Natal Chart Lessons: Personal Planets in Retrograde

A planet is in retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards from our position on Earth. Retrograde planets don’t actually move backwards – it only appears that way when Earth passes them during their orbits. Those with a planet in retrograde in the natal chart seem to feel more comfortable with that planet’s energies when it goes retrograde throughout their lives.

When a planet is in retrograde in a natal chart, its energies are turned inward – the native experiences and projects its characteristics on a more subjective level. Think of retrograde planets to act as planets in the 12th house, as in it causes the native to experience these planetary energies on an internal level and with karmic baggage. A retrograde planet will cause someone to contemplate on the energies of the planet for a while before taking action. Retrograde planets take a long time for people to overcome, while some don’t overcome them at all if they are unaware of the difference between direct and retrograde planets.

Retrograde planets indicate karmic lessons from past lifetimes. We may have either depended on others to express these planetary energies for us or we may have expressed these planetary energies too actively in past lifetimes. This serves to balance our souls’ experience – because these energies were not properly expressed before, we are now forced to focus on them. The placements of these planets show us where we either are naturally inclined to review and replay consequences in our heads, or where it would be beneficial to do so.

Those with retrograde planets often experience a delay in being able to grasp their retrograde planets’ potentials, and this usually occurs at 30 years old or older. Before that, the energies of these planets feel unfulfilled and often leave us struggling internally over how to “fix” this part of our lives. Although it’s a real bitch, it is a necessary evil.

People who have multiple retrograde planets in their natal chart may likely be “late bloomers” and wonder why and how other people of the same age group may seem to have their shit together. Well, it’s probably because you were an asshole in your past life, and they weren’t. JUST KIDDING! Kind of. I personally have 4 outer planets in retrograde as well as a loaded 12th house, so I gave myself permission to make fun. You aren’t alone here! Astrologer Michael Schulman wrote of “Retrograde Individuals,” who have either of these in the natal chart:

  • 3 or more planets in retrograde
  • Personal planets in retrograde (Mercury, Venus, Mars) – Sun and Moon do not go into retrograde
  • A retrograde planet near the Ascendant or the Midheaven

Retrograde Individuals live life mostly in their subconscious and unconscious minds. If they can discover how to overcome their retrograde planets’ weaknesses and develop their strengths, they will be able to reach a heightened consciousness among others. Retrograde planets are often in natal charts of those we consider to be geniuses.



Mercury in the natal chart indicates patterns in communication, thought processes, writing, short trips, public speaking, and reasoning. Mercury’s sign indicates the style of expression and thought processes. Mercury’s house indicates an area where the native seeks to mentally master and have a voice in.

A Mercury Retrograde native absorbs information on a more subjective level than a Mercury-direct native would. Facts will be taken from something this person hears, sees or reads, but what is focused on most is the essence or the feeling this person gets from this information. One with Mercury in retrograde will have inner conversations with themselves about something, which leads to an intensified perspective, and then have a difficult time outwardly expressing it. This often leads to one feeling greatly misunderstood. Another focus for those with Mercury Retrograde is other peoples’ motives – even if their intuitions may not be in tune with reality, they will focus on whether or not others mean what they say. These natives have difficulty concentrating and focusing. Mercury Retrograde individuals also tend to have issues with inferiority and self-criticism. From a karmic perspective, this is because the soul remembers being mentally and verbally blindsided by people in past lives.

If you have natal Mercury Retrograde, you have likely felt that your intelligence is lower than it actually is. That is actually so far removed from the truth. You actually process information differently and on a much deeper level than Mercury-direct natives. Although many decisions are thought out in depth, other decisions are made rashly because you are frustrated with your thoughts going in circles. You can work on Mercury Retrograde setbacks by working on self-love and confidence. You can also express yourself creatively – you are likely to be skilled in written word, photography, art, composing music or playing music.




Venus in the natal chart represents love, sensuality, romance, beauty, money, what we value, tastes and what makes us happy. Traditional astrology believes this is where a woman’s feminine expression is found and where a man’s vision of a potential partner would be. Venus’ sign indicates how we receive and give love, what kind of relationships we prefer and how we enjoy ourselves. Venus in the houses indicate where one can use powers of seduction, where one seeks to harmonize and where one can easily relate to others.

Venus Retrograde natives often feel withheld in love relationships and have difficulty openly expressing love and affection for others. These people can feel as if the Mute Button was pressed on their love languages. When Venus Retrograde people want to express love and affection, consequences are often replayed in their heads before doing anything about it – this often results in unexpressed feelings. Acts of love from others may be interpreted unconventionally and rejected because of doubts. Hurts caused by others are internalized and dwelled on. Venus Retrograde natives tend to go to extremes in terms of feelings in relationships – they can either become obsessed or indifferent. From a karmic perspective, this is because the native’s memory of relationships in past lives left them feeling scarred from love.

Venus Retrograde men are known for being attracted to unconventional women and relationships. Venus Retrograde women are known for expressing her femininity in a unique fashion.

If you have Venus Retrograde, you have likely felt misunderstood in love relationships and wondered if you were capable of loving the “right” way. Financial strain could be a constant theme earlier in life. Learn to be open with loved ones about what you are feeling. Also, choose to be involved with people who are self-reliant, since much of this lifetime will be spent boosting your own self-esteem and figuring out your own needs. Figure out ways to appreciate the beauty in every person and situation you encounter. In terms of money, always keep some aside for a rainy day.




Mars in the natal chart represents energy, primal attraction, aggression and anger, and action. Traditional astrology believes Mars to indicate how a man’s masculinity and sexuality will be expressed, and for women it is where we will find what kind of partner she would desire. Mars in the signs indicate our sexual nature, temperament and how we acquire what we want. Mars in the houses indicate which area of life we will actively spend a lot of our energy and express enthusiasm.

Mars Retrograde natives have difficulty showing anger and can lack the drive to take action when something is wanted or needed. Anger can be shown in extreme ways – one being repressed rage or acted out in haste when energy has been pent up. The restriction of Mars’ energy from childhood and past life experiences will be felt by the Mars retrograde native and those involved with him. People who are close to these individuals will probably have to find ways to read their aggression levels on a subtle level. This planetary energy could also cause one to endlessly search for people who embody those who fulfilled them in the past. These individuals also find comfort in spiritual endeavors, or activities in which one can feel a sense of relinquishment – yet depending on other natal chart factors, can abandon the physical body’s needs. From a karmic perspective, Mars is in retrograde because the soul feels a need to make up for sins in past lives.

For men with Retrograde Mars, sexual experiences may prove to be difficult – impotence and insecure sex drives are often associated with this. In women, Mars Retrograde could lead to promiscuity and overcharged sexual energy.

If you have Mars Retrograde in your natal chart, you probably feel that your assertive and action-oriented self has hit the mute button. Conflict and competitive situations are hard to handle without overthinking a plan of action. Set aside ample time on at least most days to exercise, get a full night’s sleep and eat a nutrient-conscious diet. Study your own patterns of aggression and know when you need to express feelings of anger. Involve yourself with people who are willing to work with you on the “give and take” in relationships. In love and sexual relationships, search for those whom you have a spiritual connection with – this will fulfill your Mars retrograde needs on many levels.