Mars Retrograde: Introduction

So, just when you thought 2020 couldn’t get any worse, here comes Mars retrograde to see us through to the end of the year. Mars retrograde is usually associated with frustration, and often I’ve found at an individual level, it can also result in a very focused and intense burst of energy in the part of your life affected by Mars retrograde action. However, as we know, 2020 has been a ‘special’ year – and not in a good way – so this Mars retrograde, in Aries the Mars sign is bound to signify some fireworks in both the personal and public arena.

So, is Mars retrograde 2020 going to be a car crash? You may think, ‘Why not? The rest of 2020 has so it would hardly be a surprise’. In many ways, I think that’s right. Mars in Aries is always likely to bring out the extremes that this transit/station has to offer. Opening old wounds, bringing things to a head, intense frustration at not being able to move things forward – all things Martian are getting an extra emphasis for there next few months – not least because during this time it squares the big stellium of Jupiter Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn.

Events in the outside world have been tumultuous the year – and you only have to look at the news headlines to see how Mars retrograde could affect the world we live in over the next few months. The US has perhaps it’s biggest election year and massive confrontation seems certain. The UK has the prospect of a ‘no deal’ Brexit and Covid-19 continues to infect large numbers of people in the world – with the second wave gathering pace. We’re in a period of huge division – on this as well as many other issues – so the confrontational side of Mars seems well placed to explode during the remainder of this year.

So, in this post, I’m going to have a look at the Mars Retrograde charts for the period and analyse what they mean for us – at a personal level and at a wider level too. And I’m going to begin with the moment Mars turns retrograde. Chart courtesy of

Mars Retrograde Motion: September 9th 2020 – November 13th 2020

Mars Retrograde: September 9th 2020 - January 3rd 2021 1

Mars turns retrograde while squaring Jupiter and Pluto in Capricorn and Venus in Libra. With both Mars and Venus in their own signs, there is the potential for huge frustration and a classic case of taking sides. In the big bad world out there – we are likely to see clashes between those things we associate with archetypal Mars/Aries qualities and signifiers and those things we associate with Venus/Libra. So, is peace, justice, pleasure, sociability, balance, negotiation and compromise going to be met with hostility and force? In many ways we’ve seen this already, so I feel this square aspect may indicate a tipping point.

So, there may be aggressive demands, ultimatums, selfishness, self centred behaviour and so on – and in a personal chart there may also be sexual frustrations or issues that would be better resolved in a non-confrontational way too. Mars always contains the seeds of violence – and this is disturbing with the ever present male/female dynamic carried in this aspect. On the world stage right now, for example, we’re seeing a struggle being played out in Belarus which is also gendered – masculine power being challenged by female politicians – and we may see this dynamic play out in private as well as erupting into the public domain.

Mars is not all bad of course and often the square aspect – and the Mars retrograde itself – indicates matters you can no longer ignore, or that demand your immediate attention. So, some of you may be faced with a challenging issue around now that fits with the Mars square Venus dynamic. Sexual and relational tensions and frustrations may reach a head and demand to be dealt with. Your financial situation may need immediate action – or even health matters could come to the fore as Mars is an indicator of surgery – Venus in particular is a signifier for the breasts and female issues in particular so don’t delay if you feel you have an issue to take care of.

And those issues may involve forms of authority, male figures in your life, father figures, disputes between the generations (particularly with the Mars/Saturn square). So, it seems like someone may be giving you the benefit of their opinion on that tattoo you’ve been thinking about getting. This may be one of the times it pays to listen – though with Mars you will probably go your own independent way eventually. Meanwhile, there could be a few silent stand-offs because differences of opinion – especially the type where you feel you need to hold back the things you would like to say – could feature now.

So, what Mars retrograde may make you do is frustrate you or make you avoid an issue. But that’s not always so. I’ve written about that square to the big stellium in Capricorn in a previous article and basically you may be entering the Mars retrograde period with a big decision to make. This won’t necessarily be a bad thing by any means. Jupiter Saturn and Pluto are agents of change and they may signify that now is the best time for you get to grips with the things you’ve been putting off and at least plan to take action as soon as you feel able to move things forward.

However, you’re going to have to overcome some obstacles first. Your own fears, lack of energy, impetus, inhibitions and even conflicting feelings about the best way forward are not uncommon at this time. So, in common with other retrograde periods, Mars retrograde can be a time you feel like standing back and trying to work things out before moving forward. It’s often you sense that ‘something must be done’ and are prompted to take action eventually – usually at the end of the retrograde period (although Mars does like to jump the gun).

Mars Station and Forward Motion: November 13th 2020 – January 3rd 2021

Mars Retrograde: September 9th 2020 - January 3rd 2021 2

When we look at the chart for Mars station and forward motion, we can see the ‘T-square’ aspect pattern is still in place. However, the orbs are wider so at the point Mars retrograde turns forward, we may find ourselves momentarily in the eye of the storm. It’s worth bearing in mind that the pressures haven’t disappeared, indeed as Mars moves forward and the square aspect pattern between Mars and the big stellium in Capricorn becomes more acute, the phrase that comes to mind is ‘proceed with caution’.

Sometimes, when we’ve been trying to make headway with an issue – and apparently failing badly – it can leave you feeling exhausted and on the point of giving up. But with Mars turning forward, many of us will feel a renewed burst of energy and the way may seem much more clear to overcome those obstacles (inner or outer) that may have been blocking the way for what seems like such a long time. Is it a time for nervous optimism? That depends on how things have panned out in the initial Mars retrograde phase I’m afraid.

In our personal lives, it’s likely we will feel we can suddenly get on with life once more. Whatever the big issue was that was causing a log-jam in your life, you’re now likely to feel you can tackle it with renewed vigour and possibly from a different angle. I have to keep reminding both you – and myself – that we are all in a period of great and lasting change. So, at a personal level, many of you will begin to implement that change of direction that’s been so long overdue. Use that Mars energy to make progress and go for it.

Meanwhile, in the big bad world we know that this conflicted, frustrating and divisive time has been affecting the societies in which we live and causing extreme tension. From mid-November, it’s possible we may see how the shape of society is going to move in a new direction. I’m not saying however whether that will be good or bad – as that’s always a matter of opinion. However, some matters appear to be more settled than they were – even if it’s still not going to be without a struggle.

With Mars, I think we’ll find that nobody gives up without a fight – and that’s true in private as well as the public realm. Don’t forget, as Mars moves forward that square aspect will become more acute and it could be there is a final showdown that decides matters once and for all. This is the precursor to The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn that occurs at the end of the year – first in Capricorn and then in Aquarius – when we will be truly in a brave new world.

Mars Retrograde: The Final Word

Meanwhile, don’t get too frustrated or annoyed during the Mars retrograde phase. As I mentioned earlier, it’s best to focus your energy during this period rather than scattering widely. And don’t make the mistake of thinking that everything is going to go your way. Steady progress is better than no progress at all – and from what I know of Mars Retrograde, it is usually a time when you can make progress and achieve – even if it feels like hard work at the time – and given the aspects – it will feel hard during this retrograde that’s for sure.

But it will pass – as all things do…

NB. And on cue, California and Oregon burst into flames. Mars is reminding us of the power of nature and how much we need to change our ways.

© Sara Shipman 2020

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