How to Work With Retrograde Planets in Your Birth Chart

Many of you have asked questions in regard to being born with Retrograde planets in one’s natal chart and what it means.

The first thing that I would like to tell you is that when it comes to my approach to Astrology, this isn’t a negative or debilitating situation.

Mind you, this is ONE Astrologers opinion. So, I’m in no way implying that my word is the end all to be all about this subject. Astrology thrives on a variety of viewpoints and I don’t claim to have the “right” one. There’s a lot of information being circulated which suggests that Retrograde planets in the birth chart (as well as retrogrades in general) are certain to be inhibiting and I just don’t think that’s the case.

I think it’s only appropriate that I offer an alternative view to what seems to be a widely presented (and accepted) perspective. In true retrograde fashion, just to review: a retrograde planet is one that’s considered to be moving in backward motion. Even for those who don’t follow Astrology closely, there seems to be a collective gasp of angst when Mercury is about to turn retrograde.

From this perspective retrograde simply means that we re-visit and re-consider the themes which are connected to the planets in question. Retrograde cycles can serve as a time of reflection and recalibration. What we’re really dealing with here is the internal quality of the planets.

For a person born with retrograde planets, the challenge doesn’t necessarily lie in the expression of the planet itself, but rather in creating your own definition, outside of the status quo on how that planet should function in your life. In essence, it involves a close examination of everything you’ve read or been told about a planet’s operation and possibly forgetting what you were taught.


For example, let’s look at natal Mercury retrograde. It’s clear that Mercury symbolizes the functions of communication, dissemination and exchange of information, analysis and observation. Is there ONLY one way to communicate effectively? Does only ONE style or medium exist for putting ideas forth? The answer is no.

So, the individual with Mercury retrograde at birth would need to do the work of deciding how they wish to embody the mercurial function in their life. Is this a difficult process? Possibly. However, I think the difficult part is re-learning Mercury according to one’s own standards and purposes as opposed to eternal writer’s block or a sweaty brow and clammy hands at a Toastmaster’s meeting.


It’s arguable that those with retrograde planets at birth have the opportunity to master those particular functions because if one harnesses the message of the cosmos, a much more conscious and focused effort may go into developing those planetary archetypes.

This is not a new idea concerning natal retrograde planets, as Astrologer Jeffrey Wolf Green states in his book “Uranus: Freedom From The Known”:

” A retrograde archetype, whatever planet you apply it to, is simply the need to withdraw, to retreat, to rebel from the status quo expectation of how that planetary behavior is meant to manifest from as societal point of view. This necessary rejection of the status quo via the retrograde principle accelerates the natural evolutionary pace. Why? Because when you’re withdrawing from the status quo you are arriving at your own unique and individual expression, essential individuality of whatever planet function is in retrograde.”


So, the challenging part of retrograde planets is connected to our ability to de-condition ourselves from what society, our family, religion, race, gender, etc… has imposed and continues to impose on us in regard to the various facets of our human functioning and development.  This is not said to induce any type of fear, but rather to instill the awareness that we may be 30 or older and just NOW starting to re-think or re-create own definition of Love, beauty and femininity (Venus Rx) or masculinity and assertion (Mars Rx) and how it needs to serve our current needs. Without self- judgment or criticism, give  yourself permission to start right where you are in the re-questioning process.

Some other ideas are:

Jupiter Retrograde: What is MY definition of success? How does it compare to what society thinks about abundance or reward?

Saturn Retrograde: What ideas have I been conditioned to believe about my natural Authority? How have I defined who drives my life?

Pluto Retrograde: What’s my definition of power? Have I thought about what sweeping change of perspective means in my life?

If you have planets in retrograde in your birth chart, become acquainted with the symbolism associated with those planets and then ask yourself if the “standard” meaning and expression correlates with the life you want to live in order to be fulfilled. This entails a lifetime process of self-discovery and you may find that the answer varies based upon the life cycles that you’re currently undergoing. Nevertheless, the potential is most certainly there for you to claim ownership of your planetary makeup and to utilize it in a way that leads to ultimate satisfaction.

16 thoughts on “How to Work With Retrograde Planets in Your Birth Chart

  1. Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance. I am an astrological novice and I have always questioned why retrograde automatically equals “bad”. I have several retrograde planets, among the Mercury. I have a Sag Sun, Pisces Asc, Aries Moon and Saturn and Neptune in Libra in the 8th house. My natal Venus is in Capricorn and my Uranus is in Cancer (5th). I don’t want to fit in some prescribed definition. I learn in a multitude of ways…..I use all of my senses to acquire information. This post validated many of my ways of thinking and being. Thank you.

  2. Some more pondering will be required. I have Jupiter and Saturn retrograde. Your comment above about Jupiter Rx and finding your own definition of success is accurate for me. I think I am successful, but I’m sure a lot of people would think I’m crazy for working in the social services field and then running my own business to make ends meet!
    Regarding Saturn Rx – I often feel that my life is totally under the control of some other force than myself – of course not true – I have wondered if it’s my unconscious in charge.

  3. With four retrograde planets, I continue work to broaden and deepen understanding of how they work in my chart. It’s a lifelong project. I’m in my late 50s,and I hope I’m lucky to live long enough to make progress and use that in service of the common good. After reading this, I’m feeling like I’m a couple of steps further along. Thanks for this blog. What’s here resonates in many ways.

  4. I have 4 retrograde planets as well; one as my chart ruler, two conjunct each other and the Ascendant and the 4th one is conjunct my South Node. The “traditional” meaning has never felt right to me either so I was thrilled to run across Jeffery Wolf Green’s material. Yes. when one has retrogrades you have to adopt Heavy D and the Boyz “We Got Our Own Thang” (I love that song) when it comes to the retrograde planet. Also whatever planets/points that retrograde rules or closely aspects, especially a conjunction, it will give that planet/point a retrograde feel.

  5. I wig out when Mercury goes retrograde specifically BECAUSE I have a history of experiencing a lot of extra struggle doing those times. It’s an example of one of those ‘that explains a lot’ moments I mentioned to you back on Twitter. With that said, I agree with your overall point. I think it’s a lot like the stressful aspects, the square and so on – people tend to interpret those as being ‘negative’ when they’re really just… well, stressful. And the harmonious ones can be associated with laziness, deceit, and generally ‘taking the easy way’ in life, as well as with ‘positive’ things. The key is to remember that all symbols are multifaceted and that any and all of their meanings might be relevant. Reality is complex.

    1. Absolutely. There seems to be this emphasis on what demands the least of us and the fallacy that we’re going to be able to avoid anything that’s remotely uncomfortable. It’s difficult for me to fathom a stress free life where something of value was actually accomplished.

  6. I have studied astrology as an amateur ever since my teens but i have never really taken the time to look into the retrograde planets in my natal chart. This interpretation really resonated with me as I have 5 planets in retrograde:

    Mercury in Cancer R
    Saturn in Sagittarius R
    Uranus in Sagittarius R
    Neptune in Sagittarius R
    Pluto in Scorpio R

    Sun: Cancer
    Ascending: Capricorn
    moon: Virgo

    it makes more sense as to why I have never really felt the need to follow the status quo. i have followed the road less traveled, i just wish it werent so confusing. lol

    thank you for sharing.

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