Retrograde Motion & Astrology Factor
The planets in the Universe have a fixed direction for revolution. But there are times when certain planets APPEAR to move in opposite direction or backwards in the sky. This back and forth movement of planets is actually out of question because of the proven fact that they revolve in fixed orbits, and it can be owed to the relative motion of the earth that the planets seem to move backwards at certain times. The apparent backward motion in the Zodiac of such planets when decreasing in longitude as viewed from the Earth is termed as Retrograde Motion and the planet is then known as Retrograde Planet. It can be compared to the effect of a slow-moving car as viewed from another car traveling parallel to it but at a higher speed, wherein the slower car appears to be moving backwards. However, in the case of the celestial bodies it is not a matter of their actual speed of travel, but of the rate at which they change their angular relationship.
Out of all planets, Sun and Moon at no time are retrograde. They are always in direct motion. Except for these two the rest of the planets, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus and Saturn change their proper motion through the Zodiac periodically and appear to move backwards. After some time they resume their direct motion. On the other hands, the two imaginary planets or lunar nodes, Rahu (North Node) and Ketu (South Node) are always in retrograde motion. Pluto, Neptune and Uranus also go through the retrograde motion along with Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn but are not considered much in Vedic astrology.
In astrology, a planet in retrograde motion has special significance because of its ability to provide a visible benefic or malefic result. The effects that the planets produces when in retrograde motion are far different than the ones they exert while moving directly. A retrograde planet becomes more powerful. It also gives some unusual results and sometimes in the reverse order in the timing of effects etc. When a planet is retrograde it is marked in the horoscope with the mark ‘R’ in front of its position in chart.
Mercury, Venus, Jupiter, Mars and Saturn turn retrograde at regular intervals. They generally move direct, then for a time period they (appear to) slow down and seem stationary for a long time (Stationary retrograde). At this time their powers are at their highest. Then they move retrograde, giving erratic and more prominent effects. After a particular time span, they again seem to slow down and seem to be stationary (stationary direct). Then they once again acquire a direct motion.
Whenever a planet starts in a motion other than the normal course, it yields unusual effects as well. In general, the fields ruled by these planets suffer the major influence. The most important thing to notice and remember is that in most of the cases, the retrograde planet does not mean a change in its functional nature for a native Which means that if a positive planet goes retrograde in a horoscope, it will still show positive results and if a negative planet goes retrograde in a horoscope, it will still show negative results. However there are some changes which a planet undergoes when it goes retrograde in a horoscope and these changes are usually regarding some of the characteristics of the retrograde planet and not the overall nature of the planet.
For example, during Mercury retrograde one faces communication hazards, during Mars retrograde Accidents due to rashness will be enhanced and so on. Hence, each planetary retrogression should be considered as a time to be cautious, and to consider things from a different viewpoint.
So let’s try to understand the changes which are signified when different planets go retrograde.
Mercury is the planet that rules communication and thinking. Retrograde Mercury usually signifies changes with speech abilities, hindrances in communication and decision making abilities. Mercury goes in retrograde motion about three times a year for three weeks of time period each. If Mercury is retrograde in the horoscope itself, it can indicate mental sufferings and anxieties in the case it’s negatively placed. If mercury is well placed, it bestows a brilliant mind. Whatever the case, the result is not `Usual`. Mercury usually shows positive or negative results as decided by the other factors in a horoscope.
Venus retrogression is related to luxuries in life, as well as our relationships with near and dear ones. If the transit of Venus is in retrograde motion, we should be thoughtful about all the relationships we are living, and the way we relate to others. It is the time to be watchful, as it is a period for strong emotional ups and downs. If Venus is retrograde in the natal chart, it can indicate emotional and material difficulties, in case it’s badly placed. If it’s well placed, it indicates extreme emotional attractions and repulsions. The result will always be a far cry from normal.
Mars retrogression is a high time to control and channelize our energy and drive, and prevent it from getting out of hand. A retrograde Mars in a horoscope usually signifies an excess of energy within the native and the native may not know what to do with this energy at times. It is important to notice that a retrograde Mars possesses far more energy than a forward moving Mars and it is capable of producing results of higher quantum and intensity.
When Jupiter, the planet of growth and expansion is in retrogression, a lot many projects that were due for expansion and launch may get delayed, or stop altogether. A retrograde Jupiter usually produces positive or negative results with a delay compared to a forward moving Jupiter. When Jupiter is retrograde in the natal chart, either it makes the person too fickle & vain or it gives unusual heights of knowledge and wisdom to the individual.
Saturn is the one planet which actually causes concerns when it goes retrograde is none other than the most feared planet in Vedic astrology, the Saturn itself. This retrogression period can cause unexpected delays and interruptions. The period usually lasts for 4 and half months, during which many feel frustrated and unable to handle hurdles. In individual horoscope, the house that occupied by Saturn will see the effect of retrogression, i.e. that aspect of the life will get affected, along with the general malefic effect. This is the only planet which does show negativity when it goes retrograde in a horoscope, even if it is otherwise positive in a horoscope.
To summarize, all retrograde planets except Saturn change some of their characteristics and otherwise keep on working positively or negatively as decided by the other factors in a horoscope, while in case of retrograde Saturn, mild to serious negative effects can be experienced, even if it is otherwise working positive in a horoscope.