Mars Retrograde 2016: Phase 1: Re-birthing your truth and searching for your Spiritual Vocation
I am trying, very hard, to swing a positive perspective into this Mars Rx business. There are two planetary things that I abhor and dread. Mars conjunct Saturn and Mars Rx. Yay! Both of those energies are coming in. Dammit. We've got some time before Mars/Saturn. So, I'll not whine about in Phase 1. I'll save it for the final phase (as Mars exits his shadow) since that is when the conjunction occurs.
Mars stations Rx on April 17 while conjunct the fixed star Antares. Shortly following, we have a Full Moon in Scorpio—a sign that holds Mars as the traditional ruler. The modern ruler of Scorpio, Pluto, turns Rx the same day at 17 degrees Capricorn. Then, of course, Mercury turns Rx (at 23 degrees) in Scorpio's opposing sign of Taurus on April 29 while in a nearly exact sextile to Chiron in Pisces.
The slow down preceding these planets' Rx motion is palpable now. It's as if the “Quickening” from our eclipses is now subsiding and we are able to slow down, look back and assess where we are. Interestingly enough, Venus is trine Saturn Rx on the day Mars turns Rx. She will have just made an inconjunct with Jupiter the day before. She is waxing in square to Pluto (19th/20th) and conjunction with Uranus (22nd/23rd). Man, her dance card is full! Before leaving Aries, she even stands off with BML in Libra on the 28th. I think she is important through all of this. Especially the beginning. After all, she is the ruler of the other side of the incoming Full Moon in Scorpio equation, the Sun in Taurus. In essence, her movements leading up to and immediately following the Full Moon herald our official transition from Aries season into Taurus. She enters her home sign on April 30/May 1. In the meantime, Mars' antithesis is traveling through HIS sign as he, himself, is debilitated, stalled and preparing to back peddle. He is weakened. She is empowered...oh, she is tested and tempted while square Pluto and made erratic by the conjunction to Uranus; but, that is still power folks. Basically what we “want,” what we value and what we desire is being excoriated, cleansed and then CLEAR! PREPARE THE PADDLES! (HEAR THE STATIC OF THEM RUBBING TOGETHER) SLAM! SHOCK! REBORN! SHE'S ALIVE!
We may kick start Taurus season with everything being about Mars/Pluto. But, the rest of the season, it's all about Venus. She steps onto center stage. From Taurus she plays amicably with Neptune (May 9-10), Jupiter (May 10/11..as he stations direct) and Pluto (May 14th). Still beautifully empowered, throughout. Also, she meets up with Mercury Rx while he makes his 2nd trine with Pluto. Basically the two switch places. Venus steps into the trine with Pluto as Mercury wanes out. The conjunction of Mercury Rx/Venus and both of their trines with Pluto occur on our Taurus New Moon degree (about 17 degrees Taurus on May 6). Which, of course, means that the New Moon in Taurus is richly flavored by a nice Earth Grand Trine with Sun/Moon/Jupiter/Pluto. Talk about rich for sowing seeds.
Assessing the beauty found in the empowerment of Venus throughout the beginning (at least) of Mars Rx has helped me see the potential benefit of this transit. It's as if Venus is enlivened through this. We know what we want and are ready to boldly go after it while she is in Aries. However, what we “want” is tested and reconsidered as Mercury turns Rx. We eventually reset our brains, adjust our plans and how we think about the thing; then, we decide whether what we want is worthy of our efforts or not...reconsider our values and what is important. We may even make a few attempts to reach out and grab the thing but find out it's going to take a metaphorical change in the batting order to get it. A few trial/practice runs...which will aid in the assessments of worth but eventually lead us in the direction we need to go after the assessments are over. If what we deem is still found worthy throughout all this; then, we will continually strive to obtain it. That's not a bad thing. It may, however, be a testy thing; because, the methods we've used in the past to get there are not going to work. There is the matter of delayed gratification and the need to change the way we do things. Many will circle around to upholding and recognizing the value of what they already have as ambition wanes.
Violent and aggressive means of assertion will be attempted within the frustration of Mars Rx. What the Universe is calling for is a kinder and gentler approach. We've never really been taught this in our culture. Most certainly not in the US. Not directly anyway. I mean, out of one side of our mouth the country speaks of the “American Dream” while out the other side comes this “Nanny Nation” that longs to keep a vast majority of folks dependent upon government systems and focused on barely meeting their most basic needs (food, shelter, security) while distracting them from focusing on things that happen within higher levels of government structure and, according to Maslow, higher levels of consciousness.
It makes me wonder what would happen if our labor force just completely laid down, went on strike or just quit feeding into “the race.” The country would come to a standstill. It would be much different than when the political/government factions lay down...as they've been known to do...coming to a screeching halt over budget issues or what have you. In those instances what I've noticed is the labor force just keeps moving forward and life in general in the US goes on as normal. But, without the power of the labor force? The service industry? LOL...yeah. Completely different story. I don't anticipate this happening. However, the possibility does make me smile. And, I do think some will revert to putting their energy into things that may seem more important to them than whatever bidding their boss doles out. Priorities are due to change a bit as we reconsider the work we do in the world versus what our Spiritual vocation might be.
Real everyday people have a whole heck of a lot of unrecognized power through the blood, sweat and tears that TRULY keep this country running and through the power of their consumerism. The marketplace responds to consumer demand...because it has to in order to financially survive. The American public demanded quick, cheap and easy food in the era of excess. We got it only to discover what we initially wanted came wrapped in lethal packaging. So the American public started to demand healthy, fresh, non-polluted food and the industry is slowly doing a turn around in an effort to accommodate that. Thus, the power of the everyday person is illustrated. What makes anyone think that the same thing will not happen with businesses built on bigotry who lean into these state “Religious Freedom Restoration Acts” negatively? Because it will. Bigots aren't the only folks who run businesses, own land and run this country. But, they will surely stick out like sore thumbs in the very, very near future. Ripe for the snatching of our dollars from them and giving them to someone else. We do have choices and we don't have to speak/yell/scream a freaking word to make them or become mirrors of the passive violence they portray. We can and should merely walk away and go somewhere else leaving the dying thing to die. As it should. The more vigorously they show themselves, the easier it will be to spot them and discard them. You know?
So wrapped within this Mars Rx, there is opportunity to restore and take your power back. That comes with an assessment of value. Recalculating what is important and deciding what is not. Some things that were taken for granted or overlooked grow in importance. While, at the same time, we discover things that we have previously held at priority aren't that important at all. Mercury Rx provides the opportunity to re-assess matters of value and worth (both on a personal/spiritual level and on a material/worldly level). Meanwhile, we are also taking assessment measures in regard to what we want. How much do we want it? To a degree that we are willing to try to obtain it more than once? Enough that it is worth slowing down and really thinking about it? Enough that we are willing to change the way we do things and the way we think about doing things in order to get it? Are our abilities to navigate frustration tolerance and delayed gratification up to par? Oooh those two things...frustration tolerance and delayed gratification. THOSE are the irritants coming from Mars Rx that forces us to the value re-assessment table. Is it worth it? Is it worth the wait? Is it worth getting up and giving it another a try? Is it THAT important?
And, this is just part of it. There is more. The sign of Taurus resonates with the Heirophant in Tarot. The Heirophant who is staunchly certain of his beliefs and stands strong on a pillar of unshakable values. Only problem with that? That pillar of Value is not steady now but shaking due to Venus' pressurization between Uranus and Pluto. Venus levels out eventually. But, she is tested here. This testing plays into the beginning of the retrogrades.
Mars is in the sign of Sagittarius. Sagittarius lords over things like religion, politics, professional sports, in-laws, grandchildren/grandparents, public school systems/teachers, published information like the News, legal systems (to a degree especially in regard to written laws), philosophy, foreign affairs and international travel. Mars here has a duty to the entities that Sagittarius lords over. Direct, he is marching out in defense of all these things as if he has all the answers. Because, a lot of the time, Sagittarius does have the answer and fears not telling you of it. Preaching about it. Educating you. Mars champions these causes in Sagittarius and, at times, over-reaches and brings the truth too forcefully. Meaning, spoonfuls of knowledge are not offered; they are force fed....shoved down our throats as we are told to just swallow the truth. However, as Mars back peddles into a corner, we are given time to assess our own truth, our own philosophy and decide where our own spiritual duty lies.
Saturn Rx in the same sign puts the burden of accountability upon our own shoulders. Meaning, there will not be an authoritative faction there to spoon feed to you what is right and what is wrong. All that in regard to legality is under scrutiny and question right now. So, laws are wide open for public interpretation and question while we have to decide for ourselves the thin line that separates the gray areas of right and wrong for ourselves. AGAIN, this heralds a need to revert back to an assessment of value. Is this important enough for me to stand on a soapbox about it and risk getting hit with rotten tomatoes? Or, could I maybe...just maybe...get my message across more clearly by just doing whatever it is I have been preaching about instead? Just because it is legal to discriminate (for example), does that mean I will be ok with doing it? Or, regardless of what the public law is saying is ok, will I decide for myself that it is wrong and steer clear of it? You know what I'm saying? What if...what if...a new law was enacted that said it was ok to beat your spouse under X conditions. It's legal. No one will persecute you for it. The law has your back. (By the way, there are still laws on a few state books that allow this under certain conditions.) You going to do it? Or does that meet with resistance in regard to your own philosophical views and beliefs? In other words, just because the world accepts something as truth and law that doesn't mean it sits well with you. Just because the world says, “Hey! It's ok if you are an asshole!” Does that mean you are ok with being an asshole and bearing all the karmic consequence that goes along with that? Or, will you just keep walking and holding yourself to your own truth and decide that being an asshole and beating your spouse is not congruent with your beliefs. I'm not telling you to break the law. I'm just saying, just because a law says something is legal that doesn't make it morally sound. It doesn't make it ok inside of you. So...what will you do with that? Can you decide what is really right and wrong for yourself (and the situations you are in) or do you need someone to preach it to you?
Wrapped up in this are also tests of faith. Things we previously believed in and causes we previously carried a torch for come under scrutiny and question. Gray areas emerge littered with question marks that no one outside of your situation can fully understand the way you do. What if you find yourself at an opposition with your religion or the law? Can you rely on your personal truth to lead you home? Another example: My baby is starving. Is it ok to steal food to feed him? My religion says, “thou shalt not steal.” The law says I can go to jail for it; but, I've been to every public office and can find no assistance. I cannot bear to watch my child suffer. So, how do these laws and beliefs support me in the end? I've fallen between the cracks and theft is seriously looking like my only viable option. I could take this opportunity and preach to you about what is right and wrong in this situation. But, if you are really IN this situation, my preaching is not going to matter much. It's going to come trickling down to you and your own assessment of...ok, if I steal food for my child, that will fill an immediate need. But, what if I get caught? I'll go to jail and be unable to care for my child at all. I may, in fact, lose my child forever...but, at least he will be well fed and taken care of. Won't he? See, decisions like that can't be made for you. Though, some folks may try the choice still comes down to you and what you can sleep with in the end. So, yes, we will question our own religious beliefs and personal theories as a myriad of gray areas emerge and the ways we have done things in the past continually fail as what we thought was important in the not so distant past continues to shift.
At the Genesis of this Mars Retrograde we are doing a lot of reassessments as we re-consider what is truly important and retrace our steps in regard to how we got to where we are right now. Our hearts come under pressure. Deep and well rooted values come under scrutiny. And, within that, we may change our minds. Thus, our path forward is altered. We consider, how would we have handled X past situation had we known what we know now? All the while, re-calculating. Re-calibrating...while we are also continually tying up loose ends and cleaning up messes we previously left in our wake as Mars moved through this territory the first time. Our steps become smaller and our pace becomes slower as Mars retreats. Plus, as Mercury is Rx, time slows giving us ample opportunity to think about what it is we are doing. Meanwhile, Venus is empowered and trying her best to show us what is important. Listen to her. Be present and appreciate what it is you have in your life right now. Honor and be thankful for that while remaining open to recognizing it at the same time. Don't be surprised if you change your mind about what is really important. That is what is supposed to happen during this phase. Then, as this occurs, what we are driven to defend, honor and fight for changes as does the way in which we fight, defend and honor.
And this, my friends, is only the beginning. This Mars retrograde has many themes and will cover several areas of life. Each marked with personal nuance. Mars does rule Aries, after all. Which is the body of you. The beginning of everything. The head. The birth and genesis of life. Part of what you are is directed by what you believe. So, the causes you champion and the truth you defend is part of that. Both of which is going to be revisited in this first portion of the Mars Retrograde. In the end, you will be changed. This is only the beginning.
MORE TO COME!
Phase 2: Mars enters Scorpio: Cast into the Underworld
MAY 21, 2016: FULL MOON IN SAGITTARIUS (featuring Moon conjunct Mars)
5:15 PM EDT
1 SAGITTARIUS/GEMINI 14
MOON AT 2 SAGITTARIUS: White capped waves dance rhythmically under the winds. Lax response to vital call to activity. Power to stir and impress one's own rhythm upon materials. Proud adornment.
SUN AT 2 GEMINI: Santa Claus is furtively filling Christmas stockings. The natural beneficence in any normal human heart. Alertness to the wishes of others; the often hidden pride of benefactors.
Sun/Venus opposite Mars May 22 (Sun) May 24 (Venus)
Mercury direct May 22
Mars into Scorpio May 27
Phase 3: Mars prepares to turn direct and the 2nd Full Moon in Sagittarius: Enlightenment
Mars inconjunct Uranus June 19
JUNE 20, 2016 FULL MOON IN SAGITTARIUS: This one switches the batting order of New/Full Moons. NOTE: WE HAVE TWO FULL MOON'S IN THE SIGN OF SAGITTARIUS THIS YEAR!! To me, the second one is quite significant and calls for a realignment of what we really think/do in comparison to what we profess to believe. A true Astrological Blue Moon.
7:03 AM EDT
29 GEMINI/SAGITTARIUS 33
SUN AT 30 GEMINI: A parade of bathing beauties before large beach crowds. Use of individual vanity in raising racial standards. Examination of intellectual values for use in the soul life.
MOON AT 30 SAGITTARIUS: The Pope is holding audience in a hall of the Vatican. Wealth of spiritual resources which can be tapped for the glorification of every relationship. Concrete form of ideals.
Phase 4: Emergence: Mars direct and retracing his shadow
JULY 4, 2016: NEW MOON IN CANCER
7:02 AM EDT
12 CANCER 54
SUN/MOON AT 13 CANCER: A hand with prominent thumb is held out receptively. Strong, active and self-certain will or persistent yet blind plunging ahead into reality. Freedom from soft illusions.
Venus trine Mars July 6
Mercury trine Mars July 10
Phase 5: The Game Changer: Mars re-enters Sagittarius
Mars enters Sagittarius Aug 2
AUGUST 2, 2016: NEW MOON IN LEO
4:45 PM EDT
10 LEO 58
SUN/MOON AT 11 LEO: Children play under a huge oak, sheltered from the Sun. The sustaining and protective power of ancestral background against emotions. Appreciation of inborn cultural restraint.
Venus square Mars Aug 6
Mars conjunct Saturn August 24 (Mars exits his shadow)