Today is Thursday, Aug. 25, 2011. We are in the midst of the storm phase for Mercury’s station direct on Friday at 6:02 pm EDT, and today we have a bonus aspect. It’s one we’ve been feeling for a while now: Mars in Cancer square Saturn in Libra, exact today at 6:46 am EDT. If you’re feeling a bit out of sorts, mentally frazzled, at a breaking point with a relationship and pretty sensitive emotionally about all of it, those two factors have a lot to do with it, and you’re not alone.
I was recently given a copy of The Astrologer’s Handbook by Frances Sakoian and Louis Acker. Curious, I thought I’d see what it had to say about the Mars-Saturn square in a natal chart simply as a point of reference. For those unfamiliar with Fran, here is what her page at the Astrologer’s Memorial says:
“Frances Sakoian was the author of 19 down-to-earth and readable astrology texts, which many of us dog-eared and virtually memorized in our student days. Perhaps best remembered were those she co-authored with Louis Acker, still available at Barnes & Noble and other chains today: The Astrologers Handbook and The Astrology of Human Relations.”
Now, as for her take on Mars square Saturn in a natal chart (which will have energy similar in a mutual aspect, such as today’s Mars-Saturn square):
The actions of the natives may be continually frustrated, leading to resentment and negative attitudes.
There can be sullen anger in the natives’ dispositions. Their ambitions are often blocked and there can be difficulties relating to others, especially in partnerships and marriages. In some cases, excessive austerity and self-discipline interfere with normal healthy development.
Sometimes the influence of this square is manifested in physical hardship, violence, accidents, and broken bones. There can also be severe restrictions on careers and professions. … The actions of the natives are not well regulated or properly directed.
. . .
There can be a certain callousness with this aspect. Often the natives are selfish individuals who will not go out of their way to help others unless they gain by it in some way.
Yikes — what a limited, limiting, and self-defeating take on things — unless of course it turns out to be true. In that case, it would be wise to check carefully with the client (in the course of an initial interview) before you would declare it so (and if you have this aspect, we would love to hear from you). If it did turn out to describe someone accurately, we could at least use some additional information from an astrology text about how to guide such a person, and also use an alternative image of who it might represent (such as an extremely disciplined martial artist — and there is something martial about this aspect).
The strain of astrology writing I’ve quoted describes the need for an evolution in astrological thought not everyone has embraced: moving beyond the personality level, or the idea of predestined fate, into astrology as a healing modality. The start of Frances Sakoian’s astrology career long predates the discovery of Chiron (she died in 1989, 12 years after the discovery and to our knowledge she made no public comment about this planet).
Chiron is a minor planet many people are realizing holds a key to personal and cultural evolution we cannot afford to ignore. But there’s still a barrier to its use and that of other newly-discovered planets: tradition, especially tradition passed on without question. Though Chiron is not a prominent factor in today’s sky, its presence offers something for astrologers to aspire to: a kind of ethos.
“Dog-eared and virtually memorized?” That points to a pretty widespread and ingrained idea of how to interpret this square. More importantly, it asks us to ask ourselves why we bother with astrology. Do we study it and ourselves so we can feel all superior, gazing lovingly at our inner bookshelves filled with the knowledge of certain doom? Or do we study astrology and ourselves so we can evolve into our potential, treat each other with loving kindness and respect, and engage in the world with purpose?
If the answer is the latter, then we need to find a way to embrace our shadow material and work with it, rather than be ground down by it. Unfortunately the excerpt on Mars-Saturn quoted offers virtually no hope of useful tools for evolution. But if you believe we are in fact on this planet in this lifetime for a purpose, it pays to figure the tools must be out there and go looking for them.
What would Chiron do? On one side of the square we have Mars in Cancer, this emotion-soaked drive, sexual desire, rage, pathos and desire to nurture. All of that is coming up against Saturn in Libra, the exalted institution of marriage or coupledom, sanctioned and promoted as the only legitimate relational option for many centuries. Mars square Saturn backs us into a corner. It’s the corner that many couples end up in.
Our current moment is pushing us to break up or heal a relationship. There is something we need to either outgrow, or corral into a useful boundary. So again, ask yourself: What would Chiron do? You have a choice in envisioning the next step, a choice in walking away or investing more deeply. Neither is inherently right or wrong; the key is deciding which is right for you and which path holds healing for you.
Bear in mind, all of this is nestled in the matrix of Mercury stationing direct in Leo later tomorrow. It’s a ‘change your mind about yourself’ kind of station, with the ‘about yourself’ coming from Leo. This may feel a bit scary to you, if you’re pretty well invested in your current self-concept or have not taken time to re-vision yourself. A fear of flying without a net is natural if you have no idea where you might land. But there are no guarantees in life anyway and our sense of security in a ‘sure thing’ is an illusion. It’s not too late to put a little thought and energy into where you could be versus who you are; there’s still time to make a decision, then see where you actually land. Other opportunities will follow down the road. But why wait if you don’t have to?
As Gary Caton pointed out, Mars-Saturn also translates as the the prodigal son ‘fallen’ (Mars is said to be ‘in fall’ in Cancer) while the father or king (Saturn) is exalted. What otherwise might be a bombastic meeting is mitigated by the circumstances within which these two meet. Again, this feels like a choice of orientation toward the future which is made from awareness and experience — part of awareness is seeing what is asking for healing, intimacy and investment. Part of the current story is letting go of everything that didn’t bear fruit, then taking what has worked and focusing on that as the seed for the future.
Closer to our home planet, the Moon is in Cancer all day and makes a simultaneous square to Saturn and conjunction to Mars at about 9:00 am EDT. Sometimes Mars aspects are felt more as they approach rather than when they are exact, but they can have an after burn. The Moon may add a little emotional fuel to this aspect today, so keep a finger on the pulse of your reactions and urge to emote. Remember the choice you make regarding investing in a relationship or walking away if your buttons get pushed. Follow those buttons in as deeply as you can, and keep choosing consciously what you want to give and receive.
Amanda Painter with Eric Francis
Notice and choose: in fresh horoscopes weekly and twice monthly, the current sky speaks through your Sun and rising signs. Eric unfolds the themes in Planet Waves subscriber edition and Planet Waves Light so you can notice your patterns and choose consciously.