Tracking the retrograde motion of the minor planets is a lesser-known aspect of modern astrology – which is rather surprising given that they offer the opportunity for a richer appreciation of the subtle, but nevertheless significant effect that planetary motion has on us.
The term Retrograde is one that is used to describe the apparent appearance of a backwards motion of any planet. It is an effect which manifests not as a result of a planet actually halting its motion in the heavens and going into reverse but by the effect caused by a related passing planet moving at a faster rate.
All of the planets operate into this retrograde motion, except for the Sun and the Moon, and they do so and for varying lengths of time.
In his book, How to Survive a Mercury Retrograde, professional astrologer Bernie Ashman explores the difficulties, challenges and also the opportunities that accompany any retrograde transit.
In it, he distils his thirty years of astrological expertise by investigating the retrogression of not only the planet Mercury but also those of the planets Venus and Mars.
As anyone who has ever worked with retrogrades will tell you, their influence can be create experiences that are tricky to navigate. Opinions on the matter vary and whilst some believe that their effect and impact can be little short of frightening and malevolent – bringing with them conditions that make the strongest person stand up and take notice — other commentators such as Ashman take a more pragmatic approach to them.
He states that in writing his book he wanted to teach his readers how to arm themselves in preparation for impending retrogrades as well as highlighting some of the specific opportunities for spiritual advancement that a retrograde cycle can bring.
He explains that these include
- A renewed determination to accomplish ones goals
- Clarification of what you need from others
- Chance to get a deeper glimpse into situations
- Crystallizing any given strategy becomes easier
- Pointing you towards hidden resolutions to issues
- Turning around negative thinking
Other specific psychological benefits can include
- Increased mental power
- Greater creativity
- Desire to be nore self-rewarding
- New emotional traits leading to new relationships.
Retrograde Motion in Action
In How to Survive a Retrograde Mercury, Ashman offers specific advice to his readers on the best way to prepare for retrograde planetary motion. He warns them of what to expect – such as increased incidences of synchronicities, how to respond to a shift in thinking from left to right brain thinking and to utilize intuitive functions to a greater than normal degree.
In each case he offers specific tips to his reader on how best to cope with the effects of the retrograde that is taking place as well as specific guidance on how the influence of a retrograde planet works through the signs of the zodiac on an elemental basis.
In a later chapter within his book he catalogs a number of questions that are often asked about the subject of retrograde planets ranging from ‘Is this a good time to sign a contract?’ through to ‘Is the best time for making major purchase?’.
In the conclusion to his book Ashman closes with a reiteration of his belief that retrogrades are effectively nothing to be feared and that with a little prior warning and work they can be navigated to great advantage.
Review of How to Survive a Mercury Retrograde by Bernie Ashman
As an esoteric astrologer, I was always concerned with the impending impact of retrograde motion and their effect upon my clients. I wish I had the opportunity to reference Bernie Ashman’s highly insightful commentary on the subject back in the day.
There is no doubt that retrogrades, and Mercury in particular, can turn your head upside down for a few weeks. I always personally find this to be a challenging time and aware that circumstances are rarely the same coming out of a retrograde as they were when entering them.
Ashram is keenly aware of this and specifically addresses the sense of discomfort that accompanies retrogrades in a sympathetic an understanding way. It is evident that the material in his book is drawn from astrological experience over many years and this lends an aura of deep understanding of the subject that runs throughout its pages.
The key to getting anything positive out of any Mercury, Venus or troublesome Mars retrograde is to be found in this excellent and insightful book. It contains a wealth of great advice, insightful information and specialized guidance that will be invaluable to any reader who is wary of what possible malignant forces might be bearing down upon you!5/5