Our society as a whole seems to have learned just enough about Astrology at this point to fear retrograde periods…which might actually be worse than not being aware of them at all.
It’s not super-helpful to think of retrograde periods as being necessarily “bad.” Yes, depending on the specifics of a given retrograde interval, and also depending on the specifics of your own unique chart, then it could sometimes seem that things do go off the rails for you during retrograde times. Then again, if you were to keep a journal in dedicated fashion, you’d probably also find that plenty of things tend to go off the rails in your life even when no Planets at all are moving in retrograde fashion…
More helpful than adopting a viewpoint of “retrogrades = all bad, all the time,” it’s wise to always consider first which Planet it is that’s going retrograde…and then look at your own chart to see if you have any features in it that might be on the receiving end of that Planet’s shifting energies when the retrograde event happens.
But what does that mean in plain-speak, without all the Astro-jargon…?
Basically, the first part (“Which Planet is going retrograde?”) is saying that Mercury going retrograde, for example, won’t cause the same effects or ping the same themes that, say, Venus going retrograde will cause and ping. And the same holds true for Mars, and Jupiter, and Saturn, and on through the entire cast of planetary characters. Each Planet has its own unique set of functions, so you need to focus on which Planet is doing the retro-work in question.
And then the second part – the bit about looking at your own chart – means that a given retrograde event won’t generally affect any two people in quite the same way. Think of the Planet going retrograde as a transmitter, beaming out a signal. Now think of yourself and everyone else in the world as being receivers in the shapes of humans. Each of us is different, and we’ll each receive that Planet’s transmissions in slightly different ways. Some people will be reading the broadcast so loud and clear that it will hurt, while others will have to strain to hear it at all.
So what happens when the Planet going retrograde is that interesting Planetoid, Chiron? This is a pretty good question to be asking right about now, as Chiron is set to station retrograde this coming Saturday (July 1, 2017)…
We need to start off by focusing on what makes Chiron a unique force… Chiron the Planetoid is named for a figure from out of classical mythology who was known as “the Wounded Healer.” Chiron was an immortal centaur (= half-humanoid/half-horse) who was scratched with an arrow that happened to have been coated with the blood of the Hydra, one of the most fearsome monsters ever to slither across the ancient Greek landscape. Being an immortal, Chiron couldn’t die, but the Hydra’s blood was so toxic, that he couldn’t metabolize it out of his system, either. He couldn’t heal from the wound. Chiron was therefore trapped in this horrible state of perpetual agony.
When his own already impressive medical knowledge failed to offer up a cure, Chiron traveled the world, looking into more and more exotic possible remedies. Nothing helped, but he did at least pick up so much new healing knowledge and skill that he became one of the greatest healers of all time.
Perpetually wounded + medical wizard = “The Wounded Healer”
In our birth charts, then, Chiron points out an area where we bear some sort of deep-rooted “soul-wound,” some trauma or condition that causes us ongoing pain in our lives until we can hopefully learn to heal it. This can be an actual physical condition, or something less tangible (a spiritual, emotional, or mental “wound”). The good news is that our experiences with our own Chironic wounds can allow us to become great healers of the same kind of wounds in others.
All of which is the backstory… Let’s jump now to this Saturday, when Chiron up in the sky will suddenly look to us here on Earth as if it will be stopping in its tracks, and then moving backwards in the sky. This is just an optical illusion caused by the realities of us observing Chiron from a different body in space that’s moving at a very different speed than Chiron is…but in Astrology, this kind of event carries an important meaning.
The gist of it is that whereas Planetary energies are generally beaming themselves all around us in the external world, when a Planet goes retrograde, its energies will then seem to manifest more within our inner worlds. This Chiron retrograde period will therefore be a five-month window of opportunity during which we can possibly make great strides in recognizing and even healing our own deepest soul-wounds.
Your best bet will be – as always! – to start by analyzing the Chiron situation in your own birth chart. What Sign and what House does your natal Chiron reside in? The Sign will give you some clues about the nature of your intrinsic wounds, while the House will flag some area of your life in which those wounds will most often and most intensely be felt.
Next, examine any Aspects that connect your natal Chiron to any other Planets in your chart. Squares and oppositions will be especially useful in understanding more about the characteristics of your wounds, and grasping what might cause you to keep aggravating them all over again. Meanwhile, the more harmonious trines and sextiles will be more likely to suggest ways in which you might soothe and even heal those wounds.
After you’ve put in some time analyzing your own natal Chiron, take a look at where the actual Chiron Planetoid is in the sky right now – the very final stretch of Pisces – and see if you have any important Planets or Points in that same area in your own birth chart. If so, you may be especially inclined to feel the Chironic energy-waves during this five-month period. You might also want to examine the corresponding sections within the other Mutable Signs (Gemini, Virgo, and Sagittarius) in your chart, and the same thing will hold true: if you have any important placements in the last few degrees of any of those Signs, this retrograde period may be an eventful one for you.
Chiron will remain in this retrograde state until December 5th, when it stations direct (“goes back to normal”), so you have five months during which you can hopefully tune in and really gain insight with respect to your deepest, most longstanding sources of spiritual pain. Chironic healing is a tremendous gift when it comes, so it might be terrific policy to encourage it during this retrograde interval.
Gentle and versatile healing and other holistic practices will be especially helpful at this time: Reiki, meditation, and yoga are a few examples of some modalities you might consider. You can also make use of any techniques that can be keyed more precisely into your own specific Chironic situation.
Try viewing this period not as a time for wallowing in self-pity about your wounds, but as a positive opportunity to bring about some deep and profound healing…