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A Retrograde Primer: How do they work?

Retrograde Explained.

Mercury Retrograde (or Rx) is the most commonly discussed due to it’s dominion over communication, travel and mental activity & also happens more frequently than the other planets, but all of them go retrograde at set intervals and durations. We recently covered the orbit of Mars in 2016 & heavily review the Mars Rx in Sagittarius & Scorpio beginning in April.

Retrograde periods (denoted by a dashed line on the the Cosmic Calendar and a starry line on the Mystic Moon Calendar) are when a planet appears to be moving backwards in the sky, tracing it’s footprints for awhile before moving forward (or direct) again.

One of the easiest ways to utilize the Cosmic Calendar as a planning tool is to pay attention to the planetary motions. When planets are stacked four or five deep in concurrent retrogrades, we’re going to be doing some heavy healing of the past and it is likely we will feel stuck in the mud if we don’t capitalize on the opportunity the few forward moving planets are offering.

The symbol used in Astrology to denote a Retrograde period is Rx, the same exact symbol used by medical science when writing a prescription, or remedy.

Retrogrades are not “bad.” They DO challenge us and ask us to engage with presence and maturity. We might feel uncomfortable as issues and feelings that are hidden and causing disharmony come to the surface. Review the past and remedy situations that need correction & tie up loose ends or correct mistakes. Old lovers might call, estranged friendships might resurface, old wounds in personal relationship or bad business decisions may all come up again…. you have to “feel it to heal it” as a friend of mine likes to say.

The key to navigating retrograde periods is to know the energetic combination of the planet & what zodiac sign it is traveling through. That will give you a good idea of what is coming up for review & when it does, instead of pushing it away or down, you lean into the issue, facing it squarely with an intent to re-solve.

Does Retrograde Free = Freedom?

We’ve recently come out of a ten day window (Dec 26th to Jan 5th) of all planets in apparent direct (or forward) motion, which happens semi-occasionally, but the only time this year we experienced this portal of pure potential. No planets asking us to review anything or foul us up – no drag in our cosmic kite. Yipee, right?

Not so fast. I knew from experience to LAY LOW, hang onto my hat, and focus on the positive. I witnessed many accidents and heard lots of misfortune because anything that can happen WILL happen (good or bad), but I personally experienced quite a bit of success (lots of people finding this site & buying the calendars I make), including several incredibly talented wisdom leaders taking note and reaching out. Well, except for that slipping transmission which left a six year old with crocodile tears when we couldn’t make it to see Star Wars. Apparently, we have not mastered The Force.

Visualizing Retrogrades

Let’s put on our astronomy spectacles and get a quick crash course in what the physical movements of a retrograde planet are. It may surprise some of you, but the planets don’t actually reverse their orbit, it just LOOKS that way from here. That is why you will see me say “apparent retrograde” a lot. It’s an illusion, take a listen:

Now that we’ve gotten that science refresher, lets take the mechanics of the movements and reveal the rhythm of each planet.

Retrograde Rhythm
  1. Outer planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto: Once Per Year (Lasts 120-165 days).
  2. Mars: Once every 25 months (we’ve got a doozy in Scorpio/Sagittarius this year). Lasts 80 days.
  3. Venus: Once every 19 months (NONE THIS YEAR!!! YES!) Lasts 41-42 days. 
  4. Mercury: Usually just three per year, except every sixth year, four times per year. (Four in 2016). Lasts 24 days.

Okay, grab your calendar and maybe feel inspired to make an herbal tea or perhaps some delicious golden milk to sip while we explore the planet orbits for 2016.