Mars Retrograde Effect; the lead in and the outcome
For many of us, each time Mars moves into a retrograde motion (approximately once every 25 months) we feel deeply frustrated that our activities (military, sports, leadership, exercise and general zest for life) seem to be put on hold. It was interesting to watch the Winter Olympics this year as some of the more aggressive sports were down played or the more aggressive participants were marginalized. This could have been as a result of the Mars Retrograde Effect (MRE). While normally, the Mars in Leo transit would have been great for showcasing individual talents, this MRE in Leo actually seemed to be better suited for showcasing teamwork and handling adversity. The Mars Retrograde Effect can stymie many event organizers and leaders since it seems to undermine productive outcomes. In a nutshell, the MRE takes the edge off of Mars' expected productivity. However, after the retrograde is complete, there can be a period of shock and awe as malicious actions seem to catch us unaware of their potential.
Essentially when there is a retrograde motion of any planet, there is a lead in period where the planet move across the territory of the sign that will be revisited during the planet's retrograde. This territory has been called the pre-shadow territory. The shadow territory is the area the planet will transit through three times; once before the retrograde station, once after the retrograde station, and once again after the direct station (aka station direct). Within the retrograde and post retrograde shadow, there will almost always be a type of lull as we feel as though nothing is working to our advantage, so we begin to ease off after a period of seemingly fruitless attempts. We may become more passive and less alert to potential threats.
Included here is a visual explanation of the Mars Retrograde shadow period. We see the "beginning dates" leading into the first period of the shadow, the revisiting of that territory during the retrograde, then the revisit after Mars moves direct motion again and finally the point of exodus from the shadow. When we understand how this works, we can begin to maximize on the MRE.
Initially, as Mars moves into the pre-shadow period, we truly do not sense any change to our activities or behaviors, but as we get closer to the retrograde station, we may begin to sense that we are starting to bog down a little or becoming less responsive to stimuli. After the retrograde station, we definitely sense the change. We may push harder only to become more exhausted. We may try to throw our weight around, but find that others are equally aggressive or totally ignoring our attempts to be assertive. After Mars stations direct into the post-retrograde shadow, we feel the weight starting to lift, but we are definitely more passive than we were in the pre-shadow period. We start to get our energies back. However, we continue to feel somewhat lethargic and even a bit lack-luster in our performances.
Shortly after Mars is released from the shadow, we are likely to notice more aggression, but we may have been dulled to the point of not realizing them as threats. This release period is potentially the most dangerous for us.
As we can see from the example above, the Mars exodus occurred just prior to a sign change and most notably, just prior to a very significant date in U.S. history, 9/11/2001. The exit from the shadow period for Mars is similar to the bull that has been penned up too long. There's a sense of confusion, rage, and unfortunately, a period of lashing out at the innocents. This feeling is intensified when the end of the retrograde shadow is near the cusp of the next sign. The MRE storms into the new sign 100% disoriented. Thankfully, most times, the Mars retrograde shadow territory will culminate after already ingressing into the sign or near the middle of the sign making a less tumultuous outcome, overall.
Some examples of the Mars Retrograde Storm with near cusp transitions:
Typically, within a day to a week after the end of the Mars retrograde shadow transit ending, a threat or aggressive action can catch us off guard, jolting us by the audacity of the action. The act is typically perceived more as a shock following the Mars release from retrograde shadow. The act can be seen as more threatening when there has been a sign change within a few days following the Mars exodus of the retrograde shadow. Our sense of safety is almost always shaken after the news sinks in. Essentially, this is the Mars Retrograde Effect.[J McCaul]