Planetary Retrogrades: Revisit, Review, Reintegrate
We can feel it in the air; the seasonal wheel is turning. Summer is winding down. We, too, are turning (inwards) as we embrace Autumn’s approach, and I am returning to this Blog - writing what's current in astrology. In re-evaluating my approach to this offering, I have decided to provide more focused astrological insights instead of giving a general overview to allow for a richer experience for you, the reader. There are multiple planets presently in retrograde; this edition will center on how to best work with them.
We have three key planets moving in and out of retrograde over the next few weeks. I am dedicating this blog post to the planetary retrogrades of Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter. I feel it’s helpful to pay attention to how a planet’s retrograde motion offers an opportunity to reintegrate and more fully metabolize particular material present in our lives. There is a popular narrative about Mercury retrograde (Mercury is the planet most frequently in and out of retrograde) as a time to expect SNAFUs in communication, tech, travel, and such, and to expect the unexpected and take extra care. Retrogrades are much more than this. It may be helpful to think of them as a time to rein in our typical ever-forward bearing and to reevaluate and re-integrate our current intentions and direction. Retrograde periods offer the gift, if we choose to accept it, of an opportunity to back up, review, and re-process our recent life experiences.
We can look at the astrological sphere of influence of a retrograding planet and at the themes in our life occurring during retrograde to gain insight into the specific opportunity for integration that is more available during this period.
Understanding the simple basics of a retrograde planet’s motion helps to bring meaningful understanding to the gifts and challenges of a retrograde period. We know that the planets’ orbits always move around the sun in the same direction. Because of the different orbital speeds each planet cruises at, they periodically appear to move forward and then backward in the sky, from night to night, relative to the fixed stars. As a planet begins its appearance of retrograde motion in the sky, it’s “walking backward” . . . retracing its steps over its recent forward motion, and thus backing up over the same sky territory it already covered in recent weeks and months. We can see this in the sky by tracking a planet’s location among the stars from night to night.
Here is an embodied, helpful way to understand how planetary retrograde periods create a unique time to re-work through something in your life. Visualize walking on a sidewalk; you reach a certain point, stop, and then take ten steps backward. You have now covered the same ground twice, once when walking forward and again when walking back. After ten back steps, you stop again, take another ten paces forward, and this time, you keep on walking along. Notice you covered the same stretch of sidewalk thrice as you’ve walked an additional 20 on top of the original 10 strides. Planetary retrogrades, similarly, take us back through our life processes. Even though time is moving ever, always forward, the thematic narrative of a retrograding planet is re-traversing the scene of the same stretch of our lives.
Each planet brings astrological tides to realms of ourselves and how we relate to the human experience—knowing what parts of ourselves the planet influences can help us understand what themes to focus on. As one particular planet retrogrades, it offers us more time to simmer in a life process. The theme of your particular area of focus is personal and relates to how the planet’s expression is moving through you and the current situations evolving in your life.
This month, we have retrograde motion occurring with three planets:
7/23/23 - 9/3/23
Venus influences intimate relationships, friendships, finances, and how you bring beauty into your life. Venus goes retrograde approximately every 18 months for about 5-6 weeks.
September begins with Venus in retrograde but will shortly turn direct a few days into the month on the 3rd. Venus started moving retrograde on July 23rd.
This Venus retrograde period remains an opportune time to explore and refine your quality of presence in your loving relationships. It’s powerful to reflect on how you manifest your love! It’s a profound time to become more attuned to the processes in play between you and your dearest ones.
When Venus is in retrograde, holding off on making new high-impact decisions related to the Venusian aspects of life (relationships, finances, costly aesthetic purchases, etc.) is advisable. Like any planetary retrograde time, optimal clarity and direction may be challenging, and it is more effective to work through existing matters than starting something new.
For example, if you’re in a process with your partner(s) regarding navigating your relationship, continue to work out what’s already there. Revisit issues not fully resolved from the past before making new moves towards the future.
It also holds true for making expensive purchases or other financial decisions. Give yourself more time for clarity after Venus has gone direct to decide if this is the right thing to buy or invest your money in.
Venus’s retrograde path takes us back to where it was in the sky on June 20th. As it goes Direct on the 3rd, it will cover the same themes regarding relationships, connections with beauty in the world, and finances you’ve been in all summer. As Venus moves along after the 3rd, it will take until October 27 to return to the position in the sky before it went retrograde. Therefore, it may take until the end of October to feel fully clear on the current issues in relationships or financial matters you’ve been in the process of working out.
9/4/23 - 12/30/23
On September 4th, Jupiter begins to retrograde and will do so until December 30th. Jupiter retrogrades approximately every nine months for about four months. Jupiter influences the part of ourselves that feels optimistic about moving towards opportunities for growth and expansion in our lives - embarking on new adventures. Jupiter also brings allies, supportive means, and connections with the greater community.
During the up-and-coming four-month Jupiter in retrograde, accessing new ways to grow and expand outwardly in your life may feel less accessible. A way to focus this energy is to consider how to grow and refine these dynamics internally. It is a potent time to explore how your work and connections with the world fit together and how best to authentically lean into what you do each week. What is happening to generate your sense of purpose and optimism? How can you better hone your capacity to bring your gifts to the world?
If, from Sept 4th until the end of the year, you suddenly feel like you want to reorganize your work, change hats, seek more education, or plan extended travel to faraway lands, it may be good to take more time for consideration. Wait (if you can) until Jupiter is out of retrograde to get more clarity on approaching these new urges unless these plans were already in the works before Jupiter retrogrades.
8/23/23 - 9/15/23
Mercury retrogrades 3-4 times a year for three weeks; it recently retrograded on August 23rd and will go direct on September 15th. During these first couple of weeks of September, Mercury will be in retrograde, and it is a supportive time to review, reprocess, and integrate your current thinking about your life. It’s a good time for recollecting, reflecting on, and metabolizing your recent thoughts about your experiences. It’s a great time for journaling, talking things over with confidants, walking, hiking . . . taking time for gaining perspective.
When we avoid this opportunity and try to conduct our affairs by charging ahead as if Mercury were moving with a direct forward motion, communication and thinking processes go haywire and run wonky. When we allow the retrograde period as an opportunity to welcome a retreat into integration, we can take the opportunity to recalibrate ourselves and move in harmony with the nature of this time.
It would be advisable not to make big decisions until after September 15th. Decision-making and processing may not be fully clear during Mercury retrograde.
Mercury will retrograde to the place it was in the sky on August 4th. Whatever mental processes, plans, and communications revolving around what has been going on in your life from August 4th may continue to be rehashed/worked out until Mercury leaves its shadow (gets back to the place it was before it went retrograde) on September 30th.
It’s also a supportive time to finish projects taking up psychic space. Spend time with these activities during the next couple of weeks. Clear clutter in closets, garages, workspaces, donate items, etc. Mercury rules our minds, and when you clear out the physical clutter, you are also helping clear your mental clutter. When Mercury goes direct again on 9/15, you can feel more mentally refreshed if you take advantage of the Mercury retrograde, rewind, review, and clean out period.
With astrology, the most helpful advice is always individual and personalized based
on your astrology birth chart and life situations.
Astrology readings with Laura can help you:
~ Align with your unique talents and opportunities
~ Move through life's challenges more intentionally
~ Gain a new awareness of major life changes
~ Know when is the best time to take action
~ Find clarity on self-limiting patterns
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Laura Allmacher RN, LAc, has been practicing in the field of medicine for over 20 years, dedicating most of this time to the healing arts and natural medicine. Along with a current acupuncture and Chinese medicine practice, Laura also provides professional astrology readings as a form of a guide to help bring timing, meaning and perspective to deeper life patterns and situations so one can make the most out of their incarnation.