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Rob Tillett has been an astrologer for more than three decades.
In previous incarnations a poet, musician, magician, healer, dramatist & composer, he is the editor and publisher of Astrology on the Web and has written many articles on this website.
Rob lives in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, on the east coast of Australia.


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Retrograde Planets
Retrograde Planetary Cycles: 2008

This article explains retrograde motion and outlines the retrograde periods for the planets as they dance through our cosmos in 2008. There are links to our main retrograde motion articles, which cover the actual meanings of the retrograde phases of the personal planets, as well as the effects of the annual movement of the two Great Chronocrators, Jupiter and Saturn.

A planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. This traditional concept arises in the illusory planetary motion created by the orbital rotation of the earth, with relation to other planets in our solar system. It's a bit like travelling on the road watching another car beside you: when the other car slows down, or you speed up, it looks as though the other car is moving backwards. So planets are never actually retrograde or stationary, they just seem that way, due to this optical illusion. Click here for more on the science of retrograde planetary motion.

Retrograde periods, although often problematic for us earthlings, are not particularly uncommon. Each planet retrogrades, except the Sun and Moon. As a rule, retrograde planets presage a period of seemingly inevitable or fated events, which relate to their sphere of influence. They present us with a series of events over which we seem to have little or no control, relating especially to the sign in which the retrogradation occurs. For example, transiting Pluto retrograde in Capricorn presents quite different sets of circumstances from those generated when it retrogrades into Sagittarius.

Ancient Astrologers at Work
Planetary Stations

A retrograde period is best seen as a cycle, which begins when the planet begins to slow to a halt before travelling backwards through the zodiac and ends when the planet returns to the point where it first paused. However, during the cycle, the planet's energy is most powerful (and more likely to generate critical events of universal importance) when the planet makes a station, appearing motionless in the sky. These stationary periods occur at the beginning of the cycle (when the planet first halts as it prepares to move backwards) and midway through the cycle when the retrograde planet slows to a stop before moving forward again.

The planetary direct station (when the retrograde planet seems to halt before moving forward through the zodiac again) is a time of significant power when matters to do with the energies of the planet, house and sign can be favourably activated. The few days either side of this time are ideal for making or implementing decisions in the nature of the planet, sign and house concerned. In particular, the stations of Jupiter and Saturn are important with regard to longer term intentions.

Remember that the outer planets turn retrograde every year for quite some months, so it is not at all unusual to have one or more of them retrograde in one's own personal chart. This is not necessarily unfortunate and the key issues of destiny in such a case depend largely upon the aspects to the retrograde outer planets from the inner personal planets and points.

Thoth, Egyptian Mercury
Current Retrograde Movements

Mercury Mercury usually turns retro three times a year. Click for more.

Venus Venus retro happens every eighteen months or so. Click for more.

Mars Mars turns retro only once every two years. Click for more.

Jupiter Jupiter from May 9, 2008 until September 8, 2008. Click for more.

Saturn Saturn from December 19, 2007 until May 3, 2008. Click for more
                from December 31, 2008 until May 17, 2009.

Uranus Uranus from June 27, 2008 until November 27, 2008. Uranus in Pisces

Neptune Neptune from May 26, 2008 until November 2, 2008. Neptune in Aquarius

Pluto Pluto from April 2, 2008 until September 9, 2008. Pluto in Capricorn

Note:
The Moon's North and South Nodes (the Dragon's Head and Tail) are normally retrograde in their movement through the zodiac. The Nodes are not actual planets, but rather sensitive points, or "shadow planets" that have a powerful influence comparable with planetary strength. The True Node from time to time turns direct in motion for a few days, due to the phenomenon known as the Moon Wobble; such direct periods are generally considered unfortunate. The Mean Node is always retrograde, as the "Wobble" is averaged out for convenience. Read more about the Moon's Nodes.


Retrograde Planetary Cycles
  • Mercury
    Retrograde
    24 days
    Stationary approx. 3 days

  • Venus
    Retrograde
    42 days
    Stationary approx. 11 days

  • Mars
    Retrograde
    80 days
    Stationary approx. 20 days

  • Jupiter
    Retrograde
    120 days
    Stationary approx. 10 days

  • Saturn
    Retrograde
    140 days
    Stationary approx. 10 days

  • Uranus
    Retrograde
    150 days
    Stationary approx. 16 days

  • Neptune
    Retrograde
    160 days
    Stationary approx. 16 days

  • Pluto
    Retrograde
    160 days
    Stationary approx. 16 days

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PO Box 1910 Bowral NSW 2576 Australia
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Click here to go to Pisces Click here to go to Aquarius Click here to go to Capricorn Click here to go to Sagittarius Click here to go to Scorpio Click here to go to Libra Click here to go to Virgo Click here to go to Leo Click here to go to Cancer Click here to go to Gemini Click here to go to Taurus Click here to go to Aries This page was last modified on Saturday, 6 March 2010