Just a little levity for this Mars Retrograde, sandwiched-between-eclipses space we find ourselves currently in (warning for language):
Astrology at the junction of Fate and Free Will.
Just a little levity for this Mars Retrograde, sandwiched-between-eclipses space we find ourselves currently in (warning for language):
LOL, a live look at an error message I received when logging in to do some work today – it looks like the Mercury Retrograde gremlins have been let out to play:
We all know the Mercury Retro drill; gadgets get glitchy, software slows down, hardware hiccups, updates may get upended, meetings get mixed-up, tongues (and texts) can get twisted, anxiety tends to amp up, schedules can get squirrely, public transport plods, and/or your car might get crotchety. Phew! This Mercury retrograde seems to be feeling particularly punchy with its proximity to Fixed Star Aldebaran; like it has a forceful point to make. In recent days leading up to this Rx, I watched the “Nervous Nelly” implications of Mercury turning Retrograde lead to days in which there were both substantial losses on Wall Street – with the Dow losing 1000 points, Nasdaq having its worst day in 2 years, & then the S&P hit its lowest level in a year – and a crypto crash as Bitcoin dipped below 30K and triggered a wave of panic. People get skittish when Mercury changes direction; it’s a thing! The world could use a deep, centering breath when Mercury makes moves like this; logic leaves while the limbic Lizard Brain often takes the wheel.
Indecision and vacillation also tend to be more commonplace during Mercury Retrogrades as we rethink things – this is often a good thing, as taking time to mull something over (again) may make us less inclined to act in haste based on faulty information. We can frequently make wrong assumptions, or frankly just might not have all the facts of a matter whenever this planetary messenger’s motion is a little “off”. It’s like a bad 90’s talk show; before going off half-cocked, wait for those DNA test results to come in!
For this specific Mercury Retrograde, there seems to be a theme of “severance” in the air; both literal and metaphorical. Careful around machinery (including cars and household appliances) that you could have an accident (digits or limbs getting caught and cut) with, and be mindful of sharp things in general; Mercury bounces back-and-forth between Fixed Stars Aldebaran – associated with a sword-wielding Archangel Micheal – and Algol in Medusa’s severed head. In a less literal sense, words can both cut and lead to a cutting off (of communications) with Mercury ping-ponging between these two powerful stars. Do not engage in gossip, and be mindful of what you say and/or write (on yet another Mercury Rx-related note, look at the leaked Supreme Court opinion on overturning Roe v. Wade that happened last week as evidence of this). So be safe out there, take a big calming breath, choose words wisely, and avoid distractions when around a sharp or otherwise potentially dangerous object.
When good advice comes to you, are you able to recognize it as such? On a scale from 1 – 10 (1 = Never, 10 = Always), how often would you say that you listen to the advice of others? I ask because with Mercury Retrograde incoming a little over a week from now, we should always pay attention to any messages we get more than once. To wit, I’ll share something that bears repeating – it’s an excerpt from my March 1st newsletter referencing April’s Jupiter/Neptune Conjunction:
“…there is some major hermit energy inherent in this configuration, yet it is coupled with the paradox of there also being simultaneous restlessness regarding isolation. Much like everything else with this alignment, this begs perspective and the necessity of asking ourselves “How much is too much?” in any given context. There is value in self-isolation as a means for mitigating over-sensitivity and for soul-searching to find one’s own truth, though admittedly in recent years we have certainly had a surplus of opportunities for this due to world events. In fact, some are so exhausted by this prolonged “hermit mode” they are desperately wanting to move “onward and upward” regardless of the broader ripple effect this may cause for the world at large and for the course of this pandemic. We can certainly choose not to believe in the pandemic anymore, but unfortunately the pandemic still believes in us or – more specifically – in our ability to keep spreading illness because of this great weariness we have about it. In fact, the astro of this alignment very much cautions against such over-relaxation leading to the spread of increased illness. There is indeed a theme of self-induced harm via over-permissiveness that can generate just such a wake on a bigger scale w/ the conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces. On the macro, there is most definitely a huge lather-rinse-repeat cycle that keeps going on with the premature eagerness to be “over” this virus leading to subsequent surges and more variants of concern emerging that are more, well, concerning than prior iterations. For the time being, our energy is much better spent on finding ways to relax this restlessness before it balloons into a bigger problem for us.”
See also: The rise of multiple Omicron Covid-19 sub-variants – BA 2.12.1, BA 4, & BA 5 – that all surfaced in the news right around the time of this conjunction. I am publishing this excerpt again in the interest of public health because it was good advice then and it’s still good advice now; particularly with Mercury about to backtrack – remember, Mercury is a health planet too. And in the physical body it governs the lungs & respiratory function (among other things).
In one of my recent newsletters (February 2022), I have been discussing the USA’s Pluto Return in the sign of Capricorn; what it is, why it’s significant, and – most importantly – what we can each/all do to help this crucial turning point be one of resurrection for our nation. When speaking of Pluto, I have often mentioned the concept of bioluminescence; the ability to generate our own Light from within, even in the darkest of places. Interestingly, many bioluminescent species are found in precisely such environs, and yet still they thrive – I think they have much to teach us at this decisive period in our nation’s history.
The strength of a nation is measured in the spirit of its people; more precisely, in their resilience. These have been dark times indeed, but we need not fear them when have deep and unyielding confidence in our ability to recover. It is this idea of recovery I wish to speak to now, for this is what is in greatest service to our nation and its people. America’s Pluto Return is its “Scarlett O’Hara” moment in “Gone with the Wind” – silhouetted in the dawning of a new day, she says the following: “As God as my witness; they’re not going to lick me…..as God as my witness; I’m going to live through this and when it’s all over, I’ll never be hungry again!” You will note that I have very deliberately left out the part where she vows “If I have to lie, steal, cheat, or kill…”, as this is Lo-Fi Pluto and – rather than give into more ignoble impulses where we try to make the ends justify the means – I wish to inspire us instead toward Pluto’s higher potential. For the purposes of this post, the point of the quote lies in Scarlett’s indomitable will to survive any crisis that life throws at her.
Recovery can happen in many ways, but I want to talk about one of the most impactful levels as it is a topic germane to all Americans now. Because Pluto is associated with both trauma and healing, perhaps one of the most salient points to mention involves Capricorn’s connection with that which is “old” in addition to this sign also having ties to history, our forefathers, and our “pedigree” or “lineage”. In understanding Pluto’s deepest healing potential, we know that when it Returns in the sign of Capricorn we (as a collective nation) will be dealing with themes that involve gaining insight into old, possibly generational traumas (or perhaps “curses”) for the sake of banishing, cleansing, and renewing on an energetic level.
Ancestral trauma can come in many forms – most (if not all) of us alive on the planet here today have ancestors who “had it hard” in one respect or another; sometimes in several areas at once. We may live with the energetic residue of things like poverty, famine, war, slavery, or even genocide metaphysically encoded in our DNA; even if we ourselves haven’t lived through such events. Traumas such as these can hold particular power over us if we are not conscious of their potential trickle-drown effects. Sometimes there are actual learned (dysfunctional) behaviors that we might inherit as a result; like the hoarding tendencies one might have as the child of parents who stockpiled more food than was necessary in the wake of living through the bread lines of The Great Depression. This is not a judgement whatsoever; intense experiences understandably leave a mark. But best now to direct energy toward old scar tissue to see if we can transform what was once a curse into a point of empowerment.
A large part of healing the “curses” of our forefathers lies in the naming of these demons and symbolically casting them out – let us dig into the roots of our family trees to understand and resolve that which causes our ancestors’ spirits to have unrest so we can stop this from affecting future generations. What this looks like for each person is going to be very different; especially with respect to whether these kinds of impactfully disturbing experiences happened from the victim or perpetrator’s (or perhaps our ancestors were both, à la hurt people hurt people) side(s). But investigating with a spirit of integrity, humility, and an earnest desire to straighten things out gets us far….sometimes we are the ones left holding the bag for our parents’/grandparents’/great-grandparents’/etc., and it is better to work constructively on clearing out the mess than to curse the burden that now rests upon our shoulders. Heal what they couldn’t; willingly take on the responsibility for straightening out their (energetic) legacy.
As if the world doesn’t have enough to deal with right now; just in time for Thursday’s approaching conjunction of war god Mars with volcanic Pluto 🙄 Venus is in the mix too, though, and here’s my geopolitical take on this alignment:
Vladimir Putin is a Libra Sun with three other planets located in this sign as well; he is strongly influenced by the planet Venus, which is (and has been) debilitated by its recent retrograde in Capricorn. This is also important because Venus rules money, and I’m not sure that Putin weighed the economic ramifications of his decision to invade Ukraine nearly enough – the ruble has plunged 30% in recent days and the Russian Central Bank jacked rates to 20% to keep pace with the resulting economic fallout. Capricorn is a stern sign that demands both self-restraint and that we do the right thing or we will face the consequences, and this has been a very bad business decision for Putin. Economic punishment is, IMO, the right move here; it hits where it hurts most.
Mars has been tagging along with Venus very closely the last few weeks; serving as an astrological catalyst for Putin’s naked aggression. Mars is a pushy, aggressive, agitating kind of energy but Venus suffers from its influence; particularly whilst already curbed by Capricorn’s heavy-handed nature. Venus also represents one’s allies, and it seems Putin is lacking for friends at the moment – even the famously neutral country of Switzerland has dropped its non-involved status to impose sanctions. Social isolation is another consequence of a lonely Venus in Capricorn, but the friends that do remain under this influence are truly ride-or-die (see: Belarus) due this duo’s approaching conjunction with Pluto.
Venus remains in post-retrograde torpor until tomorrow night, and even once she’s free of this she will quickly find herself slammed between Pluto and Mars. Ancient astrologers called this condition of being sandwiched between malefic planets “besiegement”, and it’s generally indicative of something “going from bad to worse” – being that we have Putin’s ruling planet astrologically “getting it from both sides” like this, IMO he would be wisest in the long term to broker a peace deal since all he is doing now is unifying his (powerful) enemies while losing financial and relational support.
2022 is a big year for the USA; it is the year that Pluto will have made one full lap around the zodiac wheel to return to the point where it was located on July 4, 1776 when the early British-American colonies declared independence from England. I feel it necessary to discuss some important things about the use of this date in complete deference to all the Indigenous Peoples that existed on this land mass long before European settlers came along. The reason astrologers use this date as America’s “birth” in order to calculate a chart for the nation is fairly simple and isn’t meant to disregard at all the history and the peoples that were here since time immemorial. Indeed, every land on Earth is ancient and obviously came into existence eons before humans even existed; think of Pangea! So using July 4,, 1776 as the “birth” date of America is a bit of an overly simplistic misnomer; rather it would be more accurate to say that we merely use this date to calculate a similar chart. Did you know that businesses and relationships can have charts, too? What do we use to calculate these? What makes it “official” on paper?
For example, we might have the idea for a business and be working on it long before we file for our LLC and receive our tax ID. We were “gestating” it months or perhaps even years earlier; having a concrete date when it becomes a legally recognized entity in no way de-legitimizes the vision and all the work put in up until that very exciting moment. The technical stuff essentially just functions as a “scalpel” cutting the umbilical cord so the business becomes an entity in its own right; albeit just not a human one.
Or perhaps we look to the “birth” of a relationship; again, a misnomer. Maybe two individuals have known each other forever and were friends long before they ever dated, so it can’t be when they first met each other, right? So what “counts”? Is it when they went out on their first date together? Perhaps when they were first asked out/asked the other party out? Sometimes things aren’t clear-cut or there’s nothing “official” recorded to mark the “birth” and in such cases one must use their discernment. Most couples remember their first date and refer to that as their “anniversary”, so we could use this if we wanted to look at the ins and outs of that relationship from an astrological POV. But again, a couple could have met years prior or could have had romantic interest in each other for some time prior to going out with each other; using the pair’s first date merely allows us to have a concrete point in time to which we can refer and does not de-legitimize the history between them. This lack of date consensus is also why most astrologers might opt instead to draw up a Synastry or Composite chart rather than a “birth” type of chart.
Though America and its First Peoples existed for literally thousands of years prior to the British colonies declaring their independence from The Crown and revolting against King George III’s rule, the signing of the Declaration of Independence is something we can refer to that – for better or worse – is snapshot of a “scalpel” moment when these young colonies started to function as their own entity. Contextually, it is important to understand that First Nations Peoples were cultures that relied entirely upon oral histories; hence there were no earlier written dates of America’s “founding” to refer to, nor did Europeans exactly care to ask about such things whilst they were busy taking land and food from this nation’s original inhabitants. Even if they had, how would communication of this information have been possible given the language barrier? Forget the fact that First Nations Peoples would have no concept of or use for the Europeans’ Gregorian calendar! How could one possibly hope to find a more accurate “birth” date for a nation in such circumstances? Unfortunately, as is so often the case, the date we have for reference is sadly the one written by the “victors”.
In a heated sociopolitical climate, it is especially important that as astrologers we try to approach the use of this date with sensitivity and awareness; acknowledging its Eurocentric roots while also understanding the context that we simply don’t have other options that aren’t rooted in this same POV when it comes to calculating a chart for the USA; this is really all we have to work with. I’m not sure that it would be an improvement to use, say, the date in 1492 that an Italian conquista “explorer” got lost and bumped into a large landmass in the Atlantic Ocean by mistake because he was seeking a shortcut. Or the date the first wave of European settlers landed at Plymouth Rock, for example – both instances do not acknowledge that there were others living and governing their communities here long prior. But perhaps it would be of service to compare this situation to conception vs. the moment the umbilical cord is cut. Life starts long before a child exits its mother’s womb – 9 months prior, sperm met egg, cells multiplied, a heartbeat flickered into existence, and before long a growing human being was formed; nobody can deny the entire process was started well in advance of the child taking its first recorded breath. And perhaps if we could pinpoint conception and use that as the basis of a chart instead, this would be the more valid – and far more culturally sensitive – tool for the job.
♏🦂 You can’t make this stuff up; scorpions making headlines during peak Scorpio season….! Apparently, heavy rains in an area known for its desert climate – Aswan, Egypt – have brought scorpions out in droves; enough to sting and hospitalize several hundred people per this article :
Even more interesting? The rains also flushed out snakes along with the scorpions – this happened right as the Scorpio Sun came within proximity of Fixed Star Unukalhai (AKA Cor Serpentis); the Heart of the Serpent. 🐍 Stabby Mars and newsworthy Mercury were just coming off a conjunction in stinging Scorpio to boot – it’s little wonder this event made the presses.
Astrology does not lie.
The man famous for playing the role of legendary Sci-Fi explorer Captain James T. Kirk on the landmark series “Star Trek” – William Shatner – has just become the oldest man to visit space at 90 years old. Not coincidentally, this happened just after Saturn – the planet we associate with old age – resumed Direct motion in out-of-this-world Aquarius; talk about a “sign of the (astrological) times”. How cool is it that – with 9 decades under his belt– Bill no longer just *played* someone who went to space; he actually got to make this a reality??
It goes to show you that with Saturn in Aquarius, it’s never too late to actualize your hopes and dreams. It reminds of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button; specifically the part where Benjamin takes up with Elizabeth Abbott. Before life and time had beaten her down, Elizabeth was someone full of ambition and at 19 years old aspired to be the first woman ever to swim across the English Channel – unfortunately, she gave up after bad weather and a strong current went against her. She felt crushed by the experience and never tried again. Many years after their affair ended, Benjamin sees Elizabeth being interviewed on television as “The Oldest Woman to Swim Across the English Channel”. She smiles at the camera breathlessly and says “I suppose anything is possible.”
Mars in Libra (until October 30, 2021) is is a Martial Art; specifically, it is the Way of the Peaceful Warrior. In this “fighting” style, the most crucial foundational stance involves adopting a temperate calm that helps us know when and *just how much* to assert ourselves in any given interaction. It is a balancing act in constant motion; neither too soft nor too sharp. Mars is considered to be in its astrological “detriment” in Libra, which is a way of saying this sign’s mellow and refined temperament does not sit well on hot-tempered barbarian Mars. In Libra, Mars often isn’t really sure of when it’s appropriate to be self-assertive vs. when to acquiesce to another’s desires. But his current ongoing mutual reception with Venus in Scorpio (until October 7, 2021) pushes him to hammer this out & figure out that “middle way” between “you” and “I”; to seek the common ground that may exist between “we” and “me”. Once this mutual reception breaks up in about a week, we’ll see what we have learned from our training.
When properly channeled, Mars in Libra identifies with others but not at the expense of Selfhood. He genuinely wants to get along & is willing to make certain behavioral accommodations for the sake of achieving cooperation & harmony, but doesn’t allow a drive to be liked to completely compromise his own desires; rather, it is about seeking the mutual “win”. In “battle”, Hi-Fi Mars in Libra can be an invaluable comrade-in-arms who would rather fight (together) than switch. He’ll also put all of his energy into fighting for what is fair and just. Dan Millman – author of “Way of the Peaceful Warrior” – had the following Devil’s Advocate take on the Libra concept of moderation:
“Moderation? It’s mediocrity, fear, and confusion in disguise. It’s the devil’s dilemma. It’s neither doing nor not doing. It’s the wobbling compromise that makes no one happy. Moderation is for the bland, the apologetic, for the fence-sitters of the world afraid to take a stand. It’s for those afraid to laugh or cry, for those afraid to live or die. Moderation…is lukewarm tea, the devil’s own brew.”
Though certainly a timely perspective under the current Venus in Scorpio/Mars in Libra mutual reception, we must remember that Mars is traditionally considered a malefic in astrology and as such it may do our boy some good to have his whole-hog, “Go for it!”, and sometimes rather selfish impulses tempered a bit from time to time. Acting instead from a place that is calm, from one that is neither rooted in excessive self-interest nor solely motivated by a desire to please others, and from a considered and rational space can be a good thing; let your “opponent” be the one thrown off-balance while you make the “fight” look easy. 😘
With Mars now settled into Libra and Venus now settled into Scorpio, we currently have a mutual reception between Venus and Mars in place! Mars is the Traditional ruler of Scorpio and with the Red Planet currently traversing Venus’s Libra kingdom while Venus herself occupies Mars’s murky Scorpio domain, this creates an energy exchange even though the two planets aren’t otherwise linked astrologically.
What might we expect from this Venus/Mars mutual reception? Well this energy can be a bit problematic for the sexes since “men are from Mars/women are from Venus” and both planets are considered debilitated in the signs they’re currently occupying. Very generally speaking, men are apt to be more acquiescing while women can adopt a more “take no prisoners” approach. Overall this vibe can have a rather “genderbent” kind of feel to it and reversals of stereotypical gender roles in relationships may become more common. This mutual reception can also evoke a “War of the Roses” vibe so do remember this if in the midst of a contentious split and divvying up possessions/assets.
That’s not all, though – the current mutual reception between Venus in Scorpio and Mars in Libra may elicit power struggles in relationships. For best results, focus energy instead on sharing/taking turns/mutual compromise and you’ll *both* “win”. This duo is also quite lusty and tends to amp up amorous attraction between individuals – while a passionate combo, there is a hazard of leading into a relationship with sex. And as I am fond of saying, chemistry does *not* necessarily equal compatibility; sometimes it’s like oil and water! More broadly speaking, turbulence in partnerships (be this for business or for pleasure) may be denoted by this pairing.
The takeaway is to tread a bit more lightly in relationships than we otherwise would for the next few weeks while this mutual reception plays out. Thankfully, it won’t last too long and once it’s over Venus will receive a more uplifting boost while Mars will come to occupy a powerhouse position; leaving the two planets in *much* better shape.The trickiest days to watch for are circa the dates that Venus finds herself in frictional contact with Saturn, Uranus, and then Jupiter around September 17th, 23rd, & 30th, respectively. While Mars may find himself uncomfortable in Libra he will at least behave himself for the most part; the exception being the days around the October 6th New Moon when it forms a screwy inconjunct with unpredictable Uranus as Pluto rumbles and resumes forward movement.