A retrograde in astrology is a time in which a planet looks like it is moving backwards in the sky. This is an optical illusion, but the energy that the planet exerts is, in fact, being thrown in reverse. When this happens, there is usually an element of reassessing and introspection, with some planets retrograde having this effect more than others.
Retrogrades are common in astrology. However, having 3 starting in one week is a bit more rare. This week, Venus, Jupiter and Saturn have all gone retrograde. This is causing an ideal environment to deal with the concept of Karma.
Karma is neither punishment nor reward, it is simply cause and effect. Karma literally means action. Sadhguru further explains Karma as memory. There is physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual karma, depending on the type of memory that is being accessed. He gives the simple example of eating a banana. When a man eats a banana, that fruit becomes the body of a male, when a female eats the same banana, it becomes the body of a female... Same banana, different body. It is the physical memory of the body that directs the sustenance of the banana a different way. If I go to school and learn something, this too has karma, as my mind remembers the lessons, and this information changes my perception of how I view the world.
Now, let’s take for example, an emotional memory of a bad relationship. Perhaps betrayal took place in the relationship, now the person has trust issues. Even if the betrayal wasn’t the person’s fault, they have this memory of betrayal, which creates the effect of trust issues in the future. Both parties have karma, not from a cosmic micromanager who is dictating punishment or reward, but because an action was created that automatically creates memory.
So, as you can see, certain types of memory/karma are helpful, certain types are not. When we are unconscious of the law of cause and effect, known as karma, we will be tossed around chaotically in life. We may feel it is unjust that the actions of others effect my life as well. So how do we get off the wheel of karma?
It’s important to understand that from an ancient perspective, karma was simply how the elements of life are directed. So, to get off of the wheel is to be aware that everything is connected, and through consistent practice sense this interconnection of the universe. The next step then, is to be aware of what you are experiencing through your senses and in your mind. This is what is known as living in the moment. When we are aware of the processes “AKA actions,” going on in the present moment, and are able to see our part in the whole in that moment, life is no longer accidental. We have more volition over cause and effect. We are able to direct our life in a conscious way.
This kind of perspective is about seeing our life not through the memory of the mind but through the intelligence of inner knowing. We can think of getting off the wheel of karma as being able to see how we are the container of experience, not the contents / experience itself.
So, what does this have to do with planetary retrograde? I think it is a safe assertion to say that most of the world is still caught up in the wheel of karma. Most people go through their daily lives caught up in their heads, unaware of even what the physical senses are sensing, much less their place in the oneness of life. So, a good place to start is to reflect on what kind of karma we have been creating. Retrogrades give us an opportunity to pause and reflect, and from this reflection make different choices and take different actions, and in doing so, create a different effect for our future.
So let’s take a look at the retrogrades of this week, and from doing so, we can get an idea of what kind of karma we will most likely be assessing.
Let’s start with Venus. Venus is in retrograde from 5/13/20-6/25/20. Venus is the planet that rules over love, beauty, socializing, relationships, and also has an effect on monetary wealth. When Venus goes retrograde, this is a good time to rethink about what we value in our life and who we want in our life. However, be careful of making any impulsive decisions during this time. If we can, it is best to take action on any of these kinds of reassessments after Venus comes out of retrograde, because we will have more clarity at that time. In our relationships, karma will be seen. Whatever memories are still affecting the relationship will be felt more intensely, both good and bad. Folks may seem more distant and cold and perhaps even insecure during this time, as imbalances surface that may impede intimacy, both physically and emotionally.
Jupiter goes retrograde 5/14/20-9/12/20. Typically, Jupiter expands anything it comes in contact with. With its energy in reverse, we may be less inclined to focus on the “big picture,” and more inclined to focus and sort out details. We may feel less motivated during this time and more introspective. Jupiter retrograde is a good time to reformat what “normal” is for you. Spiritual and philosophical introspection are good uses of this energy. It wouldn’t be uncommon to be faced with unhelpful karma that is holding you back in the way of success, money, and general growth. Although, you may not necessarily take action to resolve these issues during this time, you may get information from this time that will help you take more clear and productive action after the retrograde.
Saturn is in retrograde from 5/11/20-9/29/20. Since Saturn is related to time, Saturn is the karma king. We can think of Saturn retrograde as the stern father figure who makes us go back and redo a project when it wasn’t done right the first time. When it goes retrograde, it is giving us one last opportunity to reap the wisdom of the lessons over the last 2.5 years. Think back over the themes that have appeared for you in that time. What have the challenges been? Has there been a pattern? Saturn rules over limitation and responsibility, so other questions of note might be, “What areas in your life where you have had to set additional boundaries?” “Where have you had to take more personal responsibility?”
Even if we are still on the carousel of karma, we can use the astrological opportunities of retrogrades to pause and be more conscious of where our actions are taking us. Even one conscious action can start to create more clarity through the illusion of thought and memory.
This quote by Eckhart Tolle was sent to me today, and I think it sums up nicely the meaning of escaping the karmic wheel:
“Being: To know yourself as the being underneath the thinker, the stillness underneath the mental noise, the love and joy underneath the pain, is freedom, salvation, enlightenment.” - Eckhart Tolle