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Encyclopedia of Vedic Astrology: Planetary Transit: What is Transit, Chapter I, Part - 7

Dr. Shanker Adawal

1.6 Retrogression of Planets

1.6.1 The retrograde motion of a planet is its apparent backward motion through the sky, caused by the Earth travelling past a slower moving outer planet, or when the Earth is itself passed by a faster moving inner planet. In astrology, this backward motion is traditionally thought to be inauspicious and indicative of stress or difficulty. The Sanskrit name for retrogression is Vakri. Vakri means twisted, crooked, winding, round about, indirect, evasive or ambiguous. The potential of a retrograde planet is to be flexible, to twist things around or to convey its message in an indirect way to view life in a different way. By doing so, it can strengthen itself and become adaptable, original, innovative and different. On the negative side, it can be a twisted thinker, crooked and dishonest. A native can deal with the quality & potential of a retrograde planet in a positive or negative way as per his karma, will power & thinking. The general principles are that influences of benefic planets are weakened and evil effects of malefic planets are increased during retrogression.

1.6.2 Transits of planets from Mercury to Saturn are more complex than straight direct movements of the Sun & Moon and of the Rahu & Ketu which are always retrograde. These five planets express the practical reality of our life. They form the Panch Mahapurusha Yoga that bestows greatness on the Earth. These five planets rule over five primary elements (Mercury-Earth, Venus-water, Mars-Fire, Jupiter-ether & Saturn-air) that influence our physical body and control our organs of desires, emotions & senses. Their retrogression involve repeated periods of slower retrograde motion in the reverse direction through the signs and degrees of the zodiac, interspersed with the more rapid direct motion in the normal direction. Whenever one of these planets ceases to move in direct motion and turns retrograde or ceases to move in reverse direction before becoming direct, it comes to a halt temporarily. When a planet is close to one of its halt stations, it moves very slowly, within its aspecting Orb (particularly within a degree) and any aspect it forms by transit to a point in the birth chart, will be more effective and last much longer than it normally does.

1.6.3 When a planet is retrograding, it affects the matter pertaining to the affairs of the house that it rules. If it was retrograde at birth, it means that during this life time, until it completes its retrogression, one has to deal with things that have causes or beginning in one’s previous birth and now requires attention. A retrograde planet always marks a particular intensity of that planet’s function, but implies delay, impediment & frustration. It marks a point where one is a bit naïve, lacking in facts but never in motivation. A retrograde planet allows time to review the circumstances impersonally and decide what to do about it unaffected by emotions with concealed & compulsory indirect activities. These are times to use caution and make no important move till the planet becomes direct again and enable the native to enjoy the fruits.

1.6.4 Phenomenon of Triple transit: When transiting planets turn retrograde, they very commonly form in retrograde motion, the same transiting aspect they recently made in direct motion to a particular point in the birth chart. At this point, the same issues are highlighted in the life of the native affected during the first direct motion will be brought into focus again, but usually with a sense that there is more still to be done to resolve them. Then when the transiting planet turns direct once more and forms the same aspect in direct motion for the final time, the issues concerned will meet their final outcome as affected by the transit that has been on going. Thus triple transit by a planet (usually by an outer planet) over the same degree makes it difficult to identify the exact time of maximum stress.

The triple transit seems to relate to a long term process rather than to a single event. The first contact indicates the beginning of the process, the second is a culmination/ crisis, and the third indicates the concluding events in the process. An alternate view is that one of the three transit will signify an issue for the native to handle. If the native handle the issue properly, the other transits may go by without any notice. If one does not, the same/ similar issue will arise which relates to same problem from a different angle, and this will continue to happen, until the problem is taken care of.

When a transiting planet goes stationary on a natal planet or cusp of a house, it is possible to have a double transit. A planet that makes a stationary, direct or retrograde, while transiting a natal planet/ house cusp, is very significant, and whatever event is signified by the transit will usually happen at that time rather than during swifter direct transit that takes place either or after the stationary transit.

1.6.5 The retrograde motion of planets affects the quality & intensity of applying aspects. When the two planets are within the effective range of an aspect and the slower moving planet is in retrograde motion, the planets will move towards each other with additional speed making it more effective and keenly felt. This is called Mutual Application. The mutual application is stronger than the normal applying aspect.


Dr. Shanker Adawal

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