Mars in Focus: Individual and Society

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Dear Friend and Reader:

This week, Mars in Cancer comes into range of opposing the Saturn-Pluto conjunction. I’ve been writing about this for weeks, such as in this article, and this one. And Friday, I released a video that offers another take on the aspect pattern, and gives some of its history.

With all of that said, I want to offer one thought this week, as Mars comes back into focus, in a series of transits that will last till the Cancer solstice.

Detail of a mosaic of Mount Sharp, taken by the Mars Curiosity Rover last year. Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS. View in full here.

Nothing says “individual will” quite like Mars in Cancer. This is the emotionally driven element of will, at once passionate and yet cyclical in nature (like anything in Cancer). The ancient rules of astrology say that Mars is in “fall” in Cancer, meaning that it’s irritated, it stands out, and can be extra-strong despite the discomfort.

Mars now makes a series of three oppositions to major elements in Capricorn. Beginning this week, it is conjunct the Moon’s north node and opposite the Moon’s south node. This contains the key to the aspect pattern.

On June 14, Mars opposes Saturn in Capricorn, which is a classic aspect describing power and authority struggles. On June 19, Mars opposes Pluto in Capricorn, another in the “battle of the wills” type of aspects.

Mars in Cancer on the North Node wants something new: whether it’s emotional experience, personal territory or freedom from the past. Points conjunct the North Node can hesitate, uncertain whether the unfamiliar territory described is what they really want. Yet there is a pull to the North Node that is difficult to resist.

Saturn and Pluto conjunct the South Node in Capricorn describe the past. Saturn and Pluto are retrograde, which is another reference to the past. This side of the pattern seems intractable, made of some dense substance that does not want to release its grip.

Now, think of how this describes our moment. Mars represents the individual being who wants change in some form, who is driven emotionally, whose motivation is not entirely consistent, and who is iffy about any quest for the future.

On the other side of the equation is all that seemingly dense material out of history, which both individuals and society drag around as if nothing else is possible.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this stunning overhead view of Olympus Mons in January 2018, showing multi-layered terrain. Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona. See at full size here.

William Faulkner famously wrote in his Requiem for a Nun, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” This is how we live. Even very young people walk around convinced that the way things were is the way they will always be.

This would not be possible if it were considered more carefully, more actively, and with greater concern for the problem.

Mars in Cancer may seem to oppose Saturn and Pluto, as if it’s exerting energy in their direction. Yet the direction of movement implied is in the direction of the North Node, not the South. Change comes not from confronting the past and attempting to change it, or wage war with it, but rather entering new territory.

Unlike Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, the new territory is not about society. It’s not about institutions or families or history or whatever seems to comprise the status quo. Rather, Mars in Cancer on the North Node is about some missing experience you need in order to demonstrate that something is possible other than what has happened; other than what has gone wrong.

As John Lennon said,

You tell me it’s the institution
Well, you know
You better free your mind instead

Or you might say free your imagination. Remember that all through this extravaganza, Mars in Cancer is trine Neptune in Pisces. In the process of mediating between the past and the future, creativity is a rather helpful tool, and it’s right within reach.

The sign and rising sign interpretations below are based on the chart for Mars conjunct the North Node. For the day by day, check out my birthday readings, which we’re now posting for subscribers a week ahead.

Don’t forget to watch my video on this aspect pattern.

With love,


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