Retrogrades – What are they?

Astrologers look to the skies to explain the energy that we experience here on Planet Earth at any given moment.

It is well understood that the monthly cycle of the Moon affects water – for example the tides of the Oceans and the fluid retention of our bodies.


Retrogrades Explained – the scientific bit

When planets enter the shadow zone it means they’ve reached a point (degree of a sign) in the sky to which they will later return to during the retrograde.

This is the start of what we call a planetary transit and that transit will activate an area of your natal chart and any planets or points residing at the degrees being transited.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

The Retrograde cycles of Mercury, Venus and Mars* make 3 passes over the same degrees:

  1. The first pass occurs when the planet first passes the degree to which it will later return to in retrograde motion. This is when the planet enters the shadow zone. At this point, the planet is in direct motion. Upon first entering the shadow zone, it will pass over several degrees of a sign until it reaches the degree at which it will station and turn retrograde
  2. The second pass occurs when the planet stations-retrograde and retraces its steps (moving ‘seemingly backwards’) until it reaches the point where it first entered the shadow zone and stations-direct.
  3. The third pass occurs when the planet has resumed forward motion and moves once more through all the degrees that it previously retrograded until it reaches the point at which it previously stationed-retrograde. Once it passess this point, we say that it clears the shadow zone.

*Slower moving planets can make up to 5 passes over the same degrees.


How often do planets turn retrograde?

  • Mercury Retrograde occurs 3 to 4 times each year.
  • Venus Retrograde occurs approximately every 18 months.
  • Mars Retrograde occurs approximately every 2 years.


Retrogrades Explained – how they affect us

When a planet turns retrograde, it usually asks us to review something. For example –  a behaviour, a circumstance or an issue we’ve previously been avoiding or which hasn’t been sufficiently visible for us to notice.

Affects can range from a broken appliance and a sudden impetus to sort out a cupboard we’ve been avoiding; to reworking a business structure or a relationship; to going within and doing the inner work necessary to revision our lives.

The way that the retrograde affects us is dependent on:

  • The planet that is moving in retrograde motion.
  • The sign that the planet is moving through and the degrees that it’s activating.
  • The transits that the retrograde planet makes to other planets in the sky at the time of its retrograde.
  • The transits that the retrograde planet makes to the planets and points in our personal charts.
  • Where we’re at in our personal development; including our belief system(s).