Every two years, Mars goes retrograde for about two months. This one starts September 9, 2020, and continues through November 13. Retrograde motion is the apparent movement of a planet, or mathematically calculated point, backwards in its orbit. Although this movement is illusionary, the impact is very real. In general, during any retrograde period, we re-do, re-think, re-visit, or revise things associated with that planet’s function. And, related efforts that are begun during the retrograde tend to have to be re-thought or revised later.
The Nature of Mars
To understand the meaning of Mars Retrograde, it’s useful to first understand the nature of Mars. In popular culture and astrology, Mars is associated with men, guns, war, violence, anger, fire, and aggression . . . essentially with overloaded testosterone. However, this is only a simplistic list of characteristics. I like to think of Mars as the force to pursue desires, to make things happen, to go after “it,” be a pioneer, and generally utilize the yang energy. For example, for those with Mars in Earth signs, there is a physicality to Mars, a visceral energy that often expresses itself in constructing, fixing, repairing, and getting things to work. Mars in Fire signs moves energy forward in an intense and enthusiastic way. People with this signature might be involved in sports (even extreme sports) or activities (physical or not) that involve competition and striving for a “personal best.” For people with Mars in Air signs, the territory to be explored, and possibly conquered, is in the sphere of the mind and the pursuit of new ideas, new ways to express those ideas, proactive communication, or assertive networking. And, people with Mars in Water signs might eagerly move forth to seek emotional or psychic experiences and/or to go after relationships. These are some of the experiences of Mars in day-to-day reality.
Collectively and individually, Mars Retrograde compels us to consider what we really want and how we’re going to get there.
However, Mars’s travels through the sky impact all of us, no matter where Mars is located in our charts. Currently, since June 27, Mars has been in Aries and we have seen its worldly expression in fire, rage, competition, and aggressive action. People have taken to the streets, rhetoric is raging, and the wildfires are burning. Hopefully, we have simultaneously pursued the search for a COVID-19 vaccine, pioneered new approaches to policing, and found ways to assert ourselves from the depths of our emotions and spirits.
Now, with Mars retrograde through the middle of November, we are indeed in interesting times! In the best possible scenarios, we’ll collectively subdue the wildfires, dial back the violence, and continue to re-think ways to fruitfully express the rage. Since Mars Retrograde invites us to revise all the Mars things, these outcomes could happen. And/or the wildfires could find subtle ways to pop up where least expected, rage could be restoked and express itself in different contexts, competition could become subtler and less aboveboard, and anger (and the virus!) could simmer, just under the surface. Aggressions might simply go underground, only to emerge in new or different ways.
For us individually, it’s a time to revisit the things we thought we could accept . . . that we actually cannot accept and must change. It’s time to consider both the ends and the means. What are we trying to accomplish? What are we pursuing? What do we want? With Mars Retrograde, all of our end-goals and desires come up for review and possible revision. And/or we could reconsider the means to those ends. The goals could remain steady but the how-to could change. Are we taking the actions that will most effectively get us to what we want? Are we doing due diligence? Is this the best way to move forward or only one of the possible ways? What are the other options?
Furthermore, at an experiential level, Mars Retrograde often brings people back into our lives. Often these are men but not always. Sometimes the actual people return in real life. Other times, people who remind us of those past friends, lovers, or enemies appear. We might have the experience of “this reminds me of when I interacted with ____________.” Whether it’s the person or an echo of the person, Mars Retrograde provides an opportunity to revisit what we really want, with regard to these types of relationships. If we still want them in our lives, we have a chance to consider how we want to interact with them. How will we do it differently this time? Is it even possible?
In addition, some of us might feel low in energy, find that we’re just not interested in pursuing something that we got excited about a few weeks ago, or experience the need to recoup physical strength or revise plans for exercise/nutrition. Whatever we thought we wanted . . . now is the time to re-examine it and decide on a new goal or a new approach to the existing goal.
The challenge is that, new efforts begun during Mars Retrograde tend to need fine-tuning or revision themselves. So, we might be in for a series of revisions. Revise the goal . . . revise how we’re going to get there . . . experiment . . . then, after Mars moves forward in November, evaluate whether the changes were worthwhile. The key word here is “experiment.” If possible, try on several goals and/or several approaches to them. If you have the energy, take some initial actions – a sort of soft launch of your idea or strategy. Otherwise, just play with the possibilities. And, be prepared to revisit and revise.