As we enter a Mars retrograde period, it may be helpful to take a good look at its possible effects on us as Mars does not retrograde very often. In fact, it only moves in retrograde motion once every two years. No other planet retrogrades this infrequently. However, when it is retrograde, its significance seems can be greater due to both its infrequency as well as to the length of time of the retrograde period. In the 2016 period, Mars will be retrograde for 10 weeks, although the cycle itself is much longer than that.
Mars begins its retrograde motion on Sunday, April 17th at 5:14am PDT at 8° Sagittarius 54’. The period will end on June 29 at 4:38pm PDT at 23° Scorpio 3’. What I would like to also point out is that while the time period in which Mars is retrograde is obviously important, what may be more significant is the fact that Mars will be traversing the territory I just mentioned for 6 months. To be specific Mars entered the area in which it will return (23° Scorpio) on February 17th and will leave the territory of its retrograde cycle on August 22nd. That’s 6 months and one week. This means that Martian energy will be in a small zodiacal territory (15°) for about 190 days. This brings tremendous Martian focus into this part of a person’s chart or any chart for that matter including the charts of corporations, organizations and nations.
What Might This Mean?
I regard each and every astrological period as good for some things and not so good for others. This is an important principle for several reasons:
- To think otherwise is to create for oneself self-defeating attitudes and behaviors that can border on self-sabotage.
- Life, whether or not a person uses astrology, is constantly challenging us in a wide variety of ways. To try to simplify life into just good and bad events that happen to us trivializes both astrology and life itself. The way that astrology can help us is by using it to help us understand the usefulness and challenges that each transit provides.
- All too often interpreters of astrology contribute to the stereotyping of astrological principles. Concerning Mars retrograde some astrologers have regarded it as negative or as a weakening of the Martian principle. But, if that’s true then why do many athletes have Mars retrograde in their natal chart? Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant are just two examples of great athletes who have Mars retrograde in their birth chart.
The Nature of Mars Retrograde
Mars is the archetypal force that rules the principle of self-assertion and the style in which we go after what we want. There are many different styles or strategies people use to act in the world and astrology can offer a great insight into what those different styles might be. When Mars is direct in a person’s chart, they are not often going to examine what their personal style is. It is likely to be a ‘taken-for-granted’ set of approaches and behaviors to life. How often do we question what our style of taking action is? Do we ask ourselves how well our strategies are working and whether or not it would be a good idea to shift our approach? And, when we do question these things, are we not doing so as the result of something happening to us that tends to force us to look at ourselves and our style of action? In other words, as a general rule do we inquire into our style of self-assertion?
The Mars retrograde time period is exactly the time to look into our styles of self-assertion. We may do so on our own or we might be asked to do it by the feedback we get from other people with whom we may be in conflict. This is the advantage and positive aspect of a Mars retrograde period. It is a time to reflect on our ways of asserting ourselves into the world and examine how we are being received. We can reflect on our successes and failures and see if our actions have enabled us to achieve what we have set out to reach or rather have been part of why we have failed. So, it is important to pay close attention to whatever feedback we are getting and to focus on learning from them.
Clearly, since this principle is occurring for everyone, we will also find ourselves dealing with other people’s behaviors and possible aggression as they too will need to learn from the feedback their environment is giving them. So, we may need to develop patience with others at this time as it will be important to consider how you respond to any aggressive people coming at you.
What state must we be in to have the patience we may need at this time or to be able to truly reflect on one’s way of acting in the world? Does ego and pride block our ability to reflect honestly and openly receive positive feedback? These attributes can seem amplified right now as any resistance to engage fully in this process is likely to backfire on us and demonstrate how important it is to put that resistance aside and look at any pride or ego we might have that blocks us from making the changes we need to make for our behaviors to become more constructive. We benefit from striving towards impartial observing of ourselves, and working to be as authentic and honest as possible.
Generally, astrologers urge that we not begin new projects during the Mars retrograde cycle. What’s interesting is that most of the time we don’t really want to take new actions anyway, unless we are forced by specific events in our life. This does not mean that we should avoid action. In fact, Mars retrograde is time when we may need to act on certain things that are now becoming necessary. We should do whatever we know we must do and then to do so without resistance or fear. Why? Because the actions required of us now are preparing us for the future and for new actions that will be possible when Mars turns direct.
The Joy and Love of ‘Self’-Assertion
When our acts are pure, natural, creative, simple, clean and without thought of reward, our actions are joyful. We will feel we are acting in harmony with life and with our own highest destiny. In fact it is in the Mars retro period that we might discover the value of this ‘mode of being’ or way of approaching action. Too often astrologers create fear during retrograde periods. It isn’t necessary to be fearful at this time. If this period blocks us from accomplishing something we want to do, accept it. It is either not good for you or not the right time. Try not to resist what’s happening or not happening. If you can do so, just turn towards living simply and without ego. And, if you feel you need to take time out to assess and reflect on your ‘styles’ of action, then do so as impartially and non-judgmentally as possible. It will pay off later.