What Planets Are in Retrograde Right Now? Mercury Once Again

20th Apr 2024
What Planets Are in Retrograde Right Now? Mercury Once Again

Probably, each of us has heard about Mercury retrograde, because astrologers so often scare, predicting impending trouble. But did you know that retrograde motion is a very routine event, typical for all solar system planets, and it has a logical scientific explanation? 

Here you will find answers to the questions: What does retrograde mean? What planets are in retrograde in 2024? And why exactly does Mercury always take the rap for everyone?

What Does It Mean When A Planet Is In Retrograde?

Planets moving in retrograde are an astronomical phenomenon when they appear to be moving against their normal direction across the celestial sphere. The word comes from Latin and means “step back”—retro (back) and gradus (step). 

In fact, nothing of the kind happens since astronomy has long proven that all planets move strictly in their orbits around the Sun, following the same direction — along the ecliptic, from West to East. This movement is referred to as “direct”. Retrograde motion is just an optical illusion caused by our perspective from Earth. But why does it happen?

The reason hides in the different orbital speeds and planets’ positions. The closer a planet is to the Sun, the faster it moves around it. Imagine that you are driving a car and overtaking another car — while overtaking, it will seem that this car is going backwards, even though it is moving in the same direction as you, only slower.

Mercury and Venus move faster than the Earth and have a shorter orbit, so when they overtake the Earth, “backward motion” occurs. At this moment, from the point of view of an observer on Earth, Mercury begins to move from West to East.

The outer planets—Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune—move slower than Earth. So, when the Earth overtakes them during its orbital movement, it creates the illusion that they are moving from East to West.

On the animation below, you can see Jupiter’s apparent retrograde motion.

Jupiter moving retrogade

For ancient astronomers, who believed that the Earth was the centre of the Universe, the phenomenon of planets in retrograde was a mystery. Only in the 16th century, when Nicolaus Copernicus published his work On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres, outlining and justifying the heliocentric system of the world, did it become obvious that the retrograde planet’s motion was just an illusion.

Is There A Retrograde Right Now?

Yes. Guess who? It is Mercury once again. In the table below, you can see the schedule of planet retrogrades for 2024.

#Planet RetrogradeDuration
1Mercury 1–25 April;5–28 August;26 November – 15 December20–23 days
2Pluto 02 May – 11 October 162 days
3Saturn 29 June – 15 November138 days
4Neptune 02 July – 07 December 158 days
5Uranus 01 September 2024 – 30 January 2025151 days
6Jupiter 09 October 2024 – 04 February 2025118 days
7Mars 06 December 2024 – 23 February 202579 days
8Venus 01 March 2025 – 12 April 202542 days

How Do Planets In Retrograde Affect Us?

Scientifically speaking, the retrograde planet movement does not affect our lives in any way. The problem is that at least 30% of people on Earth are more than willing to believe in astrology, horoscopes, and astrological forecasts and listen to astrologers’ advice. But besides disadvantages, this also has an upside. It all depends on how a person reacts to the information received.

What Does Retrograde Mean Spiritually?

In a spiritual context, the term is often associated with a period of introspection and reassessment of life values. It is seen as a time when the normal forward motion of life slows down, providing an opportunity to look back, analyse past actions, resolve unresolved issues, focus on problems, and adjust one’s tasks and goals.

What Does Retrograde Mean In Astrology?

Mercury retrograde in Aquarius
Mercury retrograde in Aquarius. Credit: SN VFX/Shutterstock

Astrologers represent the celestial sphere as a Zodiac circle, divided into 12 equal parts, each corresponding to a specific Zodiac sign. Each planet has its own Zodiac sign (the only exceptions are Cancer and Leo. The first one is ruled by the Moon, the second one — by the Sun).

Depending on what retrograde we are in, a person born under one or another Zodiac sign feels the planets’ influence on various aspects of his life, to a lesser or greater extent. For example, if the planet that rules your Zodiac sign passes through your Zodiac sign in ‘irregular’ motion, then the influence on you is believed to be especially strong.

Let’s see, how each planet affects us while in retrograde, and what should we take care of to avoid troubles at this time. 

Mercury In Retrograde 

Zodiac: Gemini, Virgo

Associated with various communications, travel, and technologies. During this period, there may be difficulties in communication, failures in communication technologies, transport, unexpected problems during travel and relocation, and problems with documents and signing contracts.

It is recommended to carefully consider your actions and words, check routes and documents, the service conditions of vehicles, and refrain from risky trips and transactions.

Venus In Retrograde 

Zodiac: Taurus, Libra

Venus is considered the planet of love, beauty, harmony and personal values. When it is in apparent backward motion, it is believed that these life areas may face revision or delays. There may be problems in relationships, financial matters, and creative endeavours. Venus retrograde can also bring back old love interests or memories of past relationships. This can be a good opportunity to heal old emotional wounds and close unfinished emotional chapters.

Mars In Retrograde 

Zodiac: Aries, Scorpius

Mars is associated with success and power. It is believed that a planet in retrograde motion leads to a decrease in energy and motivation, makes it difficult to carry out tasks and accomplish goals, and can also stipulate conflicts and aggressive behaviour. It is recommended to manage your energy more carefully and pay attention to your physical and emotional health. Furthermore, it is important to stay aware and control your emotions so as not to harm your relationships with other people.

Jupiter in retrograde

Zodiac: Sagittarius, Pisces

Usually associated with a period of delayed internal growth. This is a time when Jupiter’s energy and influence are supposed to be weakened and require special attention and reflection. It may require more patience and effort, but if you invest it in self-realisation and rethinking your own beliefs and desires, the result will not keep you waiting.

Saturn In Retrograde 

Zodiac: Capricornus 

Associated with responsibility and safety. During this period, difficulties or changes in the professional sphere are possible. You should avoid arguing with influential people and take care of the impression you make. It is better to place financial investments and new projects on hold.

Uranus Planet In Retrograde 

Zodiac: Aquarius

Uranus is associated with innovation, change, and the destruction of the old way of life. This is a time to acquire new perspectives and opportunities, but you will need determination and enthusiasm. Dreams during this period can become very vivid and symbolic to help you realise the real situation and break the stalemate.

Neptune Planet In Retrograde 

Zodiac: Pisces

The eighth planet associates with intuition, illusions, dreams and idealisation, so during the period of Neptune retrograde, you may encounter deception, collapse of hopes, and disappointment. Perception becomes distorted, and it becomes more difficult to distinguish reality from fiction. At this time, it is important to stay aware and critical so as not to get trapped by illusions.

Pluto Planet In Retrograde 

Zodiac: Scorpius

Even though Pluto was demoted to a dwarf planet in 2006, astrologers keep paying attention to it along with other planets.

Pluto retrograde is a time of transformation and rebirth. Things may go your way, so just accept it. View the ending of old relationships or events as making room for new ones. Remember that the feeling of uncertainty will not last long.

Remember that astrology is not a scientific discipline, and its interpretations can vary significantly. You should not rely on astrology entirely, but its warnings can serve us as an additional spiritual incentive for you to break your daily routine and start changing your life for the better.

Why Is Mercury Always Guilty If All The Planets Are Retrograde?

So, as you understand, all planets can be in apparent backward motion, but why do we most often hear about retrograde Mercury? There are several reasons.

First, if you check how often is there a planet in retrograde, you will find that the first planet from the Sun holds the record. Due to its high speed and short orbit, Mercury needs only 88 days per one revolution around the Sun, compared to 365 on Earth. Thus, it overtakes us three to four times a year, and each time it stays in apparent backward motion for about three weeks. Such periods for the planets of the outer group occur no more than once a year; for Venus and Mars — once every 1.5 and 2 years, respectively.

The second reason is astrology. Even though other planets stay in apparent backward motion longer (for the outer planets, the duration reaches several months at a time), astrologers most often associate negative predictions with Mercury. Therefore, it has to take the rap for everyone. This tradition dates back to antiquity, to the times of “horoscopic astrology.” A person asked a question, and a “star specialist” determined the answer by consulting an astrological chart. If Mercury was ‘backward,’ the answer was negative.

The third reason is technological progress. At the end of the 20th century, thanks to radio, the press, and television, interest in astrology was revived, and knowledge about apparent backward planet motion spread more widely. The rapid development of the Internet and the boom of social networks in the 21st century have made the first planet from the Sun into the most famous celestial culprit of our troubles.

Celestial Murphy’s Law In Action

Mercury retrograde meme
Mercury retrograde meme. Credit: horoscope.com

Today, Mercury retrograde is the subject of jokes and memes and associates with with Murphy’s law, which states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” 

In 1949, Air Force captain and Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer Edward Murphy was stationed at Edwards Air Force Base. While researching the causes of airplane crashes, Murphy suggested that if technicians could do something wrong, they would. This statement appeared after one of the aircraft engines began to rotate the propeller in REVERSE because of the mistakes made while assembling.

So, when something goes wrong for us, or we have a “crappy” day, we don’t rush to find out what planets are in retrograde now. We rely on stereotypes and blame Mercury for all our troubles, even if the time’s not right.  After all, why not?

References And Additional Information:

  • The apparent motions of planets https://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1940ASPL….3..238A
  • Planet Retrograde https://www.prokerala.com/astrology/planet-retrograde.php
  • Retrograde motion of the planets: Everything you need to know https://www.sciencefocus.com/space/retrograde
  • How Mercury Retrograde Affects Each Zodiac Sign https://www.almanac.com/mercury-retrograde-and-zodiac-signs
  • Murphy’s Law. When things go wrong https://singularity-app.com/blog/murphys-law/
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