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Most people know their zodiac sign; the sign the sun was in at birth. And the vast majority also know at least some of the most common (and sometimes somewhat condemning) descriptions of the various signs. "Well, you're a Scorpio? Huh, so you must be the jealous type" or "Taurus? Well, they're stubborn." The Water Bearer (also called Aquarius) doesn't like being boxed in - but aren't they a little weird too, or do they just want to do things their own way? There may be truth in the fixed "personality types", but the reality is somewhat more complicated. A zodiac sign has many nuances and expressions. And not only  that, you are not only your zodiac sign! A horoscope actually contains all 12 signs, however planets and aspects show how and to what degree they unfold. 

A horoscope contains many elements and can quickly become too complex. But if you know your sun sign (zodiac sign), your ascendant and your moon sign, you have already come a long way.

But do you even know your ascendant? The ascendant depends on the exact time and place of birth and is the term for the "rising sign", i.e. the point in our solar system that is due east at the exact moment of birth. The eastern horizon naturally changes depending on where on earth you are. This is the explanation why it is important to know the time of birth. But as you know, the earth also rotates once around itself in one day - while the zodiac signs (ecliptic) stay where they are! This means that the ascendant moves through all signs in a day.

The Ascendant is your outward person and is other people's first impression of you. It is our "expression" and style, the way we carry ourselves, our facial expressions and gesticulations. The ascendant is expressed in the meeting with the outside world. If your sun sign and your ascendant are very different, it is therefore not uncommon for people who don't know you very well to see your ascendant first. However, the Ascendant is more than your "facade". It says a lot about how you navigate through life and what "filter" you see the world through. The planet that rules your ascendant sign also says something about the type of activities you develop through.

The ascendant, like the sun, is absolutely central to being able to read a horoscope. If you know your exact time and place of birth, you can easily calculate it online - you can, for example, google "calculate ascendant", or, where you can both see and save your horoscope and get more basic information completely free of charge.

What does retrograde mean?

Seen from an astronomical perspective, the retrograde motion of the planets is just an optical illusion. Astrologically, however, it is of great importance whether a planet moves direct or retrograde.

A planet is by definition retrograde when it - apparently - moves backwards in the sky. All the planets - including the Earth - move around the Sun in the same direction, a bit like the moon moves around the Earth. There are therefore no planets that actually move backwards. Seen from Earth, however, it can look like this - hence the term retrograde.

The Earth and the other planets move at different speeds and distances. This means that the position of the planets in relation to the Earth changes. Even if the planets do not move backwards, it can look like this from Earth. A bit like when two trains with different speeds pass each other and it feels like the slow train is going backwards.


There is almost always (at least 80% of the time) at least one planet (often several) that is 'retrograde'. It is therefore a useful tool both to know the meaning of retrograde planets in your own horoscope (see video about ithere) and know when in the year the individual planets are retrograde. There is a reason for retrograde planets in your birth chart - and you can likewise take advantage of the learning potential that retrograde periods bring with them.

A retrograde planet goes through the same degrees it has just moved through. It takes a new look at them. It shows very well what retrograde periods mean. In the end, it's about a new look at the past. With Mercury retrograde, it can turn out quite simply, and may just be about asking yourself: Did I send that email to the right person? Did I set the P-disc correctly? I wonder if I should read that contract closely? A heightened awareness can ward off most challenges associated with Mercury retrograde. However, it can also go deeper than that. When Neptune or Pluto is retrograde, we experience completely different challenges and opportunities. They have to do with deeper and unconscious sides of us. When they are retrograde, it is an obvious opportunity to reflect on the past and become more aware of the learning that lies in the sometimes harsh realities.

What determines the meaning of a retrograde period is which planet it is and in which sign it is retrograde. There are periods when particularly many planets are retrograde. Here it is obvious to reconsider the past. Recognize where we have gone wrong and where we should change something going forward. Occasionally there may be a short period (typically a maximum of one month) when all planets are direct. Such periods are characterized by lots of activity. This is where we move and create the changes that the retrograde periods have shown us were necessary.

It's about using periods of retrograde planets for the purposes they are suited for. If we always drone on at 100 km an hour, we can overlook the many nuggets of gold that appear if we occasionally stop and reflect, notice and revise.

There is no reason to be nervous about, for example, Mercury retrograde! Basic knowledge about Mercury retrograde just means that you can better plan your everyday life, your business or travel. 


NB! Planets (including dwarf planets) and asteroids have retrograde periods, but the Sun (which is a star) and the Moon (which is a drabant) are never retrograde. Seen from Earth, the Sun and the Moon always move in the same direction through the signs.

Read more about the difference between astronomy's heliocentrism and astrology's geocentrismhere

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