We've all heard about Mercury retrograde haven't we? Often it brings a collective sigh of 'Oh no, not again'. This summer we have a less frequent retrograde happening: Mars retrograde, which occurs approximately every two years. The planet Mars represents our desires, will and drives. It’s the Warrior energy of the zodiac, ruler of Aries, revealing how we act. Every two years Mars makes a retrograde journey, moving backwards from the perspective of Earth, giving us the opportunity to explore deeper. Rather than simply moving in an instinctual way, Mars retrograde gives us the opportunity to explore how we act (or not) and what the intention or agenda behind our actions might be. We have an opportunity then to evolve beyond instinctive to more conscious ways of intention and action.
From 26 June to 27 August this year Mars moves retrograde in the signs of Capricorn and Aquarius. The signs of the zodiac reveal to us in what ways a planet operates. Mars in Aries – direct, fiery, passionate and assertive – is very different to Mars in Cancer – indirect, protective, emotional and security orientated. If we look at the zodiac signs of Aquarius and Capricorn we may find clues to this upcoming two-month retrograde.
Aquarius is the idealist of the zodiac. Original, non-conformist to the point of rebellious with a holistic perspective, Aquarius is the innovator of the Zodiac. Ruled by the awakening planet Uranus, Aquarius is the sign of the higher mind, individuality, the edge of social and cultural innovation. Aquarius cares about what’s new, the future and breaking the boundaries of the known. Mars in Aquarius is motivated by the ideals of equality, humanitarianism and group connection. Its shadow can be cold and detached, valuing freedom at any cost. The desire to break through the bounds of tradition can lead Aquarius to value the ideal over our humanity and simple loving human connection. With Mars retrograde in Aquarius we get to see how we act in ways that have noble intentions but may disconnect us, be too harsh or simply too much, too soon. Our action may be fuelled by rebellion or independence for the sake of it, becoming too scattered in possibilities, or agenda pushing (with the best intentions of course). Aquarius being a fixed sign can be pretty stubborn, strong in its ideals but closed to those of others. With Mars also ruling the mechanics of life at every level, from how the body’s survival response works to your car, there may be a few issues mechanically. With Aquarius ruling planet Uranus representing technology, you may start to recognise at new levels the impact of technology on you and your life. Uranus is newly moved into earth sign Taurus so we are being called to simplify, to become more earth and body focused.
Capricorn is the builder of the zodiac; it’s about form and manifestation. Being an earth sign Capricorn is practical, committed and disciplined. It’s about making the vision for life real, often through the work it does. Capricorn wants to contribute and be seen to contribute. It’s a sign of social responsibility where one can reach the peak of authenticity and self-mastery. Saturn is the ruling planet of Capricorn. The gate-keeper between personal and transpersonal planets in astrology, Saturn challenges us with limitation, but only so we can grow. Saturn says ‘No, but yes… at the right time’. Being the sign of the elder, Capricorn learns through experience and the challenge of developing maturity through challenge. It might be tough stuff but it makes us authentic. Mars in Capricorn is focused, determined and knows where it’s going. Desires in this earthy sign can be strong, passionate and seeking tangible achievement. The shadow expresses as focus-become-control, over-working and being too hard, especially towards oneself. With Mars retrograde in Capricorn we have the opportunity to explore the balance of work and play, where we may micro-manage or control, where goal orientation over-rides what’s realistic and the real meaning of right timing.
This Mars retrograde opens the door of insight into the play of action/procrastination, will/resistance, enthusiasm/force, anger/apathy, courage/fear, risk/security, assertiveness/passivity in our lives. If you reflect on Mars as the warrior in its most positive light you’ll get the underlying themes. Confidence may be a big question mark that leads to revelation. How you use energy is under exploration. More than anything this Mars retrograde is about how and why we do the things we do. Mars in its natural way of being is immediate, direct and active. It’s our life-force moving. When we hold Mars back the energy distorts, either exploding as anger or fizzling out as apathy, only to arise as imbalance or disharmony in the body. The key to Mars is not necessarily in what we do but in how we do it, or in how we respond.
Already we are in the shadow of this Mars retrograde period. The shadow zone being Mars pass over the degrees of the zodiac it will traverse three times, providing us with the opportunity for learning. Already you may be seeing the above themes emerge in your life in some way? This season is likely to be a slow steady unveiling where events and experience show us repeatedly the messages we need to hear. The next 5 months have much to reveal about our intentions, actions and responses to life - only so we can become clearer, cleaner beings, confident in our creative capacity and the way we act.
Key questions for Mars this retrograde journey
What’s my real motivation here?
Where am I over-doing? Running on empty, living from flight or fight. What new response might I make to those situations?
Where am I reacting? Frustrated? Irritated? What’s behind that?
How am I wasting energy, procrastinating, being apathetic? What’s the step up?
Where do I lack confidence? What’s needed inside myself to transform that?
Where might I need more patience?
How do I need to be more active or engaged?
Where am I doggedly persistent? What might a different approach look like?
Where might I be being domineering? What’s that about really?
The Astrological Flow:
12 May: Mars at 28 Capricorn, the degree of his station direct
16 May: Mars enters Aquarius & is square Uranus sextile Chiron (1 of 3)
8 June: Mars conjunct the Moon’s South Node (1 of 3)
26 June: Mars turns retrograde at 9 Aquarius (begins to back-track)
20 July: Mars conjunct the Moon’s South Node (2 of 3)
1-3 August: Mars square Uranus sextile Chiron (2 of 3)
13 August: Mars re-enters Capricorn
27 August: Mars stations direct at 28 Capricorn (begins to move forward)
13-18 September: Mars sextile Chiron & square Uranus (3 of 3)
26 September: Mars conjunct the Moon’s South Node (3 of 3)
8 October: Mars crosses his retrograde shadow zone and enters new territory.
Given these underlying themes, this Mars retrograde will be experienced in slightly different ways by each of us according to its placement in the birth chart and where natal Mars sits. I am therefore offering a limited number of 30 minute Mars Retrograde focused consultations to those who are inspired to explore deeper? This may be particularly relevant to you if you have an ongoing project or a particularly active next few months. I invite you to book in here