All of the planets including Chiron and Pluto but excluding the sun and moon have apparent retrograde motion occasionally. This will occur 3 to 4 times per year in the case of Mercury, and about annually for the others except Mars which is about every two years.
If you ever heard the term retrograde before it is most often applied to Mercury retrograde as the term is otherwise archaic. In astronomy and astrology planets are said to be in apparent retrograde motion when they appear to move backwards (east to west) in the sky. Their normal movement is west to east. They do not physically move backwards it only appears that way as an optical illusion, often when the earth or another planet whizzes past a slower moving planet.
Mercury retrograde is said to be a time when things normally ruled by Mercury break down, or miscommunications and delays occur creating a lot more tension, stress, disagreements, fights and accidents. If the Mercury retrograde directly afflicts your chart it will be worse. If it positively affects your chart mishaps can still occur but often as a lucky break that averts a greater disaster, or after the retrograde the situation is restored more positively. Ultimately, a Mercury retrograde is a good cycle as it makes us retrace our steps, or start over new with something that needed fixing, replacing or upgrading. But it sure doesn’t feel good when going through it. It is often a very frustrating few weeks.
The “retracing of your steps” theme is common for retrograde planets. I’ve found that “re” anything is appropriate at this time as the retrograde will often require us to redo, renovate, repair, re-explain, renegotiate, re-book, or replace something relating to the planet. The first step here is a breakdown in the first place usually occurring soon after the retrograde begins. This includes breakdowns in communication in particular for Mercury.
The next step is the need for reconsideration for the best next step; repair or replacement. The third step is retracing the steps with the replacement purchase or repair. Some people skip the second step perhaps making things worse as we are more reactionary during a retrograde. I liken that to being tossed a hot potato; you don’t want to deal with it due to hot frustration or anger and a quick reaction is made instead.
Unfortunately life during a retrograde takes careful thinking and planning in regards to what the planet represents.
When Venus is retrograde close relationships are highlighted especially if from the past. Family, friends and lovers from the past suddenly reappear which may bring complications or reappraisal of the relationship. Some relationships go through reappraisal and one or both decide to separate and a relationship can end during a Venus retrograde. Sometimes not forever though as the “redo” theme in Venus is that relationships are appraised and given second chances with new boundaries. I believe retrograde Venus is to allow the normal growth of relationships.
Over time, people change and two or more people in a relationship are not always alike and the differences become more noticeable. Sometimes these differences create more disagreements and conflicts and this is why the relationship is reappraised. The same scenario can be carried to the workplace or with any relationship and the answer is usually that the boundaries need to change, or someone will make an exit. Those decisions are most common during or soon after a Venus retrograde.
Venus retrograde allows you to revisit your relationships and may explain why some people from relationships in the past reappear. Sometimes people try to retrace their steps with someone from a previous relationship and whether that turns out well or not is often explained by how Venus is connecting for both parties in its retrograde. If retrograde Venus is trining Saturn in your 7th house that could be a good thing. If it is squaring it that may not be so good at all and the person is bringing old problems. Sometimes I wonder if Venus retrograde occurs to show some what they left behind and the choice is presented once again.
Each of the retrograde planets will have its own post in time to allow me to go into greater depth. For now, you can easily understand what a planet’s retrograde cycle may bring to you by learning how it aspects your personal horoscope, the signs and planets. In some of those areas you may have to retrace your steps or redo something. Most of us will have to rearrange boundaries to suit our own needs during a retrograde cycle and although a part of it may be painful, ultimately the lessons learned and boundaries changed will often allow you to grow more positively.