At our latest EAS meeting (Mel Priestley’s “Meaningful Matter: Pairing Astronomy with Astrology”), one of the things we looked at was the Venus Pentagram, which is also called the Star of Venus and the Rose of Venus. This is the five-pointed pattern formed by Venus’ retrograde pattern. Every 18 months Venus goes retrograde, which is part of a larger eight-year cycle that is very regular. When you map this cycle out, it forms a beautiful five-pointed star or flower shape – which matches up with Venus’ astrological symbolism very well! Here is an image of the Venus retrograde pentagram/rose pattern, with each of the years of the retrograde cycles noted:

Venus retrograde star pattern. Image/co

In our discussion after the presentation, we talked about this a little further and also mentioned the retrograde patterns of the other planets. Mercury has a three-pointed retrograde pattern, as the messenger planet retrogrades every three months for about three weeks. There are usually three Mercury retrogrades in a year, sometimes four. 2022 has four Mercury retrogrades, because there was one in early January, a couple in the middle of the year (we just finished one, yay!) and the final one that starts just a couple days before the end of the year in December. Here’s an image of Mercury’s annual retrograde cycle:

Mercury’s retrograde cycle. Image c/o

And here’s an image of Mercury’s retrograde cycle over a longer period of time – this is from Astronomie Populaire, a French publication from 1854:

Mercury’s retrograde cycle. Image c/o

Mars retrogrades every two years or so, and his cycle is more irregular than Venus’. This is an image from Johannes Kepler’s 1609 text Astronomia Nova, which you can view at this link. (However, be aware that it’s in Latin and Greek.) 

Mars retrograde cycle. Image c/o

Jupiter and Saturn retrograde for longer periods of time (the farther the planet is from the Sun, the longer its retrograde cycle appears from Earth). Here’s another image from Astronomie Populaire, showing Jupiter and Saturn’s cycles:

Jupiter and Saturn’s retrograde cycles. Images c/o


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