On June 29, at 4:38 PM PDT—just seven days away—Mars, the astrological archetype for the Warrior, goes direct, ending a nearly eleven week retrograde that spanned two Signs (the first 8 degrees of Sagittarius and the final 7 degrees of Scorpio), and in its final lap, a retrograde phase that stirred the winds of war. Some of its battle cries have been external—US Diplomats urging strikes against Syria. Some, maybe even most, have been internal, as many struggle with anger generated by the senseless violence that continues to infect the world, as well as with frustration and feelings of helplessness that anything can be done about it. This particular Mars Retrograde underscored one of our most divisive cultural emergencies—the proliferation of guns—and is challenging us to find a new way, a truly innovative solution to the persistent problem of violence. Many will argue that this problem is simply a part of life—isn’t survival-of-the-fittest a natural component of evolution? I think we’ve evolved past the validity of that argument. Some of us may be stuck there, but the majority know that violence is a deadly virus we must do something about now.
Mars rules the Sign of Aires, and together both signify the power of an individual to know oneself as separate and distinct from others. Mars and Aries are the symbols in astrology that indicate individuation. The terrible twos, when children learn to push back and say “no” usually occur when the child has its first Mars Return. It takes Mars a little under two years to orbit the Sun and the same is true for its orbit through the chart. So when Mars returns to the position it occupied at birth, many children experience the need to flex their Martian muscle, push back and make “no” their answer of choice, simply because they can—an unconscious habit that unfortunately often carries over into adulthood.
These next several days, as Mars prepares to go direct and then actually moves forward, we are certain to see a lot of people taking stands on lots of issues, not just political ones. Expect many to say “This is how I see it—and this is the way it should be.” And most of the shoulds are reactions to the last several years of almost unbearable upheaval, personal and political, individual and collective. Keep in mind, we are still in the wake of those seven Uranus/Pluto squares that occurred between 2012 and 2015—and it’s still a rough ride.
Much as the conjunction of Uranus and Pluto during the mid-1960s set the world on fire with changes that could not be controlled or curtailed, the power of this last set of squares fueled a similar cultural conflagration—and the heat of those blazes continues to singe the routines of daily life. What’s more, because information now moves at the speed of light, the lag time between event and reaction is all but gone. There’s no longer time to digest and metabolize—to think about—what’s taking place. We are in a constant state of aftershocks from volcanic eruptions taking place on the other side of the world or in parallel universes that have no immediate connection to our own, yet we feel them because the entire planet is tilting on its axis. And far too many of us lack the skills to negotiate the constantly shifting perspective—it takes mental, emotional, and spiritual muscle to respond rather than react.
This week and next, as Mars slows to a crawl, figure out how to handle the acceleration of so much change happening all at once. From my perspective, education combined with active compassion is one of the best solutions. It’s not enough to be angry. It’s not enough to have slogans. It’s certainly not at all enough to feel contemptuous of the fellow traveler who thinks the man in the clown suit is the real deal. The man in the clown suit with the funny hair is expressing a facet of the zeitgeist and he is riding high on that wave of rage. But don’t forget that despair and fear lie just beneath the surface of those waves. Rather than rant back or belittle, be kind, even if you’re suffering from compassion fatigue. There’s no way out of this cycle other than through it. And despite that Martian urge to individuate, we are all in this together.
Sun Bursts: If you know your Ascendant and/or your Moon Sign, read that too.
Aries March 21-April 19
Mars Retrograde is facilitating a deep process of personal growth—so deep you might have forgotten it’s a process, with a beginning and an end. The end is close, but don’t say bye-bye just yet. Make the most of these last days of ‘forced’ introspection by reviewing just how much has shifted since April, and if nothing has changed, get busy; there’s still time.
Taurus April 20-May 20
Since the end of May, Mars Retrograde focused on shared values as well as relationship issues, and likely so have you. As this concentration continues for the next several weeks, pay close attention to partnerships in need of care. And as you do, keep in mind, Mars casts a wide net that includes all sorts of partnerships, personal as well as professional, so be sure to include your relationship with yourself.
Gemini May 21-June 21
The second half of Mars Retrograde stimulates activity in your Solar House of service, a sector of the chart that includes all sorts of endeavors, from making a living to volunteering. While you may be tired of this review, it’s still important to stay present for the entire process. At the core, this phase is about learning to identify what engages and satisfies your need to contribute to your community.
Cancer June 22-July 22
The first part of Mars Retrograde included a look at how you care for your physical world. The second part concentrates on how you express your creativity. These are not unrelated areas of life experience, so as you continue to contemplate the consequences of this Martian review, see if you can identify the threads that tie these areas together.
Leo July 23-August 22
This last phase of Mars Retrograde is all about how you meet your fundamental need for safety and security. As you continue to explore this issue, pay close attention to the idea that safety also includes creating an internal center capable of providing a positive perspective on your current situation. While there may be obstacles to overcome, a good attitude is the cornerstone of a successful life.
Virgo August 23-September 22
While the first half of Mars Retrograde focused on home improvements, internal and external, inside and out, the second half of this phase is all about communication. You may find yourself saying things that you might have previously held back or edited. Or you may find yourself listening to others, hoping they might hold back or filter their opinions. Either way, this phase is about learning to use your words wisely.
Libra September 23-October 22
Mars Retrograde ends in your Solar House of personal finance, a sector of the chart that includes much more than money; it’s home to all types of resources, including self-esteem and self-confidence. Make the most of the final days of this phase by contemplating how you can improve all the areas being stimulated by the presence of Mars, and then create an action plan to help you implement those insights.
Scorpio October 23-November 21
The first phase of Mars Retrograde stimulated a look at finances and values. Mars ends its retrograde inviting you to review and contemplate your persona. Consider it an identity crisis that includes examining how you are seen by others—projections as well as clear vision—as well as how you want to be seen by others, again, including projections as well as a clear understanding of your weaknesses and your strengths.
Sagittarius November 22-December 21
Any way you look at it, Mars Retrograde hasn’t been easy. And while you have a naturally jovial disposition, the challenge at the end of this phase is avoiding being overtaken by the Brain Worm, that psychic parasite that steals all your energy by dwelling on all the coulds and shoulds of past experience. The antidote is simple: Hold onto a positive attitude that’s open to growth.
Capricorn December 22-January 19
In its final lap, Mars Retrograde focuses on community, specifically how you can make a contribution to others without sacrificing your own needs. This is an important lesson because it is an opportunity to realize how important it is to satisfy your own needs as you simultaneously meet the needs of others. So even if you are caring for a loved one or a close friend, make the time to replenish your resources.
Aquarius January 20-February 18
Mars Retrograde began as an opportunity to untangle several knots of group activities, but it ends with concentrating on personal ambition and career goals. Take advantage of the last days of this phase by contemplating your professional standing and how you can improve it. Even if you are retired, think about goals you would still like to engage and accomplish.
Pisces February 19-March 20
The first weeks of Mars Retrograde were all about reviewing your professional standing and how to handle career goals. The second phase is similarly expansive, but also includes a look at your beliefs—what you know to be true and also ideas that may have outlived their usefulness. Be willing to examine your personal philosophy with an eye toward making significant upgrades and you’ll benefit from this entire retrograde process.
Ralfee Finn specializes in Transformational Astrology. For readings, call 1-212-222-3232, write P.O. Box 343, New York, NY 10025, visit AquariumAge.com, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright © 2016 by Ralfee Finn