Mars is in full-on Leo mode now, nothing ambivalent about it. It’s been hanging around this sign for an unusually long time, moving back and forth, retrograde and direct, all winter, like a lion pacing in his den. But during April it’s headed straight ahead, over the first half of Leo. Things are nice and hot, and about to get hotter.
The Vernal Equinox inaugurated the astrological year on March 20 with the Sun’s entry into the first degree of the first sign of the zodiac. This is the Aries Point, the spark that gets everything going. Every year at this time, cardinal fire energy—Aries—gets us vitalized and ready to roll, like those little green shoots piercing upward through the crust of the soil.
But this year there is going on with Aries than the group of personal planets that surround the Springtime Sun. The Cardinal Climax is assembling. Uranus is heading towards Aries, making its ingress on May 27; and so is Jupiter, which ingresses on June 6. These two conjoin on June 8, a milestone in this early period of the 2012 years. People with planets around the first degrees of Cardinal signs, in particular, will feel the energy around them reaching a boiling point.
With this kind of heat firing up the collective, we need to keep our cool. Watching the months ahead through the lens of astrological symbolism is one way to follow the action without getting burned.
In recent columns we’ve looked at the country’s over-the-top political partisanship in terms of the Saturn-Pluto square, which peaked as the year began (1). The deadlock that has gripped Washington has become so tight, at this point, that its participants seem to be fueled entirely by their first chakras: that of tribal instinct. It’s an incongruously primal energy to find in an enclave of expensive suits and power ties. But you sometimes get the feeling, watching these guys in chambers, that they’re just an eighth of an inch away from a food fight.
Or a gang rumble, with knives.
The current weapon being deployed is unvarnished obstructionism; about health care reform, financial reform, any kind of reform. Saturn governs the concept of negation: objection, blockage, the word No. Some of the white-haired patricians we see bloviating into their microphones have the quality of a two-year-old folding his arms, stamping his foot, and refusing to go to his playgroup. The knee-jerk reactivity on display would be laughable if its consequences weren’t so serious.
The image of Senator Bunning (R-Ky.) standing up there and objecting—over and over again—to the extension of unemployment benefits to thousands of his jobless countrymen will stick in the minds of many viewers. One could see the dark side of the transit being acted out in his person, as he embodied a combination of selfish tight-fistedness (Saturn) and unbendable fanaticism (Pluto) (2).
In more ways than one, the obstructionists seem to be fueled by the energy of Pluto (mafia, secret societies, death squads). You get the sense that the Republicans have taken a backroom blood oath to stand as one, for fear of waking up next to a horse’s head if they don’t.
As always, these elected officials are described by themselves and the media as “conservative;” but the term does not hold up under archetypal scrutiny.
True conservatism is an expression of high-level Saturn, whose job it is to wisely safeguard whatever has proven effective from the past. But the public servants thwarting these already excruciatingly compromised reform efforts are clearly motivated less by a desire to conserve than by a desire to leverage their own power (Pluto). Regardless of which of the two establishment parties they represent, they change their tune as political expediency demands.
Consider the case of Senator Dodd (D-Conn.). Not long ago, faced by a constituency that was hurting bad and hopping mad, he backed the idea of erecting a consumer protection agency that might actually protect consumers, as it was to be fully separate from the Fed (3).
That was when he was running for re-election. Now, like Bunning, he is no longer a candidate; and, back in the warm embrace of financial industry lobbyists, he is making sure that any such agency will be securely under the Fed’s jurisdiction.
For anyone invested in the evolution of the American collective, to witness this kind of mendacity is dispiriting and infuriating. We may find these politicians and their power plays ridiculous, even meaningless. But they are what our era has given us. These performances, like those in the movies, mirror back to us the rancor and confusion that fester in the public mood, which itself is a ham-fisted manifestation of the tension in the sky.
For two more months Mars in Leo is an ingredient in this mix, adding volatility to already convulsive scenario. During the first week of April, Mars squares Venus and Mercury, which then retrogrades on April 17 and squares Mars again on the April 25. If you are feeling pissed-off, consider the energy in your environment: domestic, regional, national, planetary.
Before you project your wrath onto your roommate or the driver in the next car, remember that there is such a thing as valid, righteous Mars energy. Remember, too, that when we tune in to a planet’s highest expression, situations arise that invite us to use it. We don’t have to go looking for them.
Mars’ highest expression is the courage to assert ourselves, which is often the only thing to do in intolerable circumstances.
(1) The square has three exact hits in all: 11/15/09, 1/31/10 and 8/21/10. Its role in the Cardinal Crosses (2010-2016), which begins to peak this June, gives it a wide orb of influence.
(3) The Federal Reserve, which failed for 14 years to put an end to the predatory mortgage lending that tanked the economy, is one of the most Plutonian institutions in Washington. Uber-powerful, it conducts its operations with a secrecy that is passively indulged by the public and virtually unquestioned by media watchdogs. From reader Bob Olin: “Since 1913 the Federal Reserve has established a debtors’ economy in the US by issuing credit/debt to the population, the consequences of which we are experiencing right now. President W. Wilson, who signed the bill establishing the Federal Reserve into law, noted upon leaving office [that] it was the worst thing [he had] ever done.”