About Retrograde (R) Planets

Many of you will have heard of the term Mercury Retrograde (Rx). Usually, we assign all sorts of ‘bad luck’ to this period when it appears, from Earth that the planet Mercury has turned on its heels and is moving backwards! Of course, this does not happen and is an optical illusion however astrologers look at this movement and correlate it with events that take place on Earth and within our own lives.

Mercury Retrogrades (Rx) can be found in the birth horoscope, by progression or as a transit or temporary occurrence about three times a year that lasts for approx three weeks at a time. If you were born with a Mercury Retrograde you will not think like other folk. You will probably feel quite misunderstood most of the time yet at the same time you are the person who provides valuable insight into a problem and are capable of thinking outside the square! When Mercury goes retrograde by progression developmental issues will surface and your communication style will probably alter or you may misunderstand others. Typically, you become more measured in your comments or appear withdrawn. Usually, it is the transits of Mercury Retrograde that are the ones that most people, including astrologers, refer to as causing all-around havoc. That is not necessarily the case!

As the fundamental purpose of astrology is to help us understand the constructive use of energy, Mercury Rx periods can be very useful it just depends on the choices you make.

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Mercury Retrograde: Examples of What Can Happen.

In general, Mercury Rx is usually associated with silly mundane things going wrong. Mail gets lost and turns up weeks later, and communications between people get confused or misinterpreted. You can find yourself playing exasperating levels of telephone tag with others which can be a nuisance, particularly if you are in a situation where the timing is critical. A simple trip to the shop for milk may produce unexpected delays, etc. Mechanical problems are likely to appear during the retrograde period and disappear after it reverts to direct motion. Computers and software programs can crash and do peculiar things or you may not receive email that goes into cyberspace.

Business will either be quiet or frantic and there tends to be no in-between. Whether in business or just going about your daily life stop and consider the difference between activity and productivity. You may be busy producing nothing! Alternatively slowing down and focusing may produce considerable quantum leaps forward. For those of you in sales, a seemingly great deal might fall through. Be a little less eager to close the deal and focus on uncovering more needs, the specific needs of your client. They will have more than they have shared. Present relevant options. Build on that and don’t appear too eager and the results will be longer lasting as will the relationship. Conversely, if you are presented with a deal…don’t sign up till Mercury changes direction.

If you’re in the business of doing presentations, a typical problem during a Mercury Rx is that microphones won’t work or the sound system will malfunction, there may be static and feedback through the sound system, and the timing of the program will be out.  Ideally, I would recommend that you avoid doing presentations during this time OR double and triple check the audio, the visuals, and function arrangements and then have a contingency up your sleeve!

If people make commitments to you during this period it will help if you drive the process a little. Check in with them to ensure keep up their part of the agreement and remain committed to the same outcome. Make all parties have the same understanding of what the outcomes are as they may change their mind and forget to let you know! Don’t be surprised if this happens. I have seen many managers ‘push’ to have a proposal on a matter only to find it incomplete or the brief misinterpreted

Mercury Retrograde can create troubles for travelers so I usually recommend that people check their travel arrangements. Things can and will go wrong if the planning of the trip occurs during a Mercury Rx, e.g. flights get changed, delays can occur or you may arrive at your destination to find you have no accommodation. The lesson is to not leave anything to chance and if and when things go wrong, just chill! Conversely, I had a friend who was on an international flight and got upgraded to business class and could hardly wait to call me from the departure lounge to let me know. I was quite envious and then it happened to me on a recent trip to Europe at the time Mercury was retrograde and turning direct! It was great! However, before the flight took, we had an awful time getting through security with my bag being checked three times.

If the planning of your trip occurred during ‘normal’ mercury motion and the trip takes place on Mercury Rx minor delays and longer flight times may result…just hang loose is the best advice.

Mercury Retrograde: Constructive Use of Energy.

Knowing how to use the energy is the key. The Mercury Rx period will affect the general population and will be more powerfully felt if the individual is linked to it in some way. Mercury Rx periods enable one to think, plan and contemplate. I recommend that people use this time to gather details, facts and other relevant information about their ideas. Explore! Drill down and uncover what often people aren’t telling you upfront, particularly if they commenced promoting a ‘deal’ or ‘proposal’ during the retrograde period!

One should never sign a contract…it will often fall through or there will always be some sort of problem with either the contract or the item! For example, the house next to us was up for sale and had been for some time, frankly, it seemed overpriced but they finally got a contract….Mercury went Mercury Rx and the sale fell through! I knew a person who purchased a photocopier on a Mercury Rx and there was a problem with the copy of the entire lease period. In addition, there were constant problems with the leasing company sending demands for late payment when this was, in fact, not the case. Ever bought a car that was a lemon…?

The Mercury Rx period can represent focused energy and allow creativity to manifest itself in the form of ideas, detailed planning and preparation. However, hold off on taking action until  Mercury changes direction. Then move into execution mode. It’s a great time to get into or back into meditation. Slow down, focus, and refocus to find clarity. Get centered.  Further, it’s a great time for a personal stock take or take time to tweak those goals in light of what you may discover during the Mercury Rx period. This is a great use of energy. If you are in business it’s an excellent time to look at business performance and do some strategic planning. Just don’t try to execute.

The reason people get so frustrated during this time is that they are not in tune with the universe’s natural rhythms and want to keep pushing to make things happen. After all, were conditioned that way. Very often, they feel as if they are driving a car with the brakes on yet the lesson is one of patience and the majority of us are not good at that!

Mercury, Venus and Mars are the fastest-moving planets, and as such, their retrograde periods do not last that long, approximately 21 days, 41 days and 72 days, respectively. Jupiter and 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.

In Michele Finey’s book, The Test of Time, Exploring Stationary Planets, she has beautifully researched and navigated the Astronomy of Stations. Please Note, that I have adopted her methodology which means my calculations may vary slightly from the ephemeris.

Preparing for Mercury Retrograde

About a week before the Mercury retrograde period kicks in, I  advise backing up computers, 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 them as soon as possible after Mercury turns direct. If you know the retrograde periods, the best thing to do is to mark them in your planners. Allow/plan to slow down and focus on your preplanned activities during these periods.

Typically, there are three retrograde periods per year, and in 2023-2024 they are as follows:

13 December 2023 – 2 January 2024 (Sagittarius/Capricorn)

Stations 31 Dec 2023  – 1 Jan 2024, Station/Direct 2-4 Jan 2024

  • Mercury initially retrogrades in Sagittarius and that trip you may have been planning, that party you planned or enrolling in that course, might have to take a back seat as your plans will need to change.  As it travels 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 reevaluate your thoughts on personal power and how you would like to be seen by others. It may also be useful to reflect on your relationships and consider any power dynamic at play. If you have concerns, 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!
  • We commence the new year with a Mercury retrograde so it is likely that any New Year resolutions you make will change or at least be modified to suit changing circumstances. Be flexible and go with the flow, it will work out exactly as it is meant to!

1 April 2024 – 25 April 2024 (Aries)

Station/Retrograde 31 March -1 April, Retrograde 2 – 22 April, Station/Direct 23 April – 29 April

  • When Mercury is in Direct motion in Aries, you can expect communication to be somewhat impulsive with sudden changes in perspective. You may find yourself being involved in debates and be impatient to reach a decision and move on.
  • When Mercury is retrograde in Aries, in the Solar 1st house we will see less impatience and a more measured approach. In other words, you will think before you speak and how you want to deliver your point of view. However, like most retrograde motion it’s never a good idea to draw conclusions and try to move forward because usually, rework needs to occur. A constructive use of energy would be to get physical. Anything from gardening to taking up martial arts to dissipate any frustrations, however, avoid obvious conflicts, get more physical or explore starting a new enterprise.

5 August – 28 August (Virgo / Leo)

Station/Retrograde 2 – 9 August, Retrograde 9 – 26 August, Stations /Direct 27 August – 31 August

  • Mercury Direct in Virgo tries to be impartial checking the facts and details while generally displaying good old-fashioned common sense! Typically, you are quite honest yet can be sceptical and intolerant of those who don’t think the same way you do. This can result in you being overly critical and you may let the details get in the way of the bigger picture.
  • Mercury Retrograde in Virgo Mercury Rx in Virgo will affect the solar 6th house. Your plans may derail, and you find yourself feeling slightly chaotic.  As this retrograde will impact Virgo and Gemini more as Mercury is the ruler of both signs. Virgo’s may become painfully critical and may respond negatively to any ideas that are up for discussion. Can you withhold judgment 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. This can be a good time to review your health regime, think about getting that new pet yet don’t sign any contracts. You may experience some issues in the workplace with co-workers, as misunderstandings are highly likely. You may find yourself having to revisit some of your recent decisions and make changes. Under stress, you may become pedantic (more so than usual!). Mercury slips back into Leo, which suggests it’s time to get in touch with your inner child! Go to a play, learning computing but don’t purchase. Think about how you like to enjoy yourself and take time out for rest, recreation, and revitalisation.
  • Gemini folk are also ruled by Mercury which makes the energy more emphasised. As it rules the Solar 3rd house,  be careful of issues with siblings or be aware that an old issue may resurface. Now might be a good time to make that get-in-touch type call.

26 November – 15 December 2024 (Sagittarius)

Station/Retrograde 24 – 27 November, Retrograde 28 November – 13 December, Station/Direct 14 – 17 December

  • Mercury in Sagittarius is typically independent of thought. This means you may often speak your mind without thinking about the unintended consequences. He makes. The flashes of insight, enjoy travel, either physically or through the mind. Often there is a philosophical bent to life and there may be an interest in higher education.
  • Mercury Retrograde in Sagittarius is a time when you might think about or do the planning for a trip, and take a stand on a social justice issue. As Sagittarius typically like having fun doing something like having a party can be a good expression of this energy. Alternatively connecting with social clubs and other organisations may also be quite satisfying. It’s not a good idea to take the high moral ground in any debate you find yourself in.

Some people power up during the Mercury Retrograde period.

They 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, preparing, or just sitting and thinking. This a great time to review your everyday activities in readiness for the direct motion to kick in. However, don’t implement or send it on until Mercury goes direct!

Venus Retrograde in 2024

There is no Venus retrograde in 2024 – thank goodness I can hear Taurus and Libra say!

  • 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, meaning it returns to the same zodiacal degree every eight (8) years. Often this time brings people (friends and lovers) back into our lives. Whether the experience is pleasant will depend on how it was finished!

Mars Retrograde in 2024

Mars will retrograde from December 6 2023 – 2 February 2024

  • Mars (ruler of Aries and traditional ruler of Scorpio). Mars rules taking action, assertiveness, aggression and, in general, the urge to get what you want. However, the Rx periods will be particularly felt by the signs ruled by Mars (Aries & Scorpio). Issues may surface that you have completely forgotten about. Your motivation and drive may 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 initially retrogrades in the theatrical sign of Leo and moves back into Cancer on 8 Jan 2024,  and people may become more passive-aggressive, so you may need to work on staying alert to the messages or behaviours of others.

Jupiter Retrograde in 2024

Jupiter will retrograde from 9 October 2024 – 3 February 2025 in Gemini

  • 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 Rx 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 values and how they do or don’t support you. This can also be a time to contemplate and reflect upon aspects of life 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.

Saturn Retrograde in 2024

Saturn will retrograde from 29 June  2024 – 16 November 2024 in Pisces.

  • Saturn is typically considered limiting. I have found that if you do Saturn’s work, which requires structure and committed actions around change, Saturn’s need for structure and tenacity enables good results. That is not to say that some things may leave your life; if they do, they were probably meant to. Saturn and Neptune are quite different in how their energies manifest, so there will be a period of adjustment required. Rethinking your boundaries is one of the requirements of Saturn in Pisces. Pisces (ruled by Neptune and traditionally Jupiter) can be nebulous, self-delusional and even deceitful. It can also be self-sacrificing, compassionate and creative. Very often, Pisces knows no boundaries, yet with Saturn’s influence, the mix of these energies can potentially create some practical frameworks.  You may be able to capture those wonderful creative ideas and give them form. Initially, you may find it difficult as this pattern is challenging the realities of your circumstances. Yet going with the flow, creating a space for solitude and reflection will enable the energy to do its work on a conscious and subconscious level and will, in a sense, see you give birth to new ideas.
  • Saturn Retrograde (ruler of Capricorn and traditional ruler of Aquarius) During the Rx period, we look more deeply into the structures we have created in our lives. 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 time. You may need to realise that you cannot control your environment, and your business may experience ups and downs during this 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

Outer Planet Overviews & Retrogrades (Rx) 2024

Although these planets exhibit their unique characteristics, at least amongst psychological astrologers, it is commonly understood that they will mostly operate unconsciously, when they contact one of the personal planets, they prompt change and growth in your consciousness. Often this change is around creating freedom of thinking, being, and circumstance.  We often see these energies manifest through the collective unconscious. These energies are powerful and, on a personal basis, are accessed via a connection and activation through the personal planets such as the Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus and Mars.

Uranus (modern ruler of Aquarius) –  1  September 2024 – 30 Jan 2025 (Taurus)

  • Uranus is called the awakener. The nature of Uranus is characterised by bringing sudden and unexpected changes into our lives. For some of the astrological signs this can be quite liberating and brings about a much-needed change in the native’s life and for others, it brings high levels of anxiety when unexpected or sudden changes are thrust upon them. In other words, Uranus energy is generally quite disruptive. Its energy is often described as eccentric, with Urainian individuals being unique and dancing to the beat of a different drum and at times showing flashes of sheer genius!
  • Rx Uranus brings into focus life’s imperfections and, with it, an emphasis on freedom. You may become disillusioned with your current situation and experience an inner conflict between the old and the new. Excitement can be replaced with anxiety and is time to test what has lasting value.  Uranus commenced its journey through Taurus in May 2018, so it has been shaking up Taurus, Scorpio, Leo & Aquarius (the fixed signs) at varying degrees, for quite some time. It will leave Taurus in April 2026 yet it hasn’t finished its liberating work! Uranus energy will be felt around 20 -30 degrees of the sign and as with all fixed signs, who don’t particularly like change, be prepared for the unexpected.

Neptune (modern ruler of Pisces) –  2 July 2024 – 7 December 2024 (Pisces)

  • Neptune started its passage through Pisces in 2011 and will be there until 2026.  It takes around 165 years to complete just one trip around the Sun! During this time Neptune will be in its own sign and will be particularly important to those people who are Pisces and those of you who who have planets in Pisces. This is a  major transit and will also impact Virgo, Gemini, and Sagittarius (the mutable signs). Although Neptune’s transit through Pisces is ending and will specifically impact those between 25 and 30° of the mutables until 2026!
  • With Neptune Rx, you may have difficulties with establishing boundaries more than usual. Additionally, with Saturn in Pisces, you will probably feel conflicted until you adjust to this combination of energies. You may have strong impressions that are not easily explained yet should be explored. You may experience some form of identity crisis and feel 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.

Pluto (modern ruler of Scorpio) – 3 May 2024– 12 October  2024

  • Pluto Rx brings 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 you can’t. It’s a time for internal housekeeping.