THE BLOG
02/28/2014 11:58 am ET Updated Apr 29, 2014

MARS Is Retrograde: Be Careful of Your Actions: 5 Dos and 5 Don'ts

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You may be familiar with the frustration of Mercury retrograde, when the world seems to go haywire, because of miscommunications and breakdowns. Now it's time to pay attention to your "actions" because Mars will be retrograde on March 1st.

Once every 2 years the planet Mars goes retrograde, as it will from March 1 through May 19, 2014. During this time span you may want to think twice about initiating certain actions because the retrograde can lower your energy level and bring frustration and obstacles to your major efforts.

Of course, regardless of this unusual planetary influence, life must go on during the 11-week period of Mars retrograde. Undoubtedly, you'll have to make necessary decisions, even if it isn't the optimum time. If you're unemployed, you'll probably want to accept a new job anyway. When it comes to your social life, it's not the best time to enter a sexual relationship. But no one expects a person to be celibate.

However, there are important events you may be planning that are elective. In other words: you don't have to start them during Mars retrograde, because you can pick another more favorable time when planetary influences work to your advantage.

Never forget - you can work hard and be well prepared to accomplish any task; but if your timing is wrong, you won't succeed. That's why, if possible, it's best to wait until Mars goes direct on May 20th to initiate any important action. Here's how this planet exerts an influence in your life:

How Does Mars Affect You?

In astrology, Mars represents the principle of independence and action. This planet's influence gives us the urge to initiate or begin something new. Unlike the energies of Mercury, which are mental, Mars is physical in its nature, and often associated with aggressive or impulsive behavior. In fact, in its most negative manifestation, which often occurs during this retrograde, martian (as in Mars) behavior can be selfish, combative and argumentative.

In your horoscope, the planet Mars rules action, energy, drive and determination. When Mars works positively in your life, it gives you the ability to be assertive and act with courage and conviction.

How Mars functions in your birth chart says a lot about how you stand up and assert yourself, get noticed and get things done. Its energies can bring you power and confidence in the way you express yourself as an individual. It also affects your ambition and your sense of competition whether at work, play or in your personal relationships. Mars also rules your desire nature and sexuality; and the kind of person you'll find sexually attractive.

What Is the Problem When Mars Goes Retrograde?

When Mars is retrograde, one's normal energy and vitality are depleted. Therefore, if you initiate an activity at this time, you find that all the energy and momentum that began with your actions seem to stop or even reverse. You'll have doubts or regrets about any effort that you start - to the point where you'll wish you could start all over again.

Here's a good illustration of how the Mars retrograde can affect you: Imagine drinking and partying all night and then having to run a 10-mile marathon the next morning. You start out your run with the confidence you've got the stamina you need; and that you'll be fine. But after running a few miles, you start realizing you don't have as much energy as you normally have. You're sorry you ran this race, wishing you could have done it on another day.

During the Mars retrograde, you'll operate with this same lack of energy and vitality in any enterprise you undertake. For this reason it's not the best time to start anything new, whether it's job, a relationship or even an argument. If you've already started something, the Mars retrograde is a time to slow down and reassess what you want and desire before you take further action. It may be necessary to adjust your expectations and calmly work though any frustrations that get in the way of what you want to accomplish.

If you have activities you want to engage in: STOP and re-consider them. Read these "Don'ts & DOs before you take action.

The Five DON'Ts

1. Don't Argue, Fight or Start a War - Mars rules War. During Mars retrograde it's a bad time to initiate a fight or dispute, because the aggressor usually backs off or loses. It's a horrible time to start a war or begin a military action against another country because there isn't a strong will or desire to complete the action. The invading country is likely to be the loser.

2. Don't Have a Surgery - Mars rules surgery and is associated with surgeons. It also rules anything made of iron, including "cutting things." If possible, avoid surgical procedures. Mars is a physical planet and during the retrograde, injuries and accidents related to carelessness (e.g. cutting) can occur more frequently. For that reason it's considered a poor time for elective surgery. It's not even a good time to find a new barber, hairstylist or any professional who works with a knife or scissors.

3. Don't Start New Activities - If you do begin a new enterprise during Mars retrograde, your efforts to produce results will meet with greater frustration than usual. Projects are likely to stall or not develop as expected. You'll find your energy level is lower than normal, making it harder to produce the success you had intended. If you've already started something, slow down and reassess your plans, adjust expectations and work through obstacles that are getting in the way of results.

It's not a favorable time to start a new business with co-workers and partners. You'll find that people will be unusually argumentative, and easily irritated when projects or activities do not run smoothly. Often the discord is so great, that even people, who normally get a long well, become angry and disruptive. The results are often poor decision-making based out of frustration, instead of patience and open dialogue.

4. Don't Begin a Law Suit or Divorce - A lawsuit or divorce can be a fierce battle. Since Mars rules wars and battles, it's not a good time for initiating a legal action. A lawsuit that's initiated has no punch, with a high likelihood that the plaintiff will back off or end up the loser. If you're trying to mediate a dispute, you're likely to find yourself in heavy disagreement and not able to find common ground with the opposing party. When you present your side of the argument, there's a lack of energy and passion in what you say that doesn't compel the mediator to your point of view. To obtain better results in a lawsuit or mediation, wait until Mars goes direct on May 20th. (Note: Often during this retrograde you'll hear about many high-profiled, celebrity separations and acrimonious divorces.)

5. Don't Buy Mechanical Things - Mars rules anything made of iron such as engines and cutting tools. This is not a reliable time to purchase an automobile or any mechanical equipment. Just in the same way that Mercury retrograde can play havoc with the operation of cars and other machinery, you'll find that computers and other equipment break down break more during Mars retrograde. In fact, if you have any mechanical equipment in need of repair, use this period to get it done quickly.

Here some specific ways that you can use the Mars retrograde to your advantage.

The Five DOs

1. Great Time to Find Out What You Want - In your birth chart, Mars rules what you want or desire. The Mars retrograde is not a great time to get what you want in the external world. But on an internal basis it's a great time to become aware of the "martian" things you want - such as a fast new car, the latest computer gadget, or even an exciting sexual experience. This doesn't mean that you should impulsively act on your desires because you may not really want these things once Mars goes direct. It's best to wait until then, to be sure you still want what you want.

2. Be Careful of Accidents and Violence - The potential for accidents or violence is especially strong during Mars retrograde because people are more likely to act out the negative energies of Mars. They tend to be more frustrated and impatient; and even worse they're likely to be careless, act rashly, or have a fit of anger or outrage. Do not take any unnecessary risks now. Put your dream of sky diving or bungee cord jumping - on hold until Mars goes direct. Be very careful of anyone in your work or personal life that has a history of violence.

3. Resolve Conflict By Compromising - The Mars retrograde period is a time when a simple disagreement can turn into a major upset. Passions can run high and so can frustration and anger. Try to find common ground with the other person instead of stubbornly pushing your own agenda.

Be assertive and diplomatic in your communication - not aggressive and humiliating. Even if others can't control their temper, remember to control yours. Heed the advice of an old Zen Master, "He who angers you, defeats you." Be willing to genuinely compromise to reach an agreement.

4. Re-assess Your Behavior and Sexual Attitudes - Since Mars rules your desire nature and sexuality, the retrograde is an excellent time to make adjustments in your behavior, actions and sexual conduct. For example, if you're prone to being aggressive when communicating with co-workers, you may not be receiving their full cooperation. This is the perfect time to take an anger management class to learn new strategies for expressing yourself without getting upset. In your love life, if you're not getting second dates, is it because the other person finds you focusing on sex too soon? Perhaps, they'd prefer you get to know each other better before becoming intimate. Consider exploring your behavior with a therapist.

5. Review Your Goals - The Mars Retrograde is an excellent time to take stock of your life and what you want to accomplish in such areas as: your relationships, career, money, health, spirituality and sexuality. What changes would make you happier and more fulfilled? Use this period to plan actions that you'll take after the retrograde ends. For example, if you're in a dead-end job, research other careers you want to explore. If you're single, find new places to meet a partner for a committed relationship. If you're in an abusive relationship make plans to break free from it.

In conclusion: what does this all mean? Use the Mars retrograde period, to slow down and reassess what you want and desire - before you take further action. Then, when Mars goes direct on May 20 go full steam ahead with your plans. By doing so you'll more assuredly reach your goal with less frustration and effort. You'll have the advantage of "good timing," that will aid your success.

If you want to know the sign and House your Mars is in - in your birth chart; or if you want to know where your personal transits are - to see if they are affecting you, go to the Free Transit Calculator and enter your birth date. Then, read about each transit that's been discussed in other Huffington Post blog articles.

Larry Schwimmer is an astrologer in private practice. www.AstroDecision.com

Read Larry Schwimmer's latest books, What the Hell is Going On in My Life? Using Your Birthdate to Find Answers About Relationships, Career, Money, Sex & Health;and How To Ask For A Raise Without Getting Fired - And 24 Other Techniques For Resolving Conflicts At Work & In Life; and Winning Your Next Promotion In One Year (Or Less!).

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Larry Schwimmer is president of Astrodecision.com, a San Francisco-based consulting company. The firm uses planetary cycles analysis to counsel individual and corporate clients on picking the "best dates" to make successful decisions of all types: personal, marketing, financial, and political. The firm currently advises a diverse client base that includes politicians, presidents of major corporations and an MLB baseball team. Schwimmer is an internationally known business consultant, life coach and astrologer (with a Fortune 500 M&A background). Visit his website: www.astrodecision.com