into Scorpio get in touch with your deepest thoughts or engage in therapy and/or meditation. 

Read About Mercury Retrograde

Mars (ruler of Aries and traditional ruler of Scorpio). Mars rules assertiveness, aggression and in general, the urge to get what you want however the retrograde periods will be particularly felt by the signs ruled by Mars. Issues may surface that you have completely forgotten about. Your motivation and drive may seem to vanish leaving you feeling depleted of energy. It is not a good idea to commence new projects. Do not become argumentative, you will lose!

  • 17 April – 29 June 2016: Mars will retrograde in Sagittarius (17 April – 28 May) and travel back into Scorpio (28 May – 29 June)

Read About Mars Retrograde

Jupiter (ruler of Sagittarius and traditional ruler of Pisces). Jupiter rules growth and expansion as well as higher learning and overseas travel however during the retrograde period the normal rate of growth and expansion slows. It can be an opportunity to plan a trip, or plan to study or reflect on your personal values and how they do or don’t support you.

  • 8 January - 9 May 2016

Saturn (ruler of Capricorn and traditional ruler of Aquarius). During the retrograde period we understand more about the structures we create in our life and more subtly we learn we are not always able to control our environment. We may need to reconsider the order of our priorities and how we utilise our time.

  • 25 March - 13 August 2106


Outer Planet Retrogrades

Although these planets exhibit their own unique characteristics it is commonly understood, at least amongst astrologers, that they will operate unconsciously. We generally view that access to this and energy only comes through a connection and activation with a personal planet such as the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars. 

Uranus (modern ruler of Aquarius). Uranus is called the awakener. Retrograde Uranus brings into focus life’s imperfections and with it and in an emphasis on freedom. You may become very disillusioned with your own mundane self and experience and in a conflict between the old and the new. Excitement is replaced with anxiety and it is time to test what has lasting value.

  • 02 August - 29 December 2016

Neptune (modern ruler of Pisces). With Neptune retrograde, you may have difficulties with establishing boundaries. You may have strong impressions that may not be easily explained yet need to be explored. You may experience some form of identity crisis and feel that you are at the mercy of other people or circumstances. It is an opportunity to delve deeper into the intangible self and with psychically sensitive individuals this period may produce a form of psychic overload. Take it easy.

  • 13 June - 20 November 2016

Pluto (modern ruler of Scorpio). Pluto retrograde brings with it greater intensity and may enable greater insights into the self. There seems to be a need for more self-control and control of others. This is a good time to re-evaluate those areas you can control and let go of those areas you can’t. It’s a time for internal housekeeping.

  • 18 April – 26 September 2016