Burning Ambition—Mars and Saturn in Capricorn—Simply Dig!
There are times in life when people must know when not to let go. Balloons are designed to teach small children this―Terry Pratchett
As the rhythm of our lives moves to the shape of this new month, each new day may present new possibilities to engage more deeply, more consciously, even amidst the repetition and predictability of our daily lives. Mars takes the lead this month, demanding an output of focus and energy which is book-ended by a close conjunction to Saturn that separates gradually over the next few days―March 29th to April 9th―and Mars conjunct Pluto at month’s end. A clarion call to show up, get to work with urgency and self-discipline.
In Tarot the Three of Pentacles symbolises this focused effort which brings recognition and rewards for hard work, for not letting go of the balloon. In astrology, Mars/Saturn contacts encapsulate the Puritan work ethic: self-denial, hard slog that manifests something of value and worth. Cheryl Strayed wraps this planetary aspect up in her own inimitable way― “writing is hard….Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig.” Modern culture venerates efficiency and busyness. In the bland drudgery of the workplace we may feel we are “hitting our heads against a brick wall”, “fighting against the odds”, as Mars/Saturn contacts may manifest as exhaustion, low libido, feelings of frustration, being motivated by fear or duty. There are bills to pay, encumbrances and obligations that bind us to roles, titles, and positions that harness our identities, that chafe against the pull of our souls. Mystic and poet,
The sky-script this month reflects the age-old issue of power. We may work in an office where our dignity is compromised, we may be in an environment where we don’t feel welcome, where power is misused, where we are merely treated like functionaries, our life force claimed and used, our souls never engaged. We are reminded that no system or corporation can exile us from our imagination, from the possibility of renewal that coheres to fresh possibilities for creativity in the work we do, or the passions that feed us after hours.
Leonard Cohen approached his creative work with doggedness and determination. He drew nourishment and meaning from hard work. “I think unemployment is the great affliction of man. Even people with jobs are unemployed. In fact, most people with jobs are unemployed. I can say, happily and gratefully, that I am fully employed. Maybe all hard work means is fully employed.” The combination of Mars/Saturn demands true grit, single-pointed focus, and the courage to lean into our lives when there are things that must be done, to tackle those things we fear the most, and also to stand on the edge of the rut, to turn towards those things that moisten, that nourish our soul. To say, happily and gratefully, that we are fully employed with those things that bring vitality and passion to our lives.
Mercury is in Retrograde ’til April 15th—a cosmic instruction to pause, step back from the busyness, disengage, focus inwards before making any decisions, carefully read the small print before signing any documents. Most astrologers would agree that these three-week Mercury retrograde phases are wonderful times to revalue, revise, repair, relocate, remember, regress, reunite, re-create, re-arrange and re-do on the purely physical mechanical level.
Mercury is in the element of fire, in the sign of Aries. Fire symbolism is associated with creativity, the Jungian intuitive function, the way we create our future. Mercury Retrograde in the element of fire signals a break in old patterns, a transition in our creative focus. We may attempt to “start something” without true inspiration and verve, or reach a very stuck place where eventually events, or emotions erupt, bringing destruction of the old. Yet in the rubble are new green shoots, new possibilities to grow, the much longed for changed we dreaded, yet unconsciously manifested.
We may have to find the courage to respond to the challenges in our lives with increased awareness, with more resilience. This is a time to shift focus, to perceive our lives with new vision. This is a time to adapt to change more creatively.
Physical illnesses that emerge during this time may nudge us back to those parts of our psyche that we have neglected or overused. The writer’s “block”, the flatness that we feel, might be a signal to change our daily routine, our technique. To try on something new, to experiment.
Depending on where Mercury is natally and in transit in your own birth chart, these next three weeks until Mercury goes direct again on April 15th may be a richly creative time. A time to seek your own inner wisdom, reclaim your own inner voice.
Saturn moves Retrograde at 9 degrees Capricorn on April 18th and will station direct on September 7th urging us to be resourceful, realistic, and pragmatic, as we take stock of those things that frustrate us, confront those fears that thread through our neural pathways, ambushing our peace from the shadows.
This month’s New Moon carries the standard of rejuvenation, represented by the lightning bolt conjunction with Uranus, the planet associated with the destruction of complacency and rigidity. This lunation heralds destruction and renewal. The Moon waxes Full on April 30th at 9 degrees Scorpio. Both lunations this month are ruled by Mars, the ancient god of war who awakens Eros, heats our blood, spurs our will.
The month ends as Mars confronts Pluto―April 24th to April 30th ― in a separating conjunction that may bring an honest acceptance of our own part in the soap opera of our relationships, our addiction to busyness, perhaps an awareness of the drives and compulsions that lie buried in our brain’s amygdala. This energy may be described as drawing a line, setting a boundary, and knowing what it is that we want, then going out to get it.
Mars and Saturn in Capricorn awaken our will to give space to the spontaneity of our feral souls, to shake off the chains that bind us to prescribed roles or identities which shrink us and dull our lives with repetitive, mechanical habit. We are reminded that we do not have to sell our souls to the seductive undertow of security. We do not have to stay trapped in the coal mine amidst dark seams of similarity. The turbulence of our soul’s yearning will guide us to leave the to-do lists aside as we step outside of our over-scheduled lives to engage deeply with ourselves. To be happily and gratefully, fully employed.
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