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!


Retrograde Explained: How to Use Stars for Your Improvement

A lot of people hearken to the words of astrologers whenever retrograde is mentioned. “Don’t sign a contract when Mercury is in retrograde.” Or, “New relationships during Venus retrograde are bound to fail.” Statements like these always make people extra cautious but what does “retrograde” really entail?

In case you don’t know what retrograde is, let me fill you in.

Retrograde is a time when planets in the sky appear to move backwards in their orbit. They aren’t actually moving backwards. They are moving further away from the sun (because orbits are perfect circles) or earth, which creates the appearance of moving backwards from our perspective. This can potentially cause them to move backwards into a previous sign, at least from our point of view. This process of “moving backwards” has many implications on how the energy of that planet is acting.

In general, when a planet is in retrograde its energy is distorted and/or reversed. This affects the different aspects of life the planet is said to “rule over”. Let’s take the most common one for example, Mercury retrograde. Mercury rules over the mind, intellect, communication, travel, technology and many other things. When Mercury is acting normal or “direct” all these things will work fine. However, when Mercury is in retrograde, these things will typically not act as planned. Because Mercury is said to affect our minds, we may not be able to come to proper conclusions as easily. We may have distorted perceptions about a situation and our communication with others may be affected because our ability to reason is distorted. 

Of course, all these things happen seamlessly between the planet going from direct to retrograde. The first Law of Alchemy tells us everything outside of us is also inside of us. In many ways, the shifting states of the planet appear as normal as the changes we experience from one day to the next. Because of this, humans have to use astrology to know “oh a planet is in retrograde, things may appear normal but they’re not”. 

Some aspects of retrograde are very beneficial if used appropriately. In many cases, the retrograde phase is a time for reflection or personal growth. The energy of a planet is distorted and provides a new way to observe ourselves. As with a kaleidoscope, turning the wheel changes the picture we see in it. During retrograde, we are turning the wheel and seeing a different part of ourselves.

Additionally, retrograde is part of a natural cycle. In Western society we try and ignore cycles in favor of routine. We like to have consistent application of our time and energy and we get upset when life requires us to adapt to an unforeseen circumstance. Although, in reality everything always has and will be a cycle. Farmers don’t get bent out of shape when the seasons change. They act accordingly.

Learning to slow down and adapt our behavior to retrograde is not something most people are used to and you may get some weird looks for following it. I remember when I was looking to buy a house last year. I had been looking at houses for a couple of months and I finally found one that looked good to me. However, Mercury had entered retrograde not too long before finding the house. My real estate agent was trying to find me a house, so when I brought up my hesitation, naturally there was some confusion. Well the house ended up getting bought by someone else because I decided to wait. About a week after Mercury retrograde ended, I looked at the house again and it just didn’t feel the same to me. The parts of it I found appealing, now seemed like extra work. I felt great relief knowing I didn’t get a loan for a house I would later not want. 

I will admit, there are times when it feels like listening to a retrograde forecast is pseudoscientific. Do I really have to change my behavior because of a planet in the sky? No, you don’t. For the most part, I go about my business albeit with some increased awareness about the present moment. However, I do believe it can be very beneficial when making big decisions. 

Okay, but what if I can’t wait?

Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of postponing a decision. Sometimes the situation simply requires action. In those cases, I think of the sailors out at sea. A storm comes in out of the blue and now we have to deal with it. We do our best to handle the situation regardless of the forces acting against us. I believe in these situations humans are able to rise to the occasion.

Just because a planet is in retrograde doesn’t mean we should stop living our life for a few weeks or months. In fact, the majority of the planet doesn’t pay attention to them so your “reasons” will become “excuses”. However, it can be a time to be more gentle with ourselves. Most of my work is done on a computer. I can’t just stop working during a retrograde period, but if my computer randomly loses internet connection or is slower than normal, I take a moment to laugh about it.

There are many lessons to be learned during retrograde periods. They offer an extraordinary time to grow as the impurities of your character will be highlighted. If we don’t resist the lessons being given to us we will find, overtime, the retrograde periods aren’t as serious. They become the changing seasons and we become the farmers planting seeds. We know when to harvest crops, save food and start anew. We adapt to the cycle and it ceases to be a bump in the road.

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to check out some of my other posts. Also hop on over to the Videos tab and check out my recently started YouTube Channel. If there is a specific topic you would like to learn, leave a comment below or email me to set up a private lesson.

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


5 Major Astrological Aspects

For people just starting to learn astrology, planetary aspects can be one of the more difficult topics to pick up on. The topic contains a lot of nuance in terms of specific planet relationships. In addition, one needs to know both the signs and planets fairly well before they can start to make inferences on how the planets are affecting one another.

Aspects are considered to be the relationships between planets. Does the energy between Saturn and Venus get along? Perhaps the vibrations clash. Maybe they are indifferent to each other. Aspects give us information about energetic interactions and how the energy of a planet may be dampened or increased by the others.

As an introductory article I will only cover the five major aspects. They are:

  • Conjunction: 0 Degree difference (between two planets)
  • Sextile: 60 Degree difference 
  • Square:  90 Degree difference
  • Trine: 120 Degree difference
  • Opposition: 180 Degree difference

There are two things I believe will be helpful before we go deeper.

First, each aspect has what is called an Orb of Influence. The orb allows for there to be a range of degrees in which an aspect can form. A rule of thumb is the orb is never wider than eight degrees on either side. However, depending on what charting software you use, some more powerful aspects may have a slightly larger orb. 

Although, what is important to know is the larger the orb, the weaker the aspects. A trine aspect (strong, positive) which forms at 128 degrees, would barely qualify. It is still important for drawing conclusions about the chart, but would not be as potent as a 122 degree trine aspect.

The second is a tip for quick chart reading. Each house is 30 degrees. Knowing this, we can quickly scan aspects by the number of houses which separate them. Six houses for opposition, four houses for trine, three for square, etc. On many programs the aspects are listed on a table separate from the chart so this will keep you from having to flip back and forth. 

Let’s dive deeper into the aspects!

A conjunction is when two planets are in the same sign. It is often considered the most influential aspect. So is it good or bad? Well that depends on the chart. I think of a conjunct as an intensifier, which also makes it quite unique. If the other aspects the planet has are positive, then the conjunct is positive. If the other aspects are negative, then it makes them more negative. 

Another way to think about it is if two planets are in the same sign, then they more fully embodied that sign. Someone with three planets in Gemini will be more true to the qualities of Gemini. Now whether those qualities are positive or not, that usually depends on their level of emotional and spiritual maturity, i.e evolved or unevolved. 

The next aspect is sextile and occurs at 60 degrees, or two houses apart. Sextile is considered a positive influence with moderate strength. The individual may need to develop their skill set when a sextile influence is present, yet they will have a natural predisposition to doing so. 

The aspected planets will also denote what the skill set is. So if Jupiter and Mars are sextile, one can infer the individual will be predisposed for material success because of masculine traits they carry. This is a very broad interpretation however, and the more aspects we know, the signs, and the houses all enable us to get a more detailed understanding of the individual.

Third on the list is the square (90 degrees) and is our first inherently negative aspect. Planets which are squared to one another dislike each other. It is a moderately strong, negative, aspect. It usually shows us where there are opportunities for growth. While it is a negative aspect, it isn’t a death sentence. An individual can oftentimes overcome the squared aspects with diligence and persistence. One might think of them as the lessons your soul came here to learn.

Then we have the trine aspect (120 degrees) and as mentioned earlier, it is a strong and positive influence. Trine aspects show us where a person is naturally talented. They are gifted areas the individual can use to succeed in life, but more importantly, assist in learning the lessons the soul came to learn.

 A skilled communicator may struggle in romantic relationships. Part of their journey may be using their gift of speech to work out problems with those closest to them. The growth might entail learning to become vulnerable. Unfortunately, a trine simply shows what a person is skilled in. It is possible a master manipulator would have a trine mercury placement showing they have strong intellect and communicative skills.

Lastly, we come to the opposition aspect (180 degrees). This is a strong, negative relationship between planets. When planets are in opposition their energies clash. They may feel torn between two desires. You could think of these as karmic lessons, or areas of growth your soul ignored in past lives. They typically are areas we struggle in a great deal. If one persistently applies themselves, they can still be overcome. It is my personal belief, anyone can accomplish anything they desire with proper application.

As you can see, planetary aspects give us a lot more information about the individual’s life progression than simply looking at the planets or signs individually. A great deal can be learned just from knowing all the planet placements. However, aspects (and house placements) are how astrologers are able to make accurate predictions about a person’s behavior beyond just the broad and generalized interpretations. In addition, aspects help in Mundane astrology to predict societal and environmental phenomena. Cool stuff!

I hope this article helped you to deepen your understanding of astrology. Perhaps it gave you more insight into your own chart too. Now to be a successful astrologer, go out and read some charts! If you have questions or want to learn a specific topic, make sure to check out my book a lesson tab for one-on-one help or check out some of my other articles. Don’t forget to link up with me on social media for updates on new content!

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