Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
Mars takes about two years to travel around the zodiacal band while Earth takes one year to travel the same distance around the Sun. When Earth is directly beside Mars in orbit, Mars is nearest to earth, and Mars appears to stop from our perspective of the night sky. Then as Earth orbits beside Mars, Mars appears to go backward until Earth clears Mars at which point it appears to stop in the sky and move forward again.
So even when we say “Mars goes retrograde”, that might be true in a certain sense, but we should remember that this is part of a larger concurrent dance with Earth’s faster movement than Mars, and both bodies orbiting the Sun.
In modern astrology, a general consensus across schools of thought is that Mars represents the following themes, qualities, and principles:
- Depression (inverted or denied Mars expression)
A general consensus on traditional astrology states that Mars governs:
- Lover of War
- Bellicose things
- Willingness to fight
- Does not submit itself freely to anyone or anything
- Likes to announce its actions
This is not just in the birth chart as qualities of the personality, but also in qualities and scenarios found in the world.
Mars entered the retrograde zone on February 17, when it crossed 23 degrees Scorpio. At this point, scenarios, events, people from the past may have re-emerged. Events that come back or resume from that point are the material with which we will be working and re-treading through the duration of Mars retrograde.
Symbolically, when Mars stops in the sky, the qualities it is associated with also seem to come to a halt. In Mars’ case this is a special moment to take note of because about 15-20 days before Mars goes backwards, on March 26, the Sun trines Mars from 6 degrees Aries to 6 degrees Sagittarius. This supports a flurry of confident forward moving activity. All the while, Mars is slowing down, and our drive to effectively accomplish tasks slows right down with it, until Mars stops and goes backward, turning that action oriented drive inward for examination.
Mars turns retrograde at 8 degrees Sagittarius on April 17th, 2016.
Mars retrograde re-enters Scorpio on May 27, 2016
This is of course no time to stop living, accomplishing, or carrying on being productive. If Mars will transit your chart during the retrograde, then be aware of suppressed hostility, anger, or unaddressed conflicts surfacing in the areas of life impacted by the transit. And if this Mars retrograde is not affecting your chart directly, you may not notice as strong of a retrograde effect, but we will all globally and collectively experience an inward turning of the normally outward action principle, and ask ourselves about the motives and ambitions that underlie our actions.
Scorpio can be a merciless and vindictive sign. Scorpio is exceedingly sharp, and this kind of gut level intelligence can be applied tactically for vicious ends.
Functioning “unconsciously”, Scorpio qualities and experiences are among the easiest in the zodiac to repress, disown, and consequently encounter as projections outside the self. In this way, if some part of the self is not met with full acceptance on a deep and true inner level, it can arouse a corresponding drama, opposition, or sabotage, which strikes the nervous system at the emotional level.
If Scorpio could be said to have a function, it might be to draw out poison in the way that bee sting therapy does, for healing.
Scorpio’s relentless, probing examination with a long-looking suspicious eye has the purpose of finding the non-sugar coated truth.
When Mars pivots and turns backward in Sagittarius to re-enter Scorpio, this is an opportunity to pierce into the full awareness of truth about the depths of our desires that motivate our actions — whether that is money, sex, love, power, or whatever the case may be. A long unfulfilled desire has a way of warping itself over time, so that its source becomes obscured, but its influence over us does not cease. Mars in Scorpio retrograde says — Find The Root and act deliberately, with awareness.
Then, once Mars goes direct again in Scorpio, that root and inner delving is meant to be cleansed, purged, and re-acted upon.
Mars stations direct at 23 degrees Scorpio on June 29, 2016.
Mars direct enters Sagittarius: August 2, 2016
When Mars enters Sagittarius again this is the time to take the deep self-inquiry and send it in a far off and focused direction, this time knowing the motivations of the self more deeply.
The retrograde point of Mars in Sagittarius is also something to take note of, because Saturn is in the same sign. These two planets are encouraging us to deeply consider the philosophical foundations on which our actions are based. Mars in fire sign Sagittarius can egoically identify with what it knows. Actions have their roots in beliefs, and Mars in Sagittarius aims its arrow in the direction of what it understands to be true. This can easily slide into the kind of righteous dogma that escalates into a religious war galvanized from a pulpit. Or whatever the equivalent is in your sphere of life.
The thrust of this transit is the opportunity is to ask yourself if your behaviors demonstrate beliefs and philosophies you have taken time to honestly and thoroughly consider. Ask yourself if your actions and behaviors are demonstrating what you desire for the world, or for your life, or for those things in life which are important to you.
This transit takes place in two different houses. The Sagittarius house is where the activity must be incubated while the retrograde work deepens in the Scorpio house.
This Mars Retrograde period is a good time to consider the truth of your perceptions. Since so much of Scorpio activity can be hidden, there is a lot of room for creating stories to fill in the details when the facts are not actually readily available.
It would be a good idea to create an objective method to check perceptions against reality. It would be a good idea to devise a strategy for addressing those who might misperceive and act against you.
The use of strategy in your interactions with others, or with others’ interactions with you comes from the understanding that Scorpio can be a manipulative sign. You might want to ask what comprises the line between strategically asserting yourself and unethically manipulating a person or situation, and reversed, whether someone is rightfully asserting their interests or unethically manipulating a situation.
And a final point of consideration for this post would be to consider deploying diplomacy, and ask how you can effectively be diplomatic, keeping the interests of all parties in mind, leaving a wide berth for compromise, while being sure to be clear about boundaries around your personal needs and desires.
If there is legitimate rage, anger, hostility, consider developing satisfying ways to engage with these experiences. Do you want to cope? Are you equipped to experience these alone? Do you need help from a licensed professional or trusted advisor? Do you need a safe method or framework for processing this? These are examples of lines of inquiry that lead to actions that lead to a happier, healther, more effective you.
Warmly and with love,
References: Retrograde Planets by Erin Sullivan, On the Heavenly Spheres by Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro