Dear Friend and Reader:
As you know, Mars will be retrograde for most of the summer, for two months beginning on June 26. Mars retrogrades happen every other year, and each is distinctive. It’s not just the sign where it happens that defines the unique property of the retrograde, but primarily what is happening with the outer planets that describe the invisible background layer of existence.
Mars retrograde in Aquarius, as discussed last week, is about the social patterns of society. Given the connection of Aquarius to the internet, we will have a study, conscious or not, in what impact the internet has had on consciousness and social patterns.
We got an example of this with the Mars retrograde two years ago, when we all wondered how exactly the Donald Trump candidacy had any buoyancy at all, when during prior election cycles he would have sunk like a block of concrete. The answer is what the internet has done to consciousness and intellect.
Part of what is happening is that the structured nature of a literacy-based culture is degrading back to the tribal, oral and rumor/mythology based society that long predates it. Much of the insanity we are seeing in the world right now is associated with the inability to distinguish truth from hearsay or opinion, and further, the opinion that there is no truth. This is a form of nihilism.
Mars retrogrades are not evenly distributed through the signs. Far to the contrary. Of note, the forthcoming Mars retrograde in Aquarius will only be the second in living memory. Mars was retrograde briefly in Aquarius in 1924 and 1939; and it was retrograde entirely in Aquarius in 1971. Interestingly, during the only Mars retrograde that people might actually remember, Chiron had recently arrived in Aries.
The Deep Background: Uranus conjunct Eris
Reaching for my world record of using the same quote in as many articles as possible, the late Prof. Eric McLuhan (1941-2018) summed it up when he said, “The body is everywhere assaulted by all of our new media, a state which has resulted in deep disorientation of intellect and destabilization of culture throughout the world. In the age of disembodied communication, the meaning and significance and experience of the body is utterly transformed and distorted.”
Imagine you suddenly discover you can scratch your toes while you’re standing up straight. Imagine you discover that you can eat through your armpit. Imagine you reach into your pocket and pull out identification under five different names. That is the kind of distortion he’s talking about, only worse: it’s the experience of not having a body, or the body not mattering, or of floating outside of your body.
This can have odd permutations, such as the notion that if someone desires you sexually that is the equivalent of sexual assault. The conflation (that is, mixing up or confusion) of healthy erotic desire and transgressive or aggressive behavior is a direct result of what McLuhan described as “the significance and experience of the body being utterly transformed and distorted.”
This is described by our deep-background astrology, the Uranus-Eris conjunction in Aries (2016-2017), which at different times has come with such developments as the printing press, radio, the transistor, and the development of television.
Even Morse code — part of the first system for conveying electrical/digital information — was developed under the influence of a Uranus-Eris conjunction in the mid-1830s. (I just randomly checked the horoscope for the patent, and Uranus and Eris are within 10 degrees of one another.) Uranus-Eris would seem to be a cycle with a deep connection to radical developments in communication, all of which come with some form of social reorganization.
The Current Background
The context for the current Mars retrograde is many simultaneous sign changes of outer planets, and an aspect we have not yet discussed — Asbolus square Neptune. When outer planets change signs, there are changes happening within the invisible environments. Sometimes these astrological developments lead to the discovery that attitudes and values have already changed.
Let’s go over these briefly. I will do my best to link to prior articles about the placement I’m describing in case you want to go deeper. Our archive elves are digging up those articles as I write.
1. Chiron in Aries. Covered in this new video, Chiron in Aries arrives with a deep identity crisis, often precipitated by fear, and fearsome developments in society. This transit, which will last nine years, is a follow-up to the Uranus-Eris conjunction in Aries, which has flipped the world on its head. It seems to be arriving with the discovery in many young people that they have no idea who they are. In that case, the way to make the discovery is to initiate conflict of some kind, whether individual, political or both. Read more here.
2. Salacia in Aries. A newly discovered outer planet called Salacia (a Kuiper object, slightly further from the Sun than Pluto) is in early Aries and will be there well beyond Chiron’s transit. Salacia seems to be about the development and maturity of sexual awareness. Currently most of society is on a level that makes Playboy magazine seem sophisticated.
The conjunction of Chiron and Salacia, within two degrees now, will be exact in 2019-2020. At the moment, some people are questioning the notion of what consent means, as if it’s difficult to understand the difference between yes and no. What is more difficult to understand is the difference between wanting and not wanting. Learn more here.
3. Uranus in Taurus. This will call attention to the body — you know, the physical one, rather than the astral body — and to the pain body, which so many seem to inhabit almost exclusively. Uranus in Taurus also describes the impact of electrical and electronic media on the physical body. One example is the struggle so many people are having with sleep. Nearly everyone I ask is struggling to get a decent night’s sleep. Being up all night is a routine thing for many people, and this is mentally and physically debilitating. Read more here.
4. Asbolus square Neptune. I have not mentioned this aspect yet, currently in full force; and I’ve only briefly mentioned Asbolus, a centaur, which is now in Gemini. Neptune is in Pisces, making the psychic fields permeable, and emphasizing the astral and etheric levels of awareness — two of the most slippery and therefore dangerous.
On the astral level, everything gets radically polarized and there are no nuances. On the etheric level, the distinctions between right and wrong can be blurred for convenience.
Now add Asbolus, which brings the intensity and potential drama of a centaur, and which provokes a survival instinct. The square aspect is pushing consciousness into a false sense of life-and-death circumstances, while leading people to ignore actual problems and potential dangers. This is a reactionary aspect that feels like, “I feel threatened; who cares if it’s real? If I believe it, it’s real, I can do whatever I want.” Here, we are in the heart of the territory where belief trumps truth. Read more about Asbolus here.
5. Pholus and Quaoar in Capricorn. Pholus is a centaur; Quaoar is a Kuiper object, slightly further from the Sun than Pluto. This is a setup similar to what we have in Aries, and the two conjunctions are in a square aspect to one another (stated, Chiron and Salacia in Aries, square Pholus and Quaoar in Capricorn). Read more here.
We can take Pholus and Quaoar together because their themes are similar, even if they differ in their modes of action. Both are associated with family material and family constellation.
Pholus is the more radical of the two, with a sensation of material gushing out of somewhere, to no end. The seeming lack of an ending is really the lack of understanding, and the lack of willingness to address the past.
Quaoar is more gentle and philosophical in its action, though it describes the “creation story” on many different levels, including the family/collective mythology (we all came from Sicily; God created Adam and Eve; and so on) to the individual level (I am an elemental; I am really from the Pleiades; I was Joan of Arc in my past life; etc.).
However, the family story needs to be brought down to the documented, tangible, physical and environmental levels, or it’s basically another form of distraction. You can be from the Pleiades all you like, though that does not tell you much about how you reacted and were shaped by your early childhood environment.
Mars Rx in Aquarius, in Context
Mars retrograde in Aquarius seems to describe a rearrangement of society. Remember that Mars represents identity, desire and violence — and the process of “finding” oneself through all three experiences. Then put Mars retrograde, going against the current of society; add planets on the Aries Point and magnify by a few hundred million. It’s gonna be interesting. Again referencing the McLuhans, most people have no other way to find themselves than through aggression and conflict. Hence there is so much of it, in times when so many people are clueless who they are.
Of the transits above, it’s most closely related to what has been happening in Aries, since Mars rules Aries and what happens to one essentially happens to the other. Yet all of the transits I’ve described above relate to the overall conditions in the invisible environment (a McLuhan concept).
Mars retrograde in Aquarius will be in the foreground, the actor standing on the stage; all the other planets I’ve mentioned, as outer planets, describe what we cannot typically see without special forms of consciousness raising.
If we focus on Mars in Aquarius, we will be tuning in only to the figure, when the truly interesting and relevant action is coming from the background. Of all the skills in media training, this is perhaps the most useful: the ability to peer into what, to others, seems invisible and/or irrelevant.
It’s easy to tune out; the figure dancing around on the stage (Donald Trump, for example) seems more relevant but is really a distraction from the actual developments that are affecting us.
Awareness is optional.