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    Retrograde Planets
    Retrograde Planetary Cycles: 2012

    This article explains retrograde motion and outlines the retrograde periods for the planets as they dance through our cosmos in 2012. There are links to our main retrograde motion articles, which cover the actual meanings of the retrograde phases of the personal planets, as well as the effects of the annual movement of the two Great Chronocrators, Jupiter and Saturn.

    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. It's a bit like travelling on the road watching another car beside you: when the other car slows down, or you speed up, it looks as though the other car is moving backwards. So 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. In particular, issues from the past that have not been resolved tend to reappear in order to demand resolution, so we can move on. Retro phases also 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, transiting Jupiter retrograde in Aries presents quite different sets of circumstances from those generated when it retrogrades into Pisces.

    Go to Top Planetary Stations
    Ancient Astrologers at Work

    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. The few days either side of this time are ideal for making or implementing decisions in the nature of the planet, sign and house concerned. In particular, the stations of Jupiter and Saturn are important with regard to longer term intentions.

    Remember that the outer planets turn retrograde every year for quite some months, so it is not at all unusual to have one or more of them retrograde in one's own personal chart. This is not necessarily unfortunate and the key issues of destiny in such a case depend largely upon the aspects to the retrograde outer planets from the inner personal planets and points.

    Thoth, Egyptian Mercury
    Go to Top Current Retrograde Movements

    MercuryMercury usually turns retrograde three times a year. Click for more.

    VenusVenus retrogrades every eighteen months, so in 2012 we have a Venus Retrograde between May 15 and June 27, with a rare Transit of Venus June 5–6. The previous Transit of Venus occurred on June 8, 2004 and subsequent Transits of Venus are not due until December 2117 and December 2125. Click for more.

    MarsMars turns retrograde every two years & two months: this year between January 24, 2012 & April 14, 2012. Click for more.

    CeresCeres from October 31, 2012 until February 4, 2013.

    JupiterJupiter from October 4, 2012 until January 30, 2013. Click for more.

    SaturnSaturn from February 7, 2012 until June 25, 2012.

    ChironChiron from June 12, 2012 until November 14, 2012.

    UranusUranus from July 13, 2012 until December 13, 2012. Uranus in Aries

    NeptuneNeptune from June 4, 2012 until November 11, 2012. Neptune in Aquarius

    PlutoPluto from April 10, 2012 until September 18, 2012. Pluto in Capricorn

    Retrograde Planetary Cycles

    • Mercury
      24 days
      Stationary approx. 5 days

    • Venus
      42 days
      Stationary approx. 12 days

    • Mars
      80 days
      Stationary approx. 20 days

    • Ceres
      104 days
      Stationary approx. 21 days

    • Jupiter
      120 days
      Stationary approx. 10 days

    • Saturn
      140 days
      Stationary approx. 10 days

    • Chiron
      156 days
      Stationary approx. 14 days

    • Uranus
      150 days
      Stationary approx. 16 days

    • Neptune
      160 days
      Stationary approx. 16 days

    • Pluto
      160 days
      Stationary approx. 16 days

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