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.