A Better Way


August 27, 2018 at 07:05 PDT / 10:05 EDT / 14:05 UT

Mars Stationary Direct at 28°36' Capricorn

Descanso de Marte, The Rest of Mars
As I write, Mars is currently moving at snail's pace inching its way to station direct. A mere two minutes of zodiac arc (one degree = 60 minutes) separates the God of War from station standstill, but it will take Mars two days to get there.

Gliding in retrospective, retrograde motion since June 26th, Mars has brought frustrations, irritations, and an omnipresent, vitamin-deficient lethargy. Like a furnace shut down with only the pilot light burning, a healthy portion of our normal heat and fire has been lost; for Mars represents the stamina and energy we need to compete effectively, to be active and assertive, to blow through obstacles, run the course, and deal effectively with our adversaries. The outward pulsing vigor and courage that this "planet of success" symbolizes is absolutely fundamental to life.

But here we are! Forward Ho Mars! We've made it through the swamps and bogs of a two-month, slogging-backwards God of War. "At this time our intuitive function is running high," Sullivan explains, and "one instinctively 'knows' that some situation, circumstance or condition in our life is unsustainable, and that radical change must take place."We now stand at another major turning point in this long and arduous uphill retrograde process. While energy levels will gradually return to normal from this point onward, and you won't feel so much like you're driving with the parking brake on, the retrograde work, however, is not yet done.

From this week's direct station through October 8th, Mars will complete one final lap, regaining its normal pace while retracing these sensitized retrograde degrees from late Capricorn to early Aquarius for a third and final time. In many ways this is the most important phase in the cycle when we complete the review-and-reflect process: this time with Mars in energy-flowing-outward, direct motion. Now we begin a critical process of moving forward on key insights we've been gathering since last June, or more accurately, since May 11th when Mars first entered the retrograde zone occupying the very same degree, 28°36' Capricorn, it will again, in two days at direct station.

Station Direct to Sun-Mars Trine: August 27th to Sept 27th

If you remember from an earlier post, Mars's retrograde cycles are bookended by two critical Sun trines, one before the retrograde station and one following the direct station. The current phase we are in now, station direct to Sun trine, is an echo of an earlier phase that stretched from May 23rd to June 26th. Significant events during that time may return over the next few weeks for another run-through. The key difference is this one is post-retrograde, and we are hopefully armed with fresh, new insights into how we get along with others, the direction we are headed in life, and what needs to change from this point onward to establish a much more effective, satisfying and life-fulfilling track.

In her book on retrograde planets, Erin Sullivan notes that the period of time we are in now, direct station to the Sun trine, is characterized by tense apprehension. "At this time our intuitive function is running high," Sullivan explains, and "one instinctively 'knows' that some situation, circumstance or condition in our life is unsustainable, and that radical change must take place." Sullivan elaborates:

"A self-regulatory device is triggered off in the psyche and the system will organize around the problem to protect itself, often solving the difficulty in the unconscious. The inner Self often alerts one to an invisible yet threatening potential in one's psyche or environment."

Jerry Uelsmann, Meditation Mystery

Jerry Uelsmann - Small Woods Where I Met Myself, 1967

So if you've developed a case of the "heebie-jeebies," a growing apprehension for no apparent reason, if free-floating anxieties have been building this week as Mars began its slow down, approaching station direct, this is what Sullivan is referring to here. Perhaps strange, troubling dreams or odd encounters have left you feeling weird, off. It is important not to be dismissive of, nor act impulsively on, these worries and anxieties that arise right now. Pay attention to what is coming up from as objective a point of view as you can, This bittersweet, final stage of the retrograde indicates a phase of life is over and we must now muster the courage to let it go and move on.remembering that the contents of the psyche are delivered to the conscious mind in symbolic form, and at this time your "Mars radar" is locked on these symbolic clues, illuminating what is really going on within you at this deeper level.

A Better Way

In this Mars retrograde challenge of correcting undermining habits and other personal weaknesses that block our full potential, it's important to understand the immense power embedded in this final phase of the retrograde, the power to dissolve the past and move on. Together, we've pulled the Eight of Cups, the tarot card that symbolically captures the place we stand now.

The Eight of Cups represents that classic Mars retrograde deep weariness: lacking energy, feeling drained, dragging ourselves through the day, feeling weighted down by too many demands. More than just a lack of energy, the card's deeper meaning touches on this bittersweet, final stage of the retrograde: a phase of life is over and we must now muster the courage to let it go and move on.

Joan Bunning, who has generously shared her insightful book online for many years now, Learning the Tarot, describes the Eight of Cups this way:

A psychologist friend once told me that when a group is ready to break up, the members give off subtle signs to that effect. They display a certain restlessness. They arrive late to meetings, communicate less and seem distracted. At some level the participants know it is time to move on, but they need a while to work up to that final step.

This process applies in many situations where an ending is approaching. Nothing is permanent in life. Sooner or later, everything slips away...or we slip away from it. The Eight of Cups stands for those moments when we realize, once and for all, that the past is gone. What was true is no longer true. The signs of change are in our face, and we must accept them. It is time to move on.

Moving on can mean a physical change such as leaving a job, location or relationship. It can also mean an inner change - releasing old patterns, especially those that have dominated our thoughts and emotions. On the Eight of Cups, we see a man leaving on a journey. He has turned away from his old feelings (cups/river) to strike out on a new path. Sometimes moving on can mean searching for a deeper truth or reality. One day we wake up and realize that we have been asleep in our own lives — living a dream that no longer satisfies.

Some changes can be wearying. Endings are not always easy. One of the signs of a readiness to leave is lack of energy. When you feel tired and dispirited, you know that something is wrong, and it's time for a new direction. Reexamine your life and your priorities. You will find where in your life you need to move on.

Joan's list of key characteristics for the Eight of Cups describe how we often feel at these key turning points in our lives, but also what we are "up to" at a deeper level, why we are feeling the way we are feeling, what is the underlying import.

Seeking Deeper Meaning pic

Moving On

Even though life still may still bring more than a fair share of frustrations over the next few weeks, try to enjoy riding these final Mars retrograde waves, they won't be with us for long. Make the most of this special stretch of time when your intuitive senses will be very sharp. Mars turns direct, after this long, difficult season, on a beautiful, clairvoyant Pisces Moon, just past full and conjunct Neptune, intensifying the already strong intuitive power at this time. Pull out that journal and record impressions and feelings that arise, the ideas and insights flowing in from the other side of the veil. Use these insights to help you craft a much happier life.

* * *

"I've always held the wheel, but I let the wind steal my power...."

ADDING TO THE IMPORT of this final phase of the Mars retrograde cycle, before the God of War finishes this third and final pass over the retrograde degrees, he'll pass the baton to the Goddess of Love. For Venus will station retrograde on October 5th in (coincidentally) the Mars-ruled water sign of Scorpio to begin her own backwards trek through the zodiac wheel. Direct 40 days later, she'll station strong in her own domain: the justice-oriented, air sign of Libra.

* * *

Mistral Wind

No wind when I took the watch
My ship was still and waiting
I lay on that mirrored sky
A restless sailor waiting
I closed my eyes said the
Words of will for the gentle
Breathing that moves the seas
Makes my sails fill

Whisper waves cloud the glass
Awake at last like a lover
It rushed around me talking sweet
Roll over, roll over, roll over
And in my ear he blew his name
It sound so strange but I heard it plain
Mistral, mistral wind

I've always held the wheel
But I let the wind steal my power
Spin me 'round lose my course
Nights run by like hours
Well, it would show me the way
To the deepest mountains
Too high and beautiful to be
Mistral, mistral wind

All the hours on the watch
I wait for that breeze to move me
And blow me back to that place
Magic space all through me
And I sigh your name
Across the empty water
You made a crazy dreamer out of me
Mistral, mistral, mistral...


2018 Mars Retrograde Significant Dates (UT)

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Mistral Wind: Ann Wilson, Nancy Wilson, Roger Douglas Fisher, Susan Ennis © Universal Music

The painting at the beginning of this post is "Descanso de Marte" — The Rest of Mars (1640) by Diego Velázquez. Now in the Prado Museum, Velázquez's Mars was inspired by Il Pensieroso, one of Michelangelo 's sculptures commissioned by the Medici.

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