Much has been discussed in this column of the major planetary alignments that began in January 2020, which is correlating to the complete dismantling of our day to day routines and structures for living. Two intersecting crises are driving this movement: the deadly COVID-19 global pandemic and the sudden critical surge in the Black Lives Matter social justice movement. At the midpoint of this tumultuous year, five planets are in retrograde mode and the archetypal movement to step back from the action and reflect on the choices that brought us to where we are will continue with three to six planets retrograde through the end of the year.
As always with the communications from the cosmic intelligences, there are paradoxes. And one that may be felt most vociferously in contrast to the message to retreat and recharge is when Mars returns to its home sign of Aries on June 27. The first sign of the Zodiac represents the creative thrust of individual life in the dynamic state of birthing and Mars’ archetypal raison d’etre here is to cast forth the seeds of lessons learned from the previous cycle to create something at a new, evolved level. The critical lesson of Mars in Aries is to recognize the impulse to be reckless by acting first and thinking later. In doing so, we can then take precautions and adapt to ensure our inspiring creations are preserved for the benefit of others.
Mars will be in Aries through January 2021 due to its upcoming bi-annual retrograde September 9 to November 13 – more than six months in this potentially impatient yet pioneering sign rather than the usual six weeks. Mars’ sextile to Saturn in Aquarius, exact on June 28, suggests we may summon enough maturity to act responsibly with disciplined and sustained effort. This alignment also encourages us to make real on a personal level all that is happening around us. If we truly acknowledge the impact the virus is having on so many lives, and what the Black community has suffered since the advent of capitalistic slavery, we may not think of self alone, but of how we can apply our unique creations in the form of active service to society.
On June 29, Jupiter and Pluto, which are both retrograde in Capricorn, form the second of three conjunctions unfolding all this year, signifying we are in the throes of new 13-year cycle. On a spiritually evolved level of expression, this planetary pair can archetypally manifest as extreme effort to expand our consciousness into transformational new territory. In Capricorn, those efforts will be focused on whether or not our systems for living are operating with integrity for all. This formidable alignment can also expose abuses in the processes related to the consolidation of power, especially by those working behind the scenes of government through lobbying/bill writing groups. For example, in Ava DuVernay’s documentary “13th,” it is revealed that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has been systematically working to capitalize the prison industrial complex, with a resulting prison population ballooning from approximately 327,000 in 1970 to over 2 million today, including a disproportionate number of black males. Other examples of systemic abuse include the deliberate disenfranchisement of black voters and a militarized police force targeting communities of color. Many peaceful Black Lives Matter protestors and journalists were brutalized with tear gas, rubber bullets and batons as more than 10,000 individuals were arrested, the majority of which simply for exercising their first amendment rights.
Perhaps a ‘waking up to racism’ moment will occur when retrograde Mercury forms its “Inferior Conjunction” with the Sun on June 30. This alignment marks the beginning of a new four-month Sun/Mercury cycle when the seed ideas for the new cycle will be born. With the Sun and Mercury simultaneously sextiling Uranus in Taurus, there is even the possibility for a flash of brilliance. Being consciously open to seeing things in a new way invites the cosmic intelligences to download new information into our awareness. The harmonious Sun/Mercury/Uranus configuration unites our will and purpose with out-of-the-box, unbiased thinking. We have but to make the effort to apply their wisdom over the course of the cycle.
On July 1, retrograde Saturn returns to Capricorn. Strong in the sign it rules, Saturn forms a triple conjunction with Jupiter and Pluto that will intensify as all three continue their retrograde phase over the next few months, prolonging the powerful wake of the epochal Saturn/Pluto conjunction that correlated to the rocking of our world in January. This extremely powerful alignment joined by expansive Jupiter can express in myriad ways. In one extreme, it can correlate to brutal crack downs from those in positions of authority who feel increasingly threatened by the sustained pressure from citizens to disrupt the destructive pattern of injustice. On the other hand, it can express as extreme effort, fortified by integrity and a willingness to sacrifice the needs of self for the needs of those who are at risk. Can we be the rock for others and willingly undergo the intense pressure needed and stand up for the transformation of society?
The last of three eclipses since June occurs on July 4, Independence Day in the U.S. It is a Full Moon Lunar Eclipse with the Moon joining Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn and the Sun in Cancer exactly opposite the Moon. Uranus in Taurus amplifies the awakening nature of the Eclipse by its exact trine with the Moon and still potent sextile to the Sun mentioned above. When we are able to realistically see things as they are rather than through the distorted lens of our beliefs, then we can see the true impact of the choices we make and whether or not we want to continue down the same path. Eclipses serve the function of kicking our butt out of the inertia of complacency. The Eclipse Sun is exactly conjunct the Sun in the “birth” chart of the U.S., which underscores the historical significance of this time. The value of the U.S. being in extreme crisis is to bring about the realization of dark side of who we have become as a society. We see it starkly in how we have treated the Black community for the last 150 years as presented in the heartrending real-life stories of numerous films and documentaries, increased news reporting, and most effectively in firsthand witness videos. This may just be our moment of absolute dejection when we decisively stand up together in a sustained way until something changes. If we don’t, the crisis will only intensify in future cycles.
In the swelling wake of this pressure cooker Eclipse season, retrograde Mercury in Cancer forms a square to Mars in Aries on July 8, suggesting a potentially confrontational tone in our communications and a compelling need to back up our words with action. How we perceive (Mercury) precedes how we act (Mercury). The image in our mind of the future we want to see, therefore, determines how we act today. What is clear is that “the COVID-19 pandemic will be seen in retrospect as the ‘great accelerator’ that suddenly moved us from the continuity of the past into a new era” and the social eruption of recent weeks over police brutality and racial justice reinforces this movement that has the “widespread transformative power to alter the human condition” (Berggruen Institute). Another sign this movement is likely to continue is reflected by the Mercury/Mars alignment being in effect all of July, with a second exact alignment on July 27 when Mercury is direct. A recent poll indicates 74% of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track. How are you standing up to this crisis of action that is calling us to evolve?