Mars Retrograde in Cancer/Gemini

(November 15th, 2007 - January 30th, 2008)

Alright, how many of you have struggled the last couple months with major family issues, wanting to control others, your mother complex, feeling unappreciated for all your efforts, latent repressed anger, fatigue, getting sick and staying sick for weeks on end, past actions biting you in the butt, blocked courses of action, or apathy? Anyone? Well, if this speaks to you, then you definitely have a case of the Mars Retrograde blues.

Retrograde motion is something that all the planets do, which simply means that they 'appear' to go backward in the sky from time to time based on our earthly orbit and their own orbits around the Sun. Without getting to involved in the mechanics of retrogression, suffice it to say that the retrograde motion of any planet has deep symbolic significance regarding the archetypal energy that planet represents and how we relate to and integrate it in our lives. So before I decode this latest Mars Retrograde cycle and elucidate how you can best use it constructively, let's first assess Mars as an archetype, and also how you may manifest it in your life.


The mythological roots of this planet first come to us via the ancient Greek god Ares, who was seven hundred feet tall and known to throw tantrums during the bloody battles of Troy. He wasn't a revered god by the Greeks per se, primarily being associated with war and strife - though he was worshipped by the Amazons, the warrior women that also gave allegiance to the fiercely independent goddess Artemis.

Yet, the Romans gave Ares a bit of a makeover when they adopted him into their pantheon of gods, and named him Mars. In fact, he became a civilized father figure having fathered Romulus and Remus - the founders of Rome - and was thus called The Generative Force. With the Romans, the Greek Ares transformed from a figure full of infantile rage and war lust, to a patron god of agriculture, builders, and craftsman. This mythic backdrop to our astrological Mars represents the dualism found within this archetype: that though the Mars archetype is primitive and impulsive, he is also civilized and courageous.

The primitive side of Mars relates to the fundamental human instinct to survive in spite of all odds, even if that means one must control and conquer the environment and others. The civilized side connects with the drive to take a useful course of willful action, supported by a sense of nobility that is focused and infused with both personal and social concern.

Astronomically, Mars is the first planet outside of Earth's orbit and symbolically this speaks to how we must use our Mars energy (our passion, will, and desire) and extend it out into the greater world that lies beyond our personal sense of identity. We must use our martial energy to initiate action and self-express. Without a doubt, Mars is a masculine force of our individuation process (becoming what we were born to be) that serves our life's purpose by getting things done! Mars relates to the Animus, Jung's name for the idealized image of the masculine that each of us carries deep within our psyche. The Animus deals with issues of potency, mastery of life and the environment via our will power, and externalized self-expression. Without a Mars, we wouldn't get out of bed in the morning to meet the Sun each day, to meet our lives.

One way to recognize the psychological emergence of this archetype is to spend a full day with a two year old! When we are two years old we experience our first Mars return (as it takes Mars two years to go around the Sun, it takes it two years to return back to where it was when we were born.) By the time we are two years old it has become necessary for us to break from the psychic fusion with our mother and start a journey toward our own individual identity - a process many of us get stuck in the whole of our lives!

Though we each have a Mars, our souls have forged contracts to incarnate and express it differently. And we are prone to more shadow ways of expressing it if we grew up in family or cultural systems that wounded or repressed our Mars. This often occurs when, as children, we were not given the tools of how to deal with healthy expressions of aggression, assertion, anger, and autonomy (which I suspect would be just about all of us, no? lol!)

If you were not encouraged by your parents to develop and explore your own healthy needs to assert and be aggressive, or if you were physically threatened, abused or punished, your Mars principle may have been damaged or blocked. When this happens, we find ourselves at the mercy of various personal Martial archetypes that manifest in extreme forms; from The Coward to The Bully-or at its worst, The Tyrant!

Aggression is not inherently bad. Healthy aggression, in fact, can save our lives. But even healthy aggression can be blocked, manifesting as depression, illness, or the need to harm others to feel empowered.

That said, let me give you a sense of a few personal archetypal expressions of Mars. See if you connect to them, and remember some of them are shadow manifestations that show up as destructive forces in someone who has a wounded Mars. I will connect some of these personal archetypes of Mars to this retrograde cycle.

Each of these archetypes contains our primary need to assert and express our Martial independence and identity. Each relates to our fundamental need to affirm our will power and our ability to control our environment. Some Martial archetypes also bring in elements of sexuality, as sexuality often relates to the capacity to dominate or control others via our potency. Here, as with all archetypes, some express in positive and affirmative directions--fostering a forward flow of the Mars principle into life--while others manifest from a blocked or repressed Mars.

Remember, our soul agreed to a certain style as a primary way of engaging with Mars in this lifetime. Take a moment and reflect on the various ways in which you manifest your personal need to actively affirm yourself. Try to get a sense of how this is manifesting in your life now. Is it allowing for action that affirms you to be engaged in your life?

Personal Archetypes of Mars

The Warrior, The Knight, The Tyrant, The Pioneer, The Advocate, The Initiator, The Coach, The Action Hero, The Hunter, The Daredevil, The Leader, The Survivor, The Bully, The Conqueror, The Emperor, The Aggressor, The Coward, The Wimp, The Sissy, The Avenger, The Defender, The Athlete, The Competitor, The Hero/Heroine, The Liberator, The Activist, The Patriarch, The Master, The Revolutionary, The Bitch, The Manipulator, The Macho Guy, The Soldier, The Procrastinator, The Couch-potato, The Fighter, The Passive-Aggressive

Mars Retrograde in Cancer and Gemini

On November 15th, 2007 Mars stationed retrograde at 12 degrees Cancer. It reached the mid-point of its retrograde cycle December 24th, 2007 when Mars opposed the Sun in Capricorn. It would have been around this time that the Mars retrograde 'message' would have become apparent or boiled up to a crescendo - rendering you more conscious of where you haven't been managing your Mars well. What synchronicity that this happened to fall on Christmas!

For many clients this retrograde has brought about various martial themes - all connected with the Cancer archetype. For example, many of my male clients have been struggling with issues of feeling impotent and incapable of harnessing enough ambition, courage, and drive to go out there and conquer their fears so that they can take care of their basic security needs. Other clients have faced struggles around old family issues coming to the fore that center on buried rage and emotional betrayals. Many female clients have come to me with issues around motherhood ranging from wanting to have children and not being able to (fertility), to miscarriages, to looking at their own wounds and wounding through motherhood.

Furthermore, there have been many clients and friends of mine that have struggled with basic energy levels and health issues. Many folks have come down with viruses and infections that just won't go away! It's as if this retrograde has brought about these agencies to force a reevaluation of how we manage our raw life force energy (Mars), so that we can address where we have been exerting our personal will and power in efforts to control things we simply cannot; most notably the emotional well being and affections of others (Cancer) which give us a sense of security.

In addition, this retrograde has brought a deep evaluation of where we continue to give over our will and energy to others connected to our past tribal identity out of a worn out sense of loyalty ( whether that be familial, social, religious, ethnic, etc). This Mars Retrograde asks us if this is affirming for our new emerging needs of personal expansion and Destiny.

Overall this Mars retrograde asks us to reassess how we use our Mars archetypes. Here are some questions for your consideration in that regard!

Questions to help assess your Mars archetypes:

Do you take direct and quick action in life to get what you want? Or are you more passive-aggressive, needing to be more covert in asserting your agendas? Is that serving your overall sense of integrity?

What action do you typically adopt when you want to "get things done"? Do you procrastinate? Are you capable of going after what you truly want?

How do you handle anger? Do you avoid it and stuff it down? Do you take it out on others in forms of abuse? Do you go work it off at the gym? Was anger an emotion your family allowed you to feel?

How do you assert your needs with others? Are you direct with people about your needs? Or do you get passive-aggressive?

How is your sexual energy expressed? Do you need to dominate another sexually to feel potent? Do you feel dominated by others?

How do you most consistently seek to establish your potency in life? Do you take risks and enjoy conquering challenges, or do you sit on the couch and only dream of what you could become?

The Mars retrograde ends on January 30th when Mars stations direct. We are then left to integrate all that has surfaced during the past two months while it was retrograde, which will hopefully allow us to chart a new course forward regarding how we take action to procure emotional Cancerian security for our lives.

Ah, but not so fast, don't jump for ego joy just yet! On January 28th Mercury goes retrograde stirring up themes that have already been brewing since January 13th when it entered its retrograde zone at 13 degrees Aquarius! A subject I will give full attention in my next newsletter coming out next week, stay tuned!

Until then, I hope that this article has helped you make some sense of your life events and perhaps frustrations of late. Don't forget, this is a well ordered cosmos, but there is, in the end, very little our ego can control regarding that order - something this Mars Retrograde asks us to remember, no doubt!

I love hearing from you. Please feel free to send any comments to me at

Until next week...

Robert Ohotto

Coming soon in future newsletters: Mercury Retrograde in Aquarius - Saturn in Virgo - Jupiter in Capricorn - Pluto in Capricorn - Robert's new book Transforming Fate Into Destiny - Updates on Robert's media appearances - and much more!

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