Mars is ruler of assertiveness, so when a person has Mars retrograde in their natal chart, they can have difficulties, and can go one way or the other. The tendency is to have great trouble sticking up for themselves, but some can be overly aggressive. At times, they may hold back too much, and then explode. A delicate balance needs to be struck with this position, and you have to learn how to stand up for yourself in an appropriate, healthy way.
Mars is how we begin, how we take charge, our drive, so having Mars retrograde in the natal chart can impact your ability to start new things, take charge, and go where others haven’t gone before. The Mars retrograde native can jump headfirst into new projects, or they can be so unsure, cautious, and scared that they don’t take a chance on themselves at all. They tend to go about starting something new in a different way (many people say in a "roundabout" way). This position can show being very insecure, and that can lead the native to either overcompensating at times or not manifesting the energy whatsoever. They have to develop good self-esteem and self-confidence.
Mars is the masculine (while Venus is the feminine), so having Mars retrograde in the natal chart can show someone with difficulties with masculinity. There can be a struggle to embrace the masculine part of ourselves, or they can play it up too much in certain moments. This tends to be more difficult for men, and for a woman, this can e seen with the men in her life (instead of with her).
For a man, Mars is your alter ego, so having Mars retrograde in the natal chart can make your alter ego very different from what people would think. You may have difficulties showing your true self to people, and you have to work on being more open with who you really are and not hiding the man inside of you. Having better self-esteem and confidence helps with this.
Mars is the natural ruler of the 1st house of the self and the ruler of energy, so sometimes Mars retrograde natives can have extra physical problems or issues with energy.
The upside of having Mars retrograde in the natal chart is that you can be protected when Mars is retrograde in transit. This occurs every 2 years or so for about 2 ½ months at a time, and when the rest of the world is boiling over and blowing up, you can feel like you’re finally moving through with ease. Mars retrograde in transit can be a good opportunity for you to work on the natal Mars retrograde issues that need to be addressed so you can come out of the transit Mars retrograde in a better position to handle your natal Mars retrograde.
*Edited Apr 30 2016: Some people took great offense to some of the suggestions in this post, especially about being potentially aggressive, and so they behaved aggressively . . . note the irony! So the post was edited.
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