Right now: Moon at 20°38' Libra, Sun at 1°17' Gemini
Mars retrograde in astrology
Mars is the planet of energy, action, desire, sports and wars.
When Mars turns to retrograde motion, the overall atmosphere changes, people have lower physical energy, they get tired and feel stressed more easily and they need more time to relax and recover.
The mood, the desires, the initiative, the ambition, they all seem to function on a lower level and therefore all new projects started during this period seem to lack stamina and focus. The same happens on the sexual level: the libido decreases for a while, but then comes back to normal after the end of this period.
All new Martian actions fail in a much higher proportion (surgical operations, starting a sport, lawsuit, war). Also, it is not recommended to buy mechanical stuff.
As Mars is retrograde, all this Martian energy is now internalized, uncontrolled subconscious agressivity can burst out. Instincts are not as reliable as before, so acting out of impulse is not recommended.
The best way to use the Mars retrograde period is to make plans, to work on details and then to wait the end of this period in order to materialize them. People should relax, study, take care of their health, do some yoga exercises or practice other techniques that use the internal or spiritual energy. The keyword of the period is patience. One just has to wait for it to pass in order to gets things done.
Recent Mars retrograde periods:
May 10 - July 19, 2001
July 29 - September 27, 2003
October 1 - December 10, 2005
Next Mars retrograde periods:
November 15, 2007 - January 30, 2008 [12 Cancer > 24 Gemini]
December 20, 2009 - March 10, 2010 [19 Leo > 0 Leo]
January 24, 2012 - April 14, 2012 [23 Virgo > 0 Virgo]
Mars retrograde in history
As you will see below from the examples of recent history (the Yom Kippur War, the East Timor invasion by Indonesia, the Falklands War, the Kosovo War), the wars initiated during a Mars retrograde period are always lost in the long run by the attacking country and prove to be exceedingly bloody, with huge casualties.
Interestingly, as I studied the modern history in correlation with Mars retrograde, I noticed that all wars initiated by Israel started immediately after a Mars retrograde period (10 to 26 days afterwards). They were all very successful military campaigns. I found this fact to be quite intriguing. This can be explained either by a cosmic coincidence, due to the very special and strong position of Mars in Israel's horoscope, either by Israel's leaders using the astrology for successful warfare.
The 1956 Suez War started when Israel atacked Egypt on October 29, 1956, which is 19 days after the previous Mars retrograde period which ended on October 10, 1956.
The 1967 Six-Day War began when Israel attacked its Arab neighbors Egypt, Jordan, and Syria on June 5, 1967, which is 10 days after the previous Mars retrograde period which ended on May 26, 1967.
The 1978 Invasion of Lebanon by Israel (Operation Litani) began on March 14, 1978, which is 10 days after the previous Mars retrograde period which ended on March 2, 1978.
The 1982 Invasion of Lebanon by Israel began on June 6, 1982, which is 26 days after the previous Mars retrograde period which ended on May 12, 1982.
List of recent wars started during a Mars retrograde period:
Mars retrograde: September 19 - November 26, 1973
Mars retrograde: November 7, 1975 - January 20, 1976
Mars retrograde: February 20 - May 12, 1982
Mars retrograde: March 18 - June 4, 1999
Mars retrograde loop
Here is an astronomical image obtained by composing serialized images, nicely displaying Mars' retrograde loop in 2003.