Mars Retrograde 2024: What Is It and What It Means for You This Year

Written by Dayva Segal
Published: February 22, 2024
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Even people who do not follow astrology closely have heard of “Mercury retrograde,” the period of time when the planet Mercury appears to move backward and causes technology and communication to go haywire. But did you know that every single planet in astrology has retrogrades? Because Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and has a swifter orbit, we experience Mercury retrogrades several times per year. But other retrogrades can also affect us throughout the year. Mars retrograde only happens about once every two years.

Mars Retrograde 2024 Dates & Meaning

Planet Mars on a dark background. Elements of this image furnished by NASA. High quality photo

Mars will be in retrograde for several months from December 2024 to February 2025.

©Artsiom P/

Mars, the planet of action, anger, aggression, energy, and passion, will have one period of retrograde in 2024 from December 6, 2024, until February 23, 2025. This will have some overlap with 2024’s last period of Mercury retrograde which spans from November 25 to December 15 of 2024. Mars will start its retrograde in fire sign Leo and move backward to Cancer on January 6th, 2025. Further compounding the challenges of a Mars retrograde is the fact that Mars in Cancer is a fall position. The passionate qualities of Mars are further weakened by being in this sign.

What Does the 2024 Mars Retrograde Mean for Astrology?

tired student

You may feel a general lack of energy during a Mars retrograde.

©Egor Rukavitsin / CC BY-SA 4.0 – License

When Mars is in retrograde, it’s important to take things slowly. In fact, you may feel a lack of energy or enthusiasm that forces you to take things slowly. This particular Mars retrograde just might force us to take on the cozy winter vibes of the end-of-year season. If you don’t feel a simple lack of energy, you may feel the frenetic energy of the holidays more strongly than usual. Holiday social gatherings may zap your life force. You might find you simply don’t feel the magical energy of the holidays as much this year.

You may find yourself making strange, impulsive decisions, or having trouble making any decisions at all. With the force of Mars’ passion lessened you could make some wrong turns if you don’t take the time to fully consider the consequences. Your anger could lead you down the wrong path, so make sure to take time to breathe during conflicts. Take a walk and cool down before you engage in any hot-headed conversations to avoid creating lasting damage.

With this particular retrograde starting in fiery, attention-loving Leo, even the most outgoing people will probably feel called to stay home and focus on self-care. Spa days, binge-watching, and solo nature walks may feel most fulfilling. As Mars then moves into Cancer, the new year will not start with a burst of energy. A good New Year’s resolution for this year would be to start a journaling practice or to focus on meditation. Anything that involves leaving home or exerting a lot of energy will feel like a challenge. Emotionally, people may feel more sensitive than usual, for no reason in particular.

What To Avoid During Mars Retrograde

Empty American Style Courtroom. Supreme Court of Law and Justice Trial Stand. Courthouse Before Civil Case Hearing Starts. Grand Wooden Interior with Judge's Bench, Defendant's and Plaintiff's Tables.

Astrologers say to avoid starting new legal proceedings during Mars retrograde.

©gorodenkoff/iStock via Getty Images

With both Mars and Mercury in retrograde in early December, it will be a time for reflection, not action. You might feel like you physically cannot do as much as you are used to. If you do feel energetic, what you put your energy towards may feel like walking up a down escalator. Instead of letting this demotivate you or even make you depressed, go inward and into a mode of reflection and planning. Reflect on the things you want to work on in the coming year and start to plan your moves to get there. In addition, you should:

  • Avoid starting new conflicts or arguments. It may be hard to avoid, but conflicts that start during Mars retrograde often go around in circles and the initiator often loses big time. This includes starting new legal proceedings.
  • Avoid pushing yourself too hard physically. You may be more prone to accidents and injuries during this time of lower energy.
  • Avoid starting new projects. You may find that projects started during Mars retrograde fizzle out or encounter significant issues.

What to Focus On During Mars Retrograde?

Middle aged asia people old mom holding hands trust comfort help young woman talk crying stress relief at home. Mum as friend love care hold hand adult child feel pain sad worry of life crisis issues.

Take extra care with your words during a period of Mars in retrograde.

©ChayTee/iStock via Getty Images

While people have big anxieties about retrograde periods, they aren’t all bad. Retrogrades are a good time for reflection and revisiting old ideas. During Mars retrogrades you should:

  • Focus on compromise and flexibility rather than being rigid about getting what you want.
  • Be more considerate with your communication. It’s easy to say something you might regret in a moment of anger during Mars retrograde.
  • Reflect on your general energy and passion in life. Is it going in a direction that you want? Think about what you want, just don’t start any big new ideas until the retrograde is over.

Which Signs Will Be Most Affected by the 2024 Mars Retrograde?

Aries Zodiac Sign

People with Aries placements may feel Mars retrograde more.


While everyone will feel this retrograde to a certain extent, people with Mars-ruled Aries placements may feel this retrograde particularly strongly. Those with placements, especially Mars placements, in the signs of this retrograde: Leo and Cancer, may feel it as well. Finally, people with an especially packed or prominent first house may also feel the 2024 Mars retrograde more, because Mars rules that house.

If the retrograde is happening close to any natal planets, Mars may cross over them multiple times throughout the retrograde as it appears to move forward, then backward, then forward again. For people with that recurring transit conjunction, this period may have a recurring theme that keeps popping up around the time of the conjunction.

Do Planets Really Move Backwards During a Retrograde?

Solar System Planets with the Sun

Retrogrades occur because the planets of our solar system move at different speeds.


When a planet is in retrograde motion, it only appears to move backward. It isn’t actually moving in reverse. Retrogrades are an astronomical phenomenon that happens because the Earth is moving at a different speed than another planet. With Mars, retrogrades happen every 26 months or so because our planet is moving faster than the red planet. We are essentially “lapping” Mars on the “racetrack” of our solar system.

How Does Retrograde Motion Affect Astrology?

Earth and Solar system planets

Retrogrades can cause chaos, but they are also a good time for reflection.


In general, retrogrades weaken the planet involved and cause the qualities of that planet to go kind of haywire. It is a change from its normal course and function, so it makes sense that it would have a slightly chaotic effect on our lives here on Earth.

In ancient times, astrologers believed that a planet in retrograde was visiting the world of the dead. They believed the planet was in a period of reflection and learning. To this day, astrologers see retrogrades as a period of gaining insight, reflecting on what has already happened, and evaluating old ideas.

Retrogrades also happen when we are closer than usual to the planet in retrograde because we are passing it (or in the case of Mercury and Venus, it is passing us). Some astrologers believe that proximity to a planet can increase its power, so when we are closer, its qualities are more present to us.

The photo featured at the top of this post is ©

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About the Author

Dayva is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering astrology, animals, and geography. She has over 12 years of experience as a writer, and graduated from Hofstra University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Music and a Minor in French. She has also completed course work in Core Strengths Coaching, Hypnotherapy, and Technical Communication. Dayva lives in the SF Bay Area with her cute but very shy cat, Tula.

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