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The Mars Principle, turned inward or “Where has my “get-up-and-go” gone?”

Has your energy and forward motion run into a big fat stop sign?

Thank the cosmic energy of Mars, who turned retrograde on June 26, 2018 and will stay in apparent reverse motion until August 27. Unlike Mercury’s 3 times a year/3 weeks at a time retrograde cycle, Mars only goes retro once every 2+ years – but he does so for months! And you are likely to feel some of the effects. Here we will take a look at what Mars represents for us and share some ideas for making the best use of Mars retrograde. (photo supplied by

Mars is the action principle. Our will. Our courage. Our motivation. It is the engine that drives us toward our potential (as we understand it). Mars is also our assertiveness (or aggressiveness), our competitive nature, our desire to win, and our tendency to turn actions and goals into contests with winners and losers. Mars is yang energy, masculine in polarity, active, focused, single-minded, and self-centered. Mars represents how we go after what we want. It is our ability to stand strong in who we are, in the face of pressure to change. The Mars principle is about ego survival: how we respond to perceived threats; our fight or flight instinct.

As astrologer Kevin Burk says, “Mars is the energy that makes it possible for us to achieve our goals and to express and assert our individuality.” You can’t have a successful business (or life, really) without developing and accessing Mars’ gifts. But Mars is the source of movement, not the direction. “Mars is the engine in our car, and it doesn’t really care who is driving” – the ego or the Big “S” Self.”


Mars must act. Mars is not happy unless we are doing something. If you don’t give Mars expression, if you don’t productively channel this energy output, the results are frustration, resentment, impotent anger, needless fights, accidents, and even illness involving fever and infection.

When Mars moves through the zodiac, we experience a need for and a surge in energy and activity based on where this planet of action is traveling in the personal maps of our birthchart. Mars revs us up, while also acting as a catalyst, triggering bigger unfolding.

When Mars is retrograde, all of this action and energy is slowed down and turned inward. The purpose of Mars retrograde is to evaluate your actions and your use of energy, to check in with what motivates you, and to determine if you are on the right path, doing what you should be doing. Mars retrograde provides the opportunity and the focus to review how you handle anger, self-defense, self-motivation, and desire. Like the Bill Murray movie Ground Hog Day, Mars retrograde invites you to go back over past situations and re-do them, making corrections in how you handle events, motivate yourself, etc.

But if you’ve ever tried to drive backwards for an extended period of time, you know it is very different from forward motion. It takes a lot of energy. You can’t make the same kind of progress. It takes more time, and more concentration. You need to go more slowly. Your rear-view perspective is disorienting (things may be closer than they appear….) and can be more limited. It is easier to get off track, and find yourself in a ditch. And it can be very frustrating. So, too with Mars retrograde.

Some of the possible negative effects of Mars retrograde: (don’t let this list scare you, use it to be prepared).

  1. equipment & machinery failure (for example, my printer just stopped working with a logic board failure). It is generally recommended to avoid purchasing equipment and machinery during Mars retrograde if possible. If you must purchase equipment (this includes computers, cars, lawn mowers, snow blowers, appliances, etc), it is a good idea to get extra insurance on them (an extended warranty, paying for a lower deductible until Mars in direct, etc).

  2. being more accident prone. Be extra careful driving, using equipment, and handling knives.

  3. some astrologers have suggested there is a tendency to bleed more easily. It is often recommended that you delay any elective surgery while Mars is retrograde.

  4. increased frustration and aggression in yourself and others.

  5. if your tendency is to be cautious, you make experience increased impulsivity; if your tendency is to be impulsive, you make experience increased rigidity.

  6. difficulty feeling connected to your sense of motivation.

  7. difficulty getting into and staying in action.

  8. a sense of fatigue; adrenal stress.

  9. business can tend to slow down.

  10. new product launches/new business starts can fizzle out.

  11. and strangely enough, feeling famished and wanting to eat more than usual.

Some of the best ways to use Mars retrograde:

  1. do strategic planning for your business.

  2. do product testing/beta testing/experiments.

  3. if you tend to be less assertive, use Mars retrograde to increase your assertiveness and stand more strongly for yourself.

  4. take action to support your health. This is a great time to explore and experiment with new fitness strategies. Physical activity is particularly important to help manage any frustration.

  5. reconsider your usual approach to taking action and initiating new projects — be open to alternatives.

  6. experiment with doing things differently.

  7. find your courage.

  8. find healthier ways to express anger.

  9. take frequent, repeated small actions (rather than big giant steps).

I don’t believe the Cosmos is asking us to not take action for 80+ days (after all, Mars must act), but we are definitely being asked to slow down and turn inward. We are being asked to really look at our motivations. We are especially being invited to ask ourselves “What do I really want?” If business is slow, take advantage of this time to do this internal work. If business is not slow, put extra effort into building downtime into your schedule.

Mars retrograde and Personal Power: For those of us born between December 1981 and the October 1987, Mars will most likely make a challenging connection with your Natal Pluto while retrograde, and then again as he moves forward. This is a great time for you to explore how you express and defend/protect your personal power. Are you too edgy, or perhaps not quite edgy enough? What does appropriate self-affirming/self-validating assertiveness look like to you? How can you stand more strongly in your personal power? During Mars retrograde this is a great area of exploration. And since Mars prefers action to simply thinking or talking about something, what small actions can you take to explore and develop your capacity for appropriate assertiveness?

Here are some ideas:

  1. declare (even if only to yourself, as practice) what it is that you want. take a small step in the direction of what you want, repeat.

  2. embody personal power: hold your body assertively, practice warrior poses in yoga, dance in a way that expresses power, makes you feel powerful; begin working with weights (start very slowly); pour intention into your strength building activities.

  3. find a resonant model for your warrior spirit. What is your best expression of warrior energy. How (& what) do you protect, defend, take a stand for. Create a visual representation of your warrior spirit.

  4. reconsider past events where you were either too aggressive, or not assertive enough. Replay the situation, modifying your approach (yes, actually act it out. Say out loud what you wish you had said then if you were “brave enough” or “in control of your emotions.”) You may even find the courage to do this “for real.” But proceed slowly.

Put the powerful energy of Mars retrograde to work for you and your business. While not the time to launch new initiatives, it is the perfect time to develop new strategies and approaches, and for determining where you should be headed and how you can get there.


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