There is something about this time of year in the northern latitudes with each day growing shorter leading up to the Winter Solstice on December 21 that brings out my contemplative side . . . that and Mercury in Sagittarius retrograde sextile my Sun. Recently I’ve been considering why most astrologers, including myself, tend to view those times when the planets are retrograde as less desirable rather than seeing them as just another facet of the big picture.
As my friend Joe commented on my last post In Praise of Mercury Retrograde, “Just like tides, seasons, night and day, and so on. We’re the only ones in creation that seem to have a problem with these cycles!” The world around us is in a constant state of ebb and flow but somewhere along the way, many people have lost touch with this fact. Is it related to the large portion of the population now living in big urban areas, insulated from the weather and seasonal changes, from clearly defined night and day and from the more subtle lunar cycles?
Human beings NEED rest and relaxation, good quality sleep and time to turn inward because we just don’t thrive without them. Going full speed ahead twenty four/seven is incredibly wearing on our minds and bodies. Perhaps by paying more attention to those times when the planets are retrograde, we can begin to find our own particular rhythms.
The Sun travels through the signs and the seasons, the Moon waxes and wanes from New Moon to Full Moon, Mercury regularly goes retrograde and encourages us look within for answers, Venus retrogrades are wonderful for reviewing our values and when Mars is traveling in reverse we often are reminded to give our bodies a break. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto spend months traveling in reverse and consequently the affect is far more subtle and often has the most to do with the house/s they are currently in.
I have been giving a great deal of thought on shifting the perception of retrograde as “bad” to retrograde as “natural phenomena”. Mercury retrogrades in particular can be approached with the awareness we are often distracted by our internal dialogues during them. Most of us know better than to drive while texting, don’t we? Same thing during Mercury retrogrades . . . minimize the multi-tasking and treat all decisions as critical.
Venus retrogrades are the best time to sit down with ourselves and figure out exactly what our priorities are in relationships instead of worrying about whether or not we’ll still like something we bought because it was pretty. Learning what we truly value about ourselves and our loved ones is critical to enjoying life.
Since I have been guilty of whining during Mars retrogrades, I have decided to give myself a break and make sure I pace myself instead of working myself into the ground when the next one rolls around in early 2012. The four months when Mars is retrograde are good for stepping back and reevaluating our energy levels. It is easy to overdo and weaken our immune systems, especially for Mars ruled people.
A good astrologer will make their clients aware of these retrograde periods and offer suggestions on how to incorporate those into their lives in a natural way instead of immobilizing them. Finding out how to dance with the planets, no matter what direction they are traveling, is empowering. We all like feeling empowered, don’t we? *grin*