Retrograde planets are a popular topic in astrology and there is some controversy about the general meaning. For example, Vedic astrologers see retrograde motion as a beneficial influence, while Western astrologers focus on the negatives, such as lost baggage or missing mail when Mercury is retrograde. I prefer to interpret each retrograde phase based on the aspects and fixed stars from the beginning to the end of the retrograde cycle (the shadow zone). On this page you will find the dates for the retrograde cycles this year. For the inner planets, Mercury, Venus and Mars, I have links to detailed posts about the current retrograde cycle.
“Retrograde” literally means opposite or reverse, so a planet in retrograde motion appears to be moving in reverse. Planets do not of course move backwards, and the apparent reverse motion is due to the elliptical orbits of the earth and planets. Regardless of the astronomy, the main point is that from where we stand, planets DO appear to move backwards from time to time so we should expect this to have some astrological affect on our lives. Generally we feel the energy of retrograde planets in a more introspective or reserved manner than usual, and there may be a karmic theme or feeling of deja vu depending on the nature of the planet.
The feeling of deja vu may also be because the retrograde planet will go over a certain degree three times over. People who experience this feeling strongest will be those who have a key planet or angle at this spot. For example; Ones IC is hit three times and you are looking to move home. Hit 1 you may see the house you want to buy, hit 2 (Retrograde) may be when you have to go through surveys and making sure everything is fine to buy it, this will mean re-evaluating finances, whatever you have to do you are always double checking, hit 3 may be when you finally get the go ahead to move and the issue is resolved. Retrogrades give us the chance to really get our teeth onto a matter, because we are forced to go over old ground again and again. This may get frustrating and tedious, but ultimately it is very useful, for tackling something karmic we may have been avoiding and that we have to address once and for all.