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It’s time to talk about Mars.
The next few months are going to be heavily influenced by Mars, the warrior, the planet of action and initiation.
Mars energy tends to run hot and headstrong, and Mars on assignment in its own territory of Aries for the rest of this year makes it even stronger.
Because it will be going retrograde (appearing to move backward) and making challenging aspects to the planetary powerhouses in Capricorn, Saturn, and Pluto, navigating these energetic dynamics is going to be a bit tricky.
There are a few simple principles to working with Mars retrograde that will make this journey a lot easier.
Mars Retrograde: September 9 to November 13, 2020
On July 25th, Mars began its first pass over the degrees it will be moving back through during its retrograde.
This first pass over the retrograde territory, known as the pre-retrograde shadow, is when we can pick up on clues about what the theme of the retrograde will be for us. Whatever comes up during the pre-shadow will be visited two more times—once when Mars moves back over it in review, and a third time once it is in direct motion again (the resolution).
The Basics of Working with Mars Retrograde.
1. Don’t instigate and don’t engage. Mars retrograde is when the wise and seasoned warrior falls back to rest and get more information. We are strategically withdrawing, not attacking—ideally, we are not engaging at all.
2. When triggers arise, observe rather than react. When Mars is in retrograde, especially in its own sign, this is more important than ever. Remember the words of Marcus Aurelius: the best answer to anger is silence. Take as many personal time-outs as needed to avoid being drawn into engaging.
3. Observing the triggers, and tracing the threads of our own anger and need to assert, attack, protect, and defend, is the reconnaissance mission of Mars retrograde. Planets in retrograde represent their energy being turned inward, but this does not mean turning our anger inward on ourselves or just sitting on it.
It means observing these emotions and impulses as they arise to better understand them. Mars energy is always active, and may very well require action from us as it arises—we want to make sure we are taking right action.
Understanding Mars Retrograde.
Mars represents our drive. Mars represents an aspect of the masculine force of energy within all of us, and he is our inner warrior. Mars is not only our motivation to press forth in life, but also our ability to stand up for ourselves, assert ourselves, and even sever ties when necessary.
Many times, when we experience anger and the resulting need to protect or defend, we are reacting to a boundary violation (or perceived boundary violation) on some level.
Violation of our rights—our personal rights, our human rights—invokes our Mars energy in response. These are directly linked to our life force and our right to exist. Violations of these rights are violations of our boundaries at the deepest level. Naturally, this can invoke some of our deepest anger and rage—also ruled by Mars.
We can start by giving ourselves and everyone else a break during Mars retrograde, and that means giving extra space and compassion. We will all be swimming in these energies. Those whose natal charts are being directly affected will feel it even more acutely, and we have no way of knowing who those people will be.
When things get heated, silence as a response (not as retaliation), taking and giving space, and burning off excess Mars energy with vigorous exercise are all go-to’s. Holding others with as much love and compassion in our hearts as possible brings special magic now too.
Make using these tactics an active practice. Mars likes action. Mars retrograde is just asking for a different type of action from us.
If something or someone is pushing us over the edge, we may need to distance ourselves from that. Lashing out is something to be avoided, especially through November 13th. Do not engage under any circumstances. Get out of the house, get some space from the situation, get some air, go for a run, go to kickboxing, channel it creatively—but don’t let it run wild and don’t sit on it.
Retrograde planets tend to bring up the past for review. Mars is the warrior. The retrograde will bring things up (especially when Mars gets into the squares with Saturn and Pluto retrograde at the end of Capricorn), but the point of the retrograde is to review these energetic dynamics in our lives, not to let them have their way with us.
Remember, this is about reconnaissance and strategy. If swords are to be drawn, it will become apparent later—this is not the time.
Mars is all about anger and boundaries. Mars retrograde is reviewing our relationship to these in our lives.
Anger is a secondary emotion—when we are feeling anger, that is our cue to look beneath it.
For example, we might express anger to cover up fear. We might feel fear because we don’t feel safe expressing the emotion we are truly feeling. The more aware we are of this, the more empowered we are with this energy. The more empowered we become, the less likely we are to find ourselves manipulated or pushed around by it.
When working with boundary issues, here are four great questions to ask ourselves:
1. Did I even know I had a boundary around this issue prior to this, or am I just now learning this about myself?
2. If I did know I had a boundary, did I communicate it clearly to the other person?
3. If I do feel I communicated the boundary clearly, am I sure the other person understood me?
4. If the answer is yes to all of the above, am I willing to acknowledge that, and take appropriate action to keep healthy boundaries and not invite inflammatory situations into my life?
Final Thoughts On Mars Retrograde.
A few years ago, while living on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala, I heard a teacher say that energetically, protection invites attack. He was talking specifically about when we begin doing a lot of spiritual protection, but it is the same energy whether we are buying crystals or ammo, or we are just constantly defensive and argumentative.
If we find ourselves spending a lot of energy on protection, in reality, we are in fear. The energies of attack and protection are part of the same energetic axis, so to speak, and like attracts like.
So how to break the cycle?
Recently, I heard someone make the point that if someone is experiencing a lack of love and abundance, it can be due to being caught up in the energetic dynamic of protection. He explained that protection shuts down energetic flow and actually invites attack, because it comes from a belief that it is likely we will be attacked and are therefore not safe.
Instead of protection, he suggested permission (with appropriate and healthy boundaries), and I believe this is a valuable concept to put into practice during Mars retrograde.
What he suggested was to shore up our own grounding and energetic boundaries, and then on top of that, layer the energetic boundary at the edge of our aura (about three feet out from our bodies in all directions) with the dictate that all of the space inside of our auric boundary is 100 percent our own space, and on the other side of that boundary we give permission for everything else to exist and do its thing.
Basically, with permission, we are working from the premise that we only have control over ourselves. The three-foot auric boundary he described is arm’s length, and whatever is beyond arm’s length is out of our hands, quite literally.
Adopting this perspective creates space for allowance, and that creates more energetic flow.
However, it is important not to leave out the boundary piece—to be able to give permission, we must first have healthy and firm boundaries of self.
This really is what lies at the heart of Mars retrograde.
Playing with our energetic boundaries and our sense of self by using our perception of our aura is a great place to start. Feeling into the idea of permission with boundaries versus protection and defensiveness is a perfect way to begin to work with that. Just becoming aware of where we are in our auras moment to moment and day-to-day is a wonderful practice now.
We can begin to notice when, unconsciously feeling defensive or agitated, we get up at the front of our aura. When we begin to notice this, we will also notice that other people feel this and instinctively react, whether consciously aware of it or not.
We can also begin playing with what happens when we consciously move ourselves back to center in our auras and bring our awareness up and back into the higher mind. Others will instinctively respond to this as well.
When we are in fear, it is only natural to grasp for a sense of control, but the best way to feel like we are in control is to feel in control of ourselves, and that begins with understanding ourselves on the energetic level.
When we get into tricky territory, we can then fall back on the strategies of holding others and ourselves in compassion first and foremost, staying out of retaliation, sweating it out with exercise, taking space and giving space, and giving ourselves as many (kind and gentle) personal time-outs as necessary. These things will help us create space for a different outcome.
There is a lot of unrest right now in the world, and most of it is beyond our control.
Mars retrograde is a tricky bit of business this year, but in all things there is magic if we know where to find it.
With a better understanding of what Mars retrograde is all about, armed with the tools and tactics to successfully navigate it, we are poised now to harness the magic of this powerful transit.
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