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Retrograde motion is a phenomenon that actually occurs quite frequently. Our Earth is tilted on its axis at 23 ½ degrees and the planets are in a continuous motion in the skies. They rise in the east and set in the west due to our Earth’s rotation. The planets in our solar system travel along the ecliptic and because of our Earth’s rotation move from west to east.

At some point in this rotation the planets appear to slow down and actually stop their movement in the heavens. This appearance of non-movement is known as the stationary position in Astrology. The planets then appear to move backwards and this is termed as retrograde motion. This is an illusion and does not actually happen. It only appears to happen.

These times of retrograde motion can last for a period of a couple of weeks up to several months depending on the planet involved.

If the placement of the planet which is in retrograde makes an aspect to one of the planets in our birth chart energies are triggered. The type of energy that is triggered depends entirely on the aspect between the planets and the planets involved along with the houses that becomes activated during the contact.

Quite often a Planet such as Pluto will go into retrograde motion and then begin to move forward again and then go back into retrograde two or three times before it returns to direct motion and passes beyond the connection with the planetary force it has touching. The first contact when a planet goes retrograde is always the most intense energy period. It is as though something has been activated and we act accordingly. Each subsequent contact is less intense and the final contact is usually associated with coming to terms with whatever took place as a result of energies of the initial contact.

When Pluto makes a contact to an angle in our natal chart, especially the Ascendant or the Midheaven, its energies can have a profound effect in our lives. Often the retrograde motion lasts a month or two and then passes over the same degree only to go retrograde again and pass over the same degree again. The total orb of influence can last six months to one year. This will transform whatever is being suggested through the sign on the angle and the aspects from other natal positions. Great transformations occur during such events and individuals will go through changes both internally and externally that alter their lives, often permanently.

To find out more on retrograde planets in your birth chart or retrograde planets affecting planets or angles in your chart, you should locate these movements in your ephemeris. A transit and progression chart can be prepared and will provide great detail of the affects of the exceptional current number of retrograde planets - Mercury, Mar, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto.

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