Astrology is an ongoing understanding for an awakening humanity, and thus there are many misconceptions. One that I find very common is the idea of what a retrograde means. In my understanding and study, retrograde planets are the most powerful and influential in a natal chart.
When planets move into retrograde motion, it always indicates that they are on the near side of the Sun in reference to the Earth. This means that they are about as close as they can get to Earth. When something is closer to you… It is more powerful. For information on the upcoming Mercury Rx, READ HERE.
The most powerful periods of the Rx are when the planet is changing directions. For all planets beside Mercury, Venus, and Mars (which are generally powerful throughout), a two week window (one week before the Rx begins and one week after is a general rule. As well as one week before the direct motion and one week after). This is due to the fact that these planets are seemingly standing still in the zodiac in reference to Earth. The stillness allows for the energetic flow to strengthen and deepen between Earth and the planet.
Overall, the period of retrograde deepens the power and expression of the planet. Simultaneously, the area of the zodiac being covered by the planet is being explored and uncovered in a thorough and more penetrating fashion.
If anything is seemingly ‘weakened’ during the Retrograde, it would be the surface level orientation and outward expression of the planet. In psychology and in astrology, the outer and the surface are not as powerful as the inner depth. The core driving factors of all that we see are often deep, unseen, and beyond our normal comprehension and awareness, Rx changes that.
Rx as an Aspect
When I look at a natal chart, I see Rx planets as having the added aspect of being Retrograde. To see the retrograde of a planet as an aspect, we have to consider what is actually happening.
- Planets in Rx are closer to Earth.
- Planets in Rx move at various speeds, with the slowest speeds being at the turning points.
- Planets in Rx are expressing the energy of and helping to explore the portion of the zodiac 3 times over a short period.
- Bidirectional Aspects… see below.
Bidirectional Aspects… Aspects created to other planets by the Rx planet could be bidirectional. A bidirectional aspect is when two planets or stellar bodies are both moving towards the exactitude of the aspect. Bidirectional aspects increase the level of intensity as each planet is moving simultaneously towards the application of the aspect. Bidirectional aspects are more likely to occur during Rx periods because they can ONLY occur if one planet is moving Rx and one is direct. An example of a traditional aspect would be two individuals, running in the same direction, but at different speeds. Even though they are moving in the same direction, they will eventually create a specific geometry (remember that aspects are a specific geometry between planets… Trine 120° Sextile 60° etc.). The aspect will pass as the faster moving planet moves out of the degree of orb (amount of degrees in which aspect is active). With bidirectional aspects, it is similar to two people running in opposite directions or towards one another. The aspect arrives and crescendos quite dramatically and quickly. This creates a more intense and fast moving energetic expression. Shocking, disruptive, innovative. These aspects are generally more forceful and don’t leave a lot of room for negotiating. Bidirectional aspects disrupt and change things, and they do so quickly.
So, as a Rx period plays itself out, the Rx planet may have made an aspect to another planet in its pre-shadow period (the time period when the transiting planet is covering the portion of the zodiac it will trace back across during retrograde). Then during its Rx, it makes a bidirectional aspect to that point. Then finally, during post post-shadow period (the time period when the transiting planet is covering the portion of the zodiac it covered during retrograde).
The interaction between two transiting planets or between a transiting planet and a natal placement is a profound experience. It represents a blending, a release, a transfer, an initiation of power, of awareness. These transits coincide with rapid awakenings and aha moments. Transits represent potentials and will often coincide with major alterations to the status quo, routines, habits, patterns of our personal and collective reality. Some of these newly developed skills and awakenings require time and effort to integrate. The first time you cook a dish is an awakening of sorts. However, it doesn’t always come out that great. There are nuances and techniques that can only be mastered through practice, through iterations, through approaching the preparation of the dish from different perspectives and angles.
Rx triple transit (the transit occurring from a planet in its pre-shadow, retrograde, and post shadow (or post post shadow direct motion) period.
Any natal placement or point that is within the range of the Rx of a transiting planet will experience this exact phenomena. (this could be a trine, square, conjunction, semi-square, sextile, quincunx, it all plays out) The Rx triple transit to a natal point has a way of shaking us to the core. The incoming information, support, challenge, or overall energy is wreaking havoc on any self constructed comfort zones. Imagine someone pushing you from behind, then walking back and pushing you from in front, and just a few moments later then pushing you again from behind. In a crude sense, this is what an Rx triple transit does.
Rx Triple Transit Example – Venus in the 7th
First and foremost, this is my chart, and this natal Venus return was a doozie. Not only is Venus conjunct the South Node but is also in Square to Saturn in the Fourth, not show here. So Venus not only conjunct Venus 3x’s but also squared Saturn 3x’s (also trine moon 3x’s, squared Pluto 3x’s and squared Mars 3x’s, trine chiron 3x’s it was eventful). The point here is that this can only happen during a retrograde. Venus is Rx less than 8% of the time making it the most rare of Rx patterns. Normally, Venus would pass by an orb of 1° within two days or less occuring 1x per year. With this Rx, there were approximately 12 days out of 80 where this was the case. That is a lot of personal work to do! My relationship energy and karma was off the walls, I just prayed and hiked a lot lol!
We have three transits to Venus. One in pre-shadow, one during the Rx, and one in the post-shadow.
Moving forward… So when you look at a Natal Chart, or consider the impact of a retrograde, please consider these things. While the world may seemingly change as planets start moving forward after a retrograde period, realize that this is just us putting the pieces back together that have been obliterated, shifted, and reworked during the Rx.
When you begin to see the power of retrograde planets in the natal chart, you will begin to understand the power they hold in transit. Some of your greatest gifts can be found in the Rx planets. Because it is uncommon for planets to be retrograde, the expressions are uncommon in society. Therefore they are less acceptable, but often revolutionary, spurring us forward to think, act, feel differently than others.