Journey of the Soul--Evolutionary Astrology:Life Path readings that reveal your karmic necessities and evolutionary intentions

"Forever Lost" Mike Worrall

You Are What You Believe

Mars & Pluto Retrograde

On April 17th and 18th, like a 1-2 punch, first Mars in Sagittarius and then Pluto in Capricorn will turn retrograde.  Clearly we all know that planets never really move backwards.  As one planet seems to move “past” a slower moving planet, the slower moving planet is observed to be backtracking in its steps, from our geocentric perspective. Astrologically this holds great significance. Jeffrey Wolf Green taught that when any planet retrogrades, it takes on a Uranian archetype in the sense that we have the opportunity to get at arms length from the current dynamic of that planet, get some distance from it, and arrive at a place of objectivity.


Another component of the retrograde archetype is what is called an oblique retrograde. If a retrograde planet aspects another planet or luminary, whether natal, by transit, or progression, the dynamic interaction between those two bodies also expresses in a retrograde fashion.  So this Mars and Pluto retrograde energy will energetically distribute its resonance as it sequentially aspects other celestial objects.


What makes this particular Mars Rx cycle so potentially impactful is the way the celestial matrix is stacked right now. Mars is in the sign of Sagittarius, which is ruled by Jupiter, also retrograde in Virgo. As this retrograde cycle begins, Mars applies to a conjunction with Saturn retrograde, also in Sagittarius.


At the same time Mars is applying to a conjunction with the Persian royal fixed star Antares. Antares is described as the "Heart of the Scorpion". Its name  means “the rival of Mars”, a red super giant, Antares competes with Mars in the sky for scarlet brilliance.  Since ancient times Antares has been described as an archetype that emulates Mars, in combination perhaps with Jupiter or Saturn. The psychological dynamic associated with Antares is extreme vanity followed by a downfall.  It is interesting to note that in mid-December when Saturn conjoined Antares, the pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli, who inflated the cost of the antiparasitic drug Daraprim and raised its price by 5,556 percent, was subsequently arrested by the FBI on charges of securities fraud. On August 24th, 2016, Mars transiting direct will exactly conjoin both Saturn and Antares at 10° Sagittarius.


There are a couple of significant relationships between Mars and Pluto. Until the discovery of Pluto in 1930, Mars was assigned as the ruler of Scorpio, and we still assign him as co-ruler. Pluto is our deepest unconscious desires. As the “lower octave” of Pluto, Mars correlates to our conscious desires, what we are knowingly pursuing, relative to Pluto’s deeper compelling needs. Pluto says “Jump!” and Mars says, “How high?”


Mars is our natural instinct. We come into the world head first, not  knowing if someone will even be there to catch us. This is pure Mars energy. His behavior is unconsidered and often self-centered. Mars feels an essential separateness and needs unrestricted freedom with which to pursue his principal desire -- self-discovery. The Soul lesson of Mars and Aries is to integrate what Martin Buber called “I and Thou”, the recognition of the Other as a  conscious multidimensional being just like himself, equal to him, and not merely an object, an “it”, as background to his universe.


We all have an internal GPS, an inner guidance system. We can call it our Higher Self, our Guardian Angel, or simply our intuition. It can be “heard” by listening to our emotional bodies, the subtle messages from our heart. It can also be intuited from the messages that we get from our right brain and our higher mind, thoughts that  to come to us, seemingly out of left field, of their own volition. We can be easily distracted by our reactive and permeable left brain, and lower mind chatter, not to mention the constant barrage of “static” and “noise” we receive from our outer world. Retrograde cycles create the illusion of the slowing of time that opens the space to experience the 5 senses from a more centered and objective place.


We come into each lifetime with a life plan (Pluto). Because it is so easy to fall into old patterns of behavior (lunar south node) we can be forced to repeat the same experience over and over again until we realize the loop that we are caught in. Through this increasing process of self-awareness, our life plan is revealed and we recognize the direction that our growth must go, (Pluto polarity point) and begin to live the dynamics of our evolutionary intention going forward, (lunar north node) and holistically morph into the best expression of our Self.


Sagittarius is the search for truth. Through its polarity Gemini, we collect data, name it, classify it, and connect to our outer world through the facility of language. In Sagittarius the information coalesces into beliefs, and the outward direction of this self-actualizing archetype leads us farther and farther into the exploration of the diversity of different beliefs, religions, cosmologies, and world views. This matrix of beliefs becomes the intellectual structure as the mental foundation of who we are in the world. No matter how many perspectives and opinions it contains and integrates, it always remains to some degree personal and subjective. It is our world view, our understanding of the world around us,  and simply our personal truth. In distortion and shadow it becomes the need to supplant all other beliefs with the one we have discovered, to convince others that our truth is the only truth, and the whole truth. In reality, it is only partial truth.


Jupiter then, represents what we need to believe in order to be who we are. If we hold little regard for human life, and believe that our own welfare is paramount to the well-being of those around us, then we enable ourselves to behave in ways that are sociopathic. If we believe that all life is sacred, then we self-regulate our behavior in such a way as to protect and enhance the quality of life that we all collectively experience, and work to perpetuate it for future generations.


Pluto will station direct on September 26th, 2016 at 14° Capricorn, after having revisited all of the points that it has transited since the beginning of the year. Mercury is also going to station retrograde on April 29th. Through May 9th when Jupiter stations direct at 14° Virgo, there will be 5 planets retrograde. Consider this as the mid-term exam/evaluation for this year. There is tremendous potential for evolutionary change within our Selves, within our own country, and on the planet as a whole.  This current retrograde cycle carries the opportunities for circumstances that will potentiate the review of what we have accepted as personal  truth.  The ongoing Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune mutable T-Square is effectively illuminating and surfacing issues regarding what is true and what is not true, and what is  ultimate Truth.  The t-square will be dramatically activated and transformed into a mutable grand cross at the Gemini New Moon on June 4th, 2016.  I have written a lengthy article about this grand cross in the current issue of the Journal of Evolutionary Astrology.  This new moon  occurs less than a week before the exact conjunction of Uranus and Eris on June 9th. This conjunction occurs in Aries, the sign of its longest habitation and deepest saturation, which only occurs every 500 years. The current transit began in 1929. If you review some of the world events of those years, you will quickly extract the flavor of this current 90 year transit that is preparing for its final conjunction.


The Mars-Pluto-Saturn-Jupiter Rx cycle will potentiate circumstances about how we are acting on our beliefs, those that are grounded on natural law, and those that are part of a more subjective agenda. We will be shown the opportunities to make different and more conscious choices.


Mars will ingress back into Scorpio from May 27th to August 2nd, 2016, and will station direct at 23° Scorpio on June 29th. Mars transited these same degrees of Scorpio last February and March, so there is potential for unresolved issues,  circumstances, and relationships that were active during that time period to be revisited and relived. Scorpio and Pluto are about confronting our challenges directly and moving past our limitations. It is the archetype of that drives our evolution, maintaining everything in a constant state of becoming. Scorpio is all about commitment, to our selves, to our path, and in this particular cycle, also to our beliefs. What beliefs are you holding on to that are no longer working for you? Where are the gaps in your commitment to what truly has meaning in your life? Where are you consciously still making the wrong choice about something, and know it? You are what you believe. Change your beliefs and change your life.


"Mars Hemisphere" NASA/Lewis Research Center

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