I frequently get questions about retrograde planets and they are often misunderstood because everyone always thinks of Mercury retrograde as being universally bad and that is not true for everyone. It is thought if the retrograde planet is the owner of the chart that it become stronger for the person but makes them more inward. The houses, nakshatras and signs that the retrograde happens in the natal chart are key and then in transit if it is in the natal chart, it gets triggered in transit.

Some general things you can say about retrogrades:

The planet’s energy may reverse pulling the energy back into the sign that it is retrograding into.

There are more medical problems from retrograde planets in Ayurveda.

The flow of the planet’s normal energy is disrupted and the house that the planet occupies will be affected and not work fully.  The houses that the planets owns will also be weaker.

Retrograde makes planet stronger which does not mean better.  Retrograde malefics like Saturn and Mars may be stronger to do more harm unless they are the chart lord and then they are better for the person in which case they may make the person more inward.

Parashara indicates that a retrograde motion will reverse the effect of an exalted or debilitated planet but that is controversial. Exalted Retrograde Saturn acts debilitated– not totally true. The reality is that an exalted Saturn will still externally produce good results like good technical competence, making one clever and focused, well organized, faithful, practical and good in foreign connections but inside a person may have the debilitated qualities of Saturn including some depression, self-deprecation, fear and feeling frustrated even if outwardly things go well. There becomes a schism between the outer and inner realities.

Retrograde planet must be in the natal chart and then will manifest during retrograde transits mainly but may not show their problems when direct in transit.

Some general qualities of retrograde planets in a natal chart: 

Mars: Less inclined to act; procrastinators;

Mercury: More intuitive people and reverses Mercury’s normal logical mind.  Non-linear thinkers.

Jupiter: Creates bargain hunters and people who help the disadvantaged and weak.

Venus: Reverse sexual norms and they could become celibate, frigidity in women or some tendency toward gay/bi sexual or being at  odds with traditional marriage and partnering.

Saturn : Renunicates, monastic, self-isolating; alone; rejects others so they will not be rejected; grim, depressed.

As always there are many factors that govern judging every planet including how many benefic and malefic aspects associations there are to the retrograde planet, placement in the D-9 chart, nakshatra influences, houses involved and houses owned but these are some general guidelines.

Special thanks to Bill Levacy, James Braha and Sanjay Rath for some of their insights on this material.

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