About Retrograde (R) 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 is 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.

Mercury Retrograde in General

  • When Mercury (communication) is retrograde (appears to be going backwards), it is generally known that it can lead to misinterpretations and misunderstandings in matters related to communicating. These periods will be particularly felt by the signs ruled by Mercury – Gemini and Virgo.
  • Typically, we say, don’t start anything new. Don’t make important decisions during the retrograde period as they are likely to be wrong because of inaccurate, incomplete or unavailable information.
  • Don’t buy appliances as you’ll probably have problems with them.
  • Purchasing or installing software during the retrograde period pretty much ensures it will never work properly or it will not fulfil its brief. Other software run machines may malfunction.
  • Mobile communications are often interrupted, and any public address systems will often malfunction even if you have checked and double-checked them.
  • Day-to-day communication can be downright frustrating, and you may find yourself playing email or phone tag with someone you are trying to make contact with.

Read more about Mercury Retrograde here

The Pre Mercury Retrograde Period

About a week before the Mercury retrograde period kicks in, I would advise the following backup your computers and mobile phones and any other software or digital devices you have. Pay whatever bills you can, and send anything through snail mail. Complete as many major projects or works that can be done before the Mercury retrograde period or schedule then as soon as possible after Mercury turns direct.

The main thrust of the Mercury retrograde period is the same however the sign in which the retrograde occurs adds flavour or focus to its activities.

Typically, there are three retrograde periods per year, and in 2022 they are as follows:

15 January 2022 – 6 February 2022  (Aquarius/Capricorn)

  • Mercury commences its retrograde motion in Aquarius in the solar sixth house. It is about revisiting your ideas about the world and creating some new and more meaningful perspectives. You may reconnect with an old friend or rethink what is important to you in friendship. If there are misunderstandings between you and your friends during the retrograde period, I recommend that you do not react this time. Think the situation through and explore what you might do differently and consider other options to approaching the situation then wait until Mercury goes direct before acting upon your decision. When Mercury slips back into Capricorn, the solar tenth house, your focus may shift to thoughts about decisions you recently made about your career life direction which may or may not include someone in authority. You may redefine your thoughts on personal power and how you would like to be seen by others. It may be useful to reflect on your relationships and consider the power dynamic and explore the root cause of any issues and work to find new and unique ways to connect. Expect to rethink your professional and personal life! This period will enable you to think about your value system and how you want to move forward. A great time to process and take new directions when Mercury goes direct

10 May 2022 – 4 June 2022 (Gemini/Taurus)

  • Mercury retrograde in Gemini will affect the solar third (Gemini) and sixth houses (Virgo). This retrograde period will be significant for Gemini folk as Mercury is in its own sign, which kind of makes the energy more emphasised. Be careful of issues with siblings or an old issue may resurface. Now might be a good time to make that get in touch type call. Your usual Gemini inquisitiveness and restlessness may need to take a back seat while you re-evaluate some of the ideas rolling around inside your head! Now might be a great time for you to make follow-up calls you have put off.
  • As Mercury slips back into Taurus you may find yourself slowing down a bit and evaluating your financial situation, and the substance or your core values.
  • Virgo’s may become painfully critical and may respond negatively to any ideas that are up for discussion. Can you withhold judgement and keep the conversation going until Mercury goes direct? Internally it would be a good idea to silence the self-sabotaging critic that sits on your shoulder! Relax. Possibly get your hands into the earth or do some relaxation meditation to reduce any anxiety you may be experiencing.

10 September 2022 – 1 October 2022 (Libra/Virgo) 

  • Mercury retrograde in Libra or the solar seventh house means that you may review a current relationship, or an old relationship may resurface. There may be some miscommunication with a partner, business acquaintance, a married or committed relationship. Whatever surfaces during this time consider looking at it from a different perspective. Can you think outside the box? Is there something you could do differently? This is a great time to engage in those activities such as a museum visit, the arts, music, dance or theatre. You may also want to do some redecorating or change your surroundings in some way. However, to the planning, consider what options are available to you. Do the preparation yet do not commence the project until Mercury changes direction because you might change your mind.
  • As Mercury slips back into Virgo it is in its own sign which means it is usually comfortable and usually makes it stronger. However, as Mercury is retrograde it will cause a level of self-reflection. The question becomes what needs adjustment and recalibration to work more effectively?

We need to remember that there are those people who power up during the Mercury Retrograde period. They are those who have Mercury retrograde in their birth chart or as we say, Natally. It can be a time when your capacity for focus and precision is unparalleled. It can be a time of planning and preparing or just sitting and thinking. A great time to review your everyday activities in readiness for the direct motion to kick in. However, I don’t get it off your plate or send it on until Mercury goes direct!

If you are aware of the retrograde period is the best thing to do is to mark them in your planners. When these periods occur, allow/plan to slow down and focus on your preplanned activities.

Venus Retrograde in 2022

Venus will be retrograde in Capricorn from December 19 2021 -to January 29 2022. The shadow period  is until 2 march 2022

Venus ( ruler of Taurus and Libra). When Venus goes R by transit, for approximately 41 days, it is not a good time for investment, international relations, starting a new job or your relationship life! Interestingly, Venus retrograde has an approximate 8-year cycle which means it returns to the same zodiacal degree every 8 years. Often this time brings people (friends and lovers) back into our lives. Whether the experience is a pleasant one will depend on how it finished!

  • For the general population, it’s a time for some introspection and reassessment of personal values and how they are might be working. Taurus and Libra folk will feel its effect the most. For our Taurus folk, it will be about money or material values and for Librans, it will be about the quality of their relationships. The more authentic you are in these areas will determine the degree of discord you may experience now. As stated above there is an 8-year cycle so be aware that there may be a connection to circumstances from eight years ago. Consider if there is a pattern and if it is being repeated in your life. If you can identify a pattern or circumstances that appear to be repeating themselves, you probably need to think about what you need to deal with and move on. For example, are you stuck in a pattern of behaviour in your relationships that keeps repeating itself? In other words, do you have any old relationship stuff you need to deal with?
  • Often this time brings people (friends and lovers) back into our lives. Whether the experience is a pleasant one will depend on how it finished! If you are born with Venus retrograde in your birth horoscope it suggests a predisposition to certain ways you are hard-wired. With this positioning of Venus, you may always feel that something doesn’t quite gel in terms of your relationships or you may have deep-seated feelings of being unworthy, unattractive or unlovable. This is not necessarily the case however for some reason probably because of circumstances in your early childhood you began to withdraw into yourself which resulted in you feeling separated from others. Venus retrograde individuals often possess a sense of being ‘different’. The retrograde period can be a great time for you to ‘power up’ and continue your personal development to establish a stronger sense of self and forge new directions.
  • Sullivan (1992) made interesting comments about Venus Retrograde with respect to the collective… watching the world news in regards to diplomatic and international relations…where political situations were particularly unstable and leaders insecure and fallible often trouble ensues.
Take it gently if you start a job with Venus retrograde, be nice to everyone since you do not know who will change…and be friendlier later. People often do not project themselves as they are when Venus is retrograde. Sometimes they are in a bad place so being nice and friendly can score a lot of points!

Mars Retrograde in 2022

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 R 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 or commence a legal case, you will lose!

Mars will retrograde in 2022 from 30 October 2022 – to 12 January 2023.  The shadow, for those of you who like to use the shadow period is 12 Jan – 17 March

Jupiter Retrograde in 2022

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 R 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. This can also be a time to contemplate and reflect upon aspects of your life where you need to explore your sense of morality, higher purpose and personal code of ethics. You may feel that ideas that once excited and motivated you suddenly have none or little appeal. Wait until the retrograde period is over to crystalise your thoughts.

  • 30 December 2021  moves back into Pisces its traditional ruler. Jupiter will go retrograde on 29 October 2022

Saturn Retrograde in 2022

Saturn (ruler of Capricorn and traditional ruler of Aquarius) During the R period we begin to understand or look more deeply into the structures we create in our life. 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. You may be forced to realise that you cannot control your environment and business may experience quite a few ups and downs during this period of time. It will continue to affect global consciousness and if you think about it, our world is still undergoing enormous structural change and Saturn rules structures.

  • Saturn has been in Aquarius, the sign of its traditional ruler since 18 December 2020 (yes that is correct!). It went retrograde on 23  May 2021.  From 23 May 2021, the retrograde motion continued until 11 October 2021.  Saturn then continues its forward (Direct) journey until 4 June 2022 when it turns retrograde again (still in Aquarius) until  29 October 2022 until 8 March 2023.
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Outer Planet Retrogrades 2022

Although these planets exhibit their own unique characteristics, it is commonly understood, at least amongst psychological astrologers, that they will operate unconsciously. We often see these energies manifest through the collective unconscious. These energies are powerful and are accessed via 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. Uranus energy is generally quite disruptive and you can expect the unexpected. R 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.

  •  20 August 2021 – 18 January 2022 in  Taurus.  24 August 2022 – 22 January 2023 in Taurus

Neptune (modern ruler of Pisces). With Neptune R, 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.

  •  28 June 2022 – 3 December 2022
  • During this time Neptune will be in Pisces, its own sign and therefore very strong.

Pluto (modern ruler of Scorpio). Pluto R 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.

  • April 29 2022 – October 8 2022

Retrograde Shadow Periods

In astrology a shadow period is defined as a specific period of time that occurs both before and after the retrograde period of a planet, starting when the planet first passes the degree of the zodiac that it will eventually retrograde back to an ending once it eventually passes the degree that it originally stationed retrograde at. Shadow periods are sometimes referred to as retrograde shadows or shadow points. The concept was first defined by astrologer Roxana Muise in the 1980s, and since then it has gained a moderate to a wide degree of acceptance and usage in the astrological community.

From an interpretive standpoint, shadow periods are important because they are essentially seen as extending the operational duration of the retrograde period of the planet. Instead of the retrograde period beginning on the day that the planet stations retrograde, the events and circumstances associated with the retrograde are seen as beginning to develop as soon as the planet passes the pre-retrograde shadow point, which is the degree that the planet will eventually retrograde back to. Similarly, instead of the retrograde period ending on the day that the planet stations direct, in this context the circumstances surrounding the retrograde are seen as continuing until the planet passes the post-retrograde shadow point, which is the degree that it originally stationed retrograde at.

ref: The Astrology Dictionary

I’m not entirely sure I agree with this concept in terms of the pre-retrograde period however there may be some credence to the post-retrograde period.  Traditional astrologers would not use this as it is a modern psychological astrological approach. It may, may apply to the faster moving personal planet’s but I fail to see the value of applying this thinking to the outer planets because they go retrograde for so long so it seems to me you would always be in shadow or retrograde! The way to see if it works for you is to map the pre & post-retrograde periods and see what happens!

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