A planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. This traditional concept arises in the illusory planetary motion created by the orbital rotation of the earth, with relation to other planets in our solar system. Planets are never actually retrograde or stationary, they just seem that way, due to this optical illusion. Click here for more on the science of retrograde planetary motion.
Retrograde periods, although often problematic for us earthlings, are not particularly uncommon. Each planet retrogrades, except the Sun and Moon. As a rule, retrograde planets presage a period of seemingly inevitable or fated events, which relate to their sphere of influence. Normally Venus turns retrograde about every 18 months and Mars every two years or so. This year is unusual in that both Venus and Mars turn retrograde. This will no doubt have a big effect upon people's emotional lives. Plan well ahead if you are intending to do anything major this year!
They present us with a series of events over which we seem to have little or no control, relating especially to the sign in which the retrogradation occurs. For example, Uranus retrograde in Pisces presents quite different sets of circumstances from those generated when it retrogrades into Aquarius.
A retrograde period is best seen as a cycle, which begins when the planet begins to slow to a halt before travelling backwards through the zodiac and ends when the planet returns to the point where it first paused. However, during the cycle, the planet's energy is most powerful (and more likely to generate critical events of universal importance) when the planet makes a station, appearing motionless in the sky. These stationary periods occur at the beginning of the cycle (when the planet first halts as it prepares to move backwards) and midway through the cycle when the retrograde planet slows to a stop before moving forward again.
The planetary direct station (when the retrograde planet seems to halt before moving forward through the zodiac again) is a time of significant power when matters to do with the energies of the planet, house and sign can be favourably activated.
Current Retrograde MovementsMercury usually turns retro three times a year, but there are four retrograde periods this year. Click here for more.
Venus retro periods occur every eighteen months or so. Click here for more.
Mars turns retro only once every two years. Click here for more.
Jupiter from February 2, 2005 until June 5, 2005. Click here for more.
Saturn from November 8, 2004 until March 22, 2005
from November 22, 2005 until April 4, 2006
Uranus from June 14, 2005 until November 16, 2005
Neptune from May 19, 2005 until October 26, 2005
Pluto from March 27, 2005 until September 2, 2005
Retrograde Planetary Cycles