Category: Astrology Basics Written by Robert Wilkinson Views: 1011
This 2 part series was inspired by people wanting more about how retrograde planets function differently than when in direct motion. It seems some strange rumors about how "bad" retrograde planets supposedly are persist. Today we’ll take a new look at all the planetary retrogrades, how they work, and various stationary degrees which activated our chart sectors.
I last gave this to you a year ago, and have added new material to this series related to the sheer number of 2020 retrogrades.
At this time we still have Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto retrograde, though all but Uranus will be in direct motion by late November. This year the only inner planet going retrograde has been Mercury (as usual), and it’s noteworthy that by December, all the planets except Uranus will be in direct motion, and when it goes direct in early January, we’ll have ALL planets in direct motion!
This remarkable period of all the planets in direct motion continues until late April, except for 3 weeks in late Feb and early March when Mercury retrogrades from 13 Pisces back to 29 Aquarius. When Pluto goes retrograde in late April, it begins a long chain of planets going retrograde, including Venus, Jupiter, and Saturn in May, Mercury and Neptune in June, Uranus in August, Mars in September, and Mercury in October.
While I’ve given you quite a bit in recent articles about how retrogrades work, today we continue to follow the breadcrumbs through the retrograde woods. I last gave this to you a year ago, and it seemed relevant to reprint it at this time, updated and rewritten as needed.
As I mentioned last year in Astrology in 2018 - When Mercury, Venus, and Mars Go Retrograde, What Does It Mean and How Are They Related To Past and Future Retrogrades? all the planets go retrograde except the Sun and Moon, and even these go faster or slower at various points in their transits. Mercury goes retrograde three times a year (except when it's four!), Venus every 18-19 months, and Mars once every 25-26 months. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto all go retrograde once a year for several months at a time.
Any time a planet is retrograde it is still moving forward, but at a much slower rate of perceived speed from the Earth's point of view. Thus a retrograde planet only appears to be moving backward relative to the zodiacal backdrop, and when we and it are again at a certain positioning relative to the Sun, it again appears to move forward through the sign it's in.
So all retrogrades are a perception based in planetary orbital speed relative to the Sun. Consulting an ephemeris (a book of planetary motions), we find the outer invisible planets all go retrograde around the time of the Sun's waxing (lower) square to their positions, and stay retrograde for several months until they go stationary direct just before the waning (upper) square. There are philosophical implications to the outers being retrograde when they are at certain phases in their orbits relative to the Sun, but that's beyond the scope of this article.
When a planet is direct, it means we are "directly" experiencing its natural evolving awareness of the sign it's in. When retrograde, we're re-tracing ground we've already covered, but from a different perspective. It's like driving down a street from one direction, then driving back down the same street in the opposite direction. Two perspectives on the same field of vision.
However, a retrograde period never goes back as far as the last period, or we'd be stuck going back and forth over the same material indefinitely. This gap in how far we went forward to how far we're going back changes based in which planet is retrograde.
The inner planets swing back across far more degrees than the outers. Mercury retrogrades back about 15 degrees, except when near Gemini, when the swing is only 9. December 2017’s RX in Sag went back 16 degrees, the March-April 2018 RX in Aries was 12, The Summer RX in Leo was 12, and the Nov/Dec RX in Sag/Scorpio was 16.
The March 2019 Mercury RX in Pisces went back 13 degrees, the July RX in Leo/Cancer was 10 degrees, and the coming November RX in Scorpio will RX 16 degrees. The Feb/Mar 2020 RX in Pisces/Aquarius will span 14 degrees and the June/July Cancer RX will only span 9 degrees, which is followed by the much wider 16 degree RX span in October’s Libra/Scorpio RX.
For practicing astrologers, besides correlating to the seasons, it also bears noting that everyone born before a Mercury RX will have it retrograde by progression. That means some people born in certain Northern Hemispheric Springs will have very short retrograde spans, while many born in the NH Autumn will have long retrograde spans. Even though the number of days only varies by a few, it’s interesting that some people have a lot more to review and reflect on than others!
Venus fairly consistently retrogrades back about 16 degrees. It did so in 2012 in Gemini, in 2013-2014 in Capricorn, 15 degrees in 2015 in Leo-Virgo, and back to 16 in 2017 in Pisces-Aries. The October-November 2017 retrograded 15+ degrees in Libra-Scorpio, while the coming one in May-June 2020 will retrograde 16+ degrees.
Mars retrograded back 20 degrees in Virgo in 2012, 18 degrees in Libra in 2014, 16 degrees in Scorpio-Sag in 2016, and 11 degrees in Capricorn-Aquarius in Summer 2018, It will go back 13 degrees in Aries the next time it retrogrades in Autumn 2020.
The outers are a different matter. Jupiter retrogrades about 10 degrees every year, while Saturn appears to go back 7 degrees. Uranus retrogrades back 4 degrees, Neptune goes back 3 degrees, and Pluto goes back 3-4 degrees.
After the retrograde period, Jupiter races forward about 45-48 degrees before going retrograde again. Saturn moves forward about 20 degrees before again slowing. Uranus moves 8 degrees forward, Neptune moves 5 degrees, and Pluto moves 5 or 6 degrees before going retrograde again.
So you can see that in any given year period, Jupiter gains 35-38 degrees of experience before taking its look back. Saturn gains 13 degrees of experience, while Uranus gains 4, Neptune gains 2, and Pluto gains 2. (I give you TransPluto's movements each Full Moon series.) This means the parts of our lives and internal makeup symbolized by the outer invisible planets spans much less experience each year than the functions symbolized by the visible.
Thus we cover less ground in the spiritual realm, but also are more familiar with it when we master its lessons than the brief glimpses of the inner planet experiences as they race around the zodiac relative to the Spiritual planets. And, since the outers do go back so far relative to where they originally advanced, we often find ourselves revisiting familiar points of experience over several years.
It is far different with the inner planet periods, which never revisit the same points within any time frame we can take advantage of. For example, before 2008, the last time Jupiter went RX at 23 Capricorn and direct at 13 Capricorn was in 1925, and the only times Jupiter stimulates 23 Capricorn as its direct station are 1949 and 2032.
In 2018, Jupiter went SRX at 24 Scorpio, and SD at 14 Scorpio. The last time that happened was 1935. In 2019, Jupiter went SRX at 25 Sagittarius, and SD at 15 Sagittarius. The last time that happened was 1936. This pattern continues in 2020, when Jupiter will go SRX at 28 Capricorn, and SD at 18 Capricorn. This last happened in 1937.
This area of identical stationary degrees every 83 years is probably a subject for extensive study. I looked briefly, and it seems that for Jupiter, 1913 has the same stationary degrees as 1996, 1925 as 2008, 1937 as 2020, and 1949 as 2032. So we could infer that certain stationary points condition those effects not just for 12 years to come, but for the next 7 Jupiter cycles.
Tomorrow we'll examine some interpretative possibilities of how to look at retrograde and direct planets.
© Copyright 2019 Robert Wilkinson - https://www.aquariuspapers.com
About the author:
Robert wilkinson An internationally-known astrologer, author, public speaker, metaphysician, and futurist, with over 25 years experience as a counselor and educator. He has presented hundreds of public talks on all aspects of Astrology, the Eastern Wisdom tradition, the Western Wisdom tradition and promoted many mass gatherings and cultural events. Some of his specific areas of interest and expertise include personality profiles, degree patterns, integrative astrology, various aspect harmonics, among others.
Reprinted on crystalwind.ca. with persmission from Robert Wilkinson.
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