The apparent backward motion of planets is called Retrograde. The word apparently has been used because in reality, the planets move slower when compared to other planets in the solar system. Planets on some given point of time when viewed from Earth will slow down and become stationary. Then they will start moving backward in the sky. If we take two trains running parallel in the same direction, one with higher speed from the other, then the train with lower speed will appear to move backward. In the same way, some planets appear to move backward in the sky when compared to others in the solar system.

Which planets retrograde

The Sun and Moon never retrograde. Rahu and Ketu always move on the reverse motion (or) vakri. Let us see about other planets

  1. Saturn retrogrades for 140 days and remains stationary for 5 days
  2. Jupiter retrogrades for 120 days and remains stationary for 5 days
  3. Mars retrogrades for 80 days and stationary for 3 days
  4. Venus retrogrades for 42 days and stationary for 2 days
  5. Mercury retrogrades for 24 days and remains stationary for one day

In the Ephemeris and horoscope chart, we can find that they are marked as ‘’R’’. The Sanskrit name for Retrograde planet is Vakri.

As per Astrological texts

Jataka Parijata : Considers retrograde planets to be very strong

Saravelli and Jataka Tatwa : Says only a benefic alone will give good results if retrograde, while a malefic causes evil.

Phaladeepika : Retrograde planets are as strong as exalted planets

Uttara Kalamritha : Says going one step further that even as exalted planet when retrograde will give effects like a debilited one. When it is in debilitation and retrograde, they behave like an exalted planet. They are a bit contradictory but the problem is in our own understanding.

The retrograde planet ultimately strengthens the native, to make him adaptive in life. The central idea is that there is nothing good (or) bad in the planet but it is upto how an individual uses it. Even Rahu and Ketu who are always retrograde and considered to be evil can cause good effect to certain natives.  Retrograde planets affect the consciousness of an individual and makes him relate to the life in general in a better way.

Strength of Retrograde planets

Normally, they are considered to be strong. Astronomically, these retrograde planets are closer to earth and hence will have more effect on human life on earth. Even in Shadbala, a retrograde debilitated planet will score more points (or) rupas. The influence of retrograde planet will ultimately depend on their placement in the chart and/or transit. Getting to know how to deal with retrograde planets in the natal chart is the key for the Astrologer. Controlling a Vakri planet is difficult since they do not follow a common law and their behaviour remains twisted. An exalted planet may behave as if in debilitation and a debilitated one as if it is in exaltation.

Planets and Retrogression

Saturn – It can make an individual hungry with desire, wanting more and more in every aspect of life. Those natives with retrograde Saturn need to channelize their energy appropriately, otherwise Saturn can become destructive for them.

Venus – It can make a native to look for unusual compatibility in marriage. They will not be clear in mind to express love and hold relationships. The native with Venus Vakri should be careful with emotions, taste and happiness.

Jupiter – Though knowledgeable, do not know how to use it or share it. They may end up giving unnecessary advices to people. Since Jupiter is Karaka for children, the native might have different kinds of children. In the same way, it may have an effect on the spouse also, people might end up having unconventional relationships.

Mercury – It can drive a native to extremes. For example, he can be either talkative or will talk very less. Though good thinkers, they may find it difficult to express. If Mercury is retrograde as well as combust, then it can make the life difficult for the native.

Mars –The native will find it too difficult to resolve conflicts. People can be very aggressive and have hunger for power. It may lead to misuse of power due to lack of understanding. The native should look after his health also since it may lead to exertion.

It is important that the transit have to be predicted with retrograde planets in mind. For example, when Mercury is retrograde, the individual can experience stress. One should wait to take decision after Mercury turns direct. Saturn stationary transit also needs to be carefully examined. In contrast, the stationary periods of Jupiter can enhance good qualities.

The aspects discussed above are an attempt to look at Vakri planets from different angles. One can put forth predictions from their own experience as to how the vakri/retrograde planets behave.


Hima kundha M’runaalaabam – Dhaithyaanam Paramam Gurum

Sarva saasthra Pravruththaaram – Bhaargavam Pranamaam Yaham

Meaning:The one who has the lustre of the dew, Lotus stem and Thumba flower, High priest of Asuras and the one who preaches the Shatras, I prostrate that ( Bhargava )Sukracharya.