Mars opposite Eris: calling back projections in relationships

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We have a lot going on in the sky this week, and although most of the major events peak toward the end of the week (the Aquarius New Moon on Thursday and Venus stationing direct Friday chief among them), a pair of oppositions are keeping our behavior in relationship front and center. The most immediate is exact today at 11:43 am EST: Mars in Libra opposite Eris in Aries.

Eris by Alexandra V. Bach/; from "Eris: Facets and Fragments of Self."

Eris by Alexandra V. Bach/; used in “Eris: Facets and Fragments of Self.”

Everyone alive today has Eris in Aries, since it is in the process of spending more than a century in this sign. In myth, Eris the goddess played upon the vanity and insecurity of her sister goddesses, causing discord and strife when she rolled a golden apple inscribed “To the fairest” into a wedding to which she alone (out of all Olympus) had not been invited. The ultimate result was the Trojan War. Eris the minor planet created its own kind of discord and upheaval when its discovery in 2005 lead to the de-classification of Pluto as a planet.

As a result, Eris in astrology carries among its themes one manifestation of the shadow feminine: a female energy that provokes insecurity in others regarding identity and self-image. As Eric has delineated in a PDF titled “Eris: Facets and Fragments of Self,” this mythological discord (combined with Eris’s original nickname, “Xena,” after the postmodern television heroine) translates and speaks to the constant state of identity crisis we’re living as denizens of this postmodern world.

There is, however, a positive expression of Eris. Depending on its house placement in a natal chart (for example, right on a person’s ascendant), Eris can also represent the recovery of a lost fragment of self. That recovery of self has been described by Eric’s friend and fellow astrologer Paloma Todd as, “a placement that moves a lot of shadow in others, and when integrated and activated gives power through immunity to other peoples’ expectations and projections.”

That is, it’s possible for an Eris placement (such as conjunct the ascendant) to bring out others’ psychological shadow material. It activates it; but at the same time, in doing so, it can allow the person with this Eris to evade the projections of others as they express their shadows.

This question of projections — provoking them, recognizing when we’re projecting, calling back those projections and owning the shadow — is key to today’s Mars-Eris opposition. This is the god of drive, libido and aggression in the sign of relationships on one side, and the goddess of discord and the reclamation of shadowy facets of self on the other side. We’re in the middle, on Earth.

It boils down to mindfulness in relating and relating from a place of wholeness: seeing your ‘stuff’ as being within yourself rather than seeing it as solely existing in a relationship partner. If you start hearing yourself speaking a lot of sentences beginning with “You always…” or “You never…” or “You’re so…” when talking to a partner, you’re in projection-and-blame territory. Hit the ‘pause’ button and do a little self-inventory. This is deep work; it might take a while.

The great thing is, once you crack things open even a little, the light can start shining in. As my friend Odessa perceptively remarked in a recent post on her blog, “Projections can only exist in the presence of darkness.”

Granted, not everything the light shines on will look all that pretty at first — but that’s part of the challenge of living in wholeness: loving these shadowy parts of ourselves for the truth they show us, and for showing us where we can set about healing and growing next.

Consider also that in very basic terms, Mars-Eris is looking for forward momentum in relationships. But if it comes at the expense of oneself (or an important part of oneself), there’s going to be some resentment or kickback. Beware of tactics born of unacknowledged resentments; that is one definition of ‘toxic’. Speak your piece to keep the peace, since pushing concerns aside will backfire — but speak in “I” statements and remember to play fair if you want to play at all.

What you learn with this opposition will be reviewed, tested and hopefully refined over the next several months, as this is the first of three Mars-Eris oppositions due to the upcoming retrograde of Mars in Libra. Keep that in mind as we near the end of Venus’ retrograde in Capricorn. Venus has been taking us on a tour of our values and our past relationships; today Mars and Eris are giving us an echo from the near future.

“Eris: Facets and Fragments of Self” was originally published as part of The Spiral Door, the 2007 annual edition by Eric Francis. Your 2014 annual readings, called The Mars Effect, feature interpretations of the upcoming Mars retrograde in Libra for all 12 Sun signs and rising signs — as well as articles by more than a dozen Planet Waves collaborators. Access to the articles is open to all; you can order instant access to Eric’s individual sign readings here.

To become eligible for a discount on all 12 Mars Effect sign readings, become a Planet Waves member today!

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8 Responses to Mars opposite Eris: calling back projections in relationships

  1. vicvega says:

    Thanks Amanda for the perspective on Eris on the Ascendant-I have a Venus/Eris conjunction in the last degree of my 12th house:) I’ve experienced having the effect of “stirring up” people’s shadow material…which is a tough thing to deal with until you actually own it and mature into the higher expression of this Eris placement….it’s tough mostly because you seem to have a lot of drama around you, but it’s not necessarily because of anything you “did.” Anyway, I agree with this commentary and it’s really quite empowering and wonderful to deflect projections with ease and grace. I’m working on it:)

    Anyway, love the Eris info…I’ve read all Eric’s major pieces on it and I’d love another article from you dear Amanda. Great writing. cheers, Victoria

  2. bkoehler says:

    I meant to point out that the planets Saturn and Uranus in a quincunx aspect (in July) were both in signs ruled by Mars (Aries and Scorpio). With Libra Mars in his position of being conjunct Ceres and the NN while opposite Eris and SN after a long period of time in Venus’ sign (and being trine her at this time) indicates a degree of mellowing (cooperation) will have been reached in how the “adjustment” (quincunx) is expressed between Saturn and Uranus. True for those both in diplomatic circles and personal relationships I would assume!

  3. Amanda Painter Amanda Painter says:

    oops — Len — i absent-mindedly changed the author/publisher name when i set this article up. it was late! in any case, i am grateful to know that you and others appreciated it.

  4. bkoehler says:

    I’m intrigued by the phrase about coming from “a place of wholeness” and think that it is Mars that is going through a process of alchemy. Let me backtrack a bit.

    We know now for sure that there is water on Ceres. This information was made public when Ceres was at 27+ Libra. Astrologers will no doubt be incorporating this knowledge into their thinking about the meaning(s) of Ceres, adapting their concepts as to how she interacts with other planets. Mars will not catch up with Ceres before or during their retrograde periods but will do so in July when they BOTH will oppose Eris at 23+Aries.

    Knowing this now, and knowing that Mars and all the other planets are part of a giant pattern/process symbolizing change, and taking into consideration that Eris and Mars were siblings, I believe that Mars’ long transit in Venus-ruled Libra indicates a new way of viewing and utilizing his energy. As ingredients in a recipe affect the flavor of a dish, tempering the “strength/taste” of one ingredient by combining it with another ingredient to produce a third flavor that over-rides their separate flavors in favor of the new, so too can the energies symbolized by the planets adapt and change and improve.

    Mars is already diluted by being in Libra and his opposition to distant Eris (same family) blends (neutralizes) his “energy” even further. The transit of Mars in Libra will put him in challenging contact with extremely potent energies (flavors) over a period of time and this particular aspect reminds me of letting the dough rest or maybe “tenderizing” the beef before cooking. It seems to be an exercise meant to make Mars more “palatable”.

    By the time Mars reaches his conjunction with Ceres and opposes Eris again, the North Node (opportunity) will join Mars and Ceres while the South Node (release) will conjunct Eris. Also at this time in July, Venus will trine Mars, Ceres and NN, and sextile Eris and the SN. A full-moon in Capricorn will also be taking place. A quincunx between Uranus and Saturn, with Chiron trine Saturn and semi-sextile Uranus will also be taking place. Saturn will be stationing direct and Uranus will be stationing retrograde shortly thereafter. Jupiter will be square the Nodes and about to leave the sign of Cancer for Leo. Uranus and Neptune will be in a novile aspect (40 degrees apart) which has a harmonizing and refining quality. Things will be changing.

    Whatever way we experience this aspect between Mars and Eris, it is only a step in a long process leading to a place of wholeness. With Ceres now opposite QB-1 at a time when her very meaning is growing, a new threshold is being offered to us, much as a full moon allows us to more fully see where we stand in situations. Allow your self and your relationships to adapt, ferment, simmer and blend through a process meant to improve your life and become more whole.

  5. Patty says:

    The sabian symbols appear to speak to this also, with Aries, the gate is the key. Open it just a little and you access paradise. It seems like a portal (to me). In Libra, the child is feeding birds at a fountain, which implies that we can meet the needs of others without much fuss or by over thinking the situation. Like moving over to give someone a place to sit, maybe it is the same with emotions. I’ve noticed that nearly everyone has always felt free to dump on me. Maybe acknowledging the need is as simple as saying “you are hurt, how can I help” if the answer isn’t obvious. There are times when we need to just be love, and maybe that’s the key to opening the gate. If someone does that to me, “You always” maybe I’ll just agree, meet their eyes with love and open the gate a little. Thanks for this post. Here is your “You Always” – You are always so helpful, loving, kind, and full of insights that help us to think!

  6. jinspace says:

    From this perch, too Len. What a helpful article! Thanks, PW.

  7. Len Wallick Len Wallick says:

    Thank you, “Planet Waves”. The days leading up to the Mars-Eris opposition have certainly demonstrated the potency of the aspect (at least from this perch). The perspective and protocols provided are deeply appreciated.

  8. Lizzy Lizzy says:

    Truly wonderful. Thank you.

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