Mars is taking a long and uncharacteristic summer nap. The MARS RETROGRADE period officially began on June 26th, however you may have felt it’s impending reversal as early as May, when the “shadow” period began.

In December I began a new job and moved to a new apartment, so I have been regimented with my time: my weekends have been full of teaching, class planning, setting up my new place, regular life chores, and getting in my own yoga practice.

Over the last few weeks, however, I find myself on random excursions, like a long, unexpected hike, when I was on my way to a coffee shop to class plan. Last Sunday, I decided to go for a “quick” lunch after teaching my morning yoga classes and then get back “to it” (i.e., to “doing” mode”), and instead I walked to the Ritz Carlton and plopped down on one of the comfy sofas in the lobby restaurant and had a glass of wine and a burger; I kept thinking how random it was that I was there (it’s not exactly my ‘go to’ spot), having wine in the afternoon, and then to make the experience even more surreal, the classy looking business woman (or so I thought) sitting next to me kept pouring, surreptitiously, what looked like champagne from a funnel that was attached to her tote bag to refill her glass as she drank it. I digress.

When I was driving to work last week, I was listing (out loud) the things that I needed to do after work. I stopped at a traffic light and saw the license plate in front of me said “Be.” During the Mars Retrograde period, something within us (maybe the child within) wants to explore and experience life. Mars is the planet that symbolizes action, and if you know anyone with Mars prominent in their natal chart, you know that they cannot sit still for long; they are restless and somewhat intense, “doers” by nature and achievement oriented, and that’s generally an admirable trait.

My friend, who has a lot of Mars energy in his natal chart and fits the description above, went to the city yesterday and wandered around all day with no plan, exploring and walking (11 miles) and eating good food; he said it was totally spontaneous and a really nice time. The Retrograde periods are about releasing plans, goals, and control and experiencing life through the lens of a child.

After all, what is it all for if you don’t take a pause once in a while? The “pause” can take the form of lying down outside on the grass (careful of tics, please) and watching the clouds go by or playing frisbee (I played a few times recently at the school I teach at — I forgot how fun it is). If you’re able to schedule a getaway, it may be the perfect time for it. Mars Retrograde is probably not the time for the “To Do” list; you have permission to put it away for the summer, although that does not mean that you cannot be productive during this period. You may find yourself circling back to old projects or tasks that you had abandoned (for me, writing is one of these ‘tasks’ I tend to circle back to), especially things that connect you to your more creative, right-brain hemisphere. If you were born with Mars retrograde then, for you, this may be an uncommonly productive time when you are in the flow of life and accomplishing tasks and projects that have alluded you.

Mars Retrograde can play out in different ways, as is always the case with Astrology, depending on your own natal chart and what is happening in your life. If you are trying to move forward with actions that don’t seem to be coming together or gaining any momentum then that’s probably your signal that now is not the time for it. Mars Retrograde can be a time when you reassess how you use your energy, and if its productive and effective for you, and it can also be a time to explore your masculine side and questions regarding balance (of masculine and feminine). For example, are you able to assert yourself in a healthy way? Do you ‘over’ assert yourself and get aggressive? Are you usually able to create the results you want with your actions, or do you believe your actions will not produce results? Are you very achievement oriented but neglecting other parts of your life? Do you tend to take the passive or more active role in relationships? Mars retro can also be a time when repressed anger comes to the surface – if this is the case, it may be the time for you to connect with this anger (e.g., therapy, writing, yoga, art, etc.) so that you can finally release it.