Sagittarius & Capricorn Festivals:
The End of Year 2007
Subtle Meanings of the Astrological Aspects at the end of 2007 
Every planet has certain key words that describe its action on the human psyche. Beginning with Mars, perhaps the most appropriate key word or phrase for that planet is 'personal volition/assertiveness'. That is what is typically imparted by Mars in its direct (normal) motion. When the motion is retrograde, however – and this applies to any planet – the normal expression of the planet is turned in on itself and is thus frustrated in the outer world. There is a blessing in this, though, because the energies of the planet can then be used as a springboard for an 'inner journey' of sorts – a vision quest, if you will – regarding the activities of whatever planet is involved. Mars, for example, largely has rulership over the persona esoterically considered, and imparts willfulness to the native. As such, it brings a fair amount of conflict with it because assertive people are not generally welcomed by many in our society, especially when we are on the receiving end of the assertive person.
Overall, we need Martian energy to move us out into the world, to achieve our goals, to pit ourselves against the world, to test our mettle, to assert ourselves personally and to initiate action. That is how Mars 'behaves' when direct. When retrograde, the reverse is often seen to be true, at least to outer appearances. When a person has Mars retrograde natally they may be seen to be ineffectual in the world in many ways, being uncomfortable with what society deems to be normal modes of expressing one's self. They may seem to lack courage in the outer world or to withdraw under stress. Instead of the fire showing on the surface, it 'blazes within', and until the Mars retrograde person recognizes their own dynamic and comes to terms with it, the result can decidedly self-destructive at times.
The Warrior Planet
Mars is the 'warrior planet'. For one with retrograde Mars natally, the fighting spirit is turned inward. The best expression of this type of dynamic is seen in the artist or the person of decided spiritual (inward) inclination. It is a brilliant placement for anyone seeking to face and do battle with their 'inner demons'. Psychological work and counseling are natural avenues of expression for the Mars retrograde type. Such people need a safety valve, though, because all that energy turned inward, unless one knows where and how to direct it, can build up suddenly and manifest in any of a number of self-destructive actions – accidents, substance abuse, addictions, self-harming, etc. That is why any type of artistic or spiritual work is great for the Mars retrograde person because it gives a natural outflow for the Martian energy and creative impulse. Having said all this, the same applies when Mars goes retrograde by progression or transit, as it did on the 16th of this month. Mars will be in its retrograde phase until 31 Jan 2008. During that period (especially considering the lunar months during that time), find a creative/spiritual/psychological outlet, especially if you have planets around the first half of cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn). If you feel frustrated between now and the start of the Chinese New Year, find a positive way of releasing it! Otherwise, accidents are a very real threat and the tendency will be for blow-ups, arguments, relationship breaks and problems with the law.
Mars crossed into its shadow area in mid-September of this year, so anything that was lingering on that needed to be dealt with at that time is coming up for review now. Look within for the reasons for your frustrations then, deal with them and be done with it, if you have not already. It is time to face the enemy within. It is a well-known Buddhist aphorism that if you want to be rid of your 'enemies', be done with your anger (Mars rules anger). I will say the following as well – if you have had some piece of spiritual/inner work you have been putting off, pursue it aggressively now. You will not get a chance like this again for another two years.
In all, the Mars retrograde period is one in which personal affairs will feel thwarted in some way unless one spends a lot of time reflecting and doing something really creative-more in solitude, not so much in the world. The latter sentence takes on a special meaning at the Capricorn solar festival on Christmas Eve, because Mars is involved in a very potent pattern of planetary energies across the Cancer/Capricorn axis. We will have more on that in a bit. Mars will finally leave its shadow area on 4 Apr 08, thus completing the dynamics of the retrograde phase, which actually began in mid-September when it entered the shadow area. (The shadow area is the span of the zodiac a planet traverses during its retrograde period.)
An Expressionist Painter at Work
The next planet to consider in terms of retrogradation is Saturn. It crossed into its shadow area at the same time as Mars – in mid-September. Thus, we have a double emphasis upon events that were taking shape around that time and continuing during the entire period through mid-April of next year. Saturn reaches its retrograde station on Dec 18th on the 9th degree of Virgo, the symbol for which reads:
“An expressionist painter at work.”
It finally reaches its direct station on the 2nd degree of Virgo on the 3rd of May next year, the symbol for which reads:
“A large white cross dominates the landscape.”
What began in mid-September of this year might be called, as Dane Rudhyar states it, a 'liberating ordeal'. It has certainly been a liberating period since then, and in a number of ways for different people. It has also been a trying time in many ways. What we will gain from the experience of Saturn's sojourn in its shadow area is compassion and, hopefully, the requisite wisdom. The die has been cast since 15 Sept. The key word for Saturn is 'necessity'. As Saturn moves in direct motion we are called to upon to do that which is necessary in the outer world and to find or create the opportunities for growth through the experiences of that. When Saturn reverses direction at the retrograde station next month we will have the opportunity to reflect upon what we have done or learned. If we have 'done the right thing' in the time leading up to the station, then the retrograde period can be a time wherein we can gain some very positive insights into our recent experiences. If we have missed something in the mix and not done what we were called upon to do, then the retrograde period of Saturn can be a painful and frustrating time.
A strong sense of unfinished business is likely to characterize the period between Dec 18th and May 3rd. There are liable to be setbacks to or postponements of people's worldly ambitions (Mars and Saturn both rule personal ambition). If there are unaccountable setbacks during those months then one can be certain that there are inner adjustments to be made to one's thinking, or that something vital to one's plans has been missed or ignored. What is demanded during the Saturn retrograde interlude is the fulfillment of one's inner growth. A very important point needs to be made here: Look back in your diaries to mid-September and see what was going on in your life. Then look at what has happened in the lead-up to mid-December. Have you had make certain necessary adjustments in your life? Were they made in accord with your own higher good and the highest good of those around you? Are conditions better since then, moving toward some sort of resolution, stalemated or has all gone horribly wrong? Has this especially been the case since the 24th of June this year? (More on that in a bit.)
If mistakes have been made, then the retrograde period of Saturn will show us what those were. If we have made the correct choices, then we will have an opportunity to reflect upon how things can be improved even more. Saturn retrograde is a time of careful, inner planning and readjustments. If either station takes place near, square or opposing natal planets or on angles, then the effects of Saturn will be even more pronounced, poignant or fulfilling. Remember, Saturn hovers around the eclipse degree of 20 Aug 07 (4° Virgo/Pisces), so emotional concerns will take on an even more fated feel than usual, especially if natal planets are involved.
In part three of this article Malvin concludes his discussion of the planetary themes and examines the Capricorn Solar Festival, the Full Moon in Cancer on Christmas Eve.
Now read part three of The Sagittarius & Capricorn Festivals at the end of 2007.