11 May 2020

Do Retrogrades Matter? Saturn, Venus, Jupiter all Retrograde Starting This Week

Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

C.S. Sherin, 11 May 2020; updated 20 June 2020

About Astrological Retrograde Cycles

A planet "going retrograde"--seemingly moving backwards--is only kind of true, and is based solely on point of view. If we were to orient ourselves off-planet in the solar system and galaxy--retrogrades would completely lose their meaning.

We know that retrogrades really are an illusion, created by our geocentric point of view. From a Heliocentric and/or galactic point of view, much of our personal astrology requires a shift of perception, and a letting go of things like retrogrades. Still, at this time, a geocentric--Earth anchored point of view--is appropriate and relevant. We can still find usefulness in this retrograde concept/symbol--for insight into some of our personal, social, and collective experiences, patterns, and cycles here on Terra Mater--at this time.


Confirmation Bias, as defined by cognitive psychology, is the way that humans tend to create ongoing errors due to playing favorites with information, research, and results. This means that information is filtered by what we already believe or desire--not by an unbiased, objective point of view. We humans tend to ignore evidence contrary to our ingrained beliefs, pet theories, preferences, sponsors, and goals. With confirmation bias, we tend to give more weight to evidence that confirms our own preferences. Therefore, we may unconsciously seek conclusions that are neither accurate, challenging, or helpful. Read more about confirmation bias here (Britannica Encyclopedia online).

It is good to remember, no one is immune to confirmation bias. All humans--in every discipline and sector--no matter how analytical or self-aware--are all subject to personal blind spots that create errors. Those errors likely result in real-life consequences and problems, possibly harm, for other people and beings around us. We may not intend it, but it happens. Therefore, no matter what our study, practice, or level of influence--it benefits us all to become more aware of this issue.

Finally, consider that data provided by humans to build AI (AI bias and machine learning "Dealing With Bias in Artificial Intelligence, by Craig S. Smith, The New York Times, Nov. 19, 2019) is so mired down with human blind spots of bias, especially unconscious bias, that it is near impossible to eradicate or correct it.

We do well to remain aware of problems created by confirmation bias. At the same time, we needn't be tempted to throw out what is of value along with the errors.

Keep This In Mind With Retrogrades:

Retrograde motion of the planets in our solar system is an illusion. Retrogrades aren't real, yet they are a real phenomenon of perspective from our point of view. In reality, planets keep on course, and don't move backwards at all. All the planets rotate around our Sun in the same direction, and at the same speed that they always do. The illusion, for us, has to do with: our viewpoint on Earth, the spatial relation of planets to us at specific points on rotation, and the difference in speed/movement between planets.

Still, it is okay to explore the symbols of a retrograde, and glean something useful from it--just as we do from dreams. The most important thing is to refrain from sensationalizing retrogrades, or giving them more attention and importance than they deserve.

In addition, if we are approaching astrology from a symbolic and mystical point of view (as I do) the use of retrograde as material to reflect on can be useful. Seeing life and living as symbolic and mystical is also valid. Not everything in life is as it seems. It is important to honor and teach facts of reality, and to also allow room for the mystical and spiritual aspects, without allowing either to become dictator of our lives. With common sense, and experience with the mystical aspects of life, we can enjoy beautiful insights and enjoy life on many levels.

In this same way, we can also unpack symbolic concepts of retrogrades, and apply them to times in life, with some relevancy and usefulness. And, when it is no longer relevant and useful, that is when we let it go. For what it is worth, yes, I do think it is worth our time to consider them now...

General Retrograde Key Words:

Utilizing retrogrades as a symbol and tool for awareness, questioning, and observation, the following qualities can be brought forward into the general energy of any retrograde:

Actively practice: introspection, patience, and preparedness; anticipate obstacles; mindfully disengage from old, worn out patterns; life review, retreat/pause, re-evaluate, self-evaluate, personal growth; re-assess personal relationships, goals, and self-esteem--without making immediate changes; take stock of the recent past; and tune in to inner knowing

  • For each unique planet there are additional key words to consider
  • For each retrograde: look at the planet, Zodiac sign, and house that it occurs in (natal chart and current transits)

Personal Planets vs. Social & Distant Planets In Retrograde:
What kinds of planets are retrograde? And why does that matter?

There are many variances involved with astrology, so it isn't enough to simply say that personal planets carry more of a personal impact, while distant planets carry a collective impact, and social planets affect our relationships. In the most general of terms, this is true. However, there are so many layers and factors that determine a significant influence for an individual, group, or collective.

Those layers and factors are based on birth charts and significant aspects. For instance, if you were born with a social or distant planet in your 1st house or conjunct your Sun, then you can expect to experience some of the distant or social planet's energies in quite a personal way, and likely much more than those without that emphasis. Or, your birth chart may have a distant or social planet in a house that is quite personal, and of great consequence to you...and that may be evident in your life cyclically, for a time in life, or for a specific aspect of life (which may be hidden or visible). Also, a lot of times influences are so much a part of us that we cannot even recognize them in ourselves without feedback from others.

At any rate, it is good to keep in mind that while we can make some general statements about current transits and retrogrades that can be accurate, it is in our best interest to remember there are many layers and nuances that lessen or maximize our felt experiences individually and collectively.  For beginners, understanding and remembering the difference in energy between a personal, social, or distant planet--in transit and in retrograde--remains an important distinction.

In addition, it is important to keep in context how frequently a retrograde may occur (from the illusion of our perspective) for a planet each year. Here are frequency of retrogrades for the planets we are talking about today:

  • Personal planet, VENUS: spends about 2 months in each Zodiac sign, and will be retrograde for about a month-40 days per 1-1.5 years

  • Social planet, JUPITER: spends about 1 year in each Zodiac sign, and will be retrograde for about 4 months per year
  • Social planet, SATURN: spends about 2.5 years in each Zodiac sign, and will be retrograde for about 4-5 months per year

  • Distant planet, PLUTO: spends about 14-30 years in each Zodiac sign, and will be retrograde for 5 months per year
Photo by SeppH on Pixabay


  • moved into Aquarius on March 22nd (for the first time since 1994)
  • on 11 May 2020 (today): Saturn went retrograde in Aquarius
  • will remain retrograde through July 1st of this year
  • this retrograde has Saturn hovering on the cusp of Capricorn/Aquarius 
  • will remain in Aquarius through 7th March 2023
Saturn symbols and energies for us include discipline, authority figures, dogma, punitive attitudes; the Patriarchy, enforcement of laws, rules and restrictions; father energy that is: responsible, hard working, and ambitious OR enslaving, harsh, and unforgiving. Saturn in retrograde would benefit from reviewing agreements, contracts, relationships with authority, personal power and authority, and where our ambitions intersect with the power we have over others.

The transition from Capricorn to Aquarius is a mixed bag. The archetypal energy is no longer in secretive and ambitious leadership mode (Capricorn), and is now in a fixed/dogmatic energy that is humanitarian, rebellious, and unconventional (Aquarius)--with a focus on the big picture and community. However, there is still a lot of the Capricorn Saturn energy up for review this retrograde, before the father of the gods takes on the full flavor of inventive, detached while compassionate, airy, steely-willed Aquarius.

  • is in Gemini
  • will go retrograde this Wednesday (13 May 2020)
  • will stay retrograde through June 25th of this year
What is special about Venus, is that it symbolizes love, romance, money and the arts for us in astrology...and it spins in the opposite direction of all the other planets. In a way, Venus is spinning retrograde, compared to the other planets in the solar system. Venus is following its heart, so to speak, while all the other planets are going forward quite logically. Venus energy carries intoxicating levels of love and romance, beauty and luxury. While Neptune reaches the far-out stratosphere of love, spirituality, and the arts, Venus is super earthy, sensual, straight forward, and on the surface...appearances matter. In Gemini, Venus wants to be continually stimulated by conversation, ideas, travel, movement, and experiences that can be mulled over later as food for thought. Gemini's dual nature leads Venus to perhaps appear callous, dishonest, and "two-faced." Gemini can travel so quickly mentally that they can appear to be false--as it seems impossible to most people to hold opposing views in one body and mind simultaneously. There is a danger of too much superficiality and poor listening skills that could undermine relationships. Distractions abound and energy becomes too dispersed, scattered, and nervous.

Time to root down, meditate, practice mindfulness, and find center--in relationships and in relationship to one's self--especially thoughts and nervous energy. Breathe in truth, breathe out truth. Breathe in peace, breathe out peace. On the other hand, some of this Gemini energy may feel more in tune and more centered than ever...delighting in new approaches to living and relating. The Gemini energy can be contradictory like that! There is also a temptation to intellectualize or bypass deep emotions...and the retrograde may encourage finding ways to directly experience and release deep and challenging emotions. Perhaps incorporating beauty and sensory pleasures into a ceremony to honor deep emotions and connections would be cathartic. 

  • is in Capricorn
  • will be going retrograde this Thursday (14 May 2020)
  • will stay retrograde through September 12th of this year
  • will be joining Saturn in Aquarius on 20 December 2020, through 13 May 2021
Jupiter isn't really happy in Capricorn. Where Jupiter wants to explore dreams, philosophy, ethics, and host banquets of abundance and joy for community, friends, and family...Capricorn wants to work, work, work and then work some more. Capricorn doesn't have time for frivolity.

Capricorn wants discipline, sacrifice, efficiency, physical and financial security, and to achieve all their ambitions for greater power and authority. Jupiter in Capricorn becomes the workaholic, the taskmaster, the workhorse, the wet blanket on every fiery celebration. Capricorn brings up obstacles and limitations, and Jupiter expands on all of that, taking it to epic proportions. In retrograde, we will be preparing to be done with this Capricorn Jupiter flavor, so that we can move on into new territory this Fall. Jupiter and Capricorn are like feast and famine, maybe there will be a happy medium, but there will be many extremes on the way there.

Other big Jupiter news: The Jupiter Saturn Conjunction in Aquarius on December 21st 2020 begins a 139 year new era. More on that later...

  • went retrograde in Capricorn on 25th April 2020
  • will remain in retrograde through October 3rd of this year
  • will remain in Capricorn until 21 January 2024
  • On January 22, 2024, Pluto will move into Aquarius
Pluto, being a psycho pomp, a god of the underworld, is quite at home in a retrograde. It is all par for course in the movements of decay, death, descending, and then ascending into birth/rebirth. The cycle reflects the seasonal decay, death, and rebirth from Fall, Winter, to Spring and Summer. In Capricorn, we face harsh energies that have been held on to way past usefulness. In retrograde, we go deeper into the process of dissolution and reflection upon what isn't working, what is worn out, and what kind of structures and leadership are no longer appropriate. We will be dealing with this energy for some time, and so, I will write more about this later.

I will say that it is important to note that  Pluto won't be moving into Aquarius until 2024. We are only in the very beginning of big changes yet to occur. Pluto is a far-out planet, and the cycles are long. Big changes take place over a long period of time. And the beginning of that time can be volatile for some and muted for others.

What shape these big shifts take is up to how we co-create changes, and how we respond to changes, together, and individually.

I recommend taking plenty of time for reflection, meditation, and time with nature, love, healthy activities, and compassion. Unplug from compulsion and reactivity whenever possible.

Tune in to what is deep and true, within and around you. I also recommend an ongoing practice of mindfulness around: power, control, and authority.

C.S. Sherin (Chandra), Wild Clover Astrology 2020©. You are free to share this content via social media, unaltered and with the author, link and copyright intact. Any alterations or lack of credit is prohibited.

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