Mars in Aquarius – The Great American Reckoning

(Mexican Smalti – Mosaic Art)
Mars transits through the sign of Aquarius from May 16th to November 15th of this year, with the exception of a brief “dip” back into the sign of Capricorn from August 12th to Sep 10th. Mars’ retrograde period begins on June 26th and ends on August 27th. Two Solar and one Lunar eclipse take place during this current Mars cycle.

I have mentioned in previous posts this year’s exceptionally long – and very rare – transit of Mars through the sign of Aquarius. Most years it takes Mars six weeks to transit through one sign. Compare that to six months and you get why astrologers are paying attention. The Cosmos is making a rare statement about breakthroughs and accelerated progress.

That may sound good to you. But Aquarius is the least warm and fuzzy sign. He can be very detached when he’s on a mission. He doesn’t especially care about your comfort or feelings, whether or not you’re prepared, accepting, or massively inconvenienced. He can be very detached from all of that especially when he’s marching into the future toward something more enlightened and humane.

The Aquarian warrior’s methods are often unpredictable, shocking, displacing, uprooting, painful, and seemingly premature. Still your choice may be to lead, follow, or get run over.

2018 is basically about a strong, unpredictable,” warrior for the human cause”  reshaping the map, reshuffling the deck, creating chaos, and pretty drastically changing the nature of the game you’ve been used to playing.

As always the energy plays out on different levels – the personal, political, cultural, global and universal.

History repeats itself – but not exactly. Conditions are different under similar cycles. The means forcing progress may be different. The basic theme is what’s pretty closely replicated over and over.

On June 22nd, 1939, Mars in Aquarius moved into retrograde motion at 4 degrees of Aquarius. Mars would continue to retrograde back into the sign of Capricorn before leaving the sign of Aquarius on Nov. 19, 1939. The degree and sign of the Mars (stationary) retrograde point is thought to be significant and defining of the type of energies and actions involved. I look to the Sabian Symbol and aspects for clarification.

The symbol for 4 degrees of Aquarius seems odd – “A robed Indian immigrant, house-sitting for a neighbor, dresses up in his neighbors clothes. When the home-owner returns, his first thought is that a stranger has invaded his home.”

But it makes more sense when we remember that Hitler garnered support for his invasion of Poland by dressing German soldiers in Polish military uniforms and having them “stage” an invasion of Germany. It appeared to the world that Poland was the aggressor when in fact it was not. The illusion created eliminated resistance to a preconceived plan that needed more “justification” to be set in motion.

June 22nd was the day when what was to occur on September 1, 1939 (the invasion of Poland and the beginning of World War II) was “written in stone.” In addition to Mars official move into retrograde motion on that day, the Sun entered the sign of Cancer in an exact alignment (conjunction) with Pluto.

Any planet is enlivened and energized by the Sun. But you’re really playing with fire (and Karma) when it’s Pluto. It’s massive destructive/transformational/healing impact was being triggered.

Additionally in 1939 Saturn (Mars in Aquarius’s ruler) entered the final critical degree of Aries. Mars at 29 degrees of Aries is a warrior who understands the clock is ticking and feels a great sense of urgency to act. For him this is a “last chance.” Actually  his whole life is a “last-chance” lifetime.

On May 3rd, 1939 a total Lunar eclipse at 12 degrees of Scorpio further reinforced the “intensely destructive/transformative theme. Through violent tragedy a massive social, national, and global realignment was initiated.

Not until 32 years later did Mars make another extended pass through the sign of Aquarius. This cycle began on May 3rd ending on November 6th of 1971. This time the all-important “retrograding degree” was 22 degrees of Aquarius. It was triggered on July 10th, 1971.

The Sabian symbol for 22 degrees of Aquariust is “A guerrilla group running along a boulder-strewn mountain ridge in order to head off a munitions train.” An attempt to derail something explosive that had already been set in motion is implied.

In 1971 Richard Nixon was the U.S President. There was wide-spread resistance to the ongoing Vietnam war. During the summer of 1971 the New York Times began publishing the secret “Pentagon Papers” that chronicled U.S involvement in Viet Nam and the lies intended to mislead the public.

The government and the President demanded the New York Times stop publication. The Times cited the “public’s right to know.” The case went to the Supreme Court. On June 30, 1971 (10 days before Mars retrograded in Aquarius) there was a decision in favor of the free press. The Pentagon papers could legally ccntinue to be exposed.

Nixon was furious and desperate. For him the publication of the Pentagon Papers confirmed the existence of a radical, left-wing conspiracy dedicated to delegitimizing him.

His decision to break the law to achieve his ends eventually backfired. Late summer under the influence of a total Lunar eclipse at 13 degrees of Aquarius aligning with Mars at 13 degrees of Aquarius The White House “plumbers” unit burglarizes a psychiatrist’s office to find files on Daniel Ellsberg, the former defense analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers.

Watergate involved uncovering secrets, stealing information, listening to tapes, tapping phones, etc.

The Sabian symbol for that 13th degree of Aquarius “In a rural home people gather around a short wave radio, fiddle with the tuner, and listen intently to groundbreaking news.” Getting the latest information was becoming increasingly important and personally relevant.

(In the summer of 1971 the first microprocessor was introduced by Intel and modern information technology was born).

Personally I remember the summer of 1971 as a time I was seriously challenged to “rise to the occasion.” I was offered the chance to compete at a higher level for a very limited number of positions within the professional ballet world through an intense “do or die” three month process of elimination.

Physically, mentally and emotionally I was maxed out everyday. I was taking three classes a day with groups thats kept changing. I couldn’t find any pattern or indication of how I was measuring up through the various groups I was being assigned to. It was stressful. But the competition was only part of the challenge.

My social life had been turned upside down. Essentially it was non-existent. I was away from family and friends, in a mix with strangers who seemed really strange, under highly pressurized conditions. I missed home. It was hard to trust anyone. It was hard to befriend anyone. I needed to stay focused anyway. It was an advantage to be alone. That’s what I told myself at the time.

Still there was lots of excitement. Physically I was surprising myself, breaking through “personal bests” on a pretty regular basis. I pushed through injuries, used “sleep time” to memorize choreography, developed an eating disorder, and felt very fortunate to be one of a chosen few. This was a runaway train but I didn’t see that at the time.

Two and a half years later, when reality began to sink in, I was starting to feel uninspired. The excitement was wearing off and I was doubting the ability of my body to endure ongoing brutal demands. (Backtracking and reconsidering is a common theme when something physically demanding is initiated during a Mars retrograde phase). I was always tired, cold, and hungry. And I was poor and not famous.

But severing my sense of identity from old desires and choices that had shaped my life up to that point was a complicated and depressing ordeal. I was trying to figure out how I could back away gracefully. I had created conflict with my family insisting on going my own way and doing my own thing. In terms of pride I had a lot invested. A severe hamstring injury was my ticket out. It was the beginning of a journey back to myself and my “this life” life purpose. My old life was forced to resign under threat of impeachment by my body.

Fast forward to now, 2018, and the next chapter in a series Aquarius Mars retrogrades. Mars is currently transiting through Aquarius on his way to stationing retrograde on June 26th at 9 degrees of Aquarius. The Sabian symbol for this degree: “As a lightening bolt pierces the sky, an eagle dives down upon a snake hidden in the grass.”

Lightening brings flashes of light into darkness. For a second we get an enlightened  glimpse of dark landscapes The Eagle is the symbol for the United States. The “snake in the grass” is briefly exposed – and it becomes a target.

There are a few interesting connections between 1939, 1971, 2018 that should be noted. I mentioned in the opening paragraph that during the impending Aquarian Mars retrograde, Mars dips back into Capricorn from August 12th to September 10th. In the astrological chart of the United States (Sibley Chart) when this happens it will be triggering the U.S. birth chart’s Pluto through a conjunction.

The U.S. is in the midst of a Karmic reckoning and everything that implies. Old injustices come back to haunt and torment. They demand to be acknowledged, reckoned with, purged, forgiven, and healed. There is no way around a reckoning. It’s taken 241 years to get to this pivotal turning point. The U.S. can progress no further in its current direction without massive change.

Pluto is in charge of “reckonings.” He’s the force that demands a move into a healthier, more socially responsible, self-disciplined space – often through intense pain. On a personal level at one time or another, you’ve probably experienced this in the form of a “dark night of the soul.” The U.S. appears to be in the midst of a national “dark night of the soul.”

Retrograding Mars triggers the U.S. Pluto for about a month mid-August to mid-September 2018. According to Reinhold Ebertin the Mars/Pluto combo symbolizes superhuman power, force and/or brutality.

There is the ability during late summer to demonstrate extraordinary force, vigor, ambition, and independence – or to suffer assaults, violence and injury. Sports records are likely to be broken. Sports or sports figures may play a critical role in the ongoing national transformation. All kinds of unprecedented breakthroughs become possible and necessary. Aquarius’s “reason for being” is to create breakthroughs – the warrior breaking through stubborn blockages so that progress can be re-established.

The 4th degree of Aquarius   (the Mars retrograding point in 1939)  appears this summer in the form of a 4th degree Aquarian lunar eclipse on July 27th. (Remember that Sabian symbol was the odd “clothing swap.”)

We can anticipate that illusions will be created to facilitate an agenda that might otherwise be widely resisted. It’s wise to be skeptical this summer. What we’ll be seeing and hearing is most likely a distortion. Staying grounded in your physical body, in what you most value and desire,  in common sense, and a sense of community, will be critical.

Uranus newly in the sign of Taurus squares Mars in Aquarius from August 9th – 12th. This is potentially explosive. But there are other possibilities in the form of massive organized rebellion from populations embracing humane  values.

Organized resistance is a favored Aquarian strategy. The Mars/Aquarian combo is essentially brilliant thought (forethought) coupled with action. Something progressive in the form of seeing human beings as human beings, apart from any stratified system,  is Aquarius in his purest form.

Past or current experimentation might begin to pay off. What was once a theory can be put into practice. Scientific, technological, medical, and environmental breakthroughs fundamentally change the nature of the game. The expansion of personal freedom, the right to self-determination, brotherhoods, sisterhoods, and the creation of friendlier, more enlightened worlds depends on the “fuel” that is Mars in Aquarius.

Mars and sex go hand in hand. A sexual revolution (Aquarius) may be unstoppable. A collective world-wide effort to link arms in a common human cause seems timely. Prioritizing the environment could be a natural, universal point of connection. (Aquarius Mars/Uranus in Taurus)

From now through November a Zen-like focus on clarifying what you desire, creating and cultivating a powerful vision is critical. Expect to encounter changed circumstances. What you assumed would always be my evaporate quickly.

Appeasing Pluto and his management of the “reckoning” involves saying I’m sorry for something you’re sorry for. For U.S. citizens this feels like a national mandate. But for anyone, releasing something that’s felt personally unjust or inhumane adds to the momentum. In some manner you may be invited or forced to rise to the occasion. Physically and in all ways it may be taxing. It is likely you’ll surprise yourself.

In the words of Tennessee Williams (the American author with Mars at 9 degrees of Aquarius) “There is a time for departure even when there’s no certain place to go.”


Holly RePenn
RN., MS., NMH., RYT., C.A.P.
Professional Astrology
31631 Los Rios Street
San Juan Capistrano, CA

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