Retrograde Planets and Your Karma

At the time of this article being written, there are five major planets in retrograde (Rx) with a 6th (Mercury) preparing to enter very soon. So I want to take a moment to explain how retrogrades manifest differently in the natal chart than in transit.

First, to clarify how they function in transits. A retrograde transit is an opportunity to release accumulated karma. The energy of the planet is directed inward, towards self relation, rather than outward towards expansion. The reason people feel off during a retrograde is largely because our culture does not take the opportunity to dig up our past. 

There is an attitude of, “what’s done is done”. In some cases this is true and is a good mindset to have but, not in the case of karma. It literally will keep showing up again and again until it has been “corrected” for lack of a better term. 

If you desire to know more after reading this article, a great book which dives deep into Retrogrades is Karmic Astrology: Retrogrades and Reincarnations by Martin Schulman.

Retrogrades in the Natal Chart

Would you be surprised to hear me say it was karmic? When an individual is born with a retrograde planet, and most individuals have at least one, it is tied to their past life karma. The karmic lesson is connected to whichever planets are Rx at time of birth. 

Now don’t go around flaunting your singular Rx planet thinking it means you’re holier than the person with three or four. It just means in this lifetime you are focusing on whatever lessons are associated with that planet. It’s possible you have more karma associated with that area of life. Because of that, your soul choose to devote a whole lifetime to focusing entirely on those karma lessons.

For example, if your Venus is in Rx. It’s likely you mishandled a romantic or business relationship in a past life. The emphasis on this life is to work through whatever was unresolved. The specific karmic act could be anything under the sun. Since you are born with no past life knowledge, you get the joy of a total makeover.

There are many energetic qualities that manifest with an Rx planet. Extending the Venus example, this individual is going to experience constricted sexual expression. They will feel less open in relationships and tend to get hung up on one person for a long time. On average they have fewer romantic partnerships. Men especially are less likely to sleep around and be more devoted to a single partner. Venus Rx tends to make all relationships more serious when in the natal chart. This is because of how the mental state shifts. 

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Image by Gordon Johnson

Energetic Shifts in Retrograde

An Rx planet in the natal chart causes an individual to internalize the Rx process of the planet. For planets, they are first “direct” where they move forward in the night sky. Then they go stationary, where they appear to have stopped moving. Lastly, they go retrograde where they appear to be moving backwards. Oh, and in case you didn’t already know, they don’t actually move backwards. It just appears that way from our place here on Earth..

For the individual, this process becomes the way they interact with the world. First they will expand outward and seek out new experiences. Then they will go through a process of integration. Lastly, they will go through a process of reflection, where they work to pick up anything they may have missed. 

The more planets they have in Rx, the more unusual this person may appear to the outside world. Energetically they are functioning very differently. For those with the same planet not in Rx, they are in a state of constant expansion. The process of introspection may never come unless they consciously choose it. For the Rx individual, introspection is a natural quality.

There are some other benefits too. Individuals with an Rx planet, seem to not be thrown off as much when that planet in transit goes Rx. Sometimes it is even a relief because it’s like the rest of the world is starting to act the way they always do. This is because the energy of the planet is expressing itself the same way the soul internalized it at birth.

Retrograde in Houses

The lessons of an Rx planet are modified by the sign and house it is in. This gives us another clue as to what the individual is resolving from their past life. Rx Venus in the 2nd house individual is more likely to have their issues pertain to business partnerships and money. The same Rx Venus individual with the planet in the 7th house, is having this pop-up in their romantic relationships.

Similar to a direct planet, the house will tell us where the energy is manifesting. The Rx individual will have this area of their life more activated, in regards to introspection and integration. The Rx planet will still color their whole chart through the aspects it makes, but they’re less likely to have it appear in areas unrelated to the house, planet or sign.

Retrograde in Signs

Here we have different steps of the process emphasized. Some signs do better with the expansion part of the Rx process. Others are more adept at introspection. Even more, some planets harmonize with every stage! An example of this is Rx Mercury in Aquarius. 

Not every sign functions well in Rx. On a positive note, the stage the sign functions best in tends to be where the most time is spent (the Rx process is internalized, not necessarily mirrored). If a sign benefits most from expansion, then this is the area where the individual will function from most often. Inevitably they will go through the other stages and during this time may appear unfamiliar to others.

As with normal zodiac incarnations, the lessons that appear are dependent on the sign. More often than not, the zodiac sign tells us what issue went unresolved. Let’s round out the Venus example. If an individual has a Rx Scorpio Venus in the 7th house we can infer in a past life they:

  • Were entangled in a passionate romantic relationship (7th)
  • Which ended in a tragic way they never got over (Scorpio)
  • And influenced every relationship they had after that (Venus)

Obviously this example is incredibly broad. However, without a full natal chart it is misleading to make incredibly specific interpretations. What we do know is this individual is having to resolve the relationship of a previous life. They may not have even done anything people usually associate with “karma”. The lesson here is they can’t let go of the experience which is causing it to replay in their next life.

In Conclusion

Learning how to interpret retrogrades in the natal chart will give deep insight into your readings. Although, it is very much a study in its own right. The nuance between an Rx planet and its Direct counterpart can leave you confused and misinformed. Make sure you have a grasp on both the normal function of a planet and its Rx function before you start making inferences.

Similarly, you can always go to a professional to gain a deeper understanding of Rx functions. Doing so can save you time and energy in addition to providing you with valuable self awareness. My best wishes go out to you and I hope you take advantage of any future retrogrades!

To my fellows, may your seeking be fruitful and your findings bountiful!


The Outer Planets: Uranus, Neptune, Pluto

Most people who know their natal chart remember their “big” planet placements, that is, the planets that affect them directly. These are the personal planets: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Moon and of course, the Sun. The sign placement of these planets is nearly as important as the house they are in because they move throughout the zodiac constantly. In this article I am going to talk about three other planets that get overlooked in the personal chart, and usually overlooked by the collective too. These planets are Uranus (yours, not mine), Neptune and Pluto.

First, a little backstory on the outer planets. During the time astrology had the most development these planets were not even known. Uranus is barely visible from earth even with perfect conditions. It is likely they considered it to be a random star in the night sky as the other planets are much brighter. Neptune and Pluto are not visible without the use of a telescope. It wasn’t until 1781 that Uranus was discovered. Neptune was discovered in 1846 and Pluto was discovered as recently as 1930. Around 1650 societal changes within the church and scientific discoveries heavily stigmatized astrologers and their craft, so you can understand why there isn’t as much credit paid to these planets. Lastly, these planets are so far from Earth, they may only change their zodiac sign once in a decade. Uranus is the fastest of the three, changing roughly every eight years, but Neptune takes roughly 16 years and Pluto averages 21 years!

Despite the cards being stacked against them, these are some of the most powerful celestial bodies in our solar system. In your individual natal chart, you will want to look at their house placement to know how they affect you more than the sign they are in, however I liken these planets to an earthquake. They may be slow to change but once they do, it is going to alter an entire generation of people.

So what do these planets do anyway? In a nutshell, they influence the planetary consciousness. These three planets will impact the psyche of a whole generation and because of that, we have to look at history to gain an idea of how these planets work. As we stretch back hundreds of years, we can find patterns for how society will act during certain sign placements for these planets.

Let’s focus on the first of three, Uranus.

Image by WikiImages

Not too long ago in 2018, Uranus entered the sign of Taurus and it will remain in Taurus until 2025. Taurus is the sign of security and money. It values material possessions and comforts. It is a sign that is slow to change, but when it does, it is usually a drastic shift. Knowing this, we can predict there will be some significant changes to promote security and financial abundance between 2018 and 2025.

If we look back through time at when Uranus was in Taurus before, we can see the accuracy of this pattern. The last time Uranus was in Taurus was from 1935 to 1942. Only a short while before this, The Great Depression happened in America. Unemployment and poverty were higher than ever. One could say it was the result of the two previous Uranus placements, Pisces and Aries, which tend to be frivolous and impulsive with their money. This short sighted spending led to The Great Depression. However near the end of Uranus’ transit through Aries, Roosevelt was elected and started to implement massive social reform to increase the financial security of the nation and its citizens. Interestingly enough, these social reforms coincided with Uranus entering Taurus. 

Being an American, I know US history the best, however worldwide, many nations were struggling at some point after WWI. Germany had been thrown into a depression due to the war, but here comes Uranus in Taurus and their depression subsided by a national increase in production and trade.

Again we can see the same pattern happening roughly 70 years earlier. Uranus entered Taurus in 1850 and just two years earlier in 1848 the official start of the California Gold Rush took place. The majority of the gold rush took place while Uranus was in the financially abundant sign of The Bull. Similarly, Communism began to gain popularity around this same time; an ideology based on meetings everyone’s needs for comfort and material security. 

For a greater in depth look at Uranus in Taurus click here.

Next up Neptune

Image by WikiImages

The planet of the sea god, Neptune, is currently in the sign Pisces. This planet rules over mysticism, illusions, deception, the subconscious, dreams and most everything else related to spirit. Pisces is a sign of duality. There is the ability for great creation and also a likeness for escapism and self destructive behaviors. The strength of Neptune to influence the subconscious promotes both the creative aspects and the self inflicting harms of Pisces. I will take a similar look as I did with the last planet.

When Neptune was last in Pisces, it was interestingly enough 1847 through 1862, so a lot of the stuff I recently mentioned was happening. You’ll find the outer planets work together a lot of times when big historical events are taking place. However, I’m going to add some Neptune/Pisces notes to this.

All throughout Europe, countries were having their own revolutions and civil wars. From one view this would be Uranus enacting change, although a civil war can also be seen as very self destructive. The nation has so much inner turmoil the only answer is for brothers to take up arms against each other and fight for their ideology. 

From the creative side of Pisces. In 1849, Armand Fizeau first measured the speed of light. Herman Melville published the famous literature Moby Dick (1851) and Darwin published his Origin of Species (1859). Obviously Pisces isn’t all bad. 

Before that Neptune traveled through Pisces from 1684 to 1698. We will see how much of the period used religion, which is associated with Pisces, to exert control over people. There was a banning of every religion except Roman Catholicism in France (1685) and the Salem witch trials took place in 1692. Yet again, there is a creative side to Pisces as Bach was born during this period along with other famous Musicians, and Newton published Principia (1687), a basic text for science at the time.

Some of these patterns can feel repetitive but I believe this provides us with accuracy for predictions. This is a good source for a broad history of Neptune in Pisces. 

Lastly, Pluto

Image by skeeze

This planet rules over power structures, control, death and rebirth. It currently resides in Capricorn, a sign which strives for power, status and dominion. With this combination, the influence of Pluto will strongly affect political structures, large corporate entities with wide reach, and the general essence of patriarchal systems. So it’s no surprise the last time Pluto was in Capricorn, Russia saw a political assassination of their Czar, Peter the Third; Britain and France had their Seven Year War; and the United States sought Independence through the writing of the Constitution and American Revolution.

Given the context of what happened last time these three planets were in the respective signs, I think it’s safe to say things will be changing. The whole planet has been suffering from the Corona pandemic, there is civil unrest throughout America (we approach our first pluto return in 2025) and many more changes are taking place throughout the world. 

You may feel like the world is going crazy at times. However, if history tells us one thing, it’s that WE WILL get through this. All of these events took place decades to centuries ago and humans are still around to tell the stories. I hope this article didn’t rile up too much angst in you and you learned something valuable from it. Make sure to check out my other content and link up with me on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

To my fellow seekers, may your seeking be fruitful and your findings bountiful!