Retrogrades Summer / Fall, 2022

by Marilyn Muir, LPMAFA

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September is upon us – tomorrow, as I write this. I have had a bunch of calls about the crazy energy going on in people’s lives. The same crazy energies have been going on in my own life as well. Sounds like multiple planets retrograde to me.

  • Retro means to go back, or backward in astrology, and it refers to planets.
  • Astrologically, we use ten bodies on a regular basis: the Sun which is a star, Earth’s Moon, and the planets that make up our solar system: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto (yes). We do not count the Earth because we are all standing on it as a common point.
  • The Sun, which is the center of the solar system around which the planets orbit, is the central control point for the system and cannot go retrograde. The Sun is the basis for the measure itself.
  • The Moon does not orbit the Sun. It orbits the Earth, which in turn orbits the Sun, so the Moon cannot go retrograde.
  • That leaves the eight planets mentioned above.

In his book The Book of Retrogrades, author John McCormick did a study of retrograde planets for the 100 years between 1880 and 1980. I studied it many years ago to help me understand the underlying rhythm to our solar system and its repeating patterns. McCormick noted that two or three planets retrograde in any chart were the average for that 100 years. For the mathematics calculation, each year was deemed to have 360 days x 100 years occupancy determined by percentage. His conclusions:

  • No planets retrograde (8%) or only one retrograde (19%) were below average.
  • Two (29%) or three (27%) retrogrades was average.
  • Anything over three was above average: four (13%), five (4 %), six (1%), seven (0%). Only two days in the late part of the 19th century had seven. Eight was not referenced.

His book went on to examine each retrograde planet by occupation or functionality. It is quite technical but does help you understand the concept and patterns. I did a comparison using the 1980s to see if the 1880-1980 pattern held true, and it did overall. However, my study did show some clustering of multiple planets retrograde more than indicated by the earlier study. Since I have Venus and Pluto at station retrograde and Saturn and Uranus fully retrograde in my chart, I had a personal interest. What did it mean?

Know up front that each planet physically travels in one direction – they do not come to a screeching halt and change direction. Life in this solar system would be beyond chaotic if that were possible.

  • Direct planets do not usually need an explanation. They act as we expect them to from their natures in a straight-forward, natural way, by planet, sign and house.
  • When a planet slows, seem to stop (station) and starts backing up (from Earth’s frame of reference), it is considered retrograde (an illusion of moving backward caused by viewing a planet’s travel from Earth’s perspective).
  • Later in this planetary motion, they will again slow, stop (station) and start forward, resuming normal motion and activity (from Earth’s perspective).
  • They will travel to the point where the retrograde pattern began and move beyond that point in their natural forward motion.

Each stage of that travel has its own individual interpretation!

  • Direct: natural energy by house, sign and aspect.
  • Slow and stop: changing their minds on where they’re going and what they’re doing according to the nature of planet.
  • Reverse travel (true retrograde): re-covering old ground and conceptions, learning, fixing.
  • Slow and stop: change their mind again on where going and what doing (finishing fix).
  • Resume direct: finish repair and move on, usual energy, but….
  • They must still re-cover their travel back to the point where the first station occurred.
  • After that, the ground they cover will be new experience. 

Example: Hopefully you know what the Mercury retrograde shadow period is. From where Mercury stops its usual forward motion all the way back to its most extreme retrograde point, then all the way back to its beginning (forward) station point shadows the whole of the pattern. Say Mercury arrives at and stations retrograde at 22 Scorpio, moving backward to (guessing) 8 Scorpio, then resumes forward motion, gets up to and passes 22 Scorpio again. From 8 to 22 Scorpio is its “shadow” period. All the degrees and the time are revisiting the past, fixing what can be fixed, learning, and growing – until new degrees can be newly learned. If a “shadow” applies to Mercury, it should also apply to any planet doing this dance. Learn the difference between “theory” and “rule”.

Can you see the stages in a single retrograde? What happens if several of them are doing it at the same time? Like right now! The word “chaotic” comes to mind! Remember, the outers have bigger orbits and are retrograde for longer periods of time. The inner planets are retrograde for shorter periods. Here is the pattern we are currently experiencing in Fall of 2022:

Plu Rx 4/29 28:36 Cap             D 10/8 26:7 Cap          2 days May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, 1 wk Oct

Nep Rx 6/28 25:27 Pis             D 12/4 22:39 Pis          3 days Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, 1 wk Dec

Ura D 1/19 10:49 Tau             Rx 8/24 18:55  Tau      1 wk Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec, 3 wk Jan 202

        D 1/22/23 14:56 Tau

Sat Rx 6/4 25:15 Aqu              D 10/23 18:35 Aqu      Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, 3 wk Oct

Jup Rx 8/1 8:42 Ari                  D 11/23 28:48 Pis        Aug, Sep, Oct, 3 wk Nov         

Mar Rx 10/30 25:37 Gem       D 1/12/23 8:8 Gem     Nov, Dec, 2 wk Jan

Merc 9/10 8:55 LI                   D 10/2 24:13 Vir         3 wk Sep, 1 wk Oct

Venus not R this period          Sun/Moon never retrograde

I described what one planet retrograde does with its individual energy. At the moment, we have the five outers retrograde with Mercury about to join the retrograde motion. Multiply my explanation by five to understand our current energy. As of September 10th, make that a six-planet multiple:

Planets retrograde in September: Pluto, Neptune, Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter (all five outers), plus Mercury (September 10 – October 2)

When does the madness end?  Mercury direct October 2, Pluto direct October 8, Saturn direct October 23, Jupiter direct November 23, Neptune direct December 4, Uranus direct January 22, 2023.

OOPS! Can’t forget Mars joining the retrograde fray October 30, and direct January 12, 2023.

If you wonder what in the world is going on, this is it!

Oh, in case you needed a reminder, think of how many babies are being born into this incredible energy. Twenty years from now, they will be at their “adult” stage. Good luck to astrological readers everywhere!

Previous retrograde material on website:

Astrology: The Symbolic Language, “Aspects” section

Summer of Aspects” Section 3

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