Retrograde motion is an interesting phenomenon in astrology practice. The term describes an optical effect that occurs when one body is moving faster than another body and from the perspective of the faster body, it appears as if the other body is “moving backwards.” This periodic “change in perspective” means something interesting and useful in astrological practice. This article and others will explore the retrograde effect for specific points when they change from direct motion to retrograde motion in any given month.
April 2019 Retrogrades (Jupiter)
In this month, three bodies will go retrograde: Jupiter on 4/11, Pluto on 4/25, and Saturn on 4/30. This article will focus on Jupiter. Astrological activity does not occur in isolation, but it is often how we discuss it to put the pieces together into a larger framework. Jupiter in Sagittarius is like a high-speed train filled to capacity barreling down the tracks. While direct, it will do it’s best to forge ahead at or even beyond capacity, pushing the boundaries, testing the limits. While retrograde the energy push will still be strong, but tempered with energetic resistance or even some kind of backlash.
Expansion and exploration are forms of energy trying to increase; they are neither positive or negative until they pass through human consciousness. We can explore by moving through a new environment with careful awareness or we can plow over it with machinery and complete disregard for the habitat and the creatures or people who inhabit it. We can connect with trade or exploit with force. Extremes in corruption and in humanitarianism will play out simultaneously during this transit, depending on the conscious and unconscious choices of humans.
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On 4/11 when Jupiter retrogrades, the speed limit will change in an attempt to get humanity to slow down and reflect, to take time to process what has “run rampant” during the preceding direct phase of Jupiter. We will get the “411” (which is slang for “relevant information”). Jupiter will be the first of the outer points to go retrograde. Pluto will follow first, then Saturn, both in April. Up until last month, when Mercury went retrograde in March, all the points from Mercury to Pluto, including Chiron were direct. Without some form of retrograde energy at play, situations can get “out-of-hand” very fast and on a very wide scale.
Jupiter Retrograde in Sagittarius
The switch from direct to retrograde motion will take place between the 24th and 25th degree of Sagittarius, making it Sag 25 in the Sabian Symbols, which is, “A chubby boy on a hobbyhorse.” The keyword is Emulation. When positive, the degree is the indomitable determination to give the lesser potentialities of existence a more effective dimension [lift others up], and when negative, idle self-indulgence and ingenuous claims of merit [narcissism] (Jones, 235). Consider those mass migrations, displacement of people, and issues of immigration loom large while many countries in the world are responding with isolationism, intense tribalism, and more restrictive immigration policies. Fundamental belief systems are clashing.
We will continue to see issues of integrity and interdependence running full steam with corruption and selfishness writ large in the public sphere of nations, cities, and businesses. The retrograde energy will demand a review of these energies and how they are being processed on the public and personal scale. Jupiter and Sagittarius rule belief, authority, and learned knowledge. At its best, it is respect for experience and worldly knowledge that is inclusive and, at its most negative, it is authoritarian, tribal, and dictatorial. The world is both getting more complex and “smaller” at the same time. Never in human history has travel between countries been more fluid and possible in such short times over such long distances (I was able to fly from the east coast of America to Johannesburg, South Africa in 24 hours; before flight and steam-powered engines, the voyage by land and sea would have taken 8 to 10 weeks!)
At the Personal Level
On your personal level, any points in your chart that sit at or near the 24th degree of Sagittarius, Gemini, Pisces, Virgo will certainly feel this shift from direct to retrograde in a profound way. The house Sagittarius rules in your chart will also be feeling the impact of Jupiter from 11/2018 until 12/2019, so the retrograde will require you to reflect and re-assess what growth and expansion may have taken place in this area of your life, and now you need to slow down and process the changes.
As an example, I was born with Uranus at 26 degrees of Virgo in my 11th House of Community. Jupiter has been moving through my 2nd House of Needs and Personal Resources. I have been enjoying the general expansion of my resources through continued growth in my business, which has been connecting me with all kinds of different, non-traditional people and communities (Uranus/11th). With the retrograde approaching, I know it will be a time to be selective about what opportunities I take and careful with how much I take on. This will be a time to be more discerning with regard to who I associate with and how I make choices for my business.
How Long Will It Last?
The retrograde period is actually longer than the time a point switches from direct to retrograde and retrograde back to direct. There is the “shadow period” that is the time from the return to direct motion until the point reaches the same degree it first went retrograde. In the case of Jupiter, it is going retrograde on 4/11 at 24 degrees and 20 minutes (24d20m) of Sagittarius. It will go back direct on 8/11 at 14d30m of Sagittarius. It will not get back to 24d20m until 11/6. Between 8/11 and 11/6, this is the “shadow period” of Jupiter’s retrograde journey. Jupiter will be completely “out of the shadow” of the retrograde transit on 11/7.
Effectively, the Jupiter retrograde period will run from 4/11 to 11/7, so a good chunk of the rest of the year. One of the best ways to move through this energy is not by turning away from growth, but being more thoughtful about how to regulate your grown so that it will not meet a setback that brings you crashing down. Here’s a concrete example of how to understand and respect the retrograde energy: if you are thinking of buying property, during the direct phase you might risk it all and buy to the absolute limits of your budget. With Jupiter retrograde, but in Sagittarius, it is still a good time to buy but once you know your upper limit, try to buy 15% to 20% below that limit. There is a good chance, something “hidden” (common in retrograde phases) will pop up and you will be in a position to face it with the money you saved.
Jupiter direct in Sagittarius is “risky risk”, while Jupiter in Sagittarius retrograde is more like “calculated risk”. Keep stretching but do so thoughtfully and some reserve.