Mars Retrograde In Aries – The Hero’s Journey

On September 9th, 2020 Mars goes retrograde at 28° Aries. Mars spends 2 months in retrograde motion and turns direct on November 13th, 2020. 

Mars retrograde is not your usual retrograde. Unlike Mercury or Venus retrograde, which are conjunct the Sun, Mars retrograde is OPPOSITE the Sun. So Mars retrograde is not a “New Moon” Mars, but a “Full Moon” Mars – a time for manifestation. 

Unlike Mercury and Venus retrograde, Mars doesn’t disappear under the glare of the Sun, but instead, is at its brightest. Mars retrograde is Mars on steroids – and will amplify and bring to culmination whatever Mars stands for. 

Many people believe Mars retrograde slows us down, but the opposite is true. Mars retrograde is focused, determined, and ready to take action. Especially so when it is in its home sign, in Aries. 

You will embody Mars, you will act like Mars – you will be Mars, and finally, act on your true desires.

And while some things may indeed slow down… these obstacles will drive you to take action more forcefully than usual, and from a more authentic place.

Mars Retrograde is NOT a time to shut down your instincts, on the contrary, this is a time to listen to them, and to follow Mars’ lead from a place of awareness.

Mars retrograde’s goal is to help you find what really drives you, what makes you say “I want this so bad, that I’ll do anything to get it”.

The Hero, The Villain

Mars plays an extremely important role in astrology because Mars is the 1st planet to go a full circle around the Sun.

Before we embrace Mars we don’t have an identity of our own; we are totally dependent on our parents. It’s only at the age of 2 (when we have our first Mars return) that children become aware of themselves as differentiated and unique entities.

Being the 1st planet to go around the Sun, means that Mars is the first planet to apply squares and oppositions to the Sun. We can only develop our identity (the Sun) when the Sun is actively engaged in aspects other than the conjunction (the other personal planets Mercury and Venus never travel farther than 48° from the Sun). 

Mars’ journey around the Sun is a metaphor for the Hero’s journey – the initiatic journey of self-discovery and character formation. 

The Hero’s journey is a template created by the mythologist Joseph Campbell to describe the path every Hero – in stories throughout the world – takes. 

In fact, all Hollywood blockbusters follow Joseph Campbel’s Hero’s journey: the story begins when the Hero is presented with a great challenge – to “fight the dragon”, “save the princes” etc.

Ultimately, the goal of this journey is to transform the prince into a King – to transform the Hero into a true guide. 

Mars’ or the Hero’s journey takes 2 years and starts when Mars is conjunct with the Sun (that was September 3rd, 2019). 

Mars always goes retrograde in the middle of the cycle;  this is when the Hero has to “fight the villain” – and win the fight. Fighting the villain is a necessary part of Hero’s process of individuation. 

That’s why people tend to be more “angry” and aggressive when Mars is retrograde. Fighting the villain is not an easy task! 

But who is this villain? Your neighbor? Your boss? The state? Someone with a different opinion?

The villain is a metaphor for our dark side, or the unintegrated part of our psyche – what we dissociate ourselves from and project onto other people.

If we want to successfully complete the journey, the villain inside needs to be embraced. When we learn how to establish healthy relationships with other people and see them for who they are – without projecting our dark side onto them – we finally find wholeness within ourselves. And this is what the Hero’s journey ultimately is all about. 

What Happens When Mars Is Retrograde?

Mars retrograde is the rarest of retrogrades and also the longest of all the personal planets. That’s why the most significant events in one’s life tend to happen when Mars goes retrograde.

Mars goes retrograde at 28° Aries, and goes direct at 15° Aries. This means Mars spends a lot of time covering only 13° of the zodiac. The stakes are high. There is something about that part of your chart you need to understand, revise, and ultimately take action upon.

Mars retrograde can reveal you an alternative route, an approach that takes you on a path that you have never considered before. By the end of this retrograde, you will find a new solution to an old problem. 

The most important Mars makes to other planets are the challenging squares to the slow-moving planets in Capricorn. Here is a snapshot of these dates, including the shadow phase:

  • Mars enters shadow – July 25th, 2020
  • Mars square Jupiter (1st) – August
  • Mars square Pluto (1st) – August 13th, 2020
  • Mars square Saturn (2st) – August 24th, 2020
  • Mars goes retrograde – September 9th, 2020
  • Mars square Saturn (2nd) – September 29th, 2020
  • Mars square Pluto (2nd) – October 9th, 2020
  • Mars square Jupiter (2nd) – October 19th, 2020
  • Mars goes direct – November 13th, 2020 
  • Mars square Pluto (3rd) – December 23rd, 2020
  • Mars leaves shadow – January 2nd, 2021

What is interesting is that Mars only gets to apply 2 squares to Saturn and Jupiter (instead of the regular 3) before Jupiter and Saturn leave Capricorn and move into Aquarius. This indicates that the final outcome of this Mars retrograde is nothing like we expect it to be.

One thing is clear. Mars will still confront Pluto – his higher octave planet. Mars retrograde square Pluto will ask us some tough questions:

  • Am I crystal clear about what I want?
  • Do I act with integrity?
  • How can I use Mars’ energy to find solutions to old problems, without hurting others?
  • Which areas of my life need honest, decisive action?

… and will ultimately push us to find more truthful reasons for our actions. 

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8 thoughts on “Mars Retrograde In Aries – The Hero’s Journey

  1. Sounds like an exciting time ahead. I have my natal Mars at 15 degrees Aries. Should be a time for action on Nov. 13th!! Thanks, these reports are always helpful and interesting.

  2. THIS IS PROBABLY MY FAVORITE OF ALL YOUR NEWSLETTERS ! ! Contrary to what most other astrologers are saying, you find the POSITIVE in it and in a REAL way. Rather than scaring us to death, you show us how to approach our TRUE DESIRES. For me, that’ll be actualizing being a life coach, but at this point I still need to LEARN a LOT, including which people I could work best with, how to do it if we’re still in Covid isolation, how to make sure I stay away from my longtime tendency to be codependent with others, etc.
    (After I got thru a weel pf Mars squaring my Saturn, I’ve become more present, less anxious, more truthful, and actually more centered in my authentic self. I hope that’s due to Mars.)

    “You will embody Mars, you will act like Mars – you will be Mars, and finally, act on your true desires.

    And while some things may indeed slow down… these obstacles will drive you to take action more forcefully than usual, and from a more authentic place.

    Mars Retrograde is NOT a time to shut down your instincts, on the contrary, this is a time to listen to them, and to follow Mars’ lead from a place of awareness.

    Mars retrograde’s goal is to help you find what really drives you, what makes you say “I want this so bad, that I’ll do anything to get it””

  3. I feel compelled, after reading your recommendations at the end of the article, how this retro-grade period of Mars in Aries is particularly pertinent to those with Mars in the second and third decantes of Libra, who have felt, at times, immobilized, in life, as they try to decide on the proper course of action.

  4. Hi, I have mars retrograde in Aries in my birth chart and I have to say its not easy. It makes me feel really scared about some things, and not take action so fast because of this fear. Obviously, it also makes me explode sometimes in ager when I feel fed up with something

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