Mars Retrograde in Aries – 2020

Mars is fight or flight. It’s your instinctive relationship to danger, whether it’s for the thrill, to test yourself, or to prove that you are brave.

Mars is the energy that drives you forward when faced with a challenge. It’s that fire in the belly that propels you to go faster, further, and more furiously.

Mars is how you get what you want just because you want it. Mars is raw. Mars is primitive. Mars keeps you alive and kicking.

And Mars loves to be at home in Aries.

Due to the retrograde cycle, Mars will be in Aries for 6 months, substantially longer than the usual 6 weeks in a sign.

Mars in Aries is tough, uncompromising, and often intimidating. This is a placement that never backs down from a just fight, although it may take some time to work out that not all fights are worthy of a noble warrior’s attention.

Mars is Aries is a raw expression of one’s own authenticity. Other’s may find it coarse, but for Mars in Aries, it’s impossible to be anything other than true to themselves – even if it means making a few enemies on the way.

Mars in Aries speaks though actions. It’s not about appearance or reputation. It’s about the walking, not the talking.

All of this confident bravado gets tangled when Mars goes retrograde. You second-guess yourself. You question your motivation. You wonder about the consequences of projecting yourself out into the world.

Preparation and patience are the best ways to deal with the frustration of Mars retrograde. Aries, the cardinal fire sign, prefers impulse and immediacy, and herein lies the challenge and opportunity of this Mars retrograde.

Rushing, taking short-cuts, expecting instant gratification will lead to flare-ups of all kinds (physical, emotional, interpersonal, etc. depending on your natal chart configuration) as the raging heat turns inward. Containment and control are required to avoid destructive wildfires and eventual burn-out.

Mars and Saturn

Saturn is conveniently on hand in Capricorn to offer retrograde Mars lessons in containment and control.

Both Saturn in Capricorn and Mars in Aries prefer to work hard for their goals.

Mars in Aries has a preference for rapid results, but if anyone can do it, they don’t want it. They need a challenge.

Saturn is the challenge. To conquer the obstacle, to earn approval and respect, to attain mastery through experience, means you have proven your worth.

Won or lost, Mars respects a battle well fought. However, this belief is under duress during Mars retrograde. You question what you’re fighting for and if it’s worth it after all.

Saturn is the acceptance of reality, without the emotional highs and lows. Saturn in Capricorn is immune to the simmering rage of retrograde Mars in Aries.

Saturn is the emptiness in your belly after you gasp with fear. He is the lingering vacuum of depression and loneliness. Retrograde Mars in Aries rails against the lack of an opponent and turns on himself.

Saturn in Capricorn is experience, delays, slow progress, social expectations, boundaries, the rules. Saturn reminds you of your limits and enforces them when necessary. Retrograde Mars in Aries wants none of that and he wants it now.

When these two planets get together, it’s a cosmic arm-wrestle between the hot-blooded youth and the experienced master.

During the military manoeuvres between retrograde Mars and Saturn, it’s time for the soldier to step back from the frontline and work with the general to align tactics with strategy.

Saturnian strategy is your destination, your long-term goal, and how you’re going to get there. Martian tactics are the specific actions and tasks you will accomplish along the way.

Mars Retrograde Timeline

Take a deep breath and prepare to wait. Action planet, Mars is retrograde from 10 September – 15 November.

All the action – or rather, lack of action – happens from 28° – 15° Aries, Mars’ home sign.

Mars retrograde in Aries means the red planet is not able to propel his agenda forward at breakneck speed, although this won’t stop him trying.

The desire to move forward and the inability to make progress is compounded by the involvement of Saturn, which is simultaneously grinding to at a halt. Saturn stations direct as Mars stations retrograde.

When Mars begins his retrograde at 28° Aries, he’s barely cleared the square to Saturn that perfected on 24 August.

With the square to Saturn, which looks like it’s separated but it’s re-applying, there’s a sense at the start of this Mars retrograde that the hard work is done, that you’ve cleared the obstacle, and are on your way. Except it’s not, you didn’t, and you aren’t. You’re going to be hashing this out at least until mid-November.

Saturn, having visited Aquarius earlier in 2020, is busy tending to unfinished business in the last 5 degrees of Capricorn.

Mars is almost at the exit but he’s lost speed. You can see the finish line, you’re almost there – and then you get called back to deal with the consequences of your need for speed/thrills/danger.

Mars retrograde in Aries will see an internalisation of anger, suppressed motivation, intense ruminating, lack of action, and definitely plenty of frustration.

While you are less able to make an impact in the outer world, it’s an excellent time to hone your skills and increase your mental and physical fitness, like a boxer before a bout.

Wherever you have Aries and Scorpio (the other Mars ruled sign) in your chart, the answer will be a firm and immovable no. The challenge is to sit with the inertia of this period, and work methodically on your master plan.

29 June                Mars moves into Aries                   0° Aries

24 Aug                 Mars square Saturn Rx                  26° Aries/Capricorn 

10 Sep                  Mars Rx begins                                28° Aries (Mars lingers on this degree from 5 – 14 Sep)

30 Sep                  Saturn Rx ends                                25° Capricorn (Saturn lingers on this degree from 1 Sep – 28 Oct)

30 Sep                  Mars Rx square Saturn SD            25° Aries/Capricorn

9 Oct                    Mars Rx square Pluto                    22° Aries/Capricorn

19 Oct                  Mars Rx square Jupiter                 19° Aries/Capricorn

15 Nov                 Mars Rx ends                                  15° Aries (Mars lingers on this degree from 4 -23 Nov)

7 Jan 2021           Mars moves into Taurus               0° Taurus

Mercury Retrograde in Scorpio

It’s not just the house occupied by Aries that will be challenged during Mars retrograde.

Mars also rules Scorpio and while retrograde will be less efficient bringing about results in this area of your life.

Keep an eye on the house occupied by Scorpio in your natal chart, especially in the latter half of October. From 15 Oct to 3 Nov, Mercury will be retrograde in Scorpio, adding additional challenges to this sector around Mercurial themes of thought, communication, and travel.

Late October is likely to be a broody couple of weeks, where you ruminate on the difficulties and search for the deeper motivation and inner significance underlying external events.

Saturn is likely to have the upper hand in the square during this period. Mars does not have an outlet and is hemmed in on all sides.

Avoid this period for starting anything new or trying to make things happen as your motivation is going to be AWOL and your mind will be preoccupied.

The good news is that Mercury retrograde offers a different perspective on the situation at hand and, with a little Scorpionic digging and delving, you may just instinctively find a way out of your Mars-Saturn bind. It probably won’t be appealing or pleasant, but a way out is a way out.

More on the tense standoff between Mars + Saturn,
plus sign-specific suggestions for enduring it.