Retrograde Planets

Retrograde Planets and reversed cards

Interpreting reversed tarot cards  adds tonality, change in nuance and sophistication to the reading. When Reversals are equated with retrograde planets used in an astrological Tarot reading, the sophistication rises dramatically, particularly when we look at the planetary Major Cards.

Definition of Retrograde Planets

A planet is retrograde when it seems to be moving backward in the Zodiac as seen from the Earth. A retrograde planet indicates that the affairs ruled by it are slowed down, and the querent is introspective about the situation. Retrograde planets show unresolved opportunities for being cleared, or that things are happening behind the scenes. From a Tarot point of view, we have indications of past actions. Once the planet resumes forward motion, the past experiences are given open expression.

A retrograde planet will influence the sign and house it resides with, aspects to other planets, and the zodiac signs it rules. Here is a rough guide to what retrograde planets can show:

Image of the Magician


A slowing down or more deliberate thought processes. Reconsidering or revising decisions already made. Subjective rethinking of past experiences. Communication problems, indecision, garbled messages, delivery delays. Illness, equipment breakdowns, contractual disagreements, interminable negotiations. Positively, using time to complete unfinished tasks.

The Empress in the Book of ThothVenus

Emotional frustration and loneliness. Inner turmoil of the emotions. Being unloved and unwanted. Deep feelings that remain unexpressed. There may be a restriction or slowing down in financial matters, or purchase of goods.

The Tower in the Book of LawMars

Inner doubts about the course of action, lack of opportunities for a particular action. Frustrations. Being cautious and introspective. Repression of anger and bottling up causing psychological problems. Opportunities for re-organisation and perseverance.

Fortune in the Book of ThothJupiter

Introspection, educational, philosophical, cultural and religious interests. Mystical thought in religion and philosophy. A time to gain wisdom and knowledge.

The Universe in the Book of ThothSaturn

A time of patience and conservatism. Finishing unresolved business – constant revision and refinements. Old business concerns blinds the querent to new opportunities.

The Fool in the Book of ThothUranus

Old unfinished business turns up suddenly or unexpectedly. Friendship and groups are related to the past.

The Hanged Man in the Book of ThothNeptune

Introspection on intuitive and emotional feelings. Continuous re-evaluation of deceptive or mysterious events.

The Aeon in the Book of ThothPluto

Secretive or mysterious actions. Indirect approaches to matters about taxes, insurance or inheritances. Things happening below the surface.


In the astrological real world, the Sun and the Moon are never retrograde, so there is no astrological interpretation for them. As you can see, in an astrological context, Reversal/Retrograde cards have nothing like the negative connotations found in traditional tarot.

Further Research

Keep a current Ephemeris to hand so you know when planets change direction – this may give you hints when making predictions.

Article Name
Interpreting tarot cards using retrograde planets in astrology
Astrological knowledge of retrograde planets can be applied to reversed tarot cards

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