There is something so splendid about a job well done, a day well spent and a life lived with vitality and adventure. The life force that pushes us through this complex, challenging and mostly uncharted territory known as our life is understood astrologically through Mars. The Martian planetary dance has been correlated to the work of fighting, fucking and getting things done. Our energy levels are crucial guides through this path of finding what we value most, enough to protect, enough to sacrifice (to make sacred) for, enough to exhaust ourselves for over and over again, enough to replenish ourselves over and over again so we can keep going.
When Mars appears to go retrograde in the sky, the momentum that's been pushing us forward gets wonky. Perhaps there's some project or passion that we've forgotten about that we must return to before moving forward? Perhaps we need to deeply rest and rejuvenate ourselves for the next big push? The energy of labor has rhythm, after all. Perhaps we find ourselves with so much energy, we return to activities that helped us feel alive many moons ago? I find that whatever I'd planned to do may take much longer than I'd anticipated, but is generally of a much more thorough, effective and occasionally more exquisitely, however always imperfectly, crafted than I could've imagined. What a treat--even when it isn't on the timeline I'd imagined--sometimes we need to pull some tarot cards, take two baths and get a good sleep before we can write that article on Mars retrograde.
There is much ado about retrogrades that I find remarkably unfounded. People who don't even follow astrology turn to me in exaggerated agony when they hear about a retrograde planet (or six). This makes me wonder what anxiety lies underneath the anguish. It also makes me wonder where we might be abdicating responsibility? For a control freak like me, the salve that having to let go of what I'd intended in order to allow what wants to happen in, is all kinds of irritating blessing. That's how pearls are made, my dear mammalians aspiring to be more like mollusks. Still, if blaming the planets for our problems gives you some solace, coping can take many forms and life is hard, so do what works. Retrogrades are a time for questioning what works. Perhaps there's some other ways to relate to the planetary and personal motion that might be better medicine? What if we saw the illusion of retrogrades as an invitation to slooooow way down, tune into rhythms we often ignore (inner and outer) and allow reflection to bring us its succulent, if not yet ripe, gifts.
We often get crucial clues during times like this about how to best care for ourselves. It's simple to say, do more of what makes you feel a sense of aliveness and less of what drains you, more complex to actually DO that. It requires a willingness to tune into what we're actually feeling, which is rare and understandably reluctant. Experiment as you are able and reflect on what a difference honoring your self and each other this way can make. Depletion is a part of life, sure. Still, what if we invoked enough gentle courage to stop playing the "I'm so busy and so tired" olympics. I know it's oh so integral to our wounded, modern people script in this capitalist nightmare. What if we in some small way started actually just playing, creating, making, protecting and caring enough to rest and relax?
We have the chance to change how we do conflict during this time. I found myself using humor to interrupt my too hot head from saying regretful things recently and even joked that I wasn't quite sure who I was without instant blame to orient myself. This is loss of identity I can embrace. We may get to track how eating, sleeping, and hydrating can shift the emotional undercurrent of whatever we're doing, including around tension and struggle. We're all better activists when we're taking care of ourselves. What fuel does your engine need?
All this to say that as Mars is retrograde from June 26th-August 26th in the sign of Aquarius. I enjoyed the following resources for further consideration and inspiration: Choosing Curiosity Over Fear & A deeper dive into the astro moment.
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