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Sunday, 31 January 2016 10:34

Your Guide to Mars Retrograde

Have you ever had an "off" day? Then you already have a fundamental understanding of what happens energetically when a planet is retrograde.

Each planet rules different areas of life. Just like when we are feeling a little "off", we don't get our stuff, the things in our "department" done properly, or in a timely manner, and are a little cranky about it, the retrograde planet behaves the same way.

To better understand what happens in Mars retrograde, let's first take a look at Mars in its forward motion.

Mars is the planet of initiation, action, competition, and ambition. It rules assertiveness, even to the point of aggression and war. Depending on how its energy is used, it can create or destroy. Mars also rules metal and metalworks (including all machinery), sexual relationships, and the physical vitality. It rules the energy of anger which can also manifest as impetus to instigate necessary change. It rules the spark of inspiration and motivation.

Wherever Mars is transit in your personal chart, you will have extra OOMPH in that area, feverish focus, and boundless energy to apply towards that field of experience. You will find yourself "hot" on something in a way that makes you feel alive. Opportunities will come to the sectors that Mars is gracing and very often, support, as well. You will have gusto towards the experiences ruled by the location of transiting Mars.

So what happens when it goes retrograde then?

Around every 2 years, Mars goes retrograde, or appears to be moving backwards when its movement is tracked in the sky from our relative perspective on the Earth. This brings a slow-down and retrospective and internal influence to the areas ruled by Mars. Everything the opposite of what was listed above tends to take over - listlessness, disorganization, loss of interest and drive, decrease in ambitions, lack of cooperation from others and circumstances.

One of the key notes of Mars energy is "frustration". This can come up especially during the retrograde and will often be the result of, or worsened by, attempts to MOVE THINGS FORWARD, when the energy, the signs, the events, the circumstances, are clearly stalling out or going in reverse. Frustration can be minimized at this time by letting go of agendas and making the decision to not force anything forward, especially when lack of support or ambition is obvious.

Mars rules the sign of Aries and co-rules Scorpio. These signs each pick up parts of the total picture of Mars energy. Aries leans more towards the assertive, aggressive, and ambitious side of Mars, especially in the arena of physicality. Scorpio picks up the issue of strong focus, to the point of forcefulness, especially in relation to the topic of control and the arena of the emotions.

Frustrations can definitely run higher for everyone during Mars retrograde, especially Aries and Scorpio but there is another potential here. Since the drive of Aries and Scorpio tends to be "excessive" by nature, the retrograde can actually take the edge off those with these placements in a way that makes them more COMFORTABLY PRODUCTIVE and even relaxed.

All retrogrades can tend to unearth "unfinished business", so when Mars is having this transit, it can especially dig up things to be resolved in the areas ruled by Aries, Scorpio and whatever sign Mars is moving through, as well as whatever house in your personal chart it is moving through AND the house and sign of your natal Mars.

Transits also tend to bring up "weak links". So in places where there is functionality and coherence in the experience, there may be positive influences of relaxation and a "go with the flow" type of attitude. In the places where there are major unresolved issues, the transit will show these weaknesses in a big way, not as a method to torcher us, but as incentive to bring awareness and focused resolution to the squeaky wheels in our experience.

Anger is a huge issue associated with Mars and it could bubble up freely during the retrograde but often it will manifest as more of a passive-aggressive experience. In some ways this is actually better because Mars retrograde is NOT the time to pick a fight or wage a war. Aggressive action taken on any front will likely fizzle in its method or outcome. Sometimes frustration can be so high that one feels like there is no other option than to attack but this will usually prove to be a huge mistake. This is why legal action or any other attack or antagonism is not recommended during this time. Mediation, compromise, and forgiveness are the most supported approaches during a Mars retrograde cycle (a cycle includes not only the actually dates of retrograde but also many weeks before and after.

Anger management or other psychological modalities, running, punching bags, may all serve to help frustrations just one caution here is that the chances for physical injury, especially from exertion is increased during this time. Locating the TRUE SOURCES of the anger and frustration and working to really heal them is better served than just "venting aggression". In general it is advised to be more proactive in protection against accidents, injuries, and people acting out. Don't stir any pots that are close to boiling over.

There are many people who have a "bright" outlook on life. They may find during this transit that they feel mad either because of something obvious or for no apparent reason! It is good to honor these feelings and work with them. This is a great opportunity to heal deeply rooted issues, so deeply settled that they don't often bubble out. Bach Flower Remedies offer a gentle way to balance out feelings that come up.

The retrograde can last around 10 weeks. There is also a pre-transit shadow period and a post-shadow transit that stretch around 7 weeks in either direction of the actual transit. You will notice the implications of the transit starting to brew during pre-transit shadow and linger past the time that it moves direct. The entire span of this transit can last for 6-7 months.

During the various stages of the transit, you will likely find your "get up and go" got up and went. For people who are on full throttle all the time, this could be a relaxed time of comfortable productivity. For those who have trouble getting going, inertia may settle in deeper.  

Those who have Mars retrograde in their birth chart (and occasionally others), sometimes experience the opposite of what everyone else does with this transit.  For these people who may be unambitious by nature, they may rev up at this time.  If they have a key note of frustration in their lives, they may find relief or solutions from this tendency more at this time.

Mars rules metal so during the retrograde cycle, metal-related things are not at full steam. As such, they may break down. Get machinery repaired if need be, but avoid buying new machinery, unless it is used and at a stellar discount so that if something goes awry you aren't losing much.

Ruling metal, Mars also rules surgery. It is recommended to avoid elective surgeries. If a surgery is necessary and time-sensitive/a life/death situation, then do what has to be done but if it is all the same if you do it well before or after, the transit, then try for that.

A common metal device is scissors. Be more careful when using scissors (or any other metal device) and avoid finding a new hairdresser if possible. It is better to go with one you are already established with and avoid having them go Edward Scissorhands on you.

Since Mars rules sexual energy, it is recommended to avoid starting new sexual relationships or going to "the next level" of the relationship, whatever that means in your specific circumstance. Sexual encounters initiated during the Mars retrograde transit often comes with unwelcome outcomes, including but not limited to the fizzling out of the romance, often leaving all involved wishing it never happened. Adding a sexual element to a platonic relationship, moving in together, engagement, marriage, or any commitment of any kind between romantic partners is strongly cautioned against.

Since Mars rules initiating and launching, it is strongly suggested to avoid launches at this time. Avoid initiating but if you have to "respond" to something that comes into your field, then do so, knowing it will be unlikely to have longevity that it first seems, i.e things will likely "fizzle".


~ It is a great time to ASSESS what you want but not take ACTION on getting it. Reassessing goals, business plan, life plan, relationship goals are great areas of focus. Again, it is important to do the assessment but not take action on the discoveries.

~ Review your goals and relax. Plan to busy in the times before the retrograde and put extra money aside so that if business/income slows down you are covered.

~ Go deeper into inner work, therapy, etc. Do martial arts, meditation, etc. Deal with anger issues. Practice Ho'oponopono - the karma melting Hawaiian prayer

~ Exercise more. Get a punching bag and use it. Frustrations will likely run high... Mars rules Aries, a very active fire sign. Physical action, just for the sake of itself is favored over taking actions trying to "get somewhere" or accomplish something, just be more proactive against physical injury.

~ Aries rules the head. Protect your head and investigate anything head/brain related that seems to be coming up. Mars also co-rules Scorpio, which rules deep investigation, so anything involving research, studying, resolving mysteries or enigmas, studying esoteric or psychological topics will be greatly supported.

~ Scorpio rules genitals, reproductive organs, and the bladder. Any issues unresolved in these areas may benefit from focusing on now.

~ Listen to your body! There is a great book called Feelings Buried Alive Never Die. The Scorpio aspect of this transit relates to deeply buried issues bubbling out to be dealt with and the pattern of anger expressed or held in, is likely to come up in some way now.

~ Expect a slow down on every level and melt into the great things that can bring.

~ Avoid elective surgeries and be wary of anything involving metal.

Here are the dates of the upcoming Mars Retrograde transits:

April 17, 2016 - June 29 2016 ~ will run from 8º Sagittarius back to 23º Scorpio

June 26, 2018 - August 27, 2018 ~ will run from 9º Aquarius back to 28º Capricorn

September 9, 2020 - November 14, 2020 ~ will run from 28º Aries back to 15º of Aries

October 30, 2022 - January 13, 2023 ~ will run from 25º Gemini back to 8º Gemini

Annie Botticelli is a Self-Development Coach, Inspirational Speaker, Author, Blogger, (and more!) passionately sharing information and resources to assist all willing souls in living their fullest experience.

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