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. Last year (2005) was unusual in that both Venus and Mars turned retrograde, and Venus opens 2006 doing the backstairs tango, but the Warrior will now remain in direct mode until November 15, 2007
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, transiting Uranus retrograde in Pisces presents quite different sets of circumstances from those generated when it retrogrades into Aquarius. It is noteworthy that dark Pluto is still hovering around the Galactic Centre and will turn retro in that conjunction on March 29, 2006. The centre of our Galaxy, the Milky Way, is currently located at Sag 26°56'. This point, discovered in 1932, is thought to contain a massive black hole with the mass of some four million times that of our own Sun. It has a significant effect when aspected, inclining people affected to take a central role in affairs and to have a sense of cosmic destiny. 2005 was remarkable, but 2006 will be a year of cosmic import, particularly as the Grand Cross in Fixed Signs is reactivated.
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.
Current Retrograde Movements
Mercury usually turns retro three times a year. Click for more.
Venus retro periods occur every eighteen months or so. Click for more.
Mars turns retro only once every two years. Click for more.
Jupiter from March 4, 2006 until July 6, 2006. Click for more.
Saturn from November 22, 2005 until April 4, 2006
from December 6, 2006 until April 19, 2007
Uranus from June 19, 2006 until November 20, 2006
Neptune from May 22, 2006 until October 29, 2006
Pluto from March 29, 2006 until September 4, 2006