Astrology considers retrograde to be a significant condition, usually in a negative sense. Astrologers call a planet which is seemingly moving in the reverse as a retrograde planet. How do we understand the retrograde phenomenon? For example, we all have noticed the following when the bus or train begins to move suddenly. The adjacent train appears to move backward. In the same way, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn appear to be in reverse when the Earth overtakes them during its annual rotation. The same also happens to Mercury and Venus during the far half of their rotation around the Sun. Certainly, from an astronomy angle there is no real reversal. Why do astrologers then feel otherwise?
An astrologer holds the view that an horoscope is human centric. Firstly, perception determines one’s feelings. Secondly, the planets are indicators of human perception and feelings. In short, a planet when retrograde appears to have gone back against the background of fixed stars in the sky. Certainly, the planet had traversed that portion of the sky earlier, during its forward motion. A planet’s position against an area of the sky is crucial in astrology. However, why is retrograde in astrology always taken in a negative sense?
Moon’s nodes, the contrarians
The nodes of the moon always move in a counter clock wide direction. The nodes of the moon are abstract points. However, astronomers consider their motion to determine eclipses. Astronomers in the past granted the status of shadow planets to the moon’s nodes.
The Sun and the Moon move only clockwise. They are indicators of human live moving forward. However, when they align with the nodes, their view gets blocked, for a short while. An eclipse refers to a set back of some sort in an astrology sense. In astrology Rahu and Ketu, the nodes of the moon, represent regression. Therefore astrologers say that a planet, during its retrograde motion, exerts more regressive than progressive influence. Thus retrograde analysis in Astrology is based on some logic. Everyone may not agree with this logic.
The fear factor is more recent. In the past, people saw ups and downs to be a part of life. They consulted an astrologer sometimes for an assurance that a difficult situation is only a passing phase. Besides, planets, other than the Sun and the Moon go retrograde quite frequently. For example, Saturn and Jupiter can be retrograde for four months in an year and a half. Mars goes retrograde for two months every two years. Mercury goes retrograde for 20 days every four months! Retrograde planets only reinforce the idea that life has its ups and downs.