Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on our old site.
BY JOANNA C. VALENTE
So what is 'mars retrograde?' Why do you care? A retrograde, simply speaking, is when a planet appears to be moving backwards in the sky; it rotates in a direction opposite to that of other bodies in the solar system.
Every planet is associated with different aspects of life, but when a planet is retrograde, its usual attributes become muddled. For instance, Mercury rules communication & transportation, so when it goes retrograde, all sorts of miscommunications & delays ensue! If Venus is in retrograde, it usually dampens your ability to meet new & exciting people.
So, what does Mars rule? It rules sex, aggression, and new beginnings. Mars is associated with Aries, which is a sign full of energy, passion, and fight; since it's in retrograde, expect a decrease in energy, sexual passion, & an increase in irritability. Are you noticing people around you becoming more angry? Do you have less patience?
Plans, whether creative, professional, or social, may come to a standstill. The energy Aries usually provides is going to be lessened, so don't be surprised if friends cancel on you or your creative juices have come to a halt. You will be more prone to becoming irritated & angry, which can cause you to internalize stress. Internalizing stress not only causes your anxiety to rise, but can make you physically sick.
Don't fret! Mars Retrograde is necessary for you to succeed & becoming a more well-rounded version of yourself. If you find yourself having a creative block, consider it a blessing: work on an outline for your novel if you can't seem to find the right words. Maybe it isn't the best time to start a new workout routine or diet, but it's the perfect time to research--should you actually take vitamin D everyday, is swimming actually the best exercise for you? If you don't know, find out! Many of us have passions just bursting out of us at the seams, but we don't know how to pursue them. Use this time to plan & experiment, so you can have fun!
A retrograde in general is the time to reflect on how you express your emotions, especially in arguments & disagreements; are you open & honest about your feelings with others? Or is it hard for you to be straightforward, causing you to be passive aggressive? None of us are saints. In fact, all of us have behavioral issues to address, such as becoming too defensive in arguments or resentful of others who do "better". Much of our anger stems from insecurity & stress; instead of pushing feelings of vulnerability away, tackle them, take accountability, & let yourself emotionally mature. That being said, Mars is full of energy, & it is always mindful to examine what you say & how you act, especially if these feelings were previously pent up. Think before you speak.
Usually, a retrograde is a symbol for rebirth. What can you do to empower yourself even more? Any aspect of your life that is bringing you down--a weak link--will come to light, allowing you to move beyond it.
Having a hard time? Here are a few tips to surviving Mars Retrograde:
1. Write in a journal, so you don't internalize your stress & become irritable. Between texting & choosing the perfect filter for your instagram photo, take the time to be in touch with yourself. It's hard to know why you're upset if you don't reflect.
2. Set small goals, not big ones. If you're feeling overwhelmed, the worst thing you can do is never take a break. Between work & maintaining a personal life, it's no wonder most people let their passions fall by the wayside. Is it possible to write a novel in a week? For most people, it is an outrageous expectation. Instead, set a goal with a certain amount of words per day or per week. Don't expect miracles, allow them to happen gradually.
3. Schedule in recreational time. If you're anything like me, you become so overscheduled with friends & projects that you burn out. Schedule time to be lazy & catch up on Game of Thrones. It's okay to "do nothing" sometimes. That being said, I find keeping a daily calendar & a to-do list helpful, so I don't become too lazy; if I write for an hour, I let myself relax after. It's all about moderation.
4. Don't forget about your body. Detox. Stress & anxiety only gets worse with a haphazard diet. Of course it's easier buying lunch everyday from that Chinese take-out on the corner, but it's not healthier for your body or mind. Feel tired & run down? Research ways to make affordable yet healthy lunches. Interested in making green shakes? Do it! Conversely, are you & your partner going through a dry spell? Examine why this may be--long work hours, fighting, boredom--& think of ways to circumvent this! In many cases, it's simply about making time, being thoughtful, & experimenting. Sometimes, it may be a sign the relationship is not right. Be honest about what you & your partner want in the long-term.
5. The judgment stops here. Most of our unhappiness stems from judgment. Many of our feelings concerning our self worth stems from how we feel about our bodies, how our intimate relationships & careers are faring. Saying comments like "that girl is crazy" to "he just got that job because he knew someone" all stem from judgments we make. While it is impossible to be completely nonjudgmental, limit the comments & gossiping, as the habit will facilitate more positive thinking. While I don't necessarily believe in a mysterious force called karma, I do believe people react on vibes, perceptions, & actions. If you do something good for someone else, others will see it & feel more inclined to return the gesture. We breed our destinies simply by our attitudes.