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 2007
On November 15, 2007, Mars reaches his retrograde station, in preparation for a period of retrograde motion in Cancer and then in Gemini that will last until January 30th, 2008. In addition, the effects of the retrograde period will continue to be felt until he returns in direct motion on April 4th, 2008 to the degree where he first made his station (12° Cancer 27'). The first beginnings of the effect take place from October 20, as Mars begins to slow, so prepare for issues to cloud, especially if you have strong Cardinal Sign placements in your chart. The Cardinal Signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.
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 2007).
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 a rule, retrograde planets presage a period of seemingly inevitable or fated events, which relate to their sphere of influence. The retrograde phase is when the planet concerned pushes itself into our consciousness, overshadowing the energies of the other planets and so affecting our personalities (each planet symbolizes and affects specific parts of our makeup). It presents 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 emotional, home-oriented Cancer presents quite different sets of circumstances from those generated when he retrogrades into gossipy, intellectual Gemini.
The retrograde period is best seen as a cycle, beginning when Mars begins to slow to a halt before travelling backwards through the zodiac and ending when he returns to the point where he first paused. However, during the cycle, the planetary energy is most powerful – and more likely to generate critical events of universal importance – when Mars makes a station, appearing motionless in the sky. These stationary periods occur at the beginning of the cycle (when Mars first halts as he prepares to move backwards) and midway through the cycle when Mars slows to a stop before moving forward again. It is worth noting that retrograde periods only occur when Mars is physically closest to the Earth, glowing balefully in the sky! With Mars so close, no wonder we are so affected.
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, your will to achieve. Mars fires your emotions and energizes your passions, 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, anger, rage, 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; sexual issues and relationship conflicts. Major rethinks and reorientation of current projects are also often required.
Mars Retrograde in Cancer
When Mars is retrograde, everyone's thought patterns are more introspective and we tend to think about ways of acting on issues and concerns which relate to the sign involved. With Mars retrograde in Cancer, people with Sun or Moon in Cancer, or Cancer 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. Since Cancer is a Cardinal Sign, the other Cardinal Signs, Libra, Capricorn and Aries, will also feel the effects most keenly.
Mars retro in Cancer generates a confused emotional state, placing those most affected at the mercy of the environment. Enthusiasm and inspiration seem muted, as anxieties develop around family issues, urging you to protect all things that make for security, comfort and luxury. Because Mars in Cancer normally generates a bold, independent and fearless nature, during the retrograde phase when nature is turned upon its head we should restrain the urge to exercise undue or tyrannical authority over everything and everybody within the home. Sexual desire is activated and sexual action intensified with passion is often associated with the urge to violence and control. Political leaders should also avoid becoming unduly concerned with homeland security and avoid imposing needless restrictions. This position makes the temper rather uncertain and there is a tendency for people to get restless, being inclined to change occupations.
Beware domestic troubles at home, frequent if not violent scenes and quarrels, child and spouse abuse, etc. It also indicates accidents by fire in the home due to carelessness or lack of past preparation. The danger from fire is further stimulated by the fact that Mars turns retro as he applies to the conjunction with the brilliant fixed star Sirius, the Dog Star, the brightest star in the night sky. Sirius is traditionally described as exhibiting the qualities of both Mars and Jupiter; among other things it awakens the jovian qualities of ambition, pride, fame, leadership, wealth and emotionality, but is also noted for the martial qualities of fires, drought, and danger through impetuosity. Although Mars does not turn in exact conjunction with Sirius, it happens well within the allowable orb. Sirius is located at a few minutes past 14° of Cancer, whilst Mars turns retro in the middle of the thirteenth degree, preventing the culmination of the aspect till next year. Mars will therefore not reach the partile (exact) conjunction with Sirius until April 9, 2008, after the New Moon in Aries (a Mars-ruled sign) so these characteristics are likely to be extended until Mars leaves Cancer on the 9th of May. Read more about the Fixed Stars.
I might add that indigestion from eating foods that are too spicy is a common problem, as Cancer rules the stomach and Mars rules all hot things, not just fires! While Mars is retrograde, everyone should be sure to drink adequate amounts of water (6-8 glasses daily) and a glass prior to mealtime. This will offset acid indigestion and reduce the tendency to overeat. Potassium iodide drops taken periodically will fight the liability to stomach infection from eating infected meats, chicken, eggs, etc. Mars rules acute and inflammatory infections, too.
These are the main underlying effects of Mars being retrograde in Cancer, which remains a factor throughout the forecast period. However, on New Year's Eve 2007 at 4.01 pm GMT (16:01 hrs UT) Mars cruises back into Gemini, opposing Pluto in the last degree of Sagittarius, preparing for his long march through Capricorn, which begins on January 26 (Australia Day, the biggest celebration of the year in the land of Oz). Read on for more on the Gemini experience of Mars retrograde.
Mars Retrograde in Gemini
At 16:01 hrs UT on December 31, 2007, Mars steps back into Gemini, the sign of the Twins. Mars retro in Gemini suggests intellectual conflict and dissension, as the intellect is stimulated and opinions will be aired, no matter what the cost. Mechanical and engineering projects are likely to suffer obstacles, particularly through personality conflict and misconstrued communication. Mars retro in Gemini awakens a cynical, caustic and critical tendency that makes communication more difficult. Beware of vacillation and unreliability, trouble with brothers, sisters and neighbours, and a marked liability to accidents when travelling short distances. Hospitals be ready for an influx of fractures and wounds to the arms, hands and shoulders; along with widespread nervousness and irritability. One ideal way of reducing the tension would be to have a good massage!
The opposition between Mars and Jupiter, then Mars and Pluto has been discussed elsewhere (see Jupiter Enters Capricorn on this site) as has the effect of Mars retro on each sign (see Saturn Enters Virgo also on this site) but I should give fair warning that this is a stressful energy that affects this period (between September 17 2007 and the end of February 2008 to one degree or another). Here's what I said in the Jupiter Enters Capricorn article:
"A debilitated Mars retrograde in Cancer (the sign of his Fall) opposes Jupiter in the second degree of Capricorn on Boxing Day [Dec 26, 2007], the Feast of Stephen, further inflaming the issues. Under this influence actions are likely to go too fast and too far. It is in our best interests to remember that too much of a good thing is sometimes altogether too much. Physical efforts will be either paralyzed by laziness and unwise actions, or proceed with such extreme force as to invite dangerous consequences. Spirituality can turn into fanaticism, and intellectuality can become arrogant displays of superiority.
Let's hope our political leaders save their grandstanding and bravado for another time, or at least until they see which way the wind blows, as Mars then opposes Pluto during the first week of January 2008 (partile Jan. 2). Opposing forces during this period have a paralyzing effect and a contest of wills is to be avoided at all costs right up to when this aspect is released in March 2008. Efforts to gain control may well produce the opposite effect. This is not the time to change or interfere with the status quo. Deliberately engaging the hostility of another will arouse a formidable opponent one might not otherwise have had to confront. Any form of confrontation, whether overt or covert is likely to blow up in the faces of the combatants, whether they expect it or not. This said, Pluto's move to Capricorn at the end of January 2008 will cement the shift into a new collective awareness that will be maintained to one degree or another until Pluto enters Aquarius in March 2023. A long-term shift indeed!"
Let's also hope that typically aggressive tendencies, mob violence and warfare does not seize the world in a deathly grip during this phase.
Mars turns direct again at 24°05' Gemini on January 30th, returning to Cancer on March 4th. We should bear in mind that Mercury turns retrograde on January 28th, adding to the inevitable confusion.