Kelsey Miller | Interview with the AstroTwins | ELOQUII Style & Substance
Kelsey Miller

What To Do When EVERYTHING Goes Retrograde

Kelsey Miller, Contributing Editor

astrology astrotwins

Astrology’s not everyone’s thing. But even if you couldn’t care less about planetary alignment, there are two things you’re almost certainly aware of: Your own sign, and retrograde. These days, the phrase “Mercury Retrograde” is shorthand for, “The universe has descended into chaos. Stay indoors and avoid human contact for the next 4-6 weeks.”

But here’s the twist: Retrograde is not all bad news. It’s not all about Mercury either. I spoke with Ophira Edut, of the inimitable AstroTwins, who gave us the real deal on all-things retrograde.

The planets aren’t actually moving backwards.

Earth orbits the sun faster than other planets in our solar system, meaning that occasionally, it outpaces them. When that happens, the planet appears to be moving backwards, “much like a speeding car…passing a slower one,” Edut explains. Just an FYI, in case you thought planets were spontaneously changing direction. (Like I did.)

Here’s why Mercury Retrograde is a doozy

Mercury’s retrograde is the most infamous, probably for two reasons: First, it happens frequently, and for short periods of time. And second, Edut says, “It affects our daily lives.” Mercury is the messenger planet, ruling travel, technology, and communication. “Those are the things we rely on to function.” Traffic jams, computer crashes, a misunderstood text message that explodes into a fight—this is classic Mercury Retrograde. Most of us already have a fair amount of dread about dropping our phones or getting stuck on a stalled train, and that’s why Mercury Retrograde is so universally feared.

But it’s also a little overhyped. As Edut says: “It’s kind of become the Pumpkin Spice Latte of retrogrades.”

Everything goes retrograde—not just Mercury

Mercury has the biggest rep, but the other planets go retrograde too. “And they really affect us,” says Edut (more on that later). You may not have heard as much about them, because the things they impact tend to be more big-picture and less tangible than, say, our phones. But also because their retrogrades are generally longer—meaning less transition periods. And truly, that’s what makes retrogrades so difficult.

Beware “the jerk”

Stationing (AKA the shadow period) is the phase during which a planet is switching from direct to retrograde, and vice versa. “It’s literally like when a train pulls into the station, and it kind of jerks you, and gives you that moment of whiplash,” Edut explains. Often this clunky transition can be more unpleasant than the retrograde itself. Consider Pluto and Uranus, says Edut, both of which are associated with anger and hot-headedness. When they’re in retrograde, that rage is weakened and toned down. Then, during the stationing period, “Boom! It comes back with a vengeance.” 

Change is always hard—but it’s also a constant. That’s why, Edut says, we’ve been approaching retrogrades all wrong.

Don’t fear retrograde. Embrace it.

“There’s no denying that retrograde can throw some curveballs at you,” Edut admits. But retrogrades provide unique opportunities as well. Neptune, for example, “is known for whipping up drama and confusion. It can have a disorienting effect.” So, when it’s power is dimmed by a retrograde, you may have a sudden sense of clarity. “That’s when I get clearer about things I’ve been foggy on. I welcome a Neptune retrograde,” she says.

There are major perks to retrogrades, and they don’t deserve the panic with which they’re met. Edut stresses that we’re worrying about them far too much. “Astrology can be misused [like this],” she explains. “It’s supposed to help give you coping tools—not make you even more scared than you already are.”

Bottom line: When it comes to retrogrades, she says, “It’s all in how you use it.” Here’s how to start.

Mercury: Reconnect with old friends, give yourself time to reflect before responding to emails, and yes, take the opportunity to backup your photos. (When’s the last time you did that anyway?)

Venus: While this can bring relationship issues to the surface—and potentially bring back old partners—it can also be a blessed break from romantic stress. “All that pressure single people feel to date,” says Edut. “Or couples, who feel the need to Instagram every fucking sundae they share.” Use this time to give yourself a break from all that. “Focus on you.”

Mars: Associated with anger, lust, and combat, Mars’ retrograde offers ample opportunity to hone your conflict-resolution skills. This is also a great time to confront something or someone you’ve been avoiding.

In general, a retrograde is a chance to clean up old messes, projects, or issues, “if you’ve swept something under the rug in your life,” concludes Edut. “And who hasn’t?”

Special thanks to the AstroTwins for sharing their insight and retrograde resources. If you want to read more (and learn about the outer planet retrogrades!), check out their guide here. ELOQUII readers also get 20% off their 2017 Planetary Planners. Enter 2017 at checkout.