Twixt Earth and Sky
Wendy Cicchetti
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By Celestial Design

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Facts About Retrograde Planets

All the planets (except for the Sun and Moon) will appear to move forward, at times to stand still, and to move backward. The forward motion is called direct, the stand still is called stationary and the apparent backward motion, as seen from Earth, is referred to as retrograde.


Mercury retrogrades have one of the worst raps in astrology. They are blamed for every computer glitch and car problem in the book. It is very common, when things are going wrong for no apparent reason, to hear someone say, "Mercury must be going retrograde!"

Mercury represents communication, when it changes direction it indicates a mental time-out. Taking "time-out" is difficult in a Yang society like America where "Time is Money" rules, and we have no national vacation plans like England for example. If we are to benefit from astrology we would realize that a Mercury retrograde is a natural down time. It is best used for doing research, reevaluation, and re-thinking of plans and goals, repairing damaged items, cleaning out files and closets or mending things and relationships. Since results can be uncertain and logic and order are under siege during a Mercury retrograde, it would be wise to stick to the tried and true.

Avoid signing legal documents or launching new projects during this three week period. If you must, read or go over the plans with extra care and deliberation. Don't rush into anything at this time. Travel may present unusual and annoying difficulties. If you have to travel during a Mercury retrograde be prepared for delays. Short trips may be delayed or canceled.

This transit has a particular impact on those in mercurial professions, writers, teachers, computer specialists, speech pathologists etc. Also affected are telemarketers, salesmen, and secretaries. Computers and audio visual equipment seem to be particularly sensitive to a Mercury retrograde. Those people who are born with Mercury retrograde seem to do the best with these transits.

Mercury is retrograde 19.1% or three to four times each year for 21 days each cycle.
In 2022 Mercury is Retrograde from January 14th through February 3rd, May 10th to June 3rd, and September 9th to October 2nd, and December 29th to January 18th, 2023. It is always wise to be cautious the week prior and the week after as Mercury is not comfortable moving at a slow rate of speed (less than 40 min.of arc), or what is termed its STORM or SHADOW phase and as such not helpful.

Venus is retrograde 7.2 % or once every 19 months for 43 days a year.
With Venus retrograde, relationships from the past will surface, you will be challenged to re-evaluate them as well as any present relationships. This is not a good time to start a new relationship as it may not last past the six week transit. Also, not a good time for trying to make money in a new way. In 2022, Venus is retrograde from December 19th through January 29th, 2022.

Mars is retrograde 9.4% or once every year and a half for 56-82 days a year.
Mars retrograde delays your desires and frustrates actions and this in turn makes you very angry. This transit calls for lots of patience and good common sense. Take time to re-evaluate your goals, your work and the more challenging aspects of your life. In 2022, Mars is retrograde October 30th to January 12th, 2023.

Jupiter is retrograde 30.2% or 120 days a year.
Jupiter retrograde is not a good time for expansion in any direction. Be cautious about your business, your diet and your ideas, there is a tendency for inflation to occur in all of these areas. In 2022, Jupiter is retrograde from July 28th to November 23rd.

Saturn is retrograde 36.4% or 140 days a year. In 2022, Saturn Stations retrograde on June 4th through October 22nd.

Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are retrograde 41% - 44% or between 140 and 155 days a year. This means that 40% of all people will be born with these planets retrograde. Their retrograde is significant on a generational rather than a personal level, but may be felt more strongly if aspected to a personal planet. These retrogrades are mainly significant in relation to general social, and political trends.

In 2022, Uranus goes retrograde on August 19th through January 18th, 2022. Neptune is retrograde from June 28th through December 3rd, and Pluto is retrograde from April 29th through October 8th.


Retrogrades are opportunities for continued personal growth. They are found in the charts of many who have overcome handicaps to achieve greatness. 92% of the population have at least one retrograde planet in the Natal Chart. Below you will find a list of possible issues as a result of a retrograde planet in a Natal Chart.

Mercury retrograde represents a communication barrier of some sort. This may take many forms, from being a musical genius to being more interested in historical events, such as the battles of ancient Rome, rather than in tonight's news. This does not suggest that the individual does not communicate but that the form of communication may be different, unusual, or very personal. It can indicate a genius or a learning disability. Note that when Mercury turns direct by progression it often indicates a change in physical location as in a move to a new house or city.

Venus retrograde indicates that due to past insecurities the path of love does not flow smoothly in this lifetime. Confirmed celibates, religious or otherwise often show this placement. It is particularly hard in a males chart as he may avoid females altogether.

Mars retrograde can indicate a sexual imbalance especially in a female chart as she may have had past life problems with men. It can also affect the goals of the individual, frustrating, and impeding forward progress. There may be repressed anger of which they are unaware.

Jupiter retrograde causes introspection about education, philosophy and religion. A certain mystical approach to life is apparent. There can also be an unusual degree of psychological involvement with part of the social upbringing or culture. Could produce symptoms of Agoraphobia: abnormal fear of crossing or being in open spaces.

Saturn retrograde is concerned with resolving past Karma. There is an over emphasis on the natural impulses of patience and caution and the native may fail to see new opportunities to solve his past problems. There may be a fear of closed places.

Uranus retrograde brings old, unfinished business up very suddenly or unexpectedly which can change the fabric of the individuals entire life. There is also an unreasonable fear of the unexpected.

Neptune retrograde becomes introspective about the intuitive, emotional feeling side of life and can become deceptive. If afflicted this can produce addictions of all sorts. There may be an obsessive fear of water. Neptune also rules communicable disease.

Pluto retrograde can be used to release old unusable patterns or structures in your life into new forms. The ultimate recycle! A retrograde Pluto knows he can not change the world, that the struggle of mankind begins with a single personal step, one's self.

How many planets do you have retrograde? Click here to schedule a reading!
Some conclusions from John McCormick's "The Book of Retrogrades"

No planets retrograde: expected occurrence 8%. Often found in charts of those required to expend great efforts in pursuit of their goals.
Singleton: expected occurrence 19%. The lone wolf. Works alone, achieves alone, does not need or desire others. Fiercely independent yet friendly.
Doubleton: expected occurrence 29%. Most easily acceptable. Easy
Tripleton: expected occurrence 27%. Natives have sullen determination to succeed.
Quadron: expected occurrence 13%. Native tends to be withdrawn. Most common in writers.
Quinton: expected occurrence 4%. Misunderstood and withdrawn types.
Sexton: expected occurrence 1%. Occurs rarely. Angela Davis, Frank Sinatra, Jr. and Muhammad Ali.
Septon: occurred only two days in 19th century, four days in 20th. True loners, impossible for the rest of us to understand their motives. We are researching to find a notable one.

Let's explore the nature of a retrograde planet in the birth chart:
Isabel Hickey, "Astrology: A Cosmic Science"
Hickey points out that when a planet is retrograde, it's energy turns inward, emphasizing the subjective and the inner world of the individual. "Planets are not less potent but they operate in a different way". She suggests that things concerning the planets will be slower to manifest.

Nicholas DeVore, "Encyclopedia of Astrology"
DeVore refutes the ancients' claim that retrograde planets in a birth chart are weak and debilitated. If anything, he says, they may become stronger.

Noel Tyl, "The Principles and Practice of Astrology"
Tyl agrees with Dane Rudhyar and others that retrogradation indicates a "turning back of the psychic energy" and that the planet's significance is not operated consciously.

Paige McKenzie, "Emphasis on Expression" in American Astrology, 8/77
"The place where the individual marches to a different drummer will be defined by the chart areas which contain planets in retrograde transit at the time of birth".

Conclusion: The original meaning of a planet is altered when retrograde. The energy is turned inward, felt and expressed differently, reversed, changed. It may be less aggressive, more strategic, more personal, and subjective.