Mars, the planet of personal power and passion, will be retrograde in the sign of Leo from December 20, 2009 – March 10, 2010. Mars turns retrograde only once every two years, and it’s worth taking some time to consider the Red Planet to prepare for this event. A retrograde period means that the planet appears to be moving backwards from our vantage point on Earth. When a planet is retrograde, we are invited to consider the matters ruled by that planet with greater care.
With Mars, we will be taking a closer look at our life force. Mars rules physical activity, desire, courage, and assertiveness—so you can see how helpful Mars would be in getting something that we want. Sometimes, we overstep with Mars and become aggressive, hostile or adolescent in how we relate to others. Associated with the Root Chakra, Mars rules our will to survive—our animal nature. Not getting what we want can feel like dying. A thwarted Mars can take its revenge out on anyone who gets in the way or can turn on itself in the form of depression.
A positive expression of Mars in Leo unites our passion with compassion and purpose. Examples of this would be “non-violent warriors” who use their Mars fire to champion the causes of justice and freedom, even when it means risking their own personal safety or reputation. The shadow side of Mars in Leo is increased bravado and arrogant leadership that thinks it knows best for everyone else (can you hear me, Washington?). This energy gets itself into some pretty ugly situations when it is not connected to the heart center—and when it forgets how to listen.
America’s national pastime—war—will be up for review during this period. Retrograde Mars will be transiting over Barack Obama’s Natal Sun, seriously challenging him to summon his own courageous leadership qualities. There will certainly be more conflict during this time in the debate about the aggressive tendencies of US foreign policy. Expect some heat to take form, either domestically as backlash from fear-mongers, or internationally as backlash from so-called insurgents.
Even as we strive to cultivate diplomacy in our homes and across the world, we must understand that the expression of Mars is important. The will to fight and to create strong boundaries of protection can keep us alive. To deny Mars is to deny life itself. Mars won’t be ignored and he certainly won’t be pacified. (Although his amorous liaisons with Venus certainly subdue him for a while.) “Playing nice,” ignoring our passions, or stifling our anger can be just as oppressive as overt threats and violent aggression. Like our reptilian friends who have to warm their blood in the sun before they can move their bodies, we need the heat of Mars—or we can’t act.
We need desire. Desire only gets us into trouble when we aren’t being honest with ourselves about what we really want, or we don’t know what we want in the first place. Our desire-nature is what advertisers, pornographers, and pop culture media use to their advantage. Inundated with flashy, appealing images, our minds latch on to false desires. We may seek to skip the whole ordeal and transcend our desires out of some philosophical or spiritual ideal, but without first understanding the roots of our desire, we aren’t transforming them, only repressing them. When understood, we can transform our personal desires into something beautiful for the whole community.
The pull of energy during a retrograde period is inward. If we don’t look within then Mars will certainly erupt more unconsciously and forcefully during this time. If you find the amount of conflict increasing in your life, chances are that Mars is trying to get your attention. Step back from the situation. Are you reacting instead of acting with purpose? What are you actually angry about? Re-examine your desires and see if there’s a more honest approach to getting your needs met.
This period could bring you golden insight into the nature of your desire. If you honestly answer the question “What do I want?” you may find an exciting quest opens before you, breathing new vitality into your life. Mars isn’t here to settle safely into routine, but to run headfirst into the battle. When we are heroes of our lives following our heart’s desire, the world becomes animated and inspiring again. We find allies who want to help us and obstacles become opportunities for growth. Mars can help us gain the courage to take meaningful action.
Rhea Wolf is an astrologer, writer, and spiritual activist. To find out where your Mars energy is, contact her for a reading.