It might seem to all of us that 2018 is the year of retrograde astrology, however, this is not quite true. The only interesting thing that is happening throughout this year is that the planets Mars and Venus are, and will be going backwards very close to each other in terms of time, but other than this everything else is pretty usual in astronomical and astrological terms.
What Is Retrograde Motion of the Planets?
As we all know planets rotate around the Sun and they never change their direction. However, looking from our Earth their patterns appear to go backwards during certain timeframes. So, this “retrograde” motion is just an apparent change in the direction of a certain planet as perceived from our planet.
In this sense the planet Mercury goes retrograde three times a year for three weeks, Venus turns retrograde every 19 months for approximately 40 days , while Mars goes backwards every 25 months for 72 days. Planets which are further away go retrograde approximately once a year, and for Jupiter this happens every 13 months and lasts for 121 days, while Saturn needs 12.5 months and its retrograde lasts for 138 days. Uranus and Neptune are roughly retrograde each year at the same time and their period of apparent backward direction is little bit more than 150 days.
In terms of astrology, you should also know that the point called “the shadow entrance” is the place where the planet enters into the trajectory where it will return during the retrograde period for the first time, and “the shadow exit” is the point where a certain planet will finally exit from its retrograde trajectory. As an example, this means that the planet Mercury will usually enter into its shadow approximately two weeks before it becomes retrograde and exit its shadow two weeks after it becomes direct. Shadow periods are tightly related to retrograde timeframes, because they carry the echoes of the planetary backward motions.
The Planets in Retrograde in 2018
The 2018 calendar brings us Mercury retrograde during the 22nd of March until 15th of April, 25th of July until 19th of August, and 16th of November until 6th of December. Venus will be retrograde from 6th of October until 16th of November. Mars retrograde 2018 is happening from 26th of June until 27th of August. Jupiter has already finished with its backward motion which took place from 8th of March and lasted until 10th of July, while his close friend Saturn started the retrograde phase on 17th of April and it will turn direct by 6th of December. Uranus retrograde will start on 7th of August and last until 7th January 2019, while the planet Neptune started its backwards motion on 18th of June and this will last until 24th of November.
As you can see this year is full of retrograde planets, but this is nothing unusual in astrology, because “two steps forward and one step back” is how the dance of life is performed. Retrograde periods are intended for us to retrace, revalue and revisit the things we have learnt or encountered. When we have 6 planets in retrograde, as is the case throughout this summer of 2018, remember to focus on words starting with “re”, like rehearsing, rereading, reworking, reestablishing, reorganizing, redoing, remodeling and many more.
Although this might seem like a period of going backwards in many areas of our lives and not gaining anything new, this is very far from the truth. Your main task for this globally retrograde period is to return. Here you see this “re” starting word, but this means to return to yourself and your heart, and to rework your inner qualities and your vision of the future.
Summer of Return… to Yourself
The planets in retrograde July-August 2018 carry major importance because they are happening in the midst of the eclipse season. First we had the partial solar eclipse in the sign of Cancer, a very powerful total lunar eclipse in the sign of Aquarius associated closely with the retrograde Mars, and we will experience another partial solar eclipse in the sign of Leo, but this time together with the retrograde Mercury. A lot of friction is behind us and a lot of friction is still ahead.
Those eclipses are certainly colored with retrograde feelings and events and many of us will have to deal with issues from the past for at least seven months more in the future, but effectively through the next six weeks. No eclipse is bad by itself. These celestial events just take away the things, ideas or people we no longer need, to open a new empty space for the new people, ideas or issues we’ll have to encounter to be able to learn something new and face our lives with a renewed purpose.
Current retrograde motion of the planets Mars and Mercury is closely related to the events which have taken place in our lives starting from the month of August of last year, and lasting until April of this year. Many relationships had to go through some serious frictional moments and a lot of them fell apart. The announcement of Mars going backwards during this summer filled some of us with the hope that the loved one would return at last, because this is the symbol for “the man returning” to his lover.
In general terms, this means that the masculine or active energy will return to the point or event in the past “he” once left, so you can adjust this symbolism according to your own situation. The person who is active, dominant, or uses the masculine energy in a relationship is considered to be this Mars. And the same situation can refer to a woman if she is the dominant or active partner, or for the dominantly masculine partner in a same sex relationship.
The period around the 8th, 9th and all the way until 12th of August will be particularly important in the sense of love, because the Sun and retrograde Mercury will square the planet Jupiter and at around the same time the Moon will join them and form a partial solar eclipse. Egos will be heightened and misunderstandings will be expected. Your words and, most likely, your needs won’t be welcomed and there is also the possibility of something hidden and even very unpleasant, resurfacing again and presenting you with hurdles.
He Is Back, but…
During the same timeframe, the planet Venus will finally make very beneficial, but short-lasting aspect with this retrograde Mars. However, at the same time she will also form a square or tense aspect with Saturn, and quincunx (another term is “inconjunct”) Uranus. Let’s translate those sentences into the real situation. He will finally call, text or initiate a meeting. She will have great expectations and she will be focused on love, commitment and devotion. On the other hand, he will act in an easy-going, perhaps even an arogant manner and he will clearly show that nothing has changed. She will leave feeling lonely, maybe hurt, frustrated and certainly emotionally unfulfilled.
Too much of everything will be in play during those days, but nothing significant, lasting or truly loving will be reborn.
This will be the pivotal point for many people, mostly women, or the ones with the dominantly feminine energy, because she will leave her fantasies and she will almost be “forced” to face reality. Awakening might be abrupt, but needed. In those moments she will understand how much time she has wasted waiting for his return and for the next two weeks she will slowly release the pain and come to her senses.
Around the time of the new Moon in Pisces, which will take place on 26th August, Venus will square Pluto and the grand earth trine will be formed between Sun, Saturn and Uranus. The Moon will play the major role here, placing itself right in the middle between Saturn and Uranus and creating the “kite” formation in the sky. This is the moment of a phenomenal female transformation and grounding too. Many women will decide to start a new phase in their lives and when the planet Mars turns direct the next day after this new Moon, this will also announce that the road is finally clear and you are free to start the search for new people, purpose and goals.
During the first three weeks of September the planet Mars will retrace the journey he had to go through during the time of lunar eclipse and opposition with the Sun. However, this time we will all feel completely different and with better perspectives ahead of us. This timeframe will be excellent for emotional healing and fresh new starts.
Bearing in mind that the planet Mars will stay in a very tense square aspect with Uranus, and still in a very close position to the South Node of the Moon, younger men will tend to focus on their career battles, friendships or business projects, not so much on their love lives. Venus will still make inauspicious aspect with this masculine planet throughout the major part of this fall, so consider this cosmic “soap opera” far from being over, although during the autumn months women will feel much better and filled with confidence and ease.
Starting right now, why not take inspiration from the astrological journey of the retrograde planets happening this summer and fall, and put a positive take on it with a decision to aim for rejuvenation, with some reflection on the past – you might even be contemplating your reaction to the possible return of a loved one … whatever your reading of current celestial events and what they mean for you personally, keep in mind that this is an opportunity for you to return to your best version of yourself.