Wednesday 25 November 2009

Retrograde Planets in Astrology Explained

[Updated Jan 13 '11]

A Simple Explanation of Station and Retrograde in Astrology

We all accept that the planets revolve around the Sun in continuous forward motion. However, astrology views the planets from our place here on planet Earth. From this perspective, it appears as if the planets sometimes slow down and stop. When a planet does this it is known as Station Retrograde. From this point the planet then appears to move backwards for a while. This is known as Retrograde (which is sometimes written as Rx). After a few days, weeks or months of doing this (the slower moving planets spend more time Retrograde than the faster planets), the Retrograde planet slows down and stops again, Stations Direct, after which it moves forwards again, Direct, and gradually gains momentum.
When a planet is Retrograde, it is said that the energies and urges the planet represent go inwards, slow down, come up for review, that old ground has to be re-covered and that unnecessary action should be delayed until the Retrograde period is over. The best known Retrograde is that of Mercury, famously symbolizing travel and communication delays, but all the other planets, with the exception of the Sun and Moon, also have Retrograde periods.
A Couple of Examples
Mercury Stationed Retrograde (slowed down and stopped) at 6 degrees of Libra on 6th September 2009. Mercury was in Retrograde (moving backwards through the zodiac) from 8th September. It moved backwards to the beginning of Libra and then right back to Virgo, the sign before Libra. It reached 21 degrees of Virgo and then Stationed Direct (slowed down and stopped) on 28th September. On 1st October it started moving forwards again (Direct), back again through the degrees of Virgo and Libra it had passed through while Retrograde. The next Mercury Retrograde starts at the end of December 2009 through to the middle of January.

For an explanation of what Mercury Retrograde means, please see the following blogs I wrote about the September 2009 Mercury Retrograde here> and here>.

Neptune is one of the slow outer planets. Further out in our solar system it takes a lot longer to revolve around the Sun than Mercury does. While Mercury takes around one year to make one revolution of the Sun, Neptune takes around 164 years, spending about 14 years in each Zodiac sign. It is therefore obvious that Neptune’s Retrogrades last longer than Mercury’s!

Here are details of the 2009 Neptune Retrograde: Neptune Stationed Retrograde (slowed down and stopped) at 26 degrees of Aquarius on 28th May 2009. Neptune was in Retrograde (moving backwards through the zodiac) from 30th May through to 4th November 2009, when it Stationed Direct (slowed down and stopped). During its Retrograde period, it moved backwards to 23 degrees of Aquarius. As you can see, Neptune was Retrograde for a lot longer than Mercury (5 months vs. 3-4 weeks) and covered a lot less ground (3 degrees of the zodiac vs. 15 degrees of the zodiac)! On 6th November 2009 Neptune started moving forwards again (Direct) and you can read my review of this Neptune Retrograde period here>.


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