This is equally true of initiations and rituals and it is true daily with planetary changes, and the issues that are addressed in our lives. Retrogrades ALWAYS speak to the innermost part of our being. The manner in which they speak and the issues they reveal depend on the planet or asteroid that is engaging, and the sign that it is visiting.
Why do retrogrades seem to mess with us? Well, for starters they mess with our personal agendas, by forcing us to reflect, and if we are bent on moving forward without honoring the opportunity presented to us, well then.... we are reminded in a not so nice manner that forcing activities in 'the world' will force a re-do, and more time spent untangling a mess, than if we had just honored the moment. That moment varies on the planet retrograding, as some planets move more slowly than others..The issues addressed during retrogrades are the issues represented by the planet (or asteroid) retrograding, as well as the Astrological sign the planet is visiting during its retrograde...
So the frequency and repetition of the Cosmic pop quizzes occurring in our lives depends on the speed of the planet involved, just as the issues addressed depend on the planets natural expression and the Astrological sign it is visiting. Mercury, Venus and Mars move faster so their trip around our sun, and us by proximity, occurs more frequently. This may be why it often feels like Mercury is either retrograde or about to go retrograde.
Mercury addresses communications, thoughts, and our ability to glean wisdom from our experiences. Because Mercury has a sage aspect it can really help us to process and integrate the information we receive from these life experiences... Mercury moving fast and furious at the speed of thought can and does feel inconvenient when all of a sudden we must reflect on our thoughts, and our modes of communicating.
Venus addresses emotions, not in the same way the moon does, but in an idealized view of that which supports us emotionally. When the sage emerges here it asks us to look at where we find beauty in our lives, and our views on love and loving relationship. How do we view, and create relationships, what motivates our search for love? Where Venus falls in our birth chart speaks to our contract around love in this lifetime, but where Venus visits as it traverses the cosmos tells us the areas of our life where we are currently using or misusing these energies.
Mars addresses action in the world, and when the sage emerges through the retrograde, it offers us the opportunity to reflect on correct action. When the sage emerges here it asks us to look at our actions in the world, do they support our intent, or do we engage in busy in order to avoid our process? Where Mars falls in our birth chart speaks to our contract around action in this lifetime, but where Mars visits in our charts as it travels the skies tells us the areas of our life where we are using or misusing these energies.
Slower moving planets, as well as notable asteroids either travel slower or have a much wider distance to transverse as they navigate the arch around our sun, and us of course, by proximity. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and the small but powerful Pluto take much longer to circumnavigate our solar system. Chiron a small planet, not asteroid, but rather a planetoid to be more precise, hangs out in orbit between Saturn and Uranus. When these planets, dwarf planets, and planetoids go retrograde they seem to stay that way for a very long time. Perhaps we need longer to digest the lessons these travelers bring, or the lessons are of a nature that changes us at such a core level that we require longer to make peace with them.
Jupiter addresses gifts and brings blessings, or 'more' where ever it wanders. When retrograde it converses with us about the deeper meaning of 'more'. How much is too much, and how do we share our abundance? We can frequently experience plenty in the area governed by the sign visited, but paying attention to where it resides in our natal charts, reveals a great deal on where 'plenty' comes from. The sage aspect of Jupiter's movement through our charts can lead to over indulgence in any area of our lives, and as such, any aspect made to other planets, natal to our charts or simply visiting can direct us to what challenges will arise.
Saturn is the lord of law, the taskmaster, the stern and mighty parent of the zodiac. As such Saturn addresses structure, and the application of rules in our lives. When Saturn turns retrograde it asks us to look at our interpretation of 'rules', and 'structure'. Without structure we are unable to build or create anything of a tangible nature. But with too much structure, or too many rules we become rigid in our thinking. The question for us during Saturn retrograde is where do we feel stuck, where have we become rigid, and where do we press the 'rules' in our lives? Retrograde Saturn turns all of that oppressive energy back upon the self, so often we may feel blocked in attaining our wishes, and simply going about life feels harder and less forgiving. Because this can feel so difficult, we often miss the lessons that Saturn brings due to our personal resistance. But in denying this helper we miss out on a profound opportunity to address where we get stuck. The sage emerges by calling attention to the area of our life where we have become rigid and unmoving. Behind the structure that Saturn brings there is also fear, fear that is rooted in survival and is rarely addressed, as it is very uncomfortable, and often we can skate through life without picking that scab off. Saturn points out where we may feel over worked, and under appreciated. Saturn also points out our dogma. Where did we lose sight of the light, and the divinity behind our beliefs? When did we begin to complicate our lives with a maze of rules that prevent us from ever reaching our goals?
Uranus governs electricity, and the universal community of thought. In our lives Uranus asks us to look at not only our energy and how we use it but also power, and how we wield it. Uranus resists structure and rules on every level, and seeks to break free of any form of containment. Uranus asks us to look at where we feel driven to rebel, and are we rebelling for a just cause or simply because 'we don't need no stinkin' rules'. When Uranus turns retrograde expect issues to come up as mundane as our power equipment failing, to a clear picture of how power is misused globally and in an environment close to home. Uranus also asks us to look at our own power reserves on a physical level. Not in the same way we look at Mars propelling us around, but in how we manage our personal power. This area give the sage aspect serious wisdom to share with us if we are ready to receive it. Knowing what we do with our personal power can make or break us on our journey to our core selves, our true essence.
Neptune in all it's watery dreaminess speaks to us not only of the ethereal dream world, where much wisdom can be gleaned, but also of our creative dreams as well. How do we manifest our desires, our creative energies? Do we spend too much time wishing and hoping and not enough time in a concrete application of our ideas. Neptune also governs those situations in our lives, and aspects within ourselves, where we are unable to 'see' the truth. Where Neptune travels points to the issues associated by the region governed by the sign that it visits. When Neptune retrogrades we are beings asked to sit awhile with our dreams, to seek ways that we can bring our inner vision into tangible form.
Pluto and Chiron are small but embody profound powers of transformation. Their energies are similar, in that they work deep within our psyche ferreting out entrenched issues stored over lifetimes. I often liken Pluto to Kali Ma, in that Pluto takes no prisoners in the quest to purify our souls. Transiting Pluto pulls our attention to the area visited in the chart during the transit and directs us to clear out the debris willingly, or it will be cleared for us, in a most unpleasant manner. We can choose that which obstructs our soul progress and willingly, if not painlessly release it, or Pluto in the guise of Kali, will start ripping away at everything in her path. When Pluto retrogrades it turns that slash and burn attitude inward, directing us to transform or face the consequences. The area of our life that needs attention is the area governed by the sign visited. Chiron functions very similarly in that we are directed to examine our original wounding. Often this wounding is lifetimes old and buried deep within, with little risk of any light reaching it and exposing it's truths. To evolve we need to really address the placement in our Natal charts of these two travelers, and the areas governed by the signs they reside in. Retrograde Chiron seeks to expose issues that have formed in this incarnation, while also triggering issues of old. The watch word here is transmutation, as Chiron teaches us how to turn the poison (Hydra venom spear) into a catalyst for our soul transformation. Pluto and Chiron are Shamanic by nature as they work on us in an Alchemical manner. We cannot skate around the issues exposed here, we must travel through the darkness out to other side in order to conquer them. The sage manifests Alchemical change from the wisdom gleaned from the very experience.
The Cosmic pop quiz governed by Pluto and Chiron can feel devastating, if we fear them, yet much like the gom jabbar test, if we allow ourselves to stay present through the excavation of our incarnation boneyard, we transcend our karmic baggage and move forward in our soul growth.
Retrogrades get such a negative rep due to our current mode of living. We all seem to be living in a created universe of impatience, and instant gratification. Anything we cannot have, or attain now loses our interest, and off we go to the next new thing, or thought as the case may be. The problem with this modern age mindset is we have lost the ability, the tolerance and the respect of the process.
Processes are not instantaneous, nor convenient. Just as Alchemy alters that which it is applied to, processes require time to gel, and in that gelling comes the wisdom seeds, forming and beginning, preparing to gift us with the profoundness of our life contracts, the benefit of all of our experiences filtered through our soul senses and turned into gold.
We disrespect the gift of each experience when we rush through the process, on to the next potentially soul expanding adventure with little regard to those experiences that came before, much like holding a cosmic check list where we tick off each item on our soul quest in rapid sequence in order to graduate in as little time as possible.
However, it does not work like that, and no matter how fast or hard you push as an individual with your mind conscious and or otherwise, you simply cannot rush the integrative process. The process takes time and an environment that supports, well... processing. It is not conducive to process in an environment that does not support reflection, where multi-tasking is the order of the day, and the energy is rationed for each task as to not over expend on any one thing.
So, here come retrogrades to gum up the works and force a slow down, offer time for reflection, and for integration. They are not the enemy to us as sentient beings, even though they work counter to our monkey mind agenda. They are a Cosmic gift aligning to our higher selves speaking directly to our soul contract and helping us move forward.
The dance of the Cosmos has been our ally through all of our experiences. Each time we dive back into the incarnate life pool, fresh and forgetful of all that came before, our stellar allies are there to remind us of our soul contracts, and progress. They help us by way of retrograde pop quizzes, and the opportunities for forward movement that follow. But where that forward movement takes us depends entirely on whether we have been paying attention.