A planet is retrograde when it is appears to be moving backward in the sky relative to our perspective here on Earth. The appearance of retrograde motion occurs because of the relative difference in the speed of a planet in its orbit around the sun.
However… it is an illusion.
Imagine that you are stationary at a traffic light. Suddenly the car next to you takes off unexpectedly—you may find yourself reacting by pressing down on the brakes because of a temporary illusionary feeling of moving backwards.
On average, we experience at least one planet in retrograde about 80% of the time. Mercury, Venus, Mars all come closer to the Earth than the Sun, thus penetrating the interior heart space of our solar system, hence they are the most challenging, and require the biggest adjustments to our status quo. Jupiter and Saturn go retrograde more frequently, about a third of the time, and the shape of their loops are more flattened and less extreme. So, we can interpret these retrogrades as being somewhat less personal, less challenging overall, and requiring smaller adjustments. The outer planets are retrograde about 40% of the time, so most people have at least one of them retrograde.
As retrograde motion is different than the norm, it’s often experienced as disruptive. It seems that getting off the beaten track could be experienced as being less disruptive when we know it’s coming and plan for it by allowing room for movement and including beneficial practices, such as being more observant, relaxing our expectations and taking less for granted. As we know that retrograde motion is a side-effect of proximity, perhaps any problems we perceive during retrogrades are at least somewhat due to being too close to someone or something to see it objectively. So, what to do? Taking our time, getting a little distance, and changing perspectives may be very helpful. In the end, a change in perspective might just give us access to an opportunity we would have missed otherwise. Viewed through this lens, perhaps retrograde misadventures can become worth it—even transformative.