Updated: Nov 3
Patience is the calm acceptance
That things can happen
In a different order
Than the one you have in mind.
David G. Allen
The Mars Retrograde Phenomenon
Mars has a Retrograde cycle every other year. In contrast, Mercury has a Retrograde cycle every 3 months like clockwork and is part of the rhythm of each year. Mercury Retrogrades are not problematic if we are in tune with the rhythm of life, with the ebbs and flows associated with activity. Mercury Retrograde cues us to take a step back and review, re-evaluate and regroup before charging forth with plans and decisions. All retrogrades, but most especially with the Mars Retrograde, we can feel challenged to embracing their invitation because we live in a culture that does not appreciate the value for taking a step back, slowing down, regrouping and giving ourselves an extended period of time to re-evaluate plans. Western culture urges us to go, go, go and to get things done and decided.
Venus is the other fast moving planet that has a Retrograde cycle every 18 months, cuing us to take a step back from our relationships to review how they are going and how well our values are being expressed in what we have created in life. The slower moving Planets (Jupiter. Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) are each Retrograde half of every year and move so slowly that their retrogrades may not be noticeable - unless one of them happens to station direct or retrograde at the same degree as one of our natal planets.
Mars is the one planet that calls us to pay attention when it goes Retrograde, because if we are not mindful to counter what it stirs in us, we can easily fall prey to its ill effects.
Mars, the warrior, expresses itsself through aggression and decisive action. It is hard wired to engage in a battle. Retrograde, it can initiate battles to compensate for an uncomfortable level of frustration and restlessness. Mars seeks action as the way out of any tough spot. It does not want to take a step back, re-evaluate or reconsider something it has already decided. Similarly, we may feel impatience and give into an impulse to take rash, ill-considered actions that sre not in our best interests.
Mars typically moves about 45 minutes of arc a day (3/4 of a degree in its 360 degree orbit around the sun), but in the shadow phase of its upcoming Retrograde during September and October, it was creeping along about 5 minutes of arc a day - eight times slower than usual. Mars does not like slowing down and was irritated when it came to a complete halt the end of October just before turning Retrograde. To its great amazement, it then found itself moving backwards, going over the same territory it had already covered. This produced tremendous frustration and a desire to battle what is thwarting its forward movement. On the filip side, it can also create a perception of being defeated and a feeling of impotence.
Like Mars, planet of drive and action, we may feel ourselves slowing down and making less headway with projects, deadlines and plans. We have be having a more difficult time sorting through information and discerning what we believe or know about something. This can lead to a feeling of sluggishness and inertia, or stir in us a call to urgent action to combat and try to get the upper hand of the challenges we face. The way through is between these two options.
Mars is closer to the earth while Retrograde. It appears brighter in the sky; the presence of this red star is thus magnified within us. We are heated up. There can be a restlessness and frustration as there is no easy way to release and express the energy. Normally, it is good to move big energy, to go for a run or chop a cord of wood, but we are in a holding position where we are to allow the heat, the pressure to build as part of the process to create some change within ourselves and our approach to life.
We may wish to relieve some of the pressure through some impulsive decision or emotional outburst, but the release will be shortlived and we may only create more stress, more heat for ourselves. If we make room for the stew brewing within us, acknowledging that this inner simmer is beneficial, we will be served in some way we cannot yet foresee.
A Metaphor: Preparation for an Arrow to Hit the Target
Mars, is like an arrow that just wants to instinctively be let loose to fly towards its intended target. Yet, in a Mars Retrograde, we must slow down and first fit the arrow into a bow. Then, slowly, purposefully, we pull the arrow back (the retrograde motion). Once pulled back until it is taut in the bow, we then make all kinds of micro movements and adjustments as we line our eye up with the arrow, the arrow with the target, and our body with the arrow. From the outside, it may look like we are doing very little, if anything. An onlooker may be thinking, ‘why are they taking so long? What are they waiting for?” Yet, when Mars goes direct, the arrow is ready to fly and hit its target.
In a nutshell, Mars retrograde slows us down. We can feel a frustration with this. We are to practice patience, take things a step at a time and be persististent in addressing the challenge facing us. The sign Mars is occupying during the Retrograde tells us where attention and adjustments need to be made. So, let's now look at the current Mars Retrograde.
Everything you are against
Everything you are for
Mars Retrograde in Gemini (10/30/22 - 1/14/23)
Mars in Gemini (Aug 20, 2022 – Mar 25, 2023)
While Mars typically moves through a sign in 6 or 8 weeks, we are currently in the midst of Mars’ 7-month sojourn in the sign of Gemini. Mars extended stay in Gemini is the result of the Retrograde cycle happening in this sign.
The planet of decsive action is in inquisitive, quick-footed, fast talking Gemini. The pace of our life can get ahead of us. We can find ourselves multi-tasking or jumping from one task to the next without completing the one before. We are apt to verbally spar or speak without first considering what we are wanting to communicate. In a typical year, we have a month or so, with Mars in Gemini, where we find ourselves darting about, being a little chattier, more curious about varying things going on, and inclined to be a little more argumentative. But…
As Mars moved into the shadow zone of its Retrograde in early September, we have needed to counter the impulse to move fast, make quick decisions, and let our life be filled with activity and busyness. As Mars slowed down in September and October, we were cued to slow down and avoid traveling in the fast line. Otherwise, may have found ourselves feeling mentally frazzled and emotionally frustrated.
Then, at the end of October, much to Mars’ great surprise, Mars stopped all together and began to move backward. Mars does not like to contemplate, go over territory its already been. Rather fuel the natural impatience, anger or impotence we are feeling, we are to slow down and pay attention to Gemini energies: our thought processes, communication styles, how we discern the truth about information we receive. We are to be curious about how we can rewire the way we talk to ourselves and others so that we are in more integrity with who we say we are and with what we want to create in the world.
Gemini Rules Social Exchange - exchange of ideas, money, information
Mars in Gemini will effect Communications, Education, Information, Social Media, and daily travel/short trips. It is mental in nature and so with Mars in Gemini, energy moves towards our head. We can become hot-headed. Our thinking processes are amped up. Our mind can rapidly jump from topic to topic, leaving us feeling mentall