The Profound Opposition of Mars, Venus, the Sun, and the Moon

by Adam Gainsburg

Editors note: Readers may wish to re-read Adam Gainsburg’s earlier article on the Venus synodic cycle.

The final week of January 2010 will serve as the proving ground for a level of change not often discussed in astrological delineation.

Mars will oppose the Sun and Venus, while a Leo Full Moon forms precisely on top of the Mars-Venus opposition. This creates a double opposition of all the tantric planets: Mars-Venus and Sun-Moon. I use the word “tantric” to refer to a unification of opposites, and that principle is triply active here: masculine Mars conjunct feminine Moon, feminine Venus conjunct masculine Sun, and both pairs in opposition. Note that “masculine” and “feminine” here do not refer to gender but to the cosmological principles at play within all manifest existence.

The Mars Journey

The Mars-Sun synodic cycle is inconsistent in length. Although it is approximately 25 months in duration from conjunction to conjunction, it is the most erratic of planetary periods. From extensive research with several thousand clients and celebrity charts, I’ve come to name Mars’ phases (in order):

1. Self-Conception – conjunction
2. Gestation – post-conjunction invisibility
3. Birth – heliacal rise
4. Explorations – morning-sky ascending
5. Crisis-In-Identity – morning quadrature
6. Subjective Maturity – post quadrature, retrograde station
7. Transcendence – retrograde opposition, “midnight Mars”
8. ReOrientation – post-opposition retrograde
9. ReSurgence – direct station
10. Crisis-In-Destiny – night-sky quadrature
11. Service – post quadrature descending
12. Elder – pre-heliacal setting
13. Completion – heliacal setting, evening invisibility
(Editor’s note: The author’s terminology uses “quadrature” to represent a square.)

The Mars Journey Transcendence Phase

I propose that the retrograde Mars-Sun opposition on January 29 signifies Mars’ complete release from any limitation. At the opposition, Mars will be:

1. at his furthest geocentric distance from the Sun, which suggests Mars’ maximum individualization;
2. at perigee, that is, nearest to the center of the earth, which suggests the strongest magnetic field effect;
3. at his highest, brightest, and longest visibility in our sky, thus commanding our attention and the collective “story.”

Mars Journey

As shown in the graphic above, the opposition, which I’ve named the Transcendence Phase, marks Mars’ completion of the first half of his 25½-month journey, which began on December 5, 2008 with his conjunction to the Sun at 14° Sagittarius. The Birth into visibility at the heliacal rise was on January 15, 2009 at 15° Capricorn. As I see it, the aim of this current phase is the full exploration of the universe from within Mars’ eyes. He finds that he has attained the mundane goal (symbolized in the opposition), but not without the sense that something is missing.

A further astronomical trait of the Transcendence Phase is to consider that Mars is traveling at maximum retrograde speed, i.e., maximum internalization. In my view, Mars’ velocity acts as an alchemist for a burgeoning and powerful new archetype.

In classes, I often joke that Mars is the planet who always wins the vote on who hates retrograde the most; his nature is to exert outwardly. Now that he is retracing through the most space in the shortest amount of time, all that he has achieved (i.e., individualization) through the year-long development of his subjective self is questioned. Mars has nowhere else to exert himself as he sees the goal slipping away. What began as an unsettling feeling at the Mars retrograde station on December 20 quickly intensifies into a release from the structure of self-identity, in a kind of backwards death march into exact opposition to the Sun.

Of course, I am not saying that, at the Mars-Sun opposition every two years, all of humanity transcends into a beatific state of consciousness. Nor am I suggesting that everyone who is not born into the Transcendence Phase is doomed to never evolve. But there is an extremely powerful (rather than forceful) event at each Transcendence Phase. In my view, sentient life on Earth can find its bigger purpose, its life’s Desire, its dharma, through the combination of celestial factors listed above. Together, they create a portal into higher vision and purpose.

Sun, Earth, Mars graphic

I believe that this synodic transit catalyzes a deeper effect on us than our usual conception of a Mars-Sun opposition. The graphic above demonstrates how Earth is well within both bodies’ field effect, producing a choice between what we can see and know (Sun) and what we can do and accomplish (Mars). In a sense, our doing is extracted from the doer. This operates trans-cognitively, that is, beyond the limits of normal awareness. In my experience, meditation or any other practice with an inward focus has consistently proven helpful to actualize the transcendent potential. It has also been my observation that the influence of the synodic transit is as strong and lasting on an individual as any hard outer-planet transit and may bode equally so on the collective level as well.

January’s Transcendence

Mars at 9°48′ Leo will reach opposition to the Sun on January 29 at 2:36 p.m in Washington D.C. My assessment is:

1. We will gain a bigger view of how we can live more creatively and responsibly for our creations;
2. We can take center stage in our life, giving up those stages and causes that are not ours to star in;
3. We can perceive life and live it with more honor and inner authority.

As mentioned above, on January 15, 2009, Mars’ heliacal rise was in Capricorn; that sign can be seen to stand behind, or be the backdrop for, the current phase. Mars is now in Leo, the sign through which the longer Capricorn Mars Journey will transcend. This combination of zodiacal influences may be asking us to:

1. Bring all our service-oriented efforts forth and perform them in a way that allows us to validate ourselves;
2. Lose the heaviness of stress and control and take up the reins of the bigger adventure;
3. Retain the crucial importance of our life’s work, as we discover how to center in our deeper selves and not in the compulsions to organize life in prescribed ways.

Mars & Venus

Venus and Mars synodes

Overlaying the Mars and Venus visual synodic cycles together in the graphic above, we instantly see their symmetry — and their polarity. The pattern reveals a primordial and complex relationship that is also a profound expression of the intrinsic duality that governs the very basis of our material life.

Final Thoughts

The Full Moon at 10°15’ Leo on January 29, tightly aligned to the Mars-Venus opposition, will materialize the New Moon eclipse of January 15, 2010. This eclipse was insightfully covered by Gary Caton in last week’s TMA blog. Gary describes an “expansion-dissolution” dynamic that is strongly affirmed by the Mars/Moon – Venus/Sun opposition (from January 26 – 31), as is his read of the emergence of a “new power.”

Adam Gainsburg has authored three books, including Chiron: The Wisdom of a Deeply Open Heart. Adam is the founder of Soulsign Astrology and an active teacher and lecturer at astrology conferences since 2007. His work emphasizes the Heart’s evolutionary intelligence at the core of all astrological method. His next book, Bridges of Union (2010), will present a comprehensive delineation model of the phases in the Mars and Venus synodic cycles. Adam also records a monthly podcast on the synodic cycles of Venus and Mars and is developing an online tool to merge astronomical advances with astrological wisdom.

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