Mars Retrograde ~ A Cosmic Do-Over

Zodiac Well
Image by Wyrmworld via Flickr

There’s lots of talk now about Mars’ passage through Leo and the retrograde period that will accompany it. Mars is moving  through Leo now, but halts on December 20th and then retrogrades until March 10 next year before moving on toward Virgo.

Retrogrades are one of the most popular questions beginning astrology students ask and, sometimes, one of the toughest to answer. There are two aspects to this question ~ the astronomical question of movement and the astrological question of meaning. Then, of course, the big question we ask ~ What am I supposed to do?

This isn’t a fluff question. It’s a deep subject, requiring quite a bit of thought and self-awareness. Retrograde motion, in a way, is a cosmic Do-Over. Get ready to pull a great big bucket of experience out of your zodiac well to understand how you normally react to Mars’ nomadic energy. Mars moves quickly in the grand scheme of planetary motion, making a trip around the zodiac every two years and bringing a burst of energy to every house in your chart for about a couple of months at a time. That means you’ve had plenty of experience with Mars energy in all parts of your life. It’s common enough to have overlooked.

Astronomically, retrogrades are periods of time when a planet appears to be moving backward in the sky. The planets aren’t actually moving backward. It’s a play of light and perspective, a cosmic trick. These retrograde periods are bookended with “stations,” periods of time on either side of the retrograde period when the planet appears to stand still ~ another cosmic trick on our perspective. Planets never stand still.

Retrogrades work like parallel parking your car. Imagine your car is a planet. A planet’s regular motion is like driving forward. To parallel park, you have to drive a little past the parking space. You then put your foot on the brake which stops the motion briefly ~ that’s the first “station” in astrology. Then you move backward into the parking space (the retrograde), put your foot on the brake again (the second “station”) and then resume forward motion into the space.

If that was too confusing or you want a visual to help you understand the astronomical motion, check out the applet showing two perspectives here. I ran the applet several times and I finally really get it.

Astrologically, retrograde periods are similar to the parked car. Take the time while you’re parked to pull out your map, check your route, look at your gauges, clean off your windshield in preparation for continuing your drive forward. That drive forward is when you get your Cosmic Do-Over and a new chance to act on the issues at hand.

Donna Cunningham has written a series of posts to get you ready for your Mars Mission and its 6-month stay in Leo. Subscribe to stay on top of the Mission. December 20th is fast approaching, and you might be feeling some Martial effects already. As the Boy Scouts say, “Be Prepared.”

There are plenty of exceptional posts now on MarsRx. Mandi Lockley at Astroair has an excellent post on tempering our behavior in Mars in Leo -A Retrograde Catfight. Don’t miss that one.

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9 thoughts on “Mars Retrograde ~ A Cosmic Do-Over

  1. I love how you’ve explained retrogrades, CJ. The explanations are usually so technical and dry, they cause one’s eyes to gloss over! You’ve made it folksy and fun–but then that’s what you do best. Donna

    1. Thanks, Donna. I have experience with the example. I can’t parallel park without having to go into retrograde motion at least 12 times. Thank heavens the planets don’t have that problem.

  2. I agree about the ‘folksy and fun’ explanation for a retrograde. I was parking my Subaru in my mind’s eye and getting the cleaning my windshield off routine in a get-it-got-it-good way. Wow, what a treat! This makes so much sense.

    1. Fantastic! There are astronomical aspects to astrology that don’t easily congeal in my head, but if I can find a way to bring them down to earth, simplify them, and see how logical and applicable they are to something in daily life, it really starts to come together. I’m glad it helped, Mokihana.

      I wonder if Pluto retrograde is anything like parallel parking an oceanliner?

  3. I have Pluto at 17 Leo and a Leo Ascendant. I believe that Mars will station at 19 Leo. As it was approaching my Pluto around the middle of November, I was energized so much I created a blog, started writing my book and practicing astrology again. This energy is still with me and wonder if it will continue after Dec 20? I hope so, I’m getting so much accomplished!

    1. Looks like Mars/Pluto kickstarted you back into something you love, and that’s pretty cool. It feels good, huh?

  4. My ex mother in law from Hell has pluto natally at 17 leo opposed by venus natally at 17 aquarius. She is currently trying to get my children who are both teenagers to move to her country and live with her. she is using her grown sons to try and coerce them, with total disregard to their futures. anyway, i was wondering if the mars transit to her pluto might sort of ‘burst’ the obsession pluto opp venus – well, I try to live in hope… I have natal pluto conjunct her natal mars, as much as i like to respect the older generation I might well wind up telling her to take a running jump. she also has natal sun square mars and sun opp uranus. everyone calls her ‘little mussonlini’, which she loves ??! Just noticed, mars square uranus – she very well could be a demon from Hell…

    1. Hi, Julie. I’m sorry to hear that you have such a volatile relationship with your ex-mother-in-law and that it is causing such family upset. I can’t imagine the stress levels of everyone involved. People don’t change unless they want to, though, even with major transits. Have you done a chart comparison with your and your ex-MIL’s charts to see how you might be able to interact with her more effectively, or looked to your own chart for insights on how you can best navigate this period?

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