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The Red Planet [part two]
crimson daggers drawn

Neil Giles concludes his discussion of the effects of the 2005 Mars retrograde phenomenon and associated aspects. He examines the effects of the fixed stars and the planets on our lives during this testing period.

Mars conjoins with Algol and turns retrograde, so revenge or the desire to strike back or lash out may be an issue to face, personally and globally, as the clash of beliefs and intransigent commitment leads to action born of frustration or old anger. In addition to this, Venus in Scorpio and opposing Mars conjoins the fixed stars, Alpha Serpentis and Agena. Here the influence is mixed for Alpha Serpentis is a star of ill-fortune, bringing accident, shipwreck, loss, malice and fall after success. Some astrologers have seen her influence in earthquake in Turkey during the Grand Cross in the year of 1999. On a note with more of an element of fortune, Agena is known as the 'pain of learning' and is associated with success or triumph on the road to the wisdom made from 'hard won' lessons.

However, it is not only the nearness of Mars and the presence of the fixed stars that charge the heavenly dance. The red planet himself shapes our destinies by moving into hard aspect with Jupiter, lord of fortune, and Pluto, lord of the underworld.

The Finger of God

Mars turns retrograde in hard aspect to Jupiter and Pluto in a configuration called a Yod or the 'Finger of God'. Though for the purists, the angles involved are outside the accepted traditional margin of one degree, I still feel this formation is charged and potent. Mars enters the Yod in mid September, giving several weeks to build an energy that will seek urgent and explosive release. As the Yod gathers momentum, Saturn and Uranus also hover in an inconjunct (150 degrees), forming a Yod with Mercury in late September and the Sun in early October. Such configurations bring overwhelming events and defining decisions to our lives and our doorsteps. They can easily lead to eruptive violence if the consequences of action and the possibilities of harm to others are not taken into the calculations.

Even though the red planet passes out of aspect with Jupiter and Pluto, the Yod will be influential while Mars retrograde is in force. When Mars is at station (not moving) in early October and again from December 8th to 10th, there will be a powerful inclination towards events of a dramatic or karmic nature. Pluto and Mars can bring intense pressure and explosive forces to bear, creating events where superhuman endeavours must cope with the superhuman forces that have been released. At a mundane level, we must choose the right path and commit ourselves with all our vigour and intensity of effort. At a global level, we may in this period face the catastrophic release of forces, either of the natural world or of a human agency. The Middle East may be troubled by violent eruption. The people of China may be stricken by natural disaster. The Vatican may be dogged by accusations or bitterness about the past.

As Jupiter is in Libra, sign of fellowship and harmony, such events will test our beliefs in action. It's a popular phrase, 'walking the talk'. The last quarter of the year will take this phrase from the realm of the cliché and put it in our hands. We will be known by what we do, not what we say. With Jupiter and Pluto in a Yod with Mars, international movements and their leadership, governments, nations and the global situation will be drawn into powerful events that will in some way or other shape a new destiny for all of us.

In balance with this harder edge, Jupiter in Libra conjoins with the fortunate fixed stars, Arcturus and Spica. There can be benefit from the wild urges of Mars and Algol and even from the worst of their consequences as Arcturus signals a new approach while Spica holds the potential for brilliance and success. Thus, a new approach to an old problem may bring a breakthrough. Pluto conjoins with the fixed star, Ras Alhague, known as 'the desire to heal a wound'. Thus, if we turn the full force of our attention on dealing with problems, entering the shadow kingdom with honesty and courage, prepared to negotiate with the underworld lord, we can make a difference. Truly, this is a time when an apparent destiny can be changed by sheer force of will and the commitment to act for the highest good. If an 'old head' passes, perhaps a 'new head' will find its place in both personal and global leadership. However, if we sit, intransigent, seething over old hurts or wounds, the hard edge of that bitterness will come to plague us.

Healing the Past

Mars retrograde can be a powerful healing time if we are prepared to look back and consider the deep-rooted effects of the loss of something or someone, a loss that has hurt or held us back. Thus, we can acknowledge anger or frustration without 'taking it out' on someone, including ourselves. Generally, the time may bring intense romantic encounters. We may find that people from our past come back into our lives or we may discover that a new situation re-opens an old wound. We may have to resolve something that has been left unattended for too long.

What's important is that we go over the way that we do things and review our 'action style', changing what is outmoded or outdated. Some of us may have to deal with the impact from the past of the 'hard line' values by which we've been known. The signs of Taurus and Scorpio rule matters of ownership so we may have cause to look at our possessive nature. We may have to address issues of what is gone from us, what is not 'ours'. We may need to examine any divide between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots', personally and socially, no matter which side of the divide we think we're on.

Martian Mapping

During the course of his retrograde journey, Mars again becomes inconjunct with Pluto on Oct 17th, bringing powerful events and decisions as the Full Moon comes with a Lunar Eclipse in the sign of Aries. He clashes with Mercury on October 22nd, bringing the risk of accident, argument and conflict. A cosmic wrestling match comes at the end of the first week of November as Mars opposes the Sun while both form a square to mystic Neptune.

This peaks on November 6th in a configuration reminiscent of the one that triggered the flooding in the southern states of the USA. We may see further fallout or repercussions in that beleaguered region and there will be meteorological disturbances in other locations. Incidents with weapons, firearms and explosives may be prominent. Chemicals, disease or water (Neptune) may play a part. This is no time to indulge or take risks. This is a time to act in accordance with the highest aspirations and beliefs that we share in the human community. Meditation and spiritual practices are favoured.

A testing encounter between Mars and Saturn, the measurer of effort, comes mid month, peaking on November 17th. This will bring hardship and events that call for endurance and a determination to take the right course. As Mercury the messenger also enters a retrograde phase on November 14th, squaring revolutionary Uranus, we shall certainly be living in an interesting time, as the saying goes. And, even as the red planet moves forward again on December 9th, he does so in a T-square with Jupiter now in Scorpio and retrograde Saturn in Leo. This will bring intense or powerful clashes of belief and something of an uphill run for our efforts, as well as the necessity of dealing with the actions or the stubbornness of intransigent forces or people. It may be difficult to know whom to trust for advice or guidance. One authority may set itself against another.

I know that, on the face of it, little of this will sound uplifting. However, it is instructive and the truth is that these influences are there. It's up to us to work with them. Some of us will certainly live lives relatively untouched by it all. The signs of Aries, Scorpio, Taurus and the people and places that have Mars under pressure in their charts or are aspected by Mars on his reverse journey will certainly enter these spheres. Some may benefit, as a retrograde planet brings the opportunity to redress outstanding matters. However, those of us not touched directly will surely be moved by the situations of those who are.

In any cycle of change, foreknowledge and wisdom are our powers. Astrology is essentially a seasonal science and there is no value in its practice if one is not prepared to say, 'it is the season of these things'. Positive determination can and will solve all problems, once it can recognize the problem's nature. The times reveal what season we are in. Solutions lie in the understanding and proper use of the energies of the time. For me, that is the gift and brilliance of astrology. Enter the red planet's review with patience and honesty and you can positively change what you value and how you act in the pursuit of what is valuable.

Here endeth the lesson.

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