Astrology 101 – Basic rules of interpretation – Part 1

This article is intended to be a summery of some important basic principles and methods of astrology. It is not my purpose here to elucidate every combination of astrological factors but rather to point out basic principles and techniques and give a few examples. A thorough analysis of every combination would be subject matter for a book.

I like to call Astrology the original Holographic Science. As far back as any kind of civilization can be traced in any part of the world some form of astrology is found. Where astrology originally began is lost in the mists of time. I personally suspect that astrology was first brought to Earth by the extraterrestrial beings that originally genetically engineered the human species as we presently know ourselves and seeded human civilization on planet Earth. Virtually all-traditional cultures of the world have mythologies and ancient traditions, which speak of interaction with and intervention from advanced beings that came from the heavens. There are records and stories of the so-called UFO phenomena from every century of history and every part of the world.
Energy from the solar system and beyond which impinges on planet Earth doe not exist exclusively in the electromagnetic spectrum, known to official science but also in more subtle multidimensional psychic and spiritual forms of energy as well. In my understanding these subtler forms of energy propagate at velocities that are higher quantum multiples of the speed of light. The multidimensional energies from the Sun, Moon, planets and other cosmic sources which pass through any location on Earth at any instant of time interact with each other to form a wave interference pattern or hologram unique to that time-space location. Anything that has a specific time-space beginning such as the birth of a person or the incorporation of a business carries with it the specific holographic imprint of the location and moment in time where and when it was born. This original holographic imprint filters, qualifies, and conditions later cosmic influences giving rise to experiences and activities of the person or entity in unique ways that are individually specific. All methods of astrological interpretation are based on this premise.

The alphabet of astrology

Basic astrology is made up of 4 components, which are the fundamental alphabet of astrology. As with any language, to understand astrology you must master its alphabet. The basic alphabet of astrology is made up of 4 components, the planets (including the Sun and the Moon called technically called the lights), signs of the zodiac, houses, and aspects. An analogy can be made to a theatrical play where the planets are the actors, the signs are the roles the actors play, the houses are the stage settings, and the aspects between the planets are the plot.

The Sun, The Moon, and the planets of our solar system are the basic motivating sources of energy in astrology. In terms of how astrology interprets human psychology they represent the basic psychological drives which motivate human behavior. Other sources of cosmic energy deeper in space also play a significant role as astrological influences affecting affairs on earth. They include important stars, star clusters, black holes, novas, comets, galaxies, and the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Among these the Galactic Center, the Pliades, the stars Serious and Regales are important examples. Many astrologers consider asteroids especially the 4 major ones to be significant as well.

Signs of the zodiac are divisions of the plane of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun (called the ecliptic) into 12 segments of 30 degrees each. In the tropical zodiac (primarily used in western astrology), the beginning of the zodiac or what is called 0 degrees Aries coincides with the Vernal (spring equinox) When the Sun as seen from Earth lines up with the plane of the Earth’s equator. The sidereal zodiac (primarily used in eastern astrology) consists of constellations of stars arranged along the ecliptic. As seen from Earth the Sun Moon and planets appear to move through the signs of the zodiac. For instance when we say Mars is in Aries it means that as seen from Earth Mars is seen against the backdrop of the sign Aries. The basic influences of the Sun, Moon, and planets are conditioned, colored, and influenced by the Signs they are in. In terms of human psychology the basic psychological drive represented by a planet takes on a role like an actor in a play represented by the sign the planet is in. Some signs are more conducive to the basic nature of a particular planet than others, and so in astrology there is the tradition of planetary rulership and detriment as well as exaltation and fall. A planet in the sign of its rulership can express its basic nature in the fullest and most unhindered way whereas in the sign of its detriment it is hindered and compromised in its basic expression. A planet in the sign of its exaltation gains its power from the basic mode of function of the sign it is exalted in, whereas in the sign of its fall a planet is the most disempowered and debilitated.

Houses are divisions of the space around the Earth with reference to the eastern and western horizons at the specific time of day and location for which a horoscope is set up. Because the Earth spins on its axis on complete rotation in 24 hours the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west and is visible in the daytime and obscured by the earth at night time. Just as the Sun goes through this daily cycle so does the Moon, the planets and other celestial objects. What is called the ascendant or first house cusp in a horoscope is the location on the ecliptic of the sign, and specific degree of that sign that is rising on the eastern horizon at the time and geographic location for which an astrological chart is set up. The 7th house cusp or descendant is where the ecliptic intersects the western horizon in the chart. The 10th house cusp or midheaven is the highest position in the chart above the surface of the Earth where the ecliptic intersects the meridian (a great circle from north to south that passes through the zenith directly overhead). The opposite point is the 4th house cusp or nadir where the ecliptic intersects the meridian underneath the Earth. The Ascendant (1st house cusp), the nadir (4th house cusp), the descendant (7th house cusp), and the midheaven (10th house cusp) are called the 4 angles of a chart. They have a natural relationship of correspondence to the equinoxes and solstices which are the beginning points or cusps of the cardinal signs of the tropical zodiac. The spaces between the angular house cusps called quadrants are divided into 3 segments or houses. With 4 quadrants and 3 houses per quadrant there are 12 houses in all.

There are several house systems that are used in astrology that divide the quadrants in various ways. Unlike signs houses are not usually even 30-degree segments of a circle. At more extreme northern or southern latitudes the houses become progressively more uneven in width. The equal house system that divides the chart into equal 30-degree segments beginning with the ascendant, is the only exception. The only house cusps that do not change with latitude are the 10th and 4th house cusps or the midheaven and the nadir. I personally suspect that a house system based on this vertical axis is the only one that can escape the confusing mess that the competing house systems used in astrology amount to. This system would use equal 30-degree segments based on the midheaven degree. The first house cusp would be the same degree as on the midheaven three signs later. In this system the ascendant and the descendant would be treated as important sensitive points in the chart not to be confused with the 1st and 7th house cusps. Any one who has attempted to cast a chart for someone born in Alaska or northern Scandinavia using a conventional house system can appreciate what I am saying! It becomes reduction to absurdity. This could be a rich field for research in astrology.

In astrological interpretation the houses represent the practical circumstances of life such as money, health, home and family, career, travel, etc. through which the energies of the planets as expressed through the signs manifest. In a theatrical play the houses would be the stage settings where the actors play their parts. For example, is the scene taking place in the boardroom or the bedroom? There is a natural correspondence or similarity between each house and the sign of the zodiac it numerically equates to. For instance the 1st house relates to Aires, the 2nd house to Taurus, the 3rd house to Gemini, the 4th house to Cancer, the 5th house to Leo and so on. Planets that are dignified or in detriment, exalted or in fall are also said to be accidentally dignified or in detriment, exalted or in fall in the house that corresponds numerically with the sign of ruler ship, detriment, exaltation or fall.
Aspects are specific angles between planets or other significant points in the horoscope as seen from Earth.

In terms of a theatrical play or stage drama aspects are like the plot. Aspects show how the basic psychological drives represented by the planets interact either harmoniously or with difficulty or conflict. Each aspect has its own unique quality or flavor that it adds to the combination of planets involved in it. Some of these are difficult and others are easier. All aspects are measured in degrees and are divisions of a circle by various numbers. A circle divided by 1 is of course the same starting point on the circle. In astrology this is called a conjunction and it occurs when two or more planets or other significant points in the astrological chart are lined up in the same position in the zodiac as seen from Earth. When a circle is divided by 2 we have 180 degrees. This is called the opposition in astrology and it occurs when 2 planets or objects in the horoscope face each other from opposite positions in the Zodiac.

360 degrees divided by 3 is 120 degrees, called the trine in astrology. ¼ of a circle is 90 degrees called the square in astrology. 1/6 of a circle is 60 degrees called the sextile. 1/5 of a circle is72degrees called a quintile in astrology. The conjunction, opposition, trine, square, and sextile aspects are considered to be the most important or major aspects in astrology. I personally think that the quintile should be included in that category also.

In addition to the major aspects there are a number of intermediate and minor aspects as well. These include the semisextile 1/12 circle 30 degrees, the inconjunct or quincunx 5/12 of a circle 150 degrees, the semisquare 1/8 of a circle 45 degrees, the sesquequadrate 3/8 of a circle 135 degrees and the bi-quintile 2/5 of a circle or 144 degrees, which could be considered aspects of intermediate importance. The decile 1/10 of a circle 36 degrees, the tridecile 108 degrees, the nonagon 1/9 of a circle 40 degrees, and the septile 1/7 of a circle 51 ½ degrees are considered minor aspects.

There are also families of aspects. The conjunction, semi square, square, sesquiquadrate, and opposition are called hard angle aspects and are considered to be stressful or challenging. The conjunction which is the most powerful of all aspects is considered to be neutral and will be stressful or not depending on the planets forming it and other aspects made to it. The trine and sextile are considered harmonious and bring opportunities and benefits. They indicate circumstances where things naturally go well. The semisextile and inconjunct or Quincunx are more problematical because they combine incompatible elements. The incnjunct or quincunx is particularly difficult because it tends to bring about situations of a dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t nature, where any course of action or inaction has problems connected to it. The decile, quintile, tri decile, and biquintile are an interesting and important family of aspects. They are all too often overlooked or ignored because they are difficult to see at a glance, since they are not even multiples of 30 degrees. This family of aspects is based on the angles inherent in the pentagram and in solid geometry to the icoshahedron and dodecahedron. These aspects convey the ability to relate seemingly unconnected sets of information and integrate a higher and more complex level of synthesis. They are aspects of special talent or genius. They also relate to the exercise of intention or will.

All aspects can be understood in terms of their relationship to the zodiac and the natural sequence of the houses. By taking 0 degrees of Aries as the starting point and then going around the Zodiac either clockwise or counter clockwise the number of degrees of the aspect we arrive at a particular sign. It will be the cusp of the sign if the aspect is an even multiple of 30 degrees or some other degree of the sign if the aspect is not an even multiple of 30 degrees. By understanding the nature of this sign we get important insights into the nature of the aspect associated with it.

If we use the sextile as an example by going counter clockwise 60 degrees from 0 Aries we arrive at 0 degrees of Gemini. If we go clockwise 60 degrees from 0 Aires we arrive at 0 degrees of Aquarius. Both Gemini and Aquarius are intellectual air signs. From this we can deduce that the sextile aspect has an intellectual flavor associated with it. Mercury is the ruler of Gemini and is exalted in Aquarius. From this we can surmise that the sextile aspect has a mercurial flavor and is associated with mental awareness, thought and communication.
Departing and approaching aspects

At this point we need to make some further distinctions as to whether the sextile we are looking at is a departing sextile or an approaching sextile.
This distinction as to whether an aspect is approaching or departing applies to all aspects with the exception of the conjunction and the opposition. To understand how this works it is necessary to know what a sinodical cycle is. The sinodical cycle begins when two planets are lined up in the sky together or conjunct. The faster moving of the two planets pulls away from the slower moving planet and forms a series of aspects to the slower moving planet until it is 180 degrees from the slower planet and makes the opposition aspect. From the opposition the faster moving planet moves back towards the slower planet and makes the same series of aspects in reverse order until it is again conjunct the slower planet. The most obvious example of a sinodical cycle involves the phases of the Moon. The beginning of the cycle starts with the new moon when the Sun and the moon are conjunct with the Moon lost in the glare of the Sun. The waxing phases of the moon correspond to the first half of the cycle. At the full Moon the sun and Moon are in opposition. The waning phases of the moon happen during the second half of the cycle. Another example is the sinodical cycle of Jupiter and Saturn with the conjunction occurring every 20 years.

Aspects occurring when the faster planet is moving away from the conjunction towards the opposition are called departing aspects. Aspects made while the faster planet is moving from the opposition back to the conjunction to the slower planet are called approaching aspects. Departing aspects partake of the characteristics of one of the first 6 signs of the zodiac. Approaching aspects are characterized by the qualities of one of the last 6 signs of the zodiac. Departing aspects like the first 6 signs are more personal and subjective having to due with the development of the individual. Approaching aspects like the last 6 signs are more interpersonal and objective dealing with collective social issues.

In the example of the sextile, the departing sextile has an adaptable mutable quality associated with Gemini. Since Mercury is the only planet associated with Gemini the departing sextile has a more purely mental quality. The approaching sextile has a more determined goal oriented nature associated with Aquarius, which is a fixed sign. Since Aquarius is also ruled by Saturn and Uranus the approaching sextile has a more serious nature associated with Saturn and can also bring sudden changes associated with Uranus. There are subtle but significant differences between departing and approaching sextiles.
In the case of the square a departing square partakes of the nature of Cancer the 4th house and the moon. The moon relates to issues of emotional conditioning and habit patterns. Thus the departing square often relates to the need to overcome negative habit patterns and emotional conditioning that no longer serves the individual. It can be an aspect of inherited karmic liabilities. By contrast the approaching square partakes of the nature of Capricorn, the 10th house and Saturn. This emphasizes challenges to achieving necessary practical career ambitions and status in the world. The emphasis is on hard work and discipline. There can be problems with official organizations, employers, government, and authority figures.

The departing trine partakes of the nature of Leo the 5th house and the sun. It confers creativity dynamic self expression and the ability to enjoy the combined significance of the planets involved in the departing trine. It can confer a sense of romance and a willingness to take risks or gamble. The approaching trine partakes of the nature of Sagittarius, the 9th house and Jupiter. It brings an awareness of larger cultural, educational, and spiritual issues to the combination of planets signs and houses involved in the approaching trine.
The departing semisextile partakes of the nature of Taurus, the 2nd house and Venus. It deals with money values and available resources associated with the combination of planets involved in a departing semisextile. The approaching semisextile partakes of the nature of Pisces the 12th house and Neptune. It brings a flavor of imagination, psychic awareness and subconscious influences to the mix.

The departing inconjunct or quincunx partakes of the nature of Virgo the 6th house and Mercury (I would say also Chiron). There is a need to take care of details and pay attention to issues of work and health with respect to the combination of planets involved in the departing quincunx. The approaching quincunx partakes of the nature of Scorpio, the 8th house Mars and Pluto. There is a need to detach and accept the death of old conditions and the birth of new ones in reference to the combination of planets involved in an approaching quincunx.


It is important also to consider the orb (allowable tolerance of exactness) of an aspect and if the aspect is applying or separating. For example a trine is an aspect of 120 degrees. A perfect trine is exactly 120 degrees and zero minutes. In practice things are hardly ever this exact. For example if in a particular horoscope Saturn is at 5 degrees and 30 minutes of Capricorn and Jupiter is at 3 degrees and 15 minutes of Virgo then Saturn and Jupiter are trine, however to be exactly trine Saturn Jupiter would have to be at 5 degrees and 30 of Virgo. As it is, with Jupiter at 3 degrees and 15 minutes of Virgo the two planets are 2 degrees and 15 minutes from being exactly trine, hence this Jupiter-Saturn trine is said to have an orb of 2 degrees and 15 minutes. In this example as Jupiter continues to move into Virgo at a faster rate than Saturn moves into Capricorn the orb become progressively less as the aspect moves into exact trine. This is called an applying aspect because as time goes on it becomes more exact. If Jupiter were at 8 degrees of Virgo then the two planets would still be trine with an orb of 2 and one half degrees but the trine would become less exact as time goes on so the aspect is said to be separating. This is an important distinction. Applying aspects that are moving into exact orb indicate evolving situations that are moving towards a culmination of peak intensity in the future. In a birth chart applying aspects represent a karmic condition which will reach fruition or culmination in the future as the person’s life unfolds. A separating aspect in a birth chart indicates more the aftertaste and resultant residual effects of a karmic situation or issue that reached culmination in a previous life. As a person’s life progresses the influence of a separating natal aspect diminishes and becomes less important with time.

When working with transits or other predictive techniques applying aspects indicate developing situations that will reach peak intensity in the future while separating aspects represent the residual effects of situations that have already reached peak intensity and have already precipitated whatever event or decisive issue is indicated by the aspect. Pay attention to retrograde motion of planets because this can make an aspect that appears to be separating actually be applying and aspects that appear to be applying actually be separating.

When evaluating a birth chart it is very important to pay attention to the orbs of natal aspects. The closer the orb is to exact the more important the aspect is in influencing the life of the individual. A close orb is a degree and ½ for major aspects and ½ degree for minor aspects. Minor aspects are allowed a smaller orb than major aspects. Every major aspect except the conjunction contains minor aspect harmonics. For instance a square contains two semi squares and 3 semisextiles, and a trine contains two sextiles, 3 nonagons (a 40 degree aspect) and 4 semisextiles. When a major aspect is exact or has a close orb these other harmonic aspects with smaller orbs kick in, making a much more powerful combination. Allowable orbs depend on the type of aspect, the planets involved, and the sign and house positions of these Planets. Major aspects, that is, the conjunction, the opposition, the trine, square and sextile are given the biggest orbs of 6 to 8 degrees. If the Sun or Moon is involved orbs up to 8 degrees can be used and even up to 10 degrees in the case of the conjunction or opposition. In the case of intermediate minor aspects such as the semisextile, inconjunct, semi square, and sesquiquadrate maximum allowable orbs of 3 to 4 degrees can be used. The quintile or 72 degree aspect or 1/5th of a circle can arguably be considered to be a major aspect and could be allowed an orb of up to 6 degrees. Other more obscure minor aspects such as the decile, biquintile, septile, nonagon, etc can be allowed orbs of 1 to 2 degrees depending on the planets and placements involved.

When working with transits, progressions, solar ark directions and other predictive techniques, especially in reference to timing events orbs must be kept much tighter, that is 1 to 2 degrees for major aspects, 1 degree for intermediate aspects and ½ degree for minor aspects. Only with these tight orbs do predictive techniques involving aspects have the necessary power and intensity to precipitate significant changes and new life circumstances.

It is important to know that a minor aspect with a close orb could be more powerful in a person’s life than a major aspect with a sloppy orb. Aspects with an orb of one degree or less are called partile. In any birth horoscope major aspects with exact partile orbs especially hard angle aspects (conjunctions, squares and oppositions) define the major dominant life issues for that person. A savvy astrologer looks at these first, along with their predictive triggers with close orbs to determine the major issues that are of concern to the client and will be likely to dominate a reading.

Whenever one planet involved in an exact aspect is activated by a transit, solar progression, solar ark direction etc the other planet is simultaneously activated by some multiple of 30 degrees aspect. That means that the person goes through life experiencing the energies of the two planets involved in an exact aspect simultaneously. The significance of the planetary combination involved in the natal exact aspect becomes a dominant life issue. Semi squares, sesquiquadrates, semisextiles and inconjuncts can be significant in this regard if they are sufficiently exact, ½ degree orb or less.

Midpoints are also significant. A midpoint is it he half way position between two planets in a chart. For example if Jupiter is at 10 degrees and 30 minutes of Pisces and Mercury is at 20 degrees and 10 minutes of Cancer then the Mercury Jupiter midpoint is 15 degrees and 20 minutes of Taurus. Midpoints blend the energy of the planets forming the midpoint and link the significance of the sign and house positions of the planets involved. When a natal planet is conjunct, square, or opposition a midpoint the energies of the three or more planets involved in this midpoint configuration are linked and can be interpreted in a way similar to reading an aspects. Midpoints are activated by transits and other predictive methods especially by conjunction and opposition.

Midpoints are more significant if they are incorporated into a pattern of aspects and still much more so if these aspects have close orbs. Examples of this could be two planets in close orb sextile both semisextile a third planet at their midpoint or two planets in trine both sextile a third planet. Look for midpoint symmetries involving natal aspects with close orbs. Look for when these midpoints are aspected by transits, progressions, solar arks, and other predictive techniques for timing significant events and life changes.

This gets into the topic of symmetry of aspects or multiple aspect configurations. Each such configuration has its own special characteristics to add to the mix. A T square for instance is created when two planets in opposition (180 degrees apart) are both square a third planet. The planet that is square to the other two is said to be in point focus. T squares are high tension configurations that tend to precipitate crisis situations in the lives of those whose horoscopes have them. This happens whenever important transits, progressions, solar arks etc activate the birth chart T square configuration. The planet that is square the two planets in opposition becomes the focus and outlet for the tension of the configuration. For this reason T square people can be focused and highly motivated, thus achieving a high degree of prominence in a chosen area of endeavor. Because such individuals are driven they can also be high strung.

By contrast the grand square is completely different. The grand square occurs when two separate oppositions (180 degree aspects are square that is 90 degrees to each other. This forms a complete cross. In the grand square any of the 4 points of the cross could be considered a point focus hence any attempt to resolve the problems associated with one of the planets tends to aggravate the problems associated wit one or more of the other three. The energy is diffused by having to run from one difficult situation to another.

A well known aspect configuration is the Yod or Y configuration that is sometimes called the finger of fate or finger of destiny. This is composed of two planets in sextile both inconjunct (150 degrees) to a third planet. When this is strongly activated dramatic events and conditions often conspire to funnel a person into a significant life changing new direction. Such activation especially occurs when a transiting, progressed or solar ark planet is conjunct or opposition to the planet that is quincunx, inconjunct, or 150 degrees to the two planets in sextile.

The grand trine occurs when two planets that are trine both trine a third planet. It forms an equilateral triangle in the heavens as seen from Earth. The grand trine has characteristics that are distinct from the nature of a simple trine. Some traditional astrologers even considered the grand trine malefic. Perhaps this is because it can be too much of a good thing in that it encourages excessiveness and over expansion. There is the temptation to take too much for granted and not take life seriously. In some ways the energy of a grand trine may be too stable and therefore locked into the same self perpetuating pattern. All this does not mean that the grand trine does not also confer many blessings and creative talents. If other factors in the chart show a sense of purpose and a capacity for discipline such as indicated by a strong Saturn, then a grand trine individual can go far indeed.

Predictive considerations

It is a cardinal rule in astrology that no predictive influence can manifest in a major way if the potential for it is not present in the birth chart. Aspects made by transits, progressions, solar arks, and other predictive techniques are far more powerful and more likely to bring about life changing events if they reinforce a natal aspect involving the same combination of planets. That is because the karmic potential for that kind of circumstance to manifest is already present in the birth chart that only needs to be activated by a transit, progression, solar ark etcetera involving the same combination of planets. For example if in a birth chart Mars is in opposition to Saturn indicating a karmic potential for trouble with authority figures, then when transiting Mars is square to natal Mars and Saturn we could expect something like a bad run in with the boss, getting fired from a job etc. If the natal mars-Saturn opposition were not present in the birth chart, a transit of Mars square natal Saturn could mean an unpleasant day perhaps but not a major problem like loosing ones job.


All the planets have periods of retrograde motion where as seen from Earth they appear to be moving backwards in the zodiac. The only exceptions are the Sun and Moon which aren’t planets. When planets go from direct motion to retrograde motion or from retrograde motion to direct motion there is a time as seen from Earth they do not move at all. When this happens it is said that the planet is stationary or having a station. For instance when stationary Mercury is about to go retrograde or direct and is making a significant transit to the natal chart, this is often a time when a significant decision is made. For example if transiting Mercury is conjunct to Saturn while stationary this can be a time of serious decisions regarding career where a change of direction or business and career focus is decided upon. Such a stationary Mercury transit can last up to 2 weeks using a 2 and ½ degree orb. The usual Mercury transit lasts a day or less. The effects of retrograde periods of Mercury, Venus, and Mars are more obvious because the retrograde period is longer in proportion to the orbital cycle of the retrograde planet and because the amount or span of retrograde motion is much greater.

Retrograde periods of the outer planets relate to more impersonal matters affecting society and the world in general. They are important in timing transits in that transits of outer planets generally make 2 or 3 contacts. Three contacts happen when the transiting planet moves forward makes the aspect to a natal planet. This is the first contact. The transiting planet then separates from the aspect as it moves out of orb. The transiting planet then turns retrograde and backs up into the aspect reestablishing a valid orb of aspect. This is the second contact. As the transiting planet continues its retrograde motion it again moves out of orb. The transiting planet then becomes stationary and turns direct. As the transiting planet moves forward it again forms the aspect for the 3rd time until it moves out of orb. In some cases the transiting planet makes the aspect to the birth chart planet when stationary turning retrograde or turning direct. This contact lasts longer because the Transiting planet is stationary when the aspect is in orb. The second contact happens after the transiting planet has gone direct if the first contact happens when the stationary transiting planet is turning retrograde. If the stationary transit occurs when the transiting planet is turning direct then that is the second contact and the first contact happened when the transiting planet was in forward motion before turning retrograde.
A retrograde cycle has 2 parts. The first part starts when a planet as seen from earth is stationary turning retrograde and ends when the planet is stationary turning direct. Part 2 begins with the planet turning direct and ends when the planet reaches the same position and degree that it originally turned retrograde at. In the Mercury retrograde cycle for instance, in part one communication and planning break down. Typical examples: baggage gets lost at airports, the computer mal functions, letters get lost in the mail, and appointments get canceled. Imperfections and malfunctioning details come out of the woodwork. Phase one is the damage control phase.
Part 2 or phase 2 is the recapitulation phase where mistakes are corrected and a deeper understanding of underlying issues is gained. By the end of phase 2 things associated with the retrograde planet are back on track and more rapid forward progress is possible. At the end of the Mercury retrograde cycle for instance a more comprehensive understanding of whatever went wrong is gained and more intelligent choices can be made.

Mars retrograde cycles happen every 2 years. Normally Mars takes about 45 days to transit a sign. During a retrograde cycle Mars can spend 6 months in one sign. During retrograde cycles Mars is also closer to Earth. This intensifies the Mars energy, analogous to feeling more heat as you get closer to a hot stove. Whatever sign and house receives this prolonged dose of Mars energy are strongly activated, and can be a dominant theme in a person’s life for a significant time period. Historically these retrograde cycles have been associated with war.

Venus retrograde cycles last 2 and ½ months and happen approximately every 2 years. Venus retrograde cycles can affect business affairs and times of adjustment, reassessment but also potentially deepening of relationships.

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