As he does once every two years, on April 17, 2016 transiting Mars turned retrograde. He will turn direct again on June 30, 2016, just as our attention begins to focus on the season of Summer in the northern hemisphere.
Mars will turn retrograde at 9 Sagittarius and move backward through the zodiac until he reaches 23 Scorpio. From there, he will turn direct and again move forward through the zodiac for about two years until his next retrograde cycle.
Mars rules the first house of the zodiac and his energy is action oriented: the actions we take in life to fulfill our most basic needs and desires. Mars is a very ME oriented energy. Mars does not contemplate his actions prior to taking action. He simply acts out and, when his actions do not lead to his desires being fulfilled, he gets angry. Well, that's a summary of Mars.
But, as you see in the photo of a statue of Mars from the Louvre in Paris. We see Noble Mars, not taking action, protecting a child and contemplating next steps. This is not a typical representation of Mars, but one that represents the positive expression of Mars.
This 73 day retrograde period provides a time to consider alternative ways of taking action in the world so that your actions are more effective and considerate of the needs of others.
Additionally, Mars is action. Karma literally means action. We create karma through our actions and reflecting upon our karmic accounts is a recommended activity during this time.
Mars turns retrograde in the sign of Sagittarius and will turn direct again in the sign of Scorpio. So, we need to explore the energies of this time through the lens of both signs. Let's start by looking at the energies associated with Mars in Sagittarius.
Mars in Sagittarius
With Mars in Sagittarius, the vision of Sagittarius that instructs our personal philosophy of life is embraced by Mars with single-minded certainty. This means that, by nature, Mars in Sagittarius is absolutely certain that he knows the truth - about everything!
So what happens to that certainty about life when Mars turns retrograde in Sagittarius? Mars is not a particularly thoughtful character and, when Mars thinks he has found the truth, the discussion is over! However, when Mars turns retrograde, he might discover that he is open to re-starting the discussion.
A negative expression of Mars in Sagittarius
is the degree to which our actions are ineffective because
we are unwilling to consider the perspective of others.
Let's take a simple example of living in a city that is positioned between the shore of a lake on one side, but that has a mountain on the other. If you are looking from the city to the water, you might be very certain that this is a city on the water. From your point of view, there is no denying what is obviously true. The city is definitely on the shore of the lake. When Mars in Sagittarius stops to think he might say, "Only a fool would deny that this is a city on a lake".
However, if another individual is standing at a different spot in the city, they might see the city as being a mountain resort. From their point of view, this is also true. Mars, particularly in Sagittarius, has the tendency to only see things from one perspective.
During this transit, you might be more aware of situations where your point of view or approach is tested for flexibility. Most of you reading this article consider your actions before taking them so how might this transit relate to you? An example might be working on a committee when a small confrontation arises related to 'the right way' of doing something that zaps your energy. Or, as a considerate person, while Mars is an external energy, you might be more internally focused and you may be blocked from opening a new door in life because you are too rigidly focused on the way you have always done something.
Considering an alternative perspective, can free up your energy to take action in a new and more meaningful way. If a situation occurs, here
are some questions to ponder during this retrograde period:
- Do I consider the point of view of others?
- Do I recognize that each person has feelings?
- Do I quickly dismiss those who do not believe the same things as me?
- When I take action, am I too forceful?
- In relationships, am I able to value others and their point of view?
- Am I able to discuss alternative points of view without getting angry?
- Would my actions be more effective if I took the perspective of others into account?
- When is it important to stick to my way of doing something and when is it not?
- Related to my karma, would my personal philosophy be best served by not taking action and not allowing my current thought to become a karmic action or karmic speech?
Mars - Anger is a Key Indicator
For Mars, fulfilling desires is the goal and action is the tool he employs to fulfill those desires. Contemplation and forethought do not enter the equation. When Mars is unable to fulfill his desires, Mars gets angry. Anger is one of the negative expressions of Mars.
Normally, when Mars gets angry, he doesn't think about it, he simply expresses his anger. However, when Mars is Retrograde, he is able to turn inward and reconsider his actions to find the source of his anger, which is a pre-requisite for gaining the self-awareness that Mars normally lacks.
Mars Retrograde is the perfect time for you to reconsider how you are using your energy and, if anger arises, that is an indicator that something is amiss.
When Mars is projecting his energies effectively,
he accomplishes his tasks
without energizing conflict with others or within himself.
Mars in Scorpio
In myth, Mars is the son of Jupiter, and therefore, the nephew of Jupiter's brother, Pluto. While Pluto is the ruler of Scorpio in modern astrology, in traditional astrology, Scorpio was ruled by Mars. You could say that Mars is Pluto's favorite nephew. The connection between Mars and Pluto is the connection to desires. In Scorpio, our desires are connected to our unconscious emotional patterns that lie hidden in the depths of the land of Hades - the land of Pluto.
When Mars moves from Sagittarius into Scorpio on May 27, 2016, he is returning to the realm of his favorite uncle Pluto. As he journeys back into Scorpio, he is revisiting the land of our unconscious habit patterns. For Mars in Scorpio, it is an instinctual habit to take on the role of a protector. But what is Mars protecting us from?
He is protecting us from the memories that exist in the deepest grooves of the unconscious.
From the perspective of the yogis of India, these grooves are called samskaras. Because they are in Scorpio's dark realm of the unconscious, we are not consciously aware of the memories or the actions we take in response.
However, when retrograde Mars is revisiting Scorpio, the direction of his energy is inward. As a result, this is a time when we can become aware of our unconscious patterns of acting that we cannot observe when the planet is moving in its normal direction.
This is an excellent time to form new habits related to taking action so that our actions are based on conscious choice, where we are choosing love, and not based on protection or defense.
We live skillfully when we chose our actions, when we perform our action with full attention and when we perform our actions with love.
We live in the grip of unconscious patterns, when our actions are not consciously chosen by us. When this happens, we can experience fear and anxiety. This might also be expressed in the form of self-destructive actions we take.
If unconscious ways of acting are highlighted in one way or another during this transit, here are some great considerations:
- Do I take conscious action?
- Do I unconsciously take action to protect myself?
- If my deepest desires are not fulfilled, do I get angry?
- If my desires are fulfilled, am I satisfied?
- Are my desires aligned with the needs and love of my soul?
- When I act habitually, does this create fear in my world?
- In my karmic account, am I able to reduce the impact of negative karmas by taking no action, by giving no thought to the unconscious patterns that do not serve love and light in order to reduce their impact?
Mars & Karma Are Both Action
A spiritual seeker is aware of their karma. Karma is action. Mars is action.
During Mars Retrograde, every two
years, it can
o be beneficial to consider that actions you take in karmic terms, which is all related to choice making and being the architect of your life:
When a desire arises or an unconscious habit,
we get to make a choice about
how or if we will act on that habit or desire.
When a thought arises,
we get to make a choice whether
we will energize that thought by acting or speaking (or not)
if it does not serve love and light.
When an unconscious impression expresses itself,
can we recognize that it is influencing our actions and
reduce its influence by practicing non-attachment.