A few weeks ago, a friend of mine acquired a really deep splinter. There were no visible signs of it on the surface, although there was some pain when pressure was applied to the area. There was nothing to pull on with a splinter, so she ignored it.
Over time, the area became slightly red and swollen, and eventually the swelling formed around a protruding nodule – the inflammation, part of the body’s immune response, was literally pushing the splinter out of the body on its own. It resolved itself without reaching the point where medical attention was required.
What does this have to do with astro?
Mars, now retrograde, is still hovering around the South Node of the Moon, and will be for quite a while yet. A couple weeks ago Venus passed the North Node in Leo, opposing Mars on the Nodal axis, and now throughout TUESDAY – THURSDAY, Mercury will do the same. Also on THURSDAY, Chiron (the wounded healer) will Station Retrograde in Aries; a Mars-ruled sign.
Mars is often symbolically described as a force of inflammation, and certainly in medical astrology these links are well established on the physical level.
Whenever I hear the word inflammation, I tend to have a negative impression. This natural physiological response has been identified as one of the root causes for a wide range of serious health conditions and diseases (as well as one of their symptoms).
Furthermore, inflammation is simply uncomfortable. Swelling? Pain? Fevers? Muscle and joint stiffness? Rashes? Headaches? Fatigue and low energy? Fun stuff.
These days, you can find advertisements for ‘anti-inflammatory‘ foods, products, and lifestyles everywhere.
However, inflammation is often a lifesaver. It is the body’s way of protecting us by waging a strategic war against harmful invaders such as external and internal toxins, and infections from injuries and physical objects like splinters.
The issue is when inflammation becomes chronic.
When it doesn’t let up. When it gets confused and begins attacking the body’s healthy tissues. When it causes allergies by overreacting and misinterpreting harmless substances as dangerous. When our body feels under threat 24/7 and thus maintains the inflammatory defense response continuously. Arguably in a world with a whole lot of stress and a whole lot of toxins, many of us likely have at least a low-grade inflammatory response going on at any given time.
A comparison could be made to the adaptive responses that developed when we faced different types of physical, emotional or social threats in our childhood and teenage years. These responses protected us at a time when we may not have had any other resources available, but for many of us, the benefits of these early adaptive coping strategies tend to expire as we grow older.
Whether you chose to stay small and hide from danger, or to dissociate and numb yourself so you wouldn’t feel or remember anything, or to run away as fast as you could, or to make sure you never let yourself depend on someone, or whether you chose to respond by immediately launching into ‘fight’ mode to protect yourself from imminent threats… it could be that these adaptive coping strategies, brilliantly designed as they may be, are no longer serving you. Maybe they are now holding you back. Perhaps they’ve turned into a bit of a chronic condition – like chronic inflammation (and they could actually be contributing to inflammation).
Mars will be conjunct the South Node in the social sign of Aquarius for the summer, with another exact conjunction coming up later this month. Mars is retrograde until the end of August, asking us to review and readjust how we work with our willpower, our anger, and our defensive responses. The South Node is about decrease, letting go, releasing that which is holding us back from our spiritual growth and evolution.
How can we manage our inflammatory response more effectively this summer so we don’t burn out? So we don’t repeat unhelpful patterns or fall into despair?
How can we work with what Mars’ retrograde reveals to us and allow for those deep splinters to emerge via a healthy immune system response of the psyche?
There is certainly plenty to be angry about right now, to rage about, but channeling this anger and energy with reflective strategy and efficiency is important, as is rest and recovery time.
I’m always in awe when I watch videos about the body’s processes. Yes the body’s immune system response gets a bit off-track sometimes, but wow! The body has such detailed, effective, beautifully orchestrated systems to accomplish every minuscule task of protection and defense!
If you want to nerd out, check out the body’s amazingness below…
Aquarius LOVES a good, efficient system. Aquarius is a progressive systems-thinker, working with the micro within a macro perspective.
How can we build better systems individually in our own lives, and also collectively, so that we can work to protect the future of humanity, the future of this world, without exhausting ourselves?
Aquarius can swing toward the extreme of robotic unquestioning obedience to an organized form of society – content as long as though they feel useful to the manifestation of a larger collective vision… and Aquarius can also swing toward the other extreme of constant, uncompromising conflicts over the minute nuances of ideology, political stance, and operating plan – calling out and canceling everyone who indicates a slightly different perspective, or who is not as well-informed and knowledgeable as they are.
As the South Node finishes up the last 4 months of its transit through Aquarius, how can we work with and integrate, the very best of Aquarius’ brilliant, innovative, forward-thinking and community-oriented humanitarian spirit?
More specifically, for this week, how can navigate this week’s Mercury-Mars opposition on the Nodal axis (TUESDAY-THURSDAY) with strategy and wisdom?
Mercury symbolizes our thought processes, perception, learning, and communication (as well as siblings, modes of travel, technology). As it opposes Mars on the Nodal axis while conjunct the North Node, we may experience growth through tension, evolution through wrestling with resistance. This process could be catalyzed in conversation or via information delivered.
There’s an opportunity, a promising possibility – and yet connecting words to action, and ideas to willpower and resources, may be challenging at times.
Harsh, inflammatory and impulsive exchanges of words is a risk with this transit. Egotistical proclamations and exaggerations may fraternize with ideological elitism in an detrimental, out-of-balance way.
And yet, courage and motivation to face your fears and passionately share your creative life-force through various communication mediums, may also be available to you.
Chiron’s turnaround moment in Mars’ sign of Aries on THURSDAY, may reveal to you just what splinter, is in the way of your free expression, and wise and liberated action.
We have the flow and ease of another Grand Water Trine to support us emotionally through this process. Jupiter trine Neptune (in Scorpio and Pisces respectively) is one of the defining major aspects of the year. Although they are no longer in an exact trine formation at the moment, as fast-moving planets pass through Cancer (such as Mercury and Venus earlier in June) they ‘reconnect’ and ‘reactivate’ this aspect via a Grand Water Trine. Now it’s the Sun’s turn.
The Sun will exact its trine (of optimism) to Jupiter Rx on THURSDAY, and its trine (of spiritual interconnectedness and idealism) to Neptune Rx on SUNDAY.
While being mindful that the ‘flow’ of a trine can indicate a move toward a comfortable path of least resistance that may not be in our best interest, there can also be deep experiences of compassion and generosity, spirituality and unity, inspiration and creativity.
This Grand Water Trine may bestow the inner confidence and faith to greet upcoming challenges with tremendous fortitude and emotional presence. Honour your inner process, and celebrate every small measure of increasing emotional flexibility – giving yourself permission to feel whatever arises.
In the midst of the Grand Trine, on THURSDAY/FRIDAY, the tension of the Third Quarter Moon arrives in Aries, squaring the Sun in Cancer. Cancer generally is risk-aversive (especially with anything that could create emotional vulnerability or distress), whereas Aries thrives on risks and challenges. Since Uranus is conjoining with Juno in Taurus, also on FRIDAY, this Third Quarter tension may be related to partnerships, agreements, or contracts between people.
Perhaps intentionally cultivating a strong measure of emotional safety and security in your external and internal environments will provide a strong platform on which you can address the challenge you face… and then you can release into the balsamic dark phase of the Moon while you simmer in the waters of the Grand Trine.
Eclipse Season begins next week! And it looks… hot. Sizzling. Dynamic.
The next New Moon will be a Partial Solar Eclipse in Cancer directly opposite Pluto. Watch for your Eclipse Season Schedule of Events out later this week!
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