What does ‘in retrograde’ mean and how will the next one affect your star sign?

·5-min read
The solar system (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
The solar system (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

In astrology, a planet being in “retrograde” has become a term most feared by zodiac-lovers and astrology amateurs alike. But just because a planet has entered its retrograde phase doesn’t necessarily mean the world is about to combust. In fact, a retrograde can bring about changes in communication, romantic possibilities, and career opportunities.

Here’s a breakdown of what it means when a planet is in retrograde, and how it could affect your star sign.

What is ‘retrograde’?

In astrology, retrograde describes the apparent backwards movement of a planet. This is because the planet isn’t actually moving backwards – it’s only an illusion.

According to NASA, the illusion occurs because of how Earth and other planets orbit the sun.

For example, we can think of Mars and Earth like “race cars on an oval track”. Earth has the inside lane and moves much faster than Mars, so fast that it makes two laps around the sun in the time that Mars makes one. “About every 26 months, Earth comes up from behind and overtakes Mars,” NASA explains. As Earth passes Mars by, it gives the illusion that Mars is moving backwards.

In astrology each planet has a different meaning, which is turned on its head when it appears to be moving backwards, or “in retrograde”.

What to expect when each planet is in retrograde

According to experts at Astrology.com, every time a planet is in retrograde it can have impact us in different ways. Here’s how you may be affected.


Mercury is the planet of thinking, timing and communication. When it is in retrograde, it can cause scheduling mix-ups and miscommunications.


Mars is regarded as the planet of energy and passion. During Mars retrograde, expect new crushes to fizzle out. New projects may also fail to take off, as it stifles our passions.


Jupiter is the planet of spirituality and expansion. During Jupiter retrograde, Astrology.com says you can expect periods of intense spiritual and inner growth.


Venus is the planet of love and romance. When Venus is in retrograde this could signal challenges and deal-breakers for people in relationships, while new relationships starting during this time may feel “perfectly crafted”.


Saturn is the planet of karma and work. Saturn in retrograde can affect our sense of responsibilities and discipline.


Uranus is the planet of rebellion. When in retrograde, it could bring sudden changes and split decisions.


Neptune is the planet of illusion. During Neptune retrograde, our sense of reality may be affected and we could find ourselves open to “deceptions and delusion”.


Pluto is the planet of power. When Pluto retrogrades, it can inspire people to “evolve” and process feelings and ideas they may be ignoring.

When is the next retrograde and how will it affect my star sign?

This year, Mercury will experience four retrogrades in January, May, September, and at the end of December. The second retrograde will start on 10 May and last throughout Taurus season, until the beginning of Gemini season on 3 June. But Mercury retrograde isn’t the only planet wreaking havoc this year. Prepare for Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto to all retrograde in 2022.

Depending on a person’s star sign, this month’s Mercury retrograde will have different effects for everyone. Here’s what to expect.


The beginning of Mercury retrograde will create miscommunication when it enters Aries’ third house of communication. As Mercury transits into Gemini season, Aries will need to focus on their finances and streams of income.


Throughout May and June, Mercury retrograde will affect Taurus’s house of finances and the first house of self. Taurus will begin the retrograde taking a necessary look at their spending habits. By the end of the transit, Taurus will shift their focus to their personal goals and relationships.


Since Mercury is the planetary ruler of Gemini, Mercury will feel right at home in this sign. While Geminis are usually known for being natural conversationalists, a Mercury retrograde during Gemini season will create missed connections and miscommunication.

Since Mercury will be spending some time in the part of your chart that rules the self, expect to be introspective and dig deep when it comes to your identity.

Once the Mercury retrograde enters Taurus season and into Gemini’s twelfth house of subconscious, Gemini will start to feel vulnerable and spiritual.


This retrograde will activate the area of your birth chart that rules community and the subconscious, which could bring up intense dreams, and old friends or lovers looking for closure.


Leos could find themselves instigating change in their friendships at the beginning of the retrograde. As Taurus season approaches, Leos will focus their attention on their career, professional relationships, and reputation.


During this retrograde, Virgos will find it easier to embrace the intellectual. Virgos should expand their minds by reading a book or signing up for a workshop.


Libras are encouraged to be curious, ask questions, and consider your own personal philosophy. Libras will ponder life’s biggest questions during this retrograde, and examine how they fit into this world.


This retrograde will force Scorpio to make changes in their romantic partnerships. Are you giving too much and receiving too little in your relationship? Renegotiate boundaries this retrograde, Scorpio.


The sectors of relationships and health will be activated for Sagitarrius as this retrograde moves from Taurus to Gemini season. Old issues revolving around your past relationships might resurface, and it could affect your current romantic partnership. Later in the transit, Sagittarius should introduce some healthier habits to their daily routine.


This Mercury retrograde will have Capricorns feeling overwhelmed with work. Capricorns should reconsider their work/life balance during this time. By the end of Mercury retrograde, Capricorns will experience a surge of creativity and fun.


As Mercury retrograde moves through Taurus, Aquarians will face confusion around dating, especially when it comes to an ex-fling resurfaces. Conservations with an old flame might be healing during this time, but take it any futher. Instead, focus on your family and home once Mercury transits to Gemini.


This retrograde is a good time for Pisces to think about their home situation. Miscommunication might cause domestic drama between family members or roommates.

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