Surprises About Retrograde Planets
In the first four articles in the current series on Retrograde Planets
we examined the basic concept of retrograde motion, the conventional
interpretation of retrograde planets in the natal horoscope, and the
role of three significant retrograde planets in our daily lives. In
this article we will examine an unexpected feature of retrograde motion
which arose out of John McCormick's research.
As I have stated before, John McCormick studied the retrograde motion
of the planets for a recent one hundred year period. He determined
the percentage of time that each planet had been retrograde over the
one hundred year period and the percentage of time that none, one,
two, three, etc planets were simultaneously retrograde over that same
He then examined the natal horoscopes of famous people, World War
II Generals, Statesmen, Writers, Athletes, and others with respect
to retrograde planets in the natal charts.
Ordinarily, if there were no reason to believe in the astrology of
retrograde planets, one would have expected that the percent of the
group of World War II Generals, group of Statesmen, group of Writers,
group of Athletes, etc, with a natal retrograde Mercury to be approximately
the same as the percent of time that Mercury was retrograde during
the hundred year period for which he had gathered data. A similar
expectation would arise for each of the studied groups and the other
Similarly, if there were no reason to believe in the astrology of
retrograde planets, one would have expected that the groups of Generals,
Statesmen, Writers, Athletes, etc, would have about the same occurrence
of none, one, two, three, four, five, six, and even seven retrograde
planets in their natal charts. One would further expect, if there
were no astrological significance to retrograde planets, that the
occurrence of none, one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven retrograde
planets would match the statistics of retrograde motion developed
for the hundred year study.
Neither expectation was met and validity was developed for the astrology
of retrograde planets.
One striking example pointed out by McCormick was the relation between
Retrograde Neptune and World War II Generals. Neptune was retrograde
forty-four percent of the time in the studied interval. Consequently,
one would have expected about forty-four percent of the Generals to
have a Retrograde Neptune, but ninety-two percent was found! (General
MacArthur was an exception.) In the opposite direction, only nineteen
percent of United States Presidents had a Retrograde Neptune. What
is there in a Retrograde Neptune that encourages the development of
Generals, but restricts the development of Presidents? Is it because
a Retrograde Neptune impedes the talent for lying and pretending?
Troops must trust their leader. The public expects politicians to
skirt the truth when necessary. And successful politicians do.
The big surprise in John McCormick's work is in the analysis of quantities
of natal retrograde planets. He discovered that the quantity of retrograde
planets in any one chart was more significant than the actual identity
of the planets. In the studied hundred year period, there were no
retrograde planets only eight percent of the time. Thus, while there
is an eight percent expectation of no retrograde planets in a group
of charts, he found that this condition existed in the natal chart
of thirty-six percent of United States Presidents. Isn't Astrology
John McCormick came up with a set of conclusions about the significance
of the number of retrograde planets in a chart. I have tested his
conclusions for twenty-five years as part of my Astrology practice
and, in the next column, I shall pass them on to you as worthy of
incorporating in your natal interpretations.