The new solar-seasonal cycle begins this year on March 20th, 2012. Whether you are above the equator or below it, the sign Aries heralds this annual changing of the guards. For a brief moment in time we experience the night and day as equal. Yes, pause and contemplate that. Equality. Where in your life are you attempting to gain that quality of life? Is it in your personal relationship with a lover, partner, or spouse? Or is it in the arena of work and career where you seek greater balance of power? Or is it in the broader social issues of which you are a part? Do you have economic equality? Political equality?
Aries signifies the individual, not the collective. Aries must push forward with a great and mighty force to overcome the previous end-of cycle Piscean pull of not just the collective, but the veritable collective unconscious with all of its residues of unfinished business. So at this time of year we all need to look at 0 degrees of Aries in our own charts to see where that pivotal point of individualism needs to be emphasized. If it’s in your 1st house of selfhood, and self discovery you truly are at a new beginning in self-determination to BE. If it falls in your 7th house it truly is about finding some kind of balance with others where both of you acknowledges the other’s right TO BE. Wherever it is, take note and BE TRUE TO YOURSELF right there. Own your right to be here now, alive, hopefully free, and independently individualized. That’s Aries theme and message.
Looking at this Vernal Equinox chart and contrasting it with last year’s is both fun and intriguing. Each of these charts sets the tone for the next year. In the chart for 2011 we had Sun exactly conjoining Uranus at 0 degrees of Aries. The revolutionary spirit of awakening, upheaval, rebellion, and change was catalyzed strongly. The Cardinal Square with Pluto in Capricorn was the key aspect which also heralded the mighty shifts we either experienced or witnessed on the global scene with the ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings on to the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movements. Last year’s chart had strong oppositions between a Saturn/Moon in Libra conjunction opposed to a Jupiter/Mercury conjunction in Aires. We can equate this with the haves and the have nots, or the right and the left, or whatever polarity you wish to explore. Saturn opposite Jupiter polarized the world and Moon opposite Mercury kept the masses involved and buzzing about it all. The only earth element in this chart was Pluto in Capricorn, which further exacerbated the haves with the have nots.
This year’s chart, however, has shifted the emphasis strongly to a lot of Earth. Take a look at that Grand Trine in Earth signs involving now Jupiter/Venus in Taurus and Mars in Virgo both flowing with Pluto in Capricorn. That’s one mighty ‘trineful’ of potential abundance, coupled with tremendous power. This configuration allows the invisible realm of Pluto to blend and harmonize with the archetypes of the warrior, the high priest, and the love goddess. It brings success and enterprise down to earth in manifest forms. The real issue, then, is how can YOU tap into that powerful equation of energies that may boost you in an Earth-solid way? Again, you will need to see where those energies are in your own chart. This is actually the fun and mysterious part of astrology; to learn to work with the celestial energies. So it doesn’t really matter who you are or where you are in terms of life’s circumstances. Once you realize that celestial currents are for everyone, you can tap in to their field of energies and use them for yourself as well. This is the field theory at work. Get it? So let’s not focus right now on all the ills of the world and the collective dilemmas. Let’s just focus on YOU. You are an individual who can connect with cosmic energies if you want to. You can bring your consciousness into focus and work with this ever-changing field of energy that both surrounds you and flows through you.
In your own chart look at where you have planets in Earth and planets in Water. These energies primarily gain from this configuration. Earth types may gain in substantial ways that prove financially beneficial and improve all issues of substance and worth. People with a lot of Taurus energy are especially blessed this season to be enhanced with grace and abundance. Water signs may benefit from opportunities to gain greater security or safety, as Earth creates a container for their emotional lives. Pisces, of course, must deal with the Mars in Virgo opposition which engages them in relationships that are either forcing issues of victimization into awareness or deepening their sense of compassion and understanding towards uplifting relationships for both sides. If the former is the theme then true boundaries are an issue, as well as shame and guilt. These Piscean themes are getting played out to the hilt right now in collective wars, violence, and dark sado-masochistic sexual themes. When people with major Pisces energy own their power to understand and have true compassion rather than maudlin sentimentality, which continues to cord them unconsciously in unhealthy co-dependency, then they become strong in their capacity to channel healing energies towards those who suffer from guilt and shame, and both are elevated through the higher octaves of love. Certainly this Pisces/Virgo dynamic is either exacerbated into further deepening wounds, or heightened through transcendental awareness by Neptune and Chiron moving through Pisces.
Mars still retrograde in Virgo until April 14th, and then continuing on through the sign until July 3rd gives everyone an opportunity to focus on projects and get things done. Mutable types, especially, can benefit from this kick in the pants to finish loose ends and complete things. Mutables are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, and Pisces.
Coming back to the Sun entering Aries, conjoining Mercury retrograde in Aries, with Uranus at 4+ degrees of Aries, we have a configuration that speaks of high, inventive, creative sparks for both discovery and potential insight (with the Retrograde Mercury) that must push us forward into a future yet unknown, but hopefully beyond the inequality that now plagues the planetary scene, so long as the energy is used to inspire rather than further isolate.
The repeating theme of Pluto versus Uranus is here, once again. Uranus must propel us forward into new realms beyond the control of Pluto; a mighty endeavor now given the fact that Pluto seems to have all the cards with its alliance with Mars, Jupiter, and Venus. For each of us, then, it means using Pluto in its more positive aspects to transform old structures that are no longer valid or beneficial. Capricorn means traditions. Some traditions are time-honored and worthy of keeping. Each of us must decide which ones protect and respect the rights of what Uranus in Aires represents; the individual.
Finally, we must not neglect the note of Saturn in Libra, no longer in opposition to Jupiter but completing its journey through the sign of equality and balance. Saturn sits retrograde, as well, in this chart, and necessitates some reflection around the laws that govern us as well as the rules we choose to live by. With Saturn now in an out-of-sign trine with Neptune and the Moon in Pisces it looks like feminine issues are favored. Again, where can compassion and an open heart guide the structures of relationship? Where does that open you in your life to more healing, equal relationships (Saturn in Libra)? Neptune/Moon/Chiron in Pisces is so very different from Sun/Mercury/Uranus in Aires, but both configurations can change and transform us into more caring, loving, vibrant, and fully awake human beings. So be it!
Genevieve A. Vierling C.A.P.
001 530 272-5778
While Mars travels retrograde through Virgo for a few more weeks (Mars stationary direct on April 14th) I’ve been thinking a lot about the dilemma we face regarding this energy symbolized by Mars, our basic instinct to survive. I’ve been wondering about the nation I live in where Mars represents our military might in the world. I live in a nation which has well over 1100 military posts in foreign lands alone. Our Department of Defense maintains a total of 5,311 sites globally according to its own admission and the budget for total expenditures for 2012 is somewhere between $1.030 and $1.415 trillion. I can’t even comprehend that number, can you?
This is our present-day reality. We have a military-industrial complex that is mind-boggling in its scope of influence on this small planet.
I recently heard on the radio Buddy Tabor singing his song ‘Man Can Make Anything’. Dear Buddy is gone from his body now, but his songs live on. This one says a lot:
God made Man and Man made the rest
Man can make anything good to the best
He can turn the desert to the color of the flowers
He knows all the numbers, the days, years and hours
He walks into a dark room and turns on the light
He can walk back out, turn the day to night
He can transplant the heart from one man to another
But he can’t sit down and make peace with his brother
His hands are bloody, it never will cease
Man can make anything. Anything but peace.
From Cain to Abel the killing never stops
From the Mafioso hitman to the trigger-happy cops
A river of blood runs through our history books
He’s got death in his eyes, he’s got a mortuary look
He can transplant the heart from one man to another
But he can’t sit down and make peace with his brother
His hands are bloody, it never will cease
Man can make anything. Anything but peace.
Hmmm… There were a lot of ‘He and His’ in that song. No feminine gender words. No she, her, goddess, etc. Hmmm… Is Mars only about masculine aggressive energy? Is Mars only assertiveness to gain or win something? Is Mars only about fighting an adversary? If so, can there ever be peace as long as we have Mars as an archetype both without and within?
My guess is that you, the reader, and I have grappled with these issues within ourselves and in our personal relationships. I am struggling with frustrations right now. I get angry over small issues that build up over time. I get irritated and may blow now and again. As Liz Green so succinctly put it, “A blocked Mars results in a feeling of impotence and victimization, and a great unconscious rage which can express itself in a variety of ways…..The rage of a blocked Mars can be directed against oneself as well as against the world outside.”
OK, fair enough. We now have a lot of psychological knowledge, expertise, and help to deal with our personal Mars issues when we feel limbic brain reactions to stress, but what about the greater collective issues of handling Mars? What about the United States of America’s Mars, for example? What about the country you live in, if it isn’t America? How does your nation handle its Mars energy? I think that would be an interesting forum.
Let’s look again at the USofA and its Mars: In the Sibley chart, which I work with, Mars is in Gemini in the 7th house giving it a double Air meaning. This Airy Mars also trines the USofA Athena and Moon in Aquarius bringing in even more of the Air element. Air, as an element, is least connected to physicality. It’s realm is of the mind, though it can be quite social in terms of all the ways we communicate, especially in these modern times; air waves, digital. We are a nation of inventiveness and endless fascination with new ideas that may lead to commercial success. We are also naturally competitive with Mars in the 7th and we are high achievers with Mars trining Saturn and Juno in Libra in the 10th. We, as a nation, pride ourselves in our cleverness, our fast-on-the-draw adroitness, to be the first and the best. We win because we are skillful tacticians and we love to put our brightest and best to work in places like Bechtel, Lockheed, and Halliburton which create many of the latest implements of destruction; all of our war toys.
Mars in Gemini. I was born during World War II with Mars in Gemini. Our nation was getting a big boost then as Mars returned to its natal place. Uranus was also in Gemini and our nation was going through a Uranus Return as well. We were winning! Our men (there were few women then in the armed services) were heroes. We were the ‘good guys’. In fact, Saturn was also in Gemini and at the time of my birth practically on top of Mars! The big push was on. So I’ve lived with all that Gemini energy and I feel I know a thing or two about it! Gemini is, above all else, curious to know. That is a drive, a motivation with Mars in Gemini. It is also extremely restless and gets bored and likes to move on. It can also be amoral. That’s right. Any planet in Gemini is in the opposite sign of Sagittarius where meaning and philosophy are important. Gemini is like the kid in the candy store. It all looks good! Yum yum. Let’s try this, let’s try that. There’s no real reflection going on here.
Knowing all of this and having lived it out myself, especially during the sexual revolution of the ‘60s, I feel I have a right to state that the United States Mars energy is fairly amoral, and the self-righteous posturing of this puritanical-based nation is sadly out of step with the psychological times we are living in. Where is the reflection? Where is the ability to contemplate our actions and the ethical, moral consequences of those actions? When will this nation grow up? Being clever and inventing ever more intricate wizardry gadgets and war toys without the consciousness to understand the implications is a hazardess journey indeed. This is Peter Pan energy gone amuck. And that does take us to Neptune, and ‘never never land’ in the USA’s birth map. Neptune, planet of dreams and illusions, squares the U.S. Mars. Thankfully, I was not born with that particular aspect: Mars in Gemini square Neptune in Virgo. It may give, at times, a glamorous veneer to the image of Mars. Mars combined with Neptune can be quite charismatic. There is, however, a darker side to this aspect especially when Neptunian elements of illusion and deception are woven into the mix.
A recent article Military Suicides Plague U.S. dated November 4, 2011 by Peter Papaherakles said that “For the second year in a row, more U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan have committed suicide than died in battle….This is an unprecedented trend that has the military’s top brass as well as the White House looking for answers….Specifically, 468 soldiers have taken their own lives this year (2011) versus 462 who were killed in combat.”
This is Neptune at its worst; idealism in our youngest and bravest betrayed by lies and pretense for meaningless wars.
No one has said it better than Robert McNamara himself in the documentary, ‘The Fog of War’. What a powerful indictment on a national Mars dilemma. For those of you too young to remember, Robert McNamara was America’s Secretary of Defense during the Viet Nam War. This amazing documentary was filmed in 2003 when he was 85 years old and reflecting on his life. He was able to articulate wisdom gleaned from hard experience that all people in power should be studying today. Here are just a few of his astonishing statements which are so applicable today in our endless ‘War on Terrorism’, especially as our nation considers yet another possible pre-emptive military strategy against Iran:
“We, the richest nation in the world, have failed in our responsibility to our own poor and to the disadvantaged across the world to help them advance their welfare in the most fundamental terms of nutrition, literacy, health and employment.
Corporate executives must recognize there is no contradiction between a soft heart and a hard head. Of course, they have responsibilities to stockholders, but they also have responsibilities to their employees, their customers and to society as a whole.
President Kennedy believed a primary responsibility of a president—indeed the primary responsibility of a president—is to keep the nation out of war, if at all possible. War is a blunt instrument by which to settle disputes between or within nations, and economic sanctions are rarely effective. Therefore, we should build a system of jurisprudence based on the International Court—that the U.S. has refused to support—which would hold individuals responsible for crimes against humanity.
If we are to deal effectively with terrorists across the globe, we must develop a sense of empathy—I don’t mean ‘sympathy,’ but rather “understanding”—to counter their attacks on us and the Western World.”
In reflecting further on the Viet NamWar he states,
“Our misjudgments of friend and foe, alike, reflected our profound ignorance (Mars in Gemini) of the history, culture, and politics of the people in the area (working with the polarity of Sagittarius), and the personalities and habits of their leaders.
We failed then—and have since—to recognize the limitations of modern, high-technology military equipment, forces, and doctrine (Mars in Gemini). We failed, as well, to adapt our military tactics to the task of winning the hearts and minds of people from a totally different culture.
We failed to draw Congress and the American people into a full and frank discussion and debate of the pros and cons of a large-scale military involvement—before we initiated the action.
After the action got under way, and unanticipated events forced us off our planned course….we did not fully explain what was happening, and why we were doing what we did. (Mars square Neptune)
We did not recognize that neither our people nor our leaders are omniscient. Our judgment of what is in another people’s or country’s best interest should be put to the test of open discussion in international forums. We do not have the God-given right to shape every nation in our image or as we choose. (Mars in the 7th)
We failed to recognize that in international affairs, as in other aspects of life, there may be problems for which there are no immediate solutions….At times, we may have to live with an imperfect, untidy world.” (Mars square Neptune)
May blessings shine on Robert McNamara’s soul wherever he is now in the Universe. He humbled himself to speak to truth and if only America had heeded his words before Iraq, before Afghanistan, and hopefully soon before Iran.
Mars square Neptune can only win when the good of the whole is considered. This is an aspect which requires spiritual contemplation before action. It is a last-quarter square demanding a crisis of consciousness. With transiting Mars in Virgo now going over that natal Neptune, there is no time like the present to embark on that course, but the political circus unfolding during this election year is unlikely to bring that awareness to the public forum, so sadly the consequences are yet ahead for this adolescent country still swaggering out into the world with a ‘top gun’ approach.
Two astrologers that I admire, Maya del Mar (now sadly deceased) and Bryan Trussler, both wrote excellent articles on the U.S. Mars turning retrograde by progression in The Mountain Astrologer. Maya’s article, “U.S. Progressed Mars Stations Retrograde” came out in the April/May 2005 edition, and Mr. Trussler’s article,“America’s Mars Does an About-Face” was published in the Oct/Nov 2006 edition. I highly recommend that you look at those two articles in their archives for a wealth of information on what we can expect in the many years ahead. I will simply highlight the main features.
In every birth map the planets move slowly forward through time in what is called ‘Progressions’. Mars inches along, so that most of us personally don’t see huge changes with this energy unless it changes signs, houses, or aspects major planets before we exit our bodies 80+ years hence. A nation, however, can see these changes over the extended life of its collective, so the U.S. is now 235 years old. Mars started out in Gemini, moved into Cancer, then Leo, Virgo, and finally Libra where it is today. In March, 1944, just before D-Day in Normandy, Mars by Progression went over the top of the U.S. chart and entered the 10th house of our nation. In mundane astrology the 10th house represents the White House, the office of the President, and where the nation’s power, culture, ideals, and achievements reside. Mars entering this realm meant that the military had entered ‘The White House’. This energy continued unabated through all those years of military might until July 19th, 2006 when Mars stopped dead in its tracks at 18 degrees of Libra, 42 minutes. There it sits for 20 years before continuing backwards and retracing its steps through our nation’s 10th house. The Sabian Symbol for this degrees is, “A gang of robbers in hiding”. The meaning, according to Dane Rudhyar is Protest against disharmonic social privilege. The Keywords are Group Protest. This is an uncanny demonstration of how metaphysics works. Watch and learn!
Now in an individuals life should Mars turn Retrograde by Progression there begins a turning inward. The individual is less able to direct their energy outwards for the duration. Ideally this would bring about some inner understanding of personal motives and the handling of their Mars desires and aggressiveness. In a nation’s chart it creates huge problems for the military-defense operations of a nation and, as both Ms.del Mar, and Mr. Trussler state, “the nation becomes reactionary…..it seeks out ‘the enemy within’ and is driven to devise some ‘final solution’ for these problems.’. The implications are not very encouraging here. Since our nation is at war with ‘Terrorism’ which is not exactly a clear and known enemy, guess what is likely? We may implode and attack ourselves, our children, and our own people. The ‘terrorists’ may be the nation’s citizens.
Maya also said something equally alarming about the tendency to live in the past and to respond to conditions as they WERE, rather than as they are now. She emphasized the fact that the U.S. has retreated into its Puritan and evangelical origins, including the denial and disregard of scientific findings. Our nation is moving backwards, not forwards. We certainly see this in the posturing and pontificating of the politicians during this election year. Global warming? How absurd!! A woman’s right to contraceptives in the 21st Century? How abominable! These are scary assertions coming from so-called intelligent would-be, wanna-be Presidents.
Where are the voices of reason in all of this mess? Who will lead with courage?—now that’s a Mars concept for sure. Courage is needed more than ever to face the shadow of a violent nation and confront this amoral addiction we have with our Mars square Neptune, whether it is the ‘War on Drugs (Neptune)’, the covert war over oil (Neptune), or the phantom ‘War on Terrorism’ which is only a word after all. How do you fight terror?
There appears to be no easy solution or quick fix to this dilemma. Mars continues to stay Retrograde until March of 2086, and then moves forward in Libra until 2170 A.D. when it enters both Scorpio and the 11th house of the U.S. chart representing Congress. That means 230 years in a sign which waffles and teeter-totters between diplomacy, fairness, and justice in its highest form, and co-dependent prostitution to the plutocracy in its lowest form. Once Mars is ready to finally turn SD (Stationary Direct) it will be at 0 degrees of Libra conjoining the Cardinal World Axis. Is this yet one more symbol of America’s decline? Or will it symbolize America’s maturity? Hopefully. Astrology doesn’t preach morals. It simply gives us the time clock. We know we are in a mess globally. We know we need to become more conscious. Will the collective reach that goal in time before everything is mush? All we, as individuals, can do is keep trying and holding to our own standards of truth and morality. The ideal of Libra symbolizes right relationships. I’ve written about this theme over and over again. Right relationships. That means with everything. Only the Native Americans in this land truly walked that talk from my humble perspective. Modern America has a long ways to go because we have lost our way.
Here is a message from ‘White Buffalo Woman’ ever reminding us of the true ‘Americas’ before the sacred hoop was broken:
I was here before the rains and the violent sea.
I was here before the snows and the hail.
I was here before the mountains and the winds.
I am the spirit of Nature.
I am in the light that fills the earth, and in the darkness of nighttime.
I give color to nature, for I am in nature’s growth and fruits.
I am again in nature where themes of mystic wisdom are found.
I am in your chants and laughters.
I am in the tears that flow from sorrow.
I am in the bright joyous eyes of the children.
I am in the substance that gives unity, completeness, and oneness.
I am in the mountains as a conscious symbol to all mankind
When earth’s face is being scarred with spiritual undone.
I am in you when you walk the simple path of the redman.
I am in you when you show love of humankind, for I also give
Love to those who are loving.
I am in the response of love among all humans, for this is a path
That will find the blessings and fulfillment of the Great Spirit.
I must leave you now to appear in another age, but I leave you
With the redman’s path.
Genevieve A. Vierling C.A.P.
001 530 272-5778