May 27 – June 29, 2016
Once every two years, Mars turns retrograde for approximately three months. Planets in retrograde are not actually spinning backwards – it is entirely an optical illusion as seen from Earth. Backwards motion appears to happen when Earth passes slower moving planets in the outer solar system. In astrology, this illusion manifests as a “backwards” functioning of the planetary roles. Click here to learn more about retrograde.
Mars Retrograde began in Sagittarius one month ago, and now we’re dialing back to Scorpio. First a few words on the front end: when direct, Mars in Sagittarius is an eagle flying high. When retrograde, we soar within. Sagittarius promotes physical energy and a desire to learn. The archer’s ultimate lesson is Truth. Mars Retrograde in Sagittarius has been about embracing responsibility and discipline. And yet, at his very core, the centaur rejects predictability and routine! Sagittarius is strictly expansive. Although in a state of heightened awareness thanks to this martial emphasis on authenticity, we have been forced to move with caution. This is a good thing considering all the planets in retrograde lately.
Mars was in Scorpio for the first two months of 2016, so we’ve already had a taste of what’s to come. Capitulate to Scorpio’s ensorcellment one last time before autumn!
Mars Retrograde in Scorpio boils us down to our psychological work. Although we can expect some spiritual exhaustion, this transit will leave us feeling recharged by the end. Normally Mars doesn’t venture beneath the swells of the inner ocean, but every so often he spins below in full combat. Prepare yourself for another cathartic transit. It’s time to (re)address that which has been repressed. Mars Rx in Scorpio irradiates the most festering, rankled caverns of the Self.
The purpose of this transit is emotional and spiritual cleansing via bodily channels. Unlike other planetary retrogrades, Mars transits are active by nature. So we’ll continue mastering our lessons by moving and climbing. This is not to say that we won’t also confront emotional/spiritual blocks. In fact, the body provides the most powerful means to engage the psyche. But fear not, the pain you feel is directly proportional to the grandeur of the solution. Transformation is rapid and complete in this realm. Mars Retrograde can be a confusing time. Even afterward, you may ask, what now? I often talk about the importance of intuition and changing your “plans.” This cycle is no different. You will receive a swarm of insights all at once. When the retrograde period is coming to a close, continue observing the Self minutely. Wait until you feel settled internally before you decide on a direction.
While on the train in India I read a book called The Scorpio Ring of Fire by American-born Amma devotee Kilaya Ciriello and really enjoyed his innate understanding of the scorpion. I learned, for instance: “Scorpions are the only species of non-human animal or insect that has been repeatedly observed to commit suicide in the face of its own imminent death.” (p. 66) Kilaya speaks of this behavior as “a willingness to take control of the death experience rather than just submitting to it.” (p.66) Scorpions, he writes, “would rather die while still in control than live in a state that is out of their control.” (p. 66) Kilaya later catalogs Scorpio as “inherently out of balance” with the higher laws of nature, “emotionally repressed” and overall negative, but I see these descriptors as regressing to a scorpionic stereotype that is often but not always true.
Mars Retrograde in Sagittarius tightened the hips and made us feel freedom-starved, cagey, restless. Mars Rx in Scorpio manifests rather in the sacrum region or sexual organs. Protect yourself accordingly to avoid any problems here. More generally, lingering disruptions in the body will rise to the surface. Anything that has not been properly healed will present itself so clearly that we will be forced to take care of it once and for all and, perhaps most importantly, acknowledge its non-physical origins. I like to think of the physical body as the last stop; disturbances in the outer, subtle bodies percolate down to this final level in a desperate cry for loving attention.
Mars rules musculature and bloodflow, so each martial transit shines light on a new area of the body, and now we’re looking at muladhara, the root chakra. We’ll be thinking more about sexuality, personal conception of our body and how/with whom we share intimacy. And/or we’re thinking about how our bodies are perceived and the sexuality imbued in the act of gazing. The mind may turn to the division of feminine/masculine perspectives and the politics of the body in space. On this subject, a certain viciousness dares to arise as we clamor, in flesh and words and thoughts, to reclaim standing, hold our ground or destroy it all.
Mars Rx in Scorpio is an inquisitive creature but not outwardly exploratory, so this can lead to grumpiness or unintended introversion when traveling, for example. As a result, you may feel more lackluster than usual. My advice, no matter the circumstances, is plenty of silence and time spent alone. Don’t force yourself to be social, it’s very normal to feel like hiding.
The pace of life will slow momentarily, but this does not translate to stagnation. Watch Mars fire a slick black scorpion spear into the murky subconscious netherworld. We are willing and able to face whatever we find down there. Our soul recognizes the great importance of what lies before us and stands tall. Drawn to trouble, wanting to feel everything at once, the scorpion sees turmoil as an opportunity for renaissance. Mars Rx in Scorpio prefers extremity to nothing at all :)
Celebrate Mars with Scorpio Yoga.
To ascertain your personal Mars sign and whether he was direct or retrograde at the time of your birth, click here.