Planets In Retrograde

Radhika Kothuri 

Jun 2021


We keep listening to the word retrograde from time to time and keep worrying about their impact on us human beings.  More so, with the present retrograde Saturn and the upcoming Jupiter going retrograde on June 20th, 2021 everyone is more interested to know about the retrograde influence on us.  It is not only these major planets but, the planets like Venus, Mercury, Mars that go retrograde periodically.  The only two that do not retrograde are Moon and Sun.  Rahu and Ketu always move in retrograde motion.

Retrograde Meaning:

What does the term “Retrograde” or “Vakri” mean?  Astronomically, retrograde occurs when a planet appears to be moving backward in the sky.  The keyword here is “appears” as this movement is not happening. The appearance of retrograde motion occurs because of the relative difference in speed and proximity to Earth.   Planets do not actually slow down, stop and change directions.  During their respective retrogrades, Mercury, Mars, and Venus come closer to Earth than the Sun, and the planets Saturn and Jupiter move away from Earth.

Retrograde as per classics:

There are different views given in our classics about the retrograde planets.  Like if a benefic planet retrogrades it gives benefic results, whereas retrograde malefic planet will give malefic result.  As per Brihat Parashara Hora Sastra, along with the benefic and malefic nature of the planet, importance is given to the nature of the house the planet is occupying as well as yogakarakas.  Say for Vrishabha lagna if  vakri Saturn is placed in Makara in its own house.  It being a friend to lagnadhipati Venus and because of being in kona it will give benefic results.  Take another example same for Vrishabha lagna Jupiter being 8th and 11th lord is not functional benefic planet, hence, if this Jupiter is vakri it will not give good results to native.  

Along with the classics, an astrologer’s individual experience also carries great importance in judging effects of a retrograde planet.    The retrograde planets give the results not only based on the house they occupy, even their karakatwa gets effected slightly.  Like say, if Mars is retrograde in one’s chart, then there will be some differences or concerns related to sibling, will be accident prone, may not get expected results in competitive exams etc. 

Stationary planet:

Before a planet appearing to be retrograde it becomes stationary (sthambi) for few days.  That is, the period becomes stagnant.  Because of this many astrologers opine that this period may give bad results.  But it is seen that there may be minor hurdles in completing the work or may face some hurdles while starting any new things.  And if there is a benefic planet aspect or conjunction the results will be much better and the works will progress fast even after slight hurdles.

Retrograde effects in the natal chart:

  1. As mentioned above the benefic planets will give good results if placed in a benefic house, in spite of being in retrograde. But, one needs to consider the other aspects like planets conjunct with the retrograde planet as well as aspects.
  1. Overall it is noticed that the retrograde planets also give slight negative results, inspite of being benefic planets. Both the placement of the planet in a bhava, good or bad house as well as the ownership of the planet like Kendra, kona houses or upachaya houses, all need to be taken into consideration before coming to any conclusion.  Say if the 4th house lord is retrograde and placed in 7th house, then it gives less happiness at home, repairs to assets or vehicles, staying away from mother, etc.  The less happiness at home may be due to minor differences with a spouse, hence one can see the impact of the 7th house on the 4th.  But, there will be good financial prosperity after marriage, like purchasing a beautiful home, etc. 
  1. Taking another example, For Simha lagna Jupiter being 5th lord becomes retrograde in Mesha in 9th house, then the person will have a good education, will be highly knowledgeable, but will be slightly low in general social matters like how to mingle with people, will be very uneasy in showing one’s affection in a romantic relationship, may face minor difficulties while traveling, may not know how to respect or talk to elders etc. 
  1. Hence, one should not come to the conclusion that retrograde planets give bad results or totally good results. All the factors need to be taken into effect like house ownership, placement, ashtakavarga bindus(for transit), and planet shadbala strength.

Retrograde effects during transit:

  1. If a planet is retrograde in transit and the same planet is retrograde and functional benefic in one’s own chart then it will give good results. Take for example, while Jupiter is retrograde in transit, if that Jupiter is already retrograde in one’s chart and is a benefic planet by placement as well, then it will give very good results like financial prosperity, happiness due to children, and respect among their social circle.  
  2. The malefic planets like Mars and Saturn when they are retrograde in transit, but, if they are functional benefic in the individual charts they will give positive results. The results will be as per the house significance, the planet is placed in.  For example, If Saturn is retrograde in transit and in one’s chart with Vrishabha lagna placed in 9th house in a retrograde position.  Makara is a benefic house for Saturn and being in navamasthana it will give benefic results related to ninth house matters, like good journeys, financial growth, blessings from elders and guru, etc.

Planets, retrograde degrees- effects and meaning.

  1. Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun. Mercury retrogrades three to four times every year.  Each retrograde lasts for 24 days. It is stationary for 1 and a half days.  Mercury gets retrograde when it is 14 to 20 degrees away from the sun. Again it is back to normal motion when it comes back to 17 to 19 degrees away from the sun.

During Mercury retrograde period the areas affected are communication, efficiency in daily tasks, hurdles in starting new ventures.  It is the best period to re-evaluate and improve on existing matters on hand.

  1. Venus goes retrograde approximately every 18 months. It goes retrograde for 42 days during one motion.  Venus goes stationary from anywhere between 1 to 2 ½ days.  It goes retrograde at 29 degrees away from the sun. When Venus comes to 24 degrees it comes to normal motion.

During Venus retrograde period, it makes us to re-evaluate our love and financial situation.  Any old relationship issues may again come up, there may be delays in getting loans and your partners may misunderstand your every action. It is the best period to understand and evaluate our self-worth and honor it. Any neglected areas of our life more to do with any relationship should be reviewed.

  1. Mars goes retrograde for year 2 years. It retrogrades for 80 days.  Before going to retrograde ie becomes stationary for 3 days.  Mars goes retrograde at 228 degrees away from Sun and it becomes straight at 132 degrees.

During this retrograde period, you will feel less energetic to complete works taken up, there may be a    communication gap with your sibling, and you will try to channel your energies towards new pleasurable ways, which may place you in an embarrassing situation at times.  It is the best period to tackle any pending situation with focus and determination.  It is better to respect others' viewpoints and see from their point of view before making any decisions.

  1. Jupiter goes retrograde annually. It retrogrades for 120 days.  It remains in a stationary position for 5 days.  Jupiter retrogrades around 245 degrees away from the Sun and becomes normal when it is at 115 degrees away from Sun.

During this retrograde period, we will feel lazy, less enthusiastic, overconfident, and procrastinate.  It is the best period to work towards fulfilling our dreams, make plans, and be focused. Follow an exercise schedule to be physically active.

  1. Saturn goes retrograde every 2 ½ yrs. It goes retrograde for approx. 140 days.  It remains stationary for around 5 days.  Saturn becomes retrograde when it is 251 degrees away from the Sun, and when this Saturn comes to 109 degrees to Sun it starts its regular motion.

During this retrograde period, we will try to deviate from the rules and regulations, will take decisions without a second thought, and disrespect elders.  It is the best period to lead a healthy life, accept and enjoy the fruits of the hard work.

Hence, one should not overly get stressed about the negative effects of retrograde planets. Instead, one can use the retrograde period to re-evaluate, re-think and redo any pending activities.  Planets in retrograde give mixed results based on their placement, ownership, aspects, ashtakavarga bindus and shadbala strength.