Mars Retrograde – September 9-November 13, 2020

Around mid-late August, you may begin to feel a subtle (or not so subtle) slowdown, a drain on your energies. That’s because Mars retrograde is coming starting in September. Mars goes retrograde every other year for approximately 70 to 80 days.

What does Mars retrograde mean?

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

Planets in retrograde lose steam, clarity, and directionMars represents physical energy. Mars deals with war, fighting, new beginnings, action, and sexuality. When Mars is retrograde, there are persistent difficulties moving forward. You might feel like you’re spinning your wheels, walking through quicksand, or paddling upstream.

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 and patience to face the intense challenges ahead of us this year in the United States. Our political and social divisions. The COVID-19 pandemic that is killing around a thousand people a day.

Most of the conflicts and challenges that appear now are temporary— that’s why you need to cultivate patience and stay focused on the long-term outcome you really want.

The best use of this time is to wait, plan, and accept the compromises that will make it work in the long run. 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. You can make significant adjustments now that will 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.

Here’s what you need to know about Mars retrograde

  • New projects and plans that people initiate now are likely to stall or not develop as expected.
  • Everyone’s drive, energy levels, and libido will tend to be lower than normal. Impatience and frustration will be higher.
  • Accidents, arguments, and injuries from impulsive actions and unrecognized anger will flare.
  • Health problems from internalized stress are much more likely.
  • Bad news for bullies: The aggressor loses the fight.

Think of it as a volcanic eruption. That’s what happens to each of us during this part of Mars’ cycle. Stuff that has been boiling underground, under great pressure, breaks through to the surface and spills out.

With Mars retrograde in its home sign Aries, things seem to be moving forward quickly, but not always effectively. You may see two steps back for every step forward. Anger flares up quickly and blows over just as fast.

That’s why some folks will fly off the handle and make very poor decisions now, responding with violence and anger instead of patience and dialogue. This is especially true when Mars makes stressful aspects– which it will be doing a lot this Summer and Fall.

Significant dates

    • Mars enters Aries: June 27, 2020
    • 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
    • Mars enters Taurus: January 6

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. You’ll have fewer “spoons,” especially if you have birth chart placements in Aries or 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.

This year’s retrograde takes place in the sign Aries. This placement suggests that the head, brain, eyes, and nose are the most vulnerable to the inflammatory nature of Mars. An anti-inflammatory diet can help a lot. The standard American diet is high in processed carbohydrates and/or food allergens (the most common are gluten, dairy, and soy), and low in anti-inflammatory healthy fats.

Whatever your symptoms, dehydration can exacerbate them. You may need more fluids during this super-heated Mars retrograde in the hot, dry fire sign Aries.

Emotional health

This 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 helps you 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.

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

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30 Responses

  1. Hello Molly, I have been following you on YouTube for a while and love the way you talk and transmit your passion. I am a real beginner at astrology, I am absolutely fascinated by it and would like to study it, hopefully soon! I have my sun in Leo, my moon in Libra and my ascendant is Piscis. Today I’ve realised that I have the North Node and Black Moon Lilith in my first house too. 15º -30º Aries falls in my first house, so I understand that’s where I have been feeling this retrograde the most, correct?
    I’ve had one of the most challenging times of my life in these past weeks, and I’ve had a few challenges in my life. It has affected my identity, my sense of time, dream and reality, self-worth, finances…. It’s highlighted so many things for me, that I have been healing for a while now. Just the feeling that I’ll never get there, to my true, healed self has been an incredible challenge to overcome. I feel like my life is absolutely in limbo, I’ve had such a strong sense of purpose, which I am finding very hard to connect with now.
    I admit I have been beating myself up far too much, frustrated with myself and not relinquishing fully old habits…. I know that I’m not alone in this, but I’d appreciate it immensely if you could write me a couple of lines, regarding my placements, so that I can get a bit of perspective, and hope? Understand what I have been through?

    Much love and appreciation,

    Ana

    1. Hi Ana – thanks so much for leaving your thoughts here. With Aries as your rising sign (am I right?) Mars is a significant planet for you, and it’s no wonder you have been feeling this retrograde strongly– and it’s great that you are experiencing healing around your identity (1st house) in particular. But you should feel your energy picking up soon with Mars going direct.

      When it comes to feeling in limbo– you are not alone in this. I have heard it coming from a number of people I have worked with in the past few days. The whole world is in a “limbo” state now. We know something new is coming. We can feel it, we can smell it, but it’s not here yet. And many are hanging on tightly to the old cycle as it slips away.

      But circle December 21, the Winter Solstice (N. hemisphere) on your calendar. That is when the feeling of limbo should come to an end. The door will open and we can all step fully into the new cycle.

      Use the form on this page to sign up for my emails– I’ll make sure you’re up-to-date.

  2. I am so ready for this to be over… Scorpio Sun Taurus Moon Pisces Rising. I’ve had recurring Strep Throat, that will not go way – I’ve been on multiple antibiotics since September 8th (the dates match up so perfectly that IT’S NOT EVEN A COINCIDENCE ANYMORE) and I’m hoping that after November 13th this issue will go away as fast as it came on. I also got a sudden rash a few days ago that came on out of nowhere on my face/neck, it’s never happened before and it was bad. I know it has to do with Mars. I’ve tried cleansing myself and my space but I think I should focus on meditating more. I really don’t know – the past few months have been a wild ride and like I said I’ll be glad when it’s over.

    1. Jenesis, that is a long time to have a strep throat infection and to be on antibiotics. I’m sorry you’re going through this. Meditation is awesome, but look into physical causes too– Mars in Aries suggests your iron status may be part of the issue, adrenal health from the constant stress of living through this time in history. Scorpio influences the colon, and Scorpio Suns tend to have issues with clearing wastes and toxins, which can impair your body’s natural ability to fight infection. That’s about all I can say without your chart, but I hope it helps. Hope you feel better soon.

  3. Hey molly . My moon is in Aries 12th house .. I’m definitely feeling the retrograde effects! Low energy,impatience & anger. I want to get a BLOOD TEST done but I’ve read that Mars is the planet of surgeons! Anything related to iron or cutting! So just to be safe I was thinking of getting the blood test done after November 13th. But would the shadow period affect anything or any further dangers during the post shadow period?

    Thank you in advance

    1. Hi April – unless you have a specific reason to be this cautious, a blood test is pretty low risk. You don’t need to plan it as carefully as you would for something more serious like surgery. Avoid 5 days on either side of the Full Moon as you will bruise more easily, and avoid Mercury retrograde as you may not get a clear diagnosis. Other than that I would just go for it. Good luck.

  4. My boyfriend is an Aries ( me Gemini) I can tell he is stressed and just plain unhappy lately. Any tips or advice on how to help? I want my happy go lucky Aries back! I hate to see him like this

    1. Hi Cat – This is totally normal. Can’t be happy 100% of the time, especially when your ruling planet is Mars and it’s Rx. Just be patient and let him do his process. He may need some alone time as well. Don’t take it personally if he does. It’s not about you. This too shall pass. Good luck.

  5. Saying that this Mars Retrograde is kicking butt is too mild for what I am experiencing. At work, we are short handed. I make six figures and the responsibilities I have are already very big. However, I just got slammed with more work because two people quit. There is a lot of pressure on the entire team I am on. So then, I was working so much, that I got sick! I do not know if I have COVID but whatever it is, there is one big complication- I cannot sleep for more than 2 hours at a time. I am home for a week by doctor’s orders. I have a very nice man who is interested in me (I mean REALLY interested) and I have been telling him to please give me space. His Mars is in Leo and he is a Libra with a Taurus Rising and Venus in Libra. I am a Leo with a Libra rising with Venus and Mars and Pluto in Virgo in the 10th house. This guy is awesome but OMG, I just cannot start anything in this condition. So I hope the guy holds out because I would let go of him before I get involved right now. I am a mess. So, I prayed a lot and I have basically dropped out of the scene at work untill Oct 2. I have been experiencing feelings and having dreams about the love of my life who was an Aries and passed away a few years ago from an accident. It was such a shock that the grieving process- EVIDENTLY – was stalled.

    My instinct is to REST REST REST and regroup, reset, behind the scenes if possible.

    Please tell me what you would recommend. If I am to make it out of this time at an advantage, I need to know how to navigate it.

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    Cheryl

    1. I have seen a consistent theme of people driving themselves too hard and wrecking their bodies during this Mars retrograde. My dear friend Rachel paraphrased Mars retrograde by saying, sometimes you just have to stop pushing the boulder up the hill, it’s just gonna roll right back. Follow your instinct and REST, claim your space, get a hot bath and some sleep. If you want more specific guidance based on your chart, let’s talk about a reading!

  6. I’ve been lazy. This retrograde is opposing my natal mars in the first house. I texted a friend and was too lazy to type out the entire word “shrimp” and too lazy to go to gym. I want to make shrimp tacos and too lazy to go to the gym! I already have Mars rising in Libra, this is making lazy Libra Mars more lazy! Usually Im out driving everywhere. Leo with Libra rising. I just have to drive everywhere and preferably by myself. Too lazy to think about driving. I’m surprise I can type this. The lazy psychological effect of being lazy is driving me crazy!

      1. LOL!!!! Hey, I forced myself to the gym after I was this website. Once I got to the gym, it was fine. Then I started driving here, driving there, driving everywhere, but in a friggin circle! Now I have everything I want to cook and that’s another task!

  7. Hi Molly!

    This retrograde is seriously kicking my butt! Lately I’ve been getting in petty fights; and projects/trips have been cancelled or quit on, because of impatience and lack of motivation. I have no Aries placements but am a Libra Sun, Taurus Moon and Aquarius Rising with a Sagittarius Mars! For some reason this retrograde has been very heavy and hard to deal with; I need all the advice I can get! What meditation or crystals would help? What do you think will help this retrograde go smoother?

    1. Hi Kathryn – I hear you! It’s kicking our butts here too. My fave meditation is called anapana and is simply focusing your attention on your breath for several minutes. (easier said than done!) Always a good idea when you are feeling frustrated that things aren’t moving the way you think they should. I don’t know much about crystals but working with them sounds like a good way to settle your energy too. My personal philosophy – don’t try to make it anything other than it is. Accept delays and cancellations. They are probably for the best. Accept that this is an extremely stressful time for all, and it drives us all a little crazy. Go with the flow… and that means slowing your roll right now.

  8. Hi Molly! Thanks for this post. I need to launch a new project out in the world in early September. I know I don’t want Mars retrograde baked in to its DNA, as you noted in your first point. If I launch before Sept. 9, will I avoid those stalls? (Even if it’s Sept. 8?) Appreciate your insight!

    1. Hi Allie! Mars will be motionless (stationary) on September 8. So I don’t think it will make that much difference. Sometimes you can “juice up” a launch with other factors like choosing a good Moon sign, but I’m afraid the slowing-down nature of Mars rx is pretty much baked in at this point.

  9. Hi Molly.
    Thank you for this wonderful insight. I have Mars rx (17 degrees) Aries in my natal chart – Gemini Sun, Cancer Rising & Leo Moon. Will this retrograde be more impactful for me? Also, during the retrograde, is certain period I should be extra careful with accidents?
    Thank you and kind regards ❤

    1. Hi Stephanie – sounds like the conditions coming up are set to match the conditions when you were born. Sometimes that can be a benefit, allowing you to roll with it more easily than someone without Mars retrograde. It’s hard to say without your full chart what the specific “caution light” times would be for you.

  10. Hi Molly, First time here and really enjoyed your insightful article, thank you! I was looking to buy a new laptop and wondered if it was safe to do so even though we are now in the Mars retrograde pre-shadow period? Is it just the actual retrograde itself that would be problematic in buying a laptop? Or is it the whole pre and post time too and do I have to wait until January when Mars clears its post-shadow period to buy a new laptop? Not sure if it helps but I’m Libra Sun, Aries Asc, Pisces Moon. My Mars and Venus are in Scorpio in the 7th house.

      1. Thanks for your reply Molly! So does retrograde apply to the pre and post shadow period too, not just the retrograde itself? Also, I may have to take a transatlantic flight due to family reasons within the next month. (Not something I would really want to do during this pandemic but… as with the laptop situation things seem to all happen at once). Anyway, is it OK to travel?

      2. Leeza – I’m not going to say an activity is okay or not okay. You have to do what you have to do. All I can say is there will be less energy and patience to go around, mechanical failures, and of course the hidden dangers of the pandemic, and any of those may complicate your travel plans. The real retrograde doesn’t begin until September, but with Mars slowing down we may feel it coming on early, particularly this time with Mars making some gnarly aspects.

  11. Definitely feeling this, Molly, euughhhghh…as we entered the shadow period the other day, I literally thought what you have written here-” there’s a persistent feeling of spinning your wheels, walking through quicksand, or paddling upstream.” Yup! This transit will square my natal Mars in Cap, I believe, so slowing down is the thing right now, I guess! I have been getting back into yoga and chanting after a too-long hiatus, so I am reaping benefits as I sing along with my sad retrograde song, ha ha! Thanks for your helpful guideposts and voice of reason. : )

  12. Hey Molly, with my Sun in Aries and Neptune in Scorpio, from what you are saying, I will hopefully get thru this rx fairly unscathed but I will follow your advise and not get too cocky with living large. It’s interesting that the election will happen during this time!

    1. Yes that is interesting. I think it will make for a fiery, ugly election season. I love Aries in a birth chart, but in the “sky weather” I think it will play out as a lot of “fire and fury.” Political fighting, in-fighting, and mudslinging. I’m praying for no pointless military action.

  13. Judging by the above information, it seems that the retrograde period is a negative phase, which is aimed at the destruction of our lives. However, I believe that this is not entirely true. I am fond of astrology and often read my horoscope, and I know that we can use this period to our advantage if know how to act in a particular situation. When celestial bodies move in the opposite direction, we need to move with them. Think about some past situations that you would like to change, choose a suitable planet in retrograde light, and correct what you think is broken.

    1. Hey Emma, If you show me where I said Mars rx is “aimed at the destruction of our lives,” please point it out so I can fix it. What I believe I said is that this particular Mars rx will present challenges. And I described those challenges. Other than that we pretty much agree. Thanks for visiting. Be well!

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