A bit of statistics, Venus is retrograde in approx 5% of the charts, Mercury 8%, Mars 7%, Jupiter 22% and Saturn 26%. Then 52% of charts have at least one planet retrograde with the likelihood being Saturn> Jupiter> Mars> Mercury> Venus retrograde.
Retrograde planets deviate from the normal as the planet gives unpredictable results in life. You are made to re-learn, re-experience, re-examine, re-do the lessons indicated by the planet till you understand it fully. This means that, you might be on the verge of success and you fail at the last moment, there are disappointments in physical life, rarely meltdowns of epic proportions, internal emotional turmoil. There is often a feeling of suffocation and repression in the aspects of life connected to these planets. The expression of the planet’s energy in the physical life is often erratic. On the inner levels, it gives a boost for the spiritual practice and growth. It is logical as disappointments in the material life are always conducive to progress in the spiritual life. It is painful in the short-term.
Remember that a planet will influence these basic items from your birth chart.
- The house/ sign it is in, and also other planets if it is conjunct with any.
- The house/ sign/ planet it aspects.
- The signs owned by the planet, check out which houses they are placed in.
- The other planets placed in the signs it owns.
If you have more than two retrograde planets in your chart, examine them carefully. These planets project their energies inwards not outwards. Eg a Retrograde Mars will not allow you to healthily express your aggression, confidence, innovation etc. It will bubble inside till it reaches a breaking point where it will burst out with so much force that you won’t be able to use it productively, generally it triggers a melt-down, you might cry or rage uncontrollably. This will be a rare event, maybe once or twice a year but others might think you have an unpredictable temper. So if there are more retrograde planets they will weaken the outwardly directed power of the personality as a whole, as many aspects of your life will be influenced by these many planets.
There is a misconception that when retrograde, malefic planets reduce their malefic intent and benefic planets too reduce their benefic behaviour. It does not happen like this. The planet’s functional malefic/ benefic nature is as per the ascendant sign, it does not change. Eg Mars is Yogkarak for Cancer and Leo ascendants and Saturn for Taurus and Libra ascendants, they will be Yogkarak irrespective or retrograde or forward motion. And Jupiter is a functional malefic for the Taurus and Libra ascendants irrespective of his forward/ retrograde motion. What can happen is this. It is possible that the malefic intent gets diverted to the inner worlds and is not visible in the outer environment. Or the benefic aspect of the planet is also diverted to the inner self and thus invisible. But we are studying how to analyse the planet’s energy, turmoil is turmoil, be it in the inner world or the outer material world.
Then again some believe that if a planet is retrograde and in his exalted or debilitated sign it nullifies the retrograde! This is again absurd. Retrograde planet’s results are often invisible in the material world. So an exalted planet may not give visible results but he will give his exaltation result in the inner world. So the perception is that exalted power loses his power to give good results when retrograde.
Do understand the concepts first. Retrograde/ forward is about the direction of the planet’s energy, inner self or the material world. And exhalation/ debilitation is about the comfort levels of the planets in the environment of the sign that they are placed in, does the planet’s energy match the environment he is placed in. Do not mix the concepts. Malefic /benefic can be thought of as the level of happiness/ harshness that the planet is responsible for in your chart. Each concept defines a different aspect of the planets energy, behaviour and expected results. Each concept adds to your understanding of how your energy is represented by this planet. They do not cancel each other out!
So now theoretically you know that your birth chart has a retrograde planet and its energy is going to be expressed differently. You know which houses/ signs/ planets he is going to influence. You know that if he is a functional benefic/ malefic for your chart etc. In short now you know what all he stands for in your chart, what all he is capable of giving you, now let’s add ‘timing’ to it.
First add the Dasha to it. Check the Vimshottari Dasha section and see if you are in the Mahadasha/ main period or Antardasha/ sub period of the retrograde planet. If so, his influence on you is amplified. If so you might watch out for the following behavioural changes in yourself. These are your actions/ reactions and these can be extreme, erratic and unpredictable. You are not allowed to express them normally in a flow, they tend to bubble under the surface till they explode spectacularly at rare intervals.
This, in brief, will be the background energy of this period controlled by the retrograde planet.
- Mercury will affect your interest and concentration in studies, communications, choices made in life, thought processes, siblings and office teammates, legal and financial issues etc. Intuition will try to dominate over logical analytical processes. You need to be careful while driving and doing similar skill-based activities. Try to write something regularly this will give your Mercury a regular safe outlet.
- Venus will give extremes in relationships. You might get married, divorced, remarried or get into a series of affairs. Or in the other extreme shun relationships and enter deep spiritual practice. You will be shown the real value of relationships during this period. During this period, try and take an active interest in your financial dealings and business partnerships at least. Do some creative stuff like sketching or some regular spiritual practice. The simplest outlet for this Venus can be as simple as putting on some make-up and wearing nice clothes!
- Mars will give mood swings and cycles of melt-downs and rage which would be uncontrollable. Generally he is reluctant to assert himself or act decisively. Do not lose your temper while dealing with the opposite sex. Do not take unnecessary risks and be careful while driving etc. Going to the gym regularly helps in giving the aggression a safe outlet.
- Jupiter’s retrograde extremes can be an overly religious fanaticism, dogmatism or a complete rejection of God/divinity. A sanyasi or an atheist for a specific period or for a life-time. But more insidious is an internal hopelessness and pessimism that he generates. Guard your mindset against this, else this can cause dullness in life. Go to a temple once in a while or read a new book once a week, its upto you. Be more active, try to think and do something new once in a while.
- Saturn gives fear. The underlying theme is being scared of something all the time, under stress. When he is retrograde at birth or in transit he affects your ability to work off your karmic imbalance. So the person either becomes a workaholic as he is afraid of being punished. Or he loses all fear. This is actually unhealthy as once needs to be aware of social reputation, responsibilities towards family/society etc. Then he neglects his duties and gets himself and his family into trouble. This can lead to inferiority complex and dejection later. So during his retrogrades, do not isolate yourself, try to mingle with others, attend social functions and keep in touch with family/friends, this will help.
Then you need to fine tune the ‘timing’ part of your analysis. This is done using transits. We look at the transit position of the planet counted from its birth position. I have written posts on analysing transit positions of the planets in my earlier posts.
And finally I have observed that if your retrograde birth planet is going forward in its transit motion, you might feel the energies of the planet to be more suffocating. You might feel that the energy is going nowhere. But when your retrograde planet at birth gets retrograde in transit too, there is a sense of movement, that events connected to the planets are finally moving on.
This was a very brief on how the retrograde planets give results during their Dasha and transit periods. You should analyse your own horoscope from this starting point and continue your own analysis. If there are any extreme effects, you should try to alter your behaviour or there are simple remedies that you can try for yourself. Generally this much is enough. If this doesn’t address the issue, then you can try the detailed mantra-based remedies too.
Retrograde planets are nothing to be scared of. Eg you are walking on a road and you see something beautiful. You walk on, but then you turn your head again to see that beautiful thing again. Retrograde planets in your birth chart are something like this. You are revising the planet, learning its energies more completely. The challenge is to be conscious of what is happening, so try to observe yourself, your actions/ reactions. Do not get worried about retrograde planets in your birth chart. Give them a proper channel to express themselves, be aware of their energies and modify your behaviour so that you can work more easily with their energies.
Be happy, every planet’s placements was chosen by your higher self before you took birth. Trust yourself!