Introduction to 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 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 2018
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
- 3 December – 23 December Mercury’s final R period for 2017
- 23 March – 15 April 2018: in Aries, you might like to take up martial arts yet avoid obvious conflicts, get more physical or explore starting a new enterprise.
- 26 July – August 19 2018: in Leo, 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, take time our for rest, recreation and revitalisation
- 17 November – 6 December 2018: 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
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 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!
- Venus R – 18 April – 6 September 2108
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 R – 26 June – 27 August 2018
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.
- Jupiter R – 6 March – 13 July 2018
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.
- Saturn – R 18 April – 6 September 2018
Outer Planet Retrogrades 2018
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 energy 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. 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
- Uranus R – 07 August 2018 – 06 January 2019
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
- Neptune R – 18 June 2018 – 25 November 2018
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
- Pluto R – 22 April 2018 – 2 October 2018
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, and 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 1980’s, and since then it has gained a moderate to 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 to map the pre & post retrograde periods and see what happens!