Coming to a head: Mars opposite Saturn

We say that things “come to a head” to indicate a build-up of pressure or emotion that can no longer be contained. It always makes me think of water boiling in a covered pot, building up enough of a ‘head’ of steam to lift the lid right off and overflow in a big mess. Generally the mess can be avoided if attention and respect are paid to the container, its contents and the forces (in this case, heat) being applied to it. It’s a useful image as we head into the middle of this week, which features an opposition between Mars in Taurus and Saturn in Scorpio early on Wednesday.

Simplified chart showing Mars (red ‘male’ symbol) in Taurus opposite Saturn (gold squiggle) in Scorpio. Also shown is the Moon in Capricorn square Mercury (green glyph with horns) in Aries. Other planets in Taurus: the Sun, Pallas Athene and Venus; the lunar nodes (orange horse shoes) are in Taurus and Scorpio. View glyph key here.

The opposition is exact just before 1:12 am EDT Wednesday morning. Mars and Saturn have an interesting and challenging relationship, being essentially opposite principles (Mars being expressive energy, drive and immediacy, Saturn being structure, containment and time). According to Isabel Hickey:

“In any aspect between Mars and Saturn, wisdom says, ‘Follow Saturn, ignore Mars.’ Mars and the area in which Mars is placed looks more attractive. Who wants discipline and the confining of energy. The trick is to use the right amount of martian energy by confining it within the bounds of Saturn.”

It all sounds so sensible on paper, doesn’t it? But with Mars in the lush, sensual, acquisitive fields of Taurus — flanked by Venus, Pallas Athene and the Sun — I can see how it might be hard to acquiesce to Saturnian responsibility. Taurus is where the party is these days.

Now recall how most astrologers describe Taurus: placid and slow to anger, but when they do, watch out. It’s the slow build that you usually have to watch out for with Taurus; you have to be observant enough to sense the subtle signs of increasing pressure and internal heat. It’s kind of like geologists monitoring a volcano: you can’t just watch the outside of it from afar. You need to have your instruments tuned to what’s rumbling quietly beneath the surface.

The volcano is actually the perfect image of Mars in Taurus opposite Saturn retrograde in Saturn. Mars — the heat, the pressure — is confined in earth (Taurus), which it will push against. Saturn in a different sign might normally be an excellent match for this Mars, since it is a planet of solid, earthy structures. But Saturn is in a sign traditionally ruled by Mars — although Mars is currently ruling it from an awkward location. There is the potential for the waters of Scorpio being held by Saturn to heat up like magma and push through the narrow volcano walls.

In discussing this post, Eric noted, “I keep getting the feeling that Saturn is overpowered and is holding onto something here. Remember Saturn is retrograde, so part of the theme will be past emotional conditions…and what to ‘do’ about them now.”

These ‘past emotional conditions’ might be contributing to any sense of pressure this week; or rather, holding onto them if they are no longer valid or useful might be a source of tension. Releasing emotional habits or postures that no longer serve us was a theme of last week’s lunar eclipse, so it’s no surprise that it might be reinforced as we move toward the companion solar eclipse on May 9.

In fact, events this week will develop from a point of origin that seems to be around last week’s eclipse, since the eclipse basically sketched out the Mars-Saturn opposition. Have you kept whatever surfaced for you on (or just after) Thursday in mind?

As you meditate on whatever insights you came to then, here are some other thoughts to ponder: Mars opposite Saturn can be a great aspect for steady, meticulous work on an ongoing project (with Mars in Taurus, this is especially true — and the work is likely to have an extra elegance to it). In terms of interpersonal relating, however, there’s a caution against letting jealousy or possessiveness run unbridled; Taurus and Scorpio both contribute to that.

There’s the potential for someone you’re in any kind of partnership with (or yourself) to run hot and cold. ‘Holding things in’ if you’re upset is not a great idea, because then you get that pressure-buildup situation. That’s not a suggestion to just let loose if you’re annoyed. Try to express hurt or anger within a clear structure — that is, confine yourself to the grievance at hand, rather than getting caught up in how it echoes or recalls all sorts of crap from the past. Use your ‘I statements’.

Use the determination of Mars to dive deep into the Saturn container to keep clearing out your own emotional blockages — rather than trying to ‘help’ someone else blow apart theirs. That’s their business.

Also, with all those Taurus planets, there’s a caution against getting too set in one emotional posture, or too stubborn about getting what you want. If Saturn really is feeling overpowered and holding onto something, the wrong kind of persistence could make it that much more intractable. Releasing is about allowing.

Stubborn physical drive could run up against some very concrete walls, so listen to your body. Physical outlets (vigorous exercise) require that you listen to your body’s messages about when you’re beginning to fatigue, or irritating an existing injury. Be clear with yourself about whether problems are physical or emotional, and which kind of solution they need.

Finally, note that the Capricorn Moon squares Mercury in Aries Wednesday as well, putting mind and emotions in conflict. A little sensual Taurean play might allow the subconscious to come through with a solution — especially a consciously loving use of the senses. There’s a lot of Venus power with all those planets in Taurus, suggesting a mid-week massage or other gentle indulgence could help get you out of your head if you find yourself there, and stuck in conflict.

5 thoughts on “Coming to a head: Mars opposite Saturn”

  1. Agreed, wonderful Amanda, thanks. One of the things I felt all of last week lined up with Mia’s suggestion and clearing out clutter in my studio, around my piano, etc. I was wanting to do this but Mia gave me that extra push. Yesterday, I had the day off, really wanted to do something else but instead basically just plodded away at a total clean up of garbage removal and donation items. Incidentally right as Venus was hitting the South Node! Well, talk about release!

    My mom had her 66th birthday on Sunday and I took her out to an art gallery and during dinner, we had an amazing discussion about sexuality, nourishment and inherited crap surrounding that. She opened up on stuff, it was great. I told her too how weird it was for me at 16 to do pranayama in the morning after waking up with a hard on, instead of just loving the fact that I was virile. We also talked about this build up of anger to explosiveness. I told her, we always have a choice. And it’s important to ask why we want to explode or not and where that is really coming from. We share a lot of mutual experience in not having attracted (or feeling worthy for) healthy giving relationships.

    I think it’s amazing that we have all this Taurus energy opposite a long term teacher just as we are in the midst of Eclipses and focus on the South Node of release. There is so much potential in bringing in something so new and fresh. I think patience and the idea in self investment is crucial, especially these current weeks.

  2. Thanks for the heads up Amanda. Intense times but awareness and focusing on interesting events like the Citizens Hearing on Disclosure certainly help.

    So happy, Lizzy, the read that my comments helped. You provided the inspiration to get me started. I hope awareness and focusing on what you want in your life help too. It seems so huge at times when in fact it is a subtle and simple shift.


  3. Thanks for this wonderful, helpful piece Amanda. “… so part of the theme will be past emotional conditions…and what to ‘do’ about them now.” Yes, what came up so painfully and overwhelmingly with the eclipse has calmed down and is leavibg space for insights. Am finally getting to grips with the fear that has run my life. Speaking to my father on the phone the other day, hearing his constant anxiety about survival and money (except that in his case it’s all in his mind), I was able to take a step back from it and see what I’m finally beginning to move away from, and was also able to be supportive and compassionate for him, which boy does he need right now. Was also so helped by Mia’s wonderful comments last week, and other dear readers’ words too,

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