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ASTROLOGY 1999: Year of Retrograde Planets
Keep telling yourself, "It's a good thing!"
by Mark Dodich

When people hear the word "retrograde" in an astrological conversation, their first reaction is to let out a mild groan. It would be best to change your perspective on this regularly occurring phenomenon because all eight planets will spend time in retrograde motion this year. May and August are key months due to high concentrations of this often frustrating energy.

When planets are retrograde, you must turn your focus inwards. It is time to release the need to control outer world circumstances. To explain the retrograde planets, imagine yourself on the Amtrak train to Seattle. Now imagine a high-speed train travelling in the same direction zipping past you. For a moment, you are disoriented and even feel as if you are moving backwards. This is the feeling of a retrograde planet moving through your life.

It is like doing a country-western dance; you take two steps forward and one step back. A retrograde period requires you to take a step back to assess your actions and ambitions. It is not a time to give up, as you may be tempted to do. Instead, you must check to see if you are wasting energy, if your actions are in harmony with your goals, and what renewed efforts are required. Words that start with the letters "re" are popular during retrograde cycles: revise, re-think, redo, review, etc. In short, it is time to pull within to see if your outer world is on track with your inner vision.

During May, Mars (masculinity, aggressiveness, sex drive, warrior energy) and Pluto (transformation, power, sex, death, hidden emotions) are already retrograde. On May 6th and 21th, Neptune (spirituality, addictions, petroleum) and Uranus (revolutions, freedom, computers) turn retrograde. If you are a Scorpio, Aquarius, or Sagittarius, or have other natal planets in these signs, you will be most strongly motivated to pull back from the outer world. Reflect on whether or not your activities in the outer world are in harmony with your spiritual vision.

Regardless of your astrological sign, do not drive yourself crazy if the world does not unfold as you think it should between May and August. You are likely to find that the Universe can provide better solutions and miracles than you can imagine yourself. The key is to let go of your need to control the outcome. Begin by visualizing the life you want to create. For example, it is not a specific person for a relationship you want, but the ideal relationship for your highest good. It is not money that must come to you in a certain way, but overall prosperity so that you can live your vision in the world.

During May, you want to capitalize on the retrograde planets by removing from your life those activities, relationships, and worn-out beliefs and values that no longer serve you. It is a great time for a garage sale, both physically and emotionally. May and June is a time to ask yourself how you can increase your freedom in the world while continuing to maintain your integrity and responsibilities.

On June 3rd at 11:11 PM PDT, Mars ends its retrograde period. The weeks following will help you to implement your revised ambitions. However, you will need to exercise patience. Projects started now may not see fruition until the spring of 2000.

Following are retrograde periods and meanings for the rest of 1999. If you are one of the zodiac signs listed, or have natal planets in these signs, the Universe is knocking heavily at your door in search of needed changes. Regardless of your astrological sign, retrograde planets require everyone to bring their outer world into harmony with their soul path.

Mercury retrograde indicates a need to improve communications, repair your car or computer, and think about what you really want in life. Think back to your life events last March 10-April 2 to understand the most recent Mercury retrograde cycle. Mercury is retrograde again July 12-Aug. 5 in Leo and Cancer. It is also retrograde Nov. 4-24 in Sagittarius and Scorpio. Make your holiday travel plans well in advance this year.

Venus retrograde July 29-Sept. 10 in Virgo and Leo requires you to review and simplify your relationship needs. You may also remodel your home, take a lazy vacation, or restructure your finances.

Mars retrograde in Scorpio and Libra, March 18-June 3 indicates a time to review your actions and ambitions. Many people are releasing old relationships, old hurts, jealousies, dental problems, etc. You are learning how to take harmonious actions based upon your core beliefs.

Jupiter retrograde Aug. 24-Dec. 20 in Taurus and Aries requires you to pioneer your philosophical goals in a down-to-earth way. You are rethinking how you can put your philosophy into the world and still earn a living.

Saturn retrograde Aug. 29-Jan. 12, 2000 in Taurus has you restructuring your values. You are learning how to put your resources (money, time, etc.) where you will benefit most. Create something that is both lasting and in harmony with your belief system.

The outer planets affect society as a whole and are less personal. Uranus and Neptune are retrograde May through October in Aquarius. Inventions, revolutions, and the desire for freedom for all humanity will be in the news. Pluto, planet of power struggles and transformation, is retrograde in Sagittarius between March and August. Right use of power, sexuality, the legal system, and religion will all be up for review. Look in your natal chart for the houses containing the zodiac signs mentioned above. The meanings for these areas of your chart will help you to know what activities in your life are being restructured.

As you can see, 1999 is a year for individuals and society to review their goals, beliefs, and ambitions. It is a year of planting the seeds of action for the new millennium. Invest inner time in visualizing yourself in a happy, healthy, fulfilling, and prosperous lifestyle. You will see the results of your efforts as we approach the alignment of seven planets in Taurus in May of 2000. Retrograde cycles help you to manifest a life in harmony with your soul path. Retrograde planets are indeed a good thing!

Mark Dodich has been a professional astrologer since 1980. He provides consultations internationally from his NE Portland office. For a free copy of his quarterly newsletter, ASTROMARK, call Mark at (503) 252-1558 or visit his website at: