Mars is the part of you that is passionate. Mars' placement in our chart can indicate what types of things turn us on: sexually and in other ways. When our inner spark is ignited, we tend to take action. That is why our Mars also reveals how we go after our desires.
Our Mars placement also describes how we experience – and display – anger. Our anger can be healthy, in that it informs us when a person or situation has crossed a personal boundary. We get angry when someone treats us badly, and that lets us know we need to fight back or protect ourselves. But anger can also be destructive. When we push it down and internalize it, it can either get displaced or wreak havoc within our own psyches. Or when we too easily fly off the handle, our anger can do damage to others emotionally and physically. Both possibilities are available to any of us, and we must choose how to deal with our anger and our passion. Carefully.
This Sunday, Mars will station retrograde, where it appears to move backward until June 29th. You have likely heard of Mercury retrograde, but the retrograde of Mars is a different animal. It happens every two years or so, as opposed to Mercury’s three times per year. And its effects last longer: roughly two months, plus a shadow period before and after. The span of influence for this Mars retrograde began February 17th when it entered the pre-shadow, and reaches to the post-shadow ending August 22nd. With transiting Mars in the spotlight for this six-month period, our desires, passions, and yes, our anger, are all at center stage. With Mars retrograde, we are asked to do some introspection regarding our relationship to Mars energy.
Mars spends the first part of its retrograde in Sagittarius (April 17th – May 27th). Sagittarius is a sign of exploration and adventure. When we are engaged with Sagittarius energy, we have a sense of our lives being a story unfolding. A Quest. With Mars spending an extra-long time in this sign, we may be itching for escape, ready to throw off the shackles of the routines of our lives to search out any adventure. But a retrograde Mars here points to the possibility of the shadow expression of Sagittarius: we may want to just escape. Or, we might skip along the surface of an issue that we really should be examining in more detail. The retrograde indicates a need to do some challenging inner work before making bold moves in our lives. Instead of getting distracted by what action to take next, we are called to consider first whether that action is in alignment with the story we are trying to live. Are these actions leading us forward on our quest? Or are they leading nowhere? Now is the time to check in regarding what things in your life support you on your path, and which do not.
Mars then spends the duration of its retrograde in Scorpio (May 27th – June 29th). This is a sign ruled by Mars, and co-ruled by Pluto. Here we encounter the possibility of suppressed anger coming up to be reckoned with. There may be old wounds and resentments that need attention before they become debilitating. Resentments in particular can hold us back from truly connecting within our closest relationships. Accumulated resentments also keep us from being passionately engaged with life. Ruminating keeps us stuck in the past, unable to enjoy the present. If we are holding a resentment toward someone, it’s time to examine the roots of it. Then, ask the hard question: “What is my part in this?” Doing this work proactively can keep us from inappropriate displays of anger. If you need to confront the issue with the other person involved, it is best to wait until after Mars goes direct. By that time, you will have gained perspective and be able to communicate your needs and desires more clearly.
This can all sound pretty intense – and intensity is what Mars does best (especially when it’s in Scorpio!) While this period may not be the most happy-go-lucky time, it is a good time to do some deep inner work and clean up our side of the street. It’s also a good time to realign with the idea of our life as a story we are living. What story do you want to live? It’s time to re-strategize the steps that will take you forward.