Retrogrades in Natal Chart
*Note that the Sun and Moon are never retrograde.
Planets and bodies can appear to be moving backwards in the sky for a period of time, and are said to be retrograde. “Appears” is the key word here, because, technically speaking, no planet actually moves backwards in their orbits around the Sun. In fact, they don’t even slow down. Retrograde-station-direct cycles are essentially illusions that result from our point of view from Earth, simply because the Earth is also orbiting the Sun at a different speed than the other planets.
Mercury turns retrograde more frequently than any other planet, but outer planets are retrograde more often than Mercury. Mercury can never be more than 28 degrees from the Sun, and whenever it reaches its furthest distance from the Sun, it changes direction. Venus and Mars are retrograde approximately 7-10% of the time. Jupiter through Pluto are retrograde for large periods of the year.
When a planet or body is retrograde in the birth chart, its energies are turned inward. They’re often felt more strongly, but there is something about the planet’s energies that the native keeps hidden or undercover. There can be shyness, discomfort, or awkwardness expressing the planet’s energy directly or overtly.
Sometimes there is denial, something lacking, or something missing in early childhood, and there are delays associated with the retrograde planet’s energies. Perhaps for a Saturn retrograde person, there was a lack of discipline or structure, or possibly an authority figure in the childhood, and the native feels awkward in a situation that calls for specific rules or protocol as a result. On the flip side, there may have been overly strict influences in youth, and the end result is similar – the native often feels guilty and worries excessively about meeting responsibilities, how others think of them, and how to play by the rules. That’s one example. Another example could be with Uranus retrograde prominent in the chart, in childhood there may have been a lack of freedom and possibly too many rules, or uniqueness and eccentricities were not encouraged, so that the native’s expression of these things in adulthood is inhibited, choppy, and basically doesn’t come out naturally. With retrograde Venus, perhaps the child was discouraged in some way when he or she expressed loving feelings or attempted to make themselves more attractive; or possibly there was a lack of money and resources.
When Mercury is retrograde at birth, the thinking processes are generally more acute, and the sense of humor rather quirky. People with Mercury retrograde take in information differently than those with Mercury direct in their natal charts. How many people are born with a retrograde Mercury? Roughly 18%.
Some people with this position struggle with doubts about their perceptions or their ability to learn, and there can be a lot of thinking, double-checking, and reviewing of thoughts and ideas before communicating them.
Venus is retrograde approximately 7-8% of the time, so that approximately 7-8% of people are born while Venus is retrograde.
When Venus is retrograde at birth, the feeling nature is deep. Socializing is taken seriously, and rarely lightly. They can be somewhat shy in youth, as there can be an awkwardness felt concerning small talk and social graces, and an aversion for superficialities. Love is extremely important to a person with a retrograde Venus, but they may not be explicit about it enough for others to know just how deeply they can love. There is always more to this person than meets the eye. Their love life (and sometimes financial life) can be hidden in some manner. People born under Venus retrograde have to watch for self-sabotage in love relationships. There may be an underlying feeling of not being “good enough”, attractive enough, or loveable enough. Deep insecurities can be present. Self-love can be an issue. Fears can lead them to overcompensate, such as overeat, serial date, etc.; or can have the opposite effect wherein the person tells themselves they don’t need love. The same person can swing from both poles in one lifetime. A balance, of course, is ideally sought. See more details about Venus Retrograde in the Natal Chart, including Venus Retrograde in the signs.
Standing up for yourself or asserting yourself may be a challenge, as it can stimulate fears of being ineffective when Mars is retrograde at birth. There might often be roundabout ways of going after your desires. The desire nature runs deep, but is often misunderstood by others. Timing might often be off, or you could express your desires (or anger) in bursts rather than more flowingly, whereby you keep these things to yourself and let them build until you explode. You may come on too strong some of the time, and not enough at other times, often thinking of the better thing to say or do only later, when you’re no longer under pressure. Competition can unnerve you, and you are usually better off setting your own pace than working by schedule or with others. You might come up with very creative ways of expressing yourself physically as you mature, or channel your energy into unusual but effective areas quite effectively.
As we move further out with the planets, retrogrades occur more frequently, and it is more common for people to have these planets retrograde in their charts.
People born with Jupiter retrograde in their natal charts tend to have different or unusual perspectives, belief systems, or sets of morals. They prefer to learn from their own experiences and reactions to them, rather than from others. Because they don’t intrinsically have faith in being lucky, they are planners who worry about their future or consequences of their actions more than others. They may need to learn that they deserve what others might naturally feel entitled to.
There can be more than usual experiences of guilt and self-doubt when Saturn is retrograde in the birth chart. Fears are internalized and they might put on a brave front so that others don’t see them as vulnerable. There can also be a strong fear of letting others down or of not filling their responsibilities – essentially of making poor choices. Sometimes the childhood was not very disciplined or orderly. In some ways, having Saturn retrograde in the chart tends to function much like a strong Uranus, where the native is uncomfortable with an overly orderly or disciplined life. People born with Saturn retrograde might feel especially anxious or nervous when they are in situations that call for protocol, etiquette, or specific sets of standards and rules.
Uranus retrograde can point to a fear of change or a latent mistrust of new technologies or improvements. These people might hide their eccentricities, while Uranus direct natives are more inclined to flaunt them, or at least to be proud of them. In some ways, having Uranus retrograde is like having Saturn strong in the chart. There can be pent up energy with this position, so that while they may be following rules for some time, at a certain point they bust out with a fit of rebellion before going back to a more orderly, law-abiding lifestyle.
Those born with Neptune retrograde in their chart might tend to hide their vulnerabilities, their spiritual side, or their compassion, as they feel somewhat uncomfortable expressing them. These things can very well exist, and they run deep, but Neptune retrograde natives prefer to keep these things private. Deep faith can be missing, so that these people might be naturally mistrustful. When they are left to fill in the blanks, they might expect the worst. There can be a big fear of dreaming too big dreams, as they are afraid of being let down.
People with Pluto retrograde in their birth charts may be more inclined to fear being controlled, manipulated, or betrayed by others than those with Pluto direct. There may be a tendency to keep these fears to themselves, as exposing them makes them feel more vulnerable. They don’t as readily let others know their desire for power or control, and might not be in touch with this desire a lot of the time.
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