Retro-gradation of planets is a mystery that astrologers often ponder. I am a little dismayed at how often we blame retrograde planets for anything that goes wrong while they are in that state, but through many years of observation, it does appear that they have some kind of influence—mostly giving us time to reflect, review and change direction in our lives, if necessary.
We just had Mercury retrograde in the early degrees of Aries and late Pisces. Through mid-March it conjoined Uranus—perhaps contributing to restless sleep for some people and hasty decisions by others. And tomorrow it goes direct at 23 degrees Pisces at 6:07 am EDT. That doesn’t mean that all its dire meanings are lifted. There is the “shadow” that some consider, which is the time it takes Mercury to get back to the point where it started to retrograde, in this case, 6:49 Aries, which will happen on April 23rd. This is a time of review, and if one insists on using it to push ahead (using it as it was not intended) then most of the time, events get confused or snarled-up and you are forced to stop and unsnarl them. That forces review anyway.
The best way to use Astrology is like a clock. When it’s time to pay attention to various things, you will know ahead of time what they are. Wherever early Aries and late Pisces is placed in your chart, this was a time to pay attention to those things…i.e. get rid of what isn’t working, re-check work that has been done, prepare, but not initiate, plans for the future. Mine is in the 11th house, so I have been looking at long range goals, planning a couple projects, and nurturing friendships—even looking into joining groups. Where is it in your chart?
At the same time this year, Mars is also retrograde in Virgo. It has been in Virgo since November 11th 2011 and will remain there until July 4th this year. Every two years Mars remains in one sign for many months and can be a real irritant for those signs. This time since it’s in Virgo, it’s also affecting Pisces, Sagittarius and Gemini by challenging aspect (90 degrees or 180 degrees away). That means that when Mars in its journey gets close to, or in difficult aspect to, a planet you have in those signs, you will feel it stimulated in some way. Usually, it is an irritant, but if your Mars is well-placed, it can be a surge of energy you could put to good use.
When Mars got far enough away from the Sun (actually vice versa), it turned retrograde (January 24th) and will remain so until April 14th. When you are unaware of the energy, you can act hastily without forethought and regret it later. Again, it is a time of review, not a good time to start anything new.
Soon, on April 10th, Pluto will begin to retrograde. It will begin at 9 degrees Capricorn, and although it is not as personal in its effects as the planets closer to us, it will be felt very keenly by people born at the very end of December/beginning of January, end of March/early April, end of June/beginning of July, and end of September/beginning of October. Many other people may have planets at 9 of a cardinal sign (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn), but those dates above are for people who have the Sun near that degree. Tremendous forces are at work for these people to help them clean out of their lives all things that are not working for them, or to revise whatever has become habitual so that life can proceed on a better level. It’s as though a pressure cooker lid is blowing off, and they have had enough of whatever they have been repressing. It may be an intense process while it’s happening, but the result can be liberating later. Pluto will go direct on September 18th.
Meanwhile, Saturn has been retrograde at the very end of Libra since February 7th. It will go direct at 22-23 Libra on June 25 and finally enter Scorpio on October 5th. Anyone with planets between 22 to 29 Libra, or those degrees of other cardinal signs listed above, are probably not satisfied with the aspect of their life where they are located. Things will start moving in a better direction after late June.