When a planet stations, i.e. is about to change direction, it gets very strong. A stationary planet can show us our weak areas or blind spots related to that planet — areas that we could stand to work on during retrograde. Right now, you’re getting a sneak preview: How are you relating to Mars in your life?
I’ve been coming face to face with how other people’s energy effects me. Last night, while attending a class on using feminine energy to heal, we did an exercise where we were instructed to feel into others’ auras. I felt fear and paranoia (natal Mars-Pluto opposition) and had the profound awareness that I definitively did NOT want anyone to enter my energetic field. As people neared, I felt like a fierce lioness, or perhaps a cornered wolf, baring its teeth. I described this feeling of extreme vulnerability, and my classmates respectfully backed off. The instructor graciously said I have strong self-trust and warrior-ess energy, but suggested this defensive impulse is also keeping me from fully expressing my gifts. Yep.
With Mars in Aries in my sixth house, it’s vital that I learn how to use my energy in work, to work for me, not against me, but opposed by Pluto in the twelfth house, I can unconsciously absorb other people’s energy – typically the “garbage bin” feelings no one wants or likes. For instance, I was sitting with a friend and I was feeling fine. An hour later, after she left, I became overwhelmed by profound feelings of worthlessness that lasted hours. Luckily, I identified the energy as “not me” and was able to release it using EFT. But I can get confused; when others’ energy blends with mine, I can mistake their feelings for my own, and that can result in major internal conflict.
Working on my spiritual boundaries, and healing my wounds to feeling safe, are my Mars retrograde marching orders. Like a good Mars in Aries, I’m taking action: ordering books and I have teachers, but it will be a process- because, well, Mars is about to go retrograde, and everything related to Mars will be a process. I don’t think Mars retrograde is a period about *not taking action*, but rather, taking deeply considered action, in which refinements to plans and approaches will likely need to be made. Yet it’s also a time when people can go into a freeze response, be ambivalent about taking action, spin out into self-doubt and decide, out of fear, to not do anything — which is its own information.
Consider this week your pre-retrograde peep show of what’s to come during Mars’ extended stay retrograde in Sagittarius (9-0 degrees) and Scorpio (30-23 degrees) from April 17- June 29. Mars will station-retrograde square Neptune in Pisces, a spiritual warrior-ship planetary type combination that speaks to invisible energies, the subtle, unconscious realms we cannot see, but can sense and feel. Also, Pluto turns retrograde the same day. This is a “more than meets the eye” Mars period.
Mars Retrograde, Generally
Imagine your Mars as a furnace that creates steady heat in your life. As Mars goes retrograde, there’s more of it. If not channeled into an appropriate physical activity or goal, it can create inflammation – in the ego, body, mind. Mars is ego-central. It’s all about ME. Unfortunately, the ego likes pain because it feeds its innate sense of self-righteousness and desire for justice. That’s why so many people get addicted to rage and anger. It feels good to get fired up! Spiritual teacher Adyashanti says, “The ego is addicted to pain.” That’s a statement we might all meditate upon during this time. Adrenaline is, literally, an addictive drug, and one that gets fueled by our personal histories, built up resentments, and self-righteousness.
Mars holds our warrior energy, our anger, need to assert, protect our self, our approach to ambition and new projects –as well as our lack of those same things, and resultant feelings of fear, defenselessness, discouragement, anxiety. During Mars retrograde, we need to consciously work with our anger and energy in creative ways so that it doesn’t implode or explode. When Mars retrograded through Libra, my relationships showed me where I needed to hold stronger boundaries. We can see a need for, and acquire, new tools to work with our Mars issues. Constructively, I signed up for a course called Boundaries Bootcamp and bought the great book, Where to Draw the Line by Anne Katherine.
Mars rules courage, and the flipside of courage is fear. Fear is something to work with, yet not given free rein. I love this analogy author Elizabeth Gilbert uses in her book Big Magic. She says she allows fear to be in the car, the vehicle of her life, but only as a passenger – not supplying the map, not controlling what’s playing on the radio, and definitely not driving! Fear never dissipates through avoidance (which creates paralysis of will that keeps us stuck), but we can find creative ways of facing and voicing our fear during this period, thus diminishing its influence.
Impatience is another theme during this time. We may want to get on with things, to make things happen, and discover obstructors- both internal and external- to meeting our goals. If our energy is being stymied, we may feel stressed, like a shaken up bottle of soda. Engaging the physical body, blowing off steam by exercising, having sex, dancing, can help with the bottled up feeling. Relaxing activities, moving at a slower pace, can give us the calm and sustained energy we seek.
In a nutshell, don’t let your fear, or your ego, drive the show. A friend of mine once said, If you want the ego to stop making trouble, just give it something, anything – a house to clean, car to fix – to do.
Mars RX themes:
Rethinking how we: use our energy, anger, sexuality, assertion, ambition, approach new things.
Redefining our boundaries in areas of work and relationship, especially.
Refining our goals, approaches and actions taken during this time.
Slowing down, reassessing an area of life (initially, the area Mars transits, also area it rules/natal house placement), identifying a need to acquire new resources in these areas.
Expect projects related to the area Mars transits/rules to go slower than planned.
How does Mars work in your chart?
We only experience a transit through our natal placement. That’s a solid rule of thumb for every transit. If you are having a Pluto transit, a trigger will occur in the house/sign it transits, but your relationship to your natal Pluto determines the theme. Likewise, with Mars, you’ll want to look to the following:
-natal house holding 9 degrees Sagittarius – 24 degrees Scorpio
-the house(s) Mars rules (those with Aries and Scorpio on cusp)
-natal placement of your Mars (include its house and aspects)
As you examine your chart, think about how Mars shows up in your life. Is he reactive or proactive? Fierce or fearful? What blockages can you identify that this Mars RX could help? Are there ways you could work with his energies more constructively? Do you need new resources? As Mars loves strategies, this period may require us to develop some healthier strategies around our Mars – and that’s a good thing.