Mars and Mercury: the Passionate Mind

alexander the great

“Just as the Greek intellectual achievement had reached its climax during the fourth century BCE, Alexander the Great swept down from Macedonia through Greece and onward to Persia, conquering lands and people from Egypt to India…The very qualities that had served Greece’s brilliant evolution—restless individualism, proud humanism, critical rationalism—now helped precipitate its downfall, for the divisiveness, arrogance, and opportunism that shadowed the Greeks’ nobler qualities left them myopic and fatally unprepared for the Macedonian challenge.”

Excerpted from The Passion of the Western Mind by Richard Tarnes

Alexander’s army of warriors is representative of the Mars archetype. and our human urges to be assertive, self-protective, self-gratifying, and competitive. Mars is also associated with feelings of anger and aggression.

The Greek intellectual achievement that served individualism, humanism, and critical rationalism is representative of the Mercury archetype, and our human impulses to communicate, observe, teach, and learn. Mercury is associated with our thinking processes, which can tend toward overly rational or to come from a one-sided perspective, as well as dogmatism, literalism, and fundamentalism.

As we know oh so well: history does tend to repeat itself. We’re seeing the Mercury-Mars clashes play out in various ways all around the world. And the reasons behind the behavior haven’t changed since ancient times.

Mercury in Leo (emphasizing need to be appreciated by others) and Mars in Aquarius (emphasizing need to innovate and create social change) are opposing each other in the sky. At the same time these two planets are locked in a square with Uranus, the planet that represents our impulses toward freedom, rebellion, breakthroughs, innovation, and individuation, in Taurus (emphasizing need to be resourceful and get productive results). A square is symbolic of resistance. You know what happens when electric current is restricted by a knot or sharp bend (square) in a cord. The cord gets hot and often sparks fly. That same energy is active in our environment.

So, now what can we do? Can we change and do somethings different?

The movements of the planets, as they approach and separate from their different relationships with each other, provide some clues. What we observe is that the planets move gradually toward and away from each other. When they are in very close relationship by opposition (180 degrees, plus or minus a few degrees) or square (90 degrees, plus or minus a few degrees), they bring our focus and attention to something, like a focusing lens does. Our attention to things we see, hear, and feel increases and then diminishes in the same way. Nothing is as abrupt as it may seem to be. Planetary relationships change gradually, as does our thinking, which always precedes our actions.

Let’s think about this just briefly. We all think differently from one another. We’re individuals. which Mars in Aquarius is reminding us of. We each have our own thoughts and beliefs (beliefs are just thoughts we keep on thinking), which Mercury in Leo is reminding us of. Each one of us wants to be recognized and appreciated (Leo), and when we think that’s not happening, we can, in turn, feel anger, which activates the need to protect ourselves and our beliefs.

Real learning only ever happens through experience and reflecting on our own experiences. We actually teach ourselves. So, think about these few things:

  • You have the ability to direct your own thoughts. You have the option of observing things as they are or changing them as you want them to be. Your thoughts are vibrations, too. Like-minded people are attracted to each other. Do we need to repeat the battles that have gone on since before Alexander the Greats’ time?
  • Your attention to something invites it into your awareness. Every thought you give your attention to expands as more and more thoughts follow the original thought. Whether it’s a thought of something you want or don’t want, your attention to it invites more of what you think about into your experience.

Somethings, like the planets moving through the heavens, are fated. However, even as they come together and your attention is focused (through your individual lens) on what you do or don’t want, you have the freewill to make choices and change what comes next.

What has your experience taught you? What do you want to change, do differently? This is a good time, while the resistance is bringing things into focus, for personal reflection before taking any next actions.

 

 

Mars Retrograde: Get on the Path of Least Resistance

paddling-upstream-01b1

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.