It would be all too tempting to just throw in the towel and say I’m tuning out and won’t be paying attention to anything related to the state of the States until after the election is over and COVID-19 is a thing of the past. Except that, alas, it cannot be done because there’s no telling when the election results will be in or when COVID-19 will finally be reined in by widespread vaccinations. We’re all attempting to learn how to live with constant uncertainty, but the madness of what’s happening around us is taking its toll. Some people are handling the uncertainty as best they can by devoting themselves to helping others, trying to contribute to a sense of well-being and genuine concern for their fellow travelers. Others, driven by anxiety, impatience, or the need to control something—anything—are moving into less beneficent forms of action; unfortunately, that need to do only provides a false sense of control and ultimately just contributes further to the chaos and unrest. We know Mr. Trump is fomenting frustration and fear in the hope that the ensuing chaos will work for his benefit. We also know that Mr. Biden is determined to stay calm and collected. The contrast between the two is extraordinary because it clearly demonstrates the great divide shaking the foundations of America.
Part of the current chaos is based on reality—the pandemic is real and so are its devastating consequences—but the conspiracy theories roiling the chaos are not grounded in reality—not one little bit. I wrote about this weeks ago, so I won’t go too deeply into it again. Humans need narratives to make sense of the world—even a world where alternate “facts” have been intentionally created to confuse and obfuscate the truth, but can nonetheless be used to create a story. We make up or believe stories, no matter how far-fetched, because they help organize our experiences and create order—it’s just human nature. I realize that we are used to thinking of such narrative impulses as part of wisdom traditions—and mostly that’s how they were used—but everyone tells stories, even if those stories are (as a close friend would say) “batshit crazy.”
I’m not particularly interested in any story other than the one we are currently experiencing—confusion and chaos included—because that story is the most potent and will determine what’s next. More importantly, I’m not interested in narratives that are not intended to heal: Democrats are not cannibalistic pedophiles—most of us can agree on that—yet the most disturbing thing about that story is that there are people who actually believe it. These strange stories are another indication of just how much work there is to do to educate people; work that will have to go on for the next many years no matter who wins the election. Unfortunately, we will be hearing these theories, and newer ones, over and over and over again as we close in on Election Day—and we’re likely to hear more conspiracy theories after our ballots are cast. Do whatever you can to maintain your clarity of mind in the coming weeks. It won’t be easy staying clear-headed, but it is absolutely necessary.
Mars Retrograde, which begins today and continues until November 13, is a major contributor to the constant repetition of these conspiracy theories, but only reluctantly—Mars wants to hear the tales of brave Ulysses, not the dark imaginings of those who have nothing better to do than try to terrify their fellow travelers. It will take a Herculean effort to resist the seduction of these stories, but resist we must.
As Mars retraces its path for the next two months, we retrace ours, specifically what’s been set in motion since July 25. Because Mars signifies movement, the next many weeks are going to be a review of what’s been set in motion as well as how we’ve reacted to what was already in motion. From a personal perspective, expect to review and reconsider the consequences of actions taken over the course of the last seven weeks. From a collective perspective, Mars’ review translates into a lot more information about COVID-19—Mars Direct occurs the day after the third and final Jupiter/Pluto conjunction, which in this particular instance signifies the third wave of the virus, a time we already know will be the most perilous phase of the pandemic.
Mars Retrograde also reviews the current state of agitation and aggression that is permeating almost every aspect of life. Activists are empowered by Mars, the archetype of the warrior, but as most activists know, the point of protests is peaceful, adamant persistence in the face of injustice. The Black Lives Matter movement is catalyzing the course of history—it is not a fad or a trend, but a reality that we can no longer agree to bigotry of any kind.
On Monday there was a piece in the New York Times by Pico Iyer that referenced the Dalai Lama’s notion of emotional disarmamentas a way through our current environment of polarization. Emotional disarmament will require another Herculean effort, but as Iyer points out, it is achievable because it is an act of personal responsibility and something we can all do, regardless of politics. It’s certainly worth the effort, especially if it diffuses and transforms the aggressive energy we’ve all been experiencing. Here’s the link, if you haven’t read it.
Sun Bursts: If you know your Ascendant and/or your Moon Sign, read that too.
Aries March 21-April 19
Mars Retrograde in your Solar house of personality is likely to increase the need for you to exercise even more discipline to avoid reactive or aggressive behavior, even if you think you’ve been wronged. Just for now, put aside all defensive postures and stay open to the possibility that you’re still in process, refining your reactivity, so that you don’t trigger unnecessary confrontations.
Taurus April 20-May 20.
Mars Retrograde occurs in your Solar House of psychology, so despite the winds of change swirling through the collective, you’re planted firmly in your internal universe. Don’t be surprised if you feel drawn to more meditation and quiet contemplation. It’s not that you’re ambivalent toward what’s happening—you’re not. You’re taking the time to carefully consider your response to the madness.
Gemini May 21-June 21
It’s unlikely that you’ll spend Mars Retrograde indecisive about what you want to do and how you want to implement those plans. Nevertheless, it will require patience to gather those who agree with your diagram for action. Invite others to participate—they will be equally eager to come up with altruistic solutions that benefit the community rather than just a few individuals.
Cancer June 22-July 22
Mars Retrograde happens in your Solar House of recognition, and while it might be frustrating to feel the retrograde pushback, it can also be beneficial to look at what’s already in motion with an eye toward how to refine it. This isn’t about modifying your ambitions or shelving your plans; this phase is about looking closely at how you might better achieve your goals.
Leo July 23-August 22
Mars Retrograde invites you to take a serious look at just how much you need to convince people that your ideas are spot on. Take a deep breath and consider that if your ideas are sound, your enthusiastic expression of those ideas will draw people to you organically. You don’t need to have a soapbox, unless you want that experience; simply be yourself and you’ll lead by example.
Virgo August 23-September 22
Mars Retrograde occurs in your Solar House of transformation, which means it’s likely to manifest as more shifts than you can imagine. Be clear about what you need and equally lucid about what you need to let go of, especially when it comes to belief systems holding you back. Although the changes could be overwhelming, if you give each situation time to unfold, you’ll find your flow.
Libra September 23-October 22
Mars is retrograde in your Solar House of relationship, which means you’re taking another close look at how you relate to significant others, regardless of your relationship status. It’s never easy confronting what isn’t working in relationships, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor if it leads to healthier habits. A word of caution: avoid using your honesty as a weapon; be frank, but kind.
Scorpio October 23-November 21
Mars Retrograde in your Solar House of service inspires a review of your altruistic inclinations—put simply: who you help and why. This doesn’t have to be an angst-ridden process; it could be as simple as organizing your donations, making changes if necessary, and increasing your awareness of where your time and energy is best spent helping others.
Sagittarius November 22-December 21
Mars is retrograde in your Solar House of self-expression, and while up till now its presence may have inspired self-confidence, its review reveals where that confidence might be a bit over the top. Take this phase as an opportunity to find a more even and inclusive attitude so that those you love—family and friends—have an equal opportunity to shine.
Capricorn December 22-January 19
Mars Retrograde occurs in your Solar House of home so it won’t be surprising if you’re feeling a bit protective of your personal space, and because home in this instance is both internal and external, you could also find yourself more than a little moody. Do your best to find an even keel, but don’t beat yourself up because your sensitivity is showing—you are, after all, human.
Aquarius January 20-February 18
Mars is retrograde in your Solar House of communication, and while that energy is certain to manifest as strong, forceful opinions, it could lean toward a little too much intensity. I’m not saying that intensity is a bad thing—it isn’t—but intensity must be used wisely, especially during volatile times. Before you speak, step back and assess what’s appropriate for the individual circumstance.
Pisces February 19-March 20
Mars Retrograde occurs in your Solar House of personal finance as well as the Solar House of self-esteem. As Mars reviews its recent choices, you might find yourself returning certain items bought impulsively. You could also find yourself concentrating on what steps you might take to improve your self-reliance. You are your greatest resource and knowing that will increase your confidence.