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The Astrology Podcast

Ep. 70 Transcript: The Astrology of Mars Retrograde Periods

The Astrology Podcast

Transcript of Episode 70, titled:

The Astrology of Mars Retrograde Periods

With Chris Brennan and guests Nick Dagan Best and Austin Coppock

Episode originally released on March 28, 2016


Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: theastrologypodcast@gmail.com

Transcribed by Andrea Johnson

Transcription released September 15, 2022

Copyright © 2022 TheAstrologyPodcast.com

CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. This episode is recorded on Sunday, March 27, 2016, starting at 4:05 PM in Denver, Colorado, and this is the 70th episode of the show. For more information about how to subscribe to the podcast and to help support the production of future episodes, please visit TheAstrologyPodcast.com/subscribe. In this episode, I’m gonna be talking with astrologers Nick Dagan Best and Austin Coppock about the astrological meaning of Mars retrograde periods. Nick and Austin, welcome back to the show.

AUSTIN COPPOCK: Happy to be here.

NICK DAGAN BEST: Thanks for having us, Chris.

CB: All right. This is a timely episode since—I think as everybody knows—Mars is getting ready to station retrograde in Sagittarius very soon, within the course of the next month, I believe, right?

AC: Mm-hmm.

NDB: April 17.

CB: All right. So I thought it would be a good opportunity to explore the broader context of what Mars retrograde periods are about, how they have shown up in the past—both in historical events and in nativities—and also, what this specific Mars retrograde period has in store for us. And of course, Nick, I don’t think anybody else in the world at this point is as much of an expert on Mars retrograde periods as you, right?

NDB: Well, at least in terms of how they’ve coincided with events in history or as transits over the course of people’s lives, yeah.

CB: Okay.

NDB: Maybe, astronomically, there might be other experts who can outclass me easily.

CB: Right. Literally, in the history of the world no one has ever known more about Mars retrograde periods, I think, than Nick Dagan Best. I think I can make that statement authoritatively.

NDB: Okay, if you say so.

CB: Yeah, I’ll make that assertion for you. That way you don’t have to make it yourself. And then probably the second—it’s a very close second in terms of most knowledgeable people about such phenomenon—would be Austin Coppock. And you’re in the process of writing an article about this right now, right, Austin?

AC: Yeah. Yeah. I don’t know about second in the world. I’ve been watching Mars retrogrades for a while.

CB: Literally, in the history of the world actually is what I was asserting.

AC: I mean, I suppose Mars has to do with bold assertions, and it’s about to turn retrograde. I’m actually gonna walk back that bold assertion. But yeah, I’ve been watching it. I’ve been watching Mars retrogrades for a while. I’m a Sun-Mars person, as are some of my fellow podcasters today.

NDB: Indeed. Indeed.

AC: And I’ve certainly got a good sense of what it looks like in people’s lives, as well as my own, as well as, you know, what stories—both human and mythological—tend to cluster around Mars’ retrograde phase.

CB: Excellent. So I think both of you bring good alternative perspectives on this subject. So let’s jump into it. I mean, what’s our starting point here? What’s a good starting point in terms of, you know, exploring this topic? Maybe the primary starting point for many people—if the listeners are coming in, you know, out of the rain and don’t really know much about astrology—is perhaps just what is it that Mars signifies within the context of astrology in general. How do you guys perceive or conceptualize Mars?

NDB: In the purest sort of abstract sense, I think of it as a force that divides. But taking that as a sort of a basic starting point, astrologically, I mean, the obvious thing to associate it with is war and violence, which is an easy enough association to make. But I think there are a lot of other more subtle forces of Mars in the world. And really, at the end of the day, it works in tandem with Venus, which is sort of the opposite principle of Mars. It joins things together. So together Venus and Mars are these forces of unifying and division. And their respective cycles and the way their respective cycles align always have something to say in terms of what’s being created, what’s being disassembled, etc.

CB: Sure.

AC: Yeah, I would add to that—and I think this is complementary—that Mars has long been associated not just with heat, but with intemperate extremes of heat. And of course, when you set something on fire, the process of burning actually separates the different chemical constituents of something.

NDB: Hmm.

AC: You know, fire is a great separator and a traumatic one. And that heat also corresponds with—I always think of the combustion that’s happening in our bloodstream, as well as in the engines of our cars. It’s setting things on fire and setting them along trajectories of movement—often forceful and potentially violent ones. You know, we usually don’t use cars as weapons, but cars are incredibly dangerous, right?

NDB: Yeah. Absolutely. They can be weapons. They can be weapons.

AC: Yeah. So yeah, you know, iron and fire. And I mentioned in the episode that we did on the significations of the seven planets, Chris, you know, Mars rules metalsmiths, especially ironsmiths, blacksmiths. And there are certain processes of change, such as making a pair of horseshoes, where the intemperate heat of fire is necessary to make the metal malleable, right? You can’t forge anything without extremes of heat.

CB: Right. Yeah, that’s a beautiful analogy. Especially just in terms of Mars’ associations with fire and with other things that are difficult but that can sometimes have a sort of purifying process. I mean, somebody actually tried to make the analogy—I think Nanette Furman tried to make the analogy on the podcast page in reference to your comment from that episode, I think. And she pointed out processes that are difficult or involve difficulties, but in which you come out the other side with something that’s good—even though the process itself was difficult or even painful—and she made the analogy of like childbirth or something like that. And while childbirth I don’t think is usually associated with Mars necessarily, it’s maybe a good analogy of what you were getting at there in terms of the more productive side of Mars, in terms of sometimes things that are difficult, but still necessary to go through in order achieve some specific goal.

AC: Right. It’s what we call an ordeal. Sometimes another word we use for an ordeal is a ‘crucible’, right? A crucible is literally a part of a very productive process. We just don’t like being inside of them.

CB: Right. Yeah. And that comes back to this debate that astrologers have had periodically for hundreds of years in terms of, you know, the subjective experience of things—in terms of how we experience events as positive or negative, or preferable or unpreferable in our lives—vs. the universal, let’s say, meaningfulness. Not even stepping out that far, but in terms of looking at one’s life from a broader perspective and seeing the non-randomness or the order or sometimes purpose behind certain events that otherwise are experienced as painful. And that sort of debate comes up often when talking about planets like Mars because the subjective experience of things like that is often very difficult or can be very difficult, but sometimes the resulting outcome is not, necessarily.

NDB: Well, that analogy takes us back to war, which is a pretty good example. No one wants to go to war. No one wants to be in the middle of a war. But wars often offer the greatest opportunities for political change, if that’s desired. And at the best of occasions, people’s lives have benefited at the end of the war, after all the sacrifices have been made. So actually it brings us back to one of those initial significations that we always sort of go to when we think of Mars.

AC: Right. Right. Terror and heroism. They’re natural home is on the battlefield.

NDB: Yeah.

CB: Right. And other connected principles, like courage as an aspect of Mars, I think is mentioned in some really early texts.

NDB: Right.

CB: So you see this sort of full spectrum of, you know, things surrounding that—things like violence, but also, you know, both sides of that. For example, bad forms or negative forms of violence are like a country, let’s say, initiating a war or, you know, raiding or pillaging or what have you vs. a ‘just’ war or war in order to protect or to save or to, you know, fight back against something, like a rebellion or something like that. Anyway, so we’re going a little far afield. I guess that we dealt with a lot of this in the planets episode a few episodes ago, so we don’t have to completely recap all of the basic significations of Mars. But I thought that would be a good place to sort of orient ourselves in terms of some of the main significations that we’ll see coming up throughout the course of this episode. So the main thing, though, that we’re talking about and we’re focusing on here is what happens when Mars goes retrograde. And first, maybe we should start by defining what that means. So what are we defining as a retrograde period? And how long does that last? And what does it entail exactly?

NDB: It’s a good thing to bring up even when talking to fairly seasoned astrologers who know about other planetary retrogrades because when following Mars, you encounter a few factors, a few things that are distinct to the Mars retrograde cycle that you don’t find in other planetary retrograde cycles. For starters, the famous phrase that we hear often is ‘shadow period’, which is this idea of prior to and following a planet’s retrograde passage. An astrologer follows what we call shadow periods when that planet is before the retrograde, moving through the degrees through which it will be making its retrograde journey, and then afterwards when it retraces those steps in forward motion, in direct motion.

Now when you’re looking at Venus or Mercury retrogrades, for instance, these so-called shadow periods are pretty reasonable. And they really work well when you’re looking at them in the context of the planet’s overall cycle because they just sort of tack on a little bit of extra time on either side of the actual retrograde and you can follow this. Essentially, what you’re following is the apparent slowing down, the apparent deceleration, stopping, reverse motion, and then after the retrograde is over, another stopping and then a gradual acceleration of speed—that’s what you’re really seeing. With Mars it becomes a little more complicated because it’s a lot slower to slow down to its retrograde station. And if we approached Mars and this idea of shadow periods looking at Mars retrogrades, we would be looking at virtually periods of almost an entire year really. Really a very long time because Mars takes forever to slow down to its retrograde, like I said.

CB: Right. How long is it retrograde within these two stationary periods to begin with?

NDB: Under three months. Between two and three months. It varies.

CB: Okay. So the retrograde period themselves, the actual retrograde lasts for two to three months. And then if you tack on the shadow periods—which is like the build-up phase or the sort of cool-down phase—both before and after, then that extends it to, what, at least six, seven months?

NDB: Something like that, yeah.

CB: Okay.

NDB: Again, it varies from sign to sign, but quite a big chunk of the year, indeed. And since Mars retrogrades only happen every 26 months, there’s a 26-month interval from retrograde station to retrograde station, to direct station to direct station. So if you’re talking about six months out of every 26 months, that’s pretty much a quarter of total time, which doesn’t make it very significant really if one uses shadow periods the way one would with Venus and Mercury.

CB: Sure.

AC: Yeah. So just to approach these facts from another angle, one way to look at it is normally, you know, Mars clears a degree of the zodiac in about a day-and-a-half, right? Pretty quick. So, you know, he’ll spend maybe five weeks in a sign, four-and-a-half, five weeks. You know, he’s slower than the Sun, but not that much slower. Whereas when you’re looking at a period centered on Mars’ retrograde, it’s gonna take Mars about, let’s say, between six and seven months to do 20° of the zodiac to actually get done with that, right? So it’s Mars in a space that is less than one sign. You know, he’ll be there for at least half a year vs. normally clearing that space in a month. And so, the amount of attention that a person’s chart is getting from Mars in that area is just vastly increased, you know, by a factor of several.

CB: Right. So at the very least, just from that perspective, there’s like this intensification of the duration—I think that’s what I said in the last episode. We were talking about the monthly forecast for April, and intensification of the duration of that specific transit, which becomes important if you have any natal positions located in that general area where Mars is transiting.

AC: Yeah. Absolutely.

CB: And the ‘shadow period’ thing only comes up and part of the reason it becomes relevant is because Mars will move over. For example, if you have a natal planet within the range that Mars is gonna go retrograde, then you know that transiting Mars is gonna move over that point three times. Or it’s gonna form an exact aspect or configuration with that point three different times during the course of the build-up phase, the retrograde itself, and then, eventually, once it starts moving out of that. So, Nick, I mean, you use shadow periods when it comes to Venus retrogrades. But are you saying that you don’t as much for Mars retrogrades? Or are you just saying it’s important to realize how long it lasts when you include those?

NDB: No, what you just said is what I’m saying. I’m not saying I don’t use shadow periods. Although I don’t call them shadow periods or think of them as such. What I really follow is the change in speed. The variation and speed of a planet. So in any situation, whether or not a given chart has a planet in what we would call a shadow period, I’m always paying attention to its speed, and its speed always has some sort of influence on what it’s doing in the overall picture.

CB: Sure.

NDB: That’s really the main thing..

CB: Okay. And so, in terms of the astronomy, should we say, or the placements of this specific retrograde period that we have coming up, should we talk about that a little bit?

AC: I think we should do a little bit more on the basic astronomy of Mars retrograde.

CB: Sure.

NDB: Yeah.

AC: I know more people are more familiar with Mercury retrogrades, and partially due to Nick’s work, I think an increasing number of people are familiar with Venus retrogrades. And Mars’ retrograde has a few really important differences and is different in a couple of important ways from both of those. One is that the heart of a Venus and Mercury retrograde is that planet passing between the Sun and the Earth, right? And so, it’s as close as that planet gets, you know. It’s between the Sun and the Earth, right? So imagine that. In Mars’ retrogrades, the heart of it is the Sun being on the opposite side—or excuse me—the Sun and Mars being on opposite sides of the Earth. So what that looks like on a chart is an opposition, whereas with the Venus and Mercury retrogrades, the heart of those retrogrades looks like a conjunction, right?

CB: Sure. And this is because Venus, of course, is inside of the orbit of the Earth relative to the Sun at the center of the solar system, whereas Mars is the first planet—which is actually a really interesting distinction now thinking about that. Mars is the first planet where you start getting into the outer planets because it’s on the other side just relative to the Earth.

AC: Right. And one of the things that follows as a result of that is that in the middle of Mars retrogrades, Mars is going to rise like a Full Moon as soon as the Sun sets. And so, you’ll be able to see Mars for the entire night, right? Mars really becomes the ‘crimson lord of night’ during these time periods.

CB: Interesting. So yeah, because it’s in opposition from the Sun. And so, anytime two planets are in opposition, then one is gonna be rising and is on one side of the hemisphere, where as the other is on the opposite side of the zodiac, in the opposite hemisphere.

AC: Yeah. Yeah. So that’s the part we can look at, right? At midnight, Mars will be directly overhead like a faint, red Sun. And one further astronomical point about this is that when Mars is, you know, at the height of his retrograde opposing the Sun from our point of view, that’s also as close as Mars gets to us. Mars is physically closer to the Earth than at any other point in his cycle.

CB: Right. So that’s an interesting point as well, which is partially applicable to the other planets, but just the idea that anytime Mars is in opposition to the Sun, it will always be retrograde.

AC: Absolutely.

CB: Just as a general rule to memorize, that’s just like a basic astronomical fact. But it’s something that sometimes if you’re not paying attention, it might be easy to overlook that that’s just a constant, true rule that Mars will always be in opposition to the Sun while retrograde.

AC: Yep. And then the same for all of the planets that are further out. It’s just that their retrogrades don’t tend to be as dramatic.

NDB: And the other thing is they’re quite rare. Along with the Venus retrograde, Mars is only retrograde for something between a fraction of about one-sixth to one-seventh of total time—the way Venus is—as opposed to other planets, which, you know, Saturn’s retrograde for a third of the year. Jupiter’s retrograde for a third of the year and so forth. The others are a lot more common. Whereas with Venus and Mars, they’re rare enough that for the astrologer who follows them, you can really, really discern a distinction between the periods when they’re retrograde and periods when they’re not. It’s a really visible, or discernible rather, difference.

CB: Sure. And the other thing that makes Mars unique from some of the other outer planets is that it stations retrograde relative to the Sun sometimes when it’s the squares or a little bit closer to the squares than some of the outer planets do, right?

NDB: No. It’s in what some astrologers would call the inconjunct or quincunx signs; it’s where the retrograde station usually happens. It’s somewhere around 150°. I forget the exact degrees, but that’s how far the actual retrograde station is.

CB: Okay. Right.

AC: If you go further out, the further out the outer planet is, the closer to a trine or a square the retrograde stations will get.

NDB: That’s right.

AC: Because Mars is closest, it’s closer to the opposition.

CB: Right. Okay. Got it. I was inverting it. So Jupiter is further out. So Jupiter’s the one that stations around the trine.

NDB: On the trine, yeah.

CB: Got it.

NDB: Yeah, Jupiter and Saturn station at the trines. Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto station at the squares. But Mars, yeah, it’s further out. It goes basically from one inconjunct sign, 150° away, through the opposition path, over to the other inconjunct sign on the other opposite end. So that’s what it tends to do.

CB: Got it. Before stationing direct.

AC: Yeah.

CB: All right. And in terms of this one coming up—I think we’ve got the astronomy down pretty well. We know the length and duration of how long it lasts—for two to three months—although that’s variable depending on where it’s stationing or where it’s going retrograde.

NDB: Yeah.

CB: In terms of the important points during the retrograde cycle itself, there’s basically three, I guess, important points, right? The retrograde station, the opposition…

NDB: Opposition.

CB: …and then the direct station.

NDB: Yeah, zodiacally, those are the points that you’re observing as sort of a beginning, middle, and end. But any degrees in that range will ultimately be, you know, important to look at. So those are sort of goalposts, if you will, and they’re important in that whenever planets make stations, retrograde, or direct, they’re ‘speaking’. You know, you do a lot of Hellenistic astrology on your show, so your listeners probably know what I mean that the planets are making a phasis. So that’s the other thing. When Mars is making retrograde or direct station, it’s doing something really particular. It’s really making itself sort of shown in the world.

CB: Sure. And it’s doing something also that’s kind of anomalous in some sense. Because most of the time, you know, Mars is moving direct. It’s moving forward through the zodiac at its usual, standard rate of motion, which as Austin mentioned, is going over a degree or two a day. But then the retrogrades, what makes all retrogrades unique is that they represent a sort of anomaly in the planet’s motion where suddenly it slows down and stops and then starts moving backwards in the zodiac for a period of time.

NDB: Yeah.

CB: And there’s something that stands out about that just from a visual perspective as weird because it starts doing a sort of loop through the sky over a several-month period.

NDB: Exactly. One of the other things that’s really unusual about the Mars retrograde phase—and it marks it in great contrast to Venus—is that the distribution of signs in the Mars retrograde cycle is very, very uneven, but it’s really interesting to follow. Mars will make retrograde stations in the signs Cancer, Leo, and Virgo—the tropical signs. Cancer, Leo, and Virgo—on a regular interval of 15 to 17 years. Without fail it always makes retrograde and direct stations in those three signs. But the further out you go from those signs, the less frequent retrograde stations will occur in them to the point where Capricorn, Aquarius, and Pisces are what I call the ‘super rare’ signs for Mars retrogrades because they can take as long as 32 to 47 years in between one to the other.

Back in 2003, for instance, we had a Mars retrograde in Pisces, and that was the last time we had a Mars retrograde in Pisces since 1956. And two years from now, in 2018, we’re gonna have a Mars retrograde in Aquarius, and that’s gonna be the first one we’ve had in that sign since 1971, whereas Cancer, Leo, and Virgo, they’re very common. Now if you think about Mars transits, if you think about anyone’s chart, for instance, I have a Leo rising, and Chris, you have an Aquarius rising. Well, over the course of my life, I’ve had Mars retrogrades in my rising already four times, five times, something like that. Four times, I guess. You’ve never had it, ever. You’ve never had Mars retrograde in your 1st house as a transit. Nor has anyone else alive who has Aquarius rising, who was born after 1971.

So when you think about astrology even just on an abstract level, on a philosophical level—or when you’re trying to get to the heart of what Mars does in an astrological context—I think this strange distribution of the retrograde phase is really interesting to look at. And possibly, it might be a really fundamental concern in terms of how we arrived at having signs in the first place, in so far as we divide, you know, the ecliptic into 12. And we can see that over the course of, you know, many decades, many generations, we can see this anomaly in the Mars cycle and follow it. Maybe that contributes to how the earliest astrologers arrived at what they were arriving at.

CB: Yeah. ‘Cause already that marks a much different approach or movement than what we were talking about in that episode with the Venus retrograde periods, where Venus will station retrograde in the same sign, but it keeps moving backwards by 2° every time it does it, every eight years, so that eventually you get a full sweep of the entire zodiac over a very extended period of time. So you’re saying that Mars doesn’t necessarily do that. It’ll keep stationing in certain signs, but other signs it sort of shifts through?

NDB: Yeah, exactly. Now there is apparently a very gradual shift in how this Mars cycle moves. This emerged actually from one of the last times; I think the second last time I was on your podcast. And I thought that this Mars cycle, this retrograde cycle always followed this particular pattern, but thanks to one of your listeners, I was corrected on that point. It does gradually shift. In other words, it hasn’t always been Aquarius that was the ‘super rare’ sign and Leo was the most common sign. However, that change is very, very, very gradual. We’re not talking like a precession thing of 72 years. We’re talking, you know, hundreds of years, a millennia, for that shift to happen. So Aquarius hasn’t always been the ‘super rare’ sign. But certainly, if we’re talking about any kind of period from the Renaissance onward, we’re talking about something that is very consistent that has always held that pattern in those signs, yeah.

CB: I mean, that in and of itself is extremely fascinating.

NDB: Yeah. Yeah, it is.

AC: The astronomical patterns themselves help confirm what we think of as Mars’ nature. Nick, I believe the first term that you brought up was dividing or separating.

NDB: Yes.

AC: And so, we divide or separate. When we divide or separate things, we break up their coherence and connection, right? And so, literally, Mars refuses to move in an elegant and regular pattern, at least relative to the other planets. You know, Venus is so polite. You know, Venus is—as you’ve pointed out a hundred times—Venus’ retrogrades, it’s like it was the same place, almost exactly eight years ago, just 2° different. Whereas if we look 15 years ago, Mars’ synodic cycle is roughly 15 years. If we look 15 years ago, sure, we had a Mars retrograde in Sagittarius, but it started 20° later in the sign.

NDB: Yeah. It occupied a totally different part of the sign. And generally speaking, Mars retrogrades in Sagittarius are quite rare. This time around, the fact that we’re having our second Mars retrograde in Sagittarius in the 21st century is, you know, just sort of an accident of astronomy. In the 19th century, you only had maybe three Mars retrogrades in Sagittarius in the entire century. So, you know, that’s kind of just a clever little accident. But going back to what you were just saying before that, another word I would use—I mean, this exact thing has occurred to me. Another word I would use when looking at the cycles of Venus and Mars is symmetrical and asymmetrical.

AC: Mm-hmm.

NDB: The Venus cycle is symmetrical. It’s this elegant, five-pointed star. You know, you can’t draw an elegant, seven-pointed star out of the Mars retrograde. You do get seven Mars retrogrades in that general 15-year period through the zodiac, but it’s by no means elegant. It’s asymmetrical. And that may have, again, gone back to the original astrologers. I mean, we already know Mars is red and sort of dusty-looking, and Venus is very bright, like a moving star, and their color and appearance may have contributed to how astrologers interpreted them. But it may also be these, you know, particularities to their cycles that contributed to how they were interpreted astrologically.

AC: Absolutely. I’m certain that that was part of the original rationale. And I would just say perhaps as a one-phrase summary for Mars cycles and the Mars retrograde, ‘it ain’t pretty’.

NDB: Yeah.

AC: You know, you can’t make a beautiful, symmetrical picture out of it. It’s irregular. And—what’s the word? It’s a rupture with normal, right?

NDB: Yeah.

AC: Back to where we were talking about the outer planets, or just every other planet’s retrograde. Mercury, we get three a year; it’s very orderly. Venus, we basically get one, two out of every three years. And Venus retrogrades definitely have an anomalous feeling.

NDB: Mm-hmm.

AC: With Jupiter, Saturn, etc., we get one every single year, and it’s about a third of their cycle. And it’s just the tide going in and the tide going out.

NDB: Exactly.

AC: With Mars, you get one every other year, which actually makes it the rarest retrograde, which I believe was hit on. And so, the amount of anomalous power, you know, the degree to which it is contrary to business as usual is highlighted by its periodicity.

NDB: Yeah.

AC: And that’s also part of the meaning of it. You know, the fabric of normality, for better or worse, tends to be torn by Mars retrogrades.

NDB: Yeah. And it’s unfair is another thing. You know, Venus is fair. It distributes itself equally.

AC: Right.

NDB: Whereas Mars is not fair. It’s like, “No, you get a bunch, and you don’t get any,” or barely get any.

AC: Live with it.

NDB: Yeah, exactly. Live with it.

AC: Toughen up.

NDB: Yeah, exactly.

CB: That’s really interesting in terms of taking things back to first principles. Because then if you got rid of everything we knew about astrology and then tried to build it up again from scratch, you know, some of the things you guys are mentioning are really coming back to some of the first things that you would have work with in order to build up your understanding of the planets, which would be, you know, basic astronomical observations and things that set one planet apart from others. And then from that you start building out the extended meanings.

NDB: Yeah, I just spoke on Mars retrogrades in India two months ago. And this is an audience of Indian astrologers who use a different zodiac than we do. Needless to say, they have their own system. They have their own way of understanding astrology. But I presented this very material, the anomalies in the cycle and how it’s applied itself to history, and it was a cinch for them to fully understand what I was getting at. These ideas that we’re talking about very likely—and everyone there seemed to agree—form a sort of a common ‘delta’, if you will, from which the various streams of our traditions are drawn, you know. If there’s any sort of common ground that anyone’s astrology was built on, it was probably on this kind of thinking: looking at Venus and Mars in this way.

CB: Sure. Sure. And finally, that last point that you made, Austin, about this being very rare compared to the other retrograde cycles is also extremely interesting. I hadn’t thought about that before. So this retrograde cycle out of all the planets—because of the weird, in-between space that Mars occupies between the outer planets and the inner planets—it really does happen less frequently than any of the other planets.

NDB: Yeah. Only one-in-six or seven people will have Mars retrograde in their birth chart, whereas one-in-three will have Jupiter or Saturn retrograde and so forth. So it’s a huge factor, I think.

AC: You know, and before we move on, I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t mention some of the work that Gary Caton has done on looking at what happens when you track the Venus and Mars retrograde cycles in relationship to each other over a couple thousand years. He’s found some really interesting stuff. He published the first installment of his write-up of that research in The Ascendant, the journal of the AYA, and he’s been waiting patiently for the second half to be published in our next edition of The Ascendant. So people should check out Gary’s work for a particularly nice look at those cycles relative to each other as markers of, you know, long-tail history.

NDB: Yeah.

CB: And then his partner—or at least who he presented a conference with a year or two ago—Adam Gainsburg, for some of the observational astronomy surrounding Mars as well.

NDB: Yeah, they—and Julene Packer-Louis, the three of them—have been doing some really interesting things. They had this conference out in the Caribbean. Yeah, it’s worth checking out. If anyone googles their names, you can get your hands on their materials, if you want to get into some of the really fascinating details. Because the three of them respectively have done some amazing work.

CB: Sure. All right, so, I think we’ve covered the astronomical stuff. What should we move into now? Should we talk a little bit about the specifics of this retrograde period, or would you guys like to focus on previous examples? Where do you want to go at this point?

AC: Yeah, I think we should talk about this one.

NDB: Sure.

CB: Okay. So we’re already into the shadow period to the extent that Mars has already moved past the degree that it will retrograde back to. But officially, the retrograde period doesn’t begin until about April 17, I believe, when Mars stations retrograde at 8° of Sagittarius.

AC: Right. It’s worth pointing out, though, that right now, on March 27, even though Mars isn’t gonna be retrograde for 20 days, he’s only gonna move 2° between now and then. Like if you’re doing observational astrology, he’s almost at standstill right now. He’s moving as fast as Saturn.

CB: Right.

NDB: Yeah.

CB: Yeah. You know, the astrological tradition itself comes out of ancient Mesopotamia and skywatching, where literally over an 800-year period you had this scientific project that we refer to today as the ‘astronomical diaries’. Astrologers would go out in different cities in Mesopotamia each night, and you would have these families of astrologers that would observe the stars and write down where the planets and where the stars were each night, and they noticed anything weird or if the planets were doing anything odd. And you can just sort of imagine what that would have looked like from their perspective right now. If you’re watching this over successive nights each night, and you have this one planet that’s otherwise been cruising at degree or two a day…

NDB: Chris, it’s the reverse.

CB: Yeah.

NDB: It’s a degree every day or two.

CB: A degree every day or two. And then you get to a timeframe like right now and that same star—‘cause it just looks like a star that’s in the sky—suddenly slows down and almost becomes stationary as if it’s one of the other fixed stars out there.

NDB: Yeah. And as Austin was just pointing out, it stands still the longest as well just in terms of how long it stays in one point and doesn’t move. Other retrogrades, you know, the planet will stop, but it’ll almost immediately start moving. But not with Mars. It really hangs around in a place for a good long time.

CB: Interesting. So it’s doing that right now. We’re in the lead-up to it right now and its station is finally here.

NDB: Mm-hmm.

CB: At least it hits that final point where it makes the turn and then eventually starts moving backwards April 17. We hit the middle of the phase when it reaches the opposition around May 21 or 22, which will occur when Mars is exactly opposing the Sun, around 1° or 2° of Sagittarius. And when I was looking at the chart for this, I thought it was interesting ‘cause it actually coincides with the Full Moon in Sagittarius almost exactly. It’s not perfect, but it ends up being like a degree or something off. But it’s pretty close so that the Moon is actually closely conjunct Mars at the time that there’s the Full Moon, so that the Moon is opposing the Sun.

So that’s a little interesting tidbit around late May. And there’s some other interesting stuff, like that Mercury is stationing direct in Taurus right around the same time and stuff like that. This retrograde cycle, this particular one is unique because it crosses sign boundaries. So Mars is stationing retrograde in early Sagittarius, but then it retrogrades back into Scorpio at the end of May. May 27. It makes a retrograde, an ingress, into late Scorpio. And then, eventually, by the end of June—by June 22—it stations direct at 23° of Scorpio. Then Mars stations direct and begins moving forward again, and then eventually ingresses into Sagittarius. Do you guys know when that happens?

NDB: No.

AC: I think it’s like July 28, something like that.

CB: July 28. I’m looking at my handy calendar from Kirk Kahn.

NDB: No, it’s August 2.

CB: Okay, August 2. And that’s interesting. That coincides with a New Moon in Leo on August 2. And then, finally, sometime after that—I guess within the next few weeks—Mars will pass the degree that it originally stationed retrograde at, which is 8 Sagittarius, and then it’ll be out of its shadow period.

NDB: That’s right. Now getting back to this idea of how rare Mars retrogrades can be, obviously, Sagittarius is pretty close to Capricorn. And like I was saying earlier, Mars retrograde in Sagittarius is quite rare, even though this is the second time in the 21st century that we’re having one. We had a Mars retrograde in Sagittarius in 2001. But we haven’t had a Mars retrograde go from Sagittarius to Scorpio the way this one is since 1937, 79 years ago. 79 years is the time it takes for a Mars retrograde station to occur closest to another one, if you will. They tend to be about 4° or 5° apart, or 3° to 4° apart rather, in these 79-year intervals. So for instance, this time, in 2016, we’re gonna have Mars go retrograde at 8 Sagittarius and it goes direct at 23 Scorpio. Back in 1937, Mars went retrograde at 5 Sagittarius and direct at 19 Scorpio. And then 79 years prior to that, the last time before that, Mars went retrograde from Sagittarius to Scorpio. It was 1858 when Mars went from 2 Sag to 16 Scorpio.

So you can see that it gradually sort of moves ahead every 79 years. The cyclical repetition advances about, like I said, three or four zodiacal degrees. But that’s as close to a pattern as you’re gonna find with any of this. And this is the kind of thing that Gary Caton talks about, like Austin was mentioning earlier. In other words, this zodiacal territory is generally untouched by a Mars retrograde. And for most of us alive who have planets in late Scorpio or early Sagittarius, this really is one of the first times that we’re gonna have—it may very well be for most of us—that we’re gonna have a Mars retrograde make a transit to any of these points.

CB: So even though the retrograde periods of Mars in certain signs stays fixed for hundreds of years, the retrograde periods in other signs—there’s this gradual shift where it moves backwards, what, several degrees every 15 years.

NDB: No. Every 79 years. Not 15 years. 79 years.

CB: 15 years ago, we had another retrograde in Sagittarius…

NDB: Oh, yeah.

CB: …but it was just forward.

AC: It was off by 20°.

NDB: Yeah, exactly. I mean, it happens to have been in the same sign. But that’s fairly rare that 15 years after one Mars retrograde in Sagittarius you’ll get another one in Sagittarius. Like I said, that was an astronomical accident. Before 2001, the last time we had Mars retrograde in Sagittarius was 1969. And then in 1954, you had one go from early Capricorn into very late Sagittarius. And then prior to that we had this one I’m talking about in 1937, which is 17 years earlier than 1954. And the one in 1937 went from early Sagittarius to, you know, mid-to-late Scorpio, the way this one is.

CB: Okay. Got it. In terms of the 15-year synodic cycle, though, even though it doesn’t line up as nicely—the synodic cycles don’t line up as nicely as Venus—there’s still a sort of connection or repetition between those retrograde periods in 15-year increments, right?

NDB: Yeah, I think so. I mean, what’s represented there is Mars, within 15 years, will have made a full turn through the zodiac in terms of its retrogrades. So in other words, in those 15 years, you will definitely get a retrograde in Cancer, and then two years later a retrograde in Leo, and then two years later a retrograde in Virgo. Two years following that you will either get a retrograde in Libra or Scorpio, or possibly Sag, and then two years following that you’ll get either one in Sag or Capricorn or Aquarius, and so on and so forth. So you see the range gets broader as you get into, like I said, the ‘super rare’ signs. But it’s always, you know, every 26 months from one retrograde to the other. And so, in that 15 years, it will have done one turn around the zodiac, if you will.

CB: Okay.

AC: Right. And like we said earlier, Mars is uncooperative. And so, it’s not useless, but it’s much harder to get the sort of clean precedent that you can get with Venus by just looking at what happened eight years before. Because although, you know, it’s roughly the same part of Mars’ cycle, you know, the degrees could be off by more than 20°.

NDB: Yeah.

AC: And so, it’s unlikely that the same planets are gonna be transiting. You might have some action in the same house, but it’s not the same.

CB: That’s one of the questions in terms of how to interpret this or how to relate it directly to somebody’s chart. If you can take, you know, that cycle from 15 years ago—where Mars happened to go retrograde in Sagittarius—and apply it, perhaps for some people there will be a connection between that period in the past, 15 years ago, in 2001, and what happens this year in 2016.

AC: So what I do with that—and this is just me, and Nick might have a different answer or protocol—I don’t do that. I look for the last time that Mars was retrograde in similar degrees, which sometimes you have to go 17 years back. Even though the exact 15-year thing might not work, a lot of times when you’re dealing with Mars retrograde in less-rare signs, you can find a precedent, you know, within the last 20 years. For this one, we should all just think back to how the spring of 1937 was for us and if we had a good time.

CB: 1937.

AC: Yeah. So I bet Nick has 30 anecdotes about this one. I’ve got a couple. So let me get mine out of the way. So what brought me to investigate that actually earlier than when I was preparing research for this cycle was looking at Pablo Picasso. So Pablo Picasso—famous artist, famous painter—one of his most famous works is called Guernica. And Guernica is a town in Spain, and his painting, Guernica, is about the horrors of war. This is because during the Spanish Civil War, the town of Guernica was bombed by the Luftwaffe, and there was tremendous civilian suffering. Lots of casualties. And so, Pablo Picasso said, “I’m not gonna let people forget this.” And so, what’s interesting about that is literally that spring, Mars is retro partially in Sag and partially in Scorpio. And Pablo Picasso happens to have his Mercury at the end of Scorpio and a ton of stuff—well, Jupiter and Pluto at the end of Taurus, which was being opposed by this.

And that also brings up one of the themes for Mars retrograde, which I sort of first recognized in Nick’s excellent book about Uranus in Gemini and the United States. During the Civil War—I thought everybody knew about Sherman’s march to the sea, but as I’ve tried to talk to people about it, I realize that’s not the case. So towards the end of the Civil War, General Sherman—who was a Northern general—instead of just fighting the soldiers as we do in war, decides that he’s basically just gonna burn his way to the ocean, right, to the Atlantic Ocean, and goes on an almost unprecedentedly destructive total war campaign. And so, I’m not saying that this is going to happen to the American South this time. But what you can see and what resonates with Guernica—as well as a lot of other instances—is that during Mars retrogrades the gloves come off. There’s a lack of control over martial significations.

And so, what I tend to see in clients’ lives is what they get out of the Mars transit tends to be more intense than usual half of the time and almost invisible the other half of the time. Mars sort of like splits. The martial significations split into being totally suppressed or invisible or being almost monstrous in proportion. But the main thing is that sort of median, kind of the way we act in a martial sphere, what we use our swords for and all that—that sort of attempt to keep those significations tamed but invested in useful projects, that tends to disappear and you get really introverted and wildly extroverted stuff during the Mars retrogrades.

NDB: First of all, thanks for that. I’m glad you brought up Picasso. I wanted just to get back to him because it gets a little more interesting. This will give people an idea of how they can look at these cycles in their own charts. Picasso was born 22 days before a Mars retrograde station. So his progressed Mars went retrograde when he was 22-years-old, which would be the year 1903, the year of what is called the ‘Blue’ period; one of the first really important years of his creation. And before Guernica, his first Cubist work, and what would have been regarded as his most famous work—at least prior to Guernica, maybe even still—is Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, which he painted around June/July of 1907 during the Mars super-rare retrograde in Capricorn.

AC: Oh.

NDB: When his progressed Mars went retrograde with his ‘Blue’ period, when you follow his career, he often really got into something interesting during the Mars retrograde phases. And it stands to reason because if you think about him, I mean, everything from Cubism, this is martial art. Not in the sense of that stuff you do, Austin, but martial art in the astrological sense in that you’re not trying to make things symmetrical. You’re not trying to make them pretty. You’re not doing this for the sake of having something that blends nicely with the wallpaper.

AC: Absolutely.

NDB: And, you know, African masks and Cubism, I mean, all the different things.

AC: It’s important to add, literally, he was attacking the current definition of what was art.

NDB: Yes.

AC: He kept changing. As what he did 10 years ago became accepted, he was like, “Great. Now I’m gonna do something else you’re gonna hate.”

NDB: There’s that great apocryphal story—it’s probably apocryphal—when the Nazis came into Paris. As they walk into his art studio and they look at Guernica, they say, “Did you do this?” And he said, “No, you did this.”

AC: Ohhh.

NDB: That’s probably a myth, but that’s one of those stories that goes around about him.

AC: Totally.

NDB: It’s a good one anyway.

AC: Yeah.

NDB: In other words, that’s something to look at if people are, first of all, wondering about what this Mars retrograde phase might mean in their charts. Certainly, like we’ve been saying, if you have planets in late Scorpio, early Sagittarius, right off the bat this is likely the first time in your life that you’re ever gonna have a Mars retrograde transit to those points. And that may or may not be important to you depending on the overall look of your horoscope. But the other thing is to contemplate the condition of your own Mars. Is your natal Mars retrograde, or did it go retrograde by progression the way Picasso’s did? So on and so forth.

CB: So if your natal Mars is retrograde, you’d say that sort of intensifies or heightens the possibility that a Mars retrograde period such as this one will be important to you?

NDB: It’s just one of the things. All the time I see Mars retrograde phases, not just particular transit, but the ongoing cycle being really, really powerful in the lives of people, even if they weren’t born with Mars retrograde. But that is one of the things to look out for.

AC: Yeah. So one very simple thing is that if it’s your phase, right? With any planet, when a planet is in the same phase it was in when you were born—and especially if that’s a rare phase—that’s your phase. And that means that things that are more relevant and important in your life story are going to tend to occur. And this is not universal, but as I said to Chris the other day, I know a lot of Mars retrograde people. I even married one. And what I’ve observed is that for maybe two-thirds of them, the Mars retrograde phases are markedly more favorable for them than they are for everybody else around them.

CB: For two-thirds of the people that have it retrograde natally?

AC: Exactly.

CB: Interesting.

AC: In a couple of cases, they actually exhibit an unusual vigor. And projects that have lain dormant or have been neglected for a year or two will suddenly get done in a period of three weeks.

CB: Hmm. Nice. So there’s almost like this burst of focus or energy or drive, like some of the positive Mars significations.

AC: Yeah. I mean, that’s not everybody. I definitely still see those people getting Mars challenges. It’s not like it’s just smooth sailing, but one, it seems easier for them to orient themselves to deal with those challenges in a productive way. And when you look at those phases from a biographical perspective, you’re like, “Oh, that’s when they did that.” That ended up being a really great thing that they did. Like with Picasso, with his progressed Mars retrograde, right? He was probably pretty upset about what happened in the town of Guernica, but that’s what prompted him to do something that was pretty darn good. And, you know, we can also look at those other Mars retrograde points that Nick mentioned. So I guess in addition to looking at whether you were born with Mars retrograde, take a look and see if you have a progressed Mars retrograde ‘cause that seems to make a difference.

CB: Okay. So if by secondary progression, Mars went retrograde at some point after you were born, within your current lifetime.

AC: Exactly.

NDB: Right.

CB: Got it.

AC: And one thing about that, just for people who are less familiar with the progression techniques and with the length of Mars’ retrogrades. If Mars turned retrograde in your progressed chart, it’s gonna be that way for the rest of your life.

NDB: Yeah.

CB: Right.

AC: Pretty much. Unless you live a very long time.

NDB: Yeah. Inhumanely long.

AC: Right.

CB: So just backing up a little bit, we’re going through some key points in terms of what might make any retrograde period in general, but also this retrograde in particular, more important for you. And in terms of natal placements, there’s a bit of a hierarchy there as well. And I know, for you, Nick, that there’s certain things that you might rank as being more important if a person has, you know, those points in their chart in the general vicinity of where Mars is about to go retrograde, right?

NDB: I do. I do. But I also think it lights up a sign in a certain way, or it certainly seems to. The cyclical pattern—this is maybe where I differ from Austin and maybe you a bit. When I’m looking at a single individual’s life, I will look at repeating Mars retrogrades in the same sign, even if they don’t always zodiacally touch a planet. Some people’s chronologies just respond very strongly to Mars retrogrades in general, even if they don’t happen to have any planets there, and I can give some examples of how that works. But the basic thing is it’s not always just about the transit making a zodiacal contact with a given body in an individual’s chart.

CB: Sure. But, I mean, you would say, for example, if it’s going retrograde through the sign of your rising sign or through the 10th whole sign house that that’s gonna be a more important or pivotal retrograde or transit for that person than perhaps somebody else that has it going retrograde in some other house.

NDB: I think so. In fact, I do use the Mars retrograde cycle, you know, if I’m playing a little game of rectification or something of that nature.

CB: Right. Perhaps if you were using a politician’s chart, for example.

NDB: For instance. For instance, yeah. I think you’re offering me a segue to talk about one of this year’s candidates.

CB: I mean, if you’d like to, we might as well get into it.

NDB: No, I think it’s a good idea because with Hillary Clinton, there’s this ongoing debate over whether she was born at 8:00 AM or at 8:00 PM.

CB: Right.

NDB: And I know this issue has certainly given you some grief over the years. I don’t think I know any astrologer who hasn’t wrestled with it to some degree or another. Now if she was born in the morning, she would have a Scorpio rising. And if she was born at 8:00 PM or some time around there, she would either have a late Gemini or an early Cancer Ascendant, right? Now when you look at the Mars retrogrades in Hillary Clinton’s life, the ones that go from Cancer to Gemini—even though, you know, here we’ve got a woman who’s almost in her 70s, yet she’s only ever lived through four instances where Mars went retrograde from Cancer to Gemini, or through Cancer at all rather. The first time was when she was 13-years-old. 1960, Mars was retrograde in Cancer, and this is when Richard Nixon was defeated by John F. Kennedy. Hillary at the time—Hillary Rodham—was a 13-year-old Republican living in Chicago, and she was already very politically aware. And she saw firsthand, you know, the vote tampering that was being done in that city ‘cause that’s one of the cities where votes were tampered with, and she witnessed it firsthand. And when Nixon conceded defeat to Kennedy, there was this 13-year-old, politically-curious girl who was I guess exposed to some basic realities about politics.

You jump ahead 15 years, October 11, 1975, Mars is getting ready to go retrograde in Cancer again, and boom, she marries Bill Clinton. You know, that’s sort of unambiguously important in terms of the future of her life. 17 years later, November 3, 1992, the next time Mars goes retrograde in Cancer is when Bill Clinton is elected President. And then 15 years following that, in early 2008, January 3, 2008, during the Democratic run for leadership then, it was on that day when Mars was retrograde at 28 Gemini. It had gone retrograde from Cancer to Gemini. This was when Barack Obama won the Iowa Caucus, which was really the beginning of his political ascension. Nobody thought the guy had a chance in hell until he won the caucus on that day.

In other words, if you’re looking at the chronology of a woman who, like I said, is closing in on her 70s here—I guess she’s 68-years-old now. If Cancer were her rising sign, let’s just say hypothetically, or whatever house it happens to occupy—she has only ever experienced four Mars retrogrades in Cancer. And yet, when you look at that timeline of hers, I think it’s rather unambiguous that these are four really crucial events in her life that play a big role in determining her future direction in some fashion or another, either in terms of how it inspires her to move forward or just in terms of how she winds up meeting fate. And that’s what I like about using the cycles this way is you get what I think are unambiguous indicators. You know, a lot of things in history and biography are subject to debate and argument, right? I mean, many things are. History is not an exact science. But I feel pretty secure in saying those four events in Hillary Clinton’s life, to any observer—whether they’re, you know, friend or foe—are undeniably, unambiguously important events in her chronology.

CB: Sure.

NDB: So that’s how this works. And by extension, I would offer an argument that this is one argument one could use to suggest that she may in fact have been born around 8:00 PM with a Cancer Ascendant as opposed to Scorpio rising.

CB: Sure. So this becomes your argument, and this is something we’ve gone back and forth about. Because I’ve been trying to find out her correct birth time for a while, and this has been like a several-year—no, I’ve been working on it for like a decade now.

NDB: Yeah.

CB: And this is one of your arguments for why the 8:00 PM time would make sense, if she had Gemini rising, because she keeps having these important turning points in her life that occur when Mars goes retrograde in Gemini, which would be her rising sign at 8:00 PM.

NDB: Yeah, Cancer to Gemini. The one in 1960 and the one in 1992, those ones were only in Cancer actually. But keep in mind, the 8:00 PM gives her a really late Gemini rising. So she could very easily be, you know, a Cancer rising conceivably.

CB: Right. And so, this becomes sort of a point of contention because there’s a lot of astrologers that say, “No, the Scorpio rising chart makes a lot of sense.”

NDB: Right.

CB: Typically, they’ll point to placements in her chart, like, you know, that Scorpio rising would put the Scorpio stellium in the 1st. And then the ruler of the Ascendant would be Mars in Leo in the 10th house conjunct Saturn and Pluto and stuff like that. Patrick Watson and I also put a lot of emphasis not just on that, but on her timing periods using things like zodiacal releasing. A few years ago, we got interviewed by ABC News and Fox News on the Scorpio rising chart based on looking at her zodiacal releasing periods in the past, as well as the ones that are happening this year in 2016, which seem to be very active, which implied that she would indeed be running for President. But yeah, that’s interesting, though, how you’re using that because that becomes, you know, a good example of how you can use periods like Mars retrograde periods to attempt to rectify certain things in a person’s chart.

NDB: Let me say, first of all, I consider rectification to be an intellectual exercise. So I by no means swear up and down that, you know, because I can do these things with Hillary Clinton’s timeline that everybody absolutely must believe the argument that I’m making. But it’s actually kind of besides the point because one way or the other, we don’t know Hillary Clinton’s time of birth. But when I offer you the timeline of these Mars retrogrades, even without a time of birth, we have what I would consider pretty valuable astrological information regarding her life.

And, you know, there are a lot of people out there who are interested in astrology and will never ‘know know’, in the sense that people who have it written down in baby books or birth certificates. They’ll never know for certain what time they were born. But if they’re really interested in astrology, and they find this to be a hurdle for them, learning the synodic cycles of the planets and seeing how they apply to your personal timeline, to your personal chronology can really give you a lot, and in many ways make up for the fact that you are walking around without knowing for sure what your rising sign may be. And I think ultimately that’s the real power of this technique.

The point about what Hillary Clinton’s Ascendant may be is a hypothetical, intellectual exercise between us, and really it remains so until we know for sure. Although, obviously, you and Watson are getting really good results with what you’ve been doing. So you may very well have a point. I’m just saying with the method I’m using, it kind of becomes besides the point—that there’s something more important. There’s something that isn’t hypothetical or merely, you know, an exercise about it. There’s something that’s a really hands-on, visible, unambiguous use of astrology that time and time again I find really reliable and valuable.

CB: Yeah. I mean, it becomes one of the data points that anybody would have to take into account if you’re trying to rectify someone’s chart like that. And the fact that she does seem to respond so strongly to that particular retrograde cycle seems to imply something about her chart.

NDB: Exactly.

CB: Yeah. So that also brings us back, though, to this question. And it seemed like you had some ambiguity or some reluctance about nailing down hard-and-fast rules about how people are gonna respond or which people are gonna respond to certain retrogrades based on natal positions in their chart. And you definitely will emphasize things like, you know, a retrograde going through their rising sign or through their 10th house more than you might other things.

NDB: Yes.

CB: But sometimes there will just be people that will respond to certain retrograde cycles—like Mars retrograde—even though it’s not clear if it’s hitting something in their chart. But you just know based on their chronology that they’re responding really strongly to it, right?

NDB: Yeah, there are some people like that. One example that comes to mind is Paul McCartney. He might be a Virgo or Pisces rising; it’s another one of those examples. But either way, we don’t see an angular Mars. We don’t see a Mars in his chart that would tell us that. You know, and his Mars is not retrograde. It doesn’t go retrograde by progression. There’s nothing about Mars in his chart that makes us say let’s look at every Mars retrograde in his life and see if it says something about his chronology. But it turns out that when you do, for one reason or another, it sticks like glue. Everything in that man’s life, it seems, happens during a Mars retrograde, or sometimes during a Sun-Mars conjunction, which would be the flipside to it. But it’s a very Mars-ruled chronology for one reason or another.

CB: Sure.

NDB: And there’s a lot of other examples like that.

CB: Yeah. And, I mean, another reason I could think of where somebody might respond really strongly to a Mars retrograde period that I’ve seen—even if they don’t necessarily have anything there natally that’s really huge—is if they were in a profection year that’s activating that specific sign of the zodiac or that specific house of their chart. And then, suddenly, you get a Mars retrograde going through there. That can be really notable in terms of that area of the person’s life suddenly getting really lit up, even though you might otherwise not think it would be that terribly important.

NDB: Indeed..

AC: Yeah. Yeah. If Mars is the lord of the year, and Mars goes retrograde, that will be interesting.

CB: Right. Yeah. Definitely. Or if you’re in a 7th house profection year and then Mars goes retrograde in your 7th house. You’re gonna have some major 7th house, Mars-related action going on that year.

NDB: Right. If it hits either the territory or the ruler—or acts as ruler.

CB: Right. Another one I’ve been thinking about recently—and this is a little bit more theoretical or far afield—but I was working on a chapter for my book this month. I decided to add this chapter I didn’t think I was gonna add based on some research I did a few years ago about the ruler of the nativity, or what they called the ‘Master of the Nativity’, which is this idea that you can have an overall chart ruler. But the rules for determining it are very complicated and kind of obscure, and sometimes it results in a planet that otherwise might not seem hugely important in the chart actually playing kind of a dominant role.

NDB: Hmm.

CB: And just conceptually or theoretically, one of the things that raised for me is if you can have a planet like that that otherwise maybe doesn’t seem like it should be important but still is—if sometimes that could be why certain people might respond to something like a Mars retrograde period very strongly, even though we otherwise don’t know why they are, even though it’s not necessarily hitting important spots in their chart or something like that.

NDB: That would make a lot of sense because you see examples that work in terms of following the retrograde, but don’t correspond to your typical sign rulership doctrine or angularity doctrine when you’re trying to determine what planets are gonna have more influence or not.

CB: All right, great. So you agree, then, that Hillary Clinton has Scorpio rising. We can move on.

NDB: Hahaha.

CB: All right, we’ll return back to that topic, and I’ll keep working on you in between. Yeah, that was worth a shot.

NDB: I’ll agree that we both have pretty good arguments and that no one knows for sure.

CB: Right. Unfortunately, that’s the biggest deal. And for anyone who’s curious, it’s one of the reasons why I haven’t done any episodes really on the election so far, but hopefully later this year, we will. Hopefully, it’ll be like the 2012 election and the candidates will start selling coffee mugs with their birth certificates pretty soon.

NDB: Oh, that would be the best. I think that should be the law, frankly.

CB: Yeah. I mean, I’m still holding out for that, so we’ll see what happens.

NDB: Right.

CB: In terms of other contemporary, major, current-day events or examples, or political figures that you guys think are going to come up or be really keyed into this upcoming Mars retrograde cycle, which ones are you guys looking at these days?

AC: Well, I think one figure who’s kind of keyed into what’s happening right now period—or perhaps a key to it—is Donald Trump.

CB: Mm-hmm.

AC: And if we’re looking for signals that a person might be responsive to what Mars is doing, I think that we could say that one of them is probably having that planet on the Ascendant within a degree.

CB: Sure.

AC: Probably fair.

NDB: Yeah.

AC: And so, Donald Trump has his Mars on his Ascendant at the end of Leo. And while Mars’ retrograde span this year will not go over his Moon, he does have the Moon—a Full Moon, an eclipsed Full Moon actually—in Sagittarius.

CB: Hmm.

AC: I mean, on a general level this is something that’s kind of important, right? So our last Mars retrograde was in Libra, right? The entire thing was in Libra. And, sure, there were a lot of power moves during that span of months, but they were sneaky, passive-aggressive ones. If people look back to late winter and early spring of 2014, when Mars was retrograde in Libra, you know, I think within 12 hours of Mars’ retrograde station Russia annexed the Crimea, which was the opening gambit in this whole series of sort of passive-aggressive, “Oh, we’re not at war. I don’t know what you’re talking about. Well, you guys are trying to undermine Ukraine. So we’re just trying to support the people here.” You know, there was this whole series of sneaky power moves that started literally on that station. It was all disguised aggression. You know, it was all fists in gloves.

Whereas I don’t think that’s what the power struggles this time around are gonna look like, in that Mars stations retrograde right next to Antares, which is probably the most martial fixed star that’s anywhere near the ecliptic, and then spends half of its retrograde in tropical Scorpio, a Mars-ruled sign, and spends about 95% of it in sidereal Scorpio, a Mars-ruled sign. I think that Mars is gonna look like Mars. I don’t think it’s going to be sneaky, passive-aggressive moves. I think it’s gonna be a slug fest in a lot of different arenas. And one of the most obvious slugfests is the American political cycle. And so, I just wanted to make that point. This is sort of a ‘gloves off’ phase.

NDB: Indeed. Indeed. And it’s interesting. Trump’s history with Antares is not bright. There was a famous incident on the 31st of December 1989 when he was still married to Ivana Trump, but he had already been carrying on an affair with Marla Maples, who would become his second wife. On the 31st of December ‘89, those two women got into a very public argument. Donald was stupid enough to bring them on the same ski vacation.

AC: Oh, my God.

NDB: And yeah, he didn’t think they would run into each other. But one thing led to another, Ivana found out about Marla on this trip. And then there was a confrontation between the two women and they had this huge public blowout, and before 1990 was over, Ivana and Donald were divorced. So that Mars was, you know, conjunct Antares. It wasn’t retrograde at the time, but that was Mars conjunct Antares, which is the same degree that Mars is gonna be stationing at 8 Sagittarius. Antares is at 9 Sagittarius. But, you know, right in that range is where Mars was at that time. And, I mean, another thing that’s going on is we have Saturn going back and forth over Antares. It’s gonna be back there again in the summer with Mars. And Saturn with Antares has also been rough on Donald’s life in the past.

Back in 1986, the last time Mars was on Antares, basically, he had to concede this lawsuit. He was trying to evict a bunch of people from a building he wanted to demolish on Central Park South. And he basically had to give up and decided to renovate the building instead and he couldn’t evict these tenants. Which is great for the tenants and what have you, but obviously Donald’s horoscope is about Donald, so not a great day for him. In other words, there is a historical argument to make that, generally speaking, Mars and/or Saturn conjunct Antares is not a favorable position for Donald. And in this instance, he’s gonna have a very, very, very strong dose of Mars with Antares. Much stronger than he had back in 1989.

AC: Right. That’s perfect. And I will just add a little bit about the meaning of Antares traditionally, which differentiates it from being exactly like Mars. It’s very martial. But one of the themes that’s associated very strongly with Antares, or the figure that sort of captures the essence of Antares is a very energetic, very driven, very powerful individual who through overreaching can set themselves up for a fall from grace. It’s somebody who can attain a great height, but through hubris or through whatever mistakes can set themselves up for a fall.

NDB: Yeah. And there was something you wrote earlier, Austin, that I thought was really striking, something I hadn’t thought of. Antares is, indeed, a reddish star, and Mars is, of course, red. And you wrote about how it’s gonna look like there’s these two red eyes in the sky looking at us, which I think is a really interesting observation and one I was hoping you would make. I wasn’t trying to beat you to the punch.

AC: Oh, no, no, no, that’s good. We’ve got so much to talk about. I might have forgotten it. Yeah, Antares, it’s literally ‘Ant-Ares’, right? The star is literally named the ‘equal or rival of Mars’ because it’s the other super bright red thing in the sky, and that’s the sense in which it’s the rival. Other people might know it as the ‘heart of the Scorpion’. It’s the heart of the Scorpion constellation. One of the Persian royal stars, so it’s, you know, kind of a big deal.

NDB: Mm-hmm.

AC: I was doing a little research on Antares the other day, and I found out that it is a red supergiant, you know. So if you know about the life cycles of stars, certain sizes of stars, once they burn through a certain amount of fuel they get huge and red. And so, Antares is actually one of the most massive types of these. The diameter of Antares would take it just past Mars’ orbit if we were to place it in the middle of our solar system.

CB: Wow.

NDB: Hmm.

AC: So yeah, it’s a giant red thing that actually goes out to about the orbit of Mars, right? So it just dwarfs our Sun.

CB: That’s pretty funny as well ‘cause ‘Anonymous of 379’, he says that Mars is of the nature of Jupiter—or that Antares is of the nature of Jupiter and Mars.

AC: Yeah, so I found three different versions. One says that it’s of the nature of Mars and Jupiter, one says that it’s of the nature of Mars and Saturn, and then one says that it’s of the nature of Mars and Mercury. So we can see what everybody agrees on here.

CB: Sure.

NDB: Well, there’s definitely something to be said about the red color, too.

AC: Oh, yeah. Absolutely.

NDB: For astrologers who are actually looking at the sky, I think that’s really important. And here’s the thing—in so far as Mars retrograde with Antares, we’re talking about something super rare. In recent history, in the 20th century for starters, the only year where there was a Mars retrograde conjunct Antares was 1969. And before that it was 1890. That old ‘79-year’ rule coming up again.

AC: Wow.

NDB: Yeah. In 1922, the direct station was at 11 Sag. So that was pretty close. And we could include that, I guess, in terms of it really passing over the star, which actually it doesn’t quite do this time. This time the retrograde station is about a degree shy of the star.

AC: Mm-hmm.

NDB: I mean, definitely, if you’re looking up at the sky, it’s stationing right next to the star, so I think that counts. Now 1969, that retrograde with Antares I think is very interesting because in my little chronology, you know, obviously, we’re thinking about war and peace and simultaneous things. Mars was conjunct Antares before the retrograde of 1969—in I guess what we would call the shadow—on March 16 of ‘69, which is when the Nixon administration started the secret bombing of Cambodia.

AC: Ohhh.

NDB: One of the most nefarious—I mean, talk about fire and all that.

AC: Oh, and just to go back to the theme about civilian casualties.

NDB: Mm-hmm.

AC: So I’m just gonna come out and say one of the things I fear for this Mars retrograde is that there will be decisions from the powers-that-be to put an end to Syrian Civil War, and that the solution will be very brutal and there will be a lot of civilian casualties. I’m not predicting that. I’m saying that is a possibility which concerns me.

NDB: I mean, what I’m getting at—I’m sort of in the middle of a thought here.

AC: Yeah, go on.

NDB: What you tend to see is the simultaneous. It’s like here we’ve got the bombing of Cambodia, but you also see these enormous peaceful gestures, although, obviously, they don’t solve the problems of the violence. When Mars was actually retrograde on Antares on June 1 ‘69, that was probably the proudest day in my hometown of Montreal. It was the day John Lennon recorded “Give Peace a Chance.

AC: Huh.

NDB: Yeah. You know, talk about the symbolism there. The song that’s really sort of the anthem of the century for the peace movement—I feel pretty safe to say, definitely one of them—is written and recorded when Mars is retrograde on Antares.

AC: Just one quick thing. No, you go ahead. No, you go ahead. I’ll hold on.

NDB: Okay. Well, just to finish this thought, before the retrograde—when Mars was on Antares—we had the bombing of Cambodia. During the retrograde, we’ve got the recording of “Give Peace a Chance.” After the retrograde—which was in July of ‘69, just before the Moon landing—when Mars comes back to Antares after the retrograde it’s the second week of August, which is the week of both the Manson Murders, but also, Woodstock. So you see what I’m getting at here?

AC: Absolutely.

NDB: It’s the Manson Murders and it’s Woodstock. It’s bombing Cambodia and it’s “Give Peace a Chance.”

AC: Okay. So this ties together with something I’ve observed an awful lot. So I’m talking about, you know, these instances of total war being something that seems to occur more often during Mars retrogrades, and it’s those events, it’s those kinds of events that galvanize the will to peace. And this is something I totally see in Mars retrograde natives. A lot of them that I know have seen really nasty versions of Mars—whether through violence or through having people close to them who embodied truly toxic, pathological masculinity—and their response to that is not to replicate it, but to take the extreme opposite position.

NDB: Hmm.

AC: You know, it’s this idea that every spectrum is secretly a circle and that if you go far enough in one direction you end up on the other side.

NDB: Right. Well, you know, that’s definitely what we’re looking at here, essentially. Now speaking of Mars retrograde with Antares, you know how I’ve been talking about that it can take up to 79 years for Mars to be retrograde in the same position.

AC: Mm-hmm.

NDB: So in 1969, during the Mars retrograde that spring, there’s one guy who’s obviously having a pretty important return, someone who was born with Mars retrograde conjunct Antares, and that was Ho Chi Minh.

AC: Oh, God.

NDB: Yeah, born the 19th of May 1890. He had natal Mars—even though we don’t know what time he was born necessarily, he had natal Mars conjunct Antares. And the first time ever—even though he lived to be 79-years-old—the first time he ever lived to have a recurrence of that natal position was in the last months of his life. He died in September of 1969. Mars was at 18 Sag. It was a little after the retrograde. But basically, those last months of his life, obviously, he’s still fighting the US at that point, except now he’s fighting Nixon. You know, Nixon was inaugurated not long before the Mars retrograde. So in other words, you know, before the Mars retrograde, he was fighting Johnson, and now he’s fighting Nixon. And he’s gonna die and obviously his power’s being placed in the hands of other generals. But I find that a very interesting nativity to look at in the context of all of this.

AC: I think that’s very compelling.

NDB: Yeah.

AC: So speaking of nativities and elections and all that, it’s worth noting that Bernie Sanders is I believe the only one of the top candidates—the final four, as it were—that was born with Mars retrograde.

NDB: Yes, with Aries. One of the quite rare signs of Mars retrograde in Aries.

AC: Right. He’s a Moon and Mars retrograde in Aries. And additionally, in terms of the area of the zodiac which this Mars retrograde is planning on going through, he’s got a Saturn-Uranus conjunction at the end of Taurus. And so, that’s going to be opposed by the Scorpio leg of this retrograde.

NDB: And furthermore, by the time we get to the fall, leading up to the election, Uranus is gonna reach 23 Aries not long before the election, making a conjunction to his natal Mars retrograde and opposing his Venus.

AC: Yeah.

NDB: So there’s sort of a double-whammy in terms of all the Mars-Uranus stuff happening.

AC: Yes. Yes, indeed.

CB: Interesting.

NDB: Now that Mars retrograde in Aries—so 1941—is also quite a rare sign for there to be Mars retrogrades. After 1941, the next time we had a Mars retrograde in Aries was 1988, so it’s fairly rare. And of course in 1941, in that fall, these were the last months leading up to Pearl Harbor. In fact, there’s a lot of attacks on the US that occur. Historically, Mars post-retrograde seems to be a period when the US is most vulnerable, but I’ll get to that in a minute. People like Jesse Jackson and—well, Jesse Jackson is someone who comes to mind who was also born with that Mars retrograde in Aries. He was born, I think, a couple of weeks after Bernie Sanders. So you do get certain kinds of political candidates born during that time. But obviously, it’s not just Mars retrograde. It’s Mars retrograde in Aries, you know, the most ‘martian’ of martian signs.

AC: I would just add to that that one of my stock characters—if we’re gonna represent Mars retrograde in a comic book—Mars retrograde is about going rogue. In many ways, it’s taking that willingness to break with approval that’s always a feature of Mars—like taking that to the next level. So I just got done watching the second season of Daredevil, which features the Punisher.

NDB: Right.

AC: So for those who aren’t familiar with him or these characters, Daredevil is your classic, you know, good guy, no-kill, superhero, right? He beats up the baddies, but he won’t shoot them. He turns them over to the police. He’s trying to help the system work, right?

NDB: He’s Marvel Comics Batman, basically.

AC: Absolutely. He’s a little bit less angsty than Batman. But all these ‘no-kill’ heroes have their angst, right? He’s trying to civilize his vigilante, martial behavior. And then you have this season that’s about his contrast with the Punisher. And the Punisher, you know, is just like, “Oh, okay, those people are bad. We should murder all of them.” The end.

NDB: Right.

AC: And so, it’s that sort of Mars unleashed, Mars closest to the Earth. And just like with these historical events, you know, it’s so much Mars that it makes everybody think about peace.

NDB: Right. Yeah.

AC: And I was thinking about that conflict between them as being emblematic to a certain degree of the difference between Mars retrograde and Mars direct. Daredevil is Mars. Like he literally puts on an outfit and goes and beats people up every night, right?

NDB: Not only that, the first issue of Daredevil, April of 1964, that book would have been published with Mars, the Sun, Mercury, and Jupiter all in Aries.

AC: Okay, that’s amazing.

CB: Nice.

AC: Okay, so I looked up the Punisher’s first appearance in a comic, which has Mars conjunct Algol.

NDB: Brilliant.

AC: And then I looked up the first time that a Punisher comic was published, right? Because he appeared in a comic before he had his own.

NDB: Yeah.

AC: And so, the first month issue of The Punisher has Mars conjunct Pluto and the South Node in Scorpio.

NDB: Brilliant.

AC: Like I was just saying, direct Mars is doing Mars stuff, but it’s trying to remain civilized, right? And then retrograde Mars is like, “Screw your rules. It’s not working. I’m gonna do what needs to be done.”

NDB: Like bombing Cambodia.

AC: Right.

NDB: As far as Nixon’s concerned, yeah.

AC: Or the bombing of Guernica. Or the march to the sea.

NDB: Yeah. Speaking of which, when we’re talking about peace, Russia has signed at least four treaties when Mars was conjunct Antares. And there’s a couple of other important diplomatic things for them as well. I won’t get into all of it. You have to really know Russian history, but needless to say, it’s four different really important treaties in their history. Probably two of the most important treaties they ever signed. Russia—out of any national history I’ve studied—seems to have a really tight relationship with Antares and planets in Antares. Probably the greatest achievement of the Soviet Union was the launching of the Mir Space Station in February of 1986, when Mars and Saturn were conjunct Antares, which is an interesting thing to look back on. Although Mars wasn’t retrograde at the time.

You know, it was funny you were talking about Mars earlier—sorry, Russia earlier, Austin, when we were talking about two years ago the Mars retrograde we had in Libra, which of course is Vladimir Putin’s Sun sign. And definitely, he was one of the ‘Mr. Mars Retrogrades’ of 2014. I think Vladimir’s gonna be, you know, a contender for the title in 2016. I think we’re gonna be seeing a lot of Russia, you know. But as loud as the American elections are obviously dominating the headlines in terms of, you know, ‘real news’ in the world, I think a lot of it’s gonna be happening in the Russian sphere of influence…

CB: Interesting.

NDB: …leading up to this August when we have another Mars-Saturn conjunction on Antares after the Mars retrograde.

AC: Yeah.

CB: Oh, right. So how far does Saturn retrograde back to, again?

NDB: Saturn retrogrades back to 9 Sagittarius. It retrogrades back to Antares.

CB: Wow.

NDB: And it stations direct there on the 13th of August.

CB: Okay. Yeah, so it’s right on it. So it really will be a conjunction of Mars, Saturn, and Antares very, very closely.

AC: Yeah.

NDB: Exactly. Exactly, yeah. So it’s not just the retrograde station happening next month, you know, in April. It’s also the fact that this extends to Saturn, you know. So whatever does come up in April, we’ll hit a Saturn kind of awakening when we get to August, is one way to look at it.

AC: So one thing that this particular Mars retrograde brings is a lot of co-presence with Saturn in Sagittarius and then having that final conjunction in August, right?

NDB: Mm-hmm.

CB: Yeah. And that probably can’t be overstated ‘cause of the rareness of having a retrograde where Saturn’s also right there in the sign.

NDB: Yeah.

AC: It’s five months of a given year with Mars and Saturn in the same sign. It doesn’t happen very often.

NDB: No. The last time we had a co-presence of those two planets during a Mars retrograde was 1984 when they were in Scorpio. And I don’t even know—the last time there was a conjunction in Sagittarius was over 200 years ago. So this is quite unprecedented. One country that has a strong history when it comes to the occasional Mars retrograde that’s co-present with Saturn, one country that turns up over and over is India—because of Mars retrograde with Saturn—everything from the murder of Gandhi to the events that led to murder of Indira Gandhi, when the Sikh temple was stormed by the Indian army in June of 1984, things like that. And I could go on and on. There’s a lot of Indian history that ties in with the Mars retrograde co-presence with Saturn. And for that reason that’s another area in the world that I expect to see in the headlines a lot. Sorry, Austin. Go ahead.

AC: Oh, no. It’s okay. That’s all super good stuff. It was also during that Mars-Saturn co-presence that the virus that causes AIDS was actually fully identified for the first time. People knew about the disease, and they called it something earlier, but they found the virus during that co-presence. Now where I was hoping to lead, at least for a few minutes, was, hey, that’s Mars and Saturn in the same house in everybody’s chart for five months, right?

CB: Right.

AC: So there are 12 different versions of that, at least. And so, what that looks like and is gonna feel like for a lot of people is that you’re gonna have to work your ass off in that part of life. Some people may have signed up for it on purpose. I know some people who’ve entered really intense programs that are gonna take them through the spring. It may be that life may surprise you with challenges. And then for some people, it may just be an area where things are gonna be much harder than normal and they’re gonna be using their agency to get through it. But regardless of which variant of the storyline, that’s a big thing. And for a lot of people it’s just gonna call on them to offer—or not offer—to present the virtues associated with Mars and Saturn. You know, you need both energy and courage from Mars, as well as patience and discipline from Saturn. When I think of the good things that Mars and Saturn together can yield—which takes some thinking ‘cause it’s much easier to think of bad things.

NDB: Mm-hmm.

AC: But what can you do with that, assuming you have some meaningful choices? You know, it’s the virtue of industry. The launching of the Mir Space Station makes me think about that.

NDB: Yeah.

AC: You know, Mars is traditionally associated with engineering. And so, we have this huge project. Getting something that big into space, that’s so much labor. Literally, you know, if we’re imagining one of Mars’ images as being the guy at the forge, you know, beating the metal into shape—like how much forging went into that?

NDB: Indeed.

AC: I believe the traditional virtue was called industria.

NDB: Oh, I’m glad you mentioned Mir again. You reminded me that I wanted to say Mir is the Russian word for ‘peace’.

AC: Oh.

NDB: And that was Mars and Saturn on Antares, yeah.

CB: Nice.

NDB: On another national tip, because I’ve talked about Russia and India, a number of Latin American nations got their independence when there was at least one key planet, if not two, conjunct Antares. So I think a lot of them are places that we want to watch. Colombia and Chile, both founded in 1810, have Neptune and Saturn very close to Antares. Paraguay has Mars and Neptune. Paraguay and Venezuela were founded in 1811. Paraguay has Mars and Neptune close to Antares. Venezuela has Neptune close to Antares. Argentina, founded in 1816, has Uranus close to Antares and the South Node pretty close by. And also, the Spanish-American War, which liberated Cuba, occurred when transiting Saturn was going back and forth over Antares, with Uranus following not far behind. So I’d say in general that’s, what? One, two, three, four, five, six different Latin American nations to keep an eye on in the news during this retrograde phase and afterwards going into the summer.

CB: Definitely. All right, so as we start to wrap this up, one of the last points I wanted to ask is how, generally speaking, people that want to go deeper into this material can study Mars retrograde periods more extensively? What would your tips be for those that want to do that?

NDB: Well, first of all, I mean, a lot of astrology students start with their own lives. So if you’re looking at your own horoscope—I mean, as with any other element of astrology that you’re studying—you want to have a pretty good idea of your timeline, your chronology; the date of all the important events and even the semi-important events that have occurred in your life. And just for starters, if you go through the ephemeris and look at the times when Mars was retrograde while you were alive, see if that doesn’t speak to you in some way. Because there’s a lot of eureka moments that come out of that process, and in a lot of cases, it’s very, very fruitful. So just for starters, I would say that’s a good place to start.

AC: And I would add to that note the different cycles or the different stations that aren’t a big deal at all, right? ‘Cause when those happen again, you can say, “Oh, okay, that’s not gonna be a big deal. I’ve done a couple of those.” You know, don’t just look for the hits. The misses give you information about what misses you, right? You know, there could be a big, scary configuration that might burn your next door neighbor’s house down, but it might be that that one just never does anything to you. And knowing what not to take into consideration is important.

CB: Definitely. I mean, the only thing I would add is maybe just pay attention to sect as well as a potential factor that can key you into—it’s not necessarily always true—whether some of the events and circumstances experienced with whatever house that Mars is going retrograde through and whether it’s gonna be on the more constructive end of the spectrum or the more challenging end of the spectrum in terms of Mars. It seems like people with day charts tend to have a little bit more problems with Mars transits, whereas people with night charts in general tend to do a little bit better with Mars transits. And then the opposite for Saturn. But the beautiful thing of course about this one is that Mars and Saturn will be in the same place. So basically, everybody’s getting screwed in the same spot in their zodiac at the same time.

NDB: Or blessed.

AC: Or blessed.

CB: Sure. A matter of perspective.

AC: Mm-hmm.

CB: All right, well, I think we’ve covered most of the points that I wanted to cover.

NDB: Oh, I was gonna say—this is a big ‘doom and gloom’ and maybe not the best way to end this. But I did want to add this in because it’s an interesting observation, and I said earlier I would. Now Mars makes a direct station every two years, and it’s not like the US is always in trouble. But one thing I have noticed is in the history of the most notorious attacks on US soil or crises, if you will, they generally have occurred not long after the direct station. These would include the Battle of Lexington-Concord, which began the Revolutionary War in 1775. That was 13 days after a direct station.

Pearl Harbor in 1941 was 27 days after a direct station. That was that same Mars retrograde in Aries that Bernie Sanders was born under. The 1993 World Trade Center bombing was 11 days after a direct station. The Oklahoma City bombing was 25 days after a direct station. And finally, 9/11 was 53 days, which is a bit long, but still close enough in my book when it comes to Mars cycles. That was 53 days after a direct station. So I’m by no means saying, you know, that’s something that’s gonna happen in 2016 or if this pattern will keep holding, but it is a trend. It is a trend for the most part that is something to look out for.

CB: All right, well, thanks for leaving us on that high note.

NDB: Yeah, I know. You’re welcome, America.

CB: Right. Well, signing off in order to bring this episode to conclusion. So let’s see, we covered all of our natal things to look at. We covered all of our basics in terms of where this will be retrograding through and what spots of the zodiac it’s gonna hit and what not. So I guess we’ve got, what, a month—not even a month. We’ve got like three weeks until it stations retrogrades and things officially begin.

NDB: Mm-hmm.

AC: Indeed.

CB: All right, so both of you have done additional side research, and this is just like the tip of the iceberg in terms of some of your creative output in terms of research and things that you’ve published on Mars retrograde cycles. Nick, I know you’ve done workshops and lectures and stuff on this topic, right?

NDB: Yes, and I have some YouTube videos I’ve made. Although I’m about to revamp all my YouTube videos and make a bunch more. When I was in India, we really stepped up our game with presentations and used a lot of new bells and whistles that I’ve never used before, so I’m revamping. But even now, if someone goes to either my website or my YouTube page, they can find some interesting videos on Mars retrogrades. Usually biographical stuff like I do.

CB: Excellent. And your website is NickDaganBest.com?

NDB: Correct.

CB: All right, well, people should check that out. And then, Austin, you’re currently working on an article on the upcoming Mars retrograde. And that’s gonna be out soon, right?

AC: Yeah, hopefully. Yeah, I’ve done a semi-extensive piece on every Mars retrograde since the Cancer one, which began at the end of 2007. And so, yeah, I’ve been working away on this one. I think I’ve got all of my material. I just need to finish writing it up and make it sound fun.

NDB: Sorry. I was just gonna say I am also writing a short article on Mars retrograde for issue number three of Hexagon Astrology Magazine, the great new astrology magazine that we’ve been writing for. So look for that. I guess that’s gonna be in stores sometime around April.

CB: Oh, it’s gonna be out that soon?

NDB: I think so. I could be wrong. The article’s just being handed in now. Yeah, it’ll either be April or May.

CB: Okay. Awesome. Yeah, I just remember that the last one came out not too long ago. So maybe I’m just misremembering. My sense of time the past few months has gone out the door.

AC: Aren’t they aiming for something around quarterly?

NDB: Yeah. But the last issue came out in January. I was in India when the last issue came out. So, you know, April isn’t too far off.

CB: Yeah. I mean, it would be every three months. All right, and Austin, your article will be published, I assume, on your website, AustinCoppock.com?

AC: Yeah. And I’ll definitely get it out the first week of April, maybe by the end of March. We’ll see. We’ll see. Mars and Saturn are both in my 6th house right now. And so, I have a lot to do.

CB: Right. Yeah, cranking those articles out like a mad man.

AC: Indeed. Indeed.

CB: All right, well, I think that does it for this episode then. Anything else you guys wanted to mention?

AC: Well, there is the ‘dudering’.

CB: Oh, right.

NDB: Oh, yeah. Tell us about your ‘dudering’ thing.

AC: So the ‘dudering’ theory is based on something I see in a lot of my consulting work. It’s when I see somebody who has romantic relationships with men, and then they have a breakup, and then a Mars retrograde occurs. The dude comes back, and a lot of times, it’s not to stay. But I see a lot of men returning to relationships; they’re basically returning to old relationships. And so, a lot of the ‘dudering’ will be from 10 years ago. But I just see men coming back into people’s lives, especially in a romantic context around Mars retrogrades, and I’ve dubbed that the ‘dudering’.

CB: Brilliant. That’s an extremely literal manifestation.

NDB: It is. I’ve seen that happen with Venus retrogrades and women in men’s lives from time to time. So that makes a lot of sense to me that you’ve seen that happen. A ‘she-ering’, I guess.

CB: All right, well, that’s a brilliant note to end on, I think. All right, well, thanks guys, both of you, for joining me. And we’ll have to have you on again maybe for a recap or like a postmortem later this year to talk about how the ‘dudering’ and other themes that we talked about played out.

NDB: That would be great.

AC: Great.

CB: All right, excellent. Well, thanks both of you for joining me.

NDB: Thank you, Chris.

AC: Yeah, it was tons of fun.

CB: All right, thanks everybody for listening, and we’ll see you next time.