2012 Mars Retrograde
The New 780-day Mars Synodic Cycle

Nick Anthony Fiorenza

The Mars Retrograde

The Mars Retrograde is the first primary event of the year. It starts on the New Moon of the January 23, 2012 Lunar Cycle, which also adds to the significance of this first lunar cycle of 2012.

Valles Marineris: the Grand Canyon of Mars

Soaring high above Valles Marineris, the "Grand Canyon of Mars," viewers look down and catch a sight resembling parts of the desert West of the United States, but on a vastly greater scale. Here the canyon averages over a hundred miles wide, and its floor is heaped with rocks, sediments, and landslide debris. Within the canyon walls lie possibly hundreds of layers filling many pages of Mars' geologic record. Image & Caption Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona


Mars is an initiating creative force, of sexuality, vitality, life force, and power. In its mature expression, Mars stimulates our capacity to respond in assertive action. It is of leadership, self reliance, and victorious. It is audacious, brave, instinctual, passionate and willful. Mars makes us individualistic. It separates us from each other. For the less mature however, or when poorly placed in a chart, Mars can express with concern only for self and with selfish motive and greed that is based in the fear of not surviving or not being provided for. In its extremes, it can express as an awry or ballistic use of power, with lack of self-control, and as abuse in all of its forms. The Mars aspect of self (sacrum, base chakra, adrenals sexual organs) is the area generally held in most judgment by many people--due to this force having been used destructively and manipulatively in the history of the solar system, resulting in aberrations and devastation of life; hence often dubbed the planet of war. Because of this, we often project judgment, lack of love and even total rejection toward the Mars quality / base chakra of self--alienating it even more. Such judgment undermines our own creative power and sexual expression. It is an area of self that we instead need to embraced with unconditional love, acceptance and compassion.

Mars starts its retrograde in late sidereal Leo conjoining Denebola of Leo; Alpha Antilia; Avior of Carina, Argo Navis; and Alkes of Crateris. This is a windy and fiery area of the zodiak, one that can stimulate dynamic creative expression, but is also filled with diversionary commotion and grand spectacle. These stars create a diverse polarity of energy that set Leo's "back stage."

Mars Retrograde path in Leo

The mixed theme here can produce either genuine spiritual figures or leaders, or hot-air wanna-be guru types--those spouting a lot of self important head tripping spiritual principle, but without any real substance or true wisdom. The issue of discernment arises, which is required to see the illusionists from those of real spiritual and moral value; and to find the real truth hidden beneath the drama--to grasp the essence of Alkes, grail of true fulfillment. It articulates the diversionary and dramatic antics common to the global stage and which often go on behind the scenes. Antilia, the air pump, produces the hot air fueling the fire and swirling the obscuring smoke.

As we transcend the egoic stage altogether, we find Avior, Epsilon Carina of Argo Navis and Delta Velorum on the sail of the Argo. These two stars are associated with the underlying spiritual truth and wisdom that guides us to our greater fulfillment and well being, a truth far hidden from the ego-driven wanna-be spiritual-political self-proclaimed authorities who spout principles they do not live. Avior articulates the true spiritual sage who often time is one without need to be on stage, one who is often found behind the scenes simply living their spiritual truth, transcendent to the smoke and follies common to the global stage. These are often those working with transcendent currents of wisdom that influence the surface world in genuine ways--those who make a real difference but who do not need to at personality level.

The retrograde path of Mars is back through the last 20° of sidereal Leo, during which time we will have opportunity to redefine how we are using our creative power, our vitality and passion. It will be a time of changing our conduct, policies, direction of attention, and our approaches to achieve our goals in life. It invites us to get clear on what really matters from the superfluous and glitzy glamour in our lives.

About Synodic Cycles

Synodic Cycles are created when two (or more) planets align in their orbits around the Sun. The synodic cycle theme, defined by the planets involved and the star alignments at the time, will unfold until the two planets align again, marking the completion of the synodic cycle and the beginning of the next one.

There are many synodic cycles with unique astrological themes occurring simultaneously, creating a harmonic symphony of creative unfoldment in consciousness. Synodic cycles can be thought of as longer-term underlying currents, much like the backdrop chorus of a symphony, providing the underlying astrological context guiding our evolution.

Learn the basics about Synodic Cycles & Synodic Astrology.

The Earth-Mars Synodic Cycle

The Mars retrograde period is a time of shifting from the previous 780-day Earth-Mars synodic cycle into the next synodic cycle. The new synodic cycle starts in the midst of the retrograde on March 3, in the following lunar cycle, which begins on February 21, 2012. The theme of this new cycle is defined by the stellar energetics of Mizar of the Great Bear, Chort of Leo, and other influencing stars.

Mars and Saturn Retrogrades 2012

Mizar of the Great Bear, Zeta Ursa Major, is the overseeing and predominant star of this area of the zodiak. Mizar articulates raw fiery energy that must express one way or another. Mizar must have a creative outlet, but for its proper expression, we must apply it with creative vision. Mizar brings attention to use of our creative energies; creative and destructive tendencies, and the fear to create lest it may result in destruction. Here we learn the nature of such volatile forces. Mizar, with averted alignments is also known for catastrophic fires or massacres. Mizar can however express quite artistically--just as gunpowder can express as beautiful fireworks or devastating explosions. Mizar tends to express in a grand way, in character with showy and dramatic Leo. Mizar imparts a dynamic, action oriented creative artistic expression. Also influencing is Asterion and the Seyfert Galaxy NGC4151 in Canes Venatici, the barking hounds, which stimulates dynamic, powerful and directed action.

Although of a dynamic, outgoing, artistic creative character, Mizar, Asterion and Chort, on the hind of the Lion, can also produce a lot of dramatic racket and fiery commotion due to toxic conditions or an unrefined awareness. This can also be a part of the often diversionary tactics intended to distract the unsuspecting from the real issues or path at hand, a theme common to late Leo.

Also influencing Mizar and Asterion is the pulsar CP1133 nesting at the hind of the Lion, in the triangle of stars created by Zosma, Chort and Denebola. Pulsars in general are beacons for the soul, providing an inner message or a constant reminder for those attentive to such subtleties. This pulsar, for the less conscious, may lure one into the monotonous drone of the diversionary proganda and dramas offer by the media. For the more attentive it may act as a constant reminder about the prolific foul winds that could fuel a diversionary fire, and the need to act upon our intuition and upon the more subtle evolutionary and guiding currents articulated by the stars of Velorum, the sail of the Argo, which lies below in the southern heavens. Here we are motivated to find an opening or way through the diversionary dramatics in the global arena for those who are able to function on more refined evolutionary currents.

Thus, our new 780-day Earth-Mars synodic cycle impels dynamic creative expression that requires clear and focused applied force. It invites us to transcend the on-stage global dramatics and superfluff, and to attune to the more subtle evolutionary currents guiding our lives. It impels creative and audacious leadership in a way that will make a significant shift in altering our evolutionary course.

The theme of the new cycle fully engages as Mars returns direct on April 14 (just as Earth and Saturn begin their new synodic cycle). At that time, Mars conjoins the stars of the Sextant. The Sextant's stars reveals our need to reassess our position or situation, to reorient ourselves, and to take a new tack toward our goals in life with conscious consideration for the changing evolutionary winds and currents upon which we must navigate. On a mundane level this can be in regard to changing our fundamental approach or path in life. On a greater scale, this can be in regard to changing allegiance of our energies from the outer world, self-sacrificing to diversionary forces or currents in the world around us, to the vertical integrity of our inner soul / source directive and truth.

Much like sailing, changing winds require the application of personal will to change the boat's tack to continue toward our longer-term destination. This requires the assessment of our current position and heading, and of the changing conditions around us--the weather, waves, winds and currents--to responsibly set a new tack along our journeys in life. The changes we make during this period will have profound ramification that effect our evolutionary course ahead, both personally and collectively for our world.

As we can see from the star alignments. The retrograde started out in a area of sidereal Leo more associated with diversionary currents, smoke screens, toxicity, grand spectacle, yet also with impetus to delve beyond this surface turbulence to find a greater sense of fulfillment. The new synod then ensues, imbued with the stellar characteristics of fiery Mizar and companions,, motivating a new level of dynamic, high energy and explosive creative expression. The retrograde then completes in earlier Leo, impelling us to apply our creativity and leadership capacities to direct our evolutionary course in a new way, to take an entirely new tack in how we are expressing our creative power.

After Mars returns direct, it will then pass under the auspices of the same stars where it began its retrograde, thus providing opportunity to demonstrate our new level of growth and change we had cultivated during the retrograde. This "return" occurs on June 19, 2011. Reflecting back to how we were expressing our creative power in November of 2011 and comparing it to our expression and pursuits in late June of 2012 is a good way to look at the growth gained throughout this time regarding how Mars expresses in our lives and what we are doing with our creative force in the world.

After Mars returns direct in mid-April, but before it arrives to its point of return on June 19, it will square the Venus Transit in early June. This square stimulates the application of our creative power in leadership based from the theme of the new Venus synodic cycle and the Venus Transit. Discussed in the May 20, 2012 Lunar Planner.

Mars, during its retrograde, also makes a Grand Trine with Pluto in mid-sidereal Sagittarius and the Venus-Jupiter conjunction in mid-sidereal Aries on March 13-15, the time when Mercury begins its first retrograde of year. Discussed in the February 21, 2012 Lunar Planner.

Retrograde Mars then makes a Grand Square with Juno, the Lunar Nodes and Chiron on March 19-24, with Juno stationing on the North Lunar Node to begin its retrograde. This Grand Square sustains for several weeks, creating significant tension and motivation. Discussed in the March 22, 2012 Lunar Planner.

Lunar and other planetary triggers to Mars during its retrograde.