....Retrograding into 2001
by Karen Steen

In short, if you anticipate making big decisions or starting significant new endeavors in 2001, best to do so before the end of January or after July. February through July is suited for reflection, review, and revisions.
And, here's why...

In 2001, Mercury, Venus, and Mars will be in retrograde motion during sequential periods from 2/4 until 7/20. An astronomical explanation of retrograde motion is given at the end of this article. Specific to the activities each planet rules, retrograde motion indicates a period of redoing, personalizing, or receding in importance, even as the planet appears to recede in our sky. Periods of retrograde planetary motion correlate both to a more intimate experience of the planetary function and a lack of objective perspective about that experience. It is a time of stepping aside to clarify issues, evaluate performance, and revise activities. Generally, big decisions made and new endeavors begun during retrograde periods do not succeed or do not turn out as planned. If instead these periods are used to reflect and revise, subsequent actions are better grounded in facts, effective planning, and efficiency.

Mercury retrogrades three times a year for about three weeks with each occurrence - in 2001, Mercury retrograde periods are 2/4 - 2/25, 6/4 - 6/28, and 10/1 - 10/23. Mercury is associated with thought patterns, communication and tools for communication, news, books, letters (including e- mail!), siblings, neighbors, short trips, study and teaching, trade and commerce. Periods of retrograde Mercury are best used to complete or address details of such matters already in place, or to plan or research new endeavors. Effective use of Mercury retrograde periods include the following:

  • evaluate problem-solving techniques
  • make back-up copies of your computer files
  • review portfolios and annual schedules
  • complete detailed regular chores, such as computer maintenance and filing
  • catch up on e-mail, sibling and neighbor contacts
  • finish reading that book you started 3 months ago
  • complete or plan correspondence courses and necessary continuing education

Periods of retrograde Mercury correspond to natural cycles of cleaning up and catching up with our immediate world! Mercury's retrograde position in your individual chart gives specific information about optimizing your efforts during this time.

Venus retrogrades every 1-1/2 years for about six weeks - in 2001, from 3/8 to 4/20. Venus is associated with personal values, relationships and contracts of all kinds, earned money and other individual resources, personal possessions, pleasure, beauty and objects of beauty. Periods of retrograde Venus are best used to clarify or redefine your personal desires and values and your relationships, possessions, use of money, and personal surroundings for their fit with your desires and values. Effective use of Venus retrograde periods include the following:

  • schedule a personal retreat, regular meditative practice, or other spiritual activity
  • slow down the pace of relationships so as to make a thorough assessment of their value to you and your approach to them
  • avoid new contracts, deals, and commitments in relationships and matters related to business, finances, and earned income - save such new starts for when you've researched the details and thoroughly evaluated them for their fit with your real values
  • evaluate your budget for the appropriateness of your income and whether you are using your money in ways that really satisfy you.

Periods of retrograde Venus correspond to regular intervals for an intimate check-in with ourselves - we are only as satisfied in life as we know ourselves and what we want. Venus' retrograde position in your individual chart gives specific information about optimizing your efforts during this time.

Mars retrogrades every two years for about 10 weeks - in 2001, from 5/11 to 7/19. Mars is associated with all matters of individual action and self-definition - planning, initiative, assertion, aggression, competition, and physical activity (including sex) - and with surgery, tools, weapons, and machines. Periods of retrograde Mars are best used for focused independent activities that require a fair amount of energy and for maintenance projects. Examples of effective use of retrograde Mars periods are as follows:

  • independent research projects
  • yoga, tai chi, or Aikido classes (nonviolent martial arts)
  • update personal physical fitness guidelines and programs
  • household tool and machinery maintenance
  • video games
  • sexual sensitivity development.

Periods of retrograde Mars correspond to natural cycles of physical fitness evaluation, overhauling the lawnmower, and quality checks on our sex life! Such independent focused activities are a good outlet for the internalized energy of retrograde Mars. When both Mercury and Mars are retrograde together in June, be alert for possible mechanical failures and intense misunderstandings!

For those interested in the astronomy of retrograde motion.... retrograde motion of a planet is a visual phenomenon owing to our relative perspective from earth. Indicated by the glyph 'Rx', it is the apparent backward motion of a planet in the sky occurring when a planet's orbital position around the Sun appears to fall behind that of the Earth. When seen in Rx motion, a planet is also closer to the Earth than at other times during its orbit. Because the more distant planets (Jupiter through Pluto) spend extensive periods in Rx motion, only Rx motion of the inner planets (Mercury, Venus, and Mars) is given weight in most astrological interpretations.

Copyright 2001, Karen Steen. All rights reserved.

About the Astrologer
Karen Steen is a full-time consulting and teaching astrologer at Water Bearer Astrology & Consulting, Bellingham, WA. She has practiced astrology since 1984. Karen also holds a Master of Nursing in Primary Care from the U of W, 1995, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Louisiana State University, 1976. Information about Karen's astrology practice and services are available at her web site http://www.WaterBearerAstro.com .

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