RETROGRADE PLANETS IN YOUR CHART, OR THE ART OF THE ASTRAL MOOD SWING.
So you’ve got retrograde planets in your chart.
Little known fact: Having retrograde planets in your chart pretty much guarantees that you’re a latent serial killer.
Just kidding. Obviously.
In the grand scheme of things, retrograde planets in the natal chart are not actually as big a deal as you might be tempted to believe. In fact, I was not totally sure that I wanted to share my musings on this, because I didn’t want you all to start fixating on such a small detail. But I remembered when I was new at this and severely confused about what retrograde planets meant, and decided it’s better to have the info out there and let y’all decide for yourselves.
It comes down to a basic caveat : when interpreting your retrograde planets, be sure to take them in the context of your entire chart. Simple enough? Okay, off we go.
Interpretations of retrograde planets in the natal chart are pretty varied amongst astrologers. If you haven’t already and are interested in completely informal experiments, google “(planet) retrograde in natal chart” and count the different opinions. Or save yourself the trouble and stick around for the real deal.
Rather than thinking that the retrograde planet is asleep, or haywire, or somehow gives you immunity when that planet goes retrograde in real time, I prefer to stick with the astrologer Demetra George. She holds that planets that are retrograding at the moment of your birth will present themselves as being either very under-expressed or hyper-expressed in your life. I would add that this could switch as you mature, so maybe if you under-expressed your retrograde planet as a child you could grow into hyper-expressing it as an adult, or vice-versa.
Here’s some examples of how this could play out. Please note that retrograde planets will manifest themselves differently in different people, and not everyone will show all of these traits.
Mercury: planet of communication, short-distance travel, learning, technology, commerce.
Under-expressed: You have significant difficulties with communication. You don’t like to talk or express yourself. You are averse to learning or school. You are afraid of technology. You stay in one place.
Over-expressed: You overshare, talk people’s ears off, or broadcast your feelings to the world needlessly. You’re a technology whiz. You can never sit still.
Venus: planet of relationships, beauty, pleasure, the arts, creativity.
Under-expressed: You don’t value beauty, music, or anything of artistic value. You overwork yourself. You have trouble connecting to people or your feminine side. You’re barren or uncreative.
Over-expressed: You are supremely sensual. You’re driven by luxury or beauty. You have no tolerance for “roughing it.” You’re an artist or very very creative. You’re a schmoozer.
Mars: planet of energy, athleticism, aggression, self-assertion, sexuality, ambition.
Under-expressed: You have a lot of trouble asserting yourself or going after what you want. You’re asexual. You have a low energy drive and not much ambition. You have trouble connecting to what you perceive as masculine.
Hyper-expressed: You’re highly motivated by sex. You work through emotions physically or feel all negative emotions as anger. You care only about your own needs. You want to take over the world.
Jupiter: planet of optimism, faith, good fortune, expansion
Under-expressed: Oh, ye of little faith! Similar to hyper-expressed Saturn. You could be a pessimist, or a constant worrier. You feel that the universe will not provide for you and you have to earn what you get through struggle. You fear growth or change.
Hyper-expressed: You feel that everything falls in your lap. You are overconfident and don’t put in the work, feeling that things will just sort themselves out. You’re highly religious or have your own wacky way of sorting through the universe. See under-expressed Saturn.
Saturn: planet of consequences, restrictions, end goals, boundaries, time
Under-expressed: Similar to a hyper-expressed Jupiter, you feel that you don’t really have to put in work or that consequences, traditions, rules, or boundaries don’t apply to you. You disregard the value of experience. You see no connection between effort and the result.
Hyper-expressed: Like under-expressed Jupiter, you’re focused on the restrictions or consequences at all times. It’s hard for you to relax and have fun because you view it as fleeting and worthless, since you’re highly aware that everything ends.
Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto move so slowly that retrogrades of these planets don’t have much significance in the natal chart. They tend to effect entire generations rather than individuals, and as such, govern more global issues.
Some folks contend that having the ruler of your ascendant retrograde or more than half of your personal planets* retrograde makes you a “retrograde individual.” Personally, I don’t really feel that this is actually a thing. I would say that if you have your ruling planet or a lot of planets retrograde you’ll be more prone to dramatic changes in habits or personality because you may be switching how you manifest the energies of these planets. So congratulations, you’re officially an interesting person. Enjoy.
Hopefully this was informative, entertaining, and helpful. But my Mercury’s retrograde, so I’m never quite sure how effective my communication is ;). Check out your chart and see which retrograde planets you have that you can blame stuff on!
*Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter or Saturn are the personal planets.
Bonus PS for astro-geeks: As you might have noticed by now, having a planet retrograde and under-expressed is similar to having it stationed in a sign where it’s in its detriment or fall. The difference here is that with retrogrades, you can basically go from zero to sixty and start hyper-expressing that energy later in life. Or, you can start off by over-expressing it and switch to under-expressing. Either way.