Planet Waves
Originally published: New York, May 17, 2017 | Return to Main Directory of Articles
Planet Waves
King of Rods. Illustration by Lucinda Abra.
Mars and Society: Retrograde in Aquarius

Dear Friend and Reader:

Beginning in late June, Mars will be retrograde, mostly in Aquarius. Mars retrograde is a ritual we go through for about two months every two years, and it's always significant; always an adventure. This is particularly true in our era when the role of men and maleness is being questioned, subjected to scrutiny and, in many ways, taking a clobbering.

Everyone has Mars in their chart, so it represents the masculine principle more specifically than it does men. Therefore, the issue is maleness, which is often unfairly attributed exclusively to male-bodied people. However, it would seem, looking at the world, that maleness, or a mode of existence known in Japanese as sanuki, is taking over reality.

These days, nearly everyone is a manager, a boss, a technician, a CEO, a COO, an organizer or some sort of agenda-driver. This is a kind of epidemic. We are now all expected to "make our lives happen," to change the world, and even to be the master of the universe: after all, we "create our own reality." Note: this is a lot of pressure to be under, and to put one another under.

The corollary property is awa, which is a reservoir of feeling, receptivity, sensory experience and physicality. If sanuki is what asserts itself against existence and attempts to manage it, awa is what imbibes, receives, senses and gestates existence. Right now, there's very little awa to go around, in women or in men. Women are supposed to have more than men organically; awa means womb, and men don't have one of those. Yet sanuki is running wild in both sexes and all genders.

Most of us have been pushed out of our bodies and our senses by over-immersion in the internet. The whole notion of feeling is becoming obsolete. Who needs it, when we have ever more realistic versions of virtual reality?

What we are currently experiencing on Earth is mostly a product of electrical technology, and of urbanization, and thus of being cut off from natural cycles. It's impressive how little discussion there is of these issues. Have you noticed how many people around you are having trouble sleeping? How are you sleeping? The probable reason for this is that microwave networks are now ubiquitous, and soak the world in invisible light that is equivalent of sleeping with the lights on. We live in a world of perpetual daytime.

Hormone Chaos in Action
Planet Waves
Dr. Theo Colborn developed the science behind hormone disrupting chemicals. Photo is from the Dangerous Woman Project.
As regards maleness and femaleness, there is another factor: hormonal toxins. These include many pesticides, herbicides, PCBs, chemical byproducts such as dioxin and even aspartame sweetener -- all of which are ubiquitous, meaning everywhere. Whether you test breast milk or blood, you find scores of toxic compounds in most people, and some in everyone. These chemicals are all endocrine disruptors, meaning that they scramble the body's natural hormone messages, which regulate many functions we think of as mental and psychological. Most often, these chemicals mimic estrogen, which influences both men and women.

Now we are surrounded by plastic. This had me nervous from the time I saw my first two-liter plastic soda bottle around age 10. Plasticizers such as BPA and phthalates are in nearly every bite of food. They have similar hormone disruption properties as dioxin. We piss them out faster, and also take them in with every sip of bottled water, and everything else in plastic: every wrapper, can liner and so on.

There are two ways to describe these chemicals: one is to say that they are feminizing. In men, for example, soaking in xenoestrogenic compounds (xeno meaning external, estrogenic meaning like estrogen) are a likely cause of rapidly declining sperm counts, semen volume and even penis size (if a fetus is exposed). They're also a likely (or proven) cause of endometriosis and many cancers, including those of primary and secondary sexual organs.

Another way to describe these chemicals is as agents of hormone mayhem, though that has implications on the psychic level (mental/emotional), as well as social. Gender-bending is fantastic if that's what you're into. However, our continuous overdosing on hormone disruptors is a constant source of destabilization -- in particular, of all the things that combine into this thing we call sex and gender, and thus our social patterns and our feelings.

So, what we think of as "the environment" is working on two major levels: chemical and energetic; and these are making it difficult to reside in-body and in our feelings. These chemicals are making it just as difficult to have any organic sense of who we are, in terms of natural sex and gender. This, in turn, spills over many different aspects of existence, since in the end, everything comes back to sex, what created us in the first place.

So, as you consider the astrological ideas I'm about to present, please also consider the background environment of confusion and chaos that our hearts, souls and attempts to exist peacefully are currently set within.

Mars: Assertion, Aggression and Discovering Who You Are
Planet Waves
Martian landscape as seen from the surface.
In astrology, Mars is associated with asserting oneself. It's the planet that rules Aries, the first sign of the zodiac, and the sign linked to the statement, "I am." Everything about Mars comes back to this one idea.

Mars is also associated with desire and aggression, and is, of course, named for the Roman god of war. So Mars is associated with (or, in astrological terms, 'rules') the spectrum of experiences from desire, to sexual desire, to wanting a new car, to pushing yourself into others, to aggressively making demands; and its range extends to all-out war, murder and mayhem. These things exist along one spectrum. And since we all have Mars, we all exist somewhere -- or various places, at various times -- along this spectrum.

Marshall McLuhan, in his 1968 book War and Peace in the Global Village, proposed a reason why violence is so pervasive in our society: it's an attempt to find out who we are. The less we know who we are, the more violence there is, and that's where we are today. On the most basic level, 'violence' means asserting yourself against your environment, no matter how meekly; typically you will encounter resistance.

The daily scrapes in life, the normal abrasions and collisions and bumps and grinds that we have with others, are among the most important ways we find out who we are -- and for most, the only way. It may be painful at times, but it's how we discover our nature and our boundaries. People who spend their lives avoiding conflict tend to live in a dark world where their true essence remains a mystery to themselves, and such people often lack any sense of their boundaries.

McLuhan's theory strings together all the attributes of Mars, which begins with "I am" and runs the spectrum from desire to assertion to aggression to violence to warfare, and returns back to "I am."

I have a corollary to McLuhan's theory: were we able to express sexuality in a more wholesome and full-spectrum way, we might have another means of self-discovery. So while we live in this environment of violence and aggression everywhere we turn, and the world on the constant brink of war, we might consider if this is not made much worse by the suppression of natural sexuality.

Herein lies the problem: in our society, Mars and all it represents are projected onto men. Men are assumed to be the only beings that possess desire or aggression; somehow Mars was allegedly not around for the births of four billion women the past century. So if Mars is involved, men are blamed.

Aquarius: The Patterns of Society
Planet Waves
Satellite photo of Manhattan reveals the rigid patterns of society.
Thanks to the musical Hair, we think of Aquarius as being about peace, love and understanding. No offense to Aquarians, though this is wholly a work of fiction, not based on a true story. Aquarius is the sign of social patterns, and of energy patterns in general.

The social pattern thing we are accustomed to understanding by way of the idea that Aquarius is the sign of groups. The thing about groups is that they have rules, and they have configurations, and to some extent, a person must sacrifice their individuality to be part of one. That is the law of the tribe. Tribes don't brook much in the way of individuality. In fact, it can be downright horrid, as we all know, and throw people to the wolves for even meekly asserting who they are.

Aquarius also is involved in the patterns of nature, which include electrical patterns: that would be, for example, the electrical grid, the internet, and the 3G and 4G networks that we live within.

In our time of history, very nearly every relationship, every transaction, every creative act, every quantum of communication, is conveyed electronically, to some extent. So we have to fit our biological, emotional and creative beings within the prevailing electronic patterns -- and the result is a form of tyranny.

One effect of the group on the individual is to "tribalize" him or her, now more than ever before. Another is to rip our insides out, exposing the most intimate contents of our lives, to be seen and consumed by the rest of the tribe. There is no privacy in the electronic world.

The electrical realm also polarizes everything. The internet is an ocean of zeros and ones: of binary code. If "the medium is the message," the message of the medium of the internet is to cast everything as black or white, us or them, right or wrong. Everything exists in polarized opposition to something else, and no gray areas are possible, since in binary terms, gray is an illusion (so too is color).

That is the world we currently live in, unless of course you count the actual human dimension of compromise and understanding, which only exists off of the internet, and not so many places at that.

When Mars Stands Out
Planet Waves
Retrograde Mars, in 2008, seen against the backdrop of the stars. Photo by Astronomy Picture of the Day.
When we say Mars is retrograde, that's another way of saying it's close to the Earth. Retrograde motion is an illusion of backwards motion created by the Earth, which moves faster than Mars, overtaking Mars as it passes by. The Earth is going faster, so Mars seems to be going backwards.

One effect of this is that around the time of a retrograde (for about six months, actually), Mars spends a lot of time in a narrow band of the zodiac, in this case, very late Capricorn and early Aquarius. Each in its own way represents the structure of society, whether physical or bureaucratic in the case of Capricorn, or energetic and social in the case of Aquarius.

Retrograde in Aquarius, Mars will be going against the grain of society's prevailing norms and accepted rules. It will be an interesting time for the sex, gender and consent conversation we are having. Yet there are questions that are likely to be overlooked, beginning with: whose property is Mars? To whom does it belong? In the healthiest psychological sense, Mars is about volition. Volition is the faculty or power of using one's will. Anyone who disowns Mars disowns their own will; what is sometimes called agency: the ability to make decisions for yourself. If Mars is about men, then men are the only people who have volition and agency.

Mars is also about desire. Who owns desire? If Mars is projected onto men, which it is nearly all of the time, then that is a decision by society that men alone possess and are responsible for desire. Does that sound like a good idea? Note that conflict over desire usually manifests as guilt. Who owns that stuff? Can we ascribe guilt to a narrow section of the marketplace, or is it a ubiquitous emotion?

Finally, there's one last Mars bit that I have not mentioned yet: rage. We have an anger problem in society right now. If you look right at it, or even catch a glimpse, it can be deeply unsettling. Most individuals mask their anger in sadness, depression or complacency. Below the surface, it has a tendency to become even more toxic, and mixed in with most anger is the contents of a well tapping into something emerging from a deep and old place.

That energy has to go somewhere. The question is, where? Where is it appropriate to acknowledge, to process or to release? How do we process that in a constructive and creative way? Do you ever get the feeling that you just don't know?

So do I.

Yours & truly,
Planet Waves (ISSN 1933-9135) is published each Sunday and Thursday evening in Kingston, New York, Planet Waves, Inc. Core Community membership: $197/year. Editor and Publisher: Eric Francis Coppolino. Web Developer: Anatoly Ryzhenko. Astrology Editor: Amanda Painter. Eric's Assistant: Ellen Dockery. Client Services: Amy Elliott and Victoria Emory. Finance: Andrew Slater. Domestic Engineer: Jade Moon. Technical Assistant: Emily Thing. Astrology Fact Checker: Len Wallick. Copy Editor and Fact Checker: Jessica Keet. Media Consultant: Andrew McLuhan. Music Director: Daniel Sternstein. Bass and Drums: Daniel Grimsland. Additional Research, Writing and Opinions: Yuko Katori, Cindy Tice Ragusa, and Carol van Strum.
Scopes
Monthly Horoscopes and Publishing Schedule Notes

We published your extended monthly horoscopes for May on Thursday, April 26. Your extended monthly horoscopes for April were published Thursday, March 29. Please note: we normally publish the extended monthly horoscope on the first Thursday after the Sun has entered a new sign.
Planet Waves
Weekly Horoscope for May 17, 2018, #1202 | By Amy Elliott
Aries
Aries (March 20-April 19) -- Even the most outgoing of people needs somewhere in the world where they feel at ease, and can fully relax. Keep that in mind this week. You might be feeling exhilarated by all the shifting ground, which is in many ways advantageous. Eventually, however, you'll want something more stable to emerge, on which you can build trust and reliance, and from which you can venture into unfamiliar worlds, knowing your base remains exactly as you left it. Spend some time inhabiting it in forthcoming days.
The Sacred Space of Self, our brand new 2018 Spring Reading, is now available for pre-order. It will cover Chiron's transition into Aries and Mars retrograde in Aquarius. Please note that the current pre-order price will only be in effect for a short time -- and then it will increase.

Planet Waves
Taurus Birthdays 2018:
Your Reading Is Published and Available for Instant Access!

Dear Friend and Reader:

Eric recorded the 2018 Taurus Birthday Reading last weekend. Infused with the earthy, juicy richness of Beltane, your two segments of audio astrology are sure to get your solar year to an ideal start -- whether you have your Sun, Moon or rising sign in Taurus.

If someone close to you was born under the sign of the bull, why not treat them to this reading as a gift?

Uranus brought its high-voltage energy to Taurus this week. Taureans like to move at their own pace; the presence of Uranus offers a reminder that when you're the one to set that pace and instigate change on your own terms, you're a much happier person.

Eric covers all the important points about this transit, and offers a wealth of insights, strategies and unique perspective to help you go with the flow and keep from getting stuck. You get at least an hour total of astrology (in two segments), plus access to last year's reading and an extended description of your sign.

Order your 2018 Taurus Birthday Reading here for only $44.

Happy birthday, and here's to the unexpected gifts of Uranus!

Yours & truly,

Amanda Painter

Taurus
Taurus (April 19-May 20) -- No doubt you know the superstition that if you make a wish over birthday candles or unidentified comet-like objects, or whatever, you should not then communicate said wish to anyone. This possibly has its roots in a magical theory that suggests to verbalize something is to diffuse its power. Whatever the merits of that concept, you might actually be wise to do the opposite this week. Your ruler Venus' change of sign is lending a certain charm to your words. Simply asking may well carry you far.
The Sacred Space of Self, our brand new 2018 Spring Reading, is now available for pre-order. It will cover Chiron's transition into Aries and Mars retrograde in Aquarius. Please note that the current pre-order price will only be in effect for a short time -- and then it will increase.
Gemini
Gemini (May 20-June 21) -- You've made some pretty good decisions recently in terms of taking charge of your life. This week you should begin to feel the benefit in terms of improved resources or self-esteem. That blessing will only be increased if you actively cultivate your sense of trust and value in yourself, your instincts and your motivations. You simply have no reason for insecurity or doubt, and especially not for guilt. The minute you start to feel any of these creeping in, treat them like guests that have outstayed their welcome.
The Sacred Space of Self, our brand new 2018 Spring Reading, is now available for pre-order. It will cover Chiron's transition into Aries and Mars retrograde in Aquarius. Please note that the current pre-order price will only be in effect for a short time -- and then it will increase.
Cancer
Cancer (June 21-July 22) -- Given that several planets have lately changed signs, you might understandably be wondering what on earth is going to happen next. Fortunately, Venus entering your sign Saturday indicates a moment in which you can draw a line under a certain tense episode. It might seem like everyone has been trying to claim a part of you, or to affix a label to you. It's a good thing you're not so easy to categorize. Love, nurture and nourish yourself in all your beautiful variegated colors, and never mind what others say.
The Sacred Space of Self, our brand new 2018 Spring Reading, is now available for pre-order. It will cover Chiron's transition into Aries and Mars retrograde in Aquarius. Please note that the current pre-order price will only be in effect for a short time -- and then it will increase.
Leo
Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) -- Don't let any uncertainty you feel regarding the state of the outside world stop you from being who you are. That especially includes your natural tendency to warmth and generosity -- qualities which are needed in abundance. Keep right on leading by example. If you're concerned that someone might be imposing on you, check in with your intuition before deciding how to act. It's possible there's more to the story than you realize. Be prepared to give the benefit of the doubt where you can.
The Sacred Space of Self, our brand new 2018 Spring Reading, is now available for pre-order. It will cover Chiron's transition into Aries and Mars retrograde in Aquarius. Please note that the current pre-order price will only be in effect for a short time -- and then it will increase.
Virgo
Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) -- There is, as you're no doubt aware, a sense of safety in keeping to the shadows. Potentially you feel that you operate best in the background, or blending in like a chameleon. Yet there comes a point when this no longer works, and it's necessary to stand out, or stand up, and become fully visible. This week would appear to be that moment for you. The astrology looks to be urging you to count yourself in, and to accept that you have a place in the scheme of things that's uniquely yours. Time to be seen.
The Sacred Space of Self, our brand new 2018 Spring Reading, is now available for pre-order. It will cover Chiron's transition into Aries and Mars retrograde in Aquarius. Please note that the current pre-order price will only be in effect for a short time -- and then it will increase.
Libra
Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) -- Your ruling planet Venus is about to enter your realm of career and ambition. If you've recently felt uncertain of your prospects, or not quite prominent in your workplace, now the spotlight appears to shine directly on you. Remember that what was true in the past does not automatically follow in the present and future, especially when you're not dealing with the same people. Don't let any doubts from former times get the better of you. You can overcome them pretty easily, and you definitely should.
The Sacred Space of Self, our brand new 2018 Spring Reading, is now available for pre-order. It will cover Chiron's transition into Aries and Mars retrograde in Aquarius. Please note that the current pre-order price will only be in effect for a short time -- and then it will increase.
Scorpio
Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) -- In recent days, someone in your life may have questioned or challenged specific beliefs you hold. I appreciate this can feel quite discomfiting, the more so if you felt your position to be rock-solid. However, it would seem to be part of a personal growth process that could reach a turning point in the week ahead. If you follow it through, you're likely to wind up with a significantly broadened perspective, which can only serve you. Therefore, take courage, and seek the gift of understanding.
The Sacred Space of Self, our brand new 2018 Spring Reading, is now available for pre-order. It will cover Chiron's transition into Aries and Mars retrograde in Aquarius. Please note that the current pre-order price will only be in effect for a short time -- and then it will increase.
Sagittarius
Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) -- If you find yourself negotiating this week for something you want, or in a position to request it, remember the difference between assertion and aggression. The latter often springs from desperation or fear. Your charts suggest that you don't need to feel either, because you have something valuable to offer; probably in the form of a skill of some kind, or unique ideas that you alone seem to produce. Have faith in yourself, and allow this to feed into a confident and friendly demeanor.
The Sacred Space of Self, our brand new 2018 Spring Reading, is now available for pre-order. It will cover Chiron's transition into Aries and Mars retrograde in Aquarius. Please note that the current pre-order price will only be in effect for a short time -- and then it will increase.
Capricorn
Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) -- Your relationships are about to receive a boost of some kind -- whether that involves meeting new people, extending intimacy with someone you care about, or similar. Remember that, more often than not, the first step to receiving what you desire is to ask for it. For you, that might also mean coming to terms with the fact that you can do so. Deal methodically with any guilt: it certainly does not serve you, and is pretty unlikely to be grounded in any kind of realism. Be with people who support you in loving yourself.
The Sacred Space of Self, our brand new 2018 Spring Reading, is now available for pre-order. It will cover Chiron's transition into Aries and Mars retrograde in Aquarius. Please note that the current pre-order price will only be in effect for a short time -- and then it will increase.
Aquarius
Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) -- The entrance of Mars into your sign commences what's likely to be an extended period of discovering yourself through knowing what you want. This will probably play out in a variety of different ways. This week there is a spotlight on your routines and habits. What would you change up, if you could? This might be as simple as rearranging the layout of your home, or where you spend the most time. Regardless, the important thing to note is to set no limits on your imagination.
The Sacred Space of Self, our brand new 2018 Spring Reading, is now available for pre-order. It will cover Chiron's transition into Aries and Mars retrograde in Aquarius. Please note that the current pre-order price will only be in effect for a short time -- and then it will increase.
Pisces
Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) -- If lately you've felt any self-doubt or anxiety about your place in the world, Venus changing signs this Saturday should help you put these notions firmly in their place. All you need to do is maintain a firm faith in the truth of who you are, and let the light of the heavens flow through you and into your creative works without interruption. You have too much to contribute for your gifts to go unseen. Trust your inner compass: it has guided you right until now, and will surely continue to do so.
The Sacred Space of Self, our brand new 2018 Spring Reading, is now available for pre-order. It will cover Chiron's transition into Aries and Mars retrograde in Aquarius. Please note that the current pre-order price will only be in effect for a short time -- and then it will increase.
Planet Waves
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