As of late, retrogrades---and in particular, Mercury retrograde---bring on a lot of feelings of grief and dread for many. But what exactly is a retrograde? Let's start from a literal definition: basically it means that a planet appears to be moving backward as the Earth passes by on its orbit. However, we know that planets do not actually move backward, it is an illusion that occurs because the planets are moving at different speeds when they pass one another. That is the very science-based definition of retrograde for all you science folks out there.
However, for astrology/zodiac purposes, we have to first talk about what it means for a planet to "go direct". Most of the time each planet is in the motion of being direct or "normal". A planet moving in retrograde motion means that it is contrary to the normal flow of things, presenting an exception or challenge to a sense of normalcy. Also note, each planet has its own retrograde time period and its own direct time period. Simply put, Mercury is not the only planet that goes retrograde. They all do, and each planet's retrograde means something different. How can we combat the negative effects of retrograde and use this time to our benefit?
Your Guide To What Planets In Retrograde Means
Mercury Retrograde & What It Meansspace astronomy GIFGiphy
Mercury (Communication): Mercury normally goes retrograde three to four times a year and serves as a quarterly check to evaluate your communications, how efficient you are being with your tasks, and how effectively you are going after your goals. Normally during Mercury retrograde, communication gets muddied, technology starts to malfunction, and things may seem to not be working to your advantage.
What you should do: Mercury retrograde is not the time to start anything new or to any projects. The likelihood of its success is low. Your time is best spent reevaluating and improving on existing systems and structures.
Venus Retrograde & What It MeansVenus GIF by The TelegraphGiphy
Venus (Love and Money): Venus goes retrograde every 18 months and urges us to re-evaluate our love lives. During this time, old relationship issues that you may have thought were solved will reappear. You may also find yourself reevaluating your finances and how to improve our budget.
What you should do: Venus retrograde is a great time to deepen your sense of self-worth and honing in on your closest values. All areas of your life that you honor yourself are up for review. Take this time to reflect and adjust where necessary.
Mars Retrograde & What It Meansmars GIFGiphy
Mars (Aggression and Assertion): Every two years, Mars goes retrograde. Mars is in control of aggression or how you assert yourself, particularly in your sex life, ambitions, and when you are angry. During Mars retrograde, you will start to struggle with making things happen for yourself.
What you should do: During Mars retrograde, it is best to find new ways to channel your energy to be productive and pleasurable. We don't focus on pleasure enough, so this is a great time to be selfish. You need to tackle these things head-on, and at the end of retrograde, you will be more focused than ever before.
Saturn Retrograde & What It Meanssaturn GIFGiphy
Saturn (Restrictions/Responsibility/Fears/Self-Discipline): When Saturn retrogrades, it is occurring for about ⅓ of the year and averages about 20 weeks. This retrograde is all about keeping us in line. Saturn wants all of us to accomplish our goals, live a balanced, healthy life, and work hard. If you are not living up to Saturn's standards, this time will remind you of how karma works. During Saturn retrograde, we get a break from the new lessons and a chance to revisit old ones but gentler and familiar.
What you should do: To make it through Saturn retrograde, you need to reflect on previous life lessons you learned when Saturn was direct. Make sure you understand the lessons so you don't repeat them. And if you're interested in learning more about Saturn and its influence on life, listen to this episode of xoNecole's Happy Hour Podcast.
Neptune Retrograde & What It MeansGiphy
Neptune (Dreams, Imagination, and Unconscious): When Neptune goes retrograde, it is normally for about 23 weeks. Neptune retrograde shakes up your perception of reality and aims to teach us about how we deceive others, suppress our own fears, manage our anxieties, and hold on to unhealthy attachments. When Neptune is direct, reality can become distorted, causing us to see things through rose-colored glasses.
What you should do: To do work during Neptune retrograde, you need to remove the rose-colored glasses and see yourself more clearly. Use this retrograde to get real with yourself. This time can be used to clear a path and navigate any confusion correctly.
Jupiter Retrograde & What It Meansjupiter GIFGiphy
Jupiter (Luck and Gifts): Jupiter goes retrograde about ⅓ of the year for about 120 days. Jupiter brings fortune and expansion wherever it exists in your heart. This can be one of the gentlest retrogrades you experience. The retrograde wants you to avoid getting lazy with all Jupiter brings.
What you should do: Work toward achieving your dreams. Combat Jupiter retrograde by tackling your complacency, and pinpoint the areas of your work where you could be going just a little bit harder. Then turn up the heat.
Uranus Retrograde & What It Meansgas giant space GIFGiphy
Uranus (Innovation/Rebellion/Progression): Uranus retrograde happens for about 22 weeks of every year. You may feel like the rebel inside of you takes a nap and calms your need for freedom, change, and chaos. This is a time of less intense energy.
What you should do: Look for new ways to accomplish older intentions. Focus on using Uranus energy to link creatively and get outside of the box. Let your creative flag fly.
Pluto Retrograde & What It Meanspluto flyby GIFGiphy
Pluto (Power/Intensity/Obsession/Control): The influence of Pluto's retrograde is about half the year and approximately 185 days. At this time, Pluto urges you to evaluate your relationship with power. Are you feeling empowered or power-hungry?
What you should do: Evaluate whether you are stepping into your power or shrinking away from it? If you are not tapping in, it's time to embrace your inner warrior goddess and use it to empower others. Step into what is meant for you and forget everything else.
Each planet is responsible for affecting, influencing, and/or changing how we navigate our daily lives, and the retrograde time requires something different from us to help evaluate rather than punish.
There are basic things we can do to use the energy of the ruling planet and successfully make it through any retrograde. Take a moment to become present, and ask yourself, what is this time asking me to do? Surrender to the energy around you and reflect on lessons that you learned or lessons you need to learn. Retrogrades are here to reveal things we need to adjust and what will help us progress.
Get honest with yourself, meditate, feel all the feelings, and journal your thoughts about what the energy is telling you. If you use this time constructively for positivity, surviving any retrograde should be no problem.
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Feature image by Shuttershock.