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Mars Retrograde: A Mystick Physick Primer


mars retrograde

What happens when Mars retrogrades? And what do you need to know to navigate this roughly two month transit which happens approximately every two and a half years? Read on to understand how Mars retrograde can affect us by transit.

“Astrology is astronomy brought down to earth and applied toward the affairs of man.”


Life doesn’t stand still during any retrograde, however there are recommended ways to use the energies and those things which you have choice as to when to do them will benefit greatly from your patience.


Understandably though, there are often times where we have little choice and simply need to prepare ourselves for what may be a less than ideal outcome.


During a Mars retrograde it is often said within astrology that whoever initiates, loses. This holds true for initiations of new projects, love affairs, legal battles, and arguments or war. Things initiated under a Mars Rx tend to fizzle out, lose momentum, and not really go where you want them to go, much like a void of course moon.


This is because Mars is a planet of energy and vitality, and anytime he is retrograde that energy and vitality are diminished. Attempting to push through is much more likely to result in irritation and anger as things may not go the way we desire. 

Mars retrograde caveats


There are a few things NOT to do during the retrograde period, if at all possible:


  • Don’t respond or react in anger


  • Don’t have elective surgery (essential or emergency surgery only), and don’t try a radical new hair style—pretty much anything that involves knives or scissors is best put on hold.


  • Don’t start a new love or sexual relationship or business partnership. Going back to an old love or partnership may be tempting, but when Mars resumes direct motion old relationship patterns are likely to return, reminding you why things ended the first time.


  • Don’t start arguments. You will lose. Likewise, don’t initiate legal action. Or wars, for that matter. Be prepared to compromise.


  • Don’t buy new mechanical things. If there’s no way around doing so, make absolutely sure you have them FULLY insured for at least a year.


  • Don’t initiate new projects.


You may feel a brief period of high energy as the retrograde begins and Mars is stationary, this is because stationary planets are immensely potent. 


You may have a tendency to be impulsive or act rashly but you must look before you leap. Find ways to use your energy constructively rather than impulsively doing something you may regret later.


Your energy is likely to wane as the retrograde continues. You may be more prone to accidents and injuries.

“There are a few things NOT to do during the retrograde period, if at all possible.”

Fig. A

What you can do during Mars Rx


Enough about the “Don’ts” . . . lets get to the “Dos”! There are actions that are totally appropriate to take during a Mars retrograde, and some “inactions” that are appropriate as well. So let’s talk about how to use this constructively. 


Now is the time to let opponents make the first move. If you do so, it is much more likely that you will be the victor.


Now is also the time to make repairs of anything mechanical that you may have been neglecting or putting off. In fact, you may be forced to do so by circumstances beyond your control.


Be prepared to relinquish control. Under a Mars retrograde, Aries and Scorpio will find it easier to do. Aries may feel this retrograde in relation to the physical body and sense of self/identity and the roles you play in life and in the world. Slow down and use this time to reassess how you are approaching these areas of life.


Hedge your bets and wait and see which way the wind blows . . . do not take doubtful action. If you feel any hesitation, heed it.


Take the time to review your goals, your sexual relationships, and your attitudes and behaviors around sex.


Review how you handle your anger, self defense, and motivations. How do you respond to conflict? Now is the time to reflect and recognize any unhelpful patterns around these areas of life and make changes to how you respond.


It’s also a great time for you to work on self image and any courses or activities that support confidence and courage.


You may be dealing with issues that cause irritation or anger during this time. Approach issues these two ways: 


  • Do these issues waste your energy and drain your life? If they do, cut them loose and move on. Let them go.


  • Do they irk you because they trigger reminders of your own reluctance to face these things in yourown life? Now is the time to deal with them and work through whatever those issues may be so they will no longer have control over you.


Mars Rx is typically not as disruptive as Mercury Rx, however Mercury is also retrograding during this time period. 

Mars Retrograde in Capricorn June 26th – August 27th 2018


You may be dealing with inner conflict and irritation in your professional life. You will need to resolve the conflict in order to release it from your experience.


You may find yourself working through issues of self image and courage as they relate to your career ambitions and the steps you need to take to achieve them.


The current Mars retrograde lasts just roughly two months, and with Mercury’s retrograde being so much shorter, the timing for returning to major initiations lines up nearly perfectly: just days before Mercury returns to full strength, Mars will join him in returning to direct motion. While he may take a bit up time to get back up to speed, Mars’ retrograde shadow period is not quite as troublesome as Mercury’s.

“It is clearly evident that most events of a widespread nature draw their causes from the enveloping heavens.”


As with all retrogrades, there is a way you can use it constructively. Just remain open to it and remember to be willing to surrender to your highest good.


Mars retrograde transits don’t always affect everyone equally, however if you have chart contacts with stationary degrees or Mars contacts during the retrograde, you can feel those influences personally. Readers with Aries sun or Aries rising will of course be more strongly affected than others.

Shine on,



P.S. If you’d like to know whether and how this Mars retrograde may affect you personally, you can book an “Ask the Astrologer” mini reading with me right here.

about me

My astrological explorations began in 1994 and have taken me on an amazing, decades-long journey of discovery beginning with the teachings of Sybil Leek and continuing with those of Joanna Woolfolk, Nicholas Campion, Max Heindel, Ptolemy, Susan Miller, Carol Rushman, Steven Forrest, Cyril Fagan, Robert Powell, and Dane Rudhyar, to name just a few. I began reading privately for family and close friends in 2003 and following a profoundly transformational spiritual experience opened my practice to the public through Mystick Physick in 2014.


Now more than ever I see the need in the world for the life and soul guidance that astrology can offer to those who seek to understand its sublime language. Collectively we are waking up and determined to find meaning and purpose in our daily lives. This is the gift that astrology offers us.


I’m Phaedra, astrologer and artist of Mystick Physick. I make my home in Idaho’s gorgeous Treasure Valley with my husband of 20 years, our dog Rocket and cat Jet. In my natural habitat I can usually be found meditating, continuing my ongoing astrological explorations, painting to the astrological rhythms of the solar system, or reading about the latest discoveries in the science of consciousness or astrophysics. You can find me at and

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