Mars is the driving force behind action, and it has gone retrograde and out of bounds for the duration of 2022. Mars is impacting the astrology forecast in extremely unusual ways. It has been transiting Gemini since mid-August, and will remain in this sign until late March. So we’re in this for the long haul, and may as well try to understand the warrior planet’s message. Let’s start with the basic questions: what does “retrograde and out of bounds” actually mean?

Mars Retrograde

Retrogrades are based on perceived motion. Planets don’t actually move backwards in their orbits– but from our perspective here on Earth, they appear to slow down and back up at regular intervals. Astrology is the study of our relationship to the sky above. When planets turn retrograde, they symbolize an internalization of their energy– an opportunity for review, reflection, and reorganization. Mars goes retrograde approximately every two years, and the cycle lasts about 80 days. This one began on October 30 and ends on January 12, 2023.

Mars Out of Bounds

Planets can also move above and below the ecliptic, which is basically like the plane of the equator projected into outer space. In astrology, the Sun represents the “god” of the universe– the central values that establish the core of our identity. When planets move beyond the range of the Sun (defined as 23 degrees and 28 minutes above and below the ecliptic), they’re considered outside the normal rules of engagement. Just like in sports terminology, out of bounds planets are beyond the limits.

Mars went out of bounds on October 22, and will remain out there for an extraordinarily long period of time. It’s not coming back until early May. That’s over six months of Mars out of bounds, in the cosmic wilderness. Mars is stirring up the passion to reinvent some aspect of our lives, to throw out the traditional script and breathe fresh life into our approach. But there are definitely some pitfalls to be aware of with its uncontrollable nature.

Mars in Gemini

Mars rules self-assertion and the power of the will. Since entering Gemini, Mars is living in our minds. Gemini correlates with logic and perception. It is curious, spontaneous, and alert to new information. With Mars in Gemini, that warrior energy is quick to experiment, to jump to conclusions, and to identify with our ideas. Steven Forrest describes Mars as the indicator of where we must righteously defend our values. But the trouble is that in Gemini, Mars is scattered, restless, and excitable. So there’s a tendency to go off on tangents, confusing others with meaningless words in order to deflect and evade real dialogue.

Mars retrograde and out of bounds increases the likelihood of those tactics grabbing the steering wheel of our lives. Worst case scenario: either people agree with us or we leave. Mars shows us where we need to get braver. If we fail to do so, it fuels fear and panic. The warrior needs dignity, and when we avoid those conflicts we’re afraid of, the anger turns inward. We feel weak, bitter, and scared of the next attack from the outside. There are a few trigger dates when this energy is the strongest– the times when the Moon (also out of bounds) transits through Gemini and conjoins Mars, and the times when the Moon transits Sagittarius and opposes Mars. That occurs on November 11 and 24, and then again on December 7 and 21.

Navigating with Mars

Mars retrograde and out of bounds offers a time to reevaluate our mental defenses. Try to be aware of those pitfalls– where fear of honest exchange creates a need to rationalize and distract. Mars in Gemini is not necessarily focused on strategy because it’s so reactive and swift to adapt to immediate circumstances. That means we’re saying words just to protect ourselves from listening, and defending every angle because there is no unifying truth. But that’s just the low road. The real potential of this cycle is growth– discovering radical new solutions to old problems by rechanneling our strength and considering totally alternative pathways forward.

To find out exactly how this Mars retrograde is affecting your life, check out this quick reading available for a limited time.

“Fear is natural. Courage is feeling it and operating in a way consistent with solar values. Every time you do something brave, you get braver.” -Steven Forrest


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