Mars Retrograde: Get on the Path of Least Resistance


Paddling against the current requires a lot of action, energy, and will. It’s hard to stay centered when the current is fast or turbulent, too; it’s risky business, because turbulence can easily throw you off balance. Professional whitewater rafters teach caution and advise people to stay calm and trust to their guide when they’re on the river.

That’s really good advice to apply when Mars’ energy is actively creating turbulence in your life. The planet Mars is associated with impulses to take action and assert with passion and drive in pursuit of something or someone you want or desire. This energy, like the river, is all around us, so even if you’re not “feeling Mars,” other people can be. Mars also signifies the impulse to protect ourselves when we feel threatened, and to use force against people and things that are perceived to be in our way. The impulse toward action and asserting personal will can throw things off balance, however.

To avoid mishaps, steer clear of hidden dangers in the river. To avoid mishaps brought about by negative emotions, you can choose to stay calm and to trust your inner guidance system to help you get on the path of least resistance (and better feelings).

  • Pay attention and watch out for anger, aggression, rash actions, revenge, deception and lying, verbal abuse and shouting, and looting.

Where is Mars and What is Being Activated?

Mars is currently in the sign of Aquarius, which is ruled by Saturn (traditional ruler) and co-ruled by Uranus (modern ruler). This means that we have heightened awareness of Aquarian concerns—innovation, originality, and social issues; and boundaries, authority figures, discipline, and the form things have, or take.

The Power Paradox: Action and Will

Power is meaningful and motivational when we’re aligned with a cause or crusade that enlightens society (Aquarius), and when we envision a freer world where the rights of all people are upheld. On the flip side of power that upholds everyone, freedom, and tolerance, however, is social (Aquarius) intolerance. Some people, under the influence of Mars in Aquarius, will hide behind a mask, or facade, of social respectability and responsibility and construct barriers and try to assume control over the “group mind” by using, for example, force or propaganda.

Cold Shoulder

Constructing barriers that separate some people from others, who are thought to have less social status, is a common expression of Mars in Aquarius and under the authority of Saturn. What to watch for:

  • People, especially when they’re young and immature, who shun their peers as they jockey for standing/position in their social groups
  • People who insist that others adhere to certain formalities and protocols. These social rituals are designed to provide some “distance”  that is maintained in order to feel more “in control.”
  • People who carry this energy to an extreme and behave in cold, dehumanizing ways, while also demanding respect from those who are being intimidated.

But Aquarius signifies truth at all costs, so also watch for:

  • Headstrong stubbornness and heavy-handed enforcement of reform to be exposed

Saturn (ruler of Aquarius) is influencing Mars to try to help us recognize and respect the limits of our social idealism by respecting diversity and by being more tolerant of others.

Mars is Retrograde Now, in Aquarius

To recap, Mars signifies our ability to take actions that move us closer to getting what we want. When out of balance, however, risky behaviors can create chaos and damage. When a planet is retrograde, it’s thought to represent slowing down, delaying or stopping what is signified by the planet, and retracing of steps. The energy of a planet in retrograde motion is “restrained” to some extent. Mars will be in retrograde motion until August 27, giving us nearly two months to review past actions—our own, and our societies.

An “A” Power Play

All action is preceded by thoughts, and beliefs are thoughts that you continue to think. So you can, and sometimes will, change your beliefs because you’ve experienced some contrast. You attract the contrast between what you believe and what others believe because you gave your attention to the “issue.” Every time you notice contrast, you’ve attracted it (or you wouldn’t notice it in the first place), because you want to understand something about your thoughts and beliefs.

You have a guidance system; it’s your feelings and emotions. They steer you toward and help you form your beliefs about things. Negative emotions, and any subsequent reactions, surface when you’re doing something that isn’t in your own best interest. How can you know if something is in your best interest, or not? By asking yourself if what you’re doing or thinking is causing a positive or negative emotion. (Hint: Revenge, violence, anger, or depression are not positive emotions.) Trust your guide, your emotions, to show you what you need to do so that you can avoid getting upended in the chaos and currents of life here on planet Earth.

Emotions Reveal Your Focus

creativity playbook

full moon

The moon is full today in the sign of Capricorn and reflecting the light from the sun that has been traveling through the sign of Cancer since the Summer Solstice on June 21. There are lots of stories and legends about the effects of the moon cycle, especially the full moon, on humans. Most of these stories feature words like “moody,” “loony,” or “lunatic.” All of these words imply some kind of unconscious reaction—feeling emotion—to living life. They describe moods.

Moods are always triggered by some event—a chance meeting, a conversation, a song, a memory, etc., which could be anywhere on the emotional spectrum from joyful and happy to sad and lonely.  When a thought triggers an emotion, other thoughts will quickly join with the first thought and in no time at all, a mood develops. Often, the mood is familiar because we’ve “been there, done that” lots of times…

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Life, Fate, and Freewill

fate vs determinism

One of the great, centuries-old debates, which continues among astrologers today, is around the concepts of fate and freewill. Some astrologers believe in a deterministic fate and uphold the notion that we can do nothing to change our fates. Those astrologers believe planets cause events and when there is clear understanding of the planets, based on planetary locations in the zodiac and their relationships to one another, one’s fate can be predicted.

On the other end of the spectrum are astrologers who believe life is partially predetermined and that fate can be mitigated. I’m aligned with this perspective of life here on planet earth.

I’m not satisfied that there is ONE definitive explanation for the role of planets and their interactions and everyone else has it wrong. There was a spectrum of beliefs millennia ago as there is today, and so the discussion continues.

I do believe certain things in life are fated. But we have the ability to make choices and because we can make choices our potentially fated lives can have outcomes that are different from the “predictable” outcome. I’ve watched the 2006 movie Deja Vu several times, and I think it’s the question of whether or not fate can be changed, and if so, how it can be changed, that intrigues me.

A lot of things are predictable, which is a primary reason astrology just works. I’ve observed what I sometimes refer to as apparent “influences” on people and events due to a planet’s location and relationships to other planets in a horoscope chart. But I can’t predict with 100 percent accuracy  how someone will respond to any given influence. An example that validates for me the less deterministic perspective is that of babies who are born within seconds of each other and who then essentially share the same fate if we look only to the stars and planets for an explanation of their individual life outcomes. The Property Brothers, Jonathan and Drew, are a lot alike, but they’re also different, as is true of most twins. Twins can have very different life experiences and it’s unlikely their lives will end in the same way or at the same time.

Interestingly, it was after watching the 2016 movie Arrival that my thoughts coalesced about whether the planets and their movements through the heavens are predictive (of fate) or symbolic in nature. In the movie, alien creatures use what look like symbols in their effort to communicate with linguistics professor Louise Banks about the reason 12 spaceships have landed in various locations on earth. The space aliens would project a black cloud-like substance from their “hands” and the substance would converge into different circular shapes. It occurred to me that we arrange and rearrange letters from our 26-letter alphabet in different ways to form words that have meaning. It was only after Banks was able to understand the symbols by learning various associations that she could interpret the message they’d come here to share with humans.

Movies are themselves a visual collection of symbols (images) that represent ideas,  archetypes, concepts, etc., that are combined, moved around, and recombined to create and convey messages.

In the same way that letters in an alphabet are combined and recombined to represent words that represent the variety here on earth, the sun and orbiting planets (as viewed by us based on their position in our zodiac) apply to and separate from a variety of relationships with each other (by conjunction, sextile, square, trine, and opposition) to represent the variety of events in our world. Astrologers are like linguists who provide on-the-spot services to communicate by translating a symbolic language that is not common to both speakers. We’re the interpreters of the symbols that combine in a variety of ways to create greater meaning.

Finally, while I’m more comfortable with the notion that planets do not cause events, I know that they represent events. And understanding what the the planets and their movements represent, or symbolize, can help us understand and make use, through choices, of the meaning, knowledge, and wisdom contained  in the messages.

Summertime Joy


“Jupiter bestows his blessings wherever he travels…”
~Alan Oken, Rulers of the Horoscope

Imagine being on a beach or walking along a boardwalk in a coastal city or sipping tall, cool drinks in the shade of an umbrella under a summery blue sky.  Billowing, soft white clouds float overhead. Birds flit from tree to tree and occasionally drop to the ground by your feet in search of sweet crumbs that drop from your table. Imagine feeling a warm, soft breeze touching you. And the soft air carries from from somewhere nearby, the sound of your favorite music.

That is the constant energy joy, abundance, and inspiration that Venus, Jupiter, and Neptune are flowing to us as they align in an easy trine in the water signs. Venus is visiting in Cancer, Jupiter is in Scorpio, and Neptune is floating ever-so-slowly through Pisces.

We have freewill to use the energies available to us as the planets align with one another. They give. We receive. We, in turn, give to others. The flow of receiving and giving, and receiving and giving is constant. It’s possible to feel inspired and let your imagination soar, or to feel expansive and share your joy and goodwill with those you meet. You can feel connected to this creative universe and let your thoughts connect you with the things and the people you enjoy.

If habits of thought are causing you to feel something less than joy, appreciation, and abundance, know that those things are free to you as well. You may have to look in a different direction to gain a different perspective. Remember that you receive and perceive what you look for and look at. Reach for a better thought.