Retrograde motion is an apparent change in the movement of a planet through the sky. The planet does not physically start moving backward in its orbit, but appears to be because of the relative positions of the planet and Earth and how they are moving around the Sun.
In astrology, when a planet is in retrograde, the energy produced by that planet which affects us results in an internal (rather than external) mental challenge, and our pursuits are within ourselves, focused on what we observe inwardly.
This month, Venus’ retrograde ends on Nov. 15. Mercury turns retrograde the next day, a phase that continues through Dec. 6. In astrology, Mercury reveals to us the nature of the thinking mind, and at no time is that truer than during its retrograde. Governing communication and commerce, Mercury’s retrograde is notorious for derailing our linear trajectory. Rather than see this as a problem, we may choose to view it as a necessary part of the cycle.
These periods demonstrate that, far from being reliable, the thinking mind is actually quite malleable, subject to its own limited perspective, vacillations, and prejudices. Unlike the body, the mind is not moored in time. Mercury exemplifies this quality, moving more quickly than any other planet, but also turning retrograde more often.
Able to flit from future to past, our thoughts can produce feelings of anxiety and regret if left unmanaged. With Mercury (mind) in retrograde and Venus (heart) direct (appearing to be in forward motion), compassionate self-reflection and revision are essential components to living in mindfulness. When our carefully laid plans go awry, it is merely a reminder that our power is in our presence.
The Sun will soon overtake Jupiter, leaving Mars as the brightest planet in the night sky. Lucky for us, the shoreline of North Lake Tahoe provides a glorious, unobstructed venue for viewing the red planet! Mars becomes visible as the sky darkens at sunset. Facing the lake, one will find the planet high and center in the southern sky, remaining visible through the later hours of the evening until setting in the west around midnight.
Mars will be in the constellation of Aquarius this month, and by early December he can be found above Fomalhaut, one of the brightest, but loneliest, stars in the autumn sky. Fomalhaut sits low on the horizon, notably luminous in an otherwise dark part. It is one of four key fixed stars, known as the Persian Royal Stars, which also includes Antares, Aldebaran, and Regulus. They mark the four corners of the firmament, each commanding the sky in a different season.
Learning to identify these stars assists the amateur astronomer in finding the path of the ecliptic — the name for the path along which the Sun, Moon, and five visible planets move. Our ancestors mapped 12 constellations along this path, which we now know as the constellations of the zodiac.
~ Dawn Andreoni is yoga teacher and astrologer living on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. You can find more about her offerings at celestialdawnastrology.com or follow her at facebook.com/astronotions.