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‘Four Dancers’ By Edgar Degas 1899 {{PD}}

The apparent retrograde of any celestial body often reverses our sense of the flow of that body’s energy, or at least changes it, alters the presence of those related forces as we’ve come to know them. It’s the sometimes abrupt nature of those changes that disorients and disturbs—and when that body is Mars, one of the most personal energies we have, the ‘I Am’ that gives us the impetus to pursue what we need and want in life, those changes may feel threatening, messing with our heads and causing fractures to how we see the identity and Will.

The current Mars retrograde is in Gemini, prompting examination of how our thoughts have led (or have failed to lead to) choices and actions, and likely prompting re-consideration of the effectiveness of both our thinking and our efforts. That’s all good; it’s what a retro period is for. The problem comes when we externalize those energies we need to be dealing with internally. Projection can have its benefits: it allows us to gain some distance, look with a more objective eye, and so see what we need to do in a more realistic (and therefore more effective) light. 

But our first impulse, almost always, is to see projected energies as belonging to the Other we’re observing them in/ with. They definitely play a role for the other party–nobody dances alone—but we must remember that Other is a mirror: what we’re seeing is a version of something we ourselves need to address. 

We may be tempted to balk at that idea; we may be tempted to tell ourselves, “I’m not pushy, angry, aggressive/ passive aggressive, Willful, insistent, doing it for myself” and so on. And that may be true: the essence of the energy is where we have to look, being careful not to be distracted by the form or the subject matter. This is the retro effect, the reversal of flow, so that we may see our own flaws or misjudgments and the effect these have on others in enacting our own roles. 

Remember, too, this isn’t all negative—it’s just that those less-than-positive experiences seem to jump out at us, to rankle in a way that’s upsetting—and that upset is our clue that what’s happening is that same energy in us, looking to rise to the surface, to be seen, acknowledged, addressed, and probably offering us the opportunity to employ it consciously in a much more useful form. Positive expressions are also meant to draw our attention, specifically to keep us acting and choosing in ways that harmonize with our Being. We can be shown how and where we’re doing it right—and that can be invaluable, when choosing how to allocate our ‘I Am’, ‘I want’, and ‘I Will’ in the future. 

Mars is on its way to the halfway point in the retro cycle, occurring the 8-9 of December when Mars will oppose the Sagittarius Sun. This should bring illumination of our Martian-themed efforts, a bright light shone on all that we do and specifically on how our thinking guides our choices. This coincides with the Full Moon of the 7th-8th (depending on your location) which falls in Gemini conjoined Mars and Earth. Think of it as a delivery point for a number of messages, including how you feel about your environment and your efforts, giving a kind of education on what you think you need versus what you really do need, and pointing out the ways your outreach, incorporation of what’s new to you or foreign, or ‘the facts’ of a situation can be worked with. 

At this same point Jupiter, recently gone direct, will be entering the 29th degree of Pisces, and in crisis mode, feeling around in the fog in anticipation of hitting the Aries point of manifestation and decisive action. The Mars retro cycle helps prepare you for this, for the expansion that’s coming to the concept of ‘I Am’—and if you deal with those projections of Mars, if you own and accept them, you’ll be more than ready.