We can dream, we can hope, we can plan, but we can almost never achieve anything without the active force of Mars. This vigorous planet is the one who gives us the will and the determination to accomplish our goals and fulfill our desires in the outer world.
One of the major astrological themes of this year is the retrogression of Mars. On April 17, he changes direction at 08ο54’, just a breath away from his participation in the mutable schema of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, Chiron and Nodes. He will return in Scorpio on the 27th of May, turning direct on the 30th of June, at 23οe04’.
On February 14, after forming a sextile with Jupiter, Mars starts his journey equipped with confidence, an adventurous spirit and the will to fight for his beliefs and ideas – reinforcing gifts from his father Zeus. Like a free rider, he’s given the freedom to act independently, to fight for his rights, to survive. But what are his actual motives? Are they pure or they’re emanating out of egotistical and immature instincts?
The Universe knows better. It seems like we are not ready to handle the cosmic demands. This is why we are given a second chance, a chance to reevaluate our actions and our primary incentives. Before the final battle, we must rein over our anima Self by purifying our spirit and soul.
The Martian transit to Sagittarius adds fire to fire. He can be very optimistic and enthusiastic. His acts are based on ethical and justice codes, but, are prompt to exaggeration, overestimation and risk. If badly expressed, without a second thought his moto could be “I’m right, so you’re definitely wrong! I’m ready to fight for my beliefs even if I have to extinguish you”.
No wonder why Mars was not in the high rank of the Olympian Pantheon. For the ancient Greeks, Ares was so hotheaded that almost everyone disliked him. In Iliad, his father Zeus told him “I hate you more than every resident of Olympus because you always like quarrels, battles and wars”. Instead, the Greeks worshiped Athena, the warrior goddess of intellect and reasoning. A creation from the union of Mitis – the personification of wisdom – and Zeus, Athena was a sworn enemy of Ares. In all disputes, she was always the winner. Fully armed and always ready to defend the humans she protects, Athena thinks before she acts, plotting strategically every move she makes. In the same sense, this is exactly what we have to conquer during the retrograde phase of Mars: ally with Athena inside us – as of the early deal Mars made with Jupiter in Virgo.
Midway through the retrograde cycle, Mars plays a key role to the Fool Moon of May 22nd. This is an apocalyptic moment, a time when we might realize how much others influence us, to what extend they have power over our lives. It’s time to realize what blocks our self-expression and dive into our subconscious to reinvent ourselves. Feelings of anger and aggression do nothing more than take us back to square one. Mars opposition to Venus operates as a tug of war. In the dual sign of Gemini desires might be more superficial, unable to come in contact with deeper needs. Inevitably, we might feel that our wish to balance our needs in relation to the others comes into contradiction with our inner balance.
Soon after Mars retrogrades in Scorpio, he’ll oppose Mercury, who has just come out of his own retrograde cycle. Mercury in Taurus is a position of great resistance, especially in terms of fixed beliefs and material possessions. This is the time when the Hero – as in the myth of Hercules – arrives in the world of the dead with the escort of Hermes and Athena and the blessings of Zeus. He’s feat is to bring Kerveros, the monstrous guardian of the underworld, into the world of living and to expose him to light. The Hero tried to fight with his sword, but, as Hermes reminded him “what you’re doing is in vein, because all shapes you see are nothing more than shadows”. As in everyday life, we are driven by our fears and self-destructive patterns but these demons are only shadows, creations of our denial to face the dark side of ourselves. Pluto asked the Hero to leave his armor – metals – aside and only then he was allowed to capture Kerveros. All he used was his bare hands and his lion skin as a shield, symbol of the Leo-Sun-light. This is our course towards death, not only in a physical plane, but in everything that holds us back when we refuse to change. When we leave attitudes, beliefs, habits, situations and people behind, it is a form of death that creates pain and feelings of loss. Psychological transformation though comes through suffering and, any attempt to resist, control or manipulate, sinks us even deeper in the mud. We must reassess our values, needs and desires, in order to serve the true ones and not those imposed by the outer world.
On August 24, the journey comes to an end, opening the synodic cycle of Mars-Saturn. Using all the experiences attained throughout the path, we are now ready to plot a new course, free from meaningless acts, fears, frustrations. We need courage not horror, we need control over our actions, we need self-discipline and to dare to act within our limits. But above all, we need to KNOW. Besides, that’s what makes us humans…
Published in the “Career Astrologer” magazine, March Equinox 2016 issue