On Sunday, as I was thinking about this blog (knowing that the day’s Mars station at 8°54′ Sagittarius was my topic), I got a call from a friend. Why, she plaintively asked, am I having so much trouble with men?
There was the immediate pain of the recent breakup of long-term partnership, as well as certain sensitive matters with other men in her life, mostly business connections. Her natal Mars is in Sag and rules the 5th and 10th houses. We talked for a while about Mars’s station and the beginning of his backward movement. After a bit of an excursion into the significations of Mars, she seemed to feel better and then (it seemed to me) began to channel Pluto’s concurrent station (Pluto turns retrograde today, April 18). She said, I am having the experience that my will is not the only thing, there is something much larger going on.
It was a fine moment, especially perhaps for a quite accomplished Leo Sun who is very capable of making things happen.
In this same conversation, she told me about a friend who just had her driver’s license taken away. After going in to renew the license, she was shocked to fail the eye exam and have it taken away on the spot. She’s not going anywhere anytime soon.
I called another friend to check in with her, as I figured she might be having a rough few days. (She is another strongly fire type, with Aries on the Ascendant, and thus quite attuned to Mars.)
This person has been dealing with a long-term health challenge and said she was really struggling. Natal Saturn is at 8° Sag, so the Mars station is stirring up the material connected to the Saturn return. In this case, the anguish is deep as she wrestles with her situation: Why can’t I do what I want? A painful side of Mars (in this case with Saturn) was fully in her awareness. A nod here to remembering the moons of Mars — Phobos (panic/fear) and Deimos (terror/dread) — in case we need help in understanding the sometimes difficult psychological territory that Mars carries.
Most of us will be spared such events as the ” ‘fiery, catastrophic’ failure” of North Korea’s failed missile launch reported on Friday the 15th. The North Korea horoscope (set for noon) has Scorpio rising with the Mars station squaring the Midheaven at 9° Virgo. (1)
Those who rely upon ongoing productivity in worldly matters (or Aries or Scorpio Sun signs, or those signs angular) may find the haltingness of the current Mars difficult. (My friend said: I can’t get anything done!)
We know not to fight, not to push blindly with Mars turning around. Retreat is easier for some of us than others — those with natal Mars retrograde, or many 12th-house planets, or many planets below the horizon. There are lots of astrological markers that might suggest that a retreat into one’s interior life is a natural move.
With retrograde Mars, forward or direct action is thwarted, and yet we have this auspicious celestial invitation toward the inner life.
But, Mars has an edge; it cuts and is sharp, especially in fire. And this station is on the fixed star Antares, the rival to Mars, at 9° Sagittarius. (Transiting Saturn will conjoin Mars in August at 9°52′ Sag, which is too big a story for now, but it does add potency to themes and events experienced at this Mars station.)
Some will experience a particularly sharp moment, as the painful edge for each of us is more distinct now. Mars’s prolonged stay in 8° – 9° Sag is reinforcing any planet or angle being closely aspected by that degree, especially by conjunction, square, or opposition.
Depending on our particular temperament and disposition (and circumstances), the presence of Mars may be more or less painful. And that pain may be a physical injury, or any event that causes us to (temporarily) wince or recoil.
Some may have a piercing insight (Sag) about the nature of their own reality or current life situation in the days around the station that will be developed further and deeper, especially as Mars goes back into the emotional scars and gifts and mysteries of Scorpio on May 27. It’s as if we can bring the precision and striking heat of Mars back into our private lives.
In honor of Mars starting the periodic derailment from his ordinary course, I burned my hand yesterday pouring steaming hot water into a different-than-usual teapot. It’s not a significant burn, but it did hurt and caught my complete attention: Yes, Mars, you can be very hot.
Contemporary interpreters of certain yogic and meditative traditions speak of keeping one’s awareness right with any emotional pain or physical discomfort, as that is where growth and change occurs, right at the edge of intensity, before pain or avoidance overwhelms us. It’s a subtle business for sure, but what else are we going to do when life is showing us that backing up and looking within may be quite revealing.
Those of us with natal Mars retrograde may be coming into our own (once again) during the retrograde cycle. Hey, no time like the present!
I hope everyone has a fruitful, fulfilling, and joyous journey as we turn around and take another look at ourselves.
(1) North Korea Independence, Sept. 10, 1948; noon, Pyongyang, Korea. (39°N01′, 125°E45′). The Book of World Horoscopes, Nicholas Campion, The Wessex Astrologer, 2004.