Retrograde Alchemy

The core of my astrological practice  comes from the place that everything is connected, that your natal chart truly is a symbolic reflection of “As above so below”*** and that ultimately we are all heroes or heroines of our own epic story that is unfolding.  That we both experience and creatively participate in the telling of our personal tale.  

Whomever’s chart I am gazing at always provokes questions such as how can we use the chart to more fully foster in daily life the potentialities reflected? What secrets is this map trying to reveal? How do we breath life into the dreams and harness the power  that lives in our inner worlds both conscious and unconscious? 

Questions like these, provoked by the chart, infuse me with a sense of mystery at the marvel of our lives. With each chart I work to unravel its secrets and listen to its song.  When I do this, with any chart, my own  or a clients,  it always feels like we are working together to act in alignment with the universe.

When we work with our chart as a guiding spirit we harness its power.  We  are moving along with the current and can use its energy to more easily carries downstream. 

From this space I believe we can actively participate in creating magic. 

With this in mind I thought I would put forward a series of blogs that tackles retrogrades.

As an astrologer it has been both fascinating and frustrating to watch  Mercury Retrograde become common in the lexicon over the past 20 years.  On the one hand I am excited that people are paying attention, on the other I find it sobering that it is tossed about on only the most superficial level because a profound opportunity is being missed. Wouldn’t it be great  and a lot more fun to actually harness at least some of the potential available during a retrograde?  

When astrologers say something is retrograde we are referring to what is called a transit, a movement in the heavens above.  This is one of several techniques used in predictive work.  When we use them we are actively engaging with the rhythms of the universe. We are essentially consciously acting in partnership, we are dancing together.  

When a planet as viewed from the earth (i.e. where we stand literally and psychologically in the universe) appears to go backwards it is called retrogradation.  

Currently Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto are all in retrograde with Mercury set to join the party on June 17 to July 12.   

So what does all this signify? In other words, what do retrogrades represent from a psychologically creative level and perhaps most importantly how can you work with this particular flow of energy?

First of all on a mundane every day life level numerous things will simply slow down, and we are already seeing this even with the spread of the Covid-19 virus.  Pluto, which rules viruses and Jupiter which expands everything it touches have been closely traveling together since the middle of March and now they are both retrograde.  We are seeing infection levels slow.  

Secondly, this  psychologically (the root of the word psyche means soul) reflects  a time of reassessment not only personally but collectively.  Retrogrades represent a gift from the Gods for your development, this slowing allows you time to catch your breath and realign before life takes off one again at it usual hectic pace.  

Today I will look at Jupiter and Saturn.  If you are interested in reading more about the Venus Retrograde I discussed it here.  The much misunderstood and underestimated Mercury gets it own blog to follow shortly:)

From my point of view Saturn and Jupiter need each other.  In essence these two work hand in hand together.  Jupiter dreams and Saturn builds. 

On a very basic level Jupiter represents our beliefs from faith to philosophy.  Jupiter often reminds me of The Fool card in the Tarot.  Representing the beginning of a journey, the person pictured is about to step off of a cliff.  Essentially he is taking a leap of faith. Wherever Jupiter lays within our chart we will find ourselves again and again being asked to take leap of faith.  To expand and move forward. 

Saturn on the other hand, and he receives far too much bad press in my mind, symbolizes moving to adulthood.  Admittedly where Saturn lies in our chart we often have a sense of fear or inadequacy and he shows  perceived limits both conscious and unconscious.  

But consider this: Before there were telescopes Saturn was the furthest visible planet.  Metaphorically, Saturn describes the visible and invisible boundaries we put on our everyday reality.  The outskirts of the reality we perceive with our inner vision.  The “story” of our limits, not our actual limits.  To own our Saturn is to move into our power to create our own lives and move past these invisible boundaries and traverse into untried territory.  In other words to move beyond our current limits and build something new. 

Jupiter thinks this is all great fun, Saturn on the other hand? He knows there is a lot of work involved.

In Evolutionary Astrology retrogrades represent an opportunity to reclaim some aspect of yourself when they appear in your Natal Chart.  In particular Jupiter represents an evolutionary imperative to reclaim your confidence, and Saturn retrograde symbolizes the need to reclaim a sense of authority, as in authorship of your own life. As I said above, on a certain level both planets are about going beyond boundaries.  They ask they question where have you limited what’s possible for yourself and your life?  

Their current  retrograde is the perfect time to catch your breath, recenter and set the stage for your next horizon. 

You can begin to use the energy of Jupiter retrograde to reclaim your sense confidence in an area of your life where you feel stuck by looking at your beliefs.  Of course this sounds easier than it is…because most of the time unconsciously some of those beliefs feel like “the way it is.” 

So start small, choose just one area.  Where have you been playing small and holding yourself back?   My suggestion would be to journal in this area, allowing yourself to openly explore this arena of your life.  Or go for a walk and ask Jupiter for guidance as you stroll along.  If you are visual create a stream of consciousness collage by holding the issue lightly in your mind’s eye and spend 20 minutes literally ripping through magazines, grabbing any image that you linger on for more and a second or two.  It’s not about liking the image, If you are lingering on an image your unconscious mind is responding to it so it is important to include as it is speaking to you from a deep place. Then with your stack of images assemble a collage.  Use it as a type of reading, a visual revelation of sorts.  What does it unmask and bring to light?

The important thing is to be light and play with this, because Jupiter loves play and adventure.  How can you reimagine what’s possible?

One question to ask yourself is what small leap of faith could I take? 

Then utilize Saturn who loves a good plan.  He is the ultimate master builder.  He wants to take those ideas, those possibilities of Jupiter, all that potential and make it real.  In other words harnessing the power of Saturn is about moving past your fears and manifesting your dreams in a concrete form.  See what I mean about bad press?   Sure there is work to be done, but he is all about making it real.  What daily discipline, one of Saturn’s favorite words, could you incorporate that would be a concrete action towards the new territory?   It doesn’t have to be logical.  A year ago on June 1 I began walking each morning as a way to center myself.  Over time, another thing Saturn is in charge of, mountains have moved in my life.  

The word disciple and disciple come from the same root.  What ever action you are taking is actively saying to the universe I am becoming a disciple of of my inner vision.  In essence I am apprenticing to my dream. This is a very powerful thing.  

There is great wisdom unfolding for you and for your benefit during these retrogrades but it is going to take time.  Jupiter goes direct on September 13th and Saturn follows on the 29th.  If you work with it this juncture can act a gestation period for you to begin to give birth to something new. 

***As above so below comes from the Hermetic Emerald Tablet that was used by Alchemists as they worked at what they dubbed “The Great Work.”  More about that to come.

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