Around mid-late August, you may begin to feel a subtle (or not so subtle) slowing down, a drain on your energies. That’s because Mars is going to go retrograde starting in September.

What does it mean when a planet goes retrograde?

Mars rx composite photo from NASA
NASA – Astronomy Picture of the Day – retrograde Mars

From the earth, if we look up in the sky and watch the motion of the planets against the backdrop of the stars, we usually observe them moving in one direction. Occasionally, every celestial body except the Sun and the Moon will appear to slow down in its orbit, stop, and then go backward, or retrograde, for a period of time.

Mars Retrograde happens every other year and lasts for approximately 70 to 80 days.

Planets in retrograde lose steam, clarity, and directionMars is the planet of war, fighting, new beginnings, and the act of sex. Choose your metaphor! When Mars is retrograde, there’s a persistent feeling of spinning your wheels, walking through quicksand, or paddling upstream.

Mars retrograde basics

  • New projects and plans initiated now are likely to stall or not develop as expected.
  • Our energy levels will be lower.
  • Accidents and arguments from impulsive actions and unrecognized anger will flare.
  • Health problems from internalized stress are also much more likely during this time.

Most of us have seen the images showing the awesome and devastating volcanic eruption taking place in Hawaii. That’s what happens to each of us during this part of Mars’ cycle. Stuff that’s underground, under great pressure breaks through to the surface and spills out. That’s why some folks will explode with frustration and make very poor decisions now, responding with violence and anger instead of patience and dialogue– especially when Mars makes stressful aspects. Here are the relevant dates:

2020 Mars retrograde dates

    • Mars enters its retrograde shadow: July 25 
    • Mars square Jupiter (1) ~August 1-4
    • Mars square Pluto (1) ~August 10-13
    • Mars square Saturn (1) ~August 20-24
    • Mars retrograde begins: September 9 at 28° Aries
    • Retrograde Mars square Saturn (2)  ~September 25-29
    • Retrograde Mars square Pluto (2)  ~October 5-9
    • Retrograde Mars square Jupiter (2) ~October 15-19
    • Mars retrograde ends: – November 13 at 15° Aries
    • Mars square Pluto (3) ~December 19-23
    • Mars leaves its retrograde shadow ~January 2, 2021

Physical health

In the body, Mars rules body heat, the fight-or-flight response, the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood (which depends on iron– ruled by Mars), the immune response, adrenal function, and inflammation. Internalized stress will be a major drag on health during these two months, making effective coping strategies important for all of us. This is a terrific time to work on replacing unhealthy coping patterns, such as smoking cigarettes, eating nutrient-poor food, and drinking alcohol with healthier habits like eating nutritious food (start with breakfast), meditating, and staying well-hydrated.

Mars represents your physical vitality and strength— and this is time to gather your strength, and reinforce your position, rather than burn up your reserves. Everybody is more tired and has less energy to work with, especially those with birth chart placements in Aries and Scorpio.

Accidents and injuries, especially due to fatigue or distraction, are more common. Be careful on the sports field, in the kitchen, on the road, and in the workshop, especially on the days listed above.

Inflammation is a major manifestation of Mars. This year’s retrograde takes place mostly in Aries, which suggests that the head, brain, eyes, and nose are the most vulnerable to the impact of this retrograde. Inflammation is a predictable result of a diet rich in processed carbohydrates and/or food allergens (the most common are gluten, dairy, and soy), and low in anti-inflammatory healthy fats. This situation is often called systemic inflammation, and symptoms can show up anywhere in the body. Headaches, painful joints, digestive troubles, asthma/allergies, even neurological symptoms like depression, irritability, confusion, or poor memory.

Emotional health

Mars retrograde intensifies and concentrates the Mars energy while directing it inward. Thus, we all tend to be harder on ourselves. Look back at the past for insights into yourself. But try not to beat yourself up, or take your frustration out on others. Don’t define yourself by the worst thing you have ever done (even if other people do). Love and compassion toward your own human-ness open the door for you to unburden yourself of old resentments toward others, too.

Ask for help– and reach out to others who may be struggling through this difficult period, too.

Personal & professional health

Mars represents strength— and this is time to gather your strength and reinforce your position, rather than burn up your reserves.

Anything new that is postponed during Mars retrograde is probably for the better. Everyone will have less energy to work with; remember that when you feel like demanding service or conditions to change immediately.

Most of the conflicts and challenges that appear during Mars retrograde will be temporary— that’s why you need to keep focused on the big picture and the philosophy of what you are doing.

Things don’t go as fast as we want them to during Mars retrograde. The better use of this time is to wait, plan and accept compromises. Delays and detours may turn out to be valuable, as you discover something of worth along the way. This is an excellent time to go back over recent developments in your life with the aim of updating your goals and methods, as significant adjustments made now can improve your chances in the future.

This is the time to germinate seeds, to work out the details and actions of something that will begin (be planted) after the retrograde period ends.

How is your Mars retrograde going? Leave a comment below to share your story.

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