Your Ultimate Guide To Planets In Retrograde

When we hear a planet has gone retrograde, many of us tense up and wonder what nonsense is about to ruin our lives. However, the fact is, not all planets in retrograde come with devastating effects, and some even have a positive outlook. So let's start with a couple of facts about planets in retrograde before we dive any deeper. The first thing you need to know is that all planets, and even asteroids, go retrograde — some more often than others and some for longer periods than others. The second is that planets in retrograde are not actually moving backward; they're still on their usual course, they just appear to move differently because of our moving view here on Earth. More distant planets will appear in retrograde for longer than those planets closer to us. You can really blame the optical illusion of retrograde on the sun, which is what affects our view of the planets when they line up with it.

It's because of this perceived backward motion, though, that we — on the astrological side of things — experience changes in our lives. When each planet is seen to be in retrograde, it has the opposite effects than what it does normally. A planet that brings us abundance in our natal charts and horoscopes will bring us loss and difficulty during retrograde. So, let's take a look at the planets in our solar system, as well as some asteroids, and what their going into retrograde does to us.

Miscommunication comes from Mercury

Mercury retrograde is the one you likely hear about the most, and probably fear the most as well. When Mercury is in retrograde, we blame it for our technology not working right and for the arguments we get into with the people in our lives. And, because Mercury is the closest planet to the Earth, it goes into retrograde the most often, usually lasting no more than a month at a time. 

When Mercury isn't in retrograde and it shows up in your astrology charts, it's telling you that communication is important in your life — this is the planet of writers and speakers. That's why, when it's in retrograde, communication goes absolutely haywire. From your emails not going through to your phone not working, from you and your family arguing and your boss suddenly having issues with you — everything communication gets messed up during this time. To avoid miscommunication, Mercury retrograde is not the time to have important discussions, ask for raises, or invest in new communication devices. Just wait until it passes and then deal with the things that you've been holding onto. Any conversation can turn into an argument during this time, so why risk it?

Venus retrograde brings reinvention

Venus is the planet of love, and it spends about a month and a half in retrograde every year and a half. Love has to do with more than romance — when it comes to this planet in your charts, it also looks at finances and things we're passionate about. Because of the connection to money, one of the things that Venus in retrograde brings to us is a need to make changes and reinvent ourselves. This includes coming up with new ways to turn our passions into moneymakers to reevaluating our relationships, romantic and otherwise.

Of course, since we're looking at things in reverse here, even though retrograde planets aren't actually going backward, you also want to watch out for issues with your passions, including your love life. Get focused on the positive side of things when it comes to your love life and your finances — don't invest in something new right now, but do start doing the research if you are ready to make some changes. Now is also a good time to deal with any debt you have. Spend some time during Venus retrograde making plans, and once retrograde is over, put those plans into action.

Mars causes listlessness

Mars finds itself in retrograde every couple of years, and it stays in this strange position for at least two months, leaving us open to the negative traits of this fiery planet the entire time. When you find Mars in your natal chart, it's all about taking action and the fiery side of life — including sex and passion. That being said, when Mars is retrograde, that fire kind of dies.

What's left for us when fiery Mars is retrograding? You can expect lots of ennui, listlessness, and an inability to stand up for yourself. You may not feel this boredom for the entire two-plus months, but it will definitely show itself when you find it hard to get motivated to do the things you dream of. There is a greater chance of feeling stressed during this retrograde as well, so it's important to integrate stress-relieving activities into your daily life to achieve some balance. That may mean taking time out for meditation, getting a massage, or even journaling about the things you want to do when you come out of the funk that is Mars retrograde. This too shall pass, so don't let this period of sluggishness keep you down the whole time.

Opportunities from Jupiter retrograde

Jupiter is the planet we love to see on our natal charts because it comes with so much happiness and abundance. It is often referred to in the astrology world as the planet of expansion. As such, while it is in retrograde, Jupiter still has a chance to do good things for you. Jupiter is one of the examples that not all planets in retrograde come with a bunch of stress and nonsense. This is a good thing too, since when Jupiter goes into retrograde, it stays there for four months at a time. It goes into retrograde about every nine months.

One of the great opportunities you can hope to experience during Jupiter retrograde is finding things you overlooked or missed, as missed opportunities have a likelihood of returning to you during this time (just don't let them slide by again). This is also an important time to look inward. Abundance often comes externally with Jupiter, so during this time, focus on inward abundance, like self-love. Dig for the stuff you put to the side internally, as there are treasures within us as well. Perhaps you'll find some new ideas to bring even more luck into your life.

Saturn inspires introspection

Even on a good day, Saturn is one of those planets that has some aspects that are tough to swallow. Saturn likes to teach us stuff, and sometimes they're lessons we're not ready to learn. So, what happens when this lesson-filled planet goes retrograde? Well, at that point, it is time to start looking internally and seeing exactly what you can learn about yourself.

Saturn in retrograde wants you to slow down, while Saturn usually wants us to keep thinking, learning, and making the necessary sacrifices to find success in our lives. Take this time to make plans and set goals for the things you want to learn about and accomplish when the retrograde ends. Saturn heads into this pattern about once every year and stays there for a third of the year. Expect some karmic retribution during this time too, as Saturn loves to bring karma to the forefront of our lives. To get out of your own head so much, be sure to spend some time sharing your ideas with others whom you trust with your hopes and dreams. You may get some great advice from those closest to you that can add to your growth once Saturn's retrograde ends.

Uranus forces changes

Uranus is a slow mover, but it still goes into retrograde once a year. The thing is, it stays there for quite a while — while it's not there half the year, it's pretty close. It's a planet that brings us new ideas when we spot it in our charts. It looks at the wild side of things, those things we just can't predict. When it goes into retrograde, it gets even dicier. 

Rather than a slow progression, like the planet itself, Uranus in retrograde forces us into those changes. And if you try to make them not happen, this shift will take away your option to choose, so you're going to have to deal with some losses and major changes. Then again, Uranus spends so much time in retrograde, that would mean we'd be changing all the time. While that may be the case for some, it isn't for everyone. You're more likely to be affected by Uranus in retrograde when it shows up in this position in your chart or in your sign. You'll still likely feel some minor effects here and there no matter where it is in the zodiac, but it'll hit harder when it's aligned with your sun sign. Deal with it by making the hard changes when you know they're the right ones.

Neptune retrograde is all about illusions

In or out of retrograde, Neptune brings about things that we think are there but really aren't. Sometimes the illusions are good, but when the planet is in retrograde, those illusions can be utterly deceiving. Every year Neptune goes retrograde for a little longer than Uranus spends in retrograde. This nearly half a year of living in our heads is something most of us should be used to by now since this happens so often. 

If you find yourself daydreaming more and thinking about what possibilities life holds for you, that's Neptune. Think of Pisces, which is the sign ruled by Neptune: They're the folks who have wild imaginations and can dream up many scenarios when they're focusing on something they want to happen in their lives. Rather than seeing the illusions of this time in retrograde as a reason to stay lost in your imaginary world, use those dreams to create ideas that you can bring to fruition. You may be confused by all of the thoughts rolling around in your head when you tap into this retrograde energy, but you can make the most out of it by taking notes. Literally write down the things that you imagine during this time, and turn them into new businesses, fun stories, art, or anything else you're inspired to create.

Pluto brings the intensity

Although Pluto was demoted from planet to dwarf planet in 2006, it's unmatched in its unbridled power, and it is a world you want to watch out for. It's often considered a destroyer in astrology, but it really isn't as bad, at times, as we perceive it to be. Sometimes those darker aspects (probably one of the reasons Scorpio is ruled Pluto) are just what we need to give us the kick in the butt to move forward and deal with the tough stuff. When it's in retrograde, Pluto doesn't calm down, as one would hope. Instead, it pushes us to go even deeper within ourselves. And, just like Uranus and Neptune, Pluto spends a good chunk of each year in retrograde.

Rather than letting the intensity of this world add stress to your life, this is a great time to start shadow work, dealing with the darker feelings you may be having, and looking more into the intuition we all have but some of us ignore. Like the issues Pluto creates externally, from death to destruction, when it isn't in retrograde, retrograde makes all of that stuff internal. The most important thing you can do is get it out of your head — record it, write it down, and talk to others about it. Don't keep all those thoughts bottled up inside.

Vesta shifts your dreams

Just as we believe we observe the planets going backward during what we call retrograde, we also see asteroids the same way. Just short of every year and a half, Vesta goes retrograde for three months at a time. Vesta is the Roman goddess of hearth and home. The hearth is where home fires burned. Many, many years ago, this was the only way to keep a home warm, as there weren't furnaces to heat the place with. During the cold months, someone stood watch to ensure the fire burned all night so that no one froze before morning. 

Like some of the others on this list, instead of looking outward to care for ourselves and our home, during retrograde, Vesta wants us to look at the fires we have burning inside us. Connect with your internal self to spark your imagination and self-love. Vesta was a virgin, yet this asteroid has a connection to sex and passion as well — when it's in retrograde, focus on being passionate about yourself. This is also a great time to worship your own femininity. Spend some time at the spa, get a mani or pedi, take a mini-vacation alone, and enjoy what life has to offer when you're not flanked by friends and romantic partners.

Chiron retrograde helps heal emotional pain

Chiron spends nearly half the year in retrograde each year, and it has the potential to help us heal from the things that are causing us pain. Chiron is known as the wounded healer. It gets this name because of the centaur it is named after — a half-man/half-beast creature who healed people but was unable to heal himself. Rather than physical pains that we may focus on during Chiron's normal phase, when the asteroid is retrograde, it is time to look inward and deal with painful emotions.

This is another time when diving deep into shadow work is important. Anytime something emotional comes up for you while Chiron is retrograde, look within and figure out why this thing is affecting you the way it is. Get to the heart of the matter so that you can heal old traumas that hold you back. It's time to nurture yourself on all levels. If you've been dealing with some extra difficult feelings, this trek in retrograde is also the perfect time to make an appointment to see a therapist. Sometimes just talking things out with an unbiased person can help you work through things that you couldn't get through on your own.

Juno could cause relationship issues

Juno goes retrograde each year and a half for about two-and-a-half to four months. Juno represents marriage but also commitment — so, even if you're not married, during this asteroid's retrograde phase, you can expect your committed relationships to be shaken up. Of course, if your relationship is filled with healthy honesty, there's not much of a chance that Juno will get in the way of things. However, if you already have some issues before this asteroid goes retrograde, expect them to come to light and cause some friction.

If things are not equal in your partnership, this phase of Juno is going to bring that inequality to light. It's time to fight for your rights. If your relationship has some issues, no matter how small they may be, now they're going to seem bigger. If you're not both fully committed to one another, there's a good chance that this time in retrograde could break you up. Before you and your partner start talking about any of the tough issues you're facing, take some time to look internally at what you really want out of this partnership. If you're sure there's a chance to work things out, approach the topic delicately. If you're ready to move on, however, then let your partner know it, and get going.