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The Return of the Frogs – Retrospective Retrograde – what it means when a planet goes retrograde

Updated: Oct 8, 2022

It's mid-September. I’m posting a lot of statuses on my WhatsApp. My heart’s been a-breaking and a-buzzing from the healing of my most recent relationship “failure” and the soul growth is insane.

Physically I’m looking and feeling great. I also have many days where I stay in my PJs until noon after a bout of why-didn’t-he-love-me tears. And my crown chakra is heavy on the downloads.

And, I kid you not, EVERY single day ALL the exes are checking the statuses. And I mean exes I haven’t seen in years. Exes I exed in Johannesburg over four years ago. Exes whose name I’d forgotten until I saw theirs in my status. And then all the side frogs who I met on Tinder in my wild west days. Ugh. Honestly, I had about 6 exes on the daily checking my statuses ---- and on WhatsApp ---- WhatsApp of all places.

It's like THE most personal social media.

If you know me, I post about serious heart and soul growth with the occasional bikini pic, so someone who checks my statuses will be entertained and enlightened.

I thought it a good thing. My frog-kissing days seem to at least have contributed to the personal and spiritual growth of men.

Look, I knew Mercury was retrograde – that awkward time that comes every few months where astrologers warn of signing contracts, moving house and getting in touch with exes…

But woah, the fact that there were so many exes checking me out solidly (each status, each day for a week) was odd. I’d not had that before.

The next week I had one of my first loves come back into my life and proclaim feelings after more than a decade.

Then I had an old fling from a meditation retreat want to reconcile even though I’d politely told him to shag himself after I found out he had a blonde girlfriend overseas (a little detail he omitted before he kissed me on the beach).

Not forgetting that breakup I mentioned earlier – an abrupt tower moment ending with the first and only guy I’d instantly fallen in love with.

Mercury was in retrograde – in my life – fo’ sure.

“Could this be related?” I wondered.

I mean, this was nuts. Even the nearly-50, wine-guzzling Christian who said he couldn’t imagine having kids with me, whom I’d met on Tinder in 2019, was looking at my statuses on the daily.

So I did a bit of research, and I realised six planets were in retrograde all at the same time. I knew Mercury went retrograde, but I didn’t think that far to know that all the planets go retrograde at some point.

Well, except Mars and Venus that is. Mars goes retrograde every two years, whereas Venus goes retrograde every 18 months.

But what’s significant about 2022 is that all the planets will (or have been) retrograde this year. For more on the details of this, I’d check out the Astro Twins article on planets going retrograde in 2022.

Since retrogrades happen every year and since this one was kicking my butt in terms of spiritual growth – I thought it’s worth knowing what it means when a planet goes into retrograde in the first place.


A planetary retrograde is when a planet seems to be moving backwards in the sky from our perspective here on Earth. It can be compared to the effect of a slow-moving train being viewed from a faster train travelling parallel to it.

But planets don’t move backwards. It only seems that way because different planets orbit the Sun at different distances and speeds. Cafe Astrology says when a planet goes retrograde its energies are turned inward. Each planet represents an aspect of our personalities. Mercury for example deals with intellect, communication and internal dialogue, while Venus deals with love, relationships, self-worth, and beauty.

My buddy and founder of the coolest 90s matchmaking business, Astrodate, and astrologer, Babett Baer, says this means the planet’s energies, that is, the parts of our personality the planet represents, could be felt more strongly, because these energies are experienced more internally as opposed to being expressed outside in the world.

This is why retrogrades are so intense.

We are personally experiencing the energies of the planets inside of us.


As the planets move in the sky, they are also moving through different zodiac signs. Ever heard Mercury is going retrograde in Taurus? When a planet goes retrograde it also does so in a particular zodiac sign.

New York Post astrologer, Kyle Thomas says “Not only will what the planet rules be thrown out of balance during a retrograde but whatever the zodiac sign it is in will also see collective confusion.” Thomas says that each zodiac has different associations - Libra governs partnerships and Taurus governs money for example.

Baer expands on this by saying those who have chart points (planets and angles) in the sign that the planetary retrogradation is taking place will feel the effects of the retrograde more intensely. So, if you’re a Pisces Sun, for example, Mercury retrograde in Pisces is likely to affect you more than if you have no Pisces placements or significant chart points linked to Pisces in your natal chart.


Thomas says there are three phases to a planetary retrograde and uses a great analogy of walking on a beach to explain each phase:


In this phase, the planet starts to slow down from our viewpoint on Earth. This is when problems start to arise or unstable situations come to light.

Thomas uses his walking on the beach analogy to explain this: “say you’ve been running through the sand on a beach and you feel the shells and stones beneath you. But you’re on a mission — so why look down?”

Yet, you get that niggling feeling that you forgot something in your car.

Thomas says it’s during the pre-retrograde shadow phase that you move forward on the beach, but when you get the hunch that you forgot something in your vehicle, you slow down and eventually look back.

The length of the shadow period can last for months or weeks before the actual retrograde, depending on the planet. Remember, some planets are in retrograde for much longer at a time. The outer planets, like Neptune, have longer retrograde periods whereas Mercury, the planet that orbits the sun the fastest, has shorter retrograde periods.


To continue Thomas’s metaphor…

This is when you’re going back to your car, navigating your way through the sand noticing all the shells and stones and maybe even rocks and shrubs you hadn’t seen before. But, as fate would have it, once you’ve gone all the way back to your car you find a R100 note in the sand beside it. You didn’t see this when you left your car, but now, you did – and what a gift!

The actual retrograde phase is when all the problems you noticed in the pre-shadow phase actually blow up.

“This is when the planet is taking control and moving backwards in the sky,” says Thomas.

What’s actually happening is that information about the aspects of our personality that the planet represents is showing itself. This could be details you’d overlooked or something entirely new to you. Mercury is also the planet of internal dialogue, so in a Mercury retrograde, you could discover an unhealthy or limiting perception of yourself that you hadn’t identified before.

We live in a society that’s so quick to rush into the next best thing (whether a project, relationship or space) that we don’t learn the lesson(s), forget about or overlook something significant, something that could enable your growth or be for your benefit.

And this is the beauty of a retrograde – it allows you to review, re-evaluate and reconsider.

And now you’re happy you went all the way back to your car – because you discovered that R100 note.

The post-retrograde shadow phase (AKA RETROSHADE)

This is the phase when the planet starts moving direct again.

Thomas says it’s when the planet is moving forward in the sky again but is still catching up from where it fell behind.

Using the beach metaphor – you put the R100 note in your pocket and head back to the beach. At the end of your walk, you now see a man selling ice cream – and guess what – there’s that R100 note in your back pocket you can use.

So essentially, the post-retrograde shadow phase is when you get the opportunity to apply what you’ve learned during the retrograde. As Thomas puts it, this period “helps us resolve whatever popped up during the previous two periods so that we are on a better track moving forward.”

This period is actually an awesome time for self-care and integration. Your time would be well spent focusing on how you can make better decisions, while also loving and forgiving yourself for what you didn’t know or overlooked in the past.


By the time the most recent Mercury retrograde period had hit – I was already broken up with my ex.

It had been a shock for me and although I’d been processing the break-up, it was mostly still emotional releasing.

When the exes started appearing in the statuses and the forgotten loves woke from the dead – I very consciously started reviewing my intimate relationships on the whole.

The surge in past love interests forced me to reflect on relationships gone by and my part in these bygones.

I began to identify where I’d let boundaries drop, where I overlooked gaping wounds in romantic partners and myself for the sake of having a boyfriend, and where I often saw myself as a victim in my relationships. These revelations helped me understand why my romantic partnerships have (at the time of writing this post) played out in less-than-appealing ways.

Now, in the post-retrograde shadow phase, I have these lessons in my back pocket. I’m already even more aware of my boundaries in all my intimate interactions. I’m also more conscious and intentional about how I communicate my needs and whether I am honouring my needs (instead of swallowing them as I did in the past).

Even writing this post, and the subsequent tarot reading I did on my new YouTube channel regarding this subject is evidence of me using that R100 note in my back pocket.

Without the return of the frogs, I may not have gained these insights.

What is your soul teaching you right now?

Albeit fun, this is still a shallow explanation of what I experienced (and still am experiencing) this retrograde season. I’ve found a lot of my lessons have been soul lessons, teaching me about my relationship not only with others but with the world. And, I must admit, this retrograde season in 2022 has changed my view on life.

So, as mentioned, I decided to record a pick-a-card reading on this retrograde period. I’ve also set the intention of the reading being timeless. So whatever time you’re coming across it – whether it’s a retrograde season or not – and it calls you – check it out below.

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