Mars stations direct; Sun conjunct Eris

Dear Friend and Reader:

Mars stations direct Friday, after spending about 11 weeks retrograde in Virgo. It’s slowing to a station opposite Neptune and Chiron in early Pisces. This is a week to take one step at a time; to proceed one day at a time. Mars changing directions is about a precise realignment of your will. I suggest you handle this change like you’ve got a welding torch in your hands.

Selected points when Mars stations direct, Friday April 13. Mars is the red circle with an arrow in Virgo, opposite Neptune (blue trident) and Chiron (orange key) in Pisces. That is one aspect structure. It is one of two shown that involve Mars this week, since the Sun-Vesta-Eris configuration (to the left) is in Aries — ruled by Mars.

Mars retrograde messes with motivation, and in Virgo, there is a self-criticism issue. This has not been an easy phase for many people. Others have felt the integrity-building quality of this transit. For some this has been about improving their lives and for others it’s felt like holding your focus even in moments when you’re challenged by what you know is not right for you.

Oppositions and squares to Neptune can be exhausting, and Mars changing directions can try the patience of a saint. This is why it’s important not to push, even if you feel like you haven’t gotten nearly enough done in the past few weeks (as Mercury went through its recent retrograde). You may feel like you have to make some urgent decisions — however, there’s a strong chance they can wait, at least through the weekend. One thing that tends to happen when a planet stations direct is that information comes out. If you act with incomplete or incorrect information, you can create complications. Plans put into action too soon — you’ll know because you might feel a certain kind of resistance, that’s telling you to pause — can have a disruptive effect.

That’s why it really makes sense to work with these planetary stations; they have a strong element of ‘go with the flow’ — and thanks to astrology we at least have some idea of when the tide is turning.

Mars retrograde has served as a review, and as an opportunity for some deep investigation and processing in some area of your life, most likely connected with work, your health or your tendency to do too much for others (or too much in general).

As we enter these last few days of this cycle, think back through the last two and a half months (or even all the way back to November, when Mars first entered Virgo) to note the specific topics, themes and situations that are involved.

Here’s some of what we advised in the Jan. 20 installment of the Daily Astrology (also here), when Mars stationed retrograde right around when the Chinese Year of the Dragon began:

Mr. Cock and Balls treading backwards through the sign of the Virgin sounds like she becomes a woman in the process. Retrogrades are often recovery missions, about claiming lost energy, forgotten personal assets, and aspects of ourselves that threatened others when we were little. … I suggest being mindful of the pattern establishment quality of retrogrades. The last time anything like this happened was in early 1965, when the script was cast for the thing called The Sixties that ensued.

In personal psychological astrology, this phase is a systems check for all of the high-intensity astrology that arrives in the late spring. For some, Mars retrograde in Virgo represents a calling to impeccability. For others, it’s a deep self-inquiry. For still others, it’s about healing desire and unhooking the many hangups that make it so difficult to express desire without guilt.

You may feel a palpable calling to improve your life, your health and your wellbeing during the next few months — and it’s essential that you proceed with any such quest gently. Warm up before you stretch, and remember, it’s not how far you go or how good you look, it’s how consciously you lean into the tension. This goes for body or mind. Virgo is given to spells of harsh self-criticism without the help of Mars, or Mars retrograde. Given this it will be helpful to think of your feelings in terms of pleasure-guilt dynamics, and to consider any approach-avoid tendencies that you have in this light.

Dock along the shore of Moms Cove at John Steinbeck’s former residence in Sag Harbor, NY. Photo by Eric Francis.

Dig through your journal or calendar if the last three months have been a blur, and look for things that ring a bell. Judging by the recurring themes in our reader comments the past couple of months, it sounds like many readers have been on just such a journey. If you have not been, or you’re not quite sure, or you tend not to comment on the website, we’d love to hear from you about your experience of Mars retrograde.

Before Mars stations, the Sun aligns with two planets in Aries. Mars is still connected to Aries even when it’s in another sign, so the Sun’s aspects are connected to Mars changing directions. The Sun will be conjunct Vesta in Aries and then Eris, Mars’ mythological sister. This can stir the pot on your sense of not quite being sure of who you are or what you want. It’s good to raise that issue from time to time, so that you can ask again a different way.

Meanwhile Venus, the archetypal feminine counterpart to masculine Mars, enters its own echo (or shadow) phase on April 12 as it prepares for a retrograde in Gemini. Venus retrograde, and its associated transit of the Sun, will be the big story for the late spring.

For now, consider that Mars is slowing to an apparent stop opposite Neptune (within one degree) and Chiron in Pisces — two distinctly spiritual influences. This further emphasizes just how deep Mars has been taking us, and that we now have the opportunity to bring what we’ve discovered in those watery depths forward with us into a more tangible reality. What good are spiritual ‘lessons’ if we don’t apply them?

Chiron is a reminder to use any newfound awareness for healing, not self-reproach. It’s been a long 11 weeks that Mars has been retrograde, so you may want to check your journals or email inbox to see where you were at in November when this process started. That said, this week you may be more focused on meeting every day as you set some new goals and focus your intentions. One way to save energy is to let go of old goals that no longer serve you.

In the midst of your personal soul-recovery review, keep the Sun-Vesta-Eris configuration in Aries in mind. On one level, this is a continuation of the idea that Vesta is holding space for our inner conflicts, fragmentation and secrets as the Sun offers their expression. The truth is, no matter how divided our lives may be, or how many directions you may feel pulled, you’re one person living one existence. It’s always great to feel that way.

Eric Francis

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