Most of us are familiar with the Mercury Retrograde transit, which occurs about three times per year. On social media we see complaints and annoyance about how it gums up the gears of our daily living. But, speaking as a person with four natal planets in retrograde, there are hidden powers to having this retrograde motion.
First, humans have day and night, which means we are built to sleep for part of our 24 hour cycle. Sleeping enables our brains to re-set and refreshes us so we don't go insane. People with sleep problems also have other health problems, including trouble focusing and irritiablilty, as well as diminished immune function.
The planets display a similar cycle of outward drive and integration. When a planet is direct, we are driving along the road. When it is retrograde, we are stopped by a stream to have a picnic and gaze into the water and smell the flowers. While we are stopped, we can notice details in the environment that are missed while driving. Details blur when we move fast. We don't stop to integrate or go deeper, as when we slow down. Retrograde planetary motions help us do just that: S-L-O-W down.
People who have some planets retrograde at birth in their natal chart take their time, and "how" they take their time depends on the planet. If it's Venus, we take our time in love. Values are a slow cooked, life long examination which we consider deeply.
If it's Mars, we may think A LOT before acting. We may question our drives and impulses. If it's Jupiter, our luck is INSIDE of us as a creative act. How we feel about opportunities must be carefully examined and aligned with in order to reap the most beneficial effects. Otherwise, opportunities can feel shallow or not satisfy us!
A natal Mercury Retrograde predisposes us to a kind of intensity of thought, a deep level of considering our points of view. A constant re-examination of ideas.
Retrograde planets can be considered "re-do" opportunities in the life of the native. If you consider the possibility of multiple lifetimes, we sometimes can miss important opportunities and the soul wants a re-do. The soul may say, what if I created this opportunity again, would I choose differently? That is another way of describing retrograde planets.
Tropical astrology is based on perspective from earth. When a planet retrogrades it appears stopped and closer to earth. This, in effect, is the same as our lunch break sitting by the stream. We have a different vantage point and see different things. While stopped, we notice the little charming fox near the meadow (something we would not see while driving 70 miles per hour.) As we are sitting, our thoughts drift and land on meaningful memories and interactions. This assists our psyche to assimilate past experience. We are contemplating our navels and getting a lot of new insight!
There's an intensity to a retrograde planet, because it zooms in and fascinates us. This is why, when Mercury retrogrades, we suddenly want to put up a new website, get a new gadget to play with, fix our broken car. Mercury increases the urge to examine things up close, under a microscope. But, we have myopia, so we might miss the big picture and forget we already HAVE that gadget or don't really need it, we were just fascinated!
Whenever we have planetary transits of retrograde motion, we must slow down and integrate. It's like getting home after trick or treat and counting our candies. Without the count, we can't be satisfied. Those who have retrograde planets natally are blessed with a special depth and an almost OCD focus on the planet's activities. This is because you are choosing an accelerated curriculum in the school of life that planet provides.
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