My sword has been sharpened, my armour polished and I’m ready for battle! Mars is currently retrograde and war dancing back and forth across my Ascendant. During his hopping mad journey he will be opposing my Moon,then squaring my natal Mars and Sun and oh yes, retreating back into my 12th house to glower and growl at my subconscious; oh the fun.When Mars retreats, it is time for us to go inwards and assess the damage from previous battles, reflect on our scars, lick our wounds and deal with our anger issues. I noticed as Mars was travelling direct through my 12th house that rage was somehow nearer to the surface, frustration bubbled and I had little patience with myself let alone anyone else. As Mars is currently moving into the opposition with my 7th house Moon, I found myself on the receiving end of a woman’s anger and my mind tripped into what I can only call complete paranoia that a hidden enemy was preparing to attack in an unrelated situation. I became so angry with an appliance that didn’t work that I smashed it to pieces on the floor then, losing patience with a carton which was too difficult to open, my hand slipped and I managed to punch myself in the face giving myself a reasonable black eye in the process (Mars rules the face!). Had I not been so annoyed I would have actually laughed. The horrendous ice and snow (the opposite of heat which Mars adores) has had me walking in tiny steps slow, slow, slow, slow to the day job; hating every step with the terror of falling and the frustration of wanting to walk at my normal speedy pace. Ruling my 9th house, Mars has found me plodding through my studies and distracted every 5 minutes, thoroughly embracing the Aries gift for suddenly getting excited about a whole other project and delaying my progress in the bargain!
“Fight or flight, do or die” says Mars as he stands paralysed with indecision at his stationary point.
“Retreat. FALL BACK ” he bawls as he moves his battle lines. Nothing feels safe, everything feels threatened. I trip back into previous hurts, festering scars, blistering rage oh and chilblains on my feet after warming them too quickly one frozen day.
My head buzzes with internal arguments, with myself, with others. I’m right, your wrong. Everything is about winning or losing.
“I’ll beat you”, “I’ll beat this…” my head screams and I find myself shaking with the chaos. My energy strangely peaks and troughs as for days at a time I sleep little and wake early buzzing with energy and other days I could sleep like a dreaming bear all winter under the cold sparkling stars.
It was an enormous relief to spend a few hours delineating the meaning of all this in my own chart, to realise that I’m not going mad, to see the light at the end of the long snowy tunnel at the mouth of hell. What interested me most is the how intense this particular retrograde is which is not perhaps surprising considering it involves my Ascendant. As Mars leapt into my first house direct, I found myself with a battle plan to lose weight, planning it like a military campaign and I’ve almost lost 9 pounds I might add . I’ve always been conscious of my weight and whilst I weigh much less than I used to, I began to feel that what remained was too heavy – like a worn-out chain mail that is rusted and outdated, defending me from something I no longer need to defend myself against – old wounds revisited and finally seen clearly. My image needed a boost to coincide with the Spring blossoming which I look forward to with baited breath after this intense cold. Mars in the first house helps us reflect upon how we appear to others and how we want to appear. He gives us the courage to face fears.
During my flurry of understanding, I began to look back in my diaries to see what had happened the last time Mars stomped over my Ascendant. Whilst I didn’t go far enough back to find another retrograde crossing, I did notice some fascinating correalations with my dreams as he reached the end of my 12th house each time.
On the past three occasions, my dreams have been filled with either threat or anger. During one 12th house jaunt, I had a series of 5 dreams that were all about being mugged. By the last dream I had managed to resolve the internal conflict by chasing the muggers down the street and insisting they give me my money back! Before that, my dreams were about anger pure and simple, about being hurt without having ‘done anything’, or being unable to run away.
Two weeks ago I dreamed that I was back in a place I had been before in my dreams. I wasn’t completely lucid but had some awareness that ‘this had all happened before’. The location was a gothic town built in a circle. We lived in the castle and I was looking out of the turret and could see a red light (no kidding!) bleeding across the dark landcape. With it came an ominous feeling, a shadow on the edge of the unconcious of evil that was so ancient it had no name. Yet in the dream, despite the creepiness, despite the fluttering of my heart, I knew we had fought and conquered once before. This time we knew how to defeat the demon. With the knowledge of defeat firmly in my grasp, the dream skipped to the end after the war and I stood on the grass below the castle watching as daybreak filtered across the landscape. The imagery is brutally simple. Mars doesn’t like to mince with words and poetic symbolism. He just likes to get the job done.
So I keep my sword sharp and prepare myself for the onslaught as Mars shouts down my Moon and bickers with my Sun. I’ll keep myself to myself, endeavour to still the warring voices within and remember that inner demons can be vanquished. When planets go retrograde, they don’t do it just to p*** us off despite the War God’s attempt to persuade me otherwise. Beneath the gruff voice and the alert gaze, Mars reminds me that I must face my inner demons so that I can face the world with courage and passion. But Mars, I really do wish you’d get outta my house!