Mars has just gone retrograde on 9 September, at 28° Aries, and will now start its journey back to 15° Aries, when it finally goes direct on 14 November. Mars is in its own sign for a very long time this year, from 27 June until 7 January. Mars in Aries has the potential for anger without a filter, as Aries is very much an act before thinking kind of sign. It can also bring out the hero and warrior in us all, as we are encouraged to find our courage, enthusiasm and capacity to assert and stand up for ourselves and others. The only problem is that this can go too far if we are triggered and assertion can become aggression , bullying or even violence. Mars in Aries can certainly put a fire in our belly and bring our inner “hothead” to the surface, which could make us quite reactive! And now it is retrograde, which means that it is going back over the same ground it has covered since 25 July, when it was last at 15° Aries. What might we have done differently if we’d had the chance? What do we truly desire, when it comes down to it?
Mars retrograde invites us to reflect on our capacity to be brave, and it is possible that we may be called to revisit something that happened in recent times whereby we didn’t stand up or find the necessary courage to act in the way we wanted. Now we have another chance. However, it is also possible that we lost our rag and acted or reacted in a way that we regret, or lashed our from fear or hurt. We are now invited to turn inward and develop a healthier relationship with our anger and reflect on how we express and channel it. Does it come out overtly or covertly, in a more passive-aggressive or confrontational way? Do we tend to let resentment build up for so long that it becomes toxic, or do we tend to lash out and do or say things we regret? Are we brave enough to stand up for things that mean something to us, or do we tend to hide, back down, run away from conflict or stay on the fence? When it comes to Mars, we can either use it energy constructively, to unite and fight for the greater good of all, or destructively, with arguments, bullying and conflict that simply creates more divisiveness and hard feelings. It can mobilise us into positive action or it can cause us to do things that cause harm and that we regret.
Around 22 March Mars was back in Capricorn, joining forces with Pluto and Jupiter in Capricorn. This was a pivotal moment for the whole world. Now Retrograde Mars is moving back towards its second square to these two planets, symbolising a continuation of what started then, at the conjunction. Conjunctions represent the beginning of a cycle of development between the planets in question, the seed. After that there was the sextile, which occurred around the Solstice/Cancer New Moon/Eclipse at the end of June, and now we have the square, which is occurring three times due to Mars going retrograde. Squares are a very dynamic aspect, causing friction and promoting action. Indeed, this particular square is known as “crisis in action”. Sometimes we need a bit of a kick up our bum to make things happen and to grow!
The first square we will experience in this retrograde phase is between Mars in Aries and Saturn in Capricorn, the planet of control, authority, government, tradition, karma and discipline. The first time Mars formed a square to Saturn was around 24 August, during which time, on a global level, there were uprisings challenging the status quo, consensus reality and patriarchal control. This square will repeat again on 29 September, but in actual fact Mars and Saturn are squaring off against each other closely throughout September. The square represents a tussle between the authoritarian control of Saturn and the fiery, courageous, independent, assertive and potentially angry and aggressive Mars in Aries. Mars in Aries is the part of us that marches to the beat of our own drum, seeking to express our own will and kick back against authority and control. In this “stand-off” between the two planets, Saturn potentially has more clout, being the slower moving planet. Will our capacity to act or fight back be restricted, impeded or limited, or will greater control be forced on us in a Martian manner? Indeed, “Martial Law” springs to mind here as the epitome of a Saturn and Mars combo. Will we experience more rules and regulations that enforce greater compliance? Will the machine attempt to squash or steam roll our Martian fire and autonomy?
On the other hand, how can we be more responsible for our actions? Are we able to find courage and a greater sense of integrity in order to truly be accountable for what we instinctively feel inside ourselves? Are we able to direct and harness our righteous anger in a controlled manner and stand up for what we know to be right? Mars in Aries is not known for compliance to authority; quite the opposite, in fact. Both of these planets are very strong in their own signs, and Aries and Capricorn fundamentally disagree with one another! Mars in Aries is very brave and impulsive, almost foolishly so at times, and fights back against any threats to its freedom, independence and autonomy. Saturn in Capricorn is very patient and has its eye on the end game, seeking to control, restrict, suppress, discipline or limit, imposing its authority and encouraging us to comply and abide by the rules. This is both an internal battle, for all of us, as well as an external, global one. Which one will win? The third and final square between Mars and Saturn will be exact on 13 January but will be in Taurus and Aquarius, so the energy will have shifted by then.
The next square is between Mars and Pluto, which is exact on 9 October. The last one was on 13 August and the final one will be on 23 December. Pluto in Capricorn has been slowly exposing the dark side of the power structures since 2008 and will continue this process until 2023. All the rot, the flaws and the corruption have been slowly but surely revealed and the imbalance and abuse of power has become more and more apparent and transparent. Pluto isn’t afraid to dig deep beneath the surface and dive into the dark underworld of all things Capricorn. The structures are crumbling, both personally and collectively, so that something more appropriate can take their place. And the patriarchal system and its players won’t do down without a good fight! Mars square Pluto is an invitation to take our power back. However, it could easily swing the other way, as our power (Pluto) is taken by force (Mars) and we find ourselves in the midst of psychological (Pluto) warfare (Mars).
Can we harness the energy of Mars and find the courage to call out and confront the darkness in the system and ourselves? Are we able to confront our own shadows and purge any unhealthy patterns and ingrained habits? Are we able to take action where needed to help purge the rot from the power structures? Are we brave enough to take our power back, in the truest sense of the word, and reclaim our sovereignty? What do we need to face in ourselves that reflects the outer reality? What needs to pass away right now? Pluto and Mars can help us to find the courage, strength and power to make massive changes in our lives and perform feats we never would have thought possible. They can also bring up rage and bring the capacity to be incredibly cruel and vindictive. With Pluto, however, there is always choice. During this square we may find ourselves having to make a brave choice and act in a way that has a great impact on our future and our evolution, both personally and collectively.
Finally we have the square between Mars and Jupiter, which is exact on 18 October. The last one was exact on 4 August and the final one will be exact on 23 January, in Taurus and Aquarius instead of Aries and Capricorn. This combination can bring up extreme anger and conflict around differing beliefs. Divide and conquer is the name of the game when these two come into battle! With Jupiter in Capricorn, we may tend to get very angry about other people’s opinions and ideas if they challenge the structure of our programmed or conditioned beliefs. Mars in Aries is the part of us that thinks and acts independently and questions the consensus beliefs and status quo, challenging what we are being asked to accept as truth by the government and those in control.
When these two planets come into contact there is the potential for us to need to find the courage to speak up about our beliefs. The potential for anger or rage around the “truth” is also rife, especially if we are in fear. Any challenges to our more firmly held beliefs could feel like a personal attack, causing us to lash out in defense and try and force our views on those who present an alternative point of view. Jupiter in Capricorn is the part of us that tends to believe what we are told by those in authority, while Mars is the renegade planet; the part of us that kicks back against the consensus. It is so important to keep an open, curious, questioning mind during this transit and be willing to take a long hard look at ourselves when we are triggered. How do we take the moral high ground and judge others, and do we have a need to be “right”? The truth is often relative.
This could be an interesting ride, between now and 14 November, when Mars goes direct! It is important to be aware that the various squares will be overlapping each other, meaning that the Mars square Saturn transit will still be in effect while the Mars Pluto is building, and the Mars Pluto transit will still be prominent when the Pluto Jupiter transit is building. The renegades could be out in force in October, that’s for sure! Retrograde Mars asks us to look within and act and react differently to the way we might usually. We all have our own unique relationship with anger, courage and assertion and this period of time could make this all too apparent. How can we act and react in the healthiest way possible and in a way that is true to our inner being? We might be called to act more covertly during this time or may feel the need to step back and look before we leap. We may look back on past actions or disagreements and seek to rectify or repair somehow. However, the best way to make the most of this retrograde period is to be willing to look inside, finding our spiritual warrior and inner fire, and be brave enough to do the inner work. Have we the courage to truly face ourselves with absolute honesty? Any external conflicts we have in our lives often reflect an internal battle, so this is an opportunity to face our inner foe with courage and fortitude!
Painting: Inner Fire: Jaime Enriquez