Apparent retrograde motion of Mars in 2003. (Source:Wikipedia)

Apparent retrograde motion of Mars in 2003. (Source:Wikipedia)

“Three steps forward; two steps back”:  sounds like Mars in retrograde motion.  This coming Sunday, December 20th, Mars appears to stand still for a few days and then begins retrograde motion.  Retrograde motion is when a planet appears from the earth to be moving backward in the sky.

Mars entered the sign of Leo (see category at right) in mid-October and has zoomed through 19 degrees of that sign.  (Each sign has 30 degrees.)  Now it will begin to backtrack, moving all of the way back to the beginning of Leo before it stops and begins moving ahead again in March.  Three steps forward, three steps back!

Mars represents our energy, effort, and will.  It is the urge to take action, to pursue our goals, to make it happen.  It represents the part of us that is competitive and motivated.  In the business world, it shows how effective we are in setting goals and achieving them.  Here are four ways to get the best from Mars retrograde.

1.      Revisit and review

With Mars in retrograde motion, retracing all of the ground it covered since mid-October, we can expect to revisit and review all the progress we’ve made since then.  This is an opportunity to take another look at our goals; are we accomplishing what we intended?  Although it may feel like stepping back or treading water, it’s a chance to recheck our direction.  Have we compromised our original intention?  Are we on the right track?  It’s a time to pause and consider whether new information has become available that should cause a course-correction.

2.      Set new productivity goals

In the chart of a business, Mars represents operations, productivity, and the skills of the second tier of leadership.  These may falter over the next couple of months.  The line managers and supervisors you’ve come to rely upon may experience a setback and productivity may fall.  This is in the natural order and serves the same purpose as above:  are you on the right track with your staff?  Are your expectations for productivity reasonable?  Are people working on the right projects, tackling the important assignments?

3.      Pull back and regroup

Mars also represents your competitive nature and the nature of your competitors.  If you feel you are losing ground during this period, it’s best to pull back and regroup rather than trying to overcome the opposition.  Remember, Mars is in retrograde motion for everyone, including the competition.  Use this time to plan your next move so you’re ready to act when the time comes.

4.      Experiment

Mars rules our own personal productivity.  You may feel lethargic and less than enthusiastic during its retrograde period.  Or you may persistently feel you are falling behind.  If so, take it as a sign to focus on inner work rather than outer accomplishment.  Retrograde periods are usually very useful for delving deeper into an endeavor, even though it may look like very little is being accomplished on the outside.  Explore new tools and techniques and new styles of working.  Experiment with alternate ways to maintain your productivity, such as working from home, outsourcing, or additional delegation. 

With Mars retrograde, it may look like three steps back.  It may especially feel like three steps back.  But used well, it is a fertile preparation time for renewed motion and solid gains come March.