What Is Planetary Retrograde And How Does It Affect Us?If you’ve ever delved into the world of astrology, then you'll know that the term retrograde describes a backward planetary motion that has a reputation for turning things upside down. This trajectory can do either of two things; it can make everything fall into place or, in the worst-case scenario, it can make everything fall apart. With its influences being so different, it's crucial to know when each planet is in its retrograde phase in 2021. Susan Taylor, our very own astrologer, tells us how this phenomenon impacts your life, gives you the important dates, and reveals her tips to get through the ordeal.
What does retrograde mean?
This notion occurs when planets appear to slow down, stop their movement and move backward in reverse against their typical orbit pattern. Eventually, they will however resume their 'normal' course and become what's known as 'direct' again. Fortunately for us, this will help settle things down. The planets revolve around the Sun, but because we observe them from Earth, this leads to an optical effect, and we are led to believe that the planets move backward during this period. Whilst this motion seems plausible, in reality, the planets do actually continue their normal orbit imperturbably!
It might come as a surprise to learn that every planet goes through this phase at some point. In astrology, the effects of a planet in the chaotic phase change according to the usual influences of the star. When this notion is in force, massive changes take place, and your emotions will be more volatile than ever. Find out how the planets in astrology work.
What happens when each planet goes retrograde?
Click on each planet and find out what happens when it enters this rocky phase:
> Why not find out which planet rules over your sign here! <
Astrologist Susan Taylor's insights:
In traditional astrology, the concept of retrograde has been attributed to internalization and introspection. It's linked to the process of spiritual development and growth via extensive reflection. This spiritual process develops despite our natural instincts and contrary to our spontaneous primary tendencies. A planet in this cycle is seen as an "energy node", that is to say, an evolutionary constraint inherited from the past which will shape the present incarnation…
Has an effect on: Communication, transportation, technology, travel, clear-thinking
Frequency: 3-4 times a year (lasting approximately 21 days)
When Mercury is in this cycle, all forms of communication and connection are strained. It’s during these periods that misunderstandings should always be expected. Journeys will feel longer and more tiresome than ever before, and technology that works perfectly will appear to break overnight.
The key to overcoming this trial is to avoid making any big decisions. It’s not that the people around you aren’t trustworthy, but the risk of misunderstandings is too great to sign any contracts or make any serious agreements. If any important events arise, then it’s essential that you plan in advance so that you arrive in time and show the best of yourself.
>>> Learn more about Mercury retrograde and its influence.
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What this motion influences: Reputation, social standing, structure, work, politics
Frequency: Once a year (lasting a few months)
When Saturn is in out of control, it can have a tendency to boost your maturity. You’ll have a clearer view of your duties and privileges, and your smaller worries and anxieties will fade away as a result. That’s not to say that this period is all positives, though, as there’ll be fresh seriousness in your life that will prevent you from relaxing and leaving your work at the office door.
During this phase, it can be a good idea to reflect on yourself! The Ringed Planet urges introspection, so put your habits and relationships under the microscope and consider the parts of your life that you wish to see last into the future.
>>> Read about Saturn retrograde and its effects here.
Has an impact on: Love, marriage, partnerships, passion
Frequency: Every 19 months (lasting 42 days)
When in this phase, Venus has a habit of causing havoc in your love life! Relationships can become frosty, and tensions have a tendency to arise. This cycle offers up a clearer view of what you want from romance, which can force you to either bring an end to a relationship, or equally, throw yourself headfirst into a new one.
It’s during this cycle that you’ll learn a lot about yourself and how you handle emotion. There might be problems bubbling beneath the surface of your relationship, and all it takes is Venus to lift the lid for you to learn what your love life is really made of. In addition, avoid embracing passion too quickly, as you’re likely to regret the decisions you’ve made once it passes.
>>> Delve into the effects of Venus retrograde.
Provokes: War, energy, motivation
Frequency: Every 25 months (lasting 80 days)
Mars symbolizes our drive and ability to act, so it’s no surprise that it does the complete opposite when in this phase. You might be filled with ambition and desperate to see your life progress, but the Red Planet will refuse to make things budge- which has disastrous effects on your temper! Plans will fail to become a reality, and your patience will be tested to its very limits.
The visual backwards motion of planets, means it’s important that you keep a tight rein on your emotions. Frustrations will kick in, and your normally calm demeanor will be steamrolled by anger and rage. That said, this bubbling emotion will give you the chance to reflect on the unresolved conflicts within, and confront the parts of your personality that are holding you back.
>>> Discover the impacts of Mars retrograde here.
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What it influences: Transformation, change, psychic energy
Frequency: Once a year (lasting approximately 5 months)
When Pluto moves backwards, we are often plunged into the very depths of our own identities. There’s a newfound sense of confusion, and it’s likely that you’ll struggle to come to terms with who you are and what your purpose in life is.
This forces us to confront the deepest, darkest parts of ourselves, which can often have devastating effects. It’s key during these periods that you steer clear of anything too heavy, as it can be incredibly damaging for your morale. Perhaps it’s best to keep yourself occupied to fight off the moments of introspection.
>>> Learn about Pluto retrograde here.
Has an effect on: Dreams, imagination, fantasy
Frequency: Once a year (lasting approximately 5-6 months)
Neptune has the ability to open our minds and souls at the best of times, and this is taken to a whole new level when it spins out. Spirituality arrives in full force, and whilst it does bring a little open-mindedness, it can leave you open to deceptions and delusions. Your sense of logic will take a backseat, and you’ll be left fantasizing things that will most likely never be.
When Neptune enters this phase, it’s essential that you keep your mind from the clouds and your feet firmly fixed to the ground. If not, you’ll find yourself crashing back to reality once it ends and the rose-tinted glasses are gone. However, that’s not to say that you should completely avoid the fantasy, as you’ll be able to learn a lot more about yourself and your subconscious thanks to how vivid your dreams are during this period.
>>> Get the lowdown on Neptune retrograde.
What it impacts: Luck
Frequency: Once a year (lasting approximately 3-4 months)
Jupiter’s retrograde is exactly what you need if you happen to find yourself losing your way! The Giant Planet seeks out truth and wisdom, and so provides you with the opportunity to look at the bigger picture and point out where you’re going wrong. You’ll recognize how lucky you are to have arrived at where you are, and your appreciation for life will skyrocket.
During these periods of madness, the key can be found in self-improvement! Reflect on what makes you happy and how you can extend this joyfulness long into the future. Embrace the planet’s introspective abilities, as you’ll come away from the period with a newfound recognition of your own talents, and a closer spiritual bond between your mind and soul.
>>> What happens during Jupiter retrograde?
What this movement causes: Chaos, freedom
Frequency: Once a year (lasting 5 months)
Uranus moving backwards is the very bringer of enlightenment! Whilst other planetary retrogrades tend to force change out of your impulse, this one urges you to be more cool-headed and objective in your approach. There are negative parts of your life that you choose to ignore, but Uranus will send down a ‘lightning bolt moment’, and your eyes will be opened to the things that hold you back.
On realizing the aspects of your life that are in desperate need of change, it’s often the case that you’ll attempt to transform yourself rapidly. As a result, you can lose your sense of self, and damage relationships with loved ones that aren’t prepared for such a dramatic transformation.
>>> Unveil the impacts of Uranus retrograde.
When does each planet go retrograde in 2021?
Discover the dates here and prepare yourself to for what's to come. Be warned, certain planets inflict more drama than others.
Dates for 2021:
January 30 - February 20
May 29 - June 21
September 27 - October 17
Mars won't go enter this phase in 2021
June 20 - October 17
May 23 - October 10
June 25 - November 30
April 27 - October 5