Sailing into the Doldrums


May 23, 2018 at 7:39pm PDT / 2:39 am UT (24th)

Sun at 2°54' Gemini trine Mars at 2°54' Aquarius

Mars' retrograde cycles are neatly bookended by two Sun-Mars trines, and tomorrow, the first glides into place. Unlike other Sun-Mars trines, which fly past without much notice, this one, however, is an important signal. For we are moving into a special period of time, and it's helpful to know whatthe doldrums to expect and to plan accordingly.

This pre-retrograde trine is unique to Mars, as astrologer Erin Sullivan noted in her book, Retrograde Planets, for all other "superior" planets (Jupiter and beyond) are already in retrograde motion when trining the Sun. This seemingly trivial detail is in fact significant because of what a Sun-Mars trine can bring: gobs of energy, and often at inflated amounts. This can lead to a shocking surprise when the sudden withdrawl of energy and enthusiam kicks in, from this point onward, as we move closer and closer to the retrograde station on June 26th. While you may feel you can take on the world right now, beware: you are sailing into the doldrums. The biggest decline in vital energy and enthusiasm, in a two year period, is sweeping in; and if you aren't prepared for it, the down shift in energy over the next four weeks will be very difficult.

During Mars' retrograde cycles, we are meant to take a breather as much as we possibly can. We do not have the We have a tendency to take on way too much right now — just as the biggest decline in energy and enthusiasm in a two year period sweeps in.usual amount of energy at our disposal. It is not uncommon to feel mired in quicksand, and the more we struggle and stress ourselves out to keep up with our usual pace and workload, the deeper we sink.

Mars retrograde cycles are felt more acutely not just due to its vitally important energy and assertive, forward-moving blasts of power; but also because, unlike Mercury which always seems to be approaching yet another retrograde cycle, and the outer planets, retrograde every year for a large chunk of time — Mars' backward-moving phases are separated by the rather long interval of two years and two months. We take for granted that Mars' energy will always be at our disposal and when it slumps it can be very disorienting.

Instead of burning the candle at both ends, now through most of the summer is an ideal time for quiet contemplation: re-assessing your direction in life, goals, ambitions and major projects. During the retrograde cycle, we often gain insights enabling us to reconfigure our life path so it is more appropriate, suits us better. Certain passions and interests, even key relationships, can go through changes. What usually fires us up, sometimes doesn't anymore and that can be difficult to understand. Pay attention to these kinds of experiences as they are valuable clues.

Mars' Shadow

During Mars retrograde cycles, we often see a rise in misplaced hostility and anger, cowardice, passive-aggression, and other manipulative and devious methods. The weaker our personal power, the ability to assert our opinion and needs, to push back when others have stepped over the line, the courage to deal directly and honestly in life, to not let the bullies lead you around by the nose, and other Mars weaknesses, come to a crisis point. Especially true this year with the Mars retrograde cycle dovetailing powerfully with sweeping-change eclipses!

Chiron too is playing an important role in the retrograde cycle. Now in Aries, Mars' own sign, Chiron is churning up those "Mars-Chiron" wounds to the personal will — and like those concurrent summer eclipses, will amplify the challenges and difficulties of this upcoming difficult Mars cycle.

2018 Mars Retrograde Significant Dates

Time to COOL IT

From now through next August, while it is best to take off the battle gear, put it away for a while, and cool it as much as you can, because you are much more prone to burn out, that doesn't mean you then allow people to run all over you either! "Cool it" more so means to ease up on that truly insane "push-push-push" pace of life. The crazy, breakneck speed at which we too often attempt to function, is simply not going to work. And actually does it work anyway? Over the next three months, it is time to exit the rat race for a while: take the freeway exit and meander down some country road for a change. Slow down and get your bearings. Drink in your surroundings, be present for and think deeply about your life. Where are you headed? And, do you still want to go there? What connections are working? Which ones need attention? Mars is a relationship planet, so yet another area of review: intimacy, passion, sex, ardent love. Do you feel alive? What have you died to in your life? What needs rekindled? resurrected? replenished?

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The illustration of the lady and the dragon was scanned from a Victorian volume of fairy tales. Illustrator unknown.

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