Every couple of years Mars turns retrograde for approximately two and a half months. The last time Mars went retrograde was from December 20, 2009 to March 10, 2010 in the sign of Leo. This time the retrograde will occur in Virgo from January 23rd to April 13th.
There are many interpretations of this astrological signature. Keeping it simple however, requires only that we look to the archetypes of Mars and Virgo to further understand the energy and influence of this celestial event.
Virgo is the sign associated with work, health and service. This sign typically operates through crises that lead to intense self-analysis in order to understand what needs to be changed or adjusted to resolve the perpetual or cyclic nature of the crises. Once the necessary adjustments have been made, self-improvement occurs.
Unfortunately, Virgo tends to focus disproportionately on what’s wrong instead of what’s right. This negativity often devolves into judgment and criticism and the need to ‘atone’ for past mistakes. A feeling of ‘not being good enough’ can lead to self-sabotaging behaviors and can even become the causative factor for illness. Unconsciously, Virgos often use crises to distract themselves from themselves! They’re so busy putting out fires that they never get around to addressing their own personal ‘stuff.’ Another classic Virgo tactic used to avoid doing necessary self-improvement work is becoming a workaholic. There’s never enough time to do what needs to be done to take care of the self.
From a total zodiacal perspective, Virgo is a transitional archetype. It is the last sign associated with development of the individual self (Aries through Virgo) before we experience the need to progressively socialize and integrate into the whole of society with others as an equal (Libra through Pisces).
Following Leo, the sign associated with the full development of the individual ego-centric identity and the need to creatively express that unique identity, Virgo provides a necessary deflation of the ego that prepares us for the task of entering into relationships with others on an equal basis. Virgo teaches humility which is often learned through a process of humiliation that serves to not only deflate the ego, but also to realign the ego-centric identity with its own Higher Self or Divine Will.
Mars is considered by Astrologers to be the ‘lower octave’ of Pluto and therefore directly associated with the Soul (Pluto). Pluto operates at an unconscious level and is the source of the Soul’s evolutionary growth intentions in each lifetime. For most of us, we can only come to consciously know our Soul’s intentions through Mars. This is because Mars is the principle of instinctive action and what it instinctively acts out or acts upon are the desires for growth that emanate from the Soul. So through Mars, we act on our desires and through this process, become the person our Soul intends us to become.
Because Mars always acts instinctively to pursue desires, it typically will not brook any interference in those pursuits. When it meets with such interference or obstruction, anger usually results. This is why Aries/Mars individuals require so much personal freedom. Adequate freedom allows them to instinctively pursue their desires in an unfettered way.
Now imagine the planet of instinctive action, which naturally becomes angry whenever its actions are interrupted or interfered with in any way, having to STOP, turn around, and begin to move BACKWARD through the zodiac! Suffice it to say, retrograde movement does not make Mars happy. What retrograde movement of Mars does accomplish however is a slowing-down of the instinctive impulse to act so that thorough and thoughtful review of desired actions can take place. Mars retrograde facilitates the necessary planning, analysis and preparation that results in greater success once actions are taken.
So in a nutshell, this upcoming Mars retrograde through Virgo will likely bring crises, delays, obstacles and a general thwarting of actions and initiatives for the purpose of necessary review. Taking the time to thoroughly analyze problems and goals will allow for crucial changes and adjustments to be made that will have a positive effect on the outcome of actions that are ultimately taken.
So get ready for review time! The best use of this Mars retrograde is to become more aware of the nature of both desires and crises in your life. Perhaps you’ll notice a pattern in the kinds of problems you typically experience. Or perhaps you’ll discover the extraordinary effectiveness that crises have had in your life relative to keeping you from doing what you know you should and could do for your own health and well-being.
Be prepared to positively manage your frustration when setbacks occur. Consider whatever obstacles do show up to actually be your allies. Accept the nature and timing of those obstacles as totally right and proper. In fact, those obstacles will no doubt be the perfect facilitators of the need to rethink or review your plans. Solicit and surrender to the guidance and direction of your Higher Self through prayer and meditation.
Virgo’s opposite sign is Pisces. Opposite signs always point the way forward for evolutionary growth. Pisces is the sign associated with spirituality and the desire to reunite with the source of our creation. The spiritualization process is often facilitated by disillusionment or disappointments that reveal that what we thought had meaning and would provide happiness or ultimate fulfillment isn’t actually capable of doing so. Through dissolving the meaning we falsely assign to desired people, places and things, Pisces serves to realign us with reality.
Used unwisely, Pisces can also provide an escape hatch for those not yet ready or willing to deal with reality or to see their life circumstances clearly. We all need to ‘let our hair down’ occasionally. But substance abuse and addiction can occur when escape becomes the preferred way of coping with disappointing realities. On the upside, Pisces can provide the inspiration to ‘reimagine’ problems and opportunities.
Neptune rules Pisces and will enter Pisces for the next fourteen years on February 3rd in the midst of the Mars retrograde period. When the Mars retrograde period ends on April 13th, Mars will be within just a degree of an exact opposition to Neptune. This connection is typically associated with severe disillusionment and even deception so be especially mindful of the timely need to face realities squarely and to see things and people clearly as this Mars retrograde comes to an end. Finding the courage to do so will be the factor/choice that allows you to move forward, slowly but successfully, once this retrograde period comes to an end.
Virgo and Pisces natives (and to a lesser degree Gemini and Sagittarius) will feel the influence of this Mars retrograde the most. Aries and Scorpio natives will also be significantly affected since these two signs are ruled by Mars. However, this retrograde will have some effect on nearly everyone since we all have Virgo somewhere in our chart. Look to the houses where Virgo and Aries and Scorpio are on the cusps (Mars rules Aries and co-rules Scorpio) for clues about what areas of your life are due for an in-depth review during this retrograde.
Take ‘time outs’ to deeply ponder what’s not working in your life especially if it involves your everyday work routine or health. If a health issue does need attention, consider the usefulness of natural remedies (Virgo). Take steps now to improve nutrition and to ensure that you get plenty of rest. And if diagnoses are confusing or uncertain (Pisces) don’t hesitate to get a second opinion especially if surgery is recommended. Pets may also need extra attention during this retrograde period since Virgo rules them too. Be extra kind and forgiving with everyone especially yourself. And most importantly, resolve to make necessary changes and adjustments one step at a time as this strategy is most effective in overcoming Virgo’s ‘perfection paralysis.’
Every outer planetary retrograde reaches its halfway point when it opposes the Sun. This Mars retrograde will be at its halfway point on March 4th. The ‘review’ process encouraged by this Mars retrograde period will be the most intense during its first half from January 23rd to March 4th. From March 4th to April 13th increasing energy and urgency to move forward and implement plans will begin to unfold. If possible, it will be best to delay the beginning of any big new project or initiative until mid-April when the retrograde is complete. But if you must begin something sooner, at least be aware of the likelihood of setbacks occurring that will probably prove frustrating, albeit necessary for ultimate success.
Above all else, use this retrograde period to generally SLOW DOWN! Turn the focus of your attention inward. The answers and insights you need now to make positive and necessary changes that can result in real evolutionary Soul growth in your life will be found by looking deeply inside. And don’t forget to ask for help from whatever source of higher guidance you believe in. The highest potential and best use of this Mars retrograde can result in tremendous personal healing, for individuals, and for our planet.