Mars retrograde can catch one unawares. With most of the other planets you know where you are. Mercury retrogrades three times a year and the planets beyond Mars, regularly retrograde just before the first trine to the Sun and turn direct just after the second, a period of about five months every year. Mars and Venus, however, do not follow such clear rules and while there is a rhythm to these retrogrades, it’s not immediately apparent.
Mars goes retrograde about once every two years and two months and this will happen on 20th December at 19°42?. Leo. What might this retrograde bring? The nature of Mars is to push forward and going back or retreating is not in its character, particularly in Leo. If we imagine Mars as an army, in Leo it is an army of show and pagentry, knights on horseback, banners flying, chivalry and honourable combat. This army looks very impressive though much of that may be show. It attacks with battle cries and explosions and retreats equally noisily. And so it is when Mars turns retrograde in Leo.
Just before everything seems to be going swimmingly. Confidence is high and projects move along rapidly and then—Whamo!—it all goes pear shaped. One reason for this is that, unlike the other outer planets, Mars trines the Sun before the retrograde and there is a lot of energy and excitement generated, especially in Fire, which suddenly isn’t going anywhere. This may not necessarily be a bad thing. Mars is an aggressor and when it turns retrograde that aggression can be defused. That is useful when the retrograde stops our opponents but frustrating if it also stops us.
How does the retrograde affect you?
Our individual Mars cycle is a period of about two years during which Mars returns to its natal position and how the retrograde affects us will depend on which part of the cycle it occurs in. At the beginning of the Mars cycle there is often a burst of energy and urge to start a new project or new phase in our work or love relationships. Mars cycles are usually externalised and involve action on our part. At the first quarter the new enterprise will have developed but an adjustment will need to take place. At the opposition the project will have fully developed and at that point it will be clear if it is successful or not. At the second quarter there is another adjustment and then the matter is completed before that start of the new cycle at the conjunction.
When the retrograde occurs immediately after the start of a new cycle, possibly passing over the conjunction point, it can happen that a project that started very promisingly gets bogged down and doesn’t go anywhere. This can be enough to make one give up completely but those who know some astrology will realise that they just have to hang in there until Mars goes direct again. It is not wise to judge the viability of an enterprise during a Mars retrograde.
If the retrograde occurs near the opposition, it is likely that the cycle turns out to be about something quite different than initially envisaged. The new focus may or may not be more interesting than the original impulse but can also lead to confusion and indecision about what is really going on.
It can be problematic if the retrograde occurs in the last quarter. Someone in this position may be gearing up to start something only to find that this new start is premature. There turns out to be more old business to clear away than originally thought. If action has already been taken and bridges burned, you can find oneself in a very awkward position. You may be ready for the new but the new is not ready for you. Timing is everything and it’s easy to get it wrong under a Mars retrograde.
Mars retrograde does not have to be a disaster. If you know it’s coming it can be put to good use—to review, revise and regroup—and an opportunity to fix errors and change direction. To benefit from it you should prepared to step back a bit, be patient and review the situation.
This Mars retrograde will be quite intense as Mercury in Capricorn will also retrograde six days later. Both communication and action will be slowed down. On the world scene it may be expected that there will be some looking back in military matters. It is interesting that as the retrograde approaches, the British government is holding an inquiry into why the country entered the Iraq war and no very good reason seems to be found. At the same time, Mr Obama is planning to send more troops into Afghanistan, a move unpopular with his supporters, and possibly not the best idea under a Mars retrograde. Doubtless his motive is to try and bring an end to this ongoing conflict, however, any kind of surge under a Mars retrograde is likely to end badly. If they must go, hopefully it will not be until Mars turns direct again in March 2010.
It’s just as well that the holiday season is approaching and the best way to spent it is to get cozy by the fire with your nearest and dearest, keep your head down and take some time out until the New Year.