The Planets and Their Retrogrades

Planetary retrogrades are the time to work with your shadow self, and clear recurring patterns in your life that no longer work for you. 

Each planet works with a different aspect of self and life, I'll go through each planet and the best way to work with that planet at retrograde.

To begin with here is a brief description of each planet and their correspondences.

The Planets.


The Sun is the giver of life, and represents our conscious self and ego.  It is our will to live and creative life force energy. The Sun represents our basic or outward personality.  It is where our true nature resides and where our identities are forged.

What most people think of as our star sign is our sun sign, and this gives us the basic understanding of how a person makes their choices and why they do what they do.

Just as the planets in our solar system revolve around the Sun, the Sun rules the planets in our natal chart and our overall personality.


As discussed above the Sun represents our outward personality, the Moon represents our inner self, emotions and feelings. Your Moon sign reflects how you process your feelings and moods.  

The Moon is where our unconscious reigns, it represents out deepest needs, habits and reactions.

Where the Sun is associated with masculine energy, the Moon is associated with the Mother and feminine energy. 

The Moon is both our inner child and our inner Mother.  It is responsive, reflective, spontaneous and instinctual.

As the Moon circles the Sun in the Solar System reflecting the Sun's light, the Moon in our chart shows how we protect ourselves, how we make ourselves feel secure, comfortable and safe.

The Moon is where our inner world meets our outer world, where the Sun is our rational self, the Moon is our irrational self.  The Moon rules our spontaneous reactions and feelings.


Mercury represents our intelligence, our ability to communicate, explain and understand. Where Mercury is in your natal chart will inform you on how you listen, read, write and talk, by understanding your Mercury sign you will know how you best learn and teach.

It represents our coordination, thought processes, ideas and sensory information.  This is how we analyse, sought and make sense of things.


Venus the planet of Aphrodite is also the planet of love and beauty.  Our Venus sign represents how we give and receive love.  This sign will tell us how we find comfort and support within ourselves and others.

Our Venus sign will tell you what we find pleasurable and beautiful, what we are attracted to.  

This is where we find our sentiments and values.  Grace, charm and beauty are all ruled over by Venus.  

Venus will tell us how we approach relationships, it is where we seek balance, refine and derive pleasure from, on our attachments to others.

While this is the planet of love and beauty, Venus also rules over how we spend our money on gifts and leisure actives.


Mars the planet of Ares was the favorite sexual partner of Aphrodite, represents our aggression, our sense of competition, and drive.  This is where our animalistic nature resides.   

This sign will tell us how we are driven to take action and what makes us passionate.

Just like the God of War, Mars will determine our will and courage, how we assert ourselves, what our flight or flight reactions are.  

While Mars is where our aggression and volatility sit, it is also our greatest source of bravery and self-empowerment.  

Where Venus rules our romantic attraction, Mars is our sexual desire.  It is our basic body attraction.  Mars is our raw energy.

By understanding our Mars sign we understand our basic sexual nature, how we express our anger, and our first instinct to act.


Jupiter is the planet of miracles, hope and opportunity.  This is how we grow as a person, how we experience new things.  

As Jupiter is the planet of Zeus, the King of the Gods, it is also the planet of good luck, abundance and optimism.  

Jupiter seeks insight through knowledge.  It is also represents our good humour, good will and mercy.

Where Jupiter lands in our chart will tell us how we express our generosity and tolerance.  It shows how we trust others and improve our lives.


Saturn represents our commitment and discipline.  Saturn is the task master, and will send you the major challenges that come your way.  Saturn is the planet of restriction and reality.

Where Jupiter expands, Saturn constricts.  Saturn brings structure and meaning to our lives.  It is here that we learn our boundaries, responsibilities and commitments.

Saturn will makes us aware of our self control.  Often associated with our fathers or father figures, 

When you're feeling hard done by, or find yourself in a hard situation, this will be your Saturn, forcing you to work through your tough stuff to become a better person.


Uranus is the planet of sudden inspiration and change, of eccentricity and openness.  

Your Uranus sign is usually the sign that you will share with your generation.  Its is the sign associated with enlightenment, progressiveness, objectivity, novelty and ingenuity. 

When your Uranus is underdeveloped it reacts, and when it is in tune it is highly intuitive.

Uranus represent the spark of intuition that spurs invention.  Uranus is forward thinking, it bulks at tradition, and celebrates originality and individuality.  It is associated with technology, innovation, discovery and progress.

As it is the sign shared by a generation is it this planet that sees movements rise and fall.


Neptune is all about uncovering your soul and developing your spiritual awareness.  Neptune helps you to step away from your ego and awareness and exist in the in-between.

This is the planet of dreams, intuition, mysticism, imagination and delusions.  As such Neptune shows us where we are most creative.

It is also the planet of mercy and compassion.  This is also another sign that we will share with our generation.  


The planet Pluto symbolizes power and transcendence. It shows us how a person deals with power, as well as our ability to deal with rebirth - and the concept of death and rebirth.

Pluto is transforming and represents subconscious forces, and rules what is below the surface.  

This is the planet that is associated with renewal and rebirth, endings and new beginnings.

Pluto being an outermost planet is another planet shared with a generation.

This is where we search for truths and deeper meaning, it is associated with change, upheaval, power struggles, and issues of control.

Pluto reigns over our destinies, giving life to our biggest desires while simultaneously reminding us of how short life is.

What does Retrograde mean?

Retrogrades happen as Earth is passing or being passed by other planets.  It appears as if the planet is passing the Earth in a backward motion, which is actually an astronomic illusion.

This occurs when the planets are closest in their approach to the Earth.  

In astrology as planets spend most of there time in direct motion, which is  the 'normal' period.  When a planet goes retrograde it represents the exception or challenging times in the normalcy we typically experience. This is the reason why so many people feel the disturbance when a planet goes retrograde.

Retrogrades are a period of reassessment, during these time periods a lot of things from our past come up.  This can include past situations, relationships, and old patterns of behavior.  

During retrogrades, the issues we have tried to ignore, or have not dealt with will come up to the surface.  This will also include issues you thought to have dealt with and put away, forcing us to deal with them.  

Retrogrades are also connected to karmic events, and this is the reason why you'll find yourself hit road blocks on projects, face personal crisis and confusion, or run into issues in relationships.  

Its the planets way of directing you to do the work, rather than pushing forward and not learning the lessons needed to be learnt.

So what does each planet mean when in Retrograde?

The Sun and Moon are the two planets that don't go retrograde.


Mercury is the most well known planet to go retrograde.  This is the planet of communication, during this time period you may find schedules fall over, communication becomes confusing, and technology seems to be messed with.

During this period people find it hard to make decisions, plans don't seem to follow through.

Mercury retrograde is not a great time to do with communications, or sign contacts, even verbal agreements are to be steered cleared from.

Some things to do during a Mercury retrograde:

Return to old unfinished projects and complete them. You may find a new way you hadn't thought of before. This is a great time to clean up old issues to help you move ahead with new ideas once it returns to direct.

This can be a time period of high miscommunication so check in with people regularly to make sure everyone is one the same page.

This is a great time to research potential career changes or business opportunities, but not the time to make those moves.  

Review and renegotiate existing contracts.

Revisit old work relationships, this is a great time to allow the past to see or present situations in a new light.


Venus spends the least amount of time in retrograde, and brings up issues related to love and money.  During this time period you may find what will look like insurmountable challenges in relationships.

Old lovers will return to the surface. 

This is a great time to hash out any issues that arise in your relationship, especially issues you have been pushing down.  Its a great time to clear the air and deepen the relationship to a new level when Venus goes back to direct.

For others this may bring up many serious deal breakers which may signal the end of a relationship.  This can be a good thing as you'll have a clearer sense of what we want, bringing us closer to attracting the right partner when Venus goes back direct.

Relationships started during a retrograde usually serve to teach us a valuable lesson, beware though as it may cut deep.

This is a great time to delve into artistic projects as during retrograde this can be a very fruitful period of creativity.


When Mars goes retrograde, you may find yourself frustrated by the lack of forward movement.

Much like Mercury when Mars is in retrograde you may find plans go nowhere, or fizzle out. You may find that passions die during this time period.

A big thing that may occur are those harsh words that have been suppressed down with the values we are taught as children of if you have nothing nice to say than don't say anything at all, start to bubble to the surface.

During a retrograde you may find yourself confronting this animalistic part of self, releasing flashes of anger. 

This is a great time period to delve into unresolved areas of conflict, to re-examine where we are going.  Mars retrograde allows us to see our path with a fresh set of eyes, to re-imagine these parts of our lives.


Jupiter expands and magnifies what is present, for better or worse, and it cannot be ignored.  It is a period of intense spiritual and philosophical growth on a personal level.

It is the time of profound inner growth, a chance to reconnect and realign with your inner compass and truth.

It is a period of corrections, a journey of retrospection, to look at the big picture, and pull back if you have found you have veered to far off course.

There can be a restoration or reaffirming of one's faith.  As Jupiter is a seeker, this is a great time of self-realisation, to discover ones gifts, and to provide you a greater appreciation of life.


When Saturn goes into retrograde, you may find your ability to form effective boundaries at work and in relationships break down.  You may have a persistent need to always say yes.  

This is a time period where repressed fears, feelings of inadequacy, or the sense despite our best efforts, we could have done better may arise.

Saturn retrogrades are a great time period to review what we have learned so far.  It is a great time to revisit form or restructure and understand how something maybe built to stand the test of time. 

It is a time to harness the messages from our inner critic so we can focus on what is helpful and ignore what is harmful.


Uranus can be quiet difficult to predict in astrological interpretations, and often vacillates between breakdown or breakthrough.

It can act to prod us to face the things that intuitively we know we are struggling with to confront.  This will usually collide with a brutal time to force us to let go of parts of our ego self which may be in danger of suffocating us.

Unlike other retrogrades, Uranus retrograde halts and volatile pace and energy of Uranus making us more objective and find a way to focus and make use of these energies.


With Neptune in retrograde boundaries tend to disappear, leaving us open to deception and delusions.  There can be a real danger to dissolve our ego identity, to sacrifice ourselves for the search of salvation.

Uranus seeks the new, Pluto seeks what lies beneath, while Neptune seeks the ideal.  

Where Neptune falls in our Natal chart can show us where we are seeking redemption in our lives.  Its where we may believe that this area of our lives will deliver us to the greater good.

Neptune's effects are subtle and very sneaky, when direct Neptune helps us hide our anxieties and unwanted realities.  When it goes retrograde, Neptune loses its power and what was hidden now comes to the fore with a harsh and painful reality.

However Neptune retrograde helps us to find the deeper meaning in our dreams and our entire existence.

What comes up in Neptune retrograde can last for several years. 


Pluto is a destroyer, he is unrivaled in his ability to break down structured existence to bring about transformation.

Some of Pluto's associations are society's underbelly to death, abuse, control, meaningless loss, and the resulting existential crises. 

Pluto retrograde is much like the journey to the underworld, bringing us to the brink of our sub-conscious, making us confront our deepest darkest selves.

When Pluto retrogrades it gives us the opportunity to journey below the surface to better get to know our subconscious shadow self.  

What we learn during this journey can stay with us for years.

When are planets going retrograde for the rest of 2020?

Mercury is current in retrograde and will go direct on 12 July.  It will enter retrograde again on 14 October through to 3 November.

Venus went back direct on 25 June.

Mars will go retrograde on 9 September and go direct on 12 November.

Jupiter went retrograde on 14 May and will go direct on 12 September.

Saturn went retrograde on 11 May and will go direct on 29 September.

Uranus goes retrograde on 15 August and goes direct on 14 January.

Neptune went retrograde on 22 June and will go direct on 28 November.

Pluto went retrograde on 25 April and will go direct on 4 October.