Brightest in the sky at the opposition, Mars is now invisible to us, hidden by the light of the Sun. (1) Mars and the Sun are traveling closely together now for an extended time, most of the month of April. (This is not always the case, since Mars’s orbit is eccentric.)
The synodic cycle of Mars and the Sun is the period between two consecutive conjunctions of these planets. The synodic cycle with Mars is not totally consistent, but somewhere around 25-26 months. The actual length will be between 762 and 819 days, with an average length of 779 days. (2)
On Sunday, both planets were in the 26th degree of Aries, and they come to the all-important conjunction on April 17 at 28º08’ Aries.
Ann Coulter was born a week before a Mars-Sun conjunction. Based on a sunrise chart, her natal Mars is 18º Sag, with the Sun at 16º. (3) Although she has always been known for her sensational rhetoric, this past week she went even farther than usual in making a joke about murdering Meghan McCain (John’s daughter). Most people didn’t find it too funny. (4)
The threat of a missile strike from North Korea, the gun control issue and today’s explosion in Boston show Mars’s current and obvious place in the news.
We may or may not be directly involved with these matters, but we are all coming under the spell of a new synodic cycle.
I know someone with a stellium (including Moon, Mercury, Neptune, and Ascendant) in Libra, with the Sun at 28º. After years of living a rather hermit-like life, in a remote area in the mountains with lots of time spent alone, she has moved to a new state and is currently surrounded by a crew of men who are quickly building her a simple and efficient new dwelling. I know two other people who have been exhausted and ill for several weeks — one with Chiron at 27º Capricorn and the other with the Sun/Moon midpoint at 27º Cancer. Someone else, with three planets in Capricorn, including the Sun at 26º, was suddenly offered a much longed for new job.
As in myth, when not visible, Mars (like Venus) can be thought of as being in the underworld, where real change can occur; we change from the inside out.
Maybe we can get on better terms with Mars and start this round (lasting until the next conjunction in June 2015) with our blood clear, our vitality strengthened, and the essence of courage integrated into our very cells.
I don’t expect to have a fully formed strategy (some of you might), but I’m keeping my attention on an awakening passion and direction from my heart of hearts. I imagine that the pure essence of each of our unique selves is being anointed by the ever ready Mars, who wants to fulfill the purpose of the Sun.
Look at the houses with Aries — and Scorpio and Leo — on the cusp if you want to make this grand archetypal event more concrete or accessible. (Although Mars joins the Sun every two years or so, there are only six times in 200 years when they meet in Aries, where Mars has rulership and the Sun is exalted: March 29, 1902; April 14, 1934; April 2, 1981; April 17, 2013; March 20, 2028, and April 5, 2060.)
You can also set a chart for your place of residence for the time of the exact conjunction (e.g., 5:19:54 pm, PDT), on April 17th, to see connections to your birth chart and how this new cycle is part of your life story.
In the spirit of personal inquiry, the days around April 17 are also suited for observation of anger, or where we feel powerless or victimized. For some, anger can be available to us when other more tender or vulnerable emotions are stored just beneath a more solid edge.
Sometimes the presenting symptom of Mars seeking attention is irritability or depression. We may or may not recognize it in ourselves; others may see the signs as a clue to our state of mind.
Someone I spent time with recently seemed to be in a childlike, almost regressed, state, and I thought about that first Mars return and the self-definition and autonomy that may have been thwarted in this person’s case.
Psychologically, Mars is connected to individuation and a distinct sense of self and autonomy. The first Mars return at around age two is a crucial developmental stage, where things can be amiss, leaving an incomplete or less than fully developed sense of our own autonomy and “right to be here.” There are therapeutic models that aim to recreate and rebuild developmental stages that we may have passed through without having correct or complete support.
The Sun and Mars suggest infusing passion and meaning into life, which sounds simple enough until you spend time with someone consumed by depression or a feeling that life is meaningless or absurd. (5) But onwards we go, each individually tasked with finding purpose in these both fractured and resplendent times.
Mars rules muscles and blood, so physical activity can a good remedy to regulate our Mars; sometimes vigor and a display of strength, or taking a dare, is the right call. But, there are other moments when the movement is subtler. If we think of the Sun as the essence of our being that connects us to all that is, and Mars as the protector whose desire is to serve the Sun, we may have an interior moment whereby we can understand Rumi’s words: “What you seek is seeking you.”
Mars rules knives. As another (I realize, subtle) ode to Sun conjunct Mars, the first century mystic Rabia said (she did not leave anything in writing): “I am so afraid of separation I do not even own a knife.”
Onwards to the next moment, challenging and sweet, all at once.
(1) Last year, close to the opposition, I wrote about The Sun-Mars Synodic Cycle
(2) Astrology, A Language of Life, Vol. V: Holographic Transits, by Robert P. Blaschke, Earthwalk School of Astrology, 2006.
(3) Ann Coulter, December 8, 1961, New York, N.Y. Wikipedia
(4) Huffington Post
(5) AstroFix: the blog of an astrology addict has 146 phrases for Sun-Mars aspects, including: “Fighting against authority. Fighting against yourself. Inner tension caused by fighting against your own best interests. Depression when there are no worthy opponents and nothing worth fighting for. Depression through not reaching your potential. Depression through not taking opportunities. “I could have been a contender. I could have been somebody.” Depression through boredom. Needing goals and challenges to reach your full potential. Needing goals and challenges to feel vital and alive. Seizing the moment. Setting the bar higher and higher. Having a direction. Having aim. Directing your energy toward something. Having things to do. Physical activity as a way to get in touch with your core self. Needing outlets for aggression and hostile tendencies. Needing activities to funnel your competitive spirit into. Identifying with champions, fighters, heroes and heroines, and people who generally kick ass.”