Note: Planets are said to be “retrograde” when they appear to move backwards from our perspective on Earth. They are not actually moving backwards, or “the wrong way” as a friend of mine likes to say. And there is nothing “wrong” about retrogrades – it’s a normal planetary cycle. Retrograde periods help us to reassess and revisit areas of life that require more attention before we can move on with our lives, but for this reason they can be somewhat frustrating and demand attention.
Although Mars didn’t actually turn retrograde until January, its motion began to slow down in December 2011 marking the actual beginning of the retrograde period. From my observations and from a practical standpoint, retrogrades begin when the planetary movement slows down in anticipation of the retrograde turn, and end after the planet has turned direct and picks up steam again.
In my own world this has been a particularly problematic time, especially with both Mercury and Mars retrograde at the same time. While Mercury retrograde periods are rather frequent — usually we have four three-week periods in a year — Mars retro periods only occur every couple of years.
Managing these retrograde periods is rather like riding on a boat in choppy waters. If you allow your body to move with the waves you tend not to get seasick, but if you resist the movement of the water you can become very sick indeed. And even the most experienced of sailors can experience motion sickness if the rough waters continue for too long a period of time, and this is what many of us have experienced.
The stationary period of the Mars cycle begins April 13th and Mars turns direct on April 15th around 1 am EDT/4 am GMT. While Mars is stationary over the next few days there could be a big release of any pent-up energy that has been building over the retrograde period. I have read articles that suggest that any action is inadvisable during the Mars retro period, and in fact received personal advice to that effect from my dear friend Dharmaruci regarding my blog struggle. I would argue that this really depends upon the nature of Mars in your own chart and how it is affected by the retro Mars. For me, with Mars in Capricorn, the Mars station is exactly trine my own Mars and fueling my desire for action in a way that cannot be denied.
Mars by its very nature signifies a force that demands expression. I have often written about “Mars problems” that create health issues when the aggressive force of Mars is denied expression and creates energetic blocks in the body. Mars retrograde periods make the outer expression of that force more difficult but that doesn’t mean it’s not necessary. Any force that has been withheld during the retro period is likely to burst forth with Mars turning direct so I advise physical activity during this time so that the energy of Mars can find a more balanced expression as the direct turn commences.
Mars has been opposite Neptune for the past week or so and because Neptune tends to obfuscate and cloud the directness of Martian expression things may still appear a bit fuzzy. It will be another week or so before the Neptunian misty cloud lifts and during that time our desires and intentions may still be unclear. This is a good time to wait before initiating action, but meanwhile prepare and plan in good Mars in Virgo fashion. Remember Pluto has just turned retrograde so it will be the smaller things that make the difference!