Astrology at the junction of Fate and Free Will.

Coinciding with Mars’ entrance into “put-on-a-pretty-face” Libra in December, Facebook announced they now offer a more cut-to-the-chase “unfollow” button to replace their “hide all” function. A textbook passive-aggressive, Mars-in-Libra way of dealing with relational conflict on the social networking site, rather than directly “unfriend” someone because their posts continually annoy you, one can use this feature to simply mute their posts on your feed.  This way on the surface it still *looks like* all is fine and dandy – even though it really isn’t.  This is a classic Mars-in-Libra theme if I ever did see it, including their re-packaging of the “hide all” feature to more directly state its intended purpose for dealing with others.

I have to say I’m not very fond of the basic premise of this kind of thing on principle for a number of reasons.  For one, I think it’s easier to practice this sort of “benign” form of navigating relational conflicts than it is to proactively engage in the nitty-gritty work of negotiating potential hotspots a bit more openly.  My feeling is that hitting the mute button can actually facilitate social isolation when this becomes our default modus operandi, and as any long-married couple will tell you, it’s not about whether you fight; it’s about how you resolve the conflicts that arise. I mean, at some point we’ve all probably come across couples who don’t fight and who go off into separate rooms without really resolving anything at all. Couples who wind up becoming the proverbial “Dining Dead” and drift ever more slowly away from one another until they’re virtual islands unto themselves…..

In order to avoid this fate, I come at this from the angle of believing there’s value in letting someone know when they’ve crossed a line with you (via a carefully chosen vehicle appropriate to the occasion, of course) rather than just slapping a plastic smile over displeasure in order to avoid a kerfuffle.  Otherwise the underlying issue that caused the flare-up can’t be resolved, and the individual in question continues carrying on because there is no social pressure/incentive for them to re-examine their approach at all.  No negative feedback = status quo definitely maintained.  Conversely, when a conflict is brought into the open and someone knows we’re upset or offended (while being sure to moderate our own level of irritation over the issue), it presents a valuable opportunity for the other party to check in with themselves to possibly re-asses how they’re coming across to others.  If the relationship is valued, it provides a fertile moment to re-evaluate what is most important.  And although it’s certainly apropos under these astrological conditions to consider the social impacts of any skirmish, failing to confront issues that cause real relational dissonance only does us a greater disservice in the long run.  With Mars in Libra until late July, this is an especially timely message to consider because now more than ever we should be motivated to hammer out the things that interfere with the process of cohesion – that which clashes with our ability to co-exist peacefully with others and maintain equilibrium within our closest associations. Hitting the mute button is only a temporary band-aid – as time marches on, we’re sure to see how this kind of approach becomes anti-conducive to real bonding and togetherness.

We can definitely address this hotspot while also considering how a dispute might affect or draw in others – bystanders caught in the crossfire always sucks and there’s certainly no need for any collateral damage.  Mars in Libra sometimes has a way of bringing this about, because the tendency is to *NOT* fight alone and to have someone jump into the fray for or with you.  We also do well to avoid “two-against-one” scenarios, where someone is being tag-teamed by others – social bullying and ganging up on others in this way is a definite misuse of Mars in Libra’s energy, so don’t do it!  Fight fair, and in all your activities consider the old adage “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.   As to how to go about addressing the conflict in question, tact is de rigueur when Mars inhabits this sign.  One does not have to be an ass about it ( <—– see what I did there, cheeky little monkey that I am?!) and resort to name-calling or saying something rude in a reactionary moment. Our triggers our own, and as such we bear some onus toward mitigating any non-constructive responses that are only going to throw gas on the fire.  But there are much better ways of dealing with conflict than smiling “Oh, everything’s juuust fiiiine!” through clenched teeth, or resorting to the same level of asinine behavior in retaliation, a lá “Look what you made me do!”.  This is why Mars tends to fare poorly in Libra – noted astrologer Isabel Hickey said of this placement “Alternately as meek as a lamb and angry as a hornet”.  To use a more pop-culture term, I’ve often described this energy as having a very “frenemy” kind of feel to it –  a beef that just ought to be brought out in the open is plastered over with what *appears* to be surface niceties, even if there’s agitation underneath.  The friction is still there, only it’s less overt.  This bone of contention leaves ample room for rivalries to surface, making it difficult to separate friend from foe.

I think dressing up a conflict in drag and putting lipstick on it squanders a valuable opportunity to work out our contradictory differences when we don’t always see eye-to-eye on every issue.  A chance to work through misunderstandings, to improve our own communication skills, and practice civil disagreement is lost completely.  And the worst part of it all is that it’s also rather disingenuous, because no matter how much fluff & straw you try to pad the grievance with, the Princess is still going to feel that gravely little pebble of a Pea digging into her back and grating against her skin.  Such is the nature of Mars – it is an irritant.  And irritation serves a purpose, much like an itch that needs to be scratched.  You don’t have to scratch it raw, of course, but there is no real relief in sight if you don’t do something about it.

In taking a cue from the fairy tale, proving high-born identity isn’t in how well we avoid an irritant or in whether we pretend it’s not there; rather it’s in how tactfully we can address it.  Society sometimes tells us that anger is “not nice” and labels it as “anti-social”, but I’ve never thought it a particularly good idea to slap a negative label on any natural, organically occurring emotion we were equipped with at birth.  It’s what we DO with our anger that is important, and although there are times when it’s “not worth a fight”, we might challenge the mindset that every conflict automatically equals a throwdown.  There are also times where it is absolutely worth it to air our displeasure in a moderating fashion – particularly if we tend to struggle with proper self-assertion – and Mars in Libra is going to be all about helping us to find that sweet spot so that anger is neither “inappropriate” nor “ineffectual”.  So while Mars continues its tour this sign, we might take a hint from The Princess & The Pea – when asked if the night’s sleep was pleasant and if anything disturbed our slumber at all, we might demonstrate our level of class with a diplomatic (yet straightforward) airing of our vexation.  Mars in Libra brings with it the ability to conduct ourselves with aplomb – for a perfect example of this placement’s capacity for grace under fire, see Alyssa Milano’s recent Twitter response to very unkind remarks made about her post-baby appearance.  Direct in addressing the issue, yet utterly high-class – completely appropriate for a day when Mars in Libra teamed up with the Libra Moon to bring its related issues into the public eye.

02/19/2014

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