Heeeeey! I’ve missed a couple forecasts. The last one I did was August 13th, almost 3 weeks ago, before I left for a WiFi-deficient location for 12 days.
My current lunar return chart (which encompassed most of August) showed a very strong 12th house emphasis. As it activated, I was curious how that would express in my life. It soon became clear after I spontaneously responded to an invitation to spend some time at a friend’s place by the ocean. I initially thought it was going to be only a 3-4 day trip, but gradually, in a typical go-with-the-flow Piscean/12th house way, it was extended to 12 days.
I returned to the city under the Pisces Full Moon (on August 26th) in time for Mars to go direct the next day, in my 6th house of work and daily responsibilities. I came back to the city with new insight on what made me feel alive and full of vitality in my day-to-day life.
I had a draft post I was going to share for the Pisces Full Moon with reflections from my tranquil little escape, but I came back to some intense waves of stress… which were not helped by technology repeatedly going bonkers on me all week (my 8-year old laptop is definitely ailing, as is my 3.5 year old phone – why does technology have such short lifespans?!).
So I gave up, and applied myself to finishing what was clearly one of my Mars-Direct-Missions (writing a literature review for an article). Perhaps I’ll share those Pisces-related reflections when the Sun opposes Neptune.
Once again, there are only a couple major transits occurring this week (which is now almost over), so I thought I would just comment on the Mars Direct Station at this point. It is a significant cosmic event and I have lots of thoughts about it after letting some time elapse since Mars pivoted on August 27th.
Mars is in our solar system’s inner circle. It is one of the so-called personal planets (along with the Sun, Moon, Venus and Mercury), because it is much closer to us and moves more quickly than the other planets (Jupiter outward to Pluto), thereby often having a more direct and obvious correlation.
Mars is our yang energy source. It’s what moves us forward with motivation to initiate, to take action, to assert ourselves in the world as independent agents, to take risks, to take on challenges, to protect and defend, to express our life force with passion (via anger, sexuality, physical movement, drive). So when Mars slows down and goes backwards once every 2 years for 2 months at a time… it make sense it will be more noticeable, right?
When any planet goes retrograde it means it will travel over the same part of the zodiac, the same part of your birth chart, three times. Three time’s a charm? By October 8th when it finishes regaining the ground it backtracked over, maybe we’ll have that Mars-thing figured out? Let’s hope so!
On a general level, physically, emotionally, and mentally, we *may* be feeling a surge of increased energy, motivation, and clarity with Mars Stationing Direct this past Monday (August 27th), after perhaps a summer of lethargy or seeming stuckness.
With summer ending, and work and school starting up for many folks, it may be tricky to pinpoint the Mars Station since it is often expected that this time of the year has a sort of back-to-work feel to it. However, on an individual level your Mars Mission may be quite obvious, especially if you have important points or planets in Aries or Scorpio, or near the very end of the cardinal signs (Cap, Libra, Aries, Cancer).
Mars is a warrior archetype associated with traits of intensity, and fast-moving action and responses. With Mars finally moving direct, it could be likely that you suddenly find yourself needing to make a decision quickly this week or deal with an urgent matter that has suddenly come to the surface.
And yet… Mars still needs to retrace its steps through its shadow. It will have “caught up” to where it was when it turned retrograde, on October 8th. Oftentimes with important transits (and eclipses) I may notice both an immediate short-term correlation, as well as a more long-term, slower correlation (particularly if the transit intersects powerfully with my natal chart). There could be something related to your Mars story that is blatantly obvious this week, but there could also be something else that is beginning to shift at this time that could take until early October before it comes to fruition.
I’ll share a couple examples that I’ve observed in my life to help you interpret your own chart, or to reflect on ways that you’ve noticed similar processes unfolding since early May.
First, here’s a little diagram to illustrate how I work with a natal chart to determine how Mars’ retrograde might be playing out in a person’s life…
Mars rules Aries and Scorpio (using traditional rulership). Therefore the themes of the houses with Aries and Scorpio on the cusp will be relevant – even though the house where Mars’ retrograde is actually occurring, is where the final impact will be most felt, or where the motivating catalyst for change (in the Aries and Scorpio house) occurs.
The best example I have is that of my mother.
She has Sun, Moon, and Mercury in the Mars-ruled sign of Aries, so that alone would make a Mars Retrograde significant for her. Furthermore, her natal Mars is at 27 degrees Capricorn – only one degree away from Mars’ Station on August 27th! That’s a potent Mars Return. And finally, Mars stationed direct while squaring her Mercury (learning, communication, delivery of information) with a 3 degree orb.
Therefore, clearly, this Mars Retrograde would be quite obvious for her. Aries is on the cusp of her 11th house and Scorpio is on the cusp of her 6th house, with Mars beginning its retrograde in her 9th house, and stationing direct in her 8th house…
On May 12th (the beginning of Mars’ shadow period) Jane* was at a weekend workshop learning about how to incorporate innovative techniques into physiotherapy practice and thinking about how she would want to ideally utilize her skills in the future. She had lots of enthusiasm and was ready to move forward with reinventing herself.
At the time, Jane was in the midst of studying for the clinical licensing exam that would take place the beginning of June. In her early 60s, she was preparing to re-enter the profession she practiced thirty years ago, before she committed full-time to raising a family.
Jane needed to pass the exam in order to register as an official member with the profession’s regulatory body (11th house), so that she could then secure employment and practice this health profession (6th house).
Applicants are allowed three tries at the clinical exam – this was her second try, a year after her first try in 2017. It’s a notoriously tough (and expensive) exam.
But Aries-dominants are up for tough challenges. Still though, it was certainly pushing her far out of her comfort zone as she confronted ageism, personal fears and vulnerabilities, and took a risk on a substantial investment of time, money, and energy (8th house).
The much-anticipated exam took place.
Now she just had to distract herself while waiting for the results which were going to be released… on August 27th!!! The day Mars turned direct!
Capricorn is a sign that has strong associations with any sort of exam, test, score, certification, or graduation.
The week of June 26th (the beginning of Mars’ retrograde) she was quite actively involved in supporting someone through the final weeks of their pregnancy and the birthing process as an informal doula.
This is a role she has played periodically for different women over the past thirty years, and one that she is passionate about. It was a very positive experience and built up her confidence as she accessed a skill set that has always come so naturally to her. Before deciding to go the physio re-licensing route, she had been on the brink of starting a doula course. This experience reminded her of how much she enjoyed providing this type of support and she began thinking on whether or not she would want to do the official training for it.
During the summer and the Mars retrograde, Jane stayed busy with developing a large new vegetable garden (a long-time dream) and began learning how to build a boat while she waited for the exam results that would indicate whether or not she could move forward with becoming a physiotherapist. Mars retrogrades are good times to review and reflect on how and where we want to invest our energy.
The unofficial exam results actually arrived before August 27th – after Mars Rx re-entered Capricorn and as Mercury (communication, information) was stationing direct.
One word with so much gravitas: Failed.
This was a real 8th house crisis/death moment which sent Jane into a deep spiral of Capricorn-type self-doubt and despair. Capricorn, especially in the 8th house that holds our fears, can carry deep wounds around the possibility of “failure” and not living up to people’s expectations (e.g. fears of not being able to “prove” one’s worth through accomplishments and overcoming challenges).
Also too, Capricorn is acutely aware of time and the 8th house reminds us of our mortality. Jane was aware that the preparation had spanned almost 3 years of investment and she wasn’t getting any younger while she watched her peers retire.
No doubt about it, the second fail was a tough blow. But by the time the official results arrived on August 27th as Mars finally pivoted direct in Capricorn conjunct her natal Mars, she had already begun crafting another strategic, long-term, Capricornian game plan that included doula training, among other things.
Capricorn often comes with some heavy insecurities and intense fears of failure, but holy, can Mars in Capricorn ever persistently persevere over the long-haul! It’s obvious to me why Mars is considered exalted in Capricorn.
The official results provided a detailed break-down of the score. Compared to her last exam, there had been definite improvement. Capricorn is associated with slow, steady progress in the face of set-backs (a two-step forward, one-step back sort of thing).
So that was somewhat reassuring, but she still wasn’t feeling up for the third try in November. She figured she’d wait until June 2019 for the next set of clinical exams.
The day after Mars stationed direct, my sister and I discussed potential options with her. I credit my sister with pointing out that having the exam hanging over her head for another year sounded awful and she should go for it again in November while the knowledge was still fresh. Then, whether pass or fail, the exam saga would finally be over (you can only take it three times and it is only hosted twice a year). She could then redirect her energy with capacity for full commitment.
There wasn’t much time to sit and think on this dilemma because if she was going for the exam in November, her mailed application needed to be received by the end of the week. As I said, it could be quite possible that for many of you, Mars Direct this week arrived with a sense of urgency and a need to act immediately.
Within a few hours, she made a SUDDEN PIVOT and decided to register for November (moving with Mars’ turnaround). She also registered for a practice workshop, booked flights, and contacted a number of people she knows who are also prepping for November’s exam. Jane reached out to a university student physio group (11th house) to ask if she could join them for practice sessions and received positive offers of assistance and inclusion.
This means that September and October, as Mars retraces its steps, will be very busy with lots of regular studying and clinical practicing with a focus on improving her score (6th house).
Despite all this outward activity, the deepest potential for transformative impact is likely more internal (8th house), even as she reaches out toward new opportunities and possibilities to expand her horizons (9th house). We made sure she knew that regardless of the outcome, her worth was guaranteed and she didn’t need to prove anything to anyone.
Sure, it’s always nice when our investments of time, money, and energy pay off with the outcomes and results we first set out to achieve (something Capricorn strives for), but the reality is that everything in life is temporary, impermanent, and transient. Over and over again in life, everything people have worked for and invested in, are taken away in an instant (e.g. as with a house fire, fleeing war, serious injuries or illness).
With a capitalist materialist lens we may be inclined to see our efforts, when deprived of the goal we were aiming at for so long, as wasted – wasted time, wasted money, wasted emotional and psychological expenditure…
AND YET NOTHING IS WASTED.
From a soul-centered, spiritual perspective, all life experiences are valuable. There is always the possibility of our efforts producing a harvest, even if it does not look like what we had first anticipated. Nothing is wasted.
I really hope my mom passes this exam in November. That would be such a relief and cause for celebration, but either way, we need to reinforce to each other that our worth and value is not based on our accomplishments and “success”.
If Mars’ retrograde and direct station has sent you into a U-turn (which is quite likely, especially with the South Node in early Aquarius), remember this!
A couple other examples:
- When Mars turned Rx on June 26th, my sister and her partner received confirmation that they would indeed have to vacate their apartment by the end of August (it was a conflictual Mars-like situation). Because of many factors they are both moving into my mother’s home for a short-term stay. As Mars stationed direct on August 27th, they officially moved in and the truck arrived the next morning to drop off their POD unit with all their possessions.
For my sister’s partner, for whom this represented a significant transition, Mars was stationing direct in the 4th house (home, family) with Aries on the cusp of the 7th house (one’s partner) and Scorpio on the 2nd house cusp (assets, possessions). Can you see how both the Aries and Scorpio house themes feed into the 4th house themes here?
- My sister’s Mars retrograde happened in the 3rd house of communication and the exchange of information. Around May 12th (when Mars’ shadow began) she submitted the first draft of her biggest business proposal yet (Mars is associated with ambition). It was adjusted, negotiated and stalled many times over the summer, but a few days before Mars’ station, it was finally approved and they can move forward with preparations (Aries on the cusp of her 6th house of daily work), which will involve a lot of coordinated communications.
- I’ve noted a few correlations for myself, but the one that is most obvious right now is a literature review I was paid to work on to help prepare a multi-author research article for publication in a health-related journal. We had the first discussion about it around May 12th (the beginning of Mars’ shadow), and I submitted the first draft a couple days after Mars stationed retrograde on June 26th. Then after a lull in the summer due to team members’ vacations, I received revisions mid-August… and then put a final big push on it after returning from an extended vacation in order to finish it early this week as Mars stationed direct in my 6th house (daily responsibilities, employment/ work, self-discipline, revisions/improvement, health and healthcare). Aries is on the cusp of my 9th house which is associated with publications, and yet it isn’t the central focus in this scenario since we are still far off from publishing, with the focus currently more on editing, revising, and improving the document (6th house themes). Scorpio is on the cusp my 4th house associated with home and family, and, as expansive Jupiter hangs out on my IC/4th house, I came home to a house with more family members living in it.
There are other changes I’m watching for between now and October, but they are still trying to emerge in their new shapes from the bubbling Mars-like stew. At any rate, I’m definitely feeling some intense pressure to take action after my rash desperate surge of momentum was deflated and eroded by fear earlier in the summer during Mars’ retrograde + eclipse season.
Along with many other astrologers I’d caution against moving too quickly (except for some situations which obviously demand immediate action) since Mars is still moving quite slowly. It will take a while for it to build up speed.
Onward, but with new insight and the careful, prudent strategizing that Capricorn is so known for.
I hope this helped you interpret Mars Retrograde within the context of your own chart and life!
On route to Mars clearing its shadow on October 8th, look out for the third and final Mars-Uranus square taking place on September 18th. There could be a leap of progress and increased freedom that aligns with that dynamic duo interacting once more.
Posted this on Instagram on August 18th…
Hi! I’m away in the country with no WiFi, zooming through my data for the month because I can’t leave IG alone. I might not get a forecast up on Monday if I’m still away, but once again the upcoming week is pretty sparse in terms of major transits – there’s a bunch of awkward quincunxes and the Sun enters Virgo on Thursday. The weekend gets more interesting with a grand earth trine and full moon in Pisces, which I’ll comment on later.
This, by the way, is a lovely (deceased) crab I found on the beach, which is now hanging out in the little wooden shelter by the ocean where I’ve been writing – my writing mascot? Guardian?
Anyway, I have a curious question for astrologers and astrosavvy folks… have you ever noted what takes place or emerges within an hour (or even half hour, within 5 minutes…) of exact lunar aspects? Typically I don’t, since I’m focused on other slower transits and the moon’s sign and aspects become part of the background weather.
Just for fun this week, since there was little else happening, I noted the *exact* time when the moon’s conjunctions and oppositions occured in relation to current planets and natal planets/points.
I am… astounded. I did not expect meaningful correlations to be SO obvious and SO on time, sometimes to the minute, repeatedly. I don’t know if this week (with a scorpio moon) has just been extra potent or if I have been underestimating lunar transits. I’m curious if others pay close attention to exact lunar transits?
Note: there’s always a danger that astrology can take you away from the spontaneous flow of energy and tangle you up in symbolic congestion and anxieties. To avoid this, I focus on the questions:
What is this transiting moon (which lights up the entire zodiac over a month’s timespan) revealing to me about the energies my chart holds in various areas of life, or my relationship with certain life domains (e.g. with Libra in my chart, with Pluto’s symbolism, etc.)?
And how can I grow from the deeper insight this moment allows?
These growth-oriented questions and the cultivation of genuine curiosity and wonder at this wildly mysterious universe, helps me to avoid the anxious obsessing. ❤