Retrograde: August 7, 2018, in Taurus
Direct: January 6, 2019, in Aries
Based on Pacific Standard (PST)
As an outer planet, Uranus moves slowly, taking 84 years to complete the zodiac and spending roughly 7 years in each sign. Sometimes, however, Uranus appears to move backward in the sky; this visual backward motion is known as Uranus retrograde. In astronomy, this is referred to as ‘apparent retrograde motion’, but in astrology, the term is most often shortened to ‘retrograde.’
Uranus stations retrograde once every year, spending just under half of the year retrograde; these retrogrades normally last five months. During these transits, Uranus appears to move backward in the sky, recovering approximately four degrees each retrograde. Overall, Uranus spends about forty percent of its time in retrograde.
By Lee Coleman
With Uranus transits, we are given a choice: change or die.
What Uranus threatens us with not physical death, but a creative, soul-level withering, an inability to thrive that if allowed to settle within, would rot us from the inside out. Without Uranus’ upending ways, many of us would nestle deep into our most familiar ruts and never look back, comfortable in our ambivalence. Uranus pushes us past the edge comfort, and further still: it is at these boundaries, somewhere between order and abject chaos, where genius and creativity thrive.
Uranus shows up in our lives as both the crackle of lightning which burns down our most prized structures as well as the enlightening bolt of intuitive knowing that evokes innovation. Vacillating powerfully – and unexpectedly – between breakdown and breakthrough, Uranus’ transits are notoriously difficult to predict in astrological interpretations and singular in their ability to produce out-of-the-blue, shocking outcomes.
More positively, Uranus acts as an awakener, prodding us to face those things which we may intuitively know already but struggle to otherwise confront. These wake-up calls, which are often brutally timed, may force us to let go of parts of our ego-identities which are in danger of suffocating the entire system.
The urge to transform our reality that is produced by Uranus transits is best re-examined during the Uranus retrogrades, when we may have better objectivity, and a cooler, more even-keeled approach. During Uranus retrogrades, the volatile pace and pitch of Uranus’ energy is halted, dulled, and brought to a manageable level, so that we may finally find a way to focus its brilliance and make use of it.
Uranus is retrograde nearly forty-one percent of the year, and thus, it is relatively normal to have Uranus retrograde in the natal chart.
Retrograde planets in the birth chart are sometimes described as being unable to fully express themselves or having oddball, round-about ways of manifesting their influence. Just as common is the idea that retrograde planets in the natal chart only begin to emerge successfully later in life after much introspection and adjustment.
In traditional astrology, however, retrograde planets are not seen as merely misguided, but as being thoroughly weakened. Speed and visibility were both important considerations to ancient astrologers, and on both accounts, retrograde planets are at a disadvantage. Fast-moving planets were interpreted as being active and able to bring about their significations, while slow-moving planets, like ones in retrograde, were deemed too sluggish to do their job properly. It is worth noting that the outer planets Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto, had not yet been discovered when the ancient astrologers were drafting their opinions on retrograde planets.
In general, Uranus retrograde in the natal chart is considered less impactful than a retrograde personal planet, such as Mercury or Venus. The effects of natal Uranus retrograde gain more potency if Uranus forms strong aspects to other planets or points, particularly the sun, moon, and ascendant.
Uranus’ responsibility in the birth chart is to awaken us to real freedom, pushing us out of complacency through subsequent breakdowns and breakthroughs. Wherever Uranus is found in the birth chart is an area of life which we may feel inordinately confined, even if we are not; throughout life, we may hatch an escape plan, attempting to free ourselves from the shackles of responsibility.
A prominently placed Uranus, whether direct or retrograde, usually indicates that the holder of the chart must find a way to grapple with the wily energy of Uranus, charting a middle path between inspired innovation and meaningless rebellion. Positively, this usually leads those with prominent Uranus placements to high levels of autonomy and self-individuation. When poorly expressed, Uranian influences can erupt as erratic outbursts of brilliance which fail to find proper expression in material reality. Those with Uranus retrograde in the natal chart may need to expend considerable energy coming to terms with their need for individuality and freedom.
Stations retrograde August 12, 2019, at 6°36′ Taurus; stations direct January 11, 2020, at 2°38′ Taurus
Stations retrograde August 15, 2020, at 10°41′ Taurus; stations direct January 14, 2021, at 6°43′ Taurus
Stations retrograde August 20, 2021, at 14°47′ Taurus; stations direct January 18, 2022, at 10°49′ Taurus
Stations retrograde August 24, 2022, at 18°55′ Taurus; stations direct January 22, 2023, at 14°56′ Taurus
Stations retrograde August 29, 2023, at 23°04′ Taurus; stations direct January 27, 2024, at 19°05′ Taurus
Stations retrograde September 1, 2024, at 27°15′ Taurus; stations direct January 30, 2025, at 23°15′ Taurus
Stations retrograde September 6, 2025, at 1°27′ Gemini; stations direct February 4, 2026, at 27°27′ Taurus
by Lee Coleman
Photo by Dorian Legret