Planetary Movement: Astrology Basics for the Curious Mind

  • Direct
  • Retrograde
  • Station (including Station Direct, Station Retrograde, and Shadow Period)

Direct Motion is just as it sounds. Direct movement is when a Planet is moving forward. Forward motion of any Planet is known for progressive energy, a momentum that carries us into new opportunities and new experiences.

Retrogrades are when a Planet appears to be moving backwards from our position on Earth. Planets do not actually move backwards, this is an illusion that is created when a faster moving Planet passes a slower moving Planet. Most of the time, Earth is the faster moving Planet, the two cases where Earth is the slower moving planet is with Mercury and Venus. Retrograde Energies are known as times of review. There are many energy resets during a Retrograde.

Stationary movement is when a planet begins or ends a Retrograde. There is a period of time where it is Stationed, by illusion it appears that the planet has stopped moving. If you look at the actual degrees of a Planet that is Stationary you will see that during this period the planet is at the same degree for longer than normal as it prepares to “change direction.”

  • The first Shadow period of the Current Venus Retrograde began April 9, 2020 when Venus reached 5 degrees of Gemini, and lasted until Venus reached 21 degrees of Gemini where the Retrograde began.
  • Venus will then Retrograded back to 5 degrees of Gemini.
  • The Second Shadow Period begins when Venus Stations to move Direct at 5 degrees of Gemini, and will lasts until Venus reaches 21 degrees of Gemini again.
  • This brings in the concept that we have the chance to review Energies related to these times, the Planets involved, and Houses that are affected 3 times. First Shadow Period: Experience. Retrograde Motion: Silent Review/observer. Second Shadow Period: Chance to put what you learnt to the test. Out of Retrograde and Shadow Periods: Reset of Energy has occurred. 

Planetary movement and Retrograde standards:

  • Sun: Travels 1 degree per day. Takes 1 year to move around the entire Zodiac. Never moves in Retrograde.
  • Moon: Travels 13.5 degrees per day. Every 2 ½ days the Moon moves into a new Sign. Moves around the Zodiac every 28 days. Never moves in Retrograde.
  • Mercury: Traves 1 degree per day. Stays in each sign for 15 to 69 days depending on Retrograde movement. Mercury orbits the sun every 88 days. Mercury travels around the Zodiac once per year. On average Mercury goes through 3 to 4 Retrogrades a year. 
  • Venus: Travels 1 degree per day. Venus spends 24 to 100 days in a Sign depending on Retrograde movement. On average Venus Retrograde lasts 42 days. Venus makes it all the way around the Zodiac once a year. Venus Retrogrades every 18 months.
  • Mars: Travels .5 degrees every day. Spends roughly 2 months in each Sign. Mars Retrogrades roughly every 2 years, and is in Retrograde for 30 days. Mars moves through the Zodiac in 2 years.
  • Jupiter: Travels roughly 2 minutes everyday (remember there are 60 minutes in every degree). Jupiter spends 1 year in each Sign, circling the Zodiac every 12 years. Jupiter goes Retrograde roughly every 13 months, and the duration of the Retrograde usually lasts 4 months.
  • Saturn: Travels roughly 2 minutes per day. Saturn makes its way around the Zodiac every 28 to 30 years, spending 2 ½ years in each Sign. Saturn Retrogrades roughly every 12 months and its Retrogrades last about 4 ½ months.
  • Uranus: Travels about 1 minute per day. Uranus stays in a Sign for 7 years, and it takes 84 years for this Planet to make one full circle around the Zodiac. Uranus’ Retrogrades last 5 months, and occur every year.
  • Neptune: Travels less than 1 minute per day. Neptune is in the same Sign for 14 years, and it takes 165 years for Neptune to circle the entire Zodiac. Neptune Retrogrades every year, and spends roughly six to seven months in Retrograde.
  • Pluto: Travels less than 1 minutes per day. Pluto stays in the same sign for 21 years, and takes 248-250 years to circle the entire Zodiac.  Pluto Retrogrades every year, and spends roughly five months in Retrograde.
  • Chiron: Chiron (an asteroid/comet) has an unusual orbit. Chiron spends its time in each Zodiac Sign unequally. The last sign Chiron was in was Pisces, and it was there for 8 years. Chiron is currently in Aries, where it will be for 8 years as well. If 8 years was even close to its regular orbit, Chiron would take 96 years to orbit the Sun. How long does it take for Chiron to make it all the way around the Zodiac? 50 years. That is almost half of 96, when you look at the numbers it is easy to see how unequal Chiron’s orbit is. Chiron goes in and out of Retrograde movement frequently. 
  • The Nodes: The Lunar Nodes, known as the North and South Node travel in a 18 month cycle. Every 18 months the Nodes move into different signs. And roughly every 18 years The Nodes travel through the entire Zodiac. The Nodes move in and out of Retrograde so frequently that their Retrograde movement has little significance. 

Retrograde Planets

I know that Retrogrades are interesting. The concept of Retrogrades gained popularity with our good old friend Mercury. Obviously Astrologers, and people before now tracked and studied Retrogrades, but Mercury has made Retrograde a household name. 

As a whole, Humans are waking up to the “feeling of life.” Planetary movement is the flow of energy on a Universal level, and also on a Personal level. 

The Direct, or Retrograde motion of a Planet is the push-pull feeling inside of us all. Time for Action. Time to Contemplate. Time to Review. Time to Come Alive Again.

There are many cycles in Astrology to study. These cycles, just as the standard descriptions of Houses, and Planets; form another layer to your Star Code. 

Were you born with any Planets in Retrograde? What does this mean? If Retrogrades tend to carry a “negative” meaning, what does it mean if you have several Retrograde Planets in your Natal Chart? 

I was born with Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto in Retrograde. When I first noticed this I was shocked, and a bit concerned. I had never studied the effects of Retrogrades on a Natal Chart. I listened and read many informational pieces on Retrogrades, and it appeared that Astrologers are torn in this area. Which is fine with me because if there is one thing I wholeheartedly believe, is that a Chart Owner is the best interpreter of their own Code. So I took in as much as I could to increase my knowledge on the subject, and then decided to meditate on my Natal Chart, specifically focusing on my “Retrograde heavy vibe.”

It is important to note that many Astrologers do not read Retrogrades in Natal Charts, the significance is up to the Chart Owner.

How to Track Retrogrades in Different Chart Types

Transiting Planets: When you hear the word Transit, or Transiting Planet, this refers to what is happening in the Cosmos in real time. The Chart of NOW. The Chart of Now shows where the Planets are currently. This is where we see Planetary Retrogrades. Planetary Retrogrades are Transits happening NOW.

Natal Chart: The Natal Chart shows Planets in Retrograde during your Birth. When interpreting Transiting Retrogrades against your Natal Chart, it is important to work with the House, Sign, and any Aspects that are occurring. 

Progressed Chart: A Progressed Chart is the evolution of your Soul here on Earth during this lifetime. The Progressed Chart is calculated by moving each Planet and Point 1 degree forward for each year you have been alive. 

  • Example: I was born with my Sun at 13 degrees of Aries, now at age 38 my Sun is positioned at 21 degrees of Taurus. All other Planets and Points on my Natal Chart would also be progressed by 38 degrees as well, showing my growth and progress, my new challenges and beneficial connections. 

These different Chart types (and there are many more but these are the basics to understanding yourself as you are, and as you are becoming) encourage the curious mind to go deeper, uncovering layers of growth.

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