Retrograde motion of planets is an illusion caused by the relative movement of Earth to other planets. It represents the way we observe a certain planet from ours. Because of the speed of movement at times it seems as if planets move backwards, although they always circle around the Sun in the same direction. This illusion is possible only for planets in the Solar system that are circling around the Sun, so the Moon and the Sun will never move backwards from our perspective.
Inner planets or planets closer to the Sun than the Earth, are in retrograde motion depending on the speed they circle the Sun. Mercury moves around it in 88 days and Venus does so in approximately 225 days. Every time these planets move behind the Sun, we see them as going backwards. Because of the movement of the Earth chasing them, they will “move backwards” in same time intervals – Mercury about three times per year and Venus once in two years. Because of the “direct motion” of the Earth, retrograde movements seem much shorter than direct movements.
In the chart, we will see that Mercury and Venus are never too far away from the Sun and that the retrograde motion of planets closer to the Sun begins as they pass it. Outer planets show this delusion every time we pass them on our way to circle the Sun. This is why their retrograde motion in the chart is always connected to them opposing the Sun.
In astrology, retrograde planets are these mysterious creatures that we seem to forget how to interpret from time to time. Everything that happens during retrograde motion of planets can be linked to that motion, even if the situation had nothing to do with the specific planet in the first place. They can be observed as our chances to repair things, to fix what was broken and pay attention to the mistakes that were made when the planet went through the same positions in its direct movement. But can we really change history?
The main question here would be the purpose of these apparent movements that we can’t seem to understand truly. Is their mission to make us sad or to show us where we went wrong? Do these steps backwards make us stronger or make us weak? On one hand, it is said to be our opportunity to change the past, on the other, it is said that we shouldn’t make any decisions while it lasts. How can we change the past without making decisions? Isn’t this fix-it approach already a decision made?
If you ask me, retrograde motion of planets serves us well – to understand the past and change the future. Just because someone’s Venus was retrograde when they were born, they shouldn’t necessarily end up with the same abusive partner over and over again. Retrograde motion teaches us to move on. It shows us the veil on things that need to be unveiled in search for depths of our inner truth. The basic understanding of retrograde movement would be in clarity and devotion to it.
If you have a retrograde planet in your chart, remember that this might not be a curse or a karmic debt you have no control over. It is your opportunity in disguise, your window to observe what has been and move to something better. And if things seem to repeat senselessly, maybe you are doing it backwards, not the planets.