The word is so cringe, I almost didn’t write this article! (Kidding — I love every aspect of astrology. That’s why I work with people and celebrities all over the world.)
One thing I try to teach people is that even challenging periods that are triggered by cosmic weather are a blessing in disguise. If you haven’t read our article about the facts of what a planetary retrograde is and the different cycles of it, be sure to brush up on the deets there.
Retrogrades are notorious for causing drama, confusion, delays and stagnation — all centered around what the planet rules.
They even bring back situations, people or unresolved issues from the past to face once again.
Planetary retrogrades aren’t all bad — in fact, they’re necessary
So what can you do during a planetary retrograde? If everything is out of whack and you have no control, then what’s the point?! Well, you can control something: you can control your actions and reactions.
Retrograde periods are excellent times to REVIEW, REFLECT, REDO, REVISE AND REVISIT situations. If the word has “re-” before it, that might actually be a perfect time to do it.
Retrograde periods aren’t the best time to start new things; they’re more suited for reassessing your previous progress, plans or relationships and fine-tuning them to be improved going forward.
While, yes, you may end up hearing from that crazy ex or old friend during a retrograde — or even feel that something is “breaking down” — it’s okay. Retrogrades are the best times to release control, surrender and watch how the universe is shifting around you. Think of it as the perfect time to turn within, rather than focusing on everything external.
Retrogrades can be triggering. But that’s because you need them to slow down, breathe and change your course going forward. We are creatures of habit that like to plod along as fast as we can — but that actually can cause us to miss some of the beautiful experiences, relationships and opportunities that have passed us by.
Retrogrades give you a second chance. Think about how when you were a kid, if you messed up, you’d always ask for an opportunity to do better next time. Retrogrades let you reorient your path.
One notable thing to say is that if for some reason something leaves your life or shatters during a retrograde, then it might actually be doing you a favor. Trust the universe during these times. Give yourself some much-needed TLC. You deserve it.
How each planetary retrograde affects you — and the world
Not all planetary retrogrades hit us as intensely as others. The ones that are most noticeable in our lives are always when a personal planet — like Mercury, Venus or Mars— moves backward in the sky. These planets are called “personal” because they’re closer to us in the constellation. Each one individually also rules an area of our lives that we deal with on a daily basis. That’s why we’re so heavily impacted during those periods — something I will outline a bit later.
The outer planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto — tie to bigger themes in our lives and the world around us. These often influence our bigger goals and impact the structures of our lives and society.
Each planet ties to a component of life and a different energy. That’s why when each one retrogrades — in essence, weakening its strength and power — we find whatever it rules to be up for review.
Here’s a quick list of how each retrograde affects you.
As the planet of communication, technology and the mind, Mercury is the fastest-moving planet in the sky. However, because it moves so quickly, it also experiences the most retrogrades per year — usually three to four times. This is the most noticeable retrograde because we can see it so clearly in our lives, creating mental fog and disagreements and causing anything with moving parts to break down. Each period lasts for about three weeks.
As the planet of love, beauty and relationships, Venus retrogrades roughly every 18 months. When she does, we often see exes and old relationships resurface for us to gain closure or rekindle. We also tend to look at everything through rose-colored glasses, so it’s not an ideal time to get married, start a relationship or change your appearance. Each period lasts for about six weeks.
As the planet of sex, passion, drive and energy, Mars retrograde periods can be extremely taxing. We often feel like we are moving through sludge and have no energy for anything. Because Mars also rules conflict and war, we may become more combative or find that battles from the past rear their head once again. Mars retrograde periods are not good to launch a big project — or anything, really. These periods take place roughly every 26 months for about two to 2½ months at a time.
As the planet of luck, wealth and expansion, Jupiter retrograde periods are far less noticeable than any of the others in the above list. During these cycles, we may find that we are reviewing our growth and finding new ways to pursue our goals and aspirations. These periods take place once a year for about four months at a time.
As the planet of life lessons, karma and perseverance, Saturn retrograde can help us to turn within to better understand our strength and how we are building the structures of our lives. We may find that the pressure around us actually lessens as we can catch our breath before charging forward to face the next big challenge. For every 12 months, Saturn is usually retrograde for about 4½ months.
As the planet of chaos, liberation and freedom, Uranus retrograde periods help us to understand how we are pursuing our own independence and evolving in our lives. We tend to become aware of where we stand and where we can transform next. Once a year, Uranus is asleep for roughly five months.
As the planet of imagination, spirituality and illusion, Neptune retrograde periods help us to understand how we are connecting to our soul’s mission. We are often taught to turn within to understand compassion and any delusions or murky influences that may exist within. These cycles take place once a year for about five to six months.
As the planet of rebirth, power and intensity, Pluto aids us in burning down what isn’t working for us so we can rise like a phoenix. These periods help us to uncover hidden or subconscious forces that exist within our lives so we can transform them into renewal. These cycles last for about five to six months and take place once a year.
Kyle Thomas is a globally recognized pop culture astrologer who has been featured in Cosmopolitan Magazine, the New York Post, Page Six, ABC television, Hulu, Bustle, Elite Daily, House Beautiful, Marie Claire, YahooNews, MSN and more. He is known for his cosmic guidance for celebrities, business executives, and prominent influencers. His work harnesses the power of the stars in regards to entertainment lifestyle and trends affecting people worldwide. His writing and horoscopes have been translated into multiple languages. Kyle has been astrologically gifted naturally from a very young age and teaches how to use the Universe to manifest the life you’ve always dreamt of. With over a decade of professional experience and clients all over the world, he currently resides in Los Angeles where he works as a professional astrologer, celebrity life coach, and author. Currently, he is the official astrologer for @Horoscopes + @Horo.ScopesDaily. Kyle received two Bachelor of Arts for Psychology and English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and integrates these degrees into his growing research of psychology, personality, and the human condition.
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