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Glossary of Terms

Glossary of Terms


- From the Latin "to step backwards", this term is applied to the apparent backward motion of the planets through the zodiac as they decrease in longitude as viewed from the earth.

The symbol for retrograde is:


When significators are retrograde, delays, recurrences, returns to previous conditions and reversals of events may be shown.

Page references are given below for ways that William Lilly interpreted retrograde planets in Christian Astrology:

  • When the Moon applies to a good aspect of a Retrograde Planet, it brings the matter to an end one way or another speedily, and when least suspected - p.164

  • In timing, aspects involving retrograde planets occur more suddenly - p.198

  • The Lord of the 7th retrograde or Saturn retrograde in ascendant is a warning against judgement - p.122

  • Asc-ruler retrograde or otherwise afflicted can suggest shortness of life - p.130

  • The significator of lost item retrograde shows the return of it - p.468

  • A retrograde planet as a significator of a journey shows a need to return to the place of departure - p.160 & 406 (Barbara Watters notes that retrograde planets never seem to end up where they are going)

  • A sudden return when not expected - p.406

  • In questions concerning receiving or inheriting something, a retrograde planet shows that the querent will get what he wants but more suddenly than expected, or with some hindrance attached to it - p.211 & p.406

  • In illnesses, retrograde planets show a slow recovery and recurring illnesses - p.252, 284

  • In imprisonment, retrograde planets show a slow release - p.462, 419

  • In contests. the Lord of the Ascendant retrograde shows weakness of querent - p.373

  • In purchases. 10th-ruler retrograde shows the price will fall.

  • Two planets retrograde in an ill application is an argument of the question suddenly perfecting or breaking off - p.107

  • Two retrograde planets together shows something quick and unexpected - p.468

  • As something returning - p.357, 390, 406, & 468

  • As something happening suddenly - p.198, 211, 406

  • As a hindrance - p.107 (in the example both planets are retrograde)

  • As a prolongation of illness - p.252

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