Noel Tyl mentioned the idea of “2nd agenda” when a planet is retrograde: there may be two motives, or themes, going on at the same time with regards to the planet’s expression.
Mercury retrograde: there may be a 2nd motive behind the surface communication – Tim Burton has retrograde Mercury, and besides being a genius of a filmmaker (that’s the first theme – communicating creatively), we would wonder what makes him so attracted to the macabre.
Perhaps the creative communication serves as a catharsis of the inner demon that he carries – hence, two motives are being served through his communication (of course this is just speculating, but that would be a typical illustration of the 2nd agenda phenomenon.)
Another example you may witness is a person who is communicating but sounds like he doesn’t want to (this may be communicated through lack of clarity or volume, or incongruent body language.) Two motives (“I want to communicate, but I don’t want to get hurt”, etc.) are at odds with each other in this case. The question then becomes, why is clear communication associated with hurt?
Venus retrograde suggests similar 2nd agenda in the arena of relationships. One example is a man who has slept with over 2000 women – the hyper sexual relationships (one motive) and total lack of emotional involvement (2nd motive.) Jack Nicholson has Venus retrograde, and he may be somewhat close to this example.
The two motives of “I want to relate but I don’t really want to be vulnerable” may produce confusion and frustration in relationships, and again the question is why the relationship involvement is perceived to be a threat. What was the model of the relationship back in the early home?
Mars retrograde – energy goes in before it comes out: there is a censorship of aggressive energy – the anger may come out in a passive aggressive way, or entirely suppressed. Why must this be so? What is anger being associated with?
Jupiter retrograde – Noel suggested that this gives you the capacity to be alone, which I thought was excellent. Other interpretation I’ve read is that enthusiasm may be contained rather than expressed (why must it be?) The latter suggests that faith and optimism (as well as enthusiasm) may get censored for some reason.
Saturn retrograde – Quite frequently this connotes a father that has been out of the picture through being passive, absent, or tyrannical so as not to have been able to give the authoritative love and guidance that a child needs. How is the concept of work, responsibility and worldly success internalized? It may produce a tremendous sense of independence, and/or it may lead to an inferiority complex through the feeling of not being loved by an authority figure.
It is probably useful to know that retrogradation doesn’t automatically suggest the existence of a handicap – it merely points to a special development within the planet’s expression that calls for inquiry on the astrologer’s part.
Sometimes a difficulty in a planet’s expression is transformed into an extraordinary development later on. For instance, I’ve heard a few examples of professional speakers who used to have a habit of stuttering rather badly when they were young. In the course of overcoming their speech difficulty, they’ve become professional communicators! Such process could happen not just for retrograde planets, but probably it is especially relevant to them.
*Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are not considered due to their slow moving orbits.