The author of this article, Rob Tillett, has been an astrologer for more than three decades. A poet, musician, magician, healer, dramatist and composer, he is the editor and publisher of Astrology on the Web and has written many of the articles on this website.
Rob lives in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, on the east coast of Australia.
|Mars Retrograde 2003
|10 Pisces 08
Jul. 29, 2003
|00 Pisces 07
Sep. 26, 2003
|10 Pisces 08
Nov. 8, 2003
|Previous Period of Mars Retrograde
|29 Sag. 02
May 11, 2001
|15 Sag. 08
Jul. 18, 2001
|29 Sag. 02
Sep. 6, 2001
|Next Period of Mars Retrograde
|23 Taurus 22
Oct. 01, 2005
|08 Taurus 14
Dec. 09, 2005
|23 Taurus 22
Feb. 4, 2006
Rules: Aries & Scorpio
Detriment: Libra & Taurus
- Exalted Degree: 28 Capricorn
- Planetary Node: 19°21' Taurus
On July 29, 2003, Mars reaches his retrograde station, in preparation for a period of retrograde motion which will last until September 26th. On top of that, the effects of the retrograde period will continue to be felt until he returns in direct motion on November 8 to the degree where he first made his station (10° Pisces 08').
Mars turns retrograde only once every two years and two months, but the effects of each period differ, according to the sign in which it happens (see box for Mars Retrograde 2003).
A planet is described as retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards through the zodiac. This traditional concept arises in the illusory planetary motion created by the orbital rotation of the earth, with relation to other planets in our solar system.
Planets are never actually retrograde or stationary, they just seem that way, due to this illusion. Retrograde periods, although often problematic for us earthlings, are not particularly uncommon. Each planet retrogrades, except the Sun and Moon.
As it happens, this occasion of Mars retro coincides with Mars at perihelion and Earth at aphelion, placing the two planets closer together than they have ever been in human history. This partly accounts for the evils of current events. More on the science of this.
As a rule, retrograde planets presage a period of seemingly inevitable or fated events, which relate to their sphere of influence. They present us with a series of events over which we seem to have little or no control, relating especially to the sign in which the retrogradation occurs. For example, Mars retrograde in Aries presents quite different sets of circumstances from those generated when he retrogrades into Pisces.
A retrograde period is best seen as a cycle, beginning when the planet begins to slow to a halt before travelling backwards through the zodiac and ending when the planet returns to the point where it first paused. However, during the cycle, the planet's energy is most powerful (and more likely to generate critical events of universal importance) when the planet makes a station, appearing motionless in the sky. These stationary periods occur at the beginning of the cycle (when the planet first halts as it prepares to move backwards) and midway through the cycle when the retrograde planet slows to a stop before moving forward again.
What does Mars affect?
In general, Mars, the god of warriors, rules physical energy and efforts. His placement in your chart expresses the strength and direction of the physical force that drives your ego. Mars fires your emotions, but also powers your mental endeavours and communicative skills.
Mars describes male relationships and associations, risk-taking inclinations, and the physical challenges you are likely to encounter. Well-placed, Mars endows powerful energy and an indomitable will to succeed, but when poorly placed can mean accidents, injuries, warfare or other forms of violence, according to the inclinations of the sign and house concerned.
Mars retrograde gives rise to irrational action; introspection; depression and self-assessment; relationship conflicts; major rethinks and reorientation of current projects are also often required.
When Mars is retrograde, everyone's thought patterns are more introspective and we tend to think about issues and concerns which relate to the sign involved. With Mars retrograde in Pisces, people with Sun in Pisces, or Pisces rising, will be especially prone to such introspection. There is little choice but to reconsider personal views and opinions about life, for it presents an opportunity to gain insight into unconscious motivations.
Mars retro in Pisces generates a confused emotional state, placing those most affected at the mercy of the environment. Enthusiasm and inspiration seem muted. Spurred on by the excitement of a given moment, the urge to act quickly and decisively must be controlled, for Mars retrograde adds an element of fate to the mix, which must be factored in.
Our energy is highly influenced by our emotional state and, too often, at the mercy of the environment in which we operate. Although this is a time when you can easily be inspired as well as inspiring, your creative energies may be blocked by circumstances beyond your conscious control.
The problem is that you find it difficult under this influence to accomplish things due to laziness, or lack of confidence to act. As a result, you can waste your talents and skills for want of a good push to get started. Control the urge to engage in high-risk activities.
For more information on Mars and the effects of its proximity as the Planet of War approaches perehelion, read A Close Call from Planet Mars, by Richard Giles. For a deeper look at the nature of Mars and its cycles, check out Mars, the Red Orb, by Malvin Artley.