Mars Direct: Keep Your Grip

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Mars, top right, is opposite Neptune, top left, Chiron is there too. Mercury is dressed in green, pretending to be retrograde. And then there is the Sun-Eris conjunction — still in full force today.

Friday at 11:53 pm EDT, Mars stations direct in Virgo. We are in the thick of the Mars station, after a long, fascinating, fruitful, and frustrating retrograde that began in late January. By most accounts, the past few days have been characterized by issues typical of a Mercury station — but with an additional edge of aggression or anxiety. Therefore, please make an extra effort to be kind to people, in word and deed.

Why does Mars making a move feel like Mercury acting up? Maybe because Mars is in a Mercury-ruled sign. Mercury, for its part, is still just coming out of a recent retrograde, and astrologers would say it’s ‘acting shadowy’ — meaning that we’re getting an after-effect of the Mercury retrograde that lasted from March 12 through April 4.

From what we’re hearing from readers and clients, many people are run out to the end of their tether. There are communication glitches (stories of people going incommunicado abound), technological issues, and some intense psychology.

That’s coming through as self-criticism, mental obsession and for some, as depression. This is Mars after all, the planet of physical drive, desire and libido grinding to a halt and reversal in a feminine, earthy, Mercury-ruled sign. No wonder things are getting itchy and twitchy.

Yet there are a few other details, one of which is that Mars is opposite Neptune, stone still in the onrush of water. Mars-Neptune aspects can come with integrity issues, but this one feels like it’s just plain slippery — and the thing to do is keep your grip. Not a tight grip, but enough to stay upright and keep your balance. That means shedding workload, and putting a three to five day delay into your plans. A lot will work itself out those few days.

It's super easy to wire a Stratocaster! Unless Mars retrograde in Virgo is pretending to be Mercury retrograde.

Therefore, the crucial thing to have right now is patience — with people, with yourself and with things that are acting weird. It’s also one of the hardest things to muster up under such trying astrology, but it will pay off in the form of fewer complications, less damage done from difficult situations, and less effort wasted.

Since we’re talking about Mars here, get physical if the edginess is nearing unmanageable. You don’t have to be a long-distance runner or yoga devotee to get something out of half an hour of stretches and deep breathing, a walk around the block or dancing around your living room. Be mindful of your limits, weaknesses and old injuries. This is not sports for competition or to push your limits: it’s for a practical purpose of moving some energy.

There’s a bigger picture, too. We’ve described Mars retrograde as a systems check before we dive into the deep end of the 2012 astrology pool, which you could say begins Friday and reaches its first peak in May. For many, this systems check has involved assessing and ordering one’s environment (inner and outer); seeing where lapses in thought, speech, health and judgment are calling for more care; a call to more conscious choices in sexual health and relationships; and a focus on old issues of guilt and injured desire.

You’ll be moving forward with whatever process you’ve begun. Mars will be in Virgo through early July, so you have time to work through these things between now and then, even as the fireworks go off in May and June.

There are things we cannot bring into the future with us — but we cannot just pretend to have resolved them when we really have not. There’s no pretending under this astrology, but it’s a great time to be real with yourself and with others, as long as real means gentle. If it’s been hard to conceive of a path forward without conflict, the way may be clearer after the station. See what information comes out this weekend; pay attention to what you learn. And remember: small moves mean a lot.

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13 Responses to Mars Direct: Keep Your Grip

  1. Lunesoleil says:

    Virgin March as background cleaner especially of abstract thinking which not has left nothing to chance in my house 5 natal and nadir in solar revolution or is the moon.
    I lived an event I would have well avoided, never launch new projects under a March retrograde it brings only inconvenience and a waste of time that could have been placed elsewhere. I do not blame me, I kept still less resentment. The influence of March/Neptune had already begun in November 2011 at the first contact for complete then in may 2012 even if the opposition was not accurate, the energy of two celestial bodies was still in synergy and verifiable on the event plan

  2. Amanda Painter Amanda Painter says:

    lula & zerosity:

    not sure if you’ll catch this comment, but: believe me, i understand being a grammar/spelling freak who cannot read almost *anything* without seeing mistakes. that is one of the reasons i work for PW: i began by offering myself as an extra set of eyes (though i actually first got hired for other tasks, and our official first proofreader is amazing). you have no idea how many debates eric and i have gotten into at the last minute before publishing as i try to “correct” something and he insists on the evolutionary nature of language and/or his personal style preferences. :)

    don’t be confused by my typing my comments in all lower-case letters — i started doing that many years ago in non-work emails because i’m a terrible typist & it goes faster if i don’t have to hit the “shift” key.

    what bothered my about “j” was not that he simply felt like calling someone out on their grammar. it was that: 1. he corrected someone he does not know, and whose relationship to me he did not know; 2. that he persisted with thinly-veiled hostility after “d” found an etymology reference to back himself up; 3. he got into name-calling and an attempt to publicly embarrass someone he did not know (and without knowing who this person might be to me); 4. “d” had offered to help me out with a request i had made — and in return, he got a catfight from “j.”

    in any case, yes, for sure the militant need to correct others and be “perfect” has deep roots in those of us who have it, and i think as you both have indicated, it’s worth ferreting out those roots to see what they have to say about us — and whether we can find a way to be a little happier with ourselves (love ourselves), relax with it more, and still find ways to assist/teach others in ways that are not hostile or demeaning.

  3. zerosity zerosity says:

    Amanda: I didn’t do the run or exercise. I did “call in sick” even though I work mainly at home. I did that by simply going back to bed with chills, fever, headache, coughing, bronchial rumblings. (As an aside, being self-employed I have said for years that I would quit but there is no one to accept my resignation.) I have been battling round three of a recurring virus that seems to reappear every three weeks or so, at least that’s the medical opinion on the streets of those inflicted with it. But, you don’t have to be sick to take a day for yourself even if you work at home. One of the things I have learned in the last six years is that I DO NOT have to work from 9 to 5 in an office.

    Grammar Patrol…Do it all the time. There is a preprogrammed part of my brain that is home to a gnome that is never silent that automatically reads and corrects spelling and grammar, weilding a mental red pencil making editor’s marks all over the page. I do understand Lula’s point of laziness and communication chaos, and agree that can be the result of spelling and grammar erros. I usually manage to muzzle the grammar gnome, but occasionally can’t contain myself to “correct” someone if it affects the meaning. (Just ask Eric about complement and compliment. I’m certain he thinks I’m a PITA – pain in the ass. Hmm. Now, the PITA thing would dovetail back into the honesty with self thread, but we have done that already.) My own particular major peeve is the infamous apostrophe, and its misuse. I have even “joined” a online group that is dedicated to eradicating apostrophe abuse. What truly annoys me about the apostrophe abuse is that it is so pervasive that I find myself having been “brainwashed” and my fingers type it incorrectly, a subliminal patterning.

    All that being said, it doesn’t justify the name calling and its inferences, though how we perceive the exchange. Shame on the “j” for making it personal to you. It sounds as if Mr. Mashed Buttons absolutely has to have the last word, or continue to stir the pot. Let him have his last words, most likely full of typos.

    Sorry for the late post. See excuse above.


  4. Lula says:

    Amanda, your comment got me thinking! I’m also a ‘grammar fascist’ and I can tell you that misuse and misspellings of words drive me completely crazy. Here’s an insight into why that comes up as an issue for me…

    I was raised in a family where the only “love” and approval that was shown to me and my siblings was as a direct result of our achievement. Also, we were told repeatedly that “if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” I remember being taught how to wash dishes by my grandfather, and I distinctly remember him pitting my skills against those of my sister, who is three years older than me. I must have been all of about 4, maybe? His verdict was that I was better at it than her because I was more careful and put more attention in the detail. Now, all of this is quite benign, and I think it’s a good thing to instil pride in your work into your children, but when you couple it with the fact that the only attention I got was either when I achieved, or when I didn’t achieve, then what you have is a recipe for perfectionism. Of course, innate factors in myself compounded this.

    On the outside, I justify my irritation with incorrect grammar and spelling with long rants about the general “dumbing down” of society, and how it leads to laziness and communication chaos with misunderstandings and confusion abound. However, if I listen to the small voice inside, what it’s really saying is that I judge people as stupid if they can’t spell or put a sentence together. It’s an absolute reflex and I can’t stop myself from making that snap judgement, even when I talk to myself about it. I mean, I KNOW that misspelling or misusing a word doesn’t make someone stupid. But my reflex judgement is that I’m superior because I know something that they don’t. That nasty little voice has no truck with the idea of progression and learning. It is the voice of dissatisfaction with myself, ultimately. It’s the voice that first took residence inside me that day at the kitchen sink with my grandfather, and was reinforced by years of academic success and accolades, and it is how I measured my self-worth.

    I have done a lot of work on myself since then, and the single biggest thing that has helped me to do that has been the decline of my cognitive function over the years. I’m no longer the child prodigy, and these days I have to check spellings myself (but I DO check them – can’t let the “perfect” mask slip, after all! 😉 ). And yes, like your fb acquaintance, I too used to indulge in passive aggressive battles because I was unable to speak my truth in any kind of direct way.

    I battle with perfectionist tendencies every day. I’m just now completing an assignment that I know is not my best work (I’ve had a hell of a week and my powers of concentration have tanked completely), and I HAVE TO BE OK WITH THAT. Ouch. It’s going to hurt, but I think it’ll be good for me. My father always used to tell me that the problem with me was that, given the opportunity, I would do the bare minimum to get by. I internalised that as work ethic, and have since fought with driving myself into the ground to the point of exhaustion, because anything less than total effort is “lazy”. You can imagine what that has done to my work life, my health, my family, my relationships. I’m critical, never satisfied, always restless and needing to move on to the next thing to fix.

    So, poor grammar? Poor spelling? It’s a pressure release valve with me. Any time that raises a red flag with me, I look at how I’m judging myself. It’s likely that I’m not being kind to myself, and to criticise someone else for these very visible things is to bring someone else in as my mirror. Not a kind thing to do, really, but that tendency to beat myself up is so ingrained that I don’t even see it myself anymore. So if it comes out, I know it’s time to apologise to the person and be kind to myself.

    I don’t know if that helps you to deal with your irritation at all, but I felt moved to share my experience anyway… :-)

  5. Melinda Melinda says:

    Love the Strat diagram. : )

  6. JKR JKR says:

    “It’s super easy to wire a Stratocaster! Unless Mars retrograde in Virgo is pretending to be Mercury retrograde.”

    I seem to be keeping my grip alright, but I sure hope the North Koreans don’t lose theirs! Just like that….800 million pesos disintegrate over the Korean Peninsula! Oh how I’m secretly hoping you put up a chart for this one and analyze it….

    ….is my gut ever telling me it was sabotaged remotely by the US as payback for the North Korean counterfeit American “superdollar” scheme (which probably paid for the thing in the first place)!

  7. Amanda Painter Amanda Painter says:

    well, one kind of low-energy, lame-ass run in the rain and some squats, crunches and weighted leg lifts later, i’m feeling closer to human and functional than i have all day. woke up depressed and thinking obsessively in bed, and burned up a lot of energy chasing myself in mental circles all day wishing i could “call out sick” and go home from work. but i work at home!

    have not decided yet how much/if i should speak to a certain friend who basically needled and bullied another acquaintance of mine on FB (they do not know each other). one of them — “j” — says the other’s misuse of a word “pushed his buttons.” but not only did their exchange devolve into passive aggression barely veiled in “just messin’ with ya!” and smiley faces, but “j” went so far as to say, “who is this goofball, amanda? one of your suitors?”

    that he went as far as name-calling and an attempt to publicly humiliate someone i barely know after butting heads over a point of grammar because it’s a “pet peeve” of his really bothers me. i think he could stand a closer look at his “buttons” if they are that easily pushed that far.

    i know — it’s not like he called the guy an asshole. but to me, he kind of went for the jugular by making fun of the possibility that the other guy might be interested in me.

    i know…. mars is just feeling so damn squirrelly right now.

  8. Carrie says:


    Your chart sounds a bit like mine except for the sun in the 6th.

  9. CaraSusanetta CaraSusanetta says:

    This is very interesting on a personal note because I *seem* to be having a relatively easy time of this Mars retrograde compared to most of the readers. All of the same fundamentals of events and explorations are in play, but maybe because of my natal placements I’m used to this sort of energy (I’m heavy Virgo rising with 60’s retrogrades in the 12th and Mars conjunct Sun/Saturn in the 6th)? Oh, yes, and Chiron return spot-on in Pisces at the moment. A lot of seismic activity, but no major eruptions or brutal shifting. I don’t know, just thought I’d throw it out there to the more knowledgeable astrologers in the group…

  10. Hugging Scorpio says:

    thanks PW writers, and Eric! A lovely “check in”.

  11. Lizzy Huffy says:

    Yes, thanks so much for this.xx

  12. indranibe says:

    Omg, yes. That is exactly how it feels. As if the key thing to do is to off-load, hold on and not go under. Needed to read this today. Thanks. Cheers all, Indrani 😛

  13. baycyn says:

    Well, goodness, it certainly has been feeling like Mercury+Mars retrograde to me. That, plus whatever it was that’s been written here lately about things being uncovered…the truth coming out in bits, with each piece changing the picture.

    There has been a world-rocking revelation at my office in the past week and a half (enough to keep us all distracted and shaking our heads in disbelief) with enough “stuff” around it that it feels like it’s been going on for a month. Nope, only about 9 days. The collateral damage is still rippling, and we are still finding bits of the story. Each day brings something new/additional. The effects are personal as well as professional. And it has caused a significantly increased workload for many of us at a time when we’re under pressure to get other projects completed.

    There has also been drama in my family (injuries and attendant issues) that may well reveal long-kept secrets and changes in what we *thought* was the situation. It has also brought to a head some long-simmering issues that have never been properly addressed.

    The last couple of days have been rough for me to keep my cool and to be kind rather than frustrated and nasty. I’m so glad to have read this tonight. — the perspective always helps!

    So, it feels like a LOT of stuff in my life is coming up for exposure and healing. The oddest thing I’ve been feeling lately is gratitude for having a clear conscience when I lay my head down at night. I mean, there are plenty of things I do/say that aren’t as kind and loving as I want to be and there are disowned parts of myself awaiting integration — plenty of work to do there — but I don’t have any significant issues of integrity eating at me (like the kind I’m seeing in the situation at my office).

    I sorely missed my usual swim tonight due to a work event, which actually was pleasant and a good breather from the craziness going on. I felt even more grateful than usual that I don’t drink anymore because after today especially I would have had a drink or two or three and would have felt like crap later. Instead I had a lovely dinner and a nice walk. And no icky aftereffects. This is my mantra for the next little while so that I step back and take a breath when I’m feeling stressed and reactive and want to spew: remember, no icky aftereffects.

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