Mars is retrograde from June 26 to August 27 (from 9 Aquarius to 28 Capricorn).
The pre-shadow of the retrograde began May 13.
Feeling tired? Cranky? Lost your momentum? Mars is slowing down for its retrograde, which officially begins the day before this month’s Full Moon. During his retrograde, whatever Mars rules is said to be weakened, including our vitality or our will to dare and win. The sharp tools that are traditionally used for surgeries are Mars implements–so this is traditionally not a good time for surgeries. Nor is it an auspicious time to launch a business, initiate a lawsuit, or start a war. He who leaps during the retrograde tends to regret it. These are the rules, but the whole world won’t stop. Runners will still run. Surgeons will still perform surgeries and not all will fail! So instead of worrying about the rules, look for the retrograde in your own experiences. Mars is about action, anger, courage, and heat.
Do keep your Mars glasses on in the weeks ahead! Look for active expressions of this archetype in your world. The retrograde already began for me a week ago when I had an unexpected DIY project, which required getting a couple plywood planks cut at the local lumber store. Wouldn’t you know… at the lumber store, the fancy man-sized (and Mars-ruled) saw needed to cut my wood sported a sign that said “Broken.” No other store had the wood I needed and no one knew when the saw would get fixed. I was told to call daily, which I did. My project languished for a week. And the retrograde was just beginning!
Mars retrogrades are less frequent than Mercury or Venus retrogrades—but they’re still relatively common, occurring every two to two-and-a-half years. Mars was retrograde from March to May of 2014—when the world was gripped by the mystery of Malaysia Flight 370—a perfectly strange expression of an errant Mars. Whether the plane disappeared because of rogue premeditated action, or some disastrous fire, explosion, or critical malfunction, all are Mars themes. If you recall the time, there was an odd paralysis of our hearts as well. It was difficult to grieve those we still hoped were alive. The suspiciously delayed actions of the Malaysian government further illustrate how retrogrades can work. The last Mars retro occurred in 2016, between April 17 to June 29. Checking my Moon journal for that time, I see that I was an injured warrior. My knee was swollen and I was limping.
Retrogrades are always a good time to investigate this planet in your birth chart. Your natal Mars suggests your preferred types and styles of activity. What does your Mars say about you? With my Mars in Libra, I’ve always preferred the slow and graceful movements of yoga or ballet to the jumping and pumping of aerobic exercise. But during the last Mars retrograde, I was anything but graceful! I was horribly clumsy—and I had the minor bruises, burns, and cuts to prove it. I spilled things.On the way to cleaning something, I’d make a worse mess. And the chair I bought which was supposedly easy to assemble—sat in the garage in its box. I wasn’t up to handling the Mars implements needed to assemble it until well after Mars went direct.
The beauty of universal astrology factors is that we’ll all be touched in some way. There are spectacular events—but also a lot of small ones, so small they’re virtually unnoticeable unless you’re looking for them. And if you find how the archetype of Mars has touched you—then next you need to ponder what he’s bringing. A message? An affectionate kick in the butt? My Mars clumsiness gave me a better sense of humor about myself—and it improved my yoga practice, the benefits of which I’m still enjoying today. I’m looking forward to the unexpected blessings this retro will bring. In the meantime, patience and humor are smart companions for the next two months. Also this bit of Mars Retro wisdom: sometimes, turning away or backing down is the fastest way to get ahead.
Planetary retrogrades are a great time to check your own transits.
Steven Forrest’s Skylog is excellent. If you’re within three months of your birthday, Mary Shea’s solar return report completes the picture.
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