If astrology tells us what time it is, then the movement of the planets are like the hands on the cosmic clock face. Instead of measuring hours and minutes, the planets — all rotating around the clock at different speeds — measure metaphorical time, symbolic time.

There are days throughout the year that a planet appears to move backward and forward in orbit. Although this is a trick of the eye from our perspective on earth, the “station” — or the moment a planet comes to a halt before changing direction — is not unlike the gears on the cosmic clock shifting into a new hour. A planet coming to a halt demands that we pay attention. A planet retracing its path through the sky demands that we do the same with our life.

In astrology planets are the agents of life’s most archetypical experiences. They are the personification of anything from growing older and the ambitions we reach for over a lifetime (Saturn) to what we attract, value, and even love (Venus). When a planet turns retrograde or direct, the archetype of that planet saturates the collective experience as if someone’s turned up the volume on that planet.

Take Mercury for example. There are times we we need to pay attention to how we communicate and what we choose. Mercury Retrograde gives us three — sometimes four — times a year to do so. What of the days around Pluto Retrograde? These are an opportunity to integrate the deepest, darkest parts of ourselves, the parts that we disown and project onto others. How about when Neptune changes direction? We feel everything. The pain of the collective is our pain. There is no separation. We reach out for redemption or we lose ourselves in a haze of denial, alcohol, and negative attachments.

Born with a planet retrograde in your chart? This is an area of the you’re working deeper on throughout your life to integrate and evolve your relationship with its energy. Check out my quick list below for further insight.

Natal Mercury Retrograde:

You’re deeply working on how you think, speak, learn, and move. There may be past life imbalances around the voice or education that need evolution in this life.

Natal Venus Retrograde:

You’re deeply working on themes surrounding value and relationships. There may be past life imbalances around love, beauty, and resource that need evolution in this life.

Natal Mars Retrograde:

You’re deeply working on how you taking action and use your will. There may be past life imbalances around aggression or misuse of will and power that need evolution in this life.

Natal Jupiter Retrograde:

You’re deeply working on themes of faith and meaning in this life. There may be past life imbalances around what you believed to be true, your judgement of others, or your philosophy that need evolution in this lifetime.

Natal Saturn Retrograde:

You’re deeply working on what it means to be an authority and take responsibility. There may be past life imbalances around leadership, status, title, and even the father that need evolution in this lifetime.

Natal Uranus Retrograde:

You’re deeply working on what it means to break free and individuate. There may be past life imbalances around separation, sudden upheavals, shock, or being different that need evolution in this lifetime.

Natal Neptune Retrograde:

You’re deeply working on themes of compassion and forgiveness. There may be past life imbalances around illusions, loss, addiction, mysticism, and fanaticism. There is need for purification and redemption in this lifetime, a return to unity.

Natal Pluto Retrograde:

You’re deeply working on the facets of your soul in this lifetime and integrating lessons from other lifetimes. There may be times in your life where you’re forced to experience the karma gained from darker lifetimes, something that we’ve all experienced.

Natal Chiron Retrograde:

You’re deeply working on an emotional knot in this lifetime and your pain may feel unavoidable at times. There is a need to release this knot so that the soul can evolve past the traumas of other lifetimes. Your pain is the collective pain. The work you do for yourself is also for the collective.