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Mars shows the way…

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.


  1. We don’t really know what happened with N Korea. All we ever know is how the media lies to us and we believe it usually. This was just some phallic insult to N Korea. Every country on the planet is entitled to nukes to defend against US and Israeli aggression. We think might makes right. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. The planets are not in America’s favor and rightfully so. This country was created in bloodshed, sustained with bloodshed and will perish the same way. Live by the sword die by the sword. N Korea not deserving nukes is like saying only rich people in America are allowed to carry guns. Ridiculous. Our god complex is out of control.

  2. yes, yes, yes…this is a very good look at Mars Rx.
    Thank you. And now I know why this boil on my backside fired up – Pluto and Mars got my attention.

  3. Thank you for this article. I am experiencing migraines ( natal 12th is Aries, Mars in gem is apex of a T square with Uranus Pluto (Virgo) and Saturn ( Pisces) 8 degrees of sag is the missing leg of the grand cross and I am watching closely to see how my “crippled” Mars will present and how I can heal some issues around speaking my truth. So far it feels as though when I do so, after much waiting, there is not understanding and judgement. I’m thinking that the worst of this is judging of self for wanting to not accept truths I know to be unvaluable to me. So far what is coming up. Thank you.

  4. Hi Mary, excellent writing as usual!

    My IC is 8 SAG 06, so our current Mars and Saturn transits “get me where I live.” My out home and my inner home. As within, so without. I felt Mars (and Pluto) stirring towards their station retrogrades on our last new moon, April 7, at 18 Aries. From that time forward I felt the cutting away of another layer of deep family of origin “stuff” that has necessitated another round of inner work on self-image, self-value and learning more fully how to extend to myself the compassion I so freely give to others.

    The first cuts hurt. Deeply. But I was keenly aware of how and why Mars — and now Pluto — were beckoning me inward. Mars “cut off” a lot of outside contact for some days. Pluto has taken me deeper into dreams. Uranus, still doing a rough dance by square to Pluto, has granted me powerful, sudden revelations.

    I’m happy you chose to write about Mars and Pluto this week. It helps those of us undergoing deeper inner journeys aren’t alone!

    P.S. — I’ve burned my fingers a few times too!

  5. Thanks for another wonderful article, Ms. Plumb.

    My Solar Return this year (April 25th) has a tight Moon Mars conjunction, both tightly inconjunct my natal Venus. I felt it strongly that morning- irritation to the point of physical retreat. Hoping the year will improve the way the day did. I keep putting all major decisions off until after the next set of eclipses.

    Looking for all the ways I can in the meantime to make the best of it- cheers!

  6. Thank you Mary, this is very helpful. I went online today with the express intention of finding articles about this current Mars retrograde by sensible people who could help me understand why it is bringing up so much painful stuff around relationships! Glad to know I’m not alone. This blog helps me recommit myself to learning and growing from this instead of just whining. Thanks for the work you do.

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