I was out in the ocean with my precocious Gemini niece. She loves the water, but today she was being clingy and climbing all over me. I asked her to stop; being a climbing gym for a five year old just doesn’t feel good! But she didn’t listen. I got frustrated, angry. She became surly. We stopped playing. Later, feeling guilt and shame for disappointing our chance to play in the ocean (which I’d been building up for months), I went back into the ocean with her. We did the same exact dance all over again, but this time it left me with an injured back and a night of missed sleep.

Mars attacks!!!

Mars is retrograding* through my fourth house at this Solar Eclipse in Cancer, both the fourth and Cancer ruling family and home. Of course, my extended family came for a visit. It’s funny how synchronous the universe is in providing a testing ground for Mars RX issues to surface. In the area Mars is transiting in your chart, you, too, are being irritated, having your warrior mettle piqued and triggered.

Mars is about taking action to get what you want. In my early family dynamic there were two choices when it came to getting what anyone wanted or needed. Either you played by the rules and didn’t bother even trying, or your needs compromised everyone else’s. Two choices: sacrifice your self -or- be selfish.

Not good choices. Neither come from an authentic place.

So, it makes sense that my natal chart features Mars in Aries opposed by Pluto in Libra, with my Cancer Sun at the apex. Pluto can sublimate any archetype, repressing its natural expression because that instinct has been deemed bad, wrong, dangerous, untrustworthy. Anger, a natural extension of learning to honor one’s limits and selfhood, was the bogeyman that was never allowed to enter the room.

One thing I’ve learned about anger, in my anger re-education. Underneath it always lurks: fear. Which was appropriate for my situation with my niece… My anger was trying to protect me from getting hurt! But I felt such shame about that anger.

So, when I went back in, energetically, to clear it, and imagined giving myself permission to take care of myself, I could see the alternative. If I had been more secure in the knowledge that I could take care of myself (Sun in Cancer), and calmly redirected her, she wouldn’t have gotten fussy and felt blamed by me. We would play in shallow water where she wouldn’t want to cling. Everyone would have felt better.

What is Mars retrograde teaching you about your relationship to your anger, desire, goals, independence, sexuality, limits and boundaries? Pulled muscles, thwarted action, boundary issues, frustration…these are common manifestations of any Mars retrograde period. But if you go no further, and chalk it all up to “Mars retrograde” you would be missing out on the opportunity to unravel the symbolism, the “why” behind “what’s” occurring. Mars is about honoring your limits, how you hold your warrior energy. That’s why the muscle gets pulled. That’s why the car accident happens.

Maybe your Mars has been wounded in life, too, like mine, hobbling along on one cylinder. It’s not uncommon. Culture is either in love with aggression and desire, or demonizes it. On the whole, unless he’s in uniform (cop, or armed forces) we don’t respect Mars so much. We burn out our adrenals trying to achieve goals. We fail to stand up for our selves, accepting the consequences of that -stress and pain- as “the way things are”. We do things we don’t enjoy instead of taking the initiative to build a life that we do.

Well then, why not use this time to pull over and take a much needed pit stop? To regroup and relate to your Mars, differently? We’ll be given more opportunities to do so– as the next Full Moon Lunar Eclipse on 7/27/18 conjoins Mars.

*Mars went retrograde on 6/25/18 at 9 degrees of Aquarius, and directs on 8/27/18 at 29 degrees of Capricorn. In your chart, look at the area between 29 Cap-9 Aquarius.