An explanation of what we mean when we say a Planet is Retrograde.
Have you ever sat in a stationary train at the railway station, which is alongside another train? Then, as you watch the other train, it appears to be moving backwards?
But, to start with, you are unsure if the other train is travelling backwards or if your train is moving forwards?
The same happens with the planets. Although all the planets always move around the Zodiac in the same direction, sometimes it looks like some planets are moving backwards. We call this apparent reverse motion of a planet “retrograde” motion.
Retrograde motion happens in several stages. First of all the retrograde planet will appear to stand still, while the other planets continue to move forward. Next the planet appears to start to travel backward through the starsigns, followed by another period when it appears to stop moving, before it resumes its forward motion.
Retrograde motion occurs with all the planets, except the sun and moon.
The inner planets (Venus, Mercury and Mars) spend less time in retrograde motion than the outer planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto). This is because the orbits of the outer planets around the sun take much longer because they are further away. The time a planet will spend in retrograde varies from about 22 days for nearby Mercury to about 160 days for distant Pluto.
A general misconception is that when a planet is retrograde it always signifies something negative or not pleasant. A retrograde planet will prolong the influence of that planet in the sign and house of a horoscope in which it is located. So if that influence happens to be an unpleasant one, the prolonged negativity will be blamed on the retrograde planet.
On the other hand, we need to remember and take note of the fact that if a retrograde planet is producing a more pleasant effect, that too will be prolonged by the retrograde planet.