Uranus is the great change-maker. He shakes things up, knocks things down, and refuses stagnation of all kinds. He’s the force that keeps society moving forward, and he’s not afraid to break a few eggs in the process. But what happens when he is retrograde in the natal chart?
Uranus is retrograde about 40% of the time, so clearly it’s something that many of us have to deal with! Because of this, it manifests in myriad ways. In this post, I have endeavored to find people whose only retrograde planet is Uranus so that we can really isolate the effects. In doing this research, three themes became extremely clear.
- Sudden Endings – One of the most feared rumors about Uranus retrograde is that the person will experience a sudden death or loss, and due to the inward and backward-facing nature of retrogrades, the loss is often self-inflicted. While this is clearly not the case for nearly half the population, I am honestly surprised to say that the research bears this out. Examples of this would be Marie Antoinette and Madame du Barry, respectively the wife and mistress of King Louis XVI, who both lost their heads to the guillotine during the French Revolution. Or look at US President Zachary Taylor, whose presidency was tragically cut short after a bout of gastroenteritis rumored to be caused by eating too much fruit and milk! And finally, there’s King Edward VIII of England, who shocked the world by abdicating the throne in the name of love. When it comes down to it, Uranus wants change, and heads will roll when they stand in his way.
- True genius – Uranus retrograde is not all doom! It has also produced some of the most iconic geniuses to ever grace the earth. William Shakespeare himself had Uranus as his only retrograde planet. Along with being the most well-known playwright on the planet, he also invented over 400 words that are still in use today. Or Jacob Grimm, of Grimm’s Fairy Tales fame? That brilliant anthology is still the inspiration for our modern myths and stories. And what list would be complete without the icon of genius himself, Albert Einstein? With only Uranus retrograde, he was able to rethink the entire movement of the universe, and his name became synonymous with brilliance.
- Revolutionaries – No mention of Uranus would be complete without discussing revolution. People with Uranus retrograde have an uncanny ability to look at the world as it is, see the historic injustice, and somehow figure out how to disrupt it entirely. Nelson Mandela, however complex his legacy, is still an excellent example, having devoted his life to the anti-apartheid movement. There’s also Gertrude Stein, who lived in an openly same-sex partnership when such a thing was nearly unheard of, and who wrote what is considered the first “coming out” story. Or even better, Frances Perkins (who, full disclosure, does also have Mercury retrograde), who was so affected by the horrible plight of workers that she threw herself into the labor movement, eventually working as one of the chief architects of the New Deal. Not only did she defy the expectations of her gender, she changed the American political landscape forever. Uranus doesn’t just want change – Uranus wants equality. And these people helped to move society in that direction. As Perkins herself said simply, “I am a revolutionist.” And in that sense, she is Uranus incarnate.
Uranus is about change. Uranus retrograde is about looking back at the world as it has always been and deciding that it no longer works. Whether it be theater, labor conditions, science, or anything else, these people have a sort of magic ability to reinvent the world. And as far as those unlucky few who suffered at the hands of Uranian shocks, take heart. The worst fate seems only to befall those who attempt to elevate themselves above others and cling to that position at all costs. Uranus is the great equalizer. We are all one species sharing one planet, and we all have both the right and the responsibility to make it a better place for everyone. That is Uranus’s true lesson. And strange as it is, it is Uranus retrograde that leads the way.
Do you have Uranus retrograde in your chart? Have you experienced any shocks? What about strokes of genius?