Backwards – into the Future!

April brings a shower of planets apparently moving backward, or retrograding, in the sky.

Retrograde planets bring special challenges and opportunities, both in the current time cycle and in our birth charts. In Vedic astrology, the Sanskrit term for a retrograde planet is Vakri which literally means “twisted” or “roundabout.” The implication is that a retrograde planet brings a quality that is unusual, indirect, and different. 

For those who did not notice (ha!ha!ha!), Mercury began its tri-annual retrograde March 22nd, and continues its mischief making mayhem until early Sunday morning on April 15th – just in time to mail your income taxes on the following Monday grace day (which in this case is actually a good idea, since who wants to file tax returns while Mercury is retrograding – or maybe you did?!).

Jupiter remains in retrograde all April long, and then two days after Mercury starts its forward movement, old man Saturn goes into its retrogression for approximately …. 5 months!

When any planet are in retrograde, as are Jupiter, Mercury and Saturn this month, they teach us important lessons in a way that causes us to view our lives differently. While all planetary retrogrades can be challenging, Mercury and Saturn retrogrades tend to bring us the most opportunities to learn to relax and go with the flow.

Also, retrograde planets can seem stronger in their effects in our lives so those of us who are heavily influenced by Mercury, Saturn, or Jupiter may feel these changes more so than others. This month that will include Geminis, Virgos, Sagittarians, Capricorns, Aquarians, and Pisceans – or about half the people in the world!

Regardless of your astrological predisposition, whenever any planet changes its direction (moving backward or forward) there is a temporary confusion or re-set of its energy – almost as if you quickly changed from driving forward into reverse in a truck that weighs as much as say Jupiter, or 318 times the weight of the earth.

And although Saturn does a lot of retrograding throughout our lives, when it does so, it usually brings up past karmas, interactions with older people or successful people, and issues around emotional inhibitions and repressions. 

This period of Saturn retrograde occurs in the benefic and spiritual Vedic sign of Sagittarius which will challenge us to revisit previously held ideas around higher knowledge and the spiritual side of life. If we are willing to change old habits around our relationship to our spiritual practice, Saturn can give us the discipline to accelerate our growth and understanding in that area of our lives.

A Saturn retrograde does promise one thing. Either you proactively recommit to a spiritual practice or you will learn what happens when you do not.

Regardless of our level of consciousness during this Saturn retrograde, there is a special meditation that was given by Yogi Bhajan, the Master of Kundalini Yoga, to help ease the effects. This is a great meditation to do on April 17th when the retrograde begins.

Saturn Retrograde MEDITATION

From the book, Astrology Yoga

1. Sit in an easy meditative posture with a straight spine.4. 

2. With the palms facing down, interlace the fingers in front of the body and release the middle fingers (the Saturn finger) so you can bend them downward, pointing toward the earth. Press the pads of the downward extended middle fingers along the first joint. 

3. Bend the elbows and raise the arms so the hands are held in front of the shoulders, right below chin level, and the forearms parallel to the floor.

4. Thumb tips touch together and slightly angle down so they point back to the heart center. Focus the eyes on tip of nose.

5. Inhale completely and repeat the following mantra twice (2x) on one breath in a powerful monotone from the navel center. Accentuate the HAR sound each time:


Chanting the mantra twice should take about 12 seconds, including inhale.

Recommended practice time is 31 minutes. Minimum time 3 or 11 minutes.

This practice also brings extra benefits when done on Saturday, the day of Saturn.

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