Retrogrades, what's the deal?
Retrograde means: having a direction which is opposite that of similar bodies.
It is an apparent change in the movement of the planet through the sky. It's not real in that the planet does not physically start moving backwards in its orbit, it just appears to do so because of the relative positions of the planet and Earth and how they are moving around the Sun.
Everyone always talks about retrogrades in horror. Especially Mercury Retrograde. "O.M.G. MERCURY IS IN RETROGRADE AGAIN HIDE ARRRRGGGG!!" Mercury isn’t even the only planet that goes retrograde, but with the amount of attention mercury retrograde gets three to four times each year, it’s a common misconception that this phenomena is limited to Mercury, but this is far from true. In fact, all the planets in our solar system go retrograde at some point during the year, and some even retrograde for half the year. Mercury retrograde just happens to occur the most frequently, and because Mercury rules communication in astrology, it’s especially popular to discuss. I actually love Mercury in retrograde because I feel it is a time to stop, slow down, look to see what is working or not working and look to the past to see where I've come to the present.
Here is a guide to the retrogrades in 2023 and how to harness them to our favor. No more hiding when a retrograde happens. Now you can say "YAY!! Mercury is in retrograde!!!".
April 21-May 14, Aug 23-Sep 15, Dec 12-Jan 1, 2024
A good time to work on old projects, back up work.
Mercury retrogrades three to four times every year, giving you a check-in for you to evaluate how you 1.communicate, 2. see how you can be more efficient and 3. how effective are you in your daily life. Each retrograde lasts for three weeks, so once again it is recommended you focus on the past to help you see your present. This is not the time to start anything new really. Better to get things sorted and in place to start after the retrograde energy wise.
July 22-Sept 3
A good time to reassess relationships, partners, materialism, & money.
Heralded as the planet of love and money, Venus goes retrograde approximately every 18 months and retrogrades for an average of six weeks. When Venus goes retrograde, she urges us to re-evaluate our love lives. You may find old relationship issues that you thought were settled rear their ugly heads for a final showdown. You may also find that you need to re-evaluate your budget and improve it to make it more efficient. The goal of Venus retrograde is to help you in the process of deepening your sense of self worth and honing your closest values. During this retrograde, any area of life in which you are not honoring yourself to the fullest is up for review.
Sept 9-Dec 30
A good time to reevaluate faith, beliefs, morals & gain deeper insight
The giver of luck and gifts is backwards in the sky about one third of every year, averaging 120 days retrograde annually. Jupiter is said to bring fortune and expansion anywhere in a chart it exists. Arguably, Jupiter is probably one of the gentlest retrogrades we experience. The goal with Jupiter retrograde is for us to make sure we haven’t gotten lazy with all the goodness Jupiter brings into our lives. This retrograde serves as a reminder that we need to do the work to achieve our dreams—after all, your dream job isn’t any good if it drops from the sky and you don’t have the credentials or experience to do it! Use Jupiter retrograde as a time for tackling your complacency, and pinpoint areas in which you could be working just a little bit harder.
June 30-Dec 6
A good time to strengthen spirituality, intuition, & creativity.
Neptune spends about 23 weeks every year shaking up our perception of reality, retrograding for 43% of the calendar year. When in retrograde, Neptune aims to teach us about how we deceive ourselves, suppress our own fears, manage our anxieties and possess unhealthy attachments. When Neptune is moving direct, it has a tendency of distorting reality, especially when it comes to encouraging rose-colored glasses.Neptune retrograde smashes said rose-colored glasses, giving us the sometimes-surprising opportunity to see ourselves more clearly. The nature of Neptune is a bit elusive in general, so it seems fitting that it acts a bit differently than the other planets by allowing for clarity during retrograde. Use Neptune retrograde to get real with yourself, and don’t worry—you’ll get a new pair of glasses when it goes direct again.
June 17-Nov 4
A good time to focus on long term goals, responsibilities, & ambitions.
Similar to Jupiter, Saturn retrogrades for about one third of every calendar year spending an average of 20 weeks moving backwards. This retrograde is probably the one that most astrologers feel relieved to see. Saturn, the task maker and stern grandaddy of the zodiac, is adamant about keeping us in line when the planet is direct. Saturn wants us to accomplish our goals, live a balanced, healthy life and work hard. If we aren’t living up to Saturn’s standards, this planet has no problem reminding us of how it rules Karma, too. When Saturn goes retrograde, we get a little break from new lessons and a chance to revisit old ones, which tend to be gentler and more familiar. Enjoy this 20-week break and spend time ensuring you took heed in the life lessons you were taught when the planet was direct.
Aug 28, 2023-Jan 26, 2024
A good time to focus on inner rebel, independence, & freedom.
Uranus, the glass-ceiling-breaking revolutionary of the zodiac, spends about 22 weeks retrograding for 40% of the calendar year. During a Uranus retrograde, our little rebel takes a nap, calming our needs for freedom, change and chaos.
This is a great time for us to look for new paths towards accomplishing older intentions, using the energy of Uranus to help us think creatively and get out the box. Uranus, even asleep, is still a change maker—just more subtly.
May 1-Oct 10
A good time to reflect on transformations, rebirth, & inner power.
Although astronomers no longer claim Pluto as a planet, astrologers still do. As such, they recognize Pluto’s influence during a retrograde like any of the other planets. Good thing, because Pluto takes the cake, spending half of the year in retrograde and averaging 186 days backpedalling in the sky. When Pluto is retrograde, it urges us to evaluate our relationship with power. Are you stepping into your power or shrinking from it? Are you welding your power in a way that is harming others? Are you being overpowered by others? If any of these questions resonate with you during Pluto retrograde, it’s time to embrace your inner power and use it to empower others, too.