Mars has been in it’s retrograde shadow phase since May 12th 2018, so if you’ve felt frustrated (sexually and/or otherwise), with low or simply unstable energy levels, have been second guessing your every move and initiative, along with experiencing stops and starts and delays, delays, delays…welcome to Mars retrograde! The red planet will officially station retrograde at 9 degrees Aquarius on June 26th, 2018. The fact that it’s retrograde station culminates at a full moon in Capricorn that conjuncts Saturn and Pluto, speaks to the serious nature of this particular Mars retrograde. The lead up to this full moon period could be a somber, heavy, and serious feeling time, with the Sun in sensitive Cancer locked into opposition with stern Saturn. The serious nature of the entire Mars retrograde is especially emphasized as Mars ends it’s retrograde journey in the sign of Capricorn. It will backtrack into Capricorn to hang out with the power players Saturn and Pluto once again, before turning direct at 28 degrees Capricorn on August 27th, 2018. Mars will be retrograde in Aquarius from June 26th to August 12th. It will be retrograde in Capricorn from August 12th to August 27th, the day it stations direct once again. This motion transpires against a back drop of a full moon conjunct Neptune in Pisces, illuminating the serious business behind making our dreams a reality. After turning direct, Mars doesn’t officially leave it’s shadow phase again until October 8th 2018, but regardless, journeys forward in sober, determined Capricorn, and re-enters futuristic Aquarius again on September 10th, 2018, to stay there until November 16th 2018, where it will finish the year very appropriately, in Pisces..
DID I MENTION DELAYS?
As we go into summer, at varying points, we will have at least 5 planets retrograde, with Mars being only one of those planets. That being said, it might be wise to dial back ambitions a bit and practice mindfulness and patience, viewing the period of 2018 from May 12th to October 9th as a sort of experimental stage, a chance to recalibrate and refine your approach, implement longterm strategies, and hatch ideas. If you can keep your eye on the long game, you will minimize much potential frustration for yourself during the aforementioned period of 2018. Mars retrograde can be likened in it’s energetic expression to Mars in the 12th house, which I somewhat jokingly refer to as “The Anger Management transit.” . So, if you encounter frustrations (again, sexually, and or otherwise, as Mars rules our sex drive, will to assert ourselves, our motivation, and desire to initiate action,) any sort of mindfulness practice around such potential frustrations would certainly not go amiss. Mars also rules over our general energy levels and overall drive and motivation, and when retrograde, (or traversing the 12th house in ones natal chart) this can be lower or simply less accessible, stable, and more challenging to harness, express, and direct in fulfilling or straightforward ways. Vigorous exercise, such as running, can work wonders for expelling, accessing, and circulating pent up or blocked feeling energy, and keep the motivation up, by bringing our attention into the body, and into the present tense, creating more mitochondria, and causing neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells. Aquarius is a very cerebral sign, Mars is a very physical planet.. It’s a good time to practice what Pisces Tony Robbins refers to as “managing your state”, or “state management.” He wisely recognizes the link between our physiology and our psychology, and highly espouses capitalizing on this link to the fullest via how we move our body, our posture, whether we exercise or not, how we carry ourselves, even the expressions we wear on our faces, tone of voice, and the food that we take into ourselves. This particular Mars retrograde strongly eludes to the processes behind manifestation, so as you experience contrast (in the form of frustration, delays, or unpleasant feelings) see if you can explore new perspectives and approaches that allow you to continue to feel empowered, good, and grateful for where you are at, using your energy in ways that serve you and the achievement of your goals, as opposed to distancing yourself further from them…thus keeping you motivated. Due to this chance to recalibrate, refine, and reassess our approaches to achieving our desires, many of us could be in an entirely different place in life by 2019. Keeping the long game in mind, and focusing on “state management”, will help us get through the ensuing retrogrades..
Some good news though! Jupiter, planet of luck, abundance, optimism, faith, consciousness expansion, and blessings, stations direct once again (still in Scorpio), on July 10th. This is most definitely a timely and helpful occurrence, and if you have been experiencing a lull, Jupiter's forward motion, in trine to Neptune in Pisces represents the miracle and healing balm you need amidst the rest of the retrograde shenanigans of the remainder of 2018. The period from July 19th to the 24th also see's Jupiter form a helpful sextile to Venus in Virgo, indicating a good time to set goals, and even the possibility of some assistance in reaching them..or at least the possibility that things become just a little bit easier and feel more supportive... just when you need it. More on Jupiter at the end of this article...
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD/ THE ECLIPSES.
All of this Mars (and Mercury) retrograde business takes place against an intense and dramatic backdrop of solar and lunar eclipses. The first of these eclipses being on the Cancer/Capricorn axis, very much highlighting the need for comfort and security v.s the need for success in the outer world…our inner, private world, v.s our public life, responsibilities, career, reputation, achievement, and of course, involving the major players Saturn and Pluto, who can’t be taken lightly, (especially together) even if they tried.. With a full moon in Cap in June on the 27th/28th, conjunct Saturn, Pluto, and Lilith... the serious (and determined) business of it all cannot be overlooked. July 12th holds a new moon/solar eclipse in Cancer, that definitely hits close to home, inflates and intensifies feelings, stokes deeply felt ideals and fantasies, and perhaps even sets new commitments and agreements in stone, completing this family of eclipses, and setting the tone for a new era. Venus will be in Virgo at this time as well, in trine to Saturn in Capricorn and Uranus in Taurus, indicating some sort of serious, exciting, and longterm commitment, initiative, or arrangement, relationally, contractually, and/or monetarily.
Next, on July 27th, a full moon eclipse in Aquarius conjunct retrograde Mars, emphasizing and emboldening the Mars/Uranus square that resurfaces again for a long spell (more on that in the next section of this article below), with Uranus squaring both the Sun and Moon at this potent lunar climax, could see a whole lot of independence, rebellion, and individuality going on.. -by choice or necessity. There could be feistiness, instability, freak flags flying, potential tantrums or outbursts, and it could be wise to meditate on the difference between assertion and aggression, as well as the importance of emotional warmth. Standing out (or simply standing up for something), perhaps risking being viewed as a "weirdo", iconoclast, outcast, or "the odd one out", in some way, could be necessary, in order to facilitate important breakthroughs. Although, doing so for sheer shock value and without any higher purpose, meaning, plan, or cause, as a mere expression of delayed (read: prolonged) adolescence, could just lead to problems, unnecessary complications, and exhaustive ego battles. It's worth mentioning that this eclipse occurs right as Mercury heads retrograde, in Leo, so regardless of what exactly transpires or how the energy unfolds, the bare essentials of it represent a rather destabilizing period of adjustments and radical revisions, that could have a bit of an edgy quality to it. So, with that said, do choose your battles wisely and make sure any "rebellion" staged fully takes any consequences into account, and serves a greater whole, and not just a fragile, or poorly developed ego looking to preserve itself at all costs...
The Moon is not necessarily the most at home in detached and cerebral Aquarius, as the terrain of emotions is more alien and illogical than Aquarius is acclimated to. Conjunct impulsive and action oriented (still retrograde) Mars, there could be a tendency towards being cut off from the emotions, feeling destabilized, and taking impulsive or reactionary actions. Conversely, it also lends potential detachment and drive necessary to make forward strides towards goals, thereby navigating a period of instability towards equilibrium as approaches are reconsidered and new ones deployed.
August 11th see’s a "theatrical" new moon/solar eclipse in Leo, with Jupiter in deep and passionate Scorpio squaring the Sun, Moon, and retrograde Mercury in Leo, inflating a potential for drama, excitement, excessive behavior, over optimism, arrogance or egotism on the one hand,.. but also, very helpful for providing energy and confidence to reach ones goals... There may be so many ideas and plans being entertained at this time that perhaps we don’t know what ones to follow through with first. A very exciting and inflated time, that will surely require grounding, which Mars will be glad to assist with, by moving back into Capricorn the very next day- August 12th. Mercury goes direct in Leo a week later, on August 19th, helping to slowly stabilize the mental processes. These eclipses on the Leo/Aquarius axis while Mars is retrograde and Jupiter is in Scorpio *do* come with a potential "high drama" warning.
The scattered “plate spinning” energy of Mars retrograde in Aquarius, soon to be followed by a Mercury retrograde in Leo on July 25th, leaves a lot of newly hatched or half baked creative ideas, or as of yet unrealized visions, paths yet to be embarked upon, and initiatives yet to be taken, hanging in suspension, or slow to launch. Their full realization is a slower or more drawn out, perhaps energy intensive process than previously considered. There is much to take in and asses, much to organize and prepare for. The path is not straight and narrow or a simple point A to point B, but zig zags and detours and breaks off and reconnects all over the place, with alternative routes, backroads, and unpaved roads… New foundations and groundwork needs to be laid, the right gear needs to be worn, so we can go forward into new terrain with confidence.
In summary, Mars retrograde in Aquarius is a chance to experiment with our approaches to new ideas or initiatives we may have never embarked upon before, and sort the workable from the unworkable. When Mars enters Capricorn again on August 12th, and increases it’s proximity to Saturn and Pluto, pressure will also steadily increase to make some serious power moves, long term decisions, commitments, transformations, and complete overhauls. This period of time could see some people receiving their "marching orders", and seeing others put the proverbial foot down, and taking no bullshit- harkening back to the period of March 17th-May 15th 2018, when this deadly serious configuration was in full force. "Grow up or get out." The consequences of a lack of discipline and maturity under such math are severe, as Mars, Saturn, and Pluto have a "take no prisoners" attitude and don't have time to fuck around with denial and delusions. When Mars goes forward again at the end of August, the same can be reflected in our own lives, -as we too go forward, perhaps now with more maturity, discipline, confidence, and mastery, having worked out the kinks in our plans, or acclimated and readied ourselves for new terrain or bold initiatives yet to be embarked upon. So if you feel stalled, weary, or impatient with progress in the coming months, try to find the blessing behind any delays, continue to train the mind and the body…Mars being the God of War….train like a warrior.
The energy of Mars, Saturn and Pluto together is that of the power of strategy…. Strategy, economy, maturity, wisdom, realism, pragmatism, and discipline. Mars is exalted in Capricorn, exemplifying a wise, economical, and sober implementation of power and energy. Like a Zen Monk. The red planet temporarily goes back towards Saturn and Pluto to give us all another dose of this ultra powerful elixir of discipline, mastery, and maturity, so that we can take it with us into the future and apply it like a salve to our endeavors, in order to more masterfully actualize our grand visions into physical form. As is always the case with Saturn, and all things that carry Saturn's signature, -what is not learned through discipline and the wisdom of restriction,.. is thus learned through suffering. Something to keep in mind while Saturn continues to have it’s “birthday” in Capricorn, ..right next to Pluto. Mars will slowly and steadily hone in on any weak spots in our discipline game, asking us all to “level up”, or endure the consequences of refusing to. Pretty hard core right?…Yea… Saturn doesn’t fuck around, but always provides the option and opportunity to graduate from suffering, to pursue our degrees in Mastery, Discipline, and Restriction. Saturn is severely underestimated, being arguably one of the most rewarding planets in the zodiac, but typically (and often tragically) viewed as the most grueling, punishing, and cruel.
Sure, Saturn is tough, and asks the really hard questions, such as, but not limited to, “So..When are you going to get tired of your own shit, grasshoppa?” This is only because much like a benevolent paternal figure, or wise, white bearded Sensei, Saturn wants to see you succeed, -and no one knows the formula of success better than Saturn does. Next to Pluto, it’s like having two strict parents overseeing your every move, constantly reminding you of the long term implications or even permanency of every decision. With Mars in Capricorn eventually back in the picture, it’s like adding a drill sergeant to the mix, -all three of them having impeccably high standards, and heavily invested in your success. The energy of the three combined is essentially transformative in nature, with an emphasis on huge breakthroughs, longterm strategy, and complete overhauls.
CECIL B. DEMENTED (AND OTHER MARS CONTACTS.)
We recently dealt with the lusty/and/or frustrating, and spark generating Mars opposition to Venus in Leo earlier this June, prior to it’s retrograde station. Having to put our energies in one direction while we perhaps wished to be doing something else, or struggling to fuse the two conflicting drives in order to satisfy both needs, the reality of having to sublimate our desire to enjoy ourselves to attend to more pressing matters has been the reality of the majority. During it’s retrograde journey, Mars makes a few more telling contacts to other planetary bodies, beginning with an opposition between Mercury in Leo from June 30th to July 10th, carrying on this motif.
Next, one I feel I should also address that strengthens the intensity of this particular “theme” is an ongoing square between Mars retrograde and Uranus in Taurus, that is extremely long running…from July 9th to October 2 2018…this creates a need to get a significant amount of energy under control and to develop some self restraint, lest we become accident prone, or heedlessly reckless. Mars square Uranus is a very accident prone energy if not harnessed properly, as squares tend to push us into action..but it will be wise to slow down and not act on every single impulse right away, and put a little more thought and consideration into actions and decisions taken. This aspect can also result in strokes of genius, as well as significant courage and bravado, to undertake things one has never done before, and to take brave initiatives. But an element of caution is wise under the duration of this aspect (again, from July 9th-October 2 2018,) as it can also result in impulsiveness and needless or thoughtless risk taking for the sheer “shock” of it. This same aspect can also result in having to go it alone for a while in some regard, to acclimate to an increased level of independence or even a feeling of alienation. It may be by necessity that one embarks on some sort of quest to achieve something, that requires a great deal of elbow room, time, and space to accomplish. There is an element of “freak genius” to Mars square Uranus, that can result in the accomplishment of great things, brave initiatives, and courageous leadership. It could be we may have to take an unconventional, or even radical route to achieve particular ends, or endure a long period of having to “go our own way” for a while, or dare to be different, to be an outlier, speak out against traditions, or traverse unfamiliar terrain, in order to get to where we need to be. An independent journey or pilgrimage of our very own, to achieve something that liberates us and/or others in some way. A process of individuation.
Back to the oppositions between Mars and the personal planets...Oppositions, like squares, create a lot of energy, but can tend to make us feel uncertain or divided/torn, or frustrated by conflicting drives or necessities. Often times, oppositions tend to generate interactions with others, and it isn’t an essentially negative aspect, but simply generates (and requires) a lot of energy to facilitate and maintain, requiring a sort of “fusion” to navigate properly. The results produced from oppositions can be quite impressive due to the sheer amount of tension generated. On the Aquarius/Leo axis, it speaks of an attempt to fuse together having fun, play and enjoyment, while also conducting the serious business of building a brighter future and actualizing a goal. Yes, the future must be taken seriously in order to be anything more than just a vision, but surely there is a way to make the building of an empire an enjoyable, playful, creative, romantic, and inspired process. It’s next contact is an opposition with the Sun in Leo from July 20th-August 2. What I see these oppositions as is something (or perhaps someone) functioning as a kind of “muse” in our lives, fueling our inspiration and desire to advance our position to actualize a goal. It reminds me of a “carrot on the end of a stick”, keeping us going so that we don’t lose steam, -but perhaps also being kept just frustratingly enough out of reach so that we don’t get too distracted away from the important work of actualizing our visions. Much akin to the movie “Cecil B. Demented”, where the manic director played by Stephan Dorrf, doesn’t allow his cast to experience any sexual release, …until his film is finished, it seems the universe has designed a similar plot. But all is not pure torture in the name of creativity and productivity…It’s next contact is a lovely trine to Venus in the last degrees of Virgo and then the first degrees of Libra, from August 2-12. This removes some strain and introduces some ease into situations and interactions that were previously challenged or fraught with blockages or difficulties. It’s next contact is after moving into Capricorn, forming a square to Venus in Libra, from August 30th to September 24th, ending with Venus in 8 degrees Scorpio, and picking up again on September 25th, being joined by Mercury in Scorpio on October 13th. These squares will certainly produce action and results, via tension, sparks, intensity, obsessiveness, and perhaps stress. There may be obstacles, but obstacles force us out of complacency, and the desire to take action with squares is very strong.
VENUS RETROGRADE 2018/HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUPITER!
Ahhh yes….the spooky one we never really want to hear about…It’s actually very unusual because Venus retrograde usually only happens about once every two years..we had one in 2017. This Venus retrograde is interesting, and actually pretty magical and rare in nature, for a few reasons. Venus stations retrograde on October 5th 2018 in 10 degrees Scorpio, just as she is drawing closer to Jupiter in the last degrees of Scorpio, inflating our desires for sex, depth, intimacy, the taboo, merging, and extremes,- just before going backwards into Libra for the duration of her retrograde journey. The day she retrogrades, the Moon is in Virgo, trine both Saturn and Uranus, suggesting an attempt to stabilize, and blend the old with the new, and her station backward in the early degrees of Scorpio is clearly one of depth, meaning, and importance. Finding stability within great instability, or perhaps amidst great distance, seems to be a theme of this retrograde, along with navigating these issues with diplomacy and tact. Perhaps there is much to catch up on in regards to love and relationships, a making up for lost time, or a need to harmonize differences/differing needs and approaches. Venus also rules money and all the pleasure it can afford us, as well as being the ruler of beauty, form, along with our relationships to others and the pursuit of the pleasures of life..so all of these areas are typically impacted by Venus retrograde. Venus re-enters Libra on Halloween, October 31st. Is it a trick? Or a treat? Fingers crossed that it’s good! It’s very possible a reuniting of sorts is occurring, as Mars and Venus hold hands throughout her retrograde, forming a lovely trine with Mars in Aquarius, and suggesting togetherness, either in spirit or physically after a prolonged separation. Midst all this, Jupiter makes a huge splash, by moving into Sagittarius, the sign that it rules, on November 8th 2018..Happy birthday Jupiter! Mercury retrogrades in Sagittarius on November 16th, shortly after Jupiter's ingress into it's philosophical prime, as if to mentally prepare us for the next year. At this point in the year, something quite fascinating, rare, and magical occurs. Venus is in Libra, Jupiter is in Sagittarius, Neptune is in Pisces, and Saturn is in Capricorn. That is 4 planets in their native signs, all at the same time, covering each element, earth, air, fire, and water… (With our powers combined, we are captain planet.)
Venus stations direct on Nov 16th 2018, in 25 degrees Libra, the very same day Mars leaves Aquarius and enters Pisces. Ideals and desires will be stoked and magnified to the max at this time. It seems like the spirit of generosity will be as well. In spite of potential stresses or challenges, it seems that optimism and largesse of spirit will carry us through the end of 2018….Thanks for reading, and may you all have a fantastic rest of the year.