Darth Vader iconical SW imageIn April of 2016, Mars turns retrograde in 8º Sagittarius, travels backwards into Scorpio, turns direct again and finishes its journey by returning to 8º Sagittarius by the end of August. There isn’t a better representation of Sagittarian and Scorpio themes than the loss of innocence and the encounter with evil—and there isn’t a better telling of this story than Star Wars.

Mars is the archetypal hero of the zodiac. When Mars turns retrograde, the Hero in all of us goes on a symbolic journey to discover what it really means to be a hero and how to take heroic action in our lives. The sign or signs Mars travels through will tell us much about the nature of the journey while any planets Mars encounters along the way will bring experiences or characters that shape the hero’s development.

Here’s the chart of the moment when Mars turns retrograde. In it, we’ll find inspiration and insight, along with clues about how to navigate this Mars retrograde period. In the blogpost thread to come, I’ll interpret these clues using a very famous story to answer a question all heroes must face, if they are to remain heroes and not “turn to the Dark side.”

1 Mars turns retrogradeIn this chart, Mars is conjunct Saturn in Sagittarius and is squared by Neptune, Jupiter and the Moon. We know that Mars will retrograde back into Scorpio. Sagittarius represents hope, adventure and a quest—and so the story begins with a youthful innocent. But evil threatens to consume the innocent hero, and thus Mars travels back into Scorpio and the encounter with evil shapes him.

Luke Skywalker watching the sunsetOur story begins with a boy, not yet a man emotionally, although he is an adult physically. His name is Skywalker–a very Sagittarian name. He longs for adventure and watches the double sunset wondering what’s out there for him. A pair of droids enters his life bringing vital information that must be delivered somewhere. Luke will have to go on a journey, but at first he resists, because he has a life here on Tatooine.

Through the droids, Luke meets Obi-Wan Kenobi and discovers Kenobi knew his dead father. The father theme is brought in by Saturn’s presence conjunct Mars and so Luke finds in Kenobi a surrogate father and a mentor. Neptune square Mars suggests the mystery surrounding his father’s death and Jupiter square Mars suggests the unexpected journey. The Moon square Mars is an apt symbol of the scene that struck me hard when I first saw it—the corpses of Luke’s aunt and uncle burning after Imperial stormtroopers came looking for Kenobi. They are the only family Luke has ever known and now there is no longer a reason for him to remain on Tatooine. He is propelled on a journey to discover more about his father and deliver the message to the rebellion. He is also struck by the beauty of the princess for whom the message must be delivered. And so begins the saga, during which he will face his darkest enemy, discover the truth about his father, and become a man.

The question Star Wars asks is one fundamental to human nature and I’ll ask it in 3 different ways:
“How do you defeat evil without becoming evil?”
“How do you incorporate the possibility of evil into your worldview without becoming consumed by it?”
“How do you encounter evil without having it shape you into something darker, whether by embracing it or rejecting it?”

In many stories of the encounter with evil, the villain seems to have distinct advantages that stem from his rejection of love and ethics. This liberates him to fight strongly for his own selfish purposes. To fight a strong enemy, the hero must also be strong. But is it justifiable for him to sink to the villain’s level? The hero cannot afford this—he must maintain his ethics and his heart and his connection to those he is protecting or saving—or else he himself becomes evil and then evil has won.

How does the hero fight strongly and resist the call of darkness and its implied liberation and power? Luke Skywalker’s story contains answers to all these questions and more.

Over the course of the next few months, I’ll post articles showing milestones in this year’s Mars Retrograde journey and relating them to plot threads in the Star Wars saga. (beware please that there will be many, MANY spoilers in this post-series. If you haven’t gotten current with the world of Star Wars you may want to before reading this thread. You’ve been warned.)

You can find out more about Mars retrograde here.

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Check out this EXCELLENT description of Mars in Libra individuals, posted by a blogger whose name I could not find on her blog.

Charming, Strategic, Non-Confrontational
People born with Mars in Libra would rather not fight. They are aggressively peaceful. That may sound oxymoronic, but these are the cool Pink Panther types that derive joy out of killing people with kindness.  The angrier their opponent gets the nicer they will behave. These people wrote the book on remaining cool under pressure.  They actually thrive there.   They will drive their opponent insane with their lack of cooperation in the anger game. These people are usually very skilled debaters. They are usually very good at talking their way out of confrontations and charming their way into their love interest’s bed. They hide their intentions behind manners and chivalry.  They are violently charming, so be very careful trusting these people.  They are experts at hiding possibly dubious intentions behind flowers petals, perfume, and smiles.

Men:
A man born with Mars in Libra will be one of the coolest people you will ever meet. He will be. . .

Read more here

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The world-changing square between Uranus and Pluto in Cardinal signs lasts from June of 2012 to March of 2015, and this month its effects are intensified by the addition of Jupiter and Mars, forming a Cardinal Grand Cross (sometimes called a Grand Square) in the sky.  This post is part of a multi-post thread exploring its meanings.  Missed the beginning of this thread?  Start here.

A true “clash of the titans” is happening in the Dreamscape.  The Great Edifice is crumbling (see parts one, two and three of this thread) and Pluto has grappling hooks and rope attached to it.  Uranus arrives in a burst of Aries fire.  

Pluto:  How dare you interrupt me?  I was busy bringing down the Great Edifice!
Uranus:  I won’t allow you to unveil corruption unless it benefits the people.  We can work together only if what we do results in a more liberated populace.
Uranus throws a line up and grapples on from a different angle.  
Pluto:  Are you telling me that you’re going to try and keep this structure up while I am trying to bring it down?
Uranus:  I am the rebel, after all.
Pluto:  I need to weed out the corruption in the system.
He digs in his heels and begins pulling.  The structure starts to topple.
Uranus:  Corruption does need to end, but I don’t agree with all your methods or your agenda.
He begins pulling too.  The structure rights itself.  Jupiter suddenly appears, in a burst of water like a water balloon exploding.
Jupiter:  Hi, everybody!
Pluto (grumpily):  Why do you always act as if we’ll naturally be glad to see you?
Uranus:  And who invited you to the party anyway?
Jupiter:  I don’t need an invitation.  I’ve stepped in to play the part of the Good Fairy and soften the blow for some people during the big changes you are causing.
Jupiter has brought more rope and a grappling hook of his own.  
Jupiter:  This Edifice may fall, but it doesn’t have to crush people.
Pluto:  Are you saying your transits are always good?  Because that’s not what I heard.
Jupiter:  Well, strictly speaking, not exactly. . .
Uranus:  Always the exaggerator!
Jupiter:  Sometimes what I do is magnify whatever’s already happening.
Uranus:  By magnify, do you mean “blow it up?”  Because I’m in Aries, and I love explosives!
Pluto:  You are such a pyromaniac when you’re in Aries.
Jupiter:  I’ve invited a friend who can help us get into agreement about what we’re doing here.  He’s an amazing negotiator.
Mars appears, with his own grappling hook in tow.  He is dressed in a tuxedo, with immaculate hair and . . . white gloves.
Pluto (sarcastically):  Well aren’t YOU looking dapper!
Mars:  Sometimes proper manners and a well-turned phrase are all the offense you need in order to win the day.
Jupiter:  Are you going to kill us with kindness, just because you’re in Libra?
Mars:  Only if I have to.  It’s my firm belief that we can find common ground and negotiate an agreement that’s good for everybody.  And I won’t stand for less.
While talking, Mars has attached his grappling hook to the Edifice and taken up his position opposite Uranus, while Jupiter stands at the fourth wall, opposite Pluto.
Mars:  Now Pluto and Uranus—you don’t easily agree, do you?
Uranus:  That’s an understatement!
Pluto:  True.  But when we do agree, things change rapidly.
Uranus:  No doubt.
Mars:  But you both want evil rooted out and replaced by good, isn’t that so?
Pluto:  Yes, of course.
Uranus:  Naturally.
Mars:  Pluto, you’d like to air the dirty laundry, yes?
Pluto:  That is my area of expertise.
Mars:  Go ahead and do that, because Uranus can help by facilitating some truth-telling on the internet.
Uranus:  I rule the internet and I’m in Aries, so that’s a no-brainer.  Ok, I can line up with that.
Pluto:  I’ve already found the weaknesses in this structure, the fault-lines where the corruption is leaking out—
Uranus:  —And I’ve placed explosives in the cracks and we’ve detonated some.
Mars:  Then you’re well on your way.  Jupiter, how about if you put out some safety nets to catch the people who are sincerely well-intended?
Jupiter:  —You mean the casualties caught in the crossfire, the innocents?
Mars:  Yes exactly.  They need to be protected.
Jupiter:  And they need to be rewarded for using their intuition and getting out of a failing situation in time to save themselves.
Jupiter waves his hand and an elaborate structure of nets and inflatable landing pads appears around the Edifice.  He then reassumes his station at his side of the Edifice, with his rope in hand.
Mars:  Then I’ll just get in position here at my side, with my rope and grapple.  (He does so.)  I’m going to trigger a lot of angry conversations among people involved in this.  Some people are going to have to wake up.  Others will need to back down.  I’m going to fight for peace and equality.
Pluto:  All right then, everyone’s in position?
They all nod.
Pluto:  Here we go!
As each deity pulls, the Edifice begins to crumble and break apart.  Its bright-red interior glows through cracks in its deep, glossy black exterior.  Inside, the faces of human beings can be seen.  Windows in the surface of the Edifice open and people begin jumping out of them.  Some land safely in Jupiter’s nets or on his inflatable pads.  Others hit the ground with a splat and die instantly.  Each person that lands safely is greeted by Jupiter.
Jupiter:  Congratulations, you used your intuition.  You’re safe now.
A small, dazed group of Human Beings is gathering off to the side of the Great Edifice, which is now not so great.  What will be their fate?  See the final post in this series to find out.
To read this thread from the beginning, start here.
Read about Mars Retrograde in Libra here.

Are you caught in the Uranus/Pluto crossfire?
If a planet in your chart is being transited
by these two change-makers,

contact Jamie for an astrology reading
to find out what it means for you.

Mars warrior with symbolThe Warrior in the Sign of Grace–Wha? 
Mars is spending about 12 weeks retrograde this year (from March 1 to May 19, 2014) and is traveling through Libra.  This is an uncomfortable sign position for Mars.  Mars is the Hero, the Warrior, the Pioneer, the Athlete, while Libra is concerned with beauty, grace, fairness, tact and diplomacy.  Thus Mars in Libra is the expert negotiator, the verbal sparring partner who pushes every point, the ultimate litigator.  It’s hard for Mars to do his usual job in Libra—he’s supposed to fight, to guard the perimeter, to be aggressive, and all these things are exactly what Libra hates most.  Mars in Libra will do everything to avoid a fight, and will try other tactics first, such as persuasion, charm, even seduction, before resorting to fighting.  Even then, fighting takes a verbal form and Mars wishes to come out smelling like a rose.  When it comes down to physical fighting, Mars would rather retreat until the battle can be joined on a more intellectual field.

Iron Peeps of the Past
Not that I’m saying Mars in Libra is a slouch in the battle department—far from it.  Some famous Mars-in-Libra individuals of the past include Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady,” well known for her stubborn, uncompromising negotiating style and Winston Churchill, whose use of the phrase “Iron Curtain” (in his “Sinews of Peace” speech) led to this phrase’s common use throughout the Cold War and up to today.  It’s no coincidence that both these phrases contain iron and refer to martial strength.

But there’s something Mars in Libra hates more than fighting, and that’s injustice.  In defense of the weak, the disenfranchised, the unfairly accused, this Mars rears up and brings all the fierceness he’s got.

Returning to Old Battles
When Mars is retrograde, we’re invited to go back and fight old battles, with the hope that a new resolution will come.  Those who habitually avoid asserting themselves can relearn to fight, and restore balance to their lives.  Habitual aggressors may meet with more resistance than usual—and those who evade rather than defend may find themselves uncharacteristically fighting back.  Some of us may be pushed against the wall, forced to fight when we don’t want to, but seeing that if we don’t draw a line, someone who really needs help may go undefended.

Mars wants to know:
Where’s your battleground?
Can you resolve an old battle once and for all?
Can you learn to fight effectively, but in a more gracious way?
Can you engage in fair fighting?

Mars is asking all these questions while he goes retrograde from March 1st, 2014 to May 19th, 2014.  What are your answers?

If you read my blog, then you know Pluto and Uranus are busy “toppling the Great Edifice” right now. Read more about Mars Retrograde and its interaction with the intense T-square involving Jupiter, Pluto and Uranus, that’s in the sky now (spring of 2014): Who Invited Jupiter To The Party? And Who Said Mars Could Crash It?

Is Mars bugging you?
If you want to find out how this tricky transit affects you,
contact Jamie about a reading.

Mars retrograde may be over, but it isn’t really finished until Mars has exited the “retrograde patch,” that span of 0-to-19 degrees of Fixed signs he’s been in for the last 2 months.  So themes of anger management, self-assertion and the need to be a hero will pervade the atmosphere through May 17 and I’m continuing my thread about the virtues of a hero as told through classical Greek and Roman mythology.  Today’s heroic virtue is invention—the strategic capacity to solve a problem in such an unexpected way that the problem itself is rendered irrelevant.

Legends of Alexander, Warrior-King:  The Gordian Knot
Alexander the Great was a historical figure of the 300’s BC.  He was a great warrior and king who expanded his empire greatly through his exploits.  The famous story of his approach to the Gordian knot is a wonderful illustration of inventiveness.

The Gordian knot was tied by King Gordius of Phrygia and it was quite a piece of work.  Legend arose that whoever untied the knot would rule all of Asia.  Many tried to untie the knot and failed.  Alexander himself came to the area and tried but became frustrated with the incredible complexity and resistance of the stubborn puzzle.  Ultimately, impatience overcame him and he took out his sword and sliced the knot in two—and went on to conquer all of Asia, thus fulfilling the prophecy.

Alexander’s solution to the problem of the knot was unconventional.  He refused to solve the problem on its own level by following the rules the knot presented.  Instead he made his own rules, which transcended the rules of the knot, and solved the problem with a single blow.

Heroic Virtue #5:  Invention
Invention is the ability to see a problem from such a startling angle that it becomes solvable in a new way—and probably a simpler and faster way too.  If you can invent a solution, you can save resources and live to battle another day.

What Mars is Asking of You
What knotty problem are you struggling to solve in your life right now?
Have you taken the rules of this problem for granted?
What if you operated outside the rules of this problem?
Is there a way to solve it from outside that leads to the same (or better) results and saves time, money or resources?

Next: Orpheus–Going the Distance for Love

Articles in this thread:
Mars Retrograde: The Hero’s Journey
Hercules, Hero of Strength
Achilles, Hero of Courage
Resourceful, Clever Odysseus
There’s Still Time To Be A Hero
Castor & Pollux:  Brotherhood in the Trenches
Alexander the Great & the Gordian Knot
Orpheus:  Going The Distance For Love

Mars retrograde may be over, but it isn’t really finished until Mars has exited the “retrograde patch,” that span of 0-to-19 degrees of Fixed signs he’s been in for the last 2 months.  So themes of anger management, self-assertion and the need to be a hero will pervade the atmosphere through May 17 and I’m continuing my thread about the virtues of a hero as told through classical Greek and Roman mythology.  Today’s heroic virtue is alliance—that connection that people develop when they’ve gone through battles together.  The best example I can think of is the myth of a pair of brothers called Castor and Pollux.

Legends of Castor & Pollux:  “I’ve Got Your Back, Brother”
Castor and Pollux were identical twin brothers, born of a single egg after their mother Leda had an encounter with Jupiter in the form of a swan.  Yep.  Classical mythology is full of this kind of stuff—it’s best not to take it too literally.  Castor took after mom and was mortal while Pollux took after dad and was immortal.  The boys grew up together and did everything together, despite the huge rift between them—that Castor was always destined for death while Pollux was going to live forever.

The Twins engaged in battle side by side on many occasions, including the Trojan War, which was fought over their stunning sister Helen.  During one battle Castor was slain and fell right next to his brother.  Castor’s soul was carried away to the underworld, as inevitably happens to all mortals.  Pollux was inconsolable and begged their father Jupiter to take his immortality, so that he might join his twin in the underworld.  Jupiter relented and placed the two devoted brothers among the stars as the constellation Gemini.

Heroic Virtue #4:  Alliance
We joke about male bonding, but there is a special connection formed between warriors who hold each others’ lives in their hands.  It is a bond that can last a lifetime and does not lessen with the passage of time.  It is not a sexual bond, nor a familial one, but a bond of brotherhood or sisterhood forged between two who are not related.  It is a bond of shared experience and stress.

But to gain a brother, you must be a brother.  If you can be an ally and you can win an ally to your side, you are rich indeed.  Without alliance, you must fight your life’s battles alone.

What Mars is Asking of You
What does it mean to have someone’s back?
Do you have a comrade-at-arms that you can absolutely depend on?
Whose back have you got?  Who can depend on you?

Next: Alexander the Great and the Gordian Knot

Articles in this thread:
Mars Retrograde: The Hero’s Journey
Hercules, Hero of Strength
Achilles, Hero of Courage
Resourceful, Clever Odysseus
There’s Still Time To Be A Hero
Castor & Pollux:  Brotherhood in the Trenches
Alexander the Great & the Gordian Knot
Orpheus:  Going The Distance For Love

Still dealing with lingering anger and resentment from the Mars retrograde period that lasted from January 21 to March 10?  Still coping with anger, impulse control or wanting to resurrect your energy and drive?  Mars will continue re-hashing these issues through May 17.  Why?  Mars is demanding heroism of us.

Mars themes include anger management, awakening your drive, wielding your power and generally being a hero.  We’re currently in a period where all these themes may be present.  This year’s Mars retrograde period may already be over, but its influences don’t pass until after May 17 because, although Mars is no longer moving backwards, it is now re-covering the ground it had retrograded through.

While retrograde (i.e. moving backwards), Mars covered all the ground between 0 and 19 degrees of Leo, a very big swath of sky for a retrograding planet.  Its passage affected everyone with something in their chart in 0 to 19 degrees of any Fixed sign (Taurus, Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius).  And while the retrograde part only lasted 16 weeks, the whole journey—consisting of Mars’ passage from 0 to 19 degrees, backwards from 19 to 0 and then forwards a final time to 19 degrees—lasts from Dec 20 to May 17, a period of over 5 months.  It has been a period of deep examination of the areas of our lives where we need to be more heroic.

This highly challenging transit tends to affect Aries people more than other types, because Mars is the ruler of Aries.  I’m an Aries myself and in fact, it affected me so much that I couldn’t do all the blog posts I wanted to do about it.  Too busy fighting those inner demons.  So I’m finishing them now, before Mars is done.

“Does this affect me?”
If you have anything in your chart in 0 to 19 degrees of any of the Fixed signs (Leo, Scorpio, Aquarius or Taurus), then the answer is yes.  If you want to find out if this affects you, send me your birth data and I’ll tell you at no cost.  Just email me at Pandora at pandoraastrology dot com and include your name, your date of birth (including the year), your birth time as accurate as you can find (the birth certificate is usually the best source) and the city you were born in.  Be sure to add the question:  “am I being affected by this year’s Mars retrograde transit?”

Articles in this thread:
Mars Retrograde: The Hero’s Journey
Hercules, Hero of Strength
Achilles, Hero of Courage
Resourceful, Clever Odysseus
There’s Still Time To Be A Hero
Castor & Pollux:  Brotherhood in the Trenches
Alexander the Great & the Gordian Knot
Orpheus:  Going The Distance For Love

Mars Retrograde: December 20, 2009 through March 10, 2010

Mars is still retrograde, i.e. moving backward in the sky.  Because this is a time when the hero is called forth in all of us, I’m telling stories of heroes from Greek and Roman mythology as examples of heroic virtues.  Today’s virtue is resourcefulness, the ability to face obstacles cleverly and to sometimes overcome them by evading them.  The most resourceful and smart hero of Greek and Roman mythology is undoubtedly Odysseus (also called Ulysses).

Legends of Odysseus:  The Odyssey
Odysseus had finished up with some wars that were happening far from home and the Odyssey tells the story of the many adventures he encountered on his return to his loving and devoted wife, Penelope.  On the journey, he faced many obstacles, some of which required strength in battle, but many of which required cleverness, resourcefulness, wisdom and a pure heart.

Here’s one example:  Odysseus and some of his sailors entered a cave that contained some goat-pens.  It turned out the goatherd was the Cyclops, a terrifying giant with one eye in the center of his head.  It also turned out that the sailors found themselves trapped inside the cave, blocked by a boulder only the Cyclops could move.  It was no use killing the Cyclops, because only he could move the boulder.  So instead, Odysseus sharpened a pole and poked the giant’s eye out with it.  As the Cyclops fumbled around for his enemies, and moved the boulder to find out if they’d escaped, Odysseus and his men escaped by clinging to the undersides of some of the goats.

In another example, Odysseus managed to sail past the Sirens.  The Sirens were beautiful nymphs whose singing was so beguiling that they could tempt sailors to crash on the rocks for love of them.  Odysseus stopped up the ears of his crew with wax so they could not hear the Sirens’ song.  For himself, he wanted to hear it, but didn’t want to be a danger to himself or his crew, so he had them tie him to the mast and instructed them not to release him, no matter how he begged or threatened them (which of course he did).  In this way he was able to hear the Sirens while his men sailed safely past them.

Penelope herself was a fit match for her clever husband.  During the many years it took him to return home, many suiters came to press her to remarry, because surely Odysseus was dead.  Her response was: “Sure, as soon as I finish this burial shroud.”  Every day she worked on the shroud and every night, when no one was looking, she unraveled all she had woven.  In this way she fended off the pressure to remarry and was waiting faithfully for Odysseus when he came home.  Odysseus deserved such a wife because at the beginning of his journey a goddess had told him it would be very hard and offered him herself instead of Penelope.  But Odysseus knew that the love of a true, mortal wife is worth more than the whim of a goddess and he chose the journey with all its hardship.

Heroic Virtue #3:  Resourcefulness
Sometimes a battle is best won not by brute strength or by any kind of force at all.  Sometimes it’s about taking the right approach.  An obstacle is an obstacle and you always have the choice about whether to push through it or to find a way around it.  A clever hero looks for many ways to solve a problem and selects the one that leaves him fit to fight another day.

What Mars is Asking of You
During this Mars retrograde period, Mars wants to know:
Have you been fighting too hard?
Have you tried force when cleverness might win you the battle?
Is there a resource you’ve forgotten about?

Next: There’s Still Time To Be A Hero

Other articles in this thread:
Mars Retrograde:  The Hero’s Journey
Hercules, Hero of Strength
Achilles, Hero of Courage
Resourceful, Clever Odysseus
There’s Still Time To Be A Hero
Castor & Pollux:  Brotherhood in the Trenches
Alexander the Great & the Gordian Knot
Orpheus:  Going The Distance For Love

Mars Retrograde: December 20, 2009 through March 10, 2010

Mars is still retrograde, i.e. moving backward in the sky.  Because this is a time when the hero is called forth in all of us, I’m telling stories of heroes from Greek and Roman mythology as examples of heroic virtues.  Today’s virtue is courage, the ability to face the enemy with a strong mind as well as a strong body.  The best example of that is valiant Achilles, hero of the Trojan war.

Legends of Achilles
Achilles, central character in the Iliad, was one of the best-known heroes in Greco-Roman mythology.  He was considered to be the paragon of manly valor and gorgeousness.  For Achilles, courage was based in fearlessness, because his whole body was literally invulnerable, except for one small part—his heel.  Yet he is known to us mainly by that vulnerability.  In modern-day, we speak of an ‘Achilles heel’ as a person’s chief, or only, weakness.

And how exactly did he come to have an ‘Achilles heel?’  According to the mythology, Achilles was the child of a mortal man and an immortal sea-nymph.  When he was an infant, his mother foresaw his death and gave him invulnerability by dipping him in the river Styx.  The Styx was the river that the dead must cross to get to the underworld.  In bathing the child in the river of the dead, she was giving him an early experience of death and rendering him, if not immortal, at least invulnerable.  But she held him by one heel and so that was the only part of him that never touched the underworld’s waters.  It thus became his only weakness.

Heroic Virtue #2:  Courage
Not much of a weakness for battle purposes, you might think, as perhaps his mother did.  Who would think to shoot Achilles in the heel?  Yet someone did, with a poisoned arrow, and that’s how he finally perished.  But on the way to that death he performed incredible feats of courage, which were bolstered by the kind of fearlessness that comes from repeated experiences of surviving when others around you are falling.  So Achilles stands for courage, because he fought bravely, without giving in to fear.

What Mars is Asking of You
During this Mars retrograde period, Mars wants to know:
Where have you forgotten to have courage?  Have you been listening to your fearful inner voices instead of your encouraging ones?
Are you focusing on your weakness (the heel) instead of your strength?
Have you been whining and complaining, when you could put your complaints aside and meet the obstacle more bravely?

Next:  Resourceful Odysseus

Articles in this thread:
Mars Retrograde: The Hero’s Journey
Hercules, Hero of Strength
Achilles, Hero of Courage
Resourceful, Clever Odysseus
There’s Still Time To Be A Hero
Castor & Pollux:  Brotherhood in the Trenches
Alexander the Great & the Gordian Knot
Orpheus:  Going The Distance For Love

Mars Retrograde: December 20, 2009 through March 10, 2010

Right now, Mars is retrograde, which means it is moving backward in the sky.  Because this is a time when the hero is called forth in all of us, I’m telling stories of heroes from Greek and Roman mythology as examples of heroic virtues.  Today’s virtue is the most basic one Mars has to offer: physical force and pure strength.  And nobody is a better example of it than Hercules.

Legends of Hercules
Hercules was known as the greatest of legendary heroes due to his enormous strength.  He was your typical “big and stupid” kind of guy: he carried a club and once he even held the whole sky on his shoulders.

The best-loved tales of Hercules involve his Twelve Labors.  These started out as Ten Labors, but inflation set in because the king he was laboring for got nervous of the Herculean prowess and claimed that two of the labors “didn’t count.”  So Herc had to do two additional in order to stave off the anger of Juno, the goddess who was the original source of the demand.  Juno disliked Hercules because he was the illegitimate offspring of her hubby, Jupiter (who really got around).  Yeah, apparently old Mount Olympus was a real soap opera.

Hercules’ exploits included:
•    Slaying the Nemean Lion, a fierce creature that was terrorizing the countryside.  Herc slew it and wore its pelt as a snazzy outfit.  Otherwise he was not known for his fashion sense.
•    Cleaning the Augean stables, which were occupied by a herd of 3,000 oxen.  This had to be one of nastiest cleaning jobs ever required in mythology, because the stables had not been cleaned for 30 years.  Hercules diverted a river through the stables, wiping them sparkly in one swoop.
•    Slaying the giant Antaeus, who was a mighty wrestler.  Because he was the son of Terra, the Earth, each time he fell he rose up stronger than before.  Hercules defeated Antaeus by holding him up in the air and strangling him.

Upon Hercules’ death, Jupiter made him immortal, declaring that only the vestiges of his mortal heritage were burned away on his funeral pyre, leaving his immortal being to take his place among the gods on Olympus.  Juno decided Herc was here to stay and forgave him his illegitimacy.

Heroic Virtue #1:  Strength

Hercules was obviously a force to be reckoned with.  The tales of his many doings focus not on wit, intelligence or strategy, but on pure physical strength, brute force and the ability to assert himself and overcome.

What Mars is Asking of You

Strength and force are the most basic abilities Mars has to offer.  A Mars retrograde period is a time to look at your life and ask “Where do I need to use more force?  Where have I gotten weak?  Am I a pansy?  A 98-pound weaking?  Where could I use a burst of testosterone or a shot of adrenaline?  Where have I forgotten to assert myself—or maybe never learned to assert myself in the first place?”

A Mars retrograde period is a time of feeling pressure to draw that line in the sand.  It is marked by anger, irritation, annoyance and bursts of ancient, stuck ferocity trying to get out.

Modern people are uncomfortable with this rough-and-ready god.  Mars was not polite, nor was he cautious.  He was a man’s man and sometimes we need a dose of that.  It’s good to know he’s in your corner.  So if, during this Mars retrograde period you find places in which you have not been defending or asserting yourself sufficiently, call on Mars.  He is always there inside your fierce heart when you need him.

Next:  Achilles, Courageous Hero

Articles in this thread:
Mars Retrograde: The Hero’s Journey
Hercules, Hero of Strength
Achilles, Hero of Courage
Resourceful, Clever Odysseus
There’s Still Time To Be A Hero
Castor & Pollux:  Brotherhood in the Trenches
Alexander the Great & the Gordian Knot
Orpheus:  Going The Distance For Love

Sunday, December 20, 2009 through Wednesday, March 10, 2010

What is Mars Retrograde?
“Mars retrograde” means Mars is in the part of its cycle where it is traveling backwards from our point of view here on Earth.  When Mars goes retrograde, we are cast upon a symbolic Hero’s Journey.

A retrograde period of any planet is a retrospective of that planet’s themes.  It is a time of moving backward, perhaps of going back to pick up pieces lost in the past.  It can be a retrieval, a turning inward, a letting-go.  A Hero’s Journey is a life-passage in which we retrieve our own heroism.  True heroism involves courage, strength, assertiveness, but also gentleness and appropriate restraint—and during this journey we are tested, in a number of ways, for those things.  While Mars is retrograde, we’ll face many opportunities to be a hero in a deeper, truer sense than we ever have before.

How Are Heroes Made?
As human beings, we feel the tug of the heroic journey because each of us (regardless of our physical gender or age) has a hero inside us and that part of us wants to become immortal.  This side of us, symbolized by Mars in our astrology chart, is drawn toward conflict and righteous struggle as we seek to retrieve the lost pieces of our heroism.  We want to be assertive but we don’t really want to hurt others.  We love a glorious battle, but what’s behind that is the simple desire to assert ourselves against a worthy obstacle, sharpen and hone our battle skills and emerge victorious.  To be a hero is to have at our command all the strength, courage and fortitude that we need to contend with any situation in life and come out a winner.

How Long Will It Last?
Mars will be retrograde from Sunday December 20, 2009 through Wednesday, March 10, 2010.  That’s a long time—almost 12 weeks.  Plenty of time to have a few interesting adventures that will test our mettle.  During this 12 week period I’ll be telling stories from the adventures of Greek and Roman heroes who exemplify certain heroic virtues.

Six Tales of Heroic Virtue

Strength—Hercules
Strength is naturally the first of the heroic virtues and Hercules exemplifies it.  His stories overflow with his vitality, hotheadedness and even his sexual prowess.
Courage—Achilles
The virtue of courage is shown by the story of Achilles and his famous weakness (his heel).  Paradoxically, his is a story of faith in one’s own invulnerability.
Resourcefulness—Odysseus
The virtue of resourcefulness is best shown in the craftiness and guile of the clever Odysseus, for whom the Odyssey (his journey) was named.
Alliance—Castor & Pollux
The famous mythical Twins (who make up the constellation Gemini) are a perfect example of the importance of brother- and sister-hood, the ability to form ties with trustworthy battle allies.
Invention—Alexander the Great
Alexander’s story is a historical as well as a mythical one.  His slicing of the Gordian Knot reveals the power of creating your own original solution.
Devotion—Orpheus
What good is a hero without something worth fighting for?  Orpheus was willing to go to the land of the dead and charm the Lord and Lady of that land to reclaim his beloved wife.

I’m going to have a LOT of fun writing these for your benefit and I hope you enjoy the process fully as much as I do.

Mars, the Inner Hero
Every one of us has a hero within us, and that would be Mars.  Mars is the heroic, strong, courageous, overpowering force that beats fiercely in the heart of every human alive.  When we need defending, Mars steps forward.  When we get into a fight, Mars got us there.  Making friends with Mars, and being aware of the gifts and challenges shown by his position in our chart, is the best way to become a hero.  (Contact me if you want a reading about that.)

What Will You Do With This Opportunity?
Heroes are made, not born.  This is not an easy process.  To become a hero is to exert oneself and likely fail many times before the ultimate win.  This involves not giving up along the way.  You must be able to hope and to imagine how to conquer even seemingly-impossible obstacles.  The tales I’ll be telling over the upcoming weeks involve more than strength—they involve courage, imagination, intelligence and even love and devotion.  A true hero fights for what is right when that is needed and puts down his sword in peacetime.  A hero in modern-day is not only a warrior, but blends all these human qualities into one seamless whole.  To be a hero is not exclusively open to men, but to women also, and children too.

Naturally, this means you.  What will you do with the opportunities this astrological event offers?  Will you see them as opportunities?  Will you take up your sword and follow the flag of your inspiration?  Mars demands not just comprehension, but action.  Mars doesn’t care what you think or feel; he cares what you do.  And when he’s awake in you, you are unstoppable.

Mars is retrograde now.  He’s raised the horn to his lips.  He’s uttered a battle cry.  Will you leap into the fray?

Articles in this thread:
Mars Retrograde: The Hero’s Journey
Hercules, Hero of Strength
Achilles, Hero of Courage
Resourceful, Clever Odysseus
There’s Still Time To Be A Hero
Castor & Pollux:  Brotherhood in the Trenches
Alexander the Great & the Gordian Knot
Orpheus:  Going The Distance For Love

Everybody wants to be a hero somewhere in her life, but what area of life she wants to be heroic in differs from person to person.  Where do you want to be a hero?  To answer this question, you can look at the location of Mars in your birth chart.

The house your Mars is in represents an area where there is irritation, stress, strife and discord, as you learn (over the course of your lifetime) to go after what you want with appropriate force—not too much, nor too little.  You may have a tendency to see that area of life as a battleground.  It’s a great area for you to “fight the good fight” and be heroic.  Some of this stress may be self-created by you habitually approaching this area as if a battle is needed, when perhaps it is not.  Shifting your approach from that of a warrior to a hero can be the key to enjoying the stress as a worthy challenge and not being oppressed by it.

If you want to find out what house your Mars is in, you can make your own chart on Astro.com.

Where Do You Need To Be A Hero?
The First House is the domain of identity.  If your Mars is in the First House, you identify as a Warrior or as a Hero.  Your sense of yourself as a person, an individual, blossoms when you act decisively, heroically.  When you take actions out of impulse or anger and negative results happen, you tend to take it personally.  You just want to do the right thing and it hurts when you find your best efforts have missed the mark.  Let your life shape you towards right action.

If your Mars is in your Second House, you are a Hero of Protection.  Guarding and putting energy into the people and things you hold as your own is paramount.  You can become quite fierce when your security (or the security of someone you love) is threatened.  Ownership is the key to energy—when you feel listless and unmotivated, take an attitude of possession and ownership towards the thing you want to be motivated by, and your energy will rise.

If your Mars is in the Third House, you are a Hero of Words.  The pen may be mightier than the sword, but for you sometimes they are one and the same.  Words can be weapons, so watch to ensure you do not hurt people unintentionally with your sharp language.  You’ll learn, over the course of your lifetime, to curb your tongue and slow down your communication so that others can hear you—and so you can hear them too.  Pursue your avid curiosity, because learning gives you energy.

In the Fourth House, Mars bestows combativeness and challenges at home.  Mars is not very comfortable in the fourth house and can make it hard to feel settled and relaxed at home.  But Mars as Heroic Mama Bear can be quite fierce when it comes to defending your home, family and country.  Pour that drive and fierceness into real estate and you can do quite well providing yourself and others with housing.  Buy a fixer-upper to use up all your energy and make it exactly as you want it, for the pride and love of it.

In the Fifth House, you are a Creative Hero.  Your drive to bring the fruits of your creativity into the world are strong and you thrive on the attention it gets you, whether directly or vicariously.  Throw yourself into self-expression and beware of frittering away your energy on fun and entertainment, rather than channeling it into the creative directions that give you energy back.  Especially beware of gambling—it can be a powerful high in the moment, but its long-term effects can ultimately drain you.

When your Mars is in the Sixth House, you are a Hero of the Workplace.  You respond well to missions put to you by a strong, able boss and you can act independently at work.  Your boss needs to be someone you can respect, or you will strike out on your own, with varying results.  Your tendency to be fast and efficient makes you easily irritated with the slowness or obstructions of your workmates.  Take the time to make your work area organized so you can work in a streamlined way—that will give you drive.

In the Seventh House, Mars can make relationship a battleground.  You may be attracted to partner up (in both romance and business) with ultra-strong people so you can push on them and find your limits.  On the other hand, your frankness and honesty are appealing and in relationship, your Heroic Lover can be quite unabashed in pursuit of the partner you fix your sights on.  This I-Yam-What-I-Yam attitude is attractive to the right person and quickly sorts the receptive targets from the uninterested ones.

People who have Mars in the Eighth House tend to be strongly sexed and enjoy the pursuit and conquering games that are part of sexuality.  As a Sexual Hero, you may have a tendency to press others into further intimacy than they are ready for because of your impatience to get to the merging and connecting you desire.  Curb your tendency toward being a boundary-crosser and slow down your approaches and your “game” may improve.  Beware also of double-standards—no self-respecting partner will tolerate them.

In the Ninth House, you are an Adventure Hero.  Get out there and travel because your need to see the world and throw yourself into it is great.  Travel gives you juice, whether it’s external or internal, so pursue personal growth and ongoing education because your desire for self-improvement is strong.  You can ride on the energy of this by deliberately taking the attitude that “This is an adventure!!” towards anything you want to accomplish.

If your Mars is in the Tenth House, you have an ambitious streak.  You’re a Corporate Hero and the sky’s the limit as to how far you might advance.  Beware of alienating the higher-ups by your sometimes combative attitude—respectful soldiers get promoted but disrespectful ones get discharged.  Your energy and drive can’t fail to be noticed, but it’s up to you to make sure it’s noticed as a good thing.  A little generosity and thoughtfulness towards those above and below you will grease the tracks greatly.

With Mars in the Eleventh House, you’re a Hero With A Cause.  Driven by your ideals, you love to be the flag-bearer for your like-minded group.  You don’t mind taking one for the team and learning to play well with others is a valuable life-skill for you.  Watch that you don’t push your ideas onto others with too much force because you can be zealous about the ideas you believe in.  Develop your principles, because they are the source of your drive.  You are attracted to strong friends and enjoy leadership among them.

Your capacity to assert yourself may seem buried if you have Mars in the Twelfth House.  Most likely, when you were growing up, you felt that it wasn’t ok to assert yourself, be strong or hold strong boundaries in the home you grew up in.  You became sensitive about it and learned to hold your anger in until it sometimes exploded.  You were born to discover what it means to be a hero and how to properly express your force of personality on your path to becoming a Heroic Spiritual Master.

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Most cultures around the world have a warrior tradition.  The way of the warrior is seen as a respected path to glory, honor and self-discipline.  In astrology, the sign Aries exemplifies the archetype of Warrior and has much to teach us about his ways.

Act Decisively
When you act, make your action a clear one.  Don’t pussyfoot around.  Don’t muddy the waters with unclear actions, unfinished motions.  When you act, follow through immediately—it gives your actions force and power.  To take an action is to create momentum.  Let the momentum unroll its force and the action is supported.  To make one action and pretend another is to undermine one’s own force of personality and would never be done by a Warrior.

Draw The Line, Then Hold To It
Aries excels at boundaries.  The Warrior cares about territory and will respond with anger and affront when lines are crossed.  You can count on the Aries part of you to know where the lines are.  The Warrior will hold others responsible for crossing his line and will have respect for the lines of others—if they are held strongly.  A Warrior always knows another Warrior and knows when the enemy is weak.  Aries is naturally combative and may sometimes enjoy pushing the boundaries of others, simply to test them.

Be True
If you give your word, the Warrior would have you stand by it.  If you commit to a course of action, then damnit, follow through!  This is difficult for Aries, which tends to act in short bursts of energy and actually has a hard time sustaining beyond the initial burst.  But inside the Aries heart, there is pressure to hold to the principle of a thing once you’ve begun it.  It is the Warrior’s way to learn to channel aggression into guided action.

Be Honest
Aries loves honesty and directness, for two reasons.  One is that it is natural to Aries to be transparent and having to pretend is a lot of work.  The other is that because the Aries heart is not naturally duplicitous it doesn’t expect others to be that way either.  Aries has a naïve streak and feels affronted and surprised when deceived by others—even when it happens over and over again.

Cultivate Your Honor
The life of a warrior can be a lonely one.  As a Warrior, your relationship with yourself is the most intimate one you are likely to experience and being able to look at yourself in the mirror with dignity is crucial.  Knowing that you lived according to your principles matters greatly and is the source of self-esteem.  A code of honor is a covenant with yourself—when you promise to live by a code and then break that promise, what is broken is your connection with yourself and the ability to stand up proudly as an individual.  To break such a code is to de-individuate.  “Cultivate your honor,” says the Warrior, “because at the end of the day, it’s all you have.”

A Caution For Overzealous Warriors
The downfall of the Warrior is that he needs a war.  When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  It is the nature of Aries to be attracted to strife and conflict, perhaps even to create conflict where there is none.  Don’t let your Warrior nature make life harder than it has to be.

The Gift of Force
This simple-natured sign represents your forceful side, your ability to know what you want and to pursue it.  Force has a bad rap these days, but force is what you need to hold your own integrity and be an individual apart from other individuals.  When others push on you, you have to be able to push back.  The key here is “to be able to” push back.  When you can trust that you’ll be able to defend yourself if needed, you can let go of the need to force your will on others.  Individuals with true strength and self-esteem do not have to be fierce in order to establish selfhood and pursue desires.  To satisfy the Aries part of yourself is to become the best, most ethical Warrior you can, and thus to increase effectiveness, self-esteem and honor.

Here are more Aries posts.

Find out more about getting a reading
Or see what kinds of readings are available. 

Birthday Gift for you: 
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and you want an empowering look at the year ahead, click to
schedule a 
Birthday Reading and receive a free gift with it.

Astrology blogger since 2007

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