Below I have listed some of the possible manifestations of retrograde Mars energy through the houses. This article has been updated for 2020 so I have listed which house is relevant for which sign in red. Please read for your Ascendant/Rising sign if you know if for best accuracy. If you don’t know your Ascendant/Rising sign then read for your Sun sign. I have explored negative manifestations (Hand to Hand Combat!) and what possible actions or strategic position may be useful to take. Bear in mind that Mars may also aspect other planets and points, triggering other areas of your chart. Mars retrograde is also a good time to ponder your natal Mars position and find out how your Mars energy works for you.
Essentially Mars is there to work for you, not against you. He’s the one you call on when you need a bit of oomph – when you’re in a rush; when you start something new; when you fancy the pants off someone; when you’re working against the clock; when you set yourself a challenge. He’s there when you leap up and dance at a party; when you get excited over something or someone and he’s there when you need to defend yourself. He’s your own personal warrior.
Mars retrograde in the 1st house – 2020 ARIES
Hand to Hand Combat: Conserve your energy, accidents or injury can happen from trying to push yourself too hard. You can’t seem to take the initiative; inaction; you can’t seem to get ahead; you feel like you’re losing the race; you feel like you can’t compete; you have a temperature; three steps forward; two steps back; you’re coming across as passive aggressive; blocked at every turn; feeling dowdy and in need of a make-over.
Strategy: Being willing to slow down; letting go of the idea of ‘winning’; why are you fighting yourself? Appreciating slow progress; reflecting upon recent actions and their results; boosting your image.
Mars retrograde in the 2nd House – 2020 PISCES
Hand to Hand Combat: Income may slow to a trickle; arguments over income and expenditure; your values seem at odds with others; a lack of resources causes frustration; your sense of self -esteem is low; confidence is lacking; things feel worthless; you feel worthless; insecurity; feeling things are being taken from you; feeling you don’t have enough to survive; surviving not thriving.
Strategy: Holding off making large purchases or financial commitments; make small investments; appreciating the slow-build; figuring out why you are angry with yourself; exploring where you deny yourself, making the best of what you have.
Mars retrograde in the 3rd House – 2020 AQUARIUS
Hand to Hand Combat: Sore throat; screaming inside; angry thoughts; the idea is a non-starter; feeling that your not allowed to put across your point of view; feeling you have to defend your point of view; biting your tongue with neighbours or siblings; feeling mentally dull; blunt words; idle gossip; going round in circles; feeling that you’re not learning fast enough; slow journeys frustrate you; the car breaks down; short-tempered; short circuit.
Strategy: Allow yourself time to think; think before speaking; sharpen your thoughts; learn to control your temper; be willing to go over what you have learned before; go back to basics; hone in on the information you need; read books that have just been sat on the shelf; drive carefully; wait before purchasing a new vehicle.
Mars retrograde in the 4th House – 2020 CAPRICORN
Hand to Hand Combat: Repressed anger at your parents; rocky foundations; work needs doing on your home but time, money or energy isn’t available; feeling like you can’t get things finished; there’s no light at the end of the tunnel; the past is too present; shaky inside; family responsibilities sap your energy; a house move delayed; spending less time at home due to overtime at work.
Strategy: Do one thing at a time; Rome wasn’t built in a day; let go of past resentments; choose your base carefully; consider restructuring, renovating or moving (but don’t rush it); fortify your home; make peace with the past.
Mars retrograde in the 5th House –2020 SAGITTARIUS
Hand to Hand Combat: Fun seems in short supply; romance goes off the boil; all work and no play; creative projects don’t appeal; stage-fright; bored in bed; the gamble didn’t pay off; we are not amused! Children acting up; kids taking more time and energy than usual; a sick child; wanting to spend more time with the kids; wanting to spend time away from the kids (!); battling to finish a creative project; not really knowing what you want; feeling like you’ve lost your spark.
Strategy: It’s ok to question who you are; look for ways to rediscover your passion in all forms of the word; redefine your creative projects and choose what really excites you; find or remember your old toys; be a child again; spend quiet time with the children; make time for pleasure; maintain a positive outlook
Mars retrograde in the 6th House –2020 SCORPIO
Hand to Hand Combat: Withdrawing from conflict with co-workers; feeling bullied by co-workers; unable to keep on top of chores or your to-do list; low energy, susceptibility to colds and flu; a sick pet; broken routines; unexpected nuisances; feeling unable to give your all in the workplace; feeling tired at work; delayed projects at work.
Strategy: A need to recall scattered energy and focus on what’s important; overhaul routines to become more effective; improve your skill-set, show humility; resolve conflict with colleagues; ensure your pets are getting enough exercise/stimulation; organise your life; stop burning the candle at both ends; make changes to benefit your physical body; reinforce your diet.
Mars retrograde in the 7th House –2020 LIBRA
Hand to Hand Combat: Brewing conflict with your partner; fear of confrontation with open enemies; a withdrawal from a relationship (physically or emotionally); feeling brow-beaten by your partner; being attracted to someone else when you’re already with someone; an old flame reappears; feeling like you’ve lost the argument; feeling like your defences have been taken down.
Strategy: Learning that arguments aren’t the end of the world; love the person but hate the crime; arguing like a grown-up; adult discussion instead of a slanging match; understanding both your own and your partner’s defences; a need to remove your armour to come to an agreement; the art of negotiation and compromise; asserting yourself without aggression; let others see your passion.
Mars retrograde in the 8th House –2020 VIRGO
Hand to Hand Combat: Feeling powerless; the loan doesn’t come through; the tax bill is more than expected; refused help; sexual problems; lack of desire; feeling undesired or undesirable; power games; conflicting sexual needs or desires; you don’t understand why; a struggle to understand yourself; fearing the unknown; feeling unable to deal with loss.
Strategy: Unearthing the truth; facing your own darkness; being willing to drop your guard to experience true intimacy; dealing with sexual problems openly; accepting your sexual nature; making a plan to pay off debts; knowing you will survive; learning to share; aggressive self-analysis; entering research mode; understanding what you’ve inherited; looking death in the eye **
**Mars in the 8th house can bring up death issues both physically and psychologically however you cannot predict that you or another person will die just from one transit of Mars. Don’t scare yourself!
Mars retrograde in the 9th House – 2020 LEO
Hand to Hand Combat: You don’t know what to believe anymore; a loss of faith; you can’t make your mind up; adverse legal problems; feeling like the law isn’t on your side; final exams delayed; a withdrawal of interest in your subject of expertise; nowhere to turn to for guidance; wanting to run away; flights delayed; the visa doesn’t come through; the holiday is a let-down; you seriously need a holiday.
Strategy: Being willing to explore your beliefs; examining your faith without judgement; trying a different place of worship; calmly defending what you believe in; removing yourself to neutral ground; deferring to the advice of others; going back to what first triggered your interest; being willing to move on to a new area of study if your current one no longer excites you; not pinning all your hopes on something or someone else; look beyond your own back door; not being afraid of something you don’t understand.
Mars retrograde in the 10th House – 2020 CANCER
Hand to Hand Combat: Off sick from work; redundancy; brewing conflict with your boss or superiors; having your toes trodden on; feeling like you’re never going to get up the career ladder; having to swallow your ego; unsure whether you want to pursue your vocation; difficulty asserting your authority; wanting to go it alone; finding it hard to work with others; procrastination; problems with parents; damaged reputation; change of status; withdrawing from the public eye.
Strategy: Taking a sabbatical; making room for other things in your life besides work; reassessing your career; taking a step back so others can take charge; allowing someone else to lead; appreciating what you do; analysing your relationship with authority; getting in touch with your inner authority; work on developing your expertise; fortify your public self; being clear about who or what you want to be seen as, acknowledging your achievements.
Mars retrograde in the 11th House –2020 GEMINI
Hand to Hand Combat: Irritation with friends; unable to work with the group; feeling that there are too many problems in the world; feeling like a lone voice; a dream achieved no longer fulfils; feeling disconnected from the wider community; feeling like things are never going to change; disliking the way society is going; withdrawal of funds/energy for charity projects.
Strategy: Needing to accept friends as they are, needing friends to accept you as you are; realising that many small acts can change the world; realising that you alone can’t change the world – but you can change your world; making appropriate connections; letting go of an ideal; deciding on your next goal; recognising life is a constant process of change; being in the now; choosing to protect the underdog.
Mars retrograde in the 12th House –2020 TAURUS
Hand to Hand Combat: Difficulty sleeping; sleeping too much; nightmares or disturbing dreams; unable to face your demons; afraid of being alone; running out of excuses; doubt; feeling unable to set any boundaries; self-sabotage; self-harm; self-defeating attitudes; irrational fear.
Strategy: Face your demons; tackle your fears; become comfortable with your own company; write down your dreams; become aware of unconscious patterns that adversely affect you; work to remove negative conditioning; practice encouraging self talk; learn to protect yourself; practice active meditation such as chanting or tai chi.