Mars Retrograde 2016 – Don’t Stop Evolving

mars retrograde 2016


During 2016, Mars retrograde period occurs during April 18th – June 29th.

The affected degree areas in your horoscope are (in reverse order): 08 Sagittarius – 23 Scorpio. If you have planets or angles within this zone, the above period will have more significance to you.


During the 2-year orbit of Mars, there is a period of several months where – observed nightly – Mars appears to be moving in reverse of his usual direction.  This is called Mars retrograde period.  If you were born during Mars retrograde period, you’ll see a little ‘Rx’ or just ‘r’ marking by your natal Mars symbol in your natal chart.

In this article we’ll focus on transiting Mars retrograde, which will be significant regardless of your natal Mars being direct or retrograde.



marsIn astrology Mars means “applied energy.”  See that arrow pointing out from the circle?  It’s the symbol of Sun’s energy being applied toward a specific purpose.  There are literally thousands of ways you can choose to use your Mars energy – and your natal Mars placement (sign, house, aspect and midpoint) gives you a clue about which direction you need to direct it in order to fulfill your life purpose.


In astrology, each planetary cycle (e.g. Jupiter’s 12-year cycle or Saturn’s 29.5-year cycle) represents a fulfillment of the planet’s symbolism, and a time to move up to a next level of its expression.  This is why Saturn cycle often involves career advancement or a complete change of vocation, and Jupiter cycle involves success or expansion into a next level of material/intellectual expression.

In the case of Mars, it completes the orbit every 2 years – so Mars returns to its natal position in your horoscope every two years.  This means every two years, your way of applying your energy is evolving.  What does that mean?

Think about it this way: It takes 2 years for you to get an advanced degree. 2 years to learn a foreign language or a musical instrument.  2 years to make solid progress in therapy.  2 years to get trained in most discipline of work…and so on.  This means when you focus your effort on a specific goal, you get to the “next level” in about two years.

If you’re in business, you might feel a bit stagnant with the “same old way” in 2 years and try to do something differently, maybe expand into a different market niche, or develop a separate product or service, etc (look at Apple and its product innovation cycle in the last 15 years, from iPod, iTunes store, iPhone, iPad to Apple Watch, etc. It dominated the marketplace so far by focusing on continuous innovation – some other companies didn’t and they did not survive.)

By continuing to focus your effort on growth in a specific area, your skill and expression evolves and goes to a next level.  Mars cycle reminds you to make sure you keep evolving, or else…You might stop growing (in business, relationship, spirituality – whatever areas that you’re passionate about.)


Transiting planets invite you to evolve.  In the case of Mars, it pushes you to apply your energy toward what’s important (your relationship, work, creativity etc.)  The longer a transit lasts, the more powerful and insistent the “invitation” becomes (e.g. Saturn’s invitation might feel more like a summons to a police court).

When Mars retrogrades, it retraces its steps for a few months and goes forward again, thereby passing the same points in your horoscope three times.  Mars will transit the degree areas between 23 Scorpio and 08 Sagittarius from mid February to August like this:


Mars direct: [February 18 – April 16] transits between  23 Scorpio – 08 Sagittarius.

Mars station retrograde: April 17 at 08 Sagittarius.

Mars retrograde: [April 18 – June 29] transits between 08 Sagittarius – 23 Scorpio.

Mars station direct: June 30 at 23 Scorpio.

Mars direct: [July 1 – August 22] transits between 23 Scorpio – 08 Sagittarius.


What does this mean for your horoscope? It means any planet or point you have within this degree range will be transited 3 times by Mars within a span of 5 months.  That’s a pretty long transit, so the pressure to evolve your way of applying your energy will be strong.


Here are some thoughts about what you might focus on during the Mars retrograde period:

  1. Consider what planets or points you have in the degree areas [23 Scorpio – 08 Sagittarius].  This zone in your chart has been going through some major reconstruction thanks to the passage of Saturn last year in the same area, and now Mars has been passing through it since mid February.   What kind of change did you have to make in the areas suggested by the planet last year (and last month)?  Is the change going well?  If not, here comes more opportunities to work on it…
  2. What houses does this degree area occupy in your natal chart?  Most likely you’ve been forced to grow a lot in this area during last year, and more lessons might have been cropping up in this arena since February.

Consider the following thoughts for the houses being transited by retrograde Mars:

Mars retrograde through 1st house: It’s time to develop your style of self-expression and self-assertion.  Know that it’s possible to be constructive and assertive at the same time…

Mars retrograde through 2nd house: It’s time to work on your self-worth and confidence. You’ve worked hard this past year, now do not be afraid to show others what you can do…

Mars retrograde through 3rd house: It’s time to renew your way of thinking and communicating.  Have you gotten too serious for your own good?  If you’re seriously studying something, this is the time to buckle down and dig deeper – there will be a breakthrough at the end!

Mars retrograde through 4th house: It’s time to strengthen the new foundation you set in your home and life last year.  What is the emotional value that is motivating you – what is it all for?  It’s time to take care of what truly matters…

Mars retrograde through 5th house: It’s time for your creative expression to evolve. If you’ve been working on honing your talent, this is the time to start expressing it on stage.  5th house also has to do with giving of love in relationship and sex – make sure your effort is contributing to the long term success of your relationship in this area as well.

Mars retrograde through 6th house: It’s time to give, but perhaps in a new way.  6th house has to do with your attitude toward work and service.  Has your work or service become drudgery?  If so, it’s time to seriously review why you do what you do, so you can reignite your passion to help others.

Mars retrograde through 7th house: It’s time to reevaluate your relationships, as well as how you relate to the public (think customers, students, clients.)  Are you holding yourself back unduly, or perhaps the way you assert yourself needs a little more tweaking?  Either way these relationships are calling for your attention, so give them focus at this period to see what needs to be improved.

Mars retrograde through 8th house: It’s time to delve deeply into healing work.  You’ve been working hard the past year, either helping others or going through your own healing journey.  There is more digging to do at this time period, which will prove to be productive in the end.

Mars retrograde through 9th house: It’s time to expand your faith and worldview.  If your belief in life has been tested during the past year, you’ve probably become stronger in your faith as a result.  It may be time to speak out and express what you know.  If you travel, keep a notebook with you and discover how your worldview is evolving during this time period.  If you’re working on a course of study, know that much learning is taking place within you at this time.

Mars retrograde through 10th house: It’s time to review your career or business strategy!  If you’ve been able to make solid progress during the past year, expect more activities during this time period.  If you’ve been reorganizing your career or business, this is the time to reassess your strategy.  If what you’re doing is not working, maybe it’s time to change direction.  If you feel you’re on the right track, then apply laser sharp focus to the area of your work you consider important during this period.

Mars retrograde through 11th house: It’s time to reenergize your community involvement.  You may have cut ties with some friends during the past year out of necessity, and you may need to do so again if these relationships are toxic to you.  However, it’s also a good time to consider what kind of groups you do want to be involved in, and connect (or reconnect) with people that reflect your goals and values more fully.

Mars retrograde through 12th house: It’s time to put in some spiritual work. Whether it takes the form of prayer or artistic expression, you need to feel the connection with the unseen realm of existence.  If you’ve been working hard in this area for the past year, then this is going to be a period of deeper work that leads to breakthrough.



You will be impacted more strongly by this year’s Mars retrograde period if there is a planet or an Angle in the degree areas [23 Scorpio – 08 Sagittarius].  The key insight is to recognize that you’ve been experiencing Saturn transits to the same zone during the past year.  How have you been experiencing this?

As an additional note, Pluto stations and turns retrograde at just about the same time as Mars, on April 17th.  This double station is making some people nervous (the implication for potential violence is clear).  While there is not much we can do about the collective situation surrounding us, on an individual level this signal strengthens the power of this retrograde period to initiate a serious effort toward changing the way we apply our energy.


Do you have a Mars retrograde story from past experience you want to share?  From your horoscope, what do you anticipate this year’s Mars retrograde will be about?  Feel free to share your thoughts and experience in the comment section.


About Hiroki Niizato

Hiroki Niizato is a professional consulting astrologer in Florida, serving clients in US and abroad. He has been practicing astrology professionally since 2001. Hiroki is a highest honor graduate of the demanding Master’s Degree Certification Course in Astrology by Noel Tyl.

You can contact Hiroki via email at: or schedule a consultation.


  1. Hi Hiroki! Very interesting article. Thank you. I am Capricorn woman who met a Virgo man under mars retro (April 22,2016 to be exact). Is this relationship doomed? DO relationships that start under Mars retro ever work out? I am worried based on some the information I found online with different astrologers. Any insight would be helpful. Thank you.

  2. Julijana says

    My husband has Mars retrograde in Leo. He’s always at work or doing something but not at home. Our realationships are nice, he’s a good father, husband, caring, seems outgoing, but I still can’t get him. I mostly see through people indeed, he’s the only one I just can’t get why he’s doing everything not the way it should be. He also has Saturn retrograde in Aquarius in XII, Uranus and Neptune retrograde in Capricorn in XI and Pluto retrograde in Scorpio in VIII. He has like a shield that covers everything and I can just scratch on it. Seems the better things are going the more distant he becomes.

    • Hi Julijana, that’s a valid testimony regarding natal retrograde Mars – I’ve seen similar difficulty in outward expression with others who have natal Mars Rx.

  3. Ridhi asrani says

    I also have Jupiter entering Virgo in my fifth house of romance in August. And that would mark my Jupiter return. So the Mars moving forward in 7th and Jupiter in 5th, could undicate any romantic affairs?

  4. Ridhi asrani says


    I am a Taurus rising and I have Mars ruling my seventh house. I have been experiencing a battlefield of sorts with the man I love whilst he is hooking up with another person as of now. That looks temporary though. He is a Gemini ascendant. So I think we both are going through the effects of Mars in our respective seventh houses.

    Would I see anything going forward post Mars goes direct? And do relationships that start in Mars retrograde end badly? He tells me he is just with her to be fair and doesn’t have actual feelings. He was crazy about me for over a year.

    • Hi there, classically speaking, Mars retrograde period may not be a great time to start something new (if you do, there may be a lot of hesitating, second guessing, backtracking to fix issues, etc.) For an existing issue or a relationship, this could be a time to work on it to see what needs to be improved.

  5. Hi Hiroki,
    Thanks for the great article! I have Sun at 10 Sag and Asc at 4 Sag, also Mercury at 26 Sco and Neptune at 24 Sco in the 12.
    Sun rules my 9. house, Mercury rules my 7. and 10. house and Neptune is the ruler of my 4.
    Mars R is impacting all 4 angles of my chart. Does it force me to act, or to put things into perspective and start a new chapter? Everything around me is being “shaken up”, but I’m not clear what is the right thing to do. I feel like I need to observe and wait for Mars to turn direct and get over my natal Sun, by that time it should be clear…

    • Hi Simon, thank you for commenting and sharing your experience. Sounds like much of your horoscope is being affected by this Mars retrograde cycle. The multiple transits to Ascendant is especially important, as it can suggest a development of your identity so you come out of this period feeling different, perhaps more focused and knowing where and how to direct your energy.

  6. I have Mars at the end of house 3, conjunct my IC in Libra. Mars is transit retrograde in my 5th house along with Saturn. Saturn is squaring Moon and Pluto until October.

    My son is in college, and he lives in a very expensive city. He had to find a new apartment last month, that he won’t be moving into until August. He needed his half of the deposit and the first months rent. I gave almost all of it to him, there is a couple hundred left to pay. It was all I had. Now, for some reason my work is tapering off. I am self employed and usually enjoy more calls and customers to help with what I need, but not now. I am so concerned, it is not the norm and I can’t understand why. I had to help my son, he has a scholarship but still I am responsible for what it does not cover. His father is no longer legally obligated and so my son is dependent on me.

    I am extremely concerned and confused as to why my finances are so stagnant right now. I have Uranus/Mercury/Pluto all opposed Moon natal in the 2nd and 3rd so I am used to a turbulent financial episode but this one has me feeling more desperate than usual.

    • Hi Sherry, your experience seems to be reflected in the transit of Saturn to Moon and Pluto. The symbolism of this transit seems to be pushing you to build up your business to a greater level.

  7. MARGARET says

    Scorpio rising and moon (28 degrees) and pluto (0), uranus (27 degrees) and Saturn (26 degrees) in Sagittarius – is it normal that I feel like nothing is real right now? I don’t know what is happening. I would appreciate your insight!

    • Hi Margaret,

      If these planets are in late Sagittarius, they will not be transited by Mars retrograde (which happens in early Sagittarius and late Scorpio). Probably your experience is reflected by something else going on within your horoscope.

  8. Hi Hiroki,
    Great article, I learned a lot from it. This Mars retrograde seems to be really affecting me.
    My natal Neptune is 8 degrees saggittarius in the 8th house,
    North node 10 degrees saggittarius,
    Venus 23 degrees Scorpio in the 7th house,
    moon 29 degrees Scorpio,
    sun 21 degrees Scorpio
    In the past I suffered through an abusive relationship which ended in the death of my partner. Recently, during the Mars retrograde period, I met someone who is very nice (I’ve known him for a long time) but it all seems to be unravelling…he mentioned the word “relationship” and suddenly all my passions disappeared overnight and am now experiencing a “flare-up” of my PTSD, ie. flashbacks, nightmares, etc.
    Do u think this new relationship sounds like it’s doomed and therefore I should end it and use this Mars retrograde as an opportunity to work on my demons and hopefully save some face publicly or do u see any hope in continuing with the “relationship”??

    • Hi Maggie, what you shared sounds like PTSD and this relationship is bringing it to the forefront. My instinct is to use this new relationship as an opportunity to work through it, but with professional help (a good therapist to guide you through the process and be there for support).

  9. If I have mars retro in my natal chart, would it be a good time to accept new job offer during mars retrograde period,please?

    • Hi Renata, since Mars retrograde period lasts for a while, you might need to base your decision on practicality (whether it makes sense for you to accept the job and what it offers) rather than this single factor that Mars is retrograding. If it makes sense to you, then it’s okay to move forward.

  10. Phoenixrising says

    Hi Hiroki, Thank-you for the fabulous article. Mars stations retro conjunct my Neptune at 9 degrees Sag 5th house and stations direct conjunct my north node at 23 scorp in the 4th house. The dates of this years Mars retro cycle coincides closely with my rehearsing for a play that we will perform in August (closing date on last day of shadow period) For me it certainly seems to be about refining, rehearsing and researching many aspects of my creativity. I work as an actor, mainly in film and tv. This is my first play in 15 years. Applying my creative energy in a new way for sure!

  11. I was Fight with my distance bf (April 7) and after that he don’t talk or send msg anything to me. And he like to do that always after we fight and then he will back later and explain anything to me.

    But finally (April 24 2016 , 11:08PM) he sent msg to me and said Don’t want relationship with me again (while mars retrograde)
    Im sun sign in Aries and have moon,pluto in scorpio and he have sun sign in scorpio(November 14 1992)

    Maybe that time he speak truth about he don’t want relationship with me. And I respect that

    • Hi Petra, I deleted your date of birth since this is a public forum. Not sure if this development is related to Mars retrograde transit (my guess is it isn’t, since Mars wasn’t in Scorpio in April). Sorry to hear about your experience all the same.

  12. Timothy Neilson says


    Your work is superb. The idea of following the Mars 2 year cycle as a course of fulfillment in symbology is simply brilliant. OMG! Thank you. The business cycle averages close to 6 years and it just dawned on me that it traces 3 distinct phases often times. Wow! Loved your post and the specificity across the houses. Again, thank you very much as I “redevelop my style of self-expression and sel-assertion.” While I was typing I was messaged by a previous client to set up an appointment… So in awe of your evolution…

  13. I’m curious as to how this will affect me, this area is simply the most aspected of my chart. Just in conjuction, I have Mars 25, Pluto 29 degrees in Scorpio and ascendent in Sagittarius first degree. Do you think this energy of Mars Pluto will be directed towards self expression (first house)?

    • Hi Ana,

      With Mars return and Pluto involved, you can expect more activity during this time period for sure. Self expression and renewal of self-image are both good possibilities.

  14. OWEN gRAHAM says

    My Sun is in 22 Degrees Scorpio. Does this mean that it fits between 08 Sagittarius – 23 Scorpio? I also have Mars retrograde. Thank you – awesome post!

  15. I will have mars conjunct Neptune going retrograde in my eight house how will this retrograde energy affect my eight house? thanks :)

  16. I have venus in scorpio @ 26 degrees opposite the north node in taurus @ 28 degrees in the 5th and 11th house axis. Will this mars transit increase my sex drive?

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