There’s a lot going on in the sky these days, just like here on Earth. As above, so below, as the saying goes.
For starters, today is the start of a new lunar cycle, as the Moon meets up with the Gemini Sun in the zodiac. And this New Moon feels charged with activity, since we’re also on the brink of the summer solstice– when the Sun moves into the sensitive waters of Cancer, which occurs June 21st. This time of year is symbolic of a “high tide” sensation, where nature seems supportive and people are out and about. The gift of Cancer is the ability to get in touch with our own needs, tuning into how we can care for our sense of connection to our lives. Self-care and time for enjoyment are primal to summer because the Cancer Sun shines its light on our need for a healthy heart, to feed the inner child. We recharge through contact with others, renewing ourselves outdoors in the sun and fresh air.
The 2018 summer season will be colored by Mars retrograde, which is exact from June 26th through August 27th. Mars goes retrograde every two years, but this time it’s unique. While retrograde, Mars will also be in a condition called ‘out of bounds’, meaning that it has reached a point of latitude out in space where it is symbolically out of the reach of the Sun. In essence, it has gone into the wild, where it is unbound by constraint. And added to that is the fact that Mars will be as close to Earth as it has gotten in 60,000 years (except once in 2003). We will actually be able to see Mars rise in the east at sunset this summer, shining its red light in the night sky.
This is a supercharged Mars that will be impacting our lives for the next few months, as it retrogrades from Aquarius to Capricorn. And the fact that we can witness it with our eyes seems to heighten the power in the collective consciousness. Mars is the planet of self-assertion. It teaches us courage– and we can’t become braver without facing things that scare us. Stress, fear, apprehension, laziness, self-indulgence: all serve to hold us back, in stillness. Mars gives us the power to engage, to act, to initiate. But as it moves retrograde, the usual outward momentum of Mars is turned inward. It may feel frustrating, especially if we feel resistance against us as we enforce our will. But the purpose of the retrograde cycle is to become aware of what we’re defending ourselves from. Questioning our conditioning, what we define as ‘normal’, and how we express and defend our power is the healing work here.
Because Mars is conjoining the Moon’s South Node, the karmic past is coming up for healing. The shadow of Aquarius is detachment and intellectual superiority. We need to watch out for where we are just walking away, disengaging from social groups and friends. There can be good reason to withdraw with Mars retrograde– like redefining strategies for personal happiness and healing the shadow of guilt, shame, and anger. Stepping back to observe our instinctual reactions to intense emotions, impatience, and aggression is healthy. But doing it with apathy and judgment is the danger here, so be aware of behavioral patterns that are actually just outdated defense mechanisms. This summer is a powerful time of healing the inner warrior, freeing up space from past battles that may or may not have been fought.