Mars Retrograde in Aries

Jorge Camacho

by Jorge Camacho

“Cruelty has a Human Heart,  /  And jealousy a Human Face;  /  Terror the Human Form Divine,  /  And Secrecy the Human Dress.  /  The Human Dress is forged Iron, /  The Human Form a fiery Forge,  /  The Human Face a Furnace seal’d,  /  The Human Heart its hungry Gorge.”

— William Blake, “A Divine Image” from Songs of Experience

Mars Retrograde in Aries

Mars has long been associated with division and separation, catalyzing action, movement, and conflict through eruptions of fiery heat. Mars enters a phase of extreme heat when retrograde, and this will especially be the case in the next few months as Mars will be retrograde in its fiery home of Aries where it operates with directness and strength. For those who are not smiths with a working forge, we can imagine the transformative capacities when working with a forge, transmuting materials into a new, useful creation. As the flames of Mars intensify, we may also light a torch to be carried into the expanses of inner depths to illuminate not only what we desire to create from our forge, but what materials we need to gather for our operation.

Mars stations retrograde on September 9, 2020 at 28°09′ Aries and will station direct on November 13, 2020 at 15°14′ Aries. Ultimately Mars will move back and forth from fifteen to twenty-eight degrees of Aries three times from July 25, 2020 until January 2, 2021. However, the stretch of time from the stationing retrograde of Mars in September until the stationing direct of Mars in November is distinctly different than the other two periods of time that Mars traverses these degrees. As a result, whatever significance the second half of Aries has in your natal chart will be the subject of internal and external confrontations that can lead to vital renovations.

Mars moves through the midpoint of its synodic cycle with the Sun during its retrograde, and so it can be helpful to consider whatever was being set in motion at the root of the current cycle. The present cycle of Mars was seeded by its conjunction with the Sun on September 2, 2019 at 9°40′ Virgo, and became visible in its heliacal rise as a Morning Star around October 16, 2019 at approximately eight degrees of Libra.  In the past year we have gone through many experiences exploring the meaning of the current Mars cycle, and as Mars slows down to station retrograde we are invited to pause in consideration.

During its retrograde phase, Mars transitions from being a Morning Star visible in all its scarlet glory before dawn into becoming a bright red star glowing all through the night. As Mars deepens into its retrograde, it will rise in the east into visibility closer and closer to the liminal transition of twilight. Mars is part of the nocturnal team in astrology, and so delights when it is shining down brightly from the heavens while the Sun is journeying through the darkness of the underworld. Mars also comes closest to us in orbit during its retrograde phase, altogether making it an extremely potent period for Mars.

As a result we need to come into relationship with an intensification of Mars in the coming months, which means working with volatility, change, and the relentless passion that can overcome us when working hard and taking action as well as the ensuing burnout. Mars brings awareness of instinctual drive, emerging desires, and how they align with our purpose through action and making things happen.  Mars wants freedom of movement and expression, and when it is moving direct it enjoys the hunt of going after goals and competing for whatever we view as the treasured prize. Yet when Mars stations to shift retrograde it isn’t moving, and so there is increased potential to feel frustrated or blocked.

The typical feelings of infuriation over being restrained when Mars stations retrograde will be extremely exacerbated due to it stationing in a square aspect with Saturn in Capricorn. In fact from August 15 until the beginning of October, Mars and Saturn will remain in a colossal conflict with each other within three degrees of a waxing square aspect. The fiery force of Mars that can melt down solidified structures and bonds will be confronting the supremely solid presence of Saturn in its earthy home of Capricorn. It will be necessary to monitor energy levels, resting for regeneration as needed and letting go of goals meeting so much resistance that they are exhausting us and inhibiting our capacity to optimally respond to life.

Ideally we can sustain a slow burn approach that allows for periods of recuperation so that we can take advantage of the opportunities to initiate productive growth. There is similar symbolism in Saturn sealing off an alchemical vessel, with the fires of Mars separating the constituent elements contained within so they may be recombined in new forms. As James Hillman wrote in Alchemical Psychology:

“Nature subdues nature by means of fire. Heat dissolves the cohesion of a substance; that natural desire to hold to itself as it is. Heat separates the metal from the ore body and can calcine the metal into a more workable condition. In the only-natural state, the substances resist change. They intend to stay as they are and have been for millions of eons, buried and hidden away. Yet the innate urge toward perfectibility welcomes the fire. Hence, they rejoice also in their submission, allowing themselves to be smelted, hammered, and extracted from their home ground. Resistance of any thing is given with its essential nature . . .

Nature does enjoy its natural state and resist change, yet it also struggles against its predilection for stasis, subduing itself and making change possible. Nature sophisticates itself, dividing its ambivalence into two aspects – the unchanging and the changing. It is therefore folly to attempt to change the unchanging . . .

What changes and what does not change? What stays the same and what becomes different? In philosophical terms, the existence changes, but the essence remains unalterable.”

— James Hillman, Alchemical Psychology, p. 35

As Mars stations retrograde it slowly turns the separating and dividing function of Mars inward, stoking our inner flames and initiating a process of realignment with our most deeply felt desire and purpose. By embracing the corresponding constriction upon external martial flow and the magnification of inner fire, during Mars retrograde we can make breakthroughs instead of suffering breakdowns. Like telling our stories to one another around a great collective bonfire,  we enter a liminal phase of changing the way we tell our own life narrative, shifting the trajectory of cyclic patterns at work. You may begin to notice the meaning of past experiences transfiguring in the flames, releasing you from ways you have been restricting or confining yourself to a particular story about yourself.

Mars moves retrograde less frequently than the other planets, so the relative novelty of its retrograde phase is an additional signifier of major changes that arrive in correspondence. Some people seem to be more profoundly impacted by Mars retrograde periods than others, and some people also seem to be more strongly impacted by Mars retrograde in certain signs than in other signs. Mars moves retrograde in Aries less frequently than some of the other signs- the last two times we experienced Mars retrograde in Aries were in 1988 and 1941. One way to sense how Mars retrograde periods impact you is to reflect upon your experiences during the past Mars retrograde periods.  Below is a list of the Mars retrogrades periods that have happened since 1999:

  • June 26 – August 27, 2018: stationed retrograde at 9º13′ Aquarius, stationed direct at 28º37′ Capricorn.
  • April 17 – June 29, 2016: stationed retrograde at 8°54′ Sagittarius, stationed direct at 23°4′ Scorpio.
  • March 1 – May 19, 2014: stationed retrograde at 28° Libra, stationed direct at 10° Libra.
  • January 24 – April 14, 2012: stationed retrograde at 24° Virgo, stationed direct at 4° Virgo.
  • December 20, 2009 – March 10, 2010: stationed retrograde at 20° Leo, stationed direct at 1° Leo.
  • November 15, 2007 – January 30, 2008: stationed retrograde at 13° Cancer, stationed direct at 25° Gemini.
  • October 1 – December 10, 2005: stationed retrograde at 24° Taurus, stationed direct at 9° Taurus.
  • July 29 – September 27, 2003: stationed retrograde at 11° Pisces, stationed direct at 1° Pisces.
  • May 11 – July 19, 2001: stationed retrograde at 30° Sagittarius, stationed direct at 16° Sagittarius.
  • March 18 – June 4, 1999: stationed retrograde at 13° Scorpio, stationed direct at 25° Libra.
Mars

Mars from The Gods Who Preside Over the Planet (1528) by Master I.B.

“Astrologically, Mars characterizes the instinctual and affective nature of man. The subjugation and transformation of this nature seems to be the theme of the alchemical opus.”

— Carl Jung, Alchemical Studies

Carl Jung in Alchemical Studies referenced the writing of the 16th century Paracelsian alchemist Adam von Bodenstein who conceived “Ares” (or Mars) to be the “prime nature of things” that determines “their form and species,” with Jung declaring that as a result Ares or Mars can be considered to “be taken as the principle of individuation in the strict sense.” Jung further described Ares as the “preconscious, creative, and formative principle” that gives life, purifies, and transforms. In Jung’s Liber Novus or The Red Book, a pivotal chapter involves Jung meeting “The Red One” whose garments “shine like glowing iron,” and clearly embodies attributes of Mars. Liz Greene aptly summarized the impact of the Red One as bringing Jung into contact with a “vitally important yet previously neglected unconscious potency necessary for the fulfillment of Jung’s personality.”

Jung’s meeting with the Red One in Liber Novus follows a period in which Jung’s narrator was feeling stuck and unsure of what he wants and where  to go. The Red One shatters and brings new life not unlike the Tower card of tarot that is also associated with Mars; in fact, Jung’s narrator is standing guard on a high tower when he observes the Red One approaching from a distance. Similarly, the stationing of Mars in Aries may feel like a call to change course or the approach of vivifying presence that can penetrate our defenses and make us vulnerable to an infusion of new desires from a contrary source.

Aries is the diurnal home of Mars and the exaltation of the Sun. The fiery cardinal sign, Aries is the optimal zodiac sign for pioneering new territory and initiating decisive movement, but it is not known for its staying power. The tension, friction, and contraction that will be felt as Mars engages in its fraught aspect with Saturn will make the first month of Mars being retrograde a time for taking considered action that takes account of external variables and internal energy levels. If we make sure to look before we leap and cultivate patience and resolve in enduring difficulties, we will be able to make some steady progress but may need to oscillate between periods of action and contemplative inaction. It will be a period for work that leads to long-term rewards rather than short-term results and gratification.

In world events, Mars retrograde in Aries will amplify the polarized conflicts already set in motion, shaking and shattering structures and systems of the status quo as it collides with Saturn, Pluto, and Jupiter in Capricorn. The astrology of 2020 has involved the ending and beginning of cycles between Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto that has forced confrontations with underlying issues of systemic oppression and inequity that have been festering across society. In particular, the cycle between Jupiter and Saturn that is ending is drawing to a close a two hundred year era of conjunctions between Jupiter and Saturn in earth signs that began in 1802, and so part of the martial conflict will center on societal issues that have plagued the past couple of centuries such as colonialism, racism, sexism, and the impact of the industrial revolution on economic and environmental systems.

The first month of Mars retrograde will be especially incendiary in relation to Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, as Mars will form a square with Saturn on September 29 and with Pluto on October 9, with Saturn and Pluto within three degrees of one another in Capricorn. These jarring aspects will be inescapably striking due to Saturn and Pluto stationing at the same time, with Saturn stationing direct on September 29 and Pluto stationing direct on October 4. With Saturn and Pluto ending their retrograde phases and stationing direct, we will be coming to terms with however we have been questioning external systems of power and the way we wish to operate within society.

Rick Tarnas in Cosmos and Psyche highlighted the tendency of Saturn Pluto alignments to constellate mass projections of subversive elements within the populace upon an other or scapegoat, projecting whatever is deemed heretical or inferior, whatever we are in denial about ourselves. Tarnas stressed the shadowy complex of Saturn-Pluto is further matched by a compensatory empowerment of repressive and reactionary forces that utilize authoritarian methods. Rather than enacting cruelty on a scapegoat with all of the insidiousness you are projecting upon the other, be curious about whatever aspects of your inner multiplicity are being stirred up. Explore the deeper meaning of the stories you are drawn toward, the people you are attracted as well as repulsed by. Discern how the volatility can lead you toward considered and constructive action rather than reactionary impulsiveness.

We can use the catalyzing influence of Mars to claim more of our inner authority to make the changes we wish to see happen. There will be a need to be protective of others and to forge resiliency and courageousness out of whatever conflict emerges, yet it will also be important to not become stuck and rigid with defensiveness.  Allow whatever aspects of yourself are being shed to fully putrefy and provide compost to nurture whatever wants to emerge from within. Mars retrograde in Aries will provide the burning fires of Eros needed to forge bonds of fellowship as well as motivate a honing of whatever skills we need to cultivate to perform the role we need to play within the great changes taking place.

michael_maier_atalanta_fugiens_emblem_22

Emblem XXII by Michael Maier from Atalanta Fugiens

“Do not act out; do not hold in. A paradox. And a double negative that suggests a via negative, a de-literalizing cancellation of both commandments. A mercurial escape from the exhausting oscillation between them. Instead of holding in or acting out, act in. Cook in the rotundum as one vessel was called, referring both to a container and to the roundness of the skull. Hold the heat inside the head by warming the mind’s reveries. Imagine, project, fantasize, think.”

— James Hillman, Alchemical Psychology, p. 37

An extremely inflammatory Full Moon in Aries on the first day of October will demarcate the transition of Mars from completing its square aspect with Saturn into engaging fully with its square aspect with Pluto. Mars will bring a more energizing and activating impact at this point due to it increasing in speed and movement as well as leaving the bounds of Saturn (25° – 30° Aries) to enter its own bounds (20º – 25° Aries). From the Full Moon on October 1 until Mars completes its aspect with Pluto on October 9, there will be an intensification of desire and ambition as Pluto stokes the flames of Mars.

Yet it’s also wise to invite consideration of the dwarf planet Eris, as Mars will unite with Eris at 24°07′ Aries on October 3. Astrologers are still researching and coming to terms with the meaning of Eris in astrology, but there does seem to be resonance with her mythology which has connection with the Strife that Empedocles stated was at the root of creation along with Love. Homer in the Illiad said that Eris is the wrathful sister and companion of Ares, while Hesiod in Theogony said that Eris is the daughter of Nyx (Night) and the mother of kakodaimones (evil spirits) who plague humanity. Hesiod also said that while there is one kind of wholly blameworthy Strife, there is another who is praiseworthy in her capacity for stirring up hard work and productive competitiveness that leads to important creations.

Peter Kingsley in Reality noted that the force of Love is idealized without question, but that the force of Strife described by Empedocles can bring awareness of the illusions and deceptions brought by Love. Kingsley wrote that Strife can lead one toward ultimate freedom despite all of its associated difficulties:

The situation is starkly simple. If we let it have its way without cooperating, then Strife will manifest as violence and destruction all around us. But if we are willing to cooperate, we can consciously channel its energy instead into destroying ourselves- our beliefs and illusion, our attachments, our clinging to the ways things are. For what can be so difficult to realize is that the very act of becoming conscious is, itself, a process of destruction; of separation; of learning to die before we die.

–Peter Kingsley, Reality

The strife stirred up between Mars and Eris will have a direct impact on the ruptures emanating from Mars and Pluto. Mars clashing with Pluto can stir up potent ambition that can lead to extreme frustration and anger when facing restrictions or obstacles that impact your ability to manifest aspirations. There will be a need to be cautious of becoming so strongly driven and competitive that you become enmeshed within destructive power dynamics with others. Yet Mars and Pluto can also bring an indomitable tenaciousness in pursuing goals against all odds. By patiently building toward your goal and accepting the circumstances of your current stage of development, you will cultivate the flexibility needed to release yourself from repressive influences, adjust to changes of necessity, and draw from the depths of Mars and Pluto in ways that weld together your desire, purpose, and resolve.

Both Pluto and Mars have ancient associations with the underworld. Pluto is named for the Roman lord of the underworld, and similarly in astrology signifies our inner subterranean realm of circulating unconscious patterns that drive our instinctive reactions. In contrast, the planet Mars was known as the underworld deity Nergal in ancient Mesopotamian astrology. Michael Baigent in From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia wrote that Nergal was “lord of both the fires of hell and the heat of the fierce summers which destroyed both man and crops.” Nergal was the god of plague, fevers, and pestilence who forced his way into co-rulership of the underworld with Ereshkigal, becoming a god of the grave and judge of the dead.

We may feel dragged down into the chthonic and volcanic fires of Mars and Pluto in moments, yet the intensity of their heat will be capable of simultaneously reforging your will force. There may be tests of your ability to claim your personal power and a need to release yourself from dynamics that have been excessively repressing or restricting you.  When we resist the cathartic change brought by Pluto for security reasons we often experience breakdown, but when we surrender to its process of regenerative decay there can be a fiery purification of old restrictive patterns that sets the stage for us to give birth to a more potent vitality.

The mysterious meaning of the plate from the Gundestrup Cauldron above has been interpreted in many ways by scholars, including as an ancestralization ritual. Michael Enright proposed it depicts an initiation rite in which the large, divine smith on the left is quenching the warriors on the lower level in a vat so that they transition from being  “hot blooded adolescents into the cooler and more relentless realm of responsible adulthood” shown in the regal figures on the upper level. Just like a blacksmith dips spear and sword blades into quenching liquid so they become harder and more durable, so the initiate’s “nature undergoes a metamorphosis in the vat such that he can then be accepted as a rightly made adult.” There are echoes of the legendary Cú Chulainn whose battle frenzy burned so hot he had to be quenched three times in order for him to operate within society.

Mars will plunge us into the initiation that comes at the midpoint of its retrograde journey on October 13 when it forms an opposition with the Sun in Libra, with Mars at 21º04′ Aries. Mars at this point of its retrograde phase will be as close to us in orbit as it gets within its entire cycle, and it will also be glowing as bright red as possible in the night sky. As the Sun sets in the west, Mars will rise in the east; as the Sun rises in the east, Mars will set in the west. Adam Gainsburg has described the solar opposition phase of Mars as being a period for making a radical commitment to one’s authentic vision, as well as reframing the meaningful motivation of Mars from being all about one’s own needs into serving societal needs.

The same day that Mars forms an opposition with the Sun, Mercury will station retrograde in Scorpio under rulership of the star of Ares. Since Mercury will be stationing retrograde within range of an opposition with Uranus in Taurus, the middle of October will be exceedingly volatile and ripe with potential for sudden revelations, breakthroughs, and breakdowns. Mercury will remain retrograde in Scorpio until October 27 when it returns to Libra. With Mercury retrograde being ruled by Mars retrograde, let the tricks of Hermes guide you toward whatever needs to be released or reevaluated. While the delays and disagreements in communication that can come with Mercury retrograde periods will be activated, it can also be an extremely potent time for shedding what needs to be laid to rest while more deeply refining your purpose.

As Mercury in Scorpio takes on its chthonic psychopomp role in the middle of October, Mars will finally complete its square aspect with Jupiter on October 18 with Mars retrograde at 19°27′ Aries and Jupiter at 19°27′ Capricorn. Jupiter being in a superior square to Mars will amplify the potency of the Mercury retrograde phase in Scorpio happening simultaneously, with intimations of new visions erupting from the cracks of the tectonic shifts that will be happening in world events. As Jupiter in Capricorn will be entering its final stretch of bringing to a close the old era with Saturn, the square between Jupiter and Mars can help in separating the inessential from the past that needs to be left behind while centering within the essential we need to cultivate and carry forward.

Venus in Vulcan's forge

Venus in Vulcan’s Forge (1546-47) by Leon Davent

“There is a certain kind of peace that is not merely the absence of war. It is larger than that. The peace I am thinking of is not at the mercy of history’s rule, nor is it a passive surrender to the status quo. The peace I am thinking of is the dance of an open mind when it engages another equally open one–an activity that occurs most naturally, most often in the reading/writing world we live in. Accessible as it is, this particular kind of peace warrants vigilance. The peril it faces comes not from the computers and information highways that raise alarm among book readers, but from unrecognized, more sinister quarters.”

– Toni Morrison, The Dancing Mind speech when accepting the 1996 medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters

Before Mars stations direct on November 13, it will form an opposition with Venus in Libra on November 9, with Venus at 15°21′ Libra and Mars at 15°21′ Aries.  The tension between Venus in Libra and Mars in Aries as Mars is beginning to station direct will bring to fruition something that was catalyzed on September 4 when Venus in Cancer formed a square aspect with Mars in Aries when Mars was beginning to station retrograde. With both Venus and Mars empowered within each of their own domiciles, there will be an amplification of whatever volatile tension has been building within relational dynamics.

Furthermore, once Mars stations direct on November 13 at 15º14′ Aries, Venus in Libra will begin engaging in a series of square aspects with Pluto, Jupiter, and Saturn in Capricorn. Venus will square Pluto and Jupiter on November 15 and then Saturn on November 19. Combined with Mars stationing direct, we will have opportunities for aligning whatever purpose and meaning we have forged from the fires of Mars with the needs of society so that our efforts will make a worthwhile, effective impact in our wider community.

The hard aspects between Venus and Mars that bookend the retrograde movement of Mars points to the role each of us will be playing as active creative agents during this key three month period of 2020. As we come to an end of the earth era of Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions in order to firmly establish ourselves in an era of air at the end of December, our capacity to wield technological innovation to empower our agency will be key. Yet the influence of Venus in Libra at the finale of Mars retrograde illuminates the need for actively deep listening within the agency we cultivate, as well as using our creativity courageously in the face of systemic oppression. Rather than insistence on the self serving, we will need to align with what will serve society for the greater good.

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References

Baigent, Michael. (1994). From the Omens of Babylon: Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia. Penguin Arkana.

Enright, Michael. (2007). “Ritual and Technology in the Iron Age: An Initiation Scene on the Gundestrup Cauldron.” Myth in Early Northwest Europe. Edited by Stephen O. Glosecki. ACMRS.

Greene, Liz. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus: Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Routledge.

Hillman, James. (2014). Alchemical Psychology. Spring Publications.

Jung, CG. (1967).  Alchemical Studies. Translated by RFC Hull. Bollingen.

Kingsley, Peter. (2003). Reality. The Golden Sufi Center.

Tarnas, Richard. (2007). Cosmos and Psyche. Plume.

Mars Retrograde in Libra

Aries kneels before Aphrodite

Mars Initiation

  • Mars entered his retrograde shadow zone (9-10 Libra) on December 27, 2013
  • January 16, 2014:  Venus retrograde (19 Capricorn) squared Mars (19 Libra)
  • February 28, 2014:  Mercury stationed direct at 18 Aquarius /// New Moon at 11 Pisces
  • March 1, 2014:  Mars stationed retrograde at 28 Libra
  • March 2, 2014:  Saturn stationed retrograde at 24 Scorpio /// Venus (28 Capricorn) squared Mars retrograde (28 Libra)
  • March 6, 2014:  Jupiter stationed direct at 11 Cancer
  • Mars retrograde will create a Cardinal Grand Cross in April with Jupiter in Cancer, Uranus in Aries, and Pluto in Capricorn around 12-14 degrees of the cardinal signs. The grand cross will be intense in the days surrounding April 23, with a Lunar Eclipse on April 15 and Solar Eclipse on April 29.
  • Mars will station direct on May 19 at 10 Libra
  • Mars will leave his retrograde shadow zone on July 22, 2014

March fittingly began with its namesake Mars claiming center stage by stationing retrograde at the end of Libra, in between Mercury stationing direct the day before and Saturn stationing retrograde the next day.  A few days later on March 6, Jupiter stationed direct, creating an extraordinary week of intensity.  Every time a planet stations it means their energy is saturating our astrological atmosphere:  with so many occurring at the same time the effect was dizzying and disorienting, but since Mars only goes retrograde about every 26 months or so, his stationing was especially dramatic.  A raised Mars vibration became even more pronounced at this time because his stationing occurred in conjunction to the shift of the true node of the Lunar North Node into the sign of Libra, meaning that Mars also became the lord of the South Node of the Moon in Aries.    As Mars is occupying the sign of Venus, conjunct the North Node of the Moon ruled by Venus, we are at a time of a Mars initiation under the auspices of Venus.

Mars initiating a collective and personal shift at this time was symbolized in current events by Russia invading the Crimea region of Ukraine at the time of Mars stationing retrograde.  Mars is of course the god of war, with an ancient link to the Greek Ares who was particularly bloodthirsty in battle and obsessed with creating conflict and strife.  The Russian invasion also connected to the shift of the South Node of the Moon into Aries that is ruled by Mars, as it brought to the collective mind a fear of another great war breaking out between global super powers, all the while evoking collective memories of the cold war between the United States of America and the Soviet Union that dominated the second half of the twentieth century.  However, fitting to a Mars retrograde occurring in Libra at this time, instead of an actual world war of mass killing breaking out what instead has occurred so far is a war of diplomacy and behind the scenes maneuvering of diplomats and dictators.

While Mars does have a mythic connection to the Greek Ares, his appearance in Roman culture was of supreme importance as Mars was a founding father of the Roman people through his fatherhood of Romulus and Remus.  In addition to being a god of aggression and violence, the Romans also saw Mars as a passionate, and scandalous lover- in fact the lover of Venus who was quite willing to ignore the fact that Venus was married to Vulcan.  This love affair between Mars and Venus was also found in the Greek version of numerous love affairs between Ares and Aphrodite who likewise transgressed the marital vows of Aphrodite and Hesphaestus (the Greek Vulcan).  Through the heated passion and sexual intercourse between the Mars and Venus of myth we can also find the astrological meaning behind Mars as an indication of our passionate and erotic desire that resists restrictions or limitations of any kind.

Another ancient connection to Mars was as a harbinger of plagues, pestilence, and disaster, as can be seen in his traditional association with the XVI Tower card of the Tarot Arcana.  I feel through modern astrology we have come to associate outer planets like Pluto and Uranus more so with crisis and calamities, but it is important to remember that Mars was always seen in this role and connected with disastrous events such as the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine at the time of a Mars stationing.  As a result, we can apply the theme of the XVI Tower card to events at this time, with the higher potential of this correlation being that we can become electrified and shook wide awake by dramatic events.  Indeed, Mars is also one of the traditional malefics of astrology along with Saturn, seen in night charts as representing the sorts of challenges that make us stronger and in day charts the sorts of challenges that simply make us lose our shit.  Through the myths and astrology of ancient Babylon, we can find all of these meanings, as Nergal (the God associated with the planet Mars in Babylon) was also a god of violence, plague, and disaster, who was also the  brother of Ninurta (the Babylonian Saturn, the other traditional malefic of astrology).

Michael Baignet in his incredible book From the Omens of Bablylon:  Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia analyzed translations of ancient tablets and text to reveal a vivid portrait of the Babylonian Nergal who was associated in astrology with the planet Mars.  Nergal was like a combination of the Mars and Pluto of myth, a lord of the underworld who was considered to be evil and violent in addition to being a judge of the dead.  In fact, through Nergal we can discover the patriarchal takeover of the underworld as he forced himself unto the goddess of the underworld and into a seat on her throne.  The story began when Ereshkigal, the goddess of the underworld, sent an emissary to represent her at a feast of the gods.  Nergal intentionally gave a sign of disrespect to the emissary that led Ereshkigal to demand that Nergal be sent down to her so that she could kill him as punishment.  Nergal was unable to argue his way out of being sent down for retribution to Ereshkigal, but he was able to successfully negotiate the right to take fourteen of his companions down with him for protection, giving him one guard for each of the fourteen doors in the palace of Ereshkigal (this mythic action also reveals the Mars skill in manipulation, negotiation, seduction, diplomacy . . . ).  After placing a guard at each of the doors of the goddess of the dead, Nergal charged full speed ahead into the throne room where he took Ereshkigal by surprise, forcibly grabbing her by the hair and forcing her into the floor with a knife to her throat.  Somehow this great goddess found herself pleading for her life and making an offer to become his bride in exchange for Nergal letting her live.  And so Nergal became the husband to Ereshkigal, the lord of the underworld, the god and judge of the dead.

The connection between Mars and Pluto we can see in Mesopotamian myth is also found in modern astrology where Pluto is considered to be a higher octave of Mars by many astrologers.  The ancient embodiment of Mars as lord of the underworld in myth goes well with the effective use of Mars as the ruler of Scorpio in Hellenistic and other traditional forms of astrology, while there are also some modern astrologers who have done powerful work using Pluto as the ruler of Scorpio.   The link between Mars and Pluto is especially important in the system of evolutionary astrology developed by Jeff Green, in which the analysis of Mars is a key window into the desires radiating from the soul.  To Green, Mars correlates with our instinctual hunger to act on the desires coming from our soul and so the Mars archetype can help us become aware of our continuous state of becoming through activity.  Mars has a thirst for freedom and an aversion to restriction of any kind:  when Mars is moving direct, we take action that moves out from our soul.  In contrast, when Mars goes retrograde we take instinctual action that returns us to our center instead of moving out from our core.  Mars retrograde inverts the desires emanating from our soul so that we pause and reflect before taking action, leading to “considered action versus an impulsive action” (Green, p. 255).  As a result, the period of Mars retrograde can help our personality align to a greater extent with our soul’s intentions and eliminate or remake what is not serving our soul purpose.  In this way, during a Mars retrograde time-frame we have an opportunity to counterbalance past compulsive and overly willful egocentricity through listening inwardly, looking before we leap.

At this time of the Ides of March approaching, I am reminded of the famous speech given by Marc Antony in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar that to my mind is exemplary of both a Mars stationing and a Mars retrograde sort of action.  Here we have an excerpt spoken by Marlon Brando, an actor filled with the vigor of Mars in every performance:

Marc Antony would have been full of rage at the murder of Caesar, yet instead of reacting with destructive violence or direct attack he paused and considered how to craft persuasive language that would ignite the people of Rome to mutiny against the assassins of Caesar.  The dramatic atmosphere of this moment ripe with the potential for war is fitting for a time of Mars stationing like we experienced last week.  Yet through taking the time to reflect upon how to craft the most persuasive language possible instead of impulsively shouting diatribes against the plotters who tried to seize the throne through killing Caesar, Marc Antony’s speech also connects to the energy of a Mars retrograde.  Furthermore,  Marc Antony’s speech also contains a deft use of Libran diplomacy, seduction, and social manipulation, as he cleverly called the murderers of Caesar honorable while nimbly weaving words and phrases that would arouse the passions of the Roman people to his cause for revenge.  Each time he called Brutus or the other assassins “honorable,” he created an increasingly “dishonorable” impression of them in his audience through his considered choice in language that made his audience feel his own sense of wounding and wrongdoing.

As our current Moon cycle is waxing toward the Virgo and Pisces Full Moon of March 16, we have entered an energy field that is settling into the energy of the Mars retrograde more so than the more catalytic and disruptive energy of the Mars stationing last week.  In the same way that Venus retrograde cycles can coincide with fateful events carrying a sense of destiny in some personal birth charts, so can Mars retrograde cycles also be especially fateful for certain birth charts.  If Mars is a major factor in a chart a Mars retrograde cycle may always be significant, whereas for other charts it may have more to do with the specific zodiac degrees involved in the retrograde cycle.  For our current Mars retrograde cycle, you will want to pay close attention to the area of your chart holding nine to twenty-eight degrees of Libra (the Mars retrograde zone) as well as nine to twenty-eight degrees of every other cardinal sign in your chart (Aries, Cancer, and Capricorn- the Mars retrograde will be forming a square or opposition to these points), or other Air and Fire signs (Gemini, Aquarius, Leo, and Sagitarius- the Mars retrograde will be forming a trine or sextile to these points).  If you want to think about personal experiences relating to past Mars retrograde cycles, I will include some of the dates below.  You can also add in a couple of months before and after these stationing dates in order to capture the full retrograde shadow journey of Mars:

  • January 24 – April 14, 2012: stationed retrograde at 24 Virgo and stationed direct at 4 Virgo.
  • December 20, 2009 – March 10, 2010: stationed retrograde at 20 Leo and stationed direct at 1 Leo.
  • November 15, 2007 – January 30, 2008: stationed retrograde at 13 Cancer and stationed direct at 25 Gemini.
  • October 1 – December 10, 2005: stationed retrograde at 24 Taurus and stationed direct at 9 Taurus.
  • July 29 – September 27, 2003: stationed retrograde at 11 Pisces and stationed direct at 1 Pisces.
  • May 11 – July 19, 2001: stationed retrograde at 30 Sagitarius and stationed direct at 16 Sagitarius.
  • March 18 – June 4, 1999: stationed retrograde at 13 Scorpio and stationed direct at 25 Libra.

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Mars in the sign of Venus

Mars stationing retrograde in Libra is very significant in relation to Venus, including that Mars is considered to be in “detriment” in Libra.  The detrimental label of Mars in Libra connects to Libra being the polarized opposite of the sign Aries that Mars loves being in, as well as that Libra is a sign ruled by Venus.  Astrologers often think of Libra as a sign of balance, overly concerned with relationships and the needs of others, a sign of beauty that doesn’t quite jive with the freewheeling nature of Mars that will strike up conflict and want to have things its own way.  However, though balance is the aim of Libra, many Librans are in reality extreme in behavior and more in a process of searching for balance through extremity of behavior than beings whose every gesture is of rarified air.  Libra can have a manipulative talent for diplomacy, for getting its way through cooing negotiation, and for becoming enraged over social justice issues and oppression, all behaviors that do correlate to the willful Mars.  And just because the red planet is moving backwards in the sign of Venus does not mean we should think it a detriment, when instead we can celebrate the fact this planet of desire is moving under the guidance of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.

Jeff Green’s perspective in evolutionary astrology I feel is beneficial to consider regarding Mars in Libra because he doesn’t get hung up on analyzing it as a “detriment” but instead looks at it as it is what it is, so let’s explore what it is.  There are a number of issues connected to Mars in Libra in Green’s evolutionary astrology I have been sensing connect with the current retrograde transit:  learning to actualize our soul intentions through initiating relationships with people from different beliefs, values, and backgrounds, learning to expand our consciousness through understanding our reality in a new way through relationship, learning to understand ourselves in a new way through the perceptions of others in relationship, learning to balance our need for independence versus our need for interaction, learning how to balance giving and receiving on an equal basis in relationship, and learning how to understand the nature of projections we receive from others as well as the nature of the projections we make on others in relationship.

Again, since the retrograde movement of Mars inverts the energy of the red planet toward our soul, instead of more impulsively acting out from our soul desires, during this retrograde transit the issues we encounter surrounding our relationships will help us eliminate what is not truly “us” in our behavior, and help us align to a greater extent with our soul purpose.  While this inverted energy of Mars may heat up our inner sexual desires, it does not necessarily mean we will be impulsively leaping into wild, lustful encounters with the people we become attracted to at this time, but in contrast we may find ourselves with an opportunity to pause and consider the reasoning behind the sexual desire we feel inside, helping us to better understand our own sexual nature in the process.  Jeff Green has also drawn attention to the link between Mars in Libra and sexual karma, and the karmic binding we create even in one-time sexual encounters.  In his second Pluto book, Green made the point that the archetype of Mars in Libra emphasizes the need to make our sexual intentions conscious so both partners are aware, from a one-night stand to a new attraction developing outside the boundaries of a monogamous relationship.  Along these lines Green stressed the importance of being honest or resolving the karmic agreement of the current relationship before entering into sexual relations with the new attraction.  The concept of mirroring, in which our relationships will mirror active elements of our psyche to focus on and learn more about, will be very active during this Libran retrograde and so acting with integrity in our relationships will be even more important than normal.

Along these lines, we will want to make sure that we are listening to the true needs of others in our relationships instead of what we want to hear, as well as making sure that we are likewise expressing our true needs in our relationship and having the personal integrity to believe and expect that our needs will likewise be acknowledged and honored.  Jeff Green also illuminated the tendency of the Mars in Libra archetype to be so overly concerned with the needs of others that they lose touch with their own needs.  This leads to great difficulty such as others projecting their own needs and expectations on us that have nothing to do with our actual reality, as well as our own danger of becoming incredibly angry at our needs not being met and at risk of projecting this anger on anyone that crosses our path.  While the sacred concept that the receiving is in the giving will be something we can experience at this time, we will want to take accountability to maintain the balance that our own needs are also being met and that communicating our needs will always be a good choice for us to make in the type of relationship we want to truly be inside.  If we have been someone who has been the scapegoat of our family, or have been carrying around karma and issues that are not even our own and have been projected onto us from others, we can at this time come into greater awareness of the nature of these projections from other people and clear out what does not truly belong to us.

If we are not feeling stirrings for new relationships at this time, or working on re-making an existing relationship to be more fulfilling, another area we may find connection to Mars being retrograde in Libra is through artistic work or creativity in any medium or material.  Libra is a Venusian sign of creativity and artistry, and so this Mars retrograde time will be opportune for entering into a sacred space of artistic creation, making sacred art that calls to our soul, viewing or experiencing art that feels sacred or soulful, or making choices to practice simple acts of creativity and joy whenever a moment arises.  Entering into an artistic or creative process of any kind, being open to observing whatever emerges, can be another helpful guide for us to align to a greater extent with our soul purpose and intention at this time.

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Affairs of the Heart

In the painting Parnassus above, painted in 1497 by Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna, we can see the lovers Mars and Aphrodite standing tall over a dance of the nine muses, with Mercury standing watch in the foreground, and the husband of Aphrodite, Vulcan, looking distraught in the background.  Over the past year the planets Mars and Venus have been involved in an intense affair, as their new cycle began around April 6, 2013 with a conjunction at 20 Aries.  Today we are just past a very long first quarter square phase that took months to complete:  the first time Mars and Venus squared was on September 28, 2013 with Mars at 20 Leo and Venus at 20 Scorpio.  Next, they squared on January 16, 2014 during the Venus retrograde with Mars inside his retrograde shadow zone, with Mars at 19 Libra and Venus retrograde at 19 Capricorn.  Significant to the Venus retrograde cycle of that time, Venus was just arising from the underworld as our Morning Star at this time following her inferior conjunction with the Sun on January 11.  And then last week on March 2, 2014, the third time was the charm as just at the time that both Mars and Saturn stationed retrograde, we had the final first quarter square with Mars retrograde at 28 Libra and Venus moving direct at 28 Capricorn.  Amazingly, this means that this final square between Mars and Venus in this cycle occurred at the exact time Mars was stationing retrograde and Venus was leaving her retrograde shadow journey.  Even more astounding, at the final square of this series on March 2, Mars retrograde was conjunct the North Node of the Moon ruled by Venus, and Mars at the same time was the ruler of the South Node of the Moon in Aries.  Meanwhile, Venus in Capricorn was in a square to the lunar nodes, making the intensity all the more grandiose.

What does a first quarter square between Mars and Venus mean?  It means, relative to this cycle that began on April 6, 2013, that we have crossed through a significant gate of challenge and crisis, made more so in this case because it took about five months to complete and involved retrograde cycles of both Mars and Venus.  From the lunar phase perspective, a first quarter square is about establishing the roots of our new direction, a phase full of tension, strength, and force that requires the building of a structure that can house the new purpose.  This phase requires a pioneering spirit that must confront and overcome past patterns and deal with their own sense of rage at having to face limitations and perhaps vestiges or triggers of past issues.  From this perspective, look back at what began last April of 2013:  any new relationships, projects, or desires? Was anything culminating or clearing in the time leading up to last April?  Likewise, where is 20 Aries in your birth chart for the start of a new cycle?  Where are all the degrees of the first quarter square- 20 Leo, 20 Scorpio, 19 Libra, 19 Capricorn, 28 Libra, 28 Capricorn?  From last September until now, through two of our four seasons, we have been facing crises and challenges connected to whatever new soul intention connected with our Mars and Venus we begun last April.

I want to come back once again to Jeff Green and evolutionary astrology, because I believe Green developed some valuable insights illuminating the archetypes involved in the phasal relationship between Mars and Venus:

From an evolutionary point of view, the phasal relationship between Mars and Venus will correlate to how the Soul is oriented to actualizing the relationship dynamics for itself, and how its needs for necessary freedom in order to actualize its overall evolutionary and karmic intentions interrelate.

–Jeff Green, Pluto Volume II, p. 259

From this same perspective, the first quarter square phase we just completed made us aware of new ways for us to be in relationship that reflect a new understanding we have for ourselves and how we relate to our soul.  At the first quarter square, we develop the courage to stand up for ourselves and assert our individual values whether or not others around us share the same values.  Part of the crisis of this stage then comes from the fact that we have a new sense of individuality we are developing that we fear we could lose by entering into relationships with other people, especially into intimate relationships where merging and bonding can occur.  As a result we can come into conflicts in our relationships because we may not truly commit, keeping our options open for an escape due to a fear of losing our individuality in the relationship.  To Green, the lesson of this stage “is for the Soul to realize that the individuality that has been established will not be lost, that this fear is a fear only, and to align with other individuals who have the same courage to project their own individuality in the face of the consensus . . . they need to choose an intimate other who is evolutionarily evolving in the same way” (Green, p. 262).  If we are currently in a relationship, we may need to reflect upon the dynamic and see if things can be reworked for greater harmony and a sense of personal freedom to develop in accordance with the calling of the soul.  If we are lacking relationships, we can hopefully find a new group of like-minded souls for friendship and collaboration, as well as gain greater clarity for the type of intimate partner we wish to eventually commit to.

For the rest of March we will be inside this first quarter phase of the Mars and Venus cycle, but at the very end of March we will have an opportunity to creatively actualize more of our new direction because Mars retrograde at 23 Libra will form a trine to Venus at 23 Aquarius on March 29, 2014.  This does not mean everything will become easy for us, but it does mean that whatever desire, issue, project, or relationship we are working on in connection to this Mars-Venus cycle will demand more of a yearning from us to manifest it to a greater extent, and with Venus being in Aquarius no doubt this will feel like a burning sense of liberation from within us.   This new, impulsive, liberating energy will be all the more intense because there will be a New Moon on March 30 that is conjunct Uranus in Aries, square Jupiter in Cancer, and square Pluto in Capricorn.   Events at this time will help us become aware of all the myriad of issues that have led up to this point, and with making the whole process more conscious we will have increased capacity to make our soul desire more of a reality, or at least create an effective plan to make it happen eventually.  Using this time for this purpose of clarifying our soul desire and then beginning the process of actualizing it in our life is of supreme importance because as we enter April we enter a time of intense aspects that many astrologers are signalling high alert to the collective regarding- a lunar eclipse, a cardinal grand cross including an exact square between Pluto and Uranus, and a solar eclipse among other things . . . These intense aspects also are fitting for the Chinese astrological perspective of this being the year of the Wood Horse, because although this energy could indeed correlate with some crises and stressful experiences, it is also the type of energy that can completely liberate us from our past and help us break free into uncharted territory- the transits have an extraordinary pioneering spirit to them at the same time they portend extremely challenging events.  But what does a pioneer do except face the greatest challenges and obstacles imaginable?

As we enter this intense April time period, we will likewise enter the gibbous phase of this Mars and Venus cycle around April 9 or so with Venus at the beginning of Pisces conjunct Neptune in Pisces.  This gibbous phase will take us through the  eclipse season and cardinal grand cross of the rest of April because we will not hit the full phase of Mars and Venus, their opposition point, until around May 11, 2014.  Fitting for the intense astrological climate of April, the gibbous phase of this Mars and Venus cycle could have us needing to withstand extreme criticism from our relationships and surrounding environment concerning the soul intention we are desiring to pursue as part of this cycle.  Part of the crisis we can experience in our relationships during April will be to help us make modifications in our relationship patterns so that we can adjust to the energy of others in our environment and learn to interact in more of a balanced manner.  Since this phase will begin with Venus conjunct Neptune in Pisces, there could be a very idealized aspect to our soul desire- it will be good to take time to pause, reflect, and center in accordance with the Mars retrograde and discern if this is a truly spiritualizing desire or more of an illusory escapist sort of Neptune desire.  Venus and Neptune conjunct in Pisces, however, can also help us step into a higher vibration of love in all of our relationships and more of an unconditional acceptance for the people we care about and where they happen to be in the moment with their own issues.  In line with a gibbous phase, we will also need to practice acceptance and unconditional love for ourselves because this phase of the Mars-Venus cycle can often correlate with becoming self critical and focusing on what we perceive as our own “shortcomings, inadequacies, imperfections, indiscretions, and lacks” (Green, p. 263).  If we are also being criticized harshly in our personal environment we will need to be careful of taking on projections and victimizing ourselves to such an extent that we become so angry that we cause destruction in relationships that are important to us.  Jeff Green views this phase as reflecting the need of the soul to humble itself and move out of any superior complexes in relationships that come from an actual inferiority complex underneath it all- we are called at this time to make modifications to how we take in criticism from others and learn that they mirror in a way our own self-criticism.  The lesson we can learn from all of this is how to make effective adjustments in how we interact with the greater world, which in the end will help us actualize our soul intention connected with this Mars-Venus cycle to a greater extent.

Fittingly our current Mars-Venus cycle reaches its halfway point, or full phase opposition point, toward the end of the Mars retrograde cycle with Mars beginning to station again.  This will occur on May 11, 2014 with Mars retrograde at 10 Libra and Venus at 10 Aries.  We will have accumulated a huge amount of information from the eclipse season of the cardinal grand cross that is simply impossible to predict at this time- whatever that information and events turn out to be, however, will add incredible understanding of our personal issues linked to this Mars and Venus cycle.  Since Mars will be entering a time of stationing at this time, although we may not be able to predict specific events we can know that most likely events will be very dramatic and possibly cataclysmic, and so we will want to be prepared to pause and reflect for our optimal response to whatever situation occurs.  Incredibly, in the following week around May 19 Venus will return to the same degree she was at the start of this cycle, 20 Aries, at the same time that Mars stations direct.  This is so beautiful and perfect in its pattern that it gives me great hope for this upcoming time period no matter how difficult our life may appear in moments of desperation.   Although events at this time may seem overwhelmingly challenging, the full phase point of the Mars-Venus cycle occurring as Mars stations direct is also perfect for Mars intensifying the energy of Libra, as the lesson of this phase between Mars and Venus is for us to learn how to cultivate equality in our relationships, find greater balance in our giving and our receiving, and learning how to integrate our unique soul needs into our social environment so that we can get what we need from our environment.  Difficulties in relationships can be learning tools that help us learn how to truly listen to what others need instead of what we think that they need:  as we learn to objectively understand the reality of others around us we will likewise attract a partner or relationships who have this same objective awareness of us.  We will also need to learn how to balance our feelings for spending time alone versus spending time in relationship:  the retrograde movement of Mars will help us tune into our instinctual soul desires of when we really need to spend time by ourselves, for example, and so we must have the personal integrity to honor these feelings and not succumb to pressure from others to socialize needlessly when we are not truly called to socialize.

We also will want to honor our sexual feelings and desires and come to greater awareness and understanding of our sexual nature at this time.  As previously stated, the retrograde movement of Mars through Libra will heat up our inner sexual vibration through the inversion of Mars energy- the soul intention of this will be to come to greater awareness of our erotic nature so we will want to avoid judging and shaming ourselves.  With all of the eclipse and cardinal grand cross intensity, putting shame into our game ain’t gonna make things easier.  Coincidentally, I recently had an epiphany regarding self-shaming of sexuality through attending a webinar by Demetra George on the fifth house of good fortune, where Venus has her Joy and greatest affinity from a traditional Hellenistic perspective.  In her webinar Demetra traced how the love affairs associated with the fifth house over time came to be labeled as being scandalous and risk-taking of the adulterous variety, much like the celebrated extra-marital affairs of Mars and Venus in myth; she did so in order to make the counter-point that the sexual desires where Venus has her Joy are in actuality divine and life infusing, fortunate and inspired by gods, noble and pleasurable.  Demetra incorporated a lesson from Plato’s Symposium to make her point, wherein Phaedrus described how Eros and our beloved can inspire us to act with greater integrity and aspire to the divine, so that we will be held in high esteem in the eyes of our beloved.  During this Mars retrograde in Libra we will have the opportunity to become clearer about the relationship we want to be in, the type of partner we want to attract, as well as gain clarity on our true values and desires we will live from that will simultaneously help attract our desired partner or relationship.  We will want to honor the sexual desires we experience as providing us with pleasure, inspiration, and even important information instead of judging or shaming ourselves- for example, if we experience attraction outside the boundaries of a personal relationship, we will want to remember to have integrity with how we deal with the situation, instead of acting from a place of shame and judgment toward our self.

In addition to relationship attractions and issues, the Mars and Venus square can connect with our inner masculine and feminine, as well as social justice issues such as the fact many do not even believe in concepts like masculine and feminine and suffer oppression in our society as a result.  Through the internalizing energy of the Mars retrograde we have the opportunity to cultivate greater balance between our inner yin and inner yang energy.  However, as Mars is moving retrograde all the way back to creating an extraordinary cardinal grand cross in April of 2014 that will occur during eclipses and another exact square between Pluto and Uranus, lets just say that many people around us will not exactly appear to be balanced and we could be witnessing examples of oppression as well as feeling oppressed ourselves by how fucked up the world has become.  What can we do?  We can use the retrograde energy of Mars in Libra to feel the oppression around us but instead of just becoming angry and destructive, move the energy into compassion for others, being a good listener to the problems and struggles of others, learning to listen to what others truly need, as well as being willing to express our own needs for help and support and being willing to receive and accept help and support from others.  Mars in Libra can correlate with us forming not only new relationships, but coming into contact with a diversity of experience from others that are different from our own experience, which in the end will help us develop a greater understanding of reality outside of our own subjective experience and perspective.  As a result, we will have the opportunity to learn how to accept and support the individual reality of others, no matter how different they may appear to be from us, or how different their background and culture is from us.  As we learn more about the relativity of truth through the perspectives on truth from different people with different opinions and values, in the end we will have the opportunity to expand our consciousness and understanding of the world in a way that will enable us to better support and give to others in need, as well as will enable us to more effectively achieve and manifest the soul purpose associated with this current Mars and Venus cycle.

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Post-script:  Vesta in Libra

I may later write another post about this, but I would like to briefly mention the amazing synchronicity that at the same time Mars stationed retrograde to move back through Libra in conjunction with the North Node of the Moon, the asteroid Vesta did as well.  In addition, Ceres was also nearby at the beginning of Scorpio and Ceres will also eventually be stationing retrograde to move back into Libra by the end of March.  However, since Vesta never made it to Scorpio and turned around at the same time with Mars at the end of Libra, I feel Vesta has helped initiate our transition into this Mars retrograde in Libra that will be taking us all the way to a cardinal grand cross in April of Libra Mars, Cancer Jupiter, Aries Uranus, and Capricorn Pluto.   It is a further sign, along with Venus ruling the North Node of the Moon that Mars retrograde is conjunct, that the retrograde journey of Mars is being initiated by goddesses, including the magnetic, celestial, and earthly Aphrodite, and the focused, sacred, and independent Vesta.  Vesta being part of this initiation means that we will be re-focusing our energy and will to experience more of our authentic self, in a space outside of relationship at times, even though Vesta in Libra enjoys relationship as all celestial spheres do in the sign of the scales. Even if we are in a relationship we will be re-focusing and re-establishing our presence inside of it, as Vesta is an independent goddess who belongs to no man and does not make herself dependent upon anyone else. As Demetra George has taught, Vesta “teaches the wisdom that periodic retreat from others in order to cleanse and regenerate the self can lead to a clarity of vision and purpose” (Asteroid Goddesses, p. 34). Vesta’s presence at the initiation of a Mars retrograde that happened in a square to Venus also means we will be re-focusing our sexual nature and desire, including sexual issues around fear, projection, repression, judgment, sin, sacredness, and sexual discernment in choice of partners.  Vesta in Libra carries with her all of the issues associated with Libra I have previously mentioned here in connection with Mars, but Vesta in particular has a gift for focus.  As a result she will help us focus to a greater extent on our soul intention through the inverted movement of Mars within us, and eliminate what is not in alignment with our soul purpose in our relationships, self, and life.

References

Baignent, Michael. (1994).  From the Omens of Babylon:  Astrology and Ancient Mesopotamia.  Penguin Arkana.

George, Demetra with Bloch, Douglas. (1986).  Asteroid Goddesses. ACS.

Green, Jeffrey Wolf. (2009).  Pluto Volume II:  The Soul’s Evolution through Relationships. The Wessex Astrologer.