On August 22nd 2016, Mars exits his retrograde echo, or shadow period after retrograde. In other words, he is now moving past the point where he stopped and reversed motion in April. Over the next week, Mars embarks on a series of events and aspects that are unprecedented for thousands of years, transiting conjunct Saturn and fixed star Antares, a moon opposition, and then transiting square Neptune and the lunar nodes, all in a single week! Let’s start with the configuration that provides the background support energy for Mars as he exits his shadow and throughout all of his aspects next week- a grand trine between Neptune on the south node in Pisces, Vesta in Cancer, and Lilith in Scorpio, flanked by Juno and Isis. The Mars/Saturn/Antares conjunction is square Neptune and quincunx Vesta.
Vesta is Hestia, goddess of the hearth fire, which represents our ability to be passionate, to “feel alive,” to be generous, and to generally be in touch with ourselves and summon the fullness of our life force unencumbered by insecurity or fear. Vesta feels at home in Leo; her role in Cancer feels like a 12th house transit, gestational- our collective life force snoozing in her belly, waiting, growing by imperceptible increments.
Lilith is joined by Isis, solar goddess, as well as Juno queen of Heaven, whose theme is boundaries within relationships. As this goddess trio transits Scorpio, we feel the need to withdraw, to turn our desire to nurture inward, to care for ourselves rather than others, and/or sever ties to relationships that just do not seem worth the work anymore. It is empowering, but it is bittersweet.
Neptune on the south node has been a fixture of 2016, most prominently as one corner of May’s Grand Mutable Square that also featured Jupiter on the north node, Saturn in Sagittarius, and Venus/Sun/Moon in Gemini. Saturn square Neptune is one of the defining energies of this era, as our society’s old illusions are shattered as quickly and forcefully as new illusions seem to take their grip.
As Mars exits his retrograde echo, the energetic focus is pulling towards the south node, not the north. It may seem counter-intuitive, with Mars going forward and all, but this isn’t a time for “progress” as we typically think of what it means to make progress (especially also since Mercury is slowing down to station for his own upcoming retrograde) the energy in the sky is telling us to go within and reflect right now. The water sign asteroid goddesses encourage us to embrace this, to do the work on ourselves, to find stillness within ourselves and express the desire for love at the root of our life force, quietly, to ourselves. To sing a love song to ourselves as a direct conscious response to the information overload and confusion. Information addiction is a real thing and for those of us who feed that feeling of internal discomfort by information-seeking, now would be the best time to consciously stop seeking new information and reflect on the information that we already have. The brain is an amazing information filter. Give it a chance to do its job. Give it a chance to sort out the dizzying mess we’ve all ingested since the beginning of this insane year. For the rest of August 21st and the morning of August 22nd, the moon transits Aries and passes the Uranus/Eris conjunction. Tonight our dreams should be overflowing with messages, solutions, eurekas, and magic totems rising to the surface, keys to accessing what comes next.
Only a few hours after Mars exits his echo, the Sun enters Virgo (9:39am) and asteroid Hekate enters Gemini (10:26am) in contentious aspect to Pluto- see the chart and read more here – in short, Monday August 22nd is Bad Decision Day. Even for those who are in touch with yourself enough to resist the negative aspects of these energies, stay in your inner stillness, and reflect, you will still have to deal with the terrible and maybe even catastrophically bad choices made by the majority of people in the collective who are very confused right now, and feel the need to move forward just for the sake of moving. They are not ready to do the work on themselves, and they will not be ready for what comes next, but we can be.
Two days later, August 24th, Mars exacts his conjunction to Saturn and Antares. Saturn is at the end of his own retrograde period, stationed direct at 9 degrees throughout the entire month of August, the degree of fixed star Antares, also known as Alpha Scorpii, a red supergiant star, the Scorpion’s heart. At this same time, Venus at 23 Virgo exacting her opposition to Chiron at 23 Pisces. Uranus/Eris, and Apophis in Leo, are also in resonance at 23 degrees of Aries and Leo. Meanwhile the Moon is transiting Sedna in Taurus, trine the Virgo stellium and sextile Chiron.
Mars conjunct Saturn:
Mars conjunct Antares:
Please note that while Antares is identified at 10.00 Sagittarius on the zodiac, it is rounded up. The inset table clarifies that Antares’ true designation is 9.59 Sagittarius. The Mars/Antares conjunction takes place at 9 degrees, not 10.
Later that morning, one of my favorite asteroids, Prometheus, enters Cancer (10:25am, with Moon exact conjunct Sedna, 26 taurus) Prometheus, like Vesta, feels at home in Leo and turned inward in Cancer. Prometheus is soon to be followed across the summer solstice point by asteroid Persephone, a special place for her since it is as far away from the underworld as she can get. But more on that later.
August 24th may end up being a volatile day, with reports of violence. Mars transiting Saturn/Antares, plus Venus opposite Chiron, in aspect with Moon conjunct Sedna, all imply violence being manifested in a physical way, and that’s how we should see it, as darkness being purged from collective consciousness. Revealing hidden shadow is the first step to healing trauma, and facing the path that comes after is a deeply painful process. Those who are not ready are free to look away. More and more people every day are awakening to the self-realization that we chose to come here at this time to face these very shadows and evolve human consciousness. Committment to this mission is being tested…
The next day, August 25th, the Moon joins the star Aldebaran at 10 Gemini. “According to Ptolemy, Antares conjunct Mars is exceedingly violent if ’… at the same time the Moon is with Aldebaran’” (source) Moon/Aldebaran opposite Mars/Antares is one thing, but Saturn can not be left out of the picture. Moon/Aldebaran and Mars/Saturn/Antares opposed in February of 1986, and is associated with Chernobyl according to the above cited source. There is no record of it happening before that for at least two thousand years. And in an exact T-square to Neptune? Probably hasn’t happened for thousands more years than that. And in alignment with the lunar nodes? I think you get the idea. This has literally never happened before. While other factors lead me to believe Ptolemy’s basic observations may be verified, it will take an unprecedented form that challenges us all to stay engaged, to be brave enough to not look away, keep out hearts open, and be the change we wish to see. Eyes Open, No Fear. ❤
Near midnight on the evening of August 25th, Mars exacts his square to Neptune, a powerful karmic aspect for individuals that play a leading role in transforming shadow. Individuals with Mars in strong aspect to Neptune have to explore every inch of the dark, and by doing so, they create a map to the light. Or, they die young, overpowered by the demons they face naturally and without fear, leaving scraps of their maps behind that our culture voraciously consumes as art. Mars in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces is the embodiment of the challenge to saddle up and bravely confront the shadow side of the collective subconscious, a cosmic bottle of “liquid courage” giving us what we need to last through the battles (you can also pour Mars square Neptune brand liquid courage on your cosmic wounds to clean them…. true story)
As Mars squares Neptune, the Virgo sun is building a trine to Ceres in Taurus, filling out the whole other picture that includes asteroid Persephone, who I mentioned earlier. Persephone enters Cancer at 5:49pm on August 26th, the summer solstice point. At Zero Libra, Persephone enters the underworld (fall equinox); she is in the depth of the underworld at Zero Capricorn (winter solstice); she makes her way out of the underworld and returns to Ceres and our Earth realm at Zero Aries. So at the summer solstice point, Zero Cancer, Persephone is in full unity with her mother Ceres, who is currently radiating love and joy through Gaia from Taurus. The Sun’s trine to Ceres exacts around 11pm on August 27th, when the moon is at 15 Cancer, exact opposite Pluto 15 Capricorn! At the climax of this Mars story, Sun, Ceres, Persephone, Moon, and Pluto have created a scene that shows us how to shine a spotlight into the shadow without being dragged down into it. Team Ascension Winning!
On August 29th, one week beyond the echo, Mars exacts his T-square to the lunar node axis. The Moon in Leo and the Sun in Virgo are joined in resonance by Ceres, their final energetic checkpoint before the Virgo New Moon solar eclipse. Vesta and Lilith are still holding their positions in water signs.
Beyond the echo, beyond Saturn and Antares, and now square the lunar nodes, Mars is raging full throttle, ready to charge, into the subconcious, into the past, into the healfight, into the future, to fulfill our individual destinies and crumble all obstacles into dust. On the same day that Mars squares the nodes blazing maximum yang, Venus enters Libra, the pure essence of sweet yin, perfect balance.
The balance between the extreme polarity of Mars and Venus will be palpable for those of us who stay grounded (floating) in the grand water trine, turned inward, seeing the ugliness of the macro shadow without judgement, recognizing and identifying the inner micro part of the shadow we carry, and doing that work on ourselves to transform the individual consciousness that we came here to claim responsibility for. That mastery of Mars/Venus yin and yang will be our foundation for the frontiers that lie in the days leading into September, a Virgo new moon solar eclipse square Saturn and Antares, and Mercury station retrograde at 29 Virgo.