The basics: A retrograde occurs when a planet appears to be moving backward from our view here on Earth. It isn’t actually moving backward, it just appears that way because of the way the planets move in relation to one another. Mars retrograde once every 2 years or so for about 2 ½ months at a time. The last Mars retrograde we had was in mid-2016.
Mars madness! We're gearing up now for a round of Mars retrograde this time, and it kicks off in air sign Aquarius on June 26th (5:04PM ET). Mars loves to stimulate violence, anger, aggression, rage, and this can start off focused in Aquarius ways. With Aquarius ruling mankind as a whole, we may be more focused on how this impacts us all, and we may see violence used more broadly and generally on the masses rather than more pinpointed and individually. It can also play out in technology with Aquarius being one of the tech rulers and ruler of the internet, and we may see more issues with trolling, online predators, and hacking. It wouldn't seem to be the best time for social media companies either (I write this as Facebook is getting embroiled in the election scandal!).
Aquarius rules individuality, nonconformity, the unconventional and pushing boundaries, and we can see a lot more rebelliousness during this retrograde. People can stand up and say, we're not gonna take it anymore! But it's important to be smart with what actions we take and not resort to the violent tendencies of Mars retrograde.
Aquarius also rules our friendships, the groups we travel in and we belong to, so we may have a harder time getting along with our peers, or there may be an issue with an important group that arises. Aquarius also rules the causes that we champion, so one positive way to use the energy would be to focus on charitable ventures. So long as you're not blowing anything up to make your point, anyway!
Our hopes and dreams and the future is also ruled by Aquarius, so we may feel a little hopeless about something, give up on dreams, or are extra aggressive with the future, innovation, invention. We need to work on being realistic and creating the future that we want in healthy and positive ways.
And change is also the domain of Aquarius, along with the sudden and unexpected, so there may be some developments in the world that send us whirling, come as a total shock, and change everything as we know it. Be flexible, be open . . .
Ah but yes, flexibility and being open seems like it'll be a MONSTER of a challenge while Mars is retrograde in Aquarius because while he is, we'll have a fixed t-square that quickly becomes a fixed grand cross! Jupiter is in fixed sign Scorpio, opposite Uranus freshly in fixed sign Taurus, both of whom square (hard aspect, 3 signs away) retrograde Mars in Aquarius as he kicks off. Then Mercury enters fixed sign Leo on June 29th to oppose retrograde Mars, and Mercury will remain in Leo the rest of the time Mars is retrograde in Aquarius (because Mercury will retrograde in Leo!). We've had to deal with cardinal and mutable t-squares over the last few years, so now it's fixed's turn! Fixed energy is, well, fixed. It's immovable. On the positive side, it's reliable, dependable, and sees things through. On the negative side, it's stubborn, it's stuck, it's frustrating to the max. Hello rock, meet hard place! It may feel like the world is just plain old stuck for a little while, unable to figure out how to deal with problems and issues that arise, or being woefully stubborn about it's positions, opinions, and beliefs. We absolutely positively have-to-have-to-have-to work on being more flexible and open, otherwise we may find ourselves in a rut that takes an awfully long time to get out of, and create a lot more problems that necessary.
Mercury is retrograde in Leo during this time from July 26th - August 19th; Mars remains in Aquarius until August 12th, so July 26th - August 12th would be the most difficult period for this fixed energy. Adding to that is the lunar eclipse on July 27th, which occurs in Aquarius and conjunct (aligns with) retrograde Mars (who triggers the eclipse on July 24th; and the Moon is in Aquarius July 27th 6:41AM ET - July 29th 7:28PM ET). This would be the most likely to see some kind of major development, action, decision in the world, and the most likely time for violence, accidents, just something extreme. I'm definitely worried, though hoping that we're all feeling too lazy to take any violent action!
The retrograde kicks off June 26th at a special degree as well, 9 degrees Aquarius, which is a critical degree (8-9 degrees of fixed signs are critical degrees, points of critical energy). Mars retrograde is critical to July 10th. So there may be something critical that we're dealing with around the start of the retrograde, something that has come to an impasse, something that we're extra stubborn about, something that has wide-ranging impact. Mars first turns critical before the retrograde starts on June 12th, so this may be when we actually start feeling the heat of the retrograde before it officially begins. Early in the retrograde, when Mars is still critical the Moon will be in Aquarius June 30th (12:37AM ET) to July 2nd (1:31PM ET), and conjuncts retrograde Mars June 30th (7:10PM ET) at 9 degrees Aquarius, so this can be when our emotional focus is most of this energy, and we can be emotionally driven to take some sort of action, but we need to make sure we're not impulsive, impatient, and actually think things through. Difficult to do!
Mars doesn't retrograde entirely in Aquarius though; he will go back into earth sign Capricorn on August 12th (10:14PM ET), and finishes the retrograde in Capricorn on August 27th (10:05AM ET). On the one hand, yea for being out of a fixed sign, but on the other hand, uh oh, here comes a Capricorn stellium! A stellium occurs when 3 or more planets are in one sign, and both Saturn and Pluto are in Capricorn (and both also retrograde during this time). On the upside, Mars retrograde won't conjunct either of them, BUT when Mars enters Capricorn, he'll be at the anaretic degree. The anaretic degree is 29 degrees of any sign and a point of crisis energy, *especially* with retrogrades. I find it *almost*always* results in some sort of big important action. Mars will be at 29 degrees Capricorn August 12th - 20th, so this is another super hot period for the retrograde.
That energy gets focused on Capricorn stuff, and Capricorn rules governments, politics, and authority figures, institutions and the like. So yeah, not the best time for any of that! We can see people fighting against governments, politics can get even crazier, people in high places can have some very long falls, and we may not be as keen on traditional institutions, or a scandal erupts with one. (and yeah, I've been worried about that constitutional crisis!)
We may feel more restricted, limited, confined, overwhelmed by responsibilities, and pushing back to try and get some space. We need to make sure we're not completely avoiding what needs to be done and we need to be responsible with though, otherwise we can create problems we don't need.
Right after Mars is no longer anaretic, the Moon enters Capricorn on August 21st (12AM ET) to August 23rd (12:56PM ET), and is conjunct retrograde Mars August 23rd (10:19AM ET) at 28 degrees Capricorn. So whatever may come from the anaretic energy can stimulate some emotional response with the Moon joining with Mars in Capricorn.
As for major aspects made by Mars during this retrograde, he'll make four. First, an opposition to Mercury on July 5th (7:48AM ET), which can stimulate some major fighting over words, ideas, and plans, some hot rhetoric, and we need to be more mindful of the words we're using, and listen more to each other. Second, an opposition to the Sun on July 26th (1:13AM ET), which can make anger even worse, and we can have great difficulty controlling ourselves, and a positive, healthy outlet for all of the energy, anger, and frustration is needed in a big way. Third, a square to Uranus on August 1st (10:39PM ET), which is just before Uranus turns retrograde on August 7th so that retrograde starts square Mars retrograde, and there can be some major impulsive, impatient energy, major rebelliousness, major stubbornness, and there may be some unexpected events or developments out of nowhere. Fourth, a trine to Venus on August 7th (8:33PM ET), the lone positive aspect, and we may work on trying to compromise, get along a little better, or at least use passionate energy in creative ways.
During the retrograde, the Moon will be in Aries, the sign Mars naturally rules, July 5th (12:50AM ET) to July 7th (8:51AM ET), and August 1st (6:54AM ET) to August 3rd (8:51PM ET). This can bring extra emphasis on the retrograde energy emotionally, and we can feel waaaay off! The Moon will also be in Aries just after the retrograde ends, August 28th (12:35PM ET) to August 30th (9:30PM ET), so once the retrograde is over, we may still be reeling from the effects and feel like it's not quite over yet, or spend time reflecting on what has come to pass and how we feel about it all.
The Mars retrograde begins at 9 degrees Aquarius, so those of you Aquarians born January 26th - February 1st can be impacted most. The retrograde ends August 27th at 28 degrees Capricorn, so those of you Capricorns born after January 16th can be impacted most.
Check the house(s) Mars will retrograde in your chart and any aspects he’ll make so you can understand how the retrograde will impact you.
If you have Mars retrograde in your natal or progressed chart, you may be exempt from the worst. This tends to protect you because the energy is more natural to you, and you can feel more comfortable with the retrograde energy, especially if you were born with it. You can still have problems though, because not everyone around you has this, so difficulties can be brought on by others.
Suggested Reading: The Mercury, Venus, and Mars retrogrades page for general interpretations