To Fear Or Not to Fear: What Does Retrograde Mean?

A lot of people freak out when they discover that have retrogrades in their birth charts. But what does retrograde mean? Is it really a cause for worry? Or are these fears mostly unfounded? Mercury’s retrograde is probably the most familiar of all the planets. But all of them seem to have the same tendency to shake us up and change our lives in a jiffy.

In this post we will not only discuss its nuances, what does retrograde mean in astrology. We will also find out why these regular cosmic events are not a call for panic or fury. But for reflections, revelations, and realizations. Going through the retrogrades of all the planets, we hope to give a clearer view of this phenomenon. As well  as touch on the following points:

  • All the positives and negatives of the retrograde meaning in astrology
  • What the meaning of retrograde spell in your natal chart
  • The complexities of the astrological meaning of retrogrades
  • Do the pros outweigh the cons of planetary retrogrades?
  • What are the important things to remember about planets in retrograde?

So let’s dive in and see what does retrograde mean in astrology!

An Overview: What Does Retrograde Mean In Astrology?

Retrograde means that from the earth’s perspective it looks like the planet involved is moving backward in the sky. Say for example you’re looking at the night sky. And there goes Jupiter who is moving from Libra towards Scorpio. You can see that entire motion. But there will come a time, because of how the earth is situated to the sun that this will change. From our perspective from earth, Jupiter will look like it is moving backward. This time from Scorpio to Libra.

So that is how retrogrades came about. Because of its backward movement, it’s moving retro. That’s how you tell things are going retrograde up in the sky. A lot of times planets in retrograde are much brighter than usual. This is because they are closer to the earth during their retrograde motion.

It is important to note however, that this is just an optical illusion. Something that occurs when a specific planet aligns with earth in a particular way. So they’re not actually reversing their orbit. They simply look like they are slowing down and moving backward from our point of view. Like how you would view a moving vehicle next to you when you surpass it on a highway. They might appear to be moving backward even if we know they’re not.

What Does Retrograde Mean For Us?

Now that specific planet is closer to earth. This is going to make the planet bigger and brighter. More intense in people’s awareness. For one, the indications of a planet’s retrograde motion become more enhanced in your life. Like those who have sworn to have experienced a Mercury retrograde.

Their laptops shut down. Communication suddenly becomes fuzzy, and other mind-boggling stories. When it becomes full in our awareness, you don’t only become aware of the positive aspects of Mercury, but its negative side as well. All the things that you are deficient in or are having difficulties with.

The thing is many people have severe deficiencies in some planets which is fine. The majority of us have that and when a planet goes on retrograde we tend to pay too much attention to it. You overthink as if everything is going wrong when it’s not. The right thing to do is be aware of it as something that needs to be addressed.

The Astrologer’s Dillema

Problem ensues when some people only want their astrologers to share the positive side of this. Since it will inspire them to do their best, allowing them to reach their goals sooner. And there is merit to that, to a certain degree. But if you think about it you will realize people are intelligent and have the ability to think logically. Come up with sound decisions regardless of the odds stacked against them.

Therefore, isn’t it more beneficial to tell them that yes, they have the potential but here’s where your deficiencies are? Here is where you need to put more effort on. But some people don’t like hearing those things.

All these can tie into retrograde since it has a tendency to point out more problems pertaining to the planet. Ideally, that is the case in order for you to work on it and develop your strengths with your planet. All the while bringing in more conscious awareness of it.

Now let’s go ahead and dig in one planet at a time!

What Does Retrograde Mean for Mercury?

Mercury retrograde takes place three to four times annually when this planet passes the earth in its orbit. So if our vantage point is here on earth, Mercury will appear to be moving backward.

mercury retrograde

So things that are ruled by Mercury. Such as transportation, technology, and communication may suddenly go backward as well. Your phones or your computers will stop working. People become late for their appointments, etc.

Remember that it’s always recommended to have backup files for all your electronic data. It can be a time when your project won’t kick off no matter how hard you try. See if it needs more research, revision, or review. Don’t get tired of going back to find out what’s wrong. Think of it as a period for quarterly review. Maybe it’s time to leave some old styles and habits and adopt something new.

So some astrologers also believe you should never sign a contract during a Mercury retrograde. If you really have to sign a contract or lease, do so with diligence and vigilance. Read the fine print, and review it multiple times. This is also a good time to make sure your insurance policy is perfectly in place. An ounce of preparation is always better than a pound of cure.

What Does Retrograde Mean for Venus?

Venus retrogrades mark some pain in your relationships. Sexual difficulties, trauma, illusions. Even not being sure of what sexuality is to you. Wielding a lot of that kind of energy without knowing how to handle it is usually indicative of a Venus retrograde.

There may be a lot of things in between but this is how you are going to heal. Your Venus placement means accepting the in-between scenarios. It’s all about feelings, reactions, and status as individuals. Not only our emotional state but our financial state as well. So there is an ebb and a flow of status. A Venus retrograde could make you fall into a routine and allow itself to do things you’re not really comfortable with.

However, it is this discomfort that will help you get much better. After which you can now give yourself the comfort and reward yourself for all your hard work. If you’re able to do both you’ll start finding deeper, more meaningful relationships. With a Venus retrograde, you need to give yourself a certain amount of freedom and adaptability. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck with things.

What Does Retrograde Mean for Mars?


Mars retrograde can be a tough one since it’s really hard for people with this placement to release and just let go. It deals with the energy of ultimate masculine release. So this retrograde means there’s a lot of pent-up energy. A blockage that is inhibiting your ability to release.

So there is a great focus for someone with this placement in healing that part. Perhaps therapy and counseling could help. This is very much connected to your self-healing as well as self-empowerment.

Mars is changing energy and it is the natural ruler of Scorpio and Aries. Thus, this planet deals with pioneering transformation. Its retrograde inhibits that specifically. Turns it inwards and blunts its sharpness.

So this retrograde can repress a lot of things, bottle them up. Which can lead to a bad temper. Repressing your emotions over time will only lead to an inevitable explosion. So you need to find a way to remove that blockage, express your emotions so you can finally heal.

What Does Retrograde Mean for Jupiter?

Jupiter is in the 9th House, bringing in a sense of luck and prosperity. This means great abundance in our lives. So when this goes on retrograde you can literally feel a black cloud of unluckiness surrounding you. As if some people are out to get you or want to take things away from you.

It can also feel Saturnine as well. So there might be a Saturnian cloud over these folks as well. You don’t want to play the lottery during this time. Beware of gambling your money away. Or investing in the stock market as if you’re just rolling that dice.

There are times too when people in Jupiter retrograde can become too pacifying. They are not able to call out people about the wrong things they are doing. Sometimes they become too kind to a fault. There is also some difficulty with this retrograde to share anything negative or problematic with anybody.

Be careful because unlike other retrogrades this can swing to its polar opposite. So they can be too negative, and a hundred percent pessimistic. You cannot find a pragmatic person in here. That’s a typical Jupiter retrograde. So you need to be able to dig deep, find your balance and have the strength to do the right things.

What Does A Saturn Retrograde Mean?

Saturn retrograde can pertain to issues with authority. It also means you’re pacifying yourself. Dealign with implementing any type of routine or self-control. It could also mean struggling to find accountability.

Thus, watch out for your banking transactions, your money. This can represent getting an inheritance, or coming into money later in life. You might have issues with that. There may be people who would try and get to that. Or it can mean you want to buy lots of things you don’t really need.

Having lots of material possessions. Vintage cars, old houses that you don’t do anything with. They just sit there collecting dust. Saturn retrograde has something to do with that. It is a sign you are too attached to your mentality.

So it’s very important for people to find a way to be less materialistic and focus on what really matters in life. Find the strength to let go of the old and destructive attachments they have.

What Does A Uranus Retrograde Mean?


Uranus retrograde is like Mercury retrograde. It’s a collective rejection of things. Rejection of your current rebellious nature. Note that Uranus is the natural ruler of the zodiac Aquarius. Which is the rebel’s sign. Thus a Uranus retrograde detaches you from your current timeline.

It can both be a blessing and curse, depending on how you handle it. Uranus also represents your community. So someone who is in Uranus retrograde might feel singled out. Like a bit of an outcast, or an underdog. Someone who is detached or withheld, even mentally. Even if all this can be just happening from within.

You need to find a way to handle this kind of detachment. The struggle to find your emotional line. It may even represent having a lot of personality traits. Somebody who’s totally different from the rest. Such placement may also have an influence on one’s neurological problems.

Fight with all your might to keep your mental health in good condition. Uranus deals a lot with health. So keep an eye on your health because it may be challenging to diagnose such things. Keep a clear head and don’t let this retrograde freak you out.

What Does A Neptune Retrograde Mean?

Neptune retrograde tells you that your usual ways of escaping reality will not work. There is a blockage over there. Nonetheless, you can try if you want. So taking in substances to forget or numb yourself is a big no-no. Even plant medicine or psychedelics and other things of that sort. It just won’t work.

You will need the ability to acclimate yourself to being alone and being in public with other people. Having some control over your empathetic abilities. If there is too much focus on your path you will have trouble trying and staying connected.

There may be a struggle with addiction. Because you have a need to escape your body. Need to escape reality. Then again, addiction will not help you escape it no matter how hard you try. So watch out for dependencies. Not only with substances but dependency on your family as well. They love you but they can only do so much. You need to learn to stand on your own because your family cannot take care of you forever.

What Does A Pluto Retrograde Mean?


Pluto retrograde deals with a transformation that has a tendency to get blocked. There is a struggle for a big transformation. And at the same time, there’s this brewing frustration because you can’t get yourself to do it. This also deals with a lot of hidden things. Things that may not stay hidden for long.

So this talks about the energy of secrets let out into the open. Of taboos coming into light. It could also mean an attempt at hiding or covering something up. Therefore, the most important thing for a person having this placement is to strive towards clean living. A life you don’t have to hide or be ashamed of, a life without too many risks involved.

Pluto retrograde can also teach the person with this placement so much about healing, energy, and momentum. Being able to handle delays to a certain degree. Your great gift is the ability to define your life. Don’t allow other people to define it for you. Only you should have the power to do that.


So again, is having a retrograde in your natal chart a good or a bad thing? The brief answer is it is not bad. But it will change how you need to deal with certain aspects of your life.

This is nothing but a delay. Something that takes a bit longer, something requiring more effort from you. So you can see its full manifestation. It does not mean bad things or opportunities are permanently blocked. Again, it’s just a delay. So go on and put more effort into getting those areas in your life active. And finally, make them what you really like them to be.

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