The Coming Mars Retrograde

Posted on December 5, 2009
Posted by Jim Sher

On December 21, 2009, Mars will go retrograde at 19 degrees of Leo and will remain retrograde for about 10 weeks when it will return to its normal direct motion on March 10, 2010 at 0 degrees of Leo. If you have the Sun, Moon or Ascendant in Leo or Aquarius in that range, it is likely you will be doing a lot of fundamental review of your life. However, as many of my readers may know, my view of retrograde planets is that the cycle actually starts much earlier. The moment Mars touched 0 degrees of Leo, the Mars retrograde cycle actually began. That was on October 17, 2009. Let’s go into this more deeply.

Mars rules the principle of self-assertion, how we act in the world and go after what we want. It rules strategy, such as the process of deciding how to take on the enemy and win a war. Obama has been going through a painful, slow process of deciding how to handle the Afghanistan problem and his Sun is 13 Leo, so this Mars retrograde affects him enormously. His Afghan strategy is likely to go through a further re-evaluation in the next several months that is likely to result in very significant changes in his war strategy. As in all retrograde cycles, this is an opportunity to examine things that could never be looked at while Mars is going forward. This is why it is so important. Mars only goes retrograde every two years, so when it does, the significance of this cycle is much greater, due to the infrequency of its occurrence. Also, it remains retrograde for what often seems like forever, so it can feel very frustrating.

TIME – one of the most interesting things about Mars retrograde is how slow things feel at this time. You may already be feeling it as Mars is barely moving now, even though it is 16 days before it will go retrograde. If you think about it, one of the primary ways we experience time is through our activity. When we are busy solving problems, talking to people, doing errands, etc., we hardly pay attention to time. It goes by very quickly. But if we are quiet, nothing is going on, or worse we feel frustrated by something in our lives that we aren’t able to affect, we feel that time is lasting forever. Perhaps the worst case is if you are depressed about something that has happened, you know you cannot do anything about it and simply feel totally stuck. In that state, we feel that time has literally stopped. Every breath can be counted, almost. Well, that is what Mars retrograde can feel like unless we understand what its intention actually is. Although we may be busy handling life problems, the Mars retrograde is about reviewing a fundamental strategy or approach we have in our life. This is what this cycle is for. And the timing of this review is not under our control. That alone can be more than a little frustrating. So, often we are forced to wait for more information or revelation. We want to move forward, but feel blocked and that is what is creating the frustration. Were we to expect nothing, and simply take what comes and do what we must in every situation that arises, we would not feel frustrated at all. The ‘review’ process will take care of itself, for we will be forced to examine something whether we like or not.

REVIEW – so what will be reviewing? The key date to pay attention to is back in October when Mars went into the ‘shadow’ of its retrograde cycle. The date, as I said, was October 17th. Whatever has been going on since then is exactly what areas on one’s life that will be re-examined. You won’t be able to cheat on this. We often believe that we have looked at everything we need to look at, that there is nothing more to see, and then Mars goes retrograde and everything changes and we see that something important isn’t working the way it should or needs to, so we are forced to look again at our strategy. Well, in a sense, we weren’t wrong to believe that that we were done. From the events back in October, November and December, everything we could know, is what we knew. We can’t prepare for something that has not yet been revealed. I know this is obvious, but astrologers often debate about how we can ‘prepare’ for a coming transit, and the good ones, at least in my opinion, know full well that one cannot cheat a transit. We try to figure out what will happen, but we know from experience that we can’t, yet we continue to try anyway. So, it is good to remember what our limits are. That’s our way of warning oneself and others about ‘hubris’, which from an astrologer’s view means believing one knows more than the gods. We are not set up to know more than what is given to us to know. So, what does this all mean for us? That we can relax and live in a calm state knowing that we cannot know more at this moment that what we do. We can’t do better than what we are doing. That can be a hard one, eh?

EXAMPLE – I used to be an athlete when I was younger and although my interest in sports has decreased enormously, there is one sport I follow and in particular one team. I follow basketball and specifically the Portland Trail Blazers. They are always teaching me something about astrology and frankly they really do need my help, but that’s another story. Hope Paul Allen is listening, though somehow I doubt it. Unfortunately for my little team, the leader and coach of the team have their Sun in Leo and have been suffering from this Mars retrograde cycle even though this little devil of a planet hasn’t even gone retrograde yet. Right from the start of season, the leader of the team, Brandon Roy, has been off his game. He’s been confused, saying things he would never say in the past about being frustrated, and so not only has he been playing poorly, but as a result the team has been losing. No one seems to know what to do, least of all Brandon. But that’s not enough. The coach, Nate McMillan, also a Sun in Leo, has never been as criticized and blamed as he is now. He doesn’t seem to know what’s wrong, everything he tries ends up failing, and the chemistry of the team has completely been off. Also injuries (ruled by Mars) on the team have piled up which upsets team chemistry and creates a lot of confusion. Even the owner and one of the coaches have been diagnosed with cancer. This is a team that appears to be snake bit. But that isn’t the end of it at all. To make matters worse, yesterday in practice, because there weren’t enough players on the floor, the coach steps in to help for a few plays and tears his Achilles heel and will need surgery. He will have to miss at least a few games, something he never does, and the team will have to go along without him. Sometimes I do think the gods must be laughing at us humans down here trying to make a go of it.

Now, Mars hasn’t even gone retrograde yet, but the set up occurs now. That’s my message to you. What occurs during the retrograde has been created ever since last October, so if there are surprises, it will be because we’ve not yet been able to see something that needs to be seen in order to know what to do OR we have seen it and do not know what to do about it OR we’ve seen it and know what to do about it, but haven’t figured out how to make it happen. All this will become clearer in the next few months and when March rolls around, we’ll know what to do and why. We will probably have already begun to institute the changes needed. So, although patience can be difficult when it comes to Martian energy, it is the best approach if you want to avoid frustration.

As you can guess it is the Sun in Leo’s who are apt to feel this the most. In fact, all the fixed signs (Aquarius, Scorpio and Taurus) will feel it too.

I’ll be writing much more on this topic as the retrograde cycle begins. Also, the next newsletter will introduce “Jack” in my “Jack & Jill” series and should be out soon.

If you want to learn more about how you are specifically affected by the Mars retrograde, I’d like to encourage you to contact me for an appointment.


Astrology Mars Mars Retrograde
Jim Sher

Jim brings over 35 years of experience as a therapist and transformational counselor to his practice of astrology, metaphysics, meditation and philosophy. He operates as a teacher and counselor and specializes in the use of discourse as a part of his teaching approach.

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10 responses to “The Coming Mars Retrograde”

  1. This article is so well organized. When I read about retrograde periods I always think of the well-known quote from Gilda Radner, “It’s always something.” I feel guilt during these periods of reflection and review. Our society rewards the “doers” and I myself think that there is something terribly wrong when I don’t see what can be labeled as “progress.”

    Transiting Mars is approaching my natal Pluto (at 21 degrees Leo in the 8th House). I have been thinking a great deal about mortality and death lately.

    I feel for your Portland Trail Blazers. The team’s name is rather Martian, don’t you think? I wonder if the UCLA Bruins basketball team has something significant in Leo. They usually have some noteworthy teams. If one were not being delicate, one could say they suck this year. I’m therefore left with rooting for the Lakers, but all that winning can get a little dull too.

    Thanks for the great article, Jim.

  2. dkrewinkel@earthlink.net' Diana says:

    Very interesting. Just yesterday someone asked me how are things with me and I replied with the exact same quote of Gilda Radner.

    For me (Sun in Aquarius) a very serious “stuck”ness began in a big way in late September with a dire financial situation. I’ve lived through it and the next step to addressing a factor that contributed to the situation is coming up on Dec. 14th. So the financial area for me has eased significantly for now. But new issues involving my neighborhood and damage to my property and my car through the irresponsibility of others began in November. Both are yet to be resolved and I am pursuing counsel for advice and support on both issues in order to assert myself.

    To me it would seem that Mars in retrograde offers us the opportunity to practice what wisdom would tell us – to live in the moment and once having done all that we possibly can from our standpoint, that is, planted the seeds, it’s best to let go until the next step appears and/or the issue is resolved. If another person is involved we can still check in periodically to let them know we haven’t forgotten the issue and keep them on track by asking for an update. In all honesty I know this full well but I don’t necessarily remain calm and let go while in the thick of it. So along with Mercury in retrograde directing us when it’s time to clear up unfinished business instead of busying ourselves with any delays and re-dos of new business, now I know Mars in retrograde in its own way teaches us when and how to slow down to live life with the pace of grace. It’s all good and I have plenty of company along for this ride.

  3. I do believe that Mars and my Moon/Pluto conjunction in Leo are kicking my proverbial behind. I feel as though I take one step forward and two back. I’ll get even and then something else happens. I’m keeping my focus on the goals as much as possible knowing that although the energy of the planets can be distracting, I’m still making the choices in how to live my life.

  4. ktigar@yahoo.com' Kim says:

    I have definitely felt the slowing of Mars and for me, this has given me permission to rest, step back and allow the energy to manifest in divine order. Normally at this time of year I would be running around with my Christmas list trying to find the “perfect” gift, but this year I have found myself sitting quietly, listening to Christmas songs and enjoying the “feel of Christmas”. Winter is a good time for a long, Mars retrograde 🙂

  5. dkbalsz@hotmail.com' Donna says:

    I had forgotten the retrograde until Jim had recently mentioned. With a Mars 19/Pluto 17 conjunction in the third house… I suddenly understand some of what has been going on in my life. From contracts,(I make my living with contracts) messages (life changing dreams to being inundated with butterflies) to one of my siblings mental illness (dealing with my nephews belief I could help “snap” her out of it)… strange few months… and more to come… life is interesting!!! even when challenging!! Happy Holidays and Merry Mars Retrograde to all!!!

  6. cynthiapaigeaaron@gmail.com' Cindy A says:

    Very nice article, Jim. As I’m reading it, I’m making mental check
    marks. I have been feeling the stuck-ness in a very big way. Not just the usual slight hang-up or depression, but deep, multi-layered, hitting on all levels of my conscious and unconscious life.
    The past year has been one in which many things were set in motion, culminating in frustration that my life feels on hold. The frustration started around October- dealing with the bank on the short sale of my house (with many faxes never showing up at their office, requiring many calls and many unanswered questions). Ultimately, there was nothing more to do. I had to stop worrying about it. My bankruptsy was very delayed and the sale of the house could not happen without the bankruptsy discharge. I finally stopped calling to ‘find out’ and just let it go. And also feeling in limbo about my divorce. So a lot of balls in the air, and none of them coming down. In the mean time, I’m experiencing the worst financial lack I have known for awhile, resuling in becoming ultra-frugal and taking a long, hard look at myself and my personal myths about money and spending. It’s okay to be frugal-it doesn’t have to be a ‘bad’ thing. But strangely, through it all I am learning about setting boundaries, being assertive but not “mad” and letting go of EVERYTHING, even the smallest annoyance. This seems to be the key, and now I have confirmation from your article. Finally, almost quietly, I received notice of my bankruptsy discharge. And then today I called the bank to harrass them again and was matter of factly told my papers had been received. Very strange indeed!
    Yes, Aquarians are definately being affected by this approaching Mars retrograde. Feels like Mr. Toad’s wild ride!

  7. annmichelangeloholistichealing@myexcel.com' ann michelangelo says:

    very informative—thanks…also the comments. what if saturn and mars are in leo???

  8. blackveda@gmail.com' melissa m says:

    Hi jim,
    Well its about time I get to see this article 😉
    Well I have my moon in leo at 18 degrees so I feel it is pretty strong to me & why I am so interested in it. I have several things going on & having my natal mars @ 0 degrees Aries I’ve felt very angry lately, but I guess I am some what use to that haha, so its sort of easy for me to handle.
    Can I ask a question, how do these cycles all fit together.
    Mars ready to go rx, as well as Mercurys shadow period is coming up as well & then the lunar eclipse at the end of the year followed by the solar @ the beginning of the year?
    Is the significance even bigger?

  9. FSEISDED3@COMCAST.NET' Fernando Seisdedos says:

    This is HOPE in my book!!!:
    I just so hope you are right Jim…!

    This latest move from Obama is corrosive for the entire base that elected him into office. But we know he’s a smart man and doesn’t mind to reverse course to accomodate the real world circumstances.

  10. airdua@att.net' Audria Gebhardt says:

    Hi Jim…I enjoy reading all your informative articles. Retrograde Mercury hits us approx. three times a year, so we are somewhat used to it. However, Mars retrograde is not one we are as used to dealing with on as regular a basis. I started redoing a room in my house before October, but in October, the painting of this room seemed to drag (several trys at different paint colors, learning proper paint techniques since I have never painted a room by myself and the project seemed to drag as everything and anything got in the way of my progress…which definitely frustrated me). I finished most of the walls and will finish the final wall that has two large books cases on it, in the Spring. My prog. Sun is 19 Aquarius opposing my prog. Saturn 19 Leo (retrograde). I think I may have to settle for a more patient stance for while in my life here, as my prog. Moon is currently 13 Aquarius and prog ascendant 14 Aquarius. Glad to see your article and realize trying to push things along will do me no good. I also came down with a lung thing that has slowed me down a bit (Pleurisy and a touch of pneumonia), but I have not totally stopped.
    Speaking of retrograde Mars, the U.S. prog. Mars went retrograde a year or so ago. In view of the fact we are fighting wars on two fronts, I think it will be difficult to make the desired progress (we should not be in these wars to begin with). This is a long term retrograde for our country that could have far reaching affects.
    Thanks again for your articles as I enjoy and learn much from their informative content.

    Audria

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