All About Retrogrades

Each year, almost all planets go through periods when they appear to be moving backwards.

Planets go around the Sun.  As they "round the bend" from our point-of-view, they appear to slow down, stop, slide backward, stop again, and then move forward—this cycle is known as "retrograde."

Retrograde or "Rx" comes from the Latin word "retrogradus," which means "backward step."

Mercury Venus and Mars are the faster-moving planets; their retrograde periods do not last long—about 21, 42, and 70 days respectively.  Since Jupiter and Saturn move relatively slower,  their retrograde periods last about 120 and 140 days respectively.  Uranus Neptune and Pluto retrograde periods can seem to last forever—about 148, 150 and 180 days respectively.

Jump to:
Mercury Retrograde

Jupiter Retrograde

Saturn Retrograde
Pluto Retrograde


Unusual, unexpected and extreme things happen to matters ruled by a planet when retrograde.

It is an excellent time for most things that begin with “re” such as redo, review, return, reunite, repair and research. 


Periods when five to six planets are retrograde can be very challenging.

Download the Planet Retrograde Calendar to know when this year's RETROGRADE BANDWAGON will be.


Q: Do all planets turn retrograde?

All planets turn retrograde except the Sun and the Moon.

Q: Why am I experiencing things going back and forth even before a planet  turns Rx?

During its retrograde cycle, a planet will pass thru the same degree three times.


Q: What will happen?  What should I do? 

Planets are great teachers.  When retrograde, they carry valuable life lessons, and you are given three times to take a shot at the lesson.  There will be a preview of the lesson, a practicum and a review.

Let's say, Mercury turns retrograde and you have a natal planet or point in Mercury's path, here's what will happen:

PREVIEW: The First Pass during Pre-Shadow 
Right before a planet turns retrograde, you could start feeling the retrograde effect if the planet is in the same degree as your natal planet or point.

Note: The mathematical points of a chart include the Lunar Nodes, Arabic Parts, Vertex, and the four cardinal points—Imum Coeli, Midheaven, Ascendant, and Descendant.

WHAT TO DO:  This is when diaries come in handy.  Jot down the circumstance.  Keep in mind, not all difficult and terrible experiences can be attributed to the retrograde planet.  It could be another planet.  You must know the things each planet rules.  See INTERPRETATION GUIDE.

PRACTICUM: The Second Pass
when Retrograde 
The planet will come into contact again with your natal planet or point for you to review or redo what happened during the first pass.  There will be a lesson to learn, such as mindfulness, patience, or doing things properly and intentionally.  This is the time to ace it!

REVIEW: The Third Pass during Post-Shadow

As soon as the planet moves forward, the retrograde effect will taper and things will return to normal—if you learned your lesson.  If you haven't, the planet will nip you in the butt on its the third pass.  It will not be as painful as the second, but it will surely leave a mark.

Q: What do “Station Retrograde" and “Station Direct” mean?

  • "Station" refers to the moment a planet STOPS, pivots and changes direction.  Be on the lookout for the period (usually a couple of days) when a planet STOPS at a certain degree to turn retrograde and STOPS at a certain degree to move direct—these are very precarious dates if you have a planet or point in those degrees.  Retrograde Stations are as precarious as Direct Stations.
  • Retrograde means “backward.”
  • Direct means “forward.”

Q: Which area of my life will be affected when a planet is retrograde?

Follow the steps below to know which area of your life will be affected:

1 – Run your birth chart.  See How to Generate a Birth Chart.

2 - Download this year's Planet Retrograde Calendar.

3 - Note the dates the planet will turn Retrograde and go Direct.

4 - Note the Zodiac signs and degrees

The Zodiac sign and degree is like a home address or url.  It will tell you WHERE (in which House) the planet will turn Retrograde and WHERE it will go Direct.

5 - Refer to your birth chart

Mark the House/s that fall/s within the retrograde area to identify the area/s of life you will experience the retrograde effect most.

6 - To interpret, see Planets, Signs & Houses in Astrology INTERPRETATION GUIDE