View Full Version : What is the significance of retrograde planets, mutual reception, and other aspects?

Gemini Rising
06-11-2006, 08:14
Hi all!

I haven't been on in a while (extremely busy) and I've been pondering lately...how does a planet being retrograde change its influence?

I personally only have one retrograde planet--Saturn retrograde in 0 degrees 12 minutes of Aquarius. However, I have a lot of friends who have 3 or more retrograde planets.

Another aspect (if that's what it is called) I've been pondering is mutual reception, where two of your planets are in the sign that the other rules. I actually have two cases of this: Uranus in Capricorn (one of two planets in my chart that have difficult aspects to my sun) and Saturn in Aquarius. The second is Venus in Leo and my Sun in Libra. I've tried to look it up online, but the significance of mutual reception still eludes me.

Then there's being born under a full moon, which I know has powerful influences...I wasn't personally born under one, but I'm LITERALLY the only person I know who WASN'T born under one! I can imagine the Sun and Moon being opposite is quite a nasty aspect, and a full moon has powerful energy, so what is its significance in a chart?

Then what about Grand Trines and Grand Crosses...I know each has their upsides and downsides (I only have a couple squares in my chart and they're hard enough to deal with!), and my father has a pretty big Grand Trine in his chart in the element of Fire because he has two planets in each fire sign.

Then there are exaltation, fall, detriment, and domain that I only have a vague idea about...exalted, a planet is at its best, such as Venus the planet of Love in self-sacrificing and compassionate Venus and Mercury in detail-oriented Virgo (where it's also at its domain, at least until its ruler is changed, which may or may not happen anytime soon if at all). Exaltation I understand.

Domain confuses me...a planet being in the sign it rules. I have Pluto in Scorpio, which is pretty insignificant considering I have literally no aspects to Pluto in my chart.

Detriment I understand for the most part, a planet being opposite the sign it rules. I only have one detrimented planet, Mars in Libra, which gives me a clue: Mars is the planet of aggression and assertion and it's in Libra, the peaceful and nonconfrontational sign. I've always had trouble asserting myself, and always try and be polite and respectful and I HATE confrontation...but after learning about astrology, I've tried to overcome that by asserting myself in such a sweet and polite way (something that comes natural to me) that I can simply charm people into submission.

Fall is one aspect that completely eludes me--a planet being in the opposite sign of its exaltation. My sun is in its fall (Libra) and so is Neptune, the second planet that makes a nasty aspect to my sun. What this means I'm totally clueless.

I really have trouble interpreting how planets act in what signs (don't even ask me about houses now), so any help on this matter would be greatly appreciated! I know this is a lot of questions, so thank you in advance for your time! (Here's the Mars in Libra trying to be polite...)

My chart (sorry the Nodes are lacking...speaking of which, what exactly ARE the moon's nodes?!): http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v214/una_anima/natalchart.jpg


07-11-2006, 02:38
For the outer planets, a "retrograde" situation indicates that the planet is on the other side of your chart from the Sun's position. The Sun is an integrating agent in addition to representing will, focus, energy, vitality, health, warmth, etc. As a general statement, the retrograde outer planet (as opposed to Mercury and Venus, inner planets) is doing two things symbolically, re-covering areas it has already covered, and generally opposing, distancing or fighting the Sun's focus. This is not good or bad, it is just a part of a process that points to the fact that we have to periodically re-assess our personal stance (Sun) relative to the outer world (Saturn, etc.).

The above is a general statement. You always have to consider the area that the transiting planet is retrograding over, the aspects that it may make to the natal Sun or to other natal planets. In the case of looking at only a natal chart, you have to consider the overall nature of what the retrograde planet is in your chart and the influence that can have on how you develop your whole-life plan and experiences -- what is difficult, what do you most need to learn, where will you make the most effective adjustments, etc.


07-11-2006, 03:26
First of all, the term "Grand" pertains to these aspect patterns being "everywhere" or "as extensive as possible" -- not to being "grand" as in overly wonderful. The positiveness or negativeness of either of these aspect patterns is dependant primarily on the planets involved and secondarily on the other factors in the chart.

When you break it down, assuming that there is only one planet at each of the four points in question, you have four oppositions and eight squares, considering each planet to be the planet-of-concern that you are trying to understand. Since oppositions tend to want to create a balance but most often experience a back-and-forth imbalance, and squares most often manifest as challenges, you can see that there is nothing "grand" about the potentials in this pattern. In order to understand what the pattrn means I would suggest that the easiest way is to take a review of that happens when one of the planets involved makes a transit to any of the four points. After a little research and/or record keeping you will soon discover how you use this grand square. The book meanings can give you clues but turning generalizations into helpful understanding is best done by actual experience and observation. Its the best way to learn astrology.

Everyone knows that trines are easy. What you have to realize is that the grand trine is much like a motor in that it just keeps on going and going. This pattern is lazy as once it finds a way to express itself it doesn't want to change. The grand trine can be habit forming. You can stop growing in terms of your experiences if this prompts you to always react in the same way.

Transits are wonderful indicators of change or of the potential for change. Everytime a planet transits an aspect pattern of which it is a natal member, and if that transit also includes a tight aspect to another planet that is not part of that natal pattern, you have a chance to introduce a new dynamic into your life. This also applies to progressions. You can elect to be more receptive and demonstrative of an "outside force" (a progressed or transiting planet that is not part of the natal pattern) by incorporating it into your life.

This is how we grow and change, how we enrich our natal (read as potential) patterns for actual growth. We always need to enlarge our charts as well as our experiences -- they should be one and the same.

Now, in addition to the planets involved in a g-square or g-trine, you can look at signs, rulerships, mutual receptions and other stuff, but that will add a lot of complexity to your task and your search for answers. If you have to ask these questions (and every question is a good question) then that is a sign that you need to start off by keeping things simple and limited in scope. You can come back to these questions later in your astrological growth and dig deeper. Don't be impatient, astrology is best learned in steps. Dave

Gemini Rising
07-11-2006, 09:46

Thank you very much, your explanations helped a great deal! I know it was a lot to ask, but I figured I would rather get all my questions out of the way in one post than making 10 different threads each with one one-sentence long question.

Again, thank you,

07-11-2006, 09:48
I was hoping that someone more atuned to conventional astrology practices would answer this for you. Since I have a poor opinion of "signs" and use them only in limited ways -- mutual reception and rulerships are far down on my list of useful astrological tools -- it would be better to have one who is passionate about this topic answer you.

However, the list seems to be very shy at the moment, so here is my take on mutual reception:

By strict definition it merely means that one planet is in the sign that is ruled by another planet, and vice versa. Your Venus in Leo and Sun in Libra is a good example of this. As a general rule, IMHO, you can't say that mutual reception is either good or bad. Note that I would feel it is close to irrelevant but I'm trying to give you a mainstream opinion here. Venus in Leo is a bit like Venus in Aries in that Venus likes to be admired and praised, certainly recognized. Venus being a "balancing" agent would like to decorate the ball room, paint the rainbow and pick out the Queen's clothes. Is this good or bad? That depends upon the context of those actions and attitudes. Sun in Libra basks in softness and harmony, enjoys socializing, and is associated with people who can't choose from a menu or pick a vacation destination.

Now we can alternatively choose a range of descriptions for these planet and sign combinations, but the point is, "What does this combination provide in terms of special meanings, of added emphasis on an interpretation, in the way that a person's personality and attitude is clearly defined. Should we "double" the emphasis of Venus and the Sun because of mutual reception. If this combination is "good" then how is it good. What would be "bad" in contrast to these two.

So, my answer to this question -- and all of this can be argued -- is that mutual reception by itself may not really add a lot to a chart. It would depend upon the combination of planets and signs. Mars in Pisces with Neptune in Aries would certainly suggest a problem with focusing and applying Mars' energy effectively. On the other hand, Mars in Gemini and Mercury in Pluto would suggest an eager detective and explorer of the mind, of motives, of feelings -- a busybody, a digger of facts. Hope this all helps. Dave

07-11-2006, 23:43
Dave, thank for answering Nicky's question, 'cause i too wondered about such things...
Astrology is such a complex subject, guess it's best learnt step-by-step...

And when we know nothing of astrology and think it's JUST about signs :D

Oh well...