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.
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 Movements
Mercury 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 January 3, 2004 until May 4, 2004
Saturn from October 25, 2003 until March 7, 2004
from November 8, 2004 until March 22, 2005
Uranus from June 10, 2004 until November 11, 2004
Neptune from May 17, 2004 until October 24, 2004
Pluto from March 24, 2004 until August 30, 2004