(NB: Key Dates below)
Mars is a powerful warrior and tactician. It's His job to go after the things we want in Life. As Jung once said, "We are what we DO; not what we SAY we're going to do." The whole 'doing' part is Mars' job. And He has the strength and focus to just keep on going. In fact, He keeps moving forward without a rest, for two whole years - far longer than any of the other planets. Nearly double, in fact!
But, ultimately, even Mars needs to stop for a moment to rest and reflect. This is where we are right now in His cycle. He has just turned retrograde.
When Mars retrogrades, we have the opportunity to slow down and reflect on our Path. How are we going? Are we making good progress on our goals, as determined at the previous Sun Mars conjunction on 2 September, 2019? Or not? (See Key Dates for this cycle below.) As our on-the-ground tactician, and the one who forges our new path forward, Mars may have some questions or insights to offer on how we're using His time, energy, & focus.
Mars Retrograde (Mars Rx) also gives us the opportunity to consider our personal relationship with Martial energy. How comfortable are we with it? How well do we wield it?
Mars has many significations! Let's look at a few of the more prominent ones that could be stirred up over the next 9½ weeks.
Key Significations and Questions for Self-Reflection:
* A simple one, to get us started - old beaus may resurface, for better or worse. (This is a real thing ... My fiance and I reconnected after 25 years, in the first few days of Mars Retrograde a couple of years ago!)
* Mars rules our energy, so this may fluctuate wildly until Mars turns Direct again on 14 November.
We may feel completely burned-out during this period, and need more Nanna-naps than usual. Our inner warrior is re-charging. Having said that, on other days, we might charge at our tasks like a Beserker! Be mindful that our energy levels are going to be irregular for the next few weeks.
* Mars signifies our motivation and drive, too. During Mars Rx, we may feel as though we've completely lost interest in our Path, or in certain aspects of it, at least. As they say, we may feel tired, not because we've done too much, but because we've done too little of what actually excites us.
Part of the 'problem' is that Mars is currently as far away from the Sun as He can possibly get. This means that our inner Warrior may have lost touch with the 'big picture' the Sun has of what we're creating and why. Where once we felt excited and passionate about our Path forward, we may now feel drained, and hopelessly mired in the tiny, grinding, daily minutia of bringing our goals to fruition. We may find ourselves going back and forth between the pros and cons of a project or of a smaller task. Mars may ask us: What are we doing all this for??? Is it really worth the sacrifice of our time and energy? Isn't there something more useful we could be focusing on, instead?? Wouldn't I be better to focus my energy on this??
And He has a point!
It's okay to trust and engage this process of questioning, even if we fear the sense of ambivalence that accompanies it. If we sit with His questions, Mars Rx will help us gain clarity on how best to focus our time and energy in order to make progress on our long-term goals. We'll better understand where we may be scattering our time and energy, unwisely.
In fact, this greater sense of clarity may lead us to cut whole portions of our plans. As Warren Buffett once said, "The difference between successful and very successful people is that very successful people say NO to almost everything."
For example, I just re-read my journal entry from 26 July - see Key Dates below - and realised that if I seriously want to make progress on my goals over the coming year, I'll need to HALVE what I thought I was capable of doing. I remember thinking how drastically I'd simplified my goals, at the time ... but I now realise that I've still bitten off way more than I can chew. I simply DON'T have the time, energy, and focus to bring all of those goals to fruition! By saying "Yes" to all of them, I'm in fact saying "No" to them all. I need to be more decisive and focused with my time and energy. Thanks for the reality check, Mars Rx.
Actually, considering that Mars is going to be squaring Saturn during this particular Mars Rx period, I imagine most of us will be at the receiving end of important reality checks over the next few weeks. Please heed them!
* Over the coming weeks, while Mars slowly traverses the same ground three times, we may find ourselves unearthing buried anger and memories of old power-battles ... memories of being powerless, bullied, attacked, old resentments, bitterness, and frustration ... just like landmines from long-forgotten wars. This is a priceless gift of the Mars Retrograde season, although it may not feel like it when we find the old landmines.
We'd be wise to work with whatever Mars unearths, so we can let it go and move forward unencumbered. The precious psychic energy we dedicate to 'maintaining' our past enmities could be better spent in the here and now, forging our future.
* We may also find ourselves feeling vulnerable. During Mars Retrograde, it's as though the Warrior has removed his armour and is now inspecting his wounds. Without His armour, those of us who tend to rely on Mars' strength may feel naked, exposed, and more vulnerable than usual over the coming weeks. Be aware of what's happening and lean into it! Be present with it and try not to over-react. And be aware that those around us may be feeling particularly vulnerable and irritable, too. Let's cut everyone some slack.
* Last, but not least, Mars Retrograde season gives us a prime opportunity to reflect on our personal relationship with Mars. How well do we embody His energy? As my teacher, Austin Coppock, would say, no matter how well we think we engage Mars' might and wisdom, there's always more to learn. Over the coming weeks, we are taking Mars apart and getting to the core of His energy within us. It's an extraordinary opportunity to more fully develop our connection with Mars' energy, that only comes around every two years. Let's make the most of it!
Here are some key questions we can ponder during Mars Retrograde:
1. Where does my power come from?
2. How do I wield my power?
3. Do I feel confident in going for what I want?
4. How confident do I feel initiating a new project or Path?
5. Do I tend to feel like the hero, the victim/coward, or the aggressor?
6. When do I feel powerless?
7. What is worth fighting for? What's worth devoting my time & energy to?
8. What drives me? Motivates me? What's my passion?
9. How can I best assert myself? Am I passive, assertive, or aggressive?
10. What am I willing to fight for, to protect?
11. How do I handle my anger? Do I bury it; displace it; or express it well?
12. Is there an area of life where I haven't stepped into the ring, yet?
13. Is there an area of life where I let people bulldoze me? Or where I bulldoze others?
14. Am I weak-willed? Or do I have an iron will? How can I sharpen my willpower?
15. When, how, and why do I struggle?
16. Am I willing to compete for what I want?
17. Am I willing to engage in conflict to protect myself, my Path, and those in my care?
Let's get to know our inner Warrior while he's resting ... If any deep insights arise for you about your relationship with Mars, I'd encourage you to take the time to stop, listen, and integrate whatever awakens.
Potential Unrest and Atrocities
This is not a 'fun' signification of Mars Retrograde to consider, but .... here we go.
Mars can be a highly volatile and potentially dangerous energy at times. That's why society tends to place lots of rules around Mars' domains. For example, boxing. You want to box someone? Okay. Let's put soft pillows on your hands, and have lots of rules about the timing of bouts and where it's okay and not okay to punch. Eg: Not below the belt! War? Most countries have rules of engagement, and rules for how they'll treat prisoners of war, etc. Even though horrific things can happen with these rules in place, imagine what it would be like with no rules. Society seems to understand that we need suitable restrictions in place to govern and contain Mars' energy.
Having said that ...
During Mars Retrograde, the boxing gloves tend to come off, and the rules of engagement can be overlooked. Notions of power and powerlessness can really raise their heads during this period. Without wanting to fear-monger, I am paying particular attention to the contentious US elections, which will happen during Mars Retrograde this year. I'm paying attention to possible increased civil unrest, and to Trump's potential deployment of military forces. Trump has been willing to deploy unmarked military vehicles and unidentified federal law enforcement officers throughout America, demonstrating very little regard for 'the rules' as it is. How will he (and others) respond under Mars Retrograde?
Which House is Ruled by Aries in Your Natal Chart?
For those of us who are a little more comfortable with astrology, check to see which House in your Natal Chart is ruled by Aries. This will let you know which area of life is most likely to be impacted by this Mars Retrograde season. Why? Because Mars rules Aries.
For example, Aries rules my 10th House - the House of Career and Profession. So, when I checked the key dates (given below) for the Mars Retrograde cycle so far, I wasn't surprised to see that every journal entry on those dates referred to my aspirations and work as an astrologer and numerologist.
Before we go any further, I'd like to clarify something. The idea that Mars is retrograding through the skies above refers to His 'apparent motion' from our perspective here on Earth. In reality, planets never stop moving forward!
Key Dates - Check your journals, calendars, & social media posts:
If you're anything like me, you'll want to check what was going on in your world on the relevant dates of this retrograde cycle. It helps us stay in sync with the conversation that Life is trying to have with us. So, here are the Key Dates to check in your journals, calendar, and social media posts etc.
1. The previous time Mars retrograded in His own sign of Aries was 32 years ago, in 1988! Usually, Mars retrogrades in His own sign every 15 years or so. For some reason, though, 15 years ago He went from retrograding in Pisces one cycle to retrograding in Taurus the next, and completely skipped Aries! So, this will be a significant retrograde cycle.
For those who are curious, the exact retrograde dates for 1988 (ie: Phase 2 of the greater cycle) were from 27 August (11° Aries) to 22 October (29° Pisces). Mars then turned Direct and returned to 11° Aries on 13 December, 1988.
If you're old enough to remember back that far, check your journals and think back to what you were doing in the second half of that year. What stands out for you? 1988 was the year I graduated high school! Somehow, this year's Mars Retrograde will be touching back on our former story line from 1988. Perhaps memories of old buried anger, bitterness, and powerlessness will surface? Hopefully, this retrograde season will bring a sense of resolution to wounds that may have been festering all these years. What's the connection between now and then?? Can you see it? (I know I sure can! I endured horrendous bullying that year.)
2. The Sun Mars conjunction that initiated our current Mars cycle was on 2 September, 2019. This is when our inner Warrior (Mars) received His marching orders from the King (the Sun) for His current two-year cycle. Do you remember what those orders were??
Look back in your journals etc ... What were your dreams & visions for the future, a year ago? What seeds were you planting. last Imbolc? Can you see a thread or a connection between what was happening in your world back in 1988 and then on 2 September, 2020?? Try to think archetypally or symbolically rather than literally ... Perhaps look at which House is ruled by Aries in your astrology chart for clues on which area of life to focus on.
3. Mars entered Shadow (Phase 1) of our current retrograde cycle on 26 July, 2020. From then until a couple of days ago (9 September, 2020), Mars travelled all the way from 15° 14' Aries to 28° 08' Aries. This was Mars' first journey through these degrees.
Look back through your journals etc to see what you were thinking and writing about on
26 July, 2020. Then consider all that has happened between then and 9 September. This 1st Phase of the cycle was giving us our itinerary, so to speak, for what is to come. Can you see a connection between what has happening on 26 July, and the other dates mentioned above - ie: 1988 and 2 September, 2019?
4. We've officially entered Phase 2 (Retrograde) of Mars' Retrograde season, now (ie: 9 September 2020). This is the official 'Retrograde Season' that people will be talking about online. Mars will now journey all the way back to where He was on 26 July, ie: back to 15° 14' Aries. This will be His 2nd pass over this now-familiar terrain.
Think about what has been happening in your world over the past week in particular, as Mars slowed down to Station Retrograde. Events and ideas that occur in the week around Mars' Retrograde Station typically give us insight into the personal reason why Mars needs to turn back in our charts.
5. The 3rd Phase (Shadow) will begin on 14 November, 2020, when Mars Stations Direct at 15° 14' Aries. For the third and final time, Mars will traverse the same 13 degrees, reaching 28° 08' Aries (yet again) on 3 January 2021. Once He's completed this retrograde cycle, He'll simply continue on His way around the zodiac until the next retrograde season in two years time.
When you went back through your journals and calendars etc, did you notice a thread connecting all of these Key Dates?? Did the Key Questions above help you to reflect on your inner alignment with Mars?
I truly hope this has been helpful.
I'd love to hear how the season is impacting you. Leave a comment below! Share the article if you think it may serve others. And if you have any questions, please reach out! I'd love to hear from you.
Blessings for our Mars Retrograde journey, 2020!