Early man looked up at the night sky and saw the stars. A few of the
stars appeared to wander. Those wandering stars are now known as planets.
Imagine the bewilderment of those night-sky observers when some of
those wandering stars appeared to slow down, stand still, and even
go backwards, before they stopped again and resumed their forward
Some of these planets performed this weird behavior every year. One
appeared to do this every second year. But these apparent retrograde
motions did not occur at the same point in the sky each year. Only
the Sun and the Moon seemed to move solely in a forward direction.
While these early observers of the night-sky did not know the real
reason for this apparent retrograde motion (the relative motion of
the planetary orbits as seen from the Earth in its own orbit), they
did correlate human behavior and events with the retrograde activity.
Retrograde motion of the planets is usually studied in two basic areas.
First there is the role of individual retrograde planets in the natal
horoscope; then there is the mundane question of what happens when
a transiting planet goes retrograde. Advanced Astrologers, however,
also consider the special effects of multiple retrograde planets in
one's natal and progressed horoscopes. (Some people have zero retrograde
planets, some have one, and others have more than one.)
Let us define some terms that are unique to the concept of retrograde
motion. Rather than using some planet in a hypothetical situation,
I shall use Jupiter in its 1997 motion. The year started out with
Jupiter moving forward fourteen minutes a day. Jupiter's motion later
averaged thirteen minutes a day. By April first, Jupiter was moving
eleven minutes a day; by April 30, only eight minutes a day. In May,
it appeared, from here on Earth, that Jupiter was really slowing down.
It was crawling. On the sixteenth of May, Jupiter was at twenty-one
degrees Aquarius and slowing down to three, two, one minute a day.
For about five days, Jupiter appeared to be at a standstill at twenty-one
degrees and fifty-six minutes of Aquarius. The center of this standstill
was on June tenth. This is defined as: Jupiter is now at its station,
or, Jupiter is now Stationary Retrograde. (SRx) From this time on,
Jupiter appears to be going backwards until it becomes Stationary
again on October eighth.
This is the second stop. Then it will go forward again, so this stop
is called Stationary Direct. (SD) We say that Jupiter made its second
station at twelve degrees and five minutes of Aquarius on October
eighth and then went direct (or forward.) Eventually, Jupiter passes
the first Station where it had stopped and then went retrograde. So,
there is a portion of the zodiac that is visited by Jupiter three
times: First, in the forward direction , then in the retrograde direction,
and third, after October eighth, during the resumed forward motion,
when Jupiter is retracing its steps and covering a portion of the
zodiac that it has already covered. In summary, during 1997, the area
from 12 degrees Aquarius to 21 degrees Aquarius is visited by Jupiter
three times. If you happen to have a planet situated in this area,
you will have the benefits of a transiting Jupiter conjunction three
times. The Country singer Garth Brooks has Mercury, Sun, Jupiter,
and Venus in this small portion of the sky. 1997 should be a spectacular
year for him.
This is the story that most Astrology students are taught. They would
be taught, for example, that in 1997 Jupiter will be retrograde from
June tenth to October eighth. Period and end of story. They wonder,
sometimes, why they feel the aberrant behavior of a planet before
it turns retrograde, or why they still feel the aberrant behavior
after it has turned direct again.
We come now to the concept of SHADOW. The 1997 retrograde motion of
goes from 21 Aquarius back to 12 Aquarius. In its initial forward
motion, Jupiter is at 12 degrees and five minutes of Aquarius
on April fourteenth, a full two months before its station at 21
degrees. During this period from April 14 to June 10, it is said
that Jupiter is already in its Shadow, because this is the area
that will be covered in its retrograde motion.
When Jupiter goes direct in motion on October eighth at 12 degrees
and five minutes of Aquarius, it is starting a journey back to twenty-one
degrees and fifty-six minutes of Aquarius, which it will not reach
until December thirtieth. From October eighth to December thirtieth,
in forward motion, Jupiter will again be in its own Shadow.
The effects of Shadow are frequently overlooked by those Astrologers
who look only at computer-generated horoscopes where there is no attempt
to ascertain whether the direct motion of a planet is pure or in shadow.
A look at an Ephemeris or at a Graphical Ephemeris will disclose the
Future articles will continue the discussion of the astrology of retrograde
motion. In the meantime, take a look at the charts of those dear to
you and examine the possibility of the shadow.