Planet Waves for May 2001 | Mars and Chiron by Eric Francis


"Gaia's Eye" by Violetta Gluchowska

Mars and Chiron

Planet Waves for May 2001 | By Eric Francis

____My friend and long-ago lover Martin recently sent me a copy of Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man by Susan Faludi. As of this writing, I am about two-thirds through her rather shocking history of what has happened to men, maleness and boys in America in the years after World War II.

____Her research, conducted through the mid-90s, looks with meticulous, compassionate social detail at a variety of situations which reveal the crisis of men we're now living through: corporate downsizing and its impact on men's images of themselves; the Promise Keepers, a Christian men's movement designed to help husbands and fathers regain their role as the spiritual leader of the household; the Spur Posse from Lakewood California, a group of boys who rose to momentary celebrity after being arrested for 20 counts of sexual crimes, but not convicted. There are also awesome chapters on the Vietnam War, the protest movements, and the bizarre male imaging that went on through the Ronald Reagan years that followed.

____The short history of men between 1945 and today goes a bit like this. After The War, as it's known, men returned to a country that had been run very effectively by women for four years. These men needed work and a place in society. A government-sponsored technology industry (largely based in aerospace) was created; billions of Cold War military dollars were funneled into it; and the Father Knows Best/Leave it to Beaver version of the "nuclear family" was invented. The role of the woman in this family was to make the home and raise the kids; the father would participate in society, make the money and be the spiritual centerpiece of the family. The boys of this generation were promised the world.

____But the social order, which was largely a fiction to begin with, soon began to fall apart. Neither men nor women in most of these families were satisfied with their roles. Men, in particular, had a hollow job, little authority in their homes, and little actual function, purpose or meaning in the culture. Then the 1960s and 1970s brought tremendous social upheavals. Many young men rebelled against their pompous fathers and refused to go to Vietnam; women organized and began to demand equality, real roles in society, the rights to education and economic power -- and it started to happen. In the process, many women began to actualize themselves, create their lives, and band together, while men were left without a functional role in the world -- including father, as relationship models failed, and ever-more women opted to be single moms.

____Faludi notes that men are often accused of running the world and controlling everything, but rarely, she says, do we look at the ways in which the men we actually know are shaped, molded, created and victimized by a world in which they have very little power or influence.

____Feminists and Wiccans alike can rail about "the patriarchy," but few have ever met a member of this ominous all-male cabal of bankers and nuclear wizards who secretly run the planet. For the most part, it's just us guys, figuring out how to make our way in a world where our fathers had little to offer in the way of guidance or support, and where there are no guarantees, including a satisfying job even if you have a Master's degree from Cornell and a good head on your shoulders.


____This month, the planets Mars and Chiron will make two conjunctions, and a third in August. The Mars-Chiron conjunction happens about every two years, but because of the Mars retrograde beginning May 11, there will be three conjunctions close together. Mars, from the viewpoint of the Earth, will appear to cross back and forth over Chiron May 1, May 29 and Aug. 23.

____Mars may be the symbol painted on the door of the boy's bathroom, but everybody has Mars in their chart. Mars represents the energy of outward desire. Venus, on the other hand, draws who and what we want to us; Mars goes and gets it.

____Mars-Chiron conjunctions are meaningful because both are warrior archetypes, powerful expressions of male energy in a culture where male energy is often wounded, compromised or running on empty. Chiron beings awareness of both wounding and healing to everything it touches -- if we really pay attention to what is happening. If anything in this world needs healing, it is the inner aspect of the psyche known astrologically as Mars, and psychologically as the animus -- Yang or "male principle."

____We live in a world where Mars does not have a sane job. The part of Mars that is about desire has been taken over, for the most part, by greed; few people know the difference. Mars's job as a warrior has been corrupted in a long series of military involvements throughout history (particularly in the 20th century) which, one after the next, was seen to be about nothing but greed, world domination and violence for the fun of it (as opposed to "democracy" and "freedom"). The wars we remember, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf, are now commonly understood to be disgusting expressions of vicious aggression; the wars we don't know about include U.S. involvement for decades in Central America (Nicaragua, El Salvador and other countries), where we bombed schools, farms and hospitals, and where thousands of people "disappeared" and turned up later in mass graves.

____Today, the modern warrior is the State Trooper or the rogue cop, whom we presume will be racist and arrest us for a pebble and call it a marijuana seed if he happens not to like us. This at least is an improvement over burning villages, raping kids and spraying/being sprayed with Agent Orange (the usual activities in Vietnam), but it does not put Mars to good use. Obviously.

____Venus and Mars are the two most important planets we deal with on the social level, in our courting rituals and sexual interactions. And here too, there is big trouble.

____Wounded Mars gives us a variety of images in this dimension. One is the cultural myth that men are the only people who can, do or are entitled to express sexual desire; it is the myth that "all men are sexual aggressors," or that only men are sexual aggressors and that consequently, (all) women are sexual victims (of men).

____The dimension of this which is not a myth is the enormous prevalence of rape and incest at this time in our country. But given the problems we are having, this is disgusting but it is not shocking. I would estimate that half the women you know have been raped either as kids or adults, or inappropriately touched as kids; a great many men have as well. And though the great majority of attackers are men, there is a projection on all men that they are prospective rapists or sexual harassers, and that any encounter with a man can end as a rape. And many, many women -- particularly the mothers of victims -- take part in cover-ups of rape and incest.

____Wounded Mars presents a false picture in which there is a total division between the sexual realm and the emotional. Men carry the projection from both women and other men of being "only sexual" and not interested in emotional bonding. This weaves an illusion in which men who express sincere sexual desire can be pinned with the stigma of not wanting anything else. And what man has not found himself in the bind of being considered "aggressive" or accused of "coming on" if he is straightforward with women, yet having few women ever approach him with social or sexual offers?

____How many men reading this are getting angry?

____I am.

____Which brings me to one last Mars theme for the day. We have a lot to be angry about in this world, and yet expressing anger is as taboo as openly admitting to sexual desire. We watch and participate as our world's ecological integrity degrades. The cancer rate is near 50% for men and women. A few people struggle to take up environmental issues on the local level, but who has time when you're working three jobs? Who has money to spend on organic food when it costs double the price and you're already struggling to get by?

____I view a triple conjunction of Mars and Chiron as an opportunity to take some major strides in healing these issues. Sure, any time would be a good time, yet the celestial message is undeniable: a vibration, a frequency, a signal, an experience of healing is available, and it is necessary and available now.

____For this to work, we are, however, going to need to bring issues to awareness. We will need to support one another, and we are going to need to move beyond our cherished prejudices and safe conceptual havens that leave us prisoners of a past we did not create. Men and women are going to need to listen to one another -- though I propose this is an especially important (and rare) time for the men to both speak and be listened to. This equates to widening our view of reality: a truly Sagittarian theme, if ever there was one, which translates to both learning and having informed discussions about the nature of our reality and the nature of change.

____These conjunctions take place in direct alignment with the center of our Milky Way galaxy, near the 27th degree of Sagittarius. This is positively astonishing. If the message is not clear enough, when we look to Mars and Chiron for wisdom and healing, we are now looking toward the mysterious center of our local universe, the core of our galaxy: a true symbol of the Divine Unknown.

____Yet Sagittarius is also the sign of worldly knowledge. In the system of Esoteric Astrology proposed by Alice Bailey fifty years ago this year, the Earth is the planetary ruler of Sagittarius -- suggesting that what is so "far out" and far away is both meaningful and directly accessible here, in the only world we know and call home.

____The planet Earth is the home of men and of women. We all live here, and we live here together. It would be really nice if we could live here in peace.++

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