2023 Retrogrades: A Witch’s Guide for Reflection

2023 Retrogrades: A Witch’s Guide for Reflection December 7, 2022

What is retrograde? Well, simply put, it is an optical illusion. 

Earth moves faster or slower than other planets as they each move at different speeds. So, when Earth laps another planet, the planet appears to be moving backward from our vantage point here on Earth.

Vadim Sadovski via Adobe Stock

In my own practice, I like to utilize astrology as a tool for growth. In the same vein as shadow work or pulling tarot cards, it is helpful to highlight the areas in our lives that need our attention. Often, these are unhealed areas that need to be addressed in order to grow and evolve as human beings. When a retrograde occurs, this allows us the time to reflect on our lives and redirect if need be.


Retrogrades are not the uproar that they are portrayed to be in pop culture. No, they’re typically much more subtle than that, but who can resist blaming Mercury Retrograde when things go awry? It’s too easy.

Rather, retrograde periods should be looked at as moments of pause. This is a time to reflect on matters you’ve been working on. Each planet has an arena that it governs, so these areas will be affected when it is retrograde.

Retrogrades are typically times when ideas, people, or themes will reemerge. While this may seem kismet, it’s actually asking us to review what we have learned. Think of this as a Cosmic Pop Quiz of sorts. Did we learn what we needed to the first time? If we did, have we applied those lessons to our lives? By and large, retrogrades are not active periods. Much like the slowing motion of the planets themselves, we are being asked to slow down and reflect on areas of our lives.

The dates provided below are the dates the planet is retrograde, but there is also an accompanying preshadow and postshadow period. The length of time these pre and post-shadow periods last depends on the planet in question.


The preshadow period is when the planet begins to appear to slow down. Depending on the planet in question, this can be weeks or even months before the planet is retrograde. This is when we’ll begin to hear the whispers of what’s to come. This is the period of foreshadowing what we will need to address, and we can get a general feel of the themes we will be asked to focus on.


After the preshadow, we have the retrograde period, which is followed by the postshadow period. This is when the planet appears to be moving forward but hasn’t caught up to Earth. Much like the preshadow period, this period can last from weeks to months after the planet stations direct. During this time, we will be asked to tie up loose ends and determine how to resolve or grow from the lessons we learned during the retrograde period.

Mercury Retrograde

Mercury is the planet that governs communication, technology, and travel. When Mercury is retrograde, we may find ourselves experiencing technical mishaps, travel delays, and miscommunication. The best course of action is to prepare for delays and mishaps under this influence to the best of your ability.


Dec 29, 2022 – Jan 18, 2023

Apr 21, 2023 – May 15, 2023

Aug 23, 2023 – Sept 15, 2023

Dec 13, 2023 – Jan 2, 2024

Venus Retrograde

Venus is the planet that governs love, beauty, and sexuality. When Venus is retrograde, this can be a period of exes returning, so be prepared for unsolicited DMs. Venus being retrograde can make us more idealistic than normal, so removing our rose-colored glasses is advisable before responding to any former flames. 


July 23, 2023 – Sept 4, 2023

Mars Retrograde

Mars governs drive, ambition, impulsion, and action. Due to this, we may find these areas of our life come into focus. Or, rather, out of focus. We could experience a great deal of tension under this influence and must be mindful of our tempers and our approach to others.


Oct 30, 2022 – Jan 12, 2023

Jupiter Retrograde

Jupiter is the planet that governs prosperity, expansion, and good fortune. During a Jupiter retrograde, we will need to take a step back and reexamine our goals. This is a period of reflecting on the smaller details that make up the bigger picture. The goal is to evaluate where we are heading and to correct our course if need be so that when it returns direct, we’ll be on the right path.


Sept 4, 2023 – Dec 31, 2023

Saturn Retrograde

Saturn is the planet that governs discipline, authority, and karma. Saturn is known to be a planet of harsh lessons and limitations. Therefore, when Saturn is retrograde, we can experience a bit of reprieve. Rather than a time for new lessons, this is a time to review our previous lessons and acknowledge ways in which we can apply them. 


Jun 17, 2023 – Nov 4, 2023

Uranus Retrograde

Uranus is the planet that governs freedom, eccentricity, and rebellion. When Uranus is retrograde, this is a period where we need to pinpoint the areas in our life where we need to break free. This is a time to reflect on areas we need to change in our lives and puts an emphasis on transformation. Uranus is known to be a shocking planet, so things may unfold in ways we would never have imagined under this influence. 


Aug 24, 2022 – Jan 22, 2023

Aug 29, 2023 – Jan 27, 2024

Neptune Retrograde

Neptune is the planet that governs intuition, dreams, and illusion. When this planet is retrograde, it’s often likened to a veil being lifted. During a Neptune retrograde, we may notice where we lack clarity by being made painfully aware of the truth of a situation. As such, this retrograde primarily asks us to adjust our focus and be honest with ourselves. 


Jun 30, 2023 – Dec 6, 2023

Pluto Retrograde

Pluto is the planet that governs transformation, power, and secrets. Regarding planets, Pluto is only rivaled by its good friend Saturn in terms of the fear factor. However, while Saturn dishes out lessons, Pluto can decimate our foundations. When Pluto is retrograde, this is a period of time that can reveal hidden truths that become catalysts for transformation.


May 1, 2023 – Oct 11, 2023

If you enjoy podcasts, tune into Episode 24: Retrogrades on Cosmic Cauldron to hear my cohost and I discuss the topic candidly.

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