* You can always tell that Jupiter is going to retrograde or turn direct after a long retrograde period because the Sun will usually move through a whole-sign or degree-based trine with Jupiter right around the same time that Jupiter stations or turns direct. Right now, for example, the Sun is approaching a trine to Jupiter in Scorpio from the sign of Pisces.
* Remember that it takes Jupiter approximately one year to travel through one sign of the zodiac, and we therefore usually see about one big, long retrograde period during its transit through each sign. For example, Jupiter entered Scorpio in October of 2017, last fall, and has been moving direct ever since, now stationing around 23 degrees of Scorpio. It will be retrograde until about the beginning of July, which is approximately four months from now, and then it will turn direct as the Sun moves through a whole-sign trine to Jupiter, this time from Cancer. Then Jupiter will move forward (from about the 13th degree of Scorpio) until it finally enters Sagittarius in November.
* Following the ebb and flow of a planet throughout an entire year in your birth chart is really the only way to understand the subtle difference between a “direct” period or a “retrograde” period. The best place to start is to look at the whole sign house that Jupiter is traveling through for the year. For example, let’s say that Jupiter is traveling through your 9th whole sign house. As the ingress occurs (when Jupiter first enters the new sign/house), you may notice that the topics of faith, beliefs, higher studies, foreign countries or long journeys, move into the spotlight. Then, as Jupiter continues along you can track the momentum of the themes building and also co-mingling with other topics and planetary archetypes as Jupiter is making aspects to other planets in your chart. Then, as Jupiter reaches the station, you might notice that the 9th house themes (religion, the pursuit of higher truth, etc.) are amplified. They become stronger or more pronounced. And then, Jupiter will retrograde and this has a variety of meanings.
* In the context of the 9th house, a retrograde Jupiter might mean that a certain amount of progress is given up or called into question. Insights, faith statements, or accumulated knowledge is called into question, practices are abandoned or weakened, or a critical process of deepening by revision or refined study might begin. We can use our imagination to envision a variety of other appropriate scenarios.
* One thing that has helped me is a funny image involving Pac-man. As Pac-man (the planet) goes along gobbling up the little dots (degrees of the zodiac/signs), it’s like a planet in direct motion, but as soon as the planet stations and turns retrograde it’s as though Pac-man is suddenly barfing out the little dots, one by one. So what has been gained is given up. What has been taken in is given back. Hopefully no literal regurgitating occurs. 🙂
* Another way of thinking about retrogrades is to think about planetary motion compared to the primary motion of the sky. The primary motion of the sky carries planets along from rising to culminating above to setting, to anti-culminating in the “underworld,” to rising again. This is the fastest motion in the sky, which no planet can overtake. On the other hand, planetary motion (called secondary motion) involves the planets moving against the grain of the primary motion according to the planets own speed and unique astronomical characteristics. When a planet turns retrograde it goes from moving against the grain of the primary motion to moving along with or being overtaken by it, so to speak.
* The primary motion of the sky was long ago compared to the divine/spiritual realm whereas the secondary motion was compared to the material world of time and space. So when a planet is moving retrograde, on a symbolic level it is as though the planet surrenders its own will as it is taken over by God’s will. Or put differently, the planet surrenders its own will as it is taken over by forces or circumstances beyond its own control.
* We see this all the time with Mercury retrogrades…circumstances seem to overtake the normal flow of events, or the normal will and flow of Mercury (travel plans, technology, communication, etc.).
* So for Jupiter we first have to recall the basic symbolic qualities of Jupiter: faith, growth, hope, knowledge, confirmation, bigness, pride, pomp, authority, nobility, virtue, luck, good fortune, but also vanity, conceit, inflation, arrogance, and so forth. Next, we imagine that forces or circumstances bigger than Jupiter’s normal will or direction may be overtaking Jupiter. For example, the desire to be big, to grow something, or to expand, might be temporarily distracted or interrupted. Something that we’ve been working to expand might go through a phase of revision or slow-down. Something we feel overly confident about might be called into question, or our pride may lead us to a fall.
* On the other hand, might be ready to express or share something that we’ve learned, or we might be called to return to something we’ve learned or cultivated in the past.
* I will be recording a short video on this retrograde later this week, so stay tuned for that, as well!
Prayer: Give us the kind of faith that grows where knowledge fails just as it grows where knowledge increases. So that we might always stand on the ground of your grace.