The Retrograde cycles within the Mars Retrograde Cycle for August 2005 through February 2006

August 12th brings the most rare of all planetary retrogrades into full play once again in its 2 year 2 month (approx.) orbit of the sun. Mars’ complete retrograde cycle is from August 12th through February 4/5th of 2006 . Though Mars’ actual period in retrograde motion is from October 2nd 2005 through December, the full cycle occupies almost a full six months. Mars will remain between 8° Taurus and 23° Taurus, in this cycle, as it transits up to 23° Taurus, then stations retrograde back to 8° Taurus, where it stations direct, then forward again over those degrees to 23° Taurus.  Within that time frame, the Sun is triggering primary dynamic aspects between all the outer planets in their own Retrograde cycles (primary dynamic aspects: conjunction, square, quincunx, opposition). The Retrograde cycles are all Sun related, and are all part of major events that are synchronous with those aspects. Seen in the whole solar system astrological pattern, this is definitely the winter of our discontent.

The Four Stages of the Full Mars Retrograde Cycle in 2005-06: 1. August 12th: Mars 8° 14’ Taurus.  2. October 2nd: Mars stations-retrograde (SRx) at 23° 22’ [From October 2nd through December 8th, Mars will track back over the degrees from 23° to 8°. 3. December 11th: Mars stations-direct (SD>) at 8 � 14’ Taurus.[From December 11th through February 4th 2006, Mars will track forward over the same degrees]. 4. February 4th: Mars passes back over the degree at which it stationed retrograde back in October, and thus ends the full cycle. Any personal point in a natal chart that is in the 7� – 22� range (of any sign, harmonically, but specifically in your natal chart degree points) will have three passes of Mars over that point.

These phases are fully interpreted later, below, in this article . . . Overview of Retrograde Cycles and Mars: it is all about the Sun:

All retrograde planetary motion at both stations - direct and retrograde - is triggered by the transit of the Sun against the backdrop of the zodiac and its position relative to the planet itself. From our geocentric viewpoint there are precise periods for each planet wherein it appears to stop, track back against the zodiac, stop again, and begin to move forward once again.  Of the superior planets, Mars is unique in the timing and aspect pattern of retrogression. Whereas all the other superior planets have an annual, rhythmic pattern - from Jupiter through Pluto - Mars retrograde cycles occur only every two years and two months. (For full interpretations and cycles of all the planets read “Retrograde Planets: Traversing the Inner Landscape”, Weiser Books, 2000. By Erin Sullivan – this book is available online on this site - go to Books, Tapes, Videos on the main navigation bar.)

Because of this arrhythmic motion, both collectively and individually we become accustomed to Mars’ straightforward direct transits as it marks its two-year two month return cycles, spending approximately two months in each sign. The whole of the retrograde cycle itself - not only the period of actual retrogression (sixty days) but also the full half-year – is vitally important for all of its aspects.

Therefore, the full retrograde cycle begins when Mars transits the degree at which it will station-direct four months later, and ends only when Mars passes over the degree at which it stationed-retrograde. This cycle covers one half of a year.

Why does it do that? Due to its period of orbit - which is almost exactly a double-twin to that of earth’s - the stations of Mars occur most frequently in the area of Cancer, Leo and Virgo, and least frequently in Sagittarius, Capricorn and Aquarius.  The other superior planets, Jupiter through Pluto, have annual cycles, thus becoming infused into our unconscious, which readily adapts to regular, ritualistic and cyclic activity. Although the other superior planets too have their “shock points” and destabilizing effects at the stations, they are more harmonically ingrained into the psyche because of their regular stations and retrogrades each year in rhythmic fashion As a “double twin” of our earth, it’s axial tilt is virtually the same, and it has a similar four-season year, but while its seasons are six-month seasons, earth’s are each three-months long. The earth orbits the Sun in one year and Mars in two, so earth finally catches up with Mars in its orbit about every two years and two months - then, after a retrograde period of about two months (average of sixty days), it resumes its direct motion for another two years and two months. Another significant difference between Mars and the other superior planets is its relationship to the Sun around the times it is stationing - both retrograde and direct:

Whereas all other superior planets are already retrograde when in a trine to the Sun, Mars is not – its trine to the Sun occurs BEFORE it stations-retrograde! In turn, this fifteen degree span focuses on one specific area of one’s natal horoscope, and spend at least half the year in one house, or transit retrograde back into the previous one for part of that time! Thus, from August ‘05 to February ‘06 Mars will slowly, thoroughly transit a small sector of your horoscope, back and forth!

A Psychological View of Mars Retrograde: Maverick Ares, God of War

In the retrograde pattern of all superior planets other than Mars, there are only three Ptolemaic aspects made by a superior retrograde planet to the Sun - a trine, a quincunx, and an opposition. Those three aspects are the retrograde aspects formed in the retrograde zone. However, when Mars is retrograde, it makes only the quincunxes and an opposition. No trine. The significance of this will be made clear later on in the precise timing given in this article. Mars has its own period and cycle, differing radically from all other superior planets and its physics generate its nature - rebellious, assertive, proactive, aggressive, filled with a lust for life and projects self expression. Mars rules thumos - ?umos - the ancient Greek concept for ‘life force’ - the libido in Latin. When Mars begins its lengthy, maverick wandering back over degrees already touched, and back over again, the actual phases in the cycle are useful to work with. The slow burn that the transit of Mars retrograde engenders can be both psychologically corrosive and physically depleting; as well as release frustrated energy. The opposition from the Sun in the sky to Mars, in mid-cycle, brings a ‘flashpoint’ for anger, frustration or hostility, simultaneously illuminating suppressed or latent circumstances and awareness that may have lain dormant or sleeping in the course of the last couple of years.  Typically, people ignore or suppress frustration, putting it aside for “a better time” to realize or deal with it. Often this delay tactic plays out as a form of aggression, or worse, absolute passive aggression. Unrealized or unspecified frustration or anger is easily misplaced or displaced. A state of ‘unrealized Mars’ lies at the core of all discord and conflict, and this is a phenomenon that is both apparent in individuals as well as within the global collective psyche. On a psychological level, during the Mars retrograde cycle, we can become more conscious of distress caused by frustrated creativity and passion and unfulfilled desire and ambition. It is a time for civilizing the animal nature, and cultivating raw potential. However, all things, great and small require work and effort, and this cycle is all about that. Though the transiting Mars focuses on a very small arc in the natal chart (1/24th of the chart, to be precise), the transiting Sun will move through six natal houses throughout the entire Mars Retrograde cycle! Because the “answer” to the question: “what does the outer planetary transit mean”, lies in the area [house/s] that the sun is transiting, there are several key times in the retrograde cycle that will be illuminating – those are delineated at the end of this article. 

The Shadowed Mars:

An unrealized, or shadowed, Mars leaves us vulnerable to happenstance aggression; if an individual’s conscious will is not personally engaged, then “things happen to” that person. The predominant complaint in this situation, is of ‘a bad fate or ill luck’ or ‘other people’ are doing/did or are about to do things.  I am not being extreme with the concept of projection but rather illustrating that there is a duality of involvement with all events – the object and the subject – if there is a vast split between one’s own experience and the participation in that experience, it is often felt as an attack . . . which, indeed, it may well be. Alternatively one might be unconscious of the “attack” mode of one’s own behavior, and not understand why a friend or lover or boss, et cetera, is avoiding/resisting or rejecting!

On the deepest level of unconscious, we are active participants in our fate, and thus, do have some volition, but if someone drunk driving, hits your car, you could not be blamed for your complicity in that, however, I would suggest you ask: “what was going on in my life that coincides with this aggressive experience”. Astrology tends not to put anything down to bad luck, but through events and external/internal disruptions we do attempt more fully to understand how a person experiences his or her life. Since Mars is a highly projectable agent, that is, so very easily externalized and put ‘out there’, we simply must reconcile our own role within our eventful environment!  Projection comes from the Latin, pro-iacta, to throw out or across! So we throw our aggression or anger out toward another person, or a group, or a circumstance, so we can see it more clearly. Ultimately, containing the projection, or NOT throwing the feelings/rage outward, results in more control and power. Mars then becomes a powerful agent for individuation rather than a knee-jerk response to insensitive or plain old mean people.

If anger and rage is wholly projected out onto an object, it then it becomes the source of some of the most common complaints people have - bad timing; social conflict; accidents; misdirected anger; guilt; introjected blame; self abuse; painful relationships; depression and health problems. And, within those each one off those maladies, lies the cure. If we cannot acknowledge our own shadow – that which we would NEVER be or do - then magically it will appear in the form of an event, or as a projection, because the outer world is an eventful mirror of the inner self.  With Mars, particularly, projection is commonplace - it is so much more economical to have other people declare our wars, and behave badly because then we might not have to assume responsibility ourselves! Passive aggression is when an individual has rejected his or her own “primitive” self, and simply allows his or her “other” to carry it. This phenomenon is very common and easily recognized: “I am angry, but it is not nice to be so, thus you will be the one to feel it and act it out”. Passive aggressive people always seem calm - if manipulative - and all their friends, spouses and so on, are rushing about frothing at the mouth and in a fury!

Alternately, a shadowed Mars might behave such that it allows us to be a victim, a hapless recipient of other people’s anger; if this is the kind of experience you are having it might do to look at your own role in this during the Mars retrograde period. If our own personal Mars is projected outward, then other people are left to do the dirty work of being angry with us, or rejecting us, acting out our own aggression on our behalf! Mars is then out of one’s own control and thus, not empowering at all. In the management of personal energy, Mars cycles play a positive role. Some feelings that arise during a Mars retrograde cycle may be deeply uncomfortable, such as: infantile rage; suppressed painful memories; old passions long dormant; knee-jerk reactions; fantasies of revenge, and so on. But, they can be all to the good if healing and consciousness are the intended result.

Depression, normally associated with Saturn, also is a Mars function. Melancholy is a ‘black anger’, from the Greek melan (black) and cholos – (rage) and alchemically, it is the ‘dark bile’ that activates anger. People with natal Mars retrograde often have to cope with periodic depressions of energy and operate in spurts of revolutionary activity. In fact, the natal Mars retrograde person is a revolution waiting for the right movement! It is a very fine natal position to have, but requires a tremendous amount of effort and focus to do its work positively.

Melancholy is an embodied psychic condition, and presents physical symptoms such as skin conditions and eruptions; bone/joint problems; arthritic conditions; dental problems; headache, kidney malfunction; exhaustion, immune-deficiency illnesses; lack of motivation; self-destructive acts and not always but most often, a true clinical depression.  All these affairs sound pretty dreadful, but in fact, all people experience various aspects of those symptoms to some degree at various times. It is when one or more of the symptoms become dominant and repetitive - autonomous if you will - that we are looking at a “Mars problem” - one that can be moderated, and more consciously during the Mars retrograde cycle. There are psychopathologies also associated with inverted Mars, such as unresolved conflict and anger (intimately related to arthritic conditions); accidents due to carelessness; lack of coordination; low motivation; irritability; loss of resources; repetitive arguing; “bad timing” and, ultimately, a profound melancholia, better known today as depression. It is no stretch of the imagination that all these difficult symptoms lie buried at the root of bad relationships as well.

All these conditions can be exacerbated when Mars is retrograde. Hence, working to balance psychosomatic (soul/body) symptoms is a necessity during this time, and in accord with natural rhythms in our system. Repressing rage is a false economy - it will erupt or be displaced, causing no end of problems that are difficult to source. Best to go to the origin of the feelings.

Similarly, all cultures have Mars in their collective psyche, and war is no stranger to history. Indeed, the rise and fall of all dynasties, empires and cultures are based in and around war. On September 8th, 2001, Mars left its retrograde cycle, and three days later, the now infamous “9/11” occurred! (See the article: “Mars Retrograde 2001: Maverick on the Loose”) on this site.

Mars is significant in the individuation process of cultures, especially in the realm of boundary definition and alpha aggression. Hence, the individual relationship we have with Mars is simply writ large, but the collective Mars not as easily civilized as it might be with an individual. Mass humanity is a difficult animal to train, and most often - in fact, always - war is a male/mars prerogative.

This being the case, once Ares/Mars mobilizes as a directive force, and the masculine assumes its territorial animus, then we are in a place of grave danger. Unfortunately, this particular Mars cycle is just that – a continuation and escalation of a grave danger. Many individuals in the world do not ascribe to a martial ethos, but it still dominates the drive to success in many ways.

Ultimately, as Joseph Campbell states in the last words of his book “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”,  “The modern hero, the modern individual who dares to heed the call and seek the mansion of that presence with whom it is our whole destiny to be atoned, cannot, indeed must not, wait for his community to cast off its slough of pride, fear, rationalized avarice, and sanctified misunderstanding . . . It is not society that is to guide and save the creative hero, but precisely the reverse”.

Coming to Our Senses:

When Mars is transiting retrograde, it is an excellent time to determine the difference between a depression of the senses, or psychic apathy, and a simple lack of interest in whatever has been going on. To press on in a situation which is fruitless is sheer bloody mindedness, not brave assertiveness nor reliability! Thus, a conscious ‘letting go’ can be a resolution of conflict, rather than soldiering on in the face of adversity. To continue to engage in destructive emotional patterns during Mars retrograde is to invite an internal “burning” where the body and soul are worn down.

Projects and long-term plans will need to undergo review, if not total withdrawal for a while. Retrogression of a planet is a clear indication that it is time for an investigation into the underlying intent of one’s apparent motives. It may be appropriate to relinquish a once beloved goal, ideal, idea, attitude, project, relationship or plan, rather than persist in out-moded actions. If this is what you need to do, then do not fear it because the space you make will become a creative container for new, more appropriate ways of using your self and energy reserves.

This six-month period is the time in which to evaluate personal energy level; the quality of work/play time; personal ‘truth’; beliefs, ethics and relationships. It is essential to be as honest with one’s own self as possible. For instance, under Mars, hypocrisy becomes quite dangerous, and acts out. This can result in exhaustion, lack of motivation, ambivalence and ultimately, nothing getting done.

Even in the most minor situation, betraying yourself or another person is hypocrisy. The word itself originates from the Greek word “hypocrites” – ‘?π?k????s – which refers to “actors” in a play! So, playing out roles which are not our own, or pretending to be something we are not can bring the god of war down upon our heads. Take especial care to be true to you first, and to others next, during the Mars retrograde cycles.

Assessing your vitality and constitutional health, as an asset, and reevaluating all your investments of time, love and money will bring positive results. If one has a chronic health problem then when Mars is retrograde it can become an acute condition, requiring treatment, which ultimately, clears or moderates the long-term problem. There are remedies and resolutions that are more readily taken in and used by the body during Mars retrograde!

The answers to the questions that arise during the retrograde cycle of Mars lie deep within the self - the most primal and instinctual place within you.

Reflections on Combinations of Jupiter, Uranus Neptune and Mars During Retrograde Cycles

The combination of Jupiter/Uranus alone speaks volumes about sky gods and their confrontation. Ouranos was the consort of Gaia, mother Earth, and the Heavens themselves. He was not a “god” per se, but a place, an entity surrounding the earth. His rendering into planet-hood gives him an autocratic, superior, elitist and idealistic character. As an agency Uranus is associated with reform, revolution, transformation in systemic and technical ways; it is also associated intimately with the process of individuation - that is, becoming who we are meant to become even if it seems shocking. There are many earthy issues here at play - Jupiter, formerly Zeus, is a god associated with war, elitism, xenophobia (hatred of “strangers” or “others”), bigotry, zealotry, hubris (overstepping one’s true mortality and nature); Zeus is a ruthless and manipulative god, and both a misogynist and misanthrope to boot!

Taking on too much, not knowing one’s boundaries and limits as well as assuming aggrandized stances will only result in a fall. The intent of planetary patterns is to describe the content of a circumstance, and within that content, act accordingly. All these aspects suggest that we - individually and collectively - keep a sensible head and a low profile. That the Justice of Zeus is loosed upon the world, we already know, but if it is coming to a head, only the stars know. Certainly the aspects of Mars (old primitive god of war and riots) and Jupiter (the belligerent god of the sky and war from the sky - (see the “Lightning Struck Tower” article on this site) - of shape-shifting, of hating strangers, that is foreigners or “barbarians” - both are in high form! And, then, Uranus, the elitist and revolutionary!

Jupiter also rules tribalism (see “Tribalism in the Twenty-first Century” article on this site). The clanning together of groups of individuals is based on so many things, not least of which are blood ties, history, dogma, politics, geography - and force. In the case of certain tribes, the individuals within them may not be voluntarily part of the tribe. In these days of chaos, many cultures and tribes have splits and factions within themselves, and are adverse to the tribal statement.

Uranus rules “groups and organizations” but not in the same sense as the Jupiterian tribal instinct. The Uranian groupings are voluntary, (modern) and have to do with affinities such as ideologies, class structure, educational opportunities, economic class, and so on; and are a direct collective reflection of the individuals that have subscribed to the “group”.

Uranus by nature creates an elitist type of social-grouping - because people “join” voluntarily to separate themselves from other “groupings” that do not reflect them. Inherent in the Uranian group is xenophobia and underlying that type of grouping is Saturn, the god of the status quo.

And with all that in mind, Neptune rules things that creep and change shape. It rules toxins, viruses, bacteria, cancers, and so on, as well as biological weaponry (Mars = weapons; Neptune = illness/weakness). Jupiter brings inflatedness to whatever it contacts, so whatever it is will be massive and global in effect, as well as invasive and territorial to specific locations. And, Uranus is our technological revolution - all very well in an humanitarian ethos, but we are not in a compassionate, one-world collective right now.

It makes me fully aware that mutation and evolution are tied in together, and if that is what we are facing as a global phenomenon, then we must be part of something much bigger than politics and war.

What revelation is at hand! “After twenty centuries of stony sleep/What rough beast, its hour come round at last/ now slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?” says W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming”. E The following, with a little of your own interpretation, is useful for both individuals and collectives . . . so, here are the primary dates and the major configuration with keywords to this 2005-2006 Mars Retrograde cycle.

The Timing of the Full Mars Retrograde Cycle as a Generic Cycle

All times are GMT 1. The Sun is trine to Mars - September 14th  This solar aspect signals the station-retrograde of Mars in around thirty-two days. This is the longest time possible between the Sun trine and the Station-retrograde  There is a rush of activity and inflated aggression toward anything in which one feels thwarted - the problem is the situation is “slippery” and very difficult to get a grip on. The problem with Pisces is its shape-shifting quality, and the capacity for circumstances to be twisted, misunderstood, hidden and distorted is so very strong. The fact that we are looking at so much watery astrology now means that our feelings and our emotions are engaged in an area in which only cold, calculating tactics will work.  Keeping a grip on one’s feelings of rage, betrayal anger and disappointment is important, and will leave one with a strong sense of personal integrity and truth - if one can control the emotional content of whatever it is that is “going wrong”. If a betrayal, or a removal or a blocking of energy and forward motion has been part of the initial phase, then this aspect can bring a false sense of security. Hence, is rather dangerous in its deception, and thus all the more reason to keep one’s own counsel and to behave with integrity. Positive releases of anger, aggression, lust and ambition are more important now than ever.  The phenomenon of the Sun Trine to Mars prior to the Station-retrograde alters the quality of Mars’ station-retrograde in comparison to the other superior planets, in that the excitement of potential just prior to its retrogression is often over inflated, resulting in the shocking ‘surprise factor’ and sudden withdrawal of direct energy at the station itself.  Conversely, the Sun-Mars trine following the station-direction of Mars supports a quick recovery and a re-establishment of the equilibrium that may have become chaotic during the retrograde time itself. The Sun-Mars trine highlights the deepest resources we have at our disposal, as well as the energy we have to enact and use our resources - energy which will be needed in the ensuing months. The Sun in Cancer trine Mars in Pisces can bring strong feelings and anxiety about security to the forefront - we all need to cease overextending our resources, but to fall into the grips of terror over money, property or material goods is unhealthy.  This Sun/Mars aspect affects us both individually and collectively. Examine your reserves of energy and strength, your deepest most important values, your sense of self worth and value - based on faith and good action. It is time to move to your most basic values, and keep your self clean and out of the way of any psychological “damage” - no manipulations, lies, deception or people who are doing this - and most importantly, do not succumb to the instinctive desire to act in this way in return! This trine can be deceptive - a complacent attitude will not serve the needs or the intent of Mars retrograde. Think of this next period as a time when to look seriously at the areas in which you have been wasting time and energy. One can become exhausted under its backward trek, and depleted - especially if the cycle is entered on a false high. Therefore, martial all forces - assets, health, money, love, time - and be aware that self awareness and honesty is the best defense. 2. Mars stations Retrograde - October 1 @ 10:03 pm. Mars: 23� 22’ Taurus All externalized drive and focused energy reverses its direction. The daily progress we take for granted suddenly becomes effort filled, and creative ways of “putting things off” or delaying (in a positive attitude) what you feel is not working is necessary. Look to the house the Sun is transiting in your chart at the station for illumination about areas you need to explore for success in the coming autumn. The station itself can be an abrupt phenomenon, creating a cessation of interest, drive, energy and focus on what might have been an important project or relationship prior to that station. It may also act in a more subliminal way, such as bringing feelings of despair, boredom, lack of drive and so on.  If your passion, drive, ambition and focus experiences an inner shift, go with it knowing that it can be an exceptionally productive time in your deepest Self. This liminal phase could last through the entire retrograde period, past the station-direct of Mars right up till it reaches the degree at which it stationed and turned retrograde.  Clearly this can create practical problems especially if you have a deadline, or limited time or funds in which to achieve a chosen direction or goal. Living in a threshold is not comfortable, however, one must press on regardless of retrogrades, so a change of perspective is in order. Mars retrograde seems to arrive unexpectedly, and, consistent with Mars’ behavior, this cycle is disruptive of routine, established energy patterns, habits and feelings of drive and ambition. The station-retrograde does not cause all activity to cease, obviously, but the change of direction often precipitates a period of reactive rather than active experiences. Depending on the natal house in which it stations, you are likely to find that there is a quantity of unresolved anger or rage that could date back years.  Check to see what the most recent transits have brought out, and what you might reflect upon that could clear up any unresolved issues. In specific, those pertaining to self direction, ambition, self-assertion, personal worth, fairness, and feelings of health and well being. Too, the position of the transiting Sun in the natal chart at the station of Mars will illuminate the true “intent” of the Mars activity (or lack of as the case may be).  I have found that people who are close to burn-out, having been under duress for a long time, and also have had stressful transits over a period of years, actually do burn out at the station-retrograde. This is nature’s way of forcing visceral truths into a reluctant consciousness. Thus, Mars retrograde can coincide with lowered immunity defenses in the body - only if there is a vast dissonance between the inner truth and the outer actions.  If we lived in a world in which natural cycles were acknowledged, this time would be when more days off work, ‘mental health’ days, and holidays were established. Since many people cannot regulate their working schedules to astrological cycles, they can compensate for this by realizing that they need to shift their priorities during this time to incorporate more rest time, more review time, more inner reflections and, yes, if there is a huge well of anger within, find the source and work through it. If one is in therapy and working on self-development, then this time is most productive. With respect to time sensitive projects. . . unfortunately, the gods do not care much for man-made law. Natural law states that time is relative, and if you have something on the go which must be done, do not be disappointed if all the timing changes during this whole period. The timing of a project is mysterious, like an infant in utero, it has its own time, and its own cycle, and the project will finish or it was not mature enough. You may be able to pick it up and run with it when the station-direct occurs. If a valued idea or project terminates during the Mars retrograde period, let it go. Sudden reversals of interest (passion) and drive (ambition) are likely to occur during the retrograde phase - an internal battle ensues between the ego, which wants things done, and the deeper self which wants thing so be. Listen to the Self. Mars stationary retrograde conjunct, or in tight aspect to a planet (2°-3°) or an angle in the natal chart will be marked, and may bring suppressed feelings of hostility or frustration to the surface, which occupy your energy and delay forward progress temporarily.  Your recognition of what levels of unresolved conflict have been incubating is liberating, allowing you to marshal your forces more appropriately. You may be surprised what hostility you or others have been harboring, having been suppressed, lost, forgotten or deliberately repressed because of their disruptive qualities. Old wounds, hurts or frustrations might arise but the reason this is occurring in context with your houses and planets, is to heal - bringing these old festering sores to the surface, cleansing and purging them, will serve you in the long run, giving you vast amounts of energy and reserves you did not know you had. 3. Sun at accelerating quincunx to Mars - October 15th 7:24 am – from 22� 02’ Libra to Mars at 22� 02’ Taurus Mars is beginning to move more quickly in retrograde motion at this stage, and assumes a quasi normal acceleration (negative acceleration).  By this time, we have assimilated the retrograde motion, and the quincunx marks a few days in which we find ways of adjusting to the new patterns and rhythms of energy. This marks a time in which political circumstances require huge amounts of diplomacy to accommodate problematic relations. But, the adjustments that are made, the changes that we can accommodate in this new phase of Mars retrograde, will show returns at the next major phase - at the opposition point of the Sun to Mars. It is essential that we try to adjust and accommodate without seriously compromising our ‘truth’ and ethics and deepest beliefs. No good comes from closing off and benefits arise from recognition and acceptance of the inevitable. There are good times to beat your head against a brick wall, but this is not one of them! If it is simply too hard to put up a fight, then don’t. Let go. . . but prepare to take up ‘arms’ later, much later, when the stress of the change is done - after the decelerating quincunx, which heralds the upcoming station-direct. Transiting Mars retrograde shows us where we must lose control of a degree of personal power - it is reflected in the house that Mars is traversing to and fro. In this case, loss of command establishes an equilibrium, creating psychic ‘fairness’. Ranting and raving does not seem to be effective, whereas relinquishing what is meant to be free is!  Inspiration often goes underground around this aspect, to resurface upon the direction of Mars with a new and more realistic passion. It is as if the battle between conscious will and unconscious intent needs to take place in extreme privacy and secrecy, revealing itself only when the victor is assured of its supremacy. In this case the battle is been the instincts and the conscious mind, and in the meeting of those psychic functions, a new way is found. Or, if hubris prevails, and the Justice of Zeus continues, it augurs the beginning of the oppression of the nation’s peoples. Next is the opposition of Sun to Mars - the “flashpoint” of the entire cycle.  4. Sun opposite Mars: November 7th @ 7:57 am. From 15� 00 ‘Scorpio to Mars at 15� 00’ Taurus. THE FLASHPOINT - The Confrontation: Nature vs. Culture Mars is moving at its greatest speed in retrograde motion at this aspect, as well as being its closest to earth (all retrograde planets are closer to earth than when they are in direct motion). From this point on, Mars will begin slowing down again, toward the decelerating quincunx and the eventual stopping and station-direct. The opposition of the Sun to a retrograde planet marks the mid-point of the entire retrograde cycle, and is the illumination point. When the Sun opposes Mars, it externalizes subverted or suppressed force which has been gestating and “cooking” in the unconscious. Whether that be the collective unconscious or the personal unconscious - both are linked, and often are synonymous in action. The Sun-Mars opposition always is particularly dramatic and highlights the two houses in one’s natal horoscope across which this oppositi3. Politically, it will exacerbate any splits or “wars” between various ideals in politics, personal and collective ethics, religious expression/spiritual alliances, law, global values and the relationship between the aggressor and victim. Mobilization toward full expression of the entire Mars Rx cycle begins at this Flashpoint - and may not be fully manifest until Mars reaches the degree at which it stationed.  The Personal Experience of Sun opposite Mars:  Illumination at the Flashpoint Since the Sun is the trigger, and now opposes the retrograde Mars, the aspect is reflected in the natal chart from one house to the opposite one. The position of the Sun is the place in which our unconscious ‘work’ has been done during the first half of the retrograde period, and Mars will show the external results of this inner development.  In this aspect, the Sun is more important than is Mars. Since the station-retrograde, it is likely a lot of work has been done to find solutions to a situation, and the eruption of the ‘truth,’ the solar ‘intent’, underlying the important inner war now emerges in the light of awareness.  Because it is an opposition aspect, it often brings in others to reflect back into our own psyche that which we cannot see; we need the ‘other’ to help us see our own projections and conversely, to see how we have received any harsh or sharp projections from others. This is the clarifying aspect, and being aware of its arrival will modify any surprises, and works civilize any potential outbreaks of ‘war’ in one’s life. The Sun illuminates the house - therefore, the area in life - wherein latent needs and talents lurk. Often these dormant traits lie in the spheres of self-expression, such as: willful direction; ambition; drive; healthy rage; energy; primal instincts - passion, desire, lust; physical expression, whether that be sports, dance, activities that enliven our bodies defenses. The Sun illuminates the manner in which we have been undermining ourselves relative to the house from which it makes that opposition. Occasionally, the Sun-Mars opposition will coincide with an explosive situation in the collective, we become very aware of those who are being oppressed, invaded, killed, politically suppressed, maltreated, isolated, hurt, and so on. Hence, the global and domestic political unrest will be uppermost in the media around this week.

The natal house in which Mars has been retrogressing is the house in which the conscious, external work is being done. There is a tendency to focus on the retrograde planet alone, thinking that it is the one doing all the work, but in this way we see that it is a dance, a collusion between the two fiery planets, both of which are fundamental in the development of an healthy ego.  The ego is essential to carry out the soul and our deeper Self’s intent, and we need strong, healthy and large egos to further our destiny. Ideally the ego should be as big as the Self, as big as the universe, so it isn’t undermining our desires and inhibiting our productivity and creativity in the world around us.

The Sun-Mars opposition is a time of en-lighten-ment, of i-llumination- a time period when we connect with inner levels of energy that want “out”. The solar light is illuminating the brilliance of the red planet at its highest frequency. The energy that emerges is often raw, undeveloped and primal, thus may expose parts of our psyche that are more uncivilized than we care to acknowledge. Our life-force needs this periodic expulsion of repressed energy, and thus our more instinctual nature relishes such richness of expression, but remember, civilization of the unconscious requires effort and conscious awareness. About a week or so after the opposition, there is a sensation of relief, a new way of functioning and problem solving has developed. This is a very productive time, when the ‘things’ that withdrew at the station, can be seen in the clarity of full knowledge. The secret maturation that occurs during retrograde will begin to become apparent, and a new form of energy source will find its way into your system. Should there have been no overt directional changes in the first half of the retrograde cycle, then the opposition is an explosion, and the release, with a radical change marked at this point.

5. Sun at decelerating quincunx to Mars - Nov. 30th @ 10:22 pm from 8� 49’ Sagittarius to Mars at 8� 49’ Taurus Mars is slowing down . . . heralding its station-direct. In this period, the adjustments needed are all centered in the refinement of energy. This is the time in which we re-evaluate all that has transpired in our lives. Because of Mars’ proximity to earth in this cycle, and its odd orbital periods, not only is it super close to earth still, but also the days between the decelerating quincunx and the Station-direct is only five days (it can be as many as twenty). So any adjustments will need to be implemented fairly quickly once the direct motion begins. However, the usual period between quincunx and direction brings a time of quiet, a time in which one senses impending change, but no evidence is in sight. It is filled with intuitions, sensations, synchronicities and moods. We are all on animal sensor. . . our reptile brains are in full awareness. It is rather like being Br’er Rabbit in the briar patch, we know the fox is out there, and we sit quietly, watching and waiting for the “all clear”. Find a balance between social correctness and instinctual truth. 6. Mars station-direct  The period between the station-direct of Mars and the subsequent solar trine to it is marked by tension, a feeling of waiting - the psyche knows that a situation, circumstance, or condition is unsustainable in its old form, and that an overt, radical change must take place. A self regulatory device is triggered off in the psyche and the system will organize itself around an existing problem to protect itself, often solving the difficulty in the unconscious.

The station-direct may not mark an event, but it not only registers in the unconscious of each of us individually according to our own charts and aspects, but also within the collective as it prepares to shift its energy outward again. Cautiously, we climb out of the protective chrysalis that formed after the decelerating quincunx, and find a refreshed perspective on all the issues that arose in the past two and a half months.

Giving birth is painful and raw . . . nerves may be a bit frayed, and our step forward uncertain, but as Mars accelerates toward the Sun trine, we become more invigorated, revivified and filled with a new sense of direction. Symbolically it is ‘spring’. New shoots of ideas, plans and projects begin to poke their vulnerable heads out. It is best to wait for the Sun trine to Mars to enact any new ideas because they may still be weak and embryonic, needing further maturation.  If transiting Mars stations direct on a planet or angle or sensitive point in your horoscope, then there will be a show. Mars will trigger off the incubating situation and give it a push to emerge.

7. Sun trine accelerating direct Mars - Jan. 1st @7:27 am. From 11� 17 Capricorn to Mars at 11� 17 Taurus. Because Mars is moving so slowly at this early stage of direction, when the Sun makes its trine to the actual station degree, it will release the product of the last few months. Now is the time for forward action, new starts, new projects, ideas, relationship goals, health matters, goals and businesses can start to build anew.

The most positive outcome heals betrayals and ethical rifts while communication systems - interpersonal or technical - are now progressing. Anger, if transmuted and processed, now can become healthy energy, a supportive life-force, bringing a renewed love of adventure. The full cycle is complete when Mars passes over the degree at which it stationed retrograde six months ago! Now there are two more years of forward motion to work with the renewed energy of this past cycle - breath more easily!!! And, allow the process of the past six months to unfold creatively.

The Personal Flashpoint of Sun and Mars in the Natal Horoscope:

The opposition point across the natal chart house axes the week of November 7th 2005 (Nov 7th, @ 7:24 AM GMT) occurs at 15° 00’ of Taurus/Scorpio:

It is likely that Mars remains in one house in your chart for the entire cycle of six months (or making a very short span over two houses - in 2005 only 15° of Taurus is transited in the six month period – between 8° and 23°). The house that Mars in Taurus is transiting actually does the overt work, but the house the Sun in Scorpio is in brings to consciousness that which has been brewing in the unconscious, and needs to be brought to light. That is, illuminating the area where conscious change and redirection of energy can take place - with effort.

First to Seventh house:

This polarity emphasizes the need for deeper understanding of relationships, how to maintain appropriate boundaries within those relationships, and your personal truth in partnerships. The ascendant and the first house/seventh house axis relate to our origins and our earliest relationships. Thus, how our family perceived us, as well as how we bonded to individual family members, forms the foundation for continuing adult relationships. This time is volatile but rich with awareness within the context of your own beliefs and needs and what you and your relationship need for healthy boundaries and communications. It is a difficult time to begin a new partnership, but not impossible - it will have a few tests ahead in the next two months, indeed all relationships will be tested for their authenticity. Second to Eighth house:

This polarity accents our own self value and any resources that we share intimately. The Sun-Mars opposition will illuminate how well you have balanced your own personal worth and your expenditure of time, love or money in relationships with others. Trusting and being trusted come up as issues for resolution because it is a time of checking and balancing the degree of honesty in the most enmeshed of our relationships. Re-balancing dependence/independence complexes can occur, as well as a balancing of one’s check-book (especially the joint checking account). An idea or project for the future can emerge that will begin to regulate one’s energy and drive for success. Keeping with an old theme is best, it is not a good time for new investments, but a time to let existing ‘accounts’ sort themselves out.

If you have been overspending, or over investing time, love or money, you will be able to see your problems clearly, and begin to work on them over the next two months - and if you are not deceiving yourself, then you can certainly make positive advances in your “asset/liability” ledger.

Third to Ninth house:

The opposition occurring in this axis will demolish any trite assumptions and superficial ‘Band Aids’ you have applied to mask deeper issues attached to values, beliefs, moral codes, ethical matters and your relationship with the divine - with God. Any disparity between what is spiritually correct, and socially acceptable, becomes a strong issue for you. A war between your shallow side and your higher mind ensues, so you might dialogue with yourself about what you truly hold fast and valuable philosophically - and be encouraged to live those beliefs to the letter! Any feelings of inadequacy about education or true knowledge can come to a head, resulting in plans for study and intellectual/spiritual enrichment. Mundanely, it is not a great time for long travel excursions in the next few weeks.

Fourth to Tenth House:

The opposition occurring along this axis dramatizes any insecurity you have about your bases of operation - home, office, city, culture or country. Established patterns of maintaining ‘security’ will need to be examined - are they based in truth or on habitual patterns. Work and privacy become an issue - balance, hard won, will return after a complete overhaul of priorities. This may come through a literal opposition from someone close to you, or you are the issuer of the ultimatum. Family, parental issues and your needs for balance in the family are very important to attend to and work on over the next couple of months. You need to explore your directives and beliefs to discover their origins - are your current biases and visions really current or are they received from the family, the culture or the status quo? Ideally, this is a confrontation between the deepest truth within and the conventional wisdom from without - resulting in renegotiating one’s life priorities.

Fifth to Eleventh House:

The fundamental integration between the ability to give and receive love are the issues highlighted in this axis. But from Sun in Leo to Mars in Sagittarius, the revelation is about what you really expect from life, and how you experience your ‘rewards’. This opposition emphasizes a revolution in the area of what you consider to be creative and useful, and what your actual investment is. You may find a discrepancy has formed in the last two years between your expectations of life’s rewards and what you are actually getting. Thus, it is time to balance out what you do with what you get. Also, your relationships in the social sphere of your life are under scrutiny - you may find yourself necessarily impatient with non-productive (or ambivalent) groups, societies, collectives. More time is needed to rebuild your creative core, the essence of your self before you can offer up your strongest ethical position. You may need to do one of either of these things: cut back on ‘volunteer’ energy output into the community or, conversely, put more into the community in your sphere, dwelling less on your own self - depending on where the imbalance lies. Sixth to Twelfth House:  Recognition that the body is the vehicle for the soul is the most important illumination this opposition can bring. The psyche/soma (soul/body) balance has been pushed to the limit and the emergence of a psychological or physical problem can alert you to the need to change your behavior emotionally and physically. Chronic physical or psychological conditions can become acute under this aspect, and point clearly to a method of repair or healing. Work can be very stressful, and the utmost of discretion needs to be exercised in dealing with colleagues . . . on both sides. Ideally, the happy soul living in truth brings a healthy functioning body. The apparent polarities of health and exhaustion, work and rest, body and soul are all fused along the sixth/twelfth house and we can do much work on all levels. Because often it takes a surprise to find out which aspect of the self is undernourished, this confrontation between purpose and drive can bring one much greater potential toward synthesizing inner needs and outer actions.

A Global/Political Perspective: “The Winter of Our Discontent” 1. Aug 2: The entire Mars Retrograde Cycle this year is preceded by the Sun in its post-opposition quincunx to Uranus on August 2nd, which is the time in which “the surprise that has been building erupts to reveal revolution”; Sun final quincunx to Uranus: revolution; surprises; danger from unsuspected quarters; abrupt adjustments to policy, beliefs, ethics and group organizations; surprise media revelations; sudden reversals or redirection of power and energy focus.  2. Aug 8: The Sun is in its opposition to Neptune: this is the “flashpoint” of Neptune’s retrograde cycle . . . when the message from Sun to Neptune is loosed, revelations and spiritual crises emerge, ethical and political distortion as well as personal realizations about being deceived or deceiving. Neptune implies oil; water; unusual weather patterns (unpredictable) and possible deluges; oppressed people and disenfranchised people; victims; deception in power; financial losses; losers; sacred mysteries revealed; magical influences; supernatural powers overcoming nature; toxic explosions just to name a few keywords. 3. Aug 28: Mars square Neptune: surprises that contain toxic and deadly elements; floods, disease, pain and suffering. A collective sympathy arises. Mars god of war tries to penetrate the veil of confusion, deception and corruption; projected anger; distorted images that infect the collective unconscious; weakening of powers that control; image distortions and loss of face; financial crisis. Neptune: oil, water, spiritual “leaders”, corruption, displays of false sympathy, increase in deception. A sense of unity in sadness and suffering prevails and spiritual matters take precedence. 4. Sept 1 and 2 : within hours of each other, the Sun opposes Uranus – the “flashpoint” of the Uranus Rx cycle AND Pluto Stations Direct. This is a combination signature of a catastrophe of some kind.  Sun/Uranus opposition is the time in which the gestating message of Uranus Rx becomes conscious and active in the outer environment. Thus, if there are revelations and revolutions that need to come to light, they will, with a tremendous impact on the collective and global situation. Pluto stationing Direct – when Hades emerges from the underworld to take Persephone as his consort, all hell breaks loose, and the mother, Demeter, shuts the world down into permanent winter. This is a chilling myth to consider in the light of our nuclear age and global consciousness. One would expect powerful and revealing situations to occur that alter the perspective of the world about particular and specific acts of power or leadership. 5. Sept 7: Sun in its final quincunx to Neptune: More water, oil and “suffering masses” signatures. Here an adjustment (quincunx) is attempted to soothe and mediate between natural forces and human endeavors. There are implications here of back stepping (literally, retrogressing), where leaders are trying to compensate or “clean up” deceptions and make corrections for past mistakes. The level of collective and individual anxiety increases to include very personal concerns about money, time, love, and matters of ethics and morality. Spiritual crises reach a critical turning point. 6. Sept 12 – 14: Mars is quincunx Jupiter followed rapidly by the Sun in its square to Pluto Direct . . .  Mars and Jupiter are both warlords, and have the power of Olympos behind them. Hubris reaches a point of absurdity; political psychological inflation to the point of overstepping the bounds of mortality can bring the beginning of a political downfall. There is a dark humor to this aspect, where the Justice of Zeus reigns not only over the leaders of countries, but also over the domain of nature and her resources. Coming to global consciousness is the fact that a major adjustment needs to correct the balance between forces of man and nature. Thus, ecological situations arise that illuminate critical imbalance of the world itself, its peoples, resources and powers. The Sun in its returning square to Pluto brings into the open crimes of humanity, corruption of power, loss of rights of individuals, in other words, something dark this way comes . . . potential here for global matters that are currently hidden being illuminated by the daylight of the sun in three months time, when the Sun and Pluto conjoin near the time of Mars stationing direct. 7. Sept 17 – 30th: A host of aspects: Mars quincunx Pluto; Saturn quincunx Uranus Rx; Mars quincunx Jupiter; and Sun quincunx Uranus Rx! Quincunxes speak either of physical adjustments and corrections (in the first quincunx, pre solar opposition phase) OR psychological adjustments and corrections (in the second, pre station direct phase)  Mars/Pluto: well, the main keywords are: world health, personal health; abrupt changes in military focus; withdrawal from confrontation and more private, secret actions take place (in both personal lives and in the world at large). Saturn/Uranus Rx: status quo squashes any opposition to its stance; can even indicate martial law or military / government opposition to the “people” . . . uprisings quelled by force. The old guard runs up against the new models. Mars/Jupiter: now the Justice of Zeus comes in strong – the potential here for collapse of political structures, major leaders dethroned, overextension of assumed power, correction of laws/dogma/judicial matters. Sun/Uranus Rx: uprisings, revolutions; changes in direction to compensate for mistakes that have become glaringly public. Solar figures (leaders) are forced to concede to more innovative, new and revolutionary forces.

8. OCTOBER 1 – MARS STATIONS RETROGRADE (till the 10th December)

At the station, Mars in Taurus forms a YOD to Jupiter in Libra and Pluto in Sagittarius – this unusual aspect is called “the finger of god” . . . named from the Hebrew letter but also is a symbol of the sacred engraved silver hand, with forefinger pointing to the last reading of the Torah, indicating where to take up for the next reading of this holy book. Ultimately, this Yod poses a global dilemma: a struggle between Justice and Power. That it is the actual Mars station that is the focal (active) planet here, speaks of exceptional stressors on the warlords of the world. Ultimately, this aspect is “asking” for a sense of justice to be applied to unreasonable actions – whether or not this happens depends upon the persons in the Pluto/power positions . . . Jupiter is about religious wars as well as justice, but there is very little in the way of justice found in any dogma. So, the increase in aggression seems inevitable. Mars stations Retrograde in a close opposition to Venus: the dance of Eros/Thanatos begins the cycle . . . that is, the confrontation between life and death or, more psychologically, between love and war. This dyad is both personally and collectively active.  There is hope for stabilization and negotiation of difficulties – it is in the air. A feeling that this is “it”, the time for truly looking at finding a balance between the forces of aggression and forces of peace, is part of this configuration. The Station Retrograde of Mars often brings a sense of quiet – where all apparent motion is not what actually is taking place. In retrospect, we might find this time as the beginning of plots, plans and new directions yet to be revealed, motivation uncertain, a kind of global lethargy and stasis. (The planning stages of 9/11 were in this phase, and the final outcome on that infamous date occurred two days after the final phase of Mars Retrograde completed – see the Mars Rx 2001 article on this site).

OCTOBER 3 – ANNULAR ECLIPSE AT 10 LIBRA  The annular eclipse is time for deep reflection on what is now “over” and what can be created anew from that which is clearly dead and gone. It often marks a clean cut from the past and a new vision for the future. 9. Oct. 14: Mars Retrograde quincunx Pluto:  Mars actually stationed in orb to its quincunx to Pluto, so it has been a long period from the 17th of Sept to the 14th of October, due to the very slow motion of Mars stationing. This aspect is a super power aspect, which illustrates very clearly the condition of our world in this time.There are few truths being brought to the collective by the few who are in power. The ancient astrologers used to call the quincunx the “most pernicious of aspects” because the planets involved “couldn’t see each other” . . . this remains true in contemporary astrology too. What we cannot see in this quincunx are the forces supporting global war and how wars are managed.  Pluto also rules the global resources of oil, metals, water, ecology and so on . . . so there are still many aspects of the “ecological warriors” that have yet to come to full illumination – that is, the slow, steady rise of the ecologists in the world and their influence on policy is actually occurring while we may not “see” it. Similarly we are also not seeing the actual power of the UNDERGROUND forces (Pluto), which could be the various and sundry subversives, insurgents and adversaries to the status quo. The global situation reaches a crescendo of discontent, and increasing numbers of opposition leaders (to the orthodoxy) begin to assemble their own organized forces. 10. Oct. 15th – 26th: Sun quincunx Mars Rx; and a partial eclipse of the Moon as earth moves between it and the Sun during the full moon; the Sun conjoins Jupiter; Neptune Stations Direct (Oct 26th) This plethora of aspects means that we are now in a time when we feel strongly the lack personal power and volition in circumstances beyond our individual control. People feel “helpless” and un-helped.  But, the conjunction of Sun to Jupiter as Neptune turns direct seems to imply that deceptions and covert actions will again be part of the media releases. It is a time in which the energy of individuals, and groups who represent “the people”, actually gain some ground and are vocal and heard.This period could mark a significant juncture in the politics in the US/UK/Middle East/Iraq war in particular; and in general the conditions of the hundreds of other, less media “popular”, wars on the planet . . Jupiter and the Sun can bring illumination about who is doing what to whom, and in that, bring more justice to oppressed and disenfranchised peoples.  11. Nov. 3rd – 16th :  On the 3rd, the Sun squares Saturn; and on the 7th it squares Neptune while at the same time on the 7TH: the SUN IS OPPOSITE MARS RETROGRADE: (The “flashpoint” of the Mars Retrograde cycle): this is when the archetype of “war” (personal or collective) blows out its full force of energy, and reveals its underlying intent which may have been “in secret” or sub rosa, all during the build up from August 10th to now.  There is a Fixed Grand Cross in the heavens during this fortnight period :

Sun s in Scorpio H - opposite Mars d in Taurus B  Saturn f in Leo E - opposite Neptune h in Aquarius K

Fixed signs maintain the status quo, they are present as a natural agency which allows for a stasis to maintain itself. This, obviously, is for good or ill. Astrology itself has no judgment, no conscious intent, no moral overtone, no “rules of behavior” - it is a neutral force until “housed” or contained in a person, place or thing. Like clothes, it takes the shape of the person wearing them. It becomes negative only under certain circumstances . . . the circumstance of this time frame are unknown at this writing in late July 2005, so the astrology is simply related here according to keywords and standard interpretation. The Grand Cross implies that a situation has reached its most rigid position, and that the situation will have to break down – a critical mass has arrived which brings with it an inherent potential for total collapse.

Because this major configuration is aligned with the Sun/Mars opposition point, it could meant that certain systems in place that are relentlessly aggressive, and show no “give” or goodwill at all, will backfire and a tremendous confusion between “reality – Saturn” and “illusion – Neptune” will prevail. The result could be a great scandal (Neptune) in high places (Saturn) resulting in aggression (Mars) directed toward the status quo (Saturn).

Neptune also is associated with losses of energy – and it is possible that the exhaustion of resources in the USA’s domestic coffers actually prevents conscientious individuals and heterodox organizations from actually doing anything about their serious reduction of economy, freedom and lifestyle. This Grand Cross implies a “crack in the armor” containing toxic information or material that allows the contamination to leak out.

This can be a very tiring and disillusioning period for idealists, especially since we are now closing in on the station direct of Mars – a time when direct action may be more easily taken. The global economy – in particular the primary nations who dictate economic currents and global stability – is exceptionally unstable now. All this will play out in a flamboyant way.  12. Nov 16th – 30th: Again, loads of aspects, all following the Station Direct of Uranus! Uranus stations direct on Nov.16th, and for the weeks following, brings sudden and revolutionary circumstances to the fore – opportunities for major changes in policy, standards, information release, and so on. The media will be in their element with lots of NEW news to report.  There may even be the implementation of a new discovery or technology that has been in experimental stages till this point. It is a highly innovative time, when new thoughts, ideas, plans and actions can be It is another politically insecure time for nations whose leadership is on the brink, and there will be some radical changes in leadership in some rather prominent cultures over the next few days, especially around the Mars Station Direct period, December 8th. Saturn will Station Retrograde on the 22nd of Nov., which symbolizes a time in which real progress toward stabilization in any project halts, and a plateau is reached. Because this occurs in the space of the Uranus direct, caution might be thrown to the wind (Uranus going direct) in favor of hasty and impulsive action. Saturn is the conservative element of energy and Uranus is the experimental no-holds-barred element of energetic use . . . there is a natural conflict between the two planets because one symbolizes safety and the other, risk! The tug between safety and risk reaches a strong polarity in the week between the 16th and the 22nd. One hopes that, in this case, Saturn might win this tug-of-war, so that safety - rather than risk - is the keyword for this time. 13. December 10th: MARS STATIONS DIRECT. 8� 14” Taurus Mars Stations direct in opposition to Jupiter (which was exact on the 5th and will be again exact on the 15th of January). This Mars Station – even if it is not evident at the time – will bring the final stages to plans and actions that will emerge over the next, and final, phase of the Mars Retrograde cycle . . . The stationing of Mars always associates with actual events that are a direct result of the previous 60-some days of its retrogression. That Mars is in opposition to Jupiter suggests that major surprises and long reserved anger will simply have to find an outlet.  We remain in international uncertainty, and there could be dramatic events that further impact international relations and stability, especially in international travel, difficulties at borders, and so on . . . none of this activity has to be life-threatening, but it simply becomes increasingly fraught to move freely through the world and to feel safe while doing so. One’s personal feeling of safety could be more threatened than one’s actual safety – something to keep in mind when worrying about it. However, it is yet another time when big heads could roll and chaos result from forced reorganization of hierarchies - these aspects simply further enrich the fertile soil for scandal and revelation.

Generally, this is the time for reviewing ethics, laws and policies, particularly international ones (Jupiter) pertaining to the war/peace struggle.n.b. for astrologers: There are 34 major hard aspects (0;90;150 and 180) and planetary stations involving the planets between, and including, Mars and Pluto, from the beginning of the Mars Rx cycle to the Station Direct (Aug 2 through Dec. 10th).

And, there are only 11 of same from the Station Direct (Dec. 10th ) to the end of the cycle on February 12th!  This odd phenomenon makes one think that “something has gone quiet” but will “speak out” around the time the Sun conjoins Pluto on the 16th of December, after which a significant “clean up” and reorganization of systems, behaviors and structures will be in order. Now that Mars is direct in motion, several of the aspects it was making to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto will repeat themselves, but this time with less of an “unknown” . . .

14. Dec. 17th – 31st: Jupiter will square Saturn retrograde on the 17th, as the Sun begins a new Pluto cycle (Sun conjunct Pluto Dec. 16th). . . the power struggle between opposing forces reaches a head and explodes. So, this is another developmental aspect for social stability and/or reform. The factor most interesting during this time, is the Jupiter/Saturn square which associates itself with a turning point in the status of any president elected under a Jupiter/Saturn conjunction. The current President, George W. Bush’s re-election in 2004 was a simply a continuation of his Jupiter/Saturn in conjunction election in 2000, which means his stewardship is in serious jeopardy.

So, the policies in the USA as they affect the “people”, the environment, education, travel, safety, home ownership and child/elder welfare come to a crisis. Sometimes crisis means opportunity for change – in which case, this could mark a time in which there are major, important and positive new potentials for the poor and the disaffected in the USA, as well as more focus on domestic prosperity and less on the war machine. Personally I actually doubt that, but there always remains the Gift of Pandora: HOPE.

Certainly the rebels (Jupiter) will want to confront the old guard (Saturn) but in what way?  International policy respective to Jupiter issues, immigration, freedom of movement, education and general domestic welfare, could become even more restricted under the square, but will definitely bring to a head social dissention. The square is called a “first quarter square” which Dane Rudhyar related to “crisis in consciousness”. Certainly there is a crisis in consciousness in the USA as the most privileged country in he world, being also the most aggressive. The split in the “vote” at this time will become crystal clear.

Individuals and collectives who are globally conscious and also generous, thoughtful, idealistic, humanitarian, conservationist and, generally, reasonably open-minded (the Jupiterians) will openly begin to confront conservative, oppressive, restrictive, non-inclusive philosophies (the Saturnians), and begin to organize themselves in new ways.

15. Dec. 28th – Jan. 18th – Another dramatic Grand Cross in the heavens, the exact same as the other one Nov. 3rd – 16th, but, this time it involves Mars opposite Jupiter with Saturn opposite Neptune. If you are confused reading those words, then you are in the right state of mind for what is going on around you. The conflict symbolized in the planetary configurations is reflected here on our planet - since we are a “solar system”, not a single entity. Because there is a “memory” locked into planetary placements, when we see repeats of positions or tightly themed variations on a configuration, we see an extension or even an evolution of whatever the aspect/s coincided with. It may appear that there is no order at all going on; while one thing appears positive it is countered by an equal but opposite force. This mass confusion is not “all of a sudden” but has been in development for years, and is part of a great design, ultimately, that will alter the collective consciousness and establish new parameters and guidelines for the future. . . this phenomenon is some time away, however, but we move closer and closer to 2009 by the minute. This Grand Cross harks back to the earlier Grand Cross in November, with the Sun as focal planet! The flashpoint of Mars back then (Nov.) now is extrapolated from that energy crisis into a predicament of global proportions.  There seem to be blatantly tense international relations arising between the USA and the entire world, especially now at this time, and the New Year could possibly bring sanctions against the USA by an influential nation or a collective international body. The oil battle reaches a peak and a breaking point, it would seem. (That the oil and gas resources are implicated in this entire Mars Retrograde cycle is due to Mars’ three squares to Neptune during the entire time - as well as the number of stressors on Neptune by other planets throughout the entire cycle.  16. Jan 1st – the Sun is in its SD> Trine to Mars - at 7:22 am from 11� 17’ Capricorn to Mars at 11� 17’ Taurus.  This aspect in the cycle of Mars Retrograde is peculiar and unique to Mars alone. All other superior planets in retrograde are always trined by the sun after there are retrograde, and before they turn direct. Any other planet, from Jupiter trough Pluto, is ALWAYS RETROGRADE when trined by the sun. therefore it is a very slow moving planet, loaded with power either to introvert the power at the Station Retrograde trine, or to extroject the power at the Sun trine prior to the Station Direct . The trine of release could herald a point of real clarity for the world – the world that is not fundamentally depressed/oppressed by living in sheer survival mode – of the privileged. By privileged it means those of us who have a goodly amount of personal volition, freedom and basic needs met . . . who are in touch with media and have some focused intent toward the increasing consciousness of the global mind. In this phase it is important to begin to activate new plans, which will be the result of the last five months of to-ing and fro-ing between many conflicting situations in life. The Sun trine to Mars in this phase is a relief because the pent up and introjected energy of the collective as it affects each of us individual becomes less “neurotic” and more directed.

This is a time when we might find that we have a mission, a path and a way to truly fulfill it . . . it is ok at this time to lay the plans for future projects, keeping in mind that minor adjustments and tweaks undoubtedly will be necessary right thought the 5th or so of Feb, after Mars clears its entire cycle.On Jan. 27th: the Sun is opposite to Saturn: this is the “flashpoint” of the Saturn Retrograde cycle, and its energetic “intent” is to illustrate and illuminate the areas in which extreme restrictions are in one’s environment, but also, ones which have been self-imposed. If a sense of oppression is part of this aspect, then it is illuminating an element of how we all arrange our lives within existing boundaries. The shifting of established boundaries in both individual and collective lives has been a theme for some time now, but at this annual Sun/Saturn opposition, we will see a form of crystallization - until about June or July.

It is a perfect opportunity to evaluate what the consensus reality has become and why. It is also a time to renew personal commitments to goals and directions, establishing a sense of individual and tribal safety and unity.

17. Feb. 3rd @ 9:58 am GMT, 2006 – MARS PASSES OVER THE DEGREE AT WHICH IT STATIONED RETROGRADE 23� 22’ Taurus. This marks the end of this Mars Retrograde cycle.  The next one is from September 18th 2007 through April 6, 2008 - from 28° Gemini through 12° Cancer.