There is one thing astronomers and astrologers agree on: what constitutes a “retrograde” planet. The motion of any planet in our solar system is said to be retrograde when, plotted against the backdrop of the signs of the Zodiac, it appears to slow down, stop, and start going backwards. No planet actually changes direction, of course, but because of our relative speeds and positions around the Sun, this optical illusion causes it to appear so. To bring it down to Earth, think of a fast train overtaking a slower train: to the passengers on the fast train, the slow train appears to be moving slower and slower until suddenly it seems to be standing still. As the fast train finally passes it, the slow train appears to go backwards!
As I write this, both Venus and Jupiter are retrograde, Venus in the sign of Pisces (after a toe dip in the following sign of Aries) and Jupiter in the sign of Libra. Of even greater significance to astrologers and expectant mothers who are into astrology is the fact that the planet Saturn is what we call “stationary retrograde,” meaning that for the next couple of days it is appearing to stand still before making its four month march backwards through the sign of Sagittarius. A baby born on a stationary planetary day, retrograde or direct, is often seen to display an uncanny ability in one or more of the areas ruled by that planet. Babies born with Saturn stationary in Sagittarius will be exalted as teachers who combine the best the world has to offer us, exemplary executives, and authorities in their chosen field.
Now how do you think you’re supposed to eat if you’re in the dining car of a train that slows down, stops and starts moving backwards? That’s easy: carefully. There is nothing as spiritual as how our life is sustained and enabled by the food we eat and there is no time as stressful for most people as when one or more planets are retrograde. While we go into more depth about how food and astrology are connected in our new book, Signs and Seasons, here's a primer on how the various retrogrades tempt you to eat (and how to deal).
You’ve probably heard the “Mercury Retrograde” blamed for all sorts of mix ups and mash ups. Mercury is all about communication and Mercury Retrograde is a time of communication problems, more so than usual. When Mercury is retrograde, make sure communications are clearly sent and accurately received. And watch out that you don’t eat a bag or two of pretzel sticks when problems arise.
When Venus is retrograde, be aware of the state of your relationships, beyond what you want or envision them to be. You have a chance to strengthen them if you are attentive. If you just assume things are fine, as they’ve always been, you may be deceiving yourself. And, if that’s the case, make sure that you’re not polishing off a calorie rich treat that you could be sharing with someone if your relationships were not so problematic.
During a Mars Retrograde, remember that others may not be as mature as you and may act in aggravating ways. Your actions may result in reactions that you had not planned on. If this happens, don’t get angry or get even. If you do, do it decisively and skillfully. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself eating a lot of spicy food to fan your flames.
You can become blind to your blessings and good fortune when Jupiter is retrograde. This often happens when you are focused on the troubles of others, and you may find yourself trying the comfort food of other nations in lieu of being able to travel to them.
As Saturn becomes retrograde, be conscious of how you relate to authority, both external authority and how much of an authority you are perceived to be by those you care about. If you are not comfortable with how much regard others have for your opinions, you may find yourself drawn to dry bread and other “prison” foods low in nutrients and high in simple carbohydrates.
A retrograde Uranus will make you very aware of whether your life is a statement of your originality. If you feel stifled, bored, old or anything other than excited and grateful to be alive, you may find yourself eating the weirdest foods you’ve ever had. This could include bizarre food combinations or eating things that you’ve always said you were going to try but never did.
You will need to be aware of the limitations of your intuitive and spiritual natures during a Neptune retrograde. The law of All Things In Balance and Moderation is always in effect and violating it can result in your intuition being misread and, therefore, letting you down or leading you astray. The eating habits to watch out for during this time are those where you are eating for “spiritual” reasons; these may not be in the best interests of your body.
When Pluto is retrograde, be attentive to how you use or abuse your judgment. Your eating may be fueled by your lack of confidence in your judgment or by judging yourself to be wanting in some way. It is almost a given that at this time we will be drawn to the foods that are the worst for us in terms of our health. You may not eat a lot of these self-defeating foods but they will certainly have a powerful effect on your body.