War-god Mars casts his scarlet, retrograde shadow over our lives from April 18 until June 29, igniting the warm embers of passion, engorging the hot thrust of lust, heating his sword in the fire of our anger, calling us to battle. As Mars slowly caresses the thigh of the heavens, he brings to our attention the call of our soul for more passion, more movement, more creative expression. He highlights our primitive responses to situations we perceive as fearful or life-threatening.
Mars slows from April 16 and will pause on April 18th at eight degrees Sagittarius. This retrograde cycle has the elemental qualities of fire and ice as Mars retreats into the frozen darkness of Scorpio, a sign that he rules. This could be an intense time for those of us who have planets in that segment of the zodiac (between 8 degrees Sagittarius and 23 degrees Scorpio) and will certainly be far more powerful than the previous retrograde cycle of March-May, 2014, when Mars moved through Libra. Mars in Scorpio has a different kind of feel. Here he dons the armour of an ancient Samurai warrior and moves through the zodiac with single-pointed focus and silent intent reminiscent of his last great journey from Sagittarius to Scorpio 79 years ago when the world was simmering toward the heat of war. This in turn was a cyclical repetition of a previous Sagittarius/Scorpio cycle of 1858.
There’s nothing nice about Mars in his primal form. Mars likes to pick a fight. When Mars is imprisoned or castrated he howls in impotent rage or breaks through the bars. Novelist, Margaret Atwood, born in 1939, wrote in Power Politics:
“you fit into me
like a hook into an eye
a fish hook
an open eye…”
words which describe the cruelty and possessiveness of a dysfunctional Mars.
Over these next few weeks, our perception of our basic human drives—anger, desire and sexuality—may shift quite imperceptibly or perhaps we may come to a realisation that our passions and desires are also our life force. Only we can change our patterns with more conscious awareness as Mars casts his redness over those areas in our lives where we perceive ourselves to be powerless or powerful, where we play victim or controller.
When the raw energy of Mars is dismissed or cruelly bridled, this energy erupts in the sharp edge of violence, sexual fetish or sadomasochism.
Hatred and aggression—and carnivorous sexual intent—aren’t our ‘dark’ side. Our dark side is the side that denies its own existence ~ David Schnarch
Violence comes from the Latin, vis which means “life force”, this thrust of life, this dangerous and violent birthing of something new and visible. Violence, that twists and turns around itself like a scorpion’s sting, perpetuates what Eckhart Tolle calls “the pain body” that foetid swamp, that no-man’s land where we linger in purgatory, sometimes for years—as we fling burning arrows at our partners or over the walls at our neighbours. Mars runs amok in countries where human hearts are ruptured by hate-speak or physical aggression. “Hatred and aggression—and carnivorous sexual intent—aren’t our ‘dark’ side. Our dark side is the side that denies its own existence,” writes David Schnarch, author of Intimacy and Desire.
Mars has two moons named Phobos (panic/fear) and Deimos (terror/dread). Fear seduces us into a frozen state of knee-jerk reactivity as it seeps its dank chill into our homes and our bones. Fear lodges in our brain synapses and replays its nightmarish refrain in the old stories we tell ourselves about our lives, our relationships, and the world.
Perhaps we might accept that the lens through which we see the world is predisposed to battle, that we thrive on the heat of combat. Perhaps accept that as we tear through the world, distracted, pushing, straining, that adrenal burnout could bring us to our knees. Or acknowledge that we thrive on the drama and the action that combat brings.
As this planet of war and carnal desire journeys above the trajectory of our lives and we co-resonate with the cosmos, we may need to slow down, calm down, acknowledge that the battle out there is actually the battle within: Our self-sabotage, the audio loops of our negative self-defeating thinking, the stories we have been telling ourselves for years about the world around us and those who staunch our ability to realise our core aliveness.
If we are not able to act out our desires, our aggressive Mars energy implodes into the dank darkness of what is labelled “depression”. Our instinctive forces are flayed by a frazzled sense of overwhelm. Our relationships lack passion and emotional closeness, our heroic valour seems diminished.
The Samurai knows that power is not always about taking action. He knows that we protect our soul power by protecting the soul power of other living things. Our strength lies in our vulnerability, in our willingness to dis-arm, remove our breast plate, to open our heart. Our power may arise from failure and loss. It may emerge from the white ashes of depression. If we embrace the grace of the red planet energy effectively during this retrograde period, we will allow ourselves the space for reflection and contemplation. We’ll renegotiate those parts of our lives that feel stagnant and lack lustre, and allow a new rush of life to energise and renew our work and relationships, and forge a renewed connection with our soul life.
For astrology consultations via Skype or in person please email Ingrid at: Ingrid@trueheartwork.com
Another insightful blog on Mars this month: Margarita Celeste
José González – Stories We Build, Stories We Tell