April 15, 2016

Choosing our Battles wisely as Mars goes Retrograde.


*Eleditor’s note: Astrology isn’t a religion. We’re not sure it’s a science, either. It’s magic, maybe. But, as with feng shui, say, things affect things. So as long as we don’t go blaming our problems on the stars, as long as we assume responsibility for our own actions…well, hell, a little auspicious coincidence and applicable wisdom can’t hurt. And so, with that grain of salt…enjoy!

It’s time to choose our battles wisely as Mars goes Retrograde.

We all have a dark side, and this past month of eclipses has shown most of us the good, the bad and the ugly of ourselves, our partners, and our life situations. We have been asked to adjust and become flexible in ways we had not thought possible before the beginning of March, the start of eclipse season.

Many of us have faced down demons of enormous proportions, and as a result, have learned a great deal about what we are really capable of. It’s been a time of extreme highs and lows with not much grey area between, and many of us are praying for a reprieve of sorts.

Things have indeed been shifting at lightning speed, and we’ve had to keep up, or be left behind in a mass of confusion. We’ve developed qualities such as adaptability, and greater flexibility, however, if we’ve not risen to the challenge, we’ve fallen back, defeated and confused.

Luckily, we do have another chance, with Mars going into retrograde from 17 April 2016 to 29 June 2016, with his “shadow period” being felt from as early at 17 February right up until he leaves the retrograde zone around 22 August.

This six to seven month period will give many of us an opportunity, as with all retrograde periods, to relook at the actions we’ve taken during the past month, and decide whether we need to backtrack or forge ahead.

Mars retrogrades happen every 26 months or so, in no apparent order over each retrograde period, unlike lady Venus, who delicately tends to retrograde at more or less the same degree every eight years, forming a clear and pleasing to look at pattern.

Mars, however, trundles all over the show, bashing and stomping with his sword, heedless of the mess he makes.

Mars, in mythology, was of course, as we know, the God of War. Venus (Aphrodite) was madly in love with this luggish brute, who didn’t do much other than grunt and swing his sword, displaying the finer (cough) qualities of masculinity. But let’s face it, Mars got things done. He took care of the brawny side of things and left the brainwork and romance to others.

Mars, in traditional astrology, is a Malefic planet. This means that he is not inclined to behave well in any situation, and even at his best, has to always be taken with a side order of caution. A frustrated Mars can cause terrible havoc, being a hot and dry planet, he burns and cuts his way through life. Mars is therefore associated with things such as surgery, burns, fighting, war, cuts, anything sharp, forward moving, aggression and drive.

Mars is also the raw stuff that makes up our sexuality, not the refined sexuality of Venus, who at the very least needs dinner before being bedded, but rather the stuff that drives us to tear each other’s clothes off in a frenzy of unbridled physical desire. Mars is pure masculine drive, the hunger to conquer, to win, to be the best.

A happy Mars in our birth chart is expressed as healthy drives and desires, ambition, the ability to express anger in a non destructive way, is able to assert himself, and fight for his principles. A poorly integrated Mars can manifest as passive aggression, the inability to stand up for oneself, destructive and uncontrollable desires, extreme anger or temper, a lack of drive, a block in our sexuality and an inability to go after what we want.

Mars retrograde in Sagittarius, even though a fire sign, is not particularly strong and therefore has the potential to cause a fair amount of havoc over his retrograde period.

Mars will spend a good amount of time in the sign of the archer, and will bring up important issues, such as which beliefs we are willing to fight for, and how closely we live to our truth. Sagittarius is a sign that cannot bear dishonesty in any form, and if we have been living any kind of lie, spiritual or otherwise, we will be asked to review it and decide what we truly stand for.

Our energy levels may be lower than usual, as Mars is weakened by retrograde motion, and it will be imperative that we give our bodies the rest we need for the next six months whilst he moves backward. We will also be feeling a whole lot more aggressive than usual, and irritabilities and old anger will be stirred up to boiling point.

Those who have an Aries or Scorpio ascendant will be feeling this energy the most, as Mars is their ruling planet. It becomes imperative that we watch our step ever so closely and not tread too harshly on our nearest and dearest. We will do well to also be aware of the temper and aggression of others around us, which could potentially set off our own conscious or unconscious anger patterns, as what comes out may shock or surprise us.

It’s a time when things are not going to be terribly harmonious and it’s likely that we could get extremely frustrated with the slower pace that things will be moving. Patience, patience, patience, is the key for the next few months. It’s important to look inside, and really see how we express our desires, wants, drives, our anger, our primal sexuality and our sense of fight.

Are we always trying to please others by keeping the peace and not standing up for our beliefs?

Are we silencing the voice within that needs to be heard, are we ashamed or afraid of our anger, of our desires, are we scared to fight?

For women in particular, anger and fight are difficult things to express, with many years of suppression behind us, and the habit of leaving the assertion to men, we’ve lost our will, our fight and our fire. We’ve become passive aggressive, unable to let out the knot inside, and then it becomes a burning bonfire, threatening to destroy everyone and everything around us, once unleashed. We carry years of silence, years of putting others first, and of keeping conflict at bay.

However, we need to acknowledge that the masculine qualities of Mars are inside us all, for we are dual beings, and we need to balance the opposites within before they destroy us, or keep attracting violent or angry people into our lives.

Therefore, the call this April is to learn how express ourselves, our heat, our desire, our fight, in a non aggressive yet affirmative, and yes, assertive way.

We are allowed to let our loins and words burn and with that expression, allow it to die away. Let go of it. We are challenged to not hold onto old anger, and let it poison us from the inside. We often make ourselves ill from carrying the poison inside, and allow it to permeate our lives and the lives of others. We are asked to stand up for ourselves, and not allow ourselves to be run over by people that we perceive as stronger than us.

It is time to reclaim our voices, and in the process, we learn to become patient with ourselves and with others, ready to forgive and reconcile.

On a material and physical level, we will be asked to take extra care of ourselves, and try not to burn out during what may be a tiring time. Exhaustion is likely over this period, and accidents are far more likely as well, due to this tiring pace we tend to keep. We may not feel like doing much, and may push ourselves harder than we need to.

We need to avoid heated situations that threaten our sense of stability, however, we are asked to fight if we need to, although always tempered with wisdom. We are asked to be cautious and watch our words, our actions. We are asked to treat each other with a touch more kindness, as well as ourselves. We are asked to put certain projects aside until we have the energy to come back to them, fresh, with a new perspective. We are asked to express what we need to, but then cool down, physically, emotionally, mentally. Always seeking balance.

Many people will rub us up the wrong way—the taxi driver will not be going fast enough, the boss will be bearing down on us for a deadline, our partners will be driving us crazy. We will be tempted to swing that old Mars sword around.

It’s important to find outlets for our feelings before they boil over—aggressive sports, competitions, lots of exercise, writing.

When Mars moves back into Scorpio, things will come to a head and feel intense. Those with planets between 0-8 degrees of Sagittarius, and 23-30 degrees of Scorpio, will be affected by this retrograde for at least six months, and will be dealing with the issues that those planets signify, tempered with a good deal of Mars energy and aggression.

It depends whether the aspects and planets involved are difficult or not. Check which houses these degrees fall into, to see which issues will be coming up for review, which areas you may experience a slowdown or possible frustration, where most of your energy and drive will be focussed for the next while.

It’s important to remember that Saturn has begun his retrograde too, and will be joining Mars in an epic finale to the year. Things are set to be a little tense, but with awareness of the unique challenge we face, we can be prepared for it.

Things will still be changing constantly, and we are learning to become ever more flexible, ever more patient, ever more conscious, kind, and most of all—whole.


Author: Margarita Stoffberg

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: flickr/Chris Lexow

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