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MARS RETROGRADE 6/27/2018 - 8/28/2018: Careful, Thoughtful Action


Mars Retrogrades are the rarest retrogrades that occur in the heavens, happening approximately once every two years. The qualities that immediately come to mind when one thinks of Mars are action, competition, and aggression, and indeed, Mars in a natal horoscope represents how and under what circumstances action is taken to get what is desired. The root Mars signification, however, is likely that of division and the quest for completion. Indeed, to want or desire something, one must see the self as incomplete without having what is desired. It is this vision of two separate beings or things coming together to make a whole that fires up the Mars in each of us, inspiring various actions. Mars struggles to gain and to achieve, and the essence of Mars lies in the struggle or journey itself, not necessarily the outcome. Mars types are therefore usually the happiest when they are “fighting” for something.

All retrogrades tend to bring out the extremes of either a planet’s significations or its signification opposites, and sometimes both, one after the other. For Mars, this means that his reflection on Earth becomes more anxious to make something happen, leading to bigger, bolder action, or increased anger, frustration, and even desperation when a path to closure within the desired timeframe cannot be seen or does not exist. The temptation rises to break the rules to get what one wants, or to let off steam in an inappropriate way. Then, when tempers flare, people go to extremes they wouldn’t normally contemplate, and negative consequences result, we are reminded of the need for temperance, and the focus of action (Mars) then moves to restoring peace and balance. There can also be a suppression of one’s aggression or passion that leads a person to lose control or become the target of someone else who is actively expressing their Mars.

Aquarius is one of the least frequent signs for a Mars retrograde to occur in. The last Mars retrograde in Aquarius happened in July 1971 and ended in the following September, going from 21 to 11 Degrees Aquarius. Significantly, Operation Demetrius began during this retrograde, which introduced policies of internment (imprisonment without trial) and torture during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. This is turn led to an increase in violence and a backlash of riots in which 20 people died.1 Note the significations of rebellion (Mars, Aquarius), violation (Mars) of human rights (Aquarius), and extreme violence (Mars retrograde). The Apollo 15 mission to the Moon occurred within this retrograde as well, which is a literal example of the extreme firepower (rocketing to the Moon) that is symbolized by retrograde Mars.2

Mars and Aquarius, like many combinations in astrology, share affinity as well as discord. The planet Mars and the sign of Aquarius are both ok with being rebellious and questioning authority and established societal/mechanical systems. Aquarius seeks to better the state of human affairs by challenging and rearranging the conventional ways of doing things. For Mars, anything that gets the job done as quickly and effectively as possible – anything that brings the spoils home – will work just fine, and this includes taking a new or different path if there’s a good chance it will work better.

What Mars and Aquarius do not necessarily share is a concern for human rights and well being. Where Aquarius wants to help the whole of humanity and aid the evolution of the human family, Mars wants to help the individual self, and may see some people only as obstacles or a means to an end. Therefore, one piece of work we have in store for us during the retrograde will center around how we deal with others personally and professionally and whether we are giving ourselves and/or other people the proper amount of respect and consideration. Is it possible for you to provide the space and resources to help others to develop and access their talents in new or better ways? Can you do this for yourself? Are you consciously or unconsciously avoiding considering adjustments to either your everyday activities or a special project because it would be uncomfortable or otherwise burdensome to try a change?

Another thing that Mars and Aquarius do not both have is patience. Mars wants what he wants as quickly as possible, while Aquarius is willing to experiment, tinker, and ask lots of questions to get the best results possible. There will be an opportunity with this retrograde to temper the desire for instant gratification and work towards completion of professional or artistic endeavors that are not focused only on getting to a single goalpost. We can also set the stage for creating a reciprocity with others that allows everyone to grow, learn, and evolve together, exchanging ideas and sharing progress in a spirit of cooperation rather than competition.

What else can we expect with this retrograde? Mars begins retrograde motion at 9 degrees 13 minutes Aquarius and goes direct again at 28 degrees 37 minutes Capricorn. Note that Mars stations to go retrograde at the degree at which the recent opposition with Venus occurred, lingering there for quite awhile. This sets the tone for the whole retrograde period with a focus on relationships and the balance we strike between being genuine and putting on a façade or mask when dealing with others. We may be presented with situations that tempt us to present ourselves in an artificial or misleading way. We may also have to look at obsessive tendencies and how they may be causing us to put too much energy in some places and not enough energy in others. We may also find ourselves attracted to people that we wouldn’t normally think we’d be compatible with, which may or may not serve us. Mars will trine Venus on 8/7/2018 and will square Venus after the retrograde on 9/8/2018; both dates will be excellent times to observe and consciously address these themes.

Note also that Mars will square Uranus on 8/1/2018 (during the retrograde) and then also on 9/18/2018 (after the retrograde but during the time that it is moving back over the retrograde degrees). Impatience and frustration may be stronger than normal during these times, which can make one prone to excessive anger or accidents. Be careful to stay focused when driving or performing other tasks that require a clear mind. Also, make a conscious effort to remain calm and attentive. Positively, we can come up with solutions to problems that are off the beaten track more easily during these transits. Such opportunities represent the best of what this retrograde has to offer, so make the most of them!



1) Operation Demetrius. Last Edited 21 June 2018, at 01:39 UTC. In Wikipedia. Retrieved June 23, 2018, from

2) Apollo 15. Last Edited 6 June 2018, at 22:17 UTC. In Wikipedia. Retrieved June 23, 2018, from