by Boots Hart, CAP

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mars / Venus: An Odd Coupling

The Mars image is based on a photo called 'Sea Waves' (photo credit: Kahuroa, December 2002)
...The Venus image is based on 'Aiguille du Midi,' a photo of the mountains of Chamonix, France
in summer (photo credit: Martin Janner, August 2007)

I’m no different than anybody else…when I see Mars and Venus in a sequence, I think love-as-sex. I think of romance as the sensual dance which rhumbas us into a next phase of relationship life.

Astrologically, the combination is a bit plainer…and a bit more. Mars + Venus is not JUST love and sex and romance…(just?)…it’s anything or anywhere in life where I (Mars) assert myself or (Mars) put myself out there or utilize my (Mars) talents or “human weaponry” …be they physical, mental, emotional or some kind of resource…in trying to get the (Venus) response or reward that I’m hoping to get. Or would like. Or even think I would like.

(How many times do we as humans go for something only to get it and realize ‘uh…this isn’t as fun as I thought it would be?’)

So Mars + Venus is the relationship drive and much more. Whether you’re going for a job, going out there to take your place on a stage theatrical or otherwise, whether you’re starting an exercise program or cleaning up that darn basement which insists on getting so cluttered…Mars + Venus is the starting (Mars) to go for what you hope to (Venus) achieve in the end.

You know, as your reward.

In this case, we have Mars and Venus doing something together, but not necessarily in a ‘together-ly’ sense. They will both change signs on Saturday, February 2nd (UT/+0 time). But they will not be moving into the same signs. Mars is going to be entering Pisces, and Venus is going to be entering Aquarius.

What are the pluses and minuses here? Well, let’s start with the basics. Both Pisces and Aquarius are 4th quadrant signs.

The 4th quadrant is above the chart – and therefore worldly horizon and therefore in the ‘daylight’ or ‘visible’ part of life. All things 4th quadrant are therefore visible to us, and others.

The 4th quadrant is also on the left side of the wheel. And because the horoscope wheel is actually a representation of the earth as it revolves on its axis each and every day, the 4th quadrant is the ‘worldly now’ where the 1st quadrant is more about our internal consciousness or our ‘personal now’ and what we’re learning, dealing with or experiencing in the moment.

Generally put, the left side of the wheel is proactive, operational and ‘in the moment’…where the right side of the wheel is responsive, reactive and containing (otherwise known as ‘the accumulated body of our experience’).

Put it all together and the 4th quadrant contains signs which are all “Big Picture” oriented, which is why Capricorn represents (among other things) government and commerce, Aquarius represents (ditto) social/societal systems, income, one’s ‘place in the world’ and the marketplace, and Pisces represents human spirituality, the Jungian ‘unconscious’ we share as humans existing in this cosmos, pension funds, toxins, circadian or responses…and all those other squishy ideas we can’t quite define because they’re very real, but very nebulous.

Define it as you will, whatever is going on for these next few weeks – the what we will be going for Mars part and the where we can expect reactions, responses and rewards to come from Venus part – they’re all worldly and ‘big picture’ oriented.

Looking again to the zodiac diagram, we’re also reminded that Aquarius-Pisces are two signs in sequence. So by definition, if Venus hits 0 Aquarius just as Mars hits 0 Pisces, they’re mathematically, only 30 degrees apart.

And this is where the sandpaper begins to meet our psychic skin as that 30 degree aspect? That’s called a semi-sextile. And because semi-sextiles ‘link’ signs which are of different elements and differing modes of activity or action, there tends to be some difficulty in getting the gears to mesh.

Aquarius is an air sign. It’s all about the ‘idea of the thing.’ Ideas can be useful, yes. But human lives aren’t live in theory, which is why (as anyone with an Aquarian Sun, Moon or Ascendant can tell you!) people get annoyed with those who tend to think in terms of ‘how it works generally’…often just in the moment when someone who’s more earthy or watery has their feelings (water) or self esteem (earth) on the conversational line.

(My brother…bless his heart…has an Aquarius Moon. He fell afoul of this SO many times that he finally told me that when I hear him doing this to tell him to go eat a Snickers bar, to which I said ‘fine, just as long as you don’t turn into Liza Minnelli.’ Aretha Franklin singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T, I could take, but I don’t want my brother giving me Life is a Cabaret in the middle of a serious conversation!)

Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles in the 1972 production of 'Cabaret' 
(Allied Artists Pictures Corporation)

Getting back to Venus (not that I’m not one, but that’s beside the point)…Venus rules two signs, one of which – Libra – is an air sign. We know all about this Libra/Venus thing, because there is a level at which the idea of any relationship sounds good or bad. But as anyone who’s been in a relationship can tell you, that’s hardly the measure of the epic. Once you’re in the relationship, then the ‘clothing comes off’ and we stand there naked in our Scorpio splendor and ugliness – hence the expression ‘warts and all.’

This all seems very apt to recite here because when Venus transits an air sign (any air sign), we tend to think of things…reactions…aims…in very airy, theoretical terms. But life isn’t all theory. It’s reality. And to balance out the elemental vision (fire) of that which is possible and the idea (air) of ‘how this could work’ are the real world, real time, warts-and-all physicality elements of earth (‘that’s my nose you’re hitting, buddy…’ ) and water (‘I have feelings, y’know…’).

Which pretty much describes the problem. Mars is moving into Pisces. It will begin its transit of this most universal of water signs at 1:55 a.m. on February 2nd. And Mars will remain in Pisces until March 12th. Mars in Pisces tends to be a time of increased sensitivity, which means everybody is more sensitive – including you. So things which have bothered you are likely to bother you more. And because Mars symbolizes assertion/self-assertiveness and Pisces is the sign of ego-denial, in the game of planet-versus-signs, signs win.

And let’s not put too fine a point on things here…especially as Neptune (Pisces’ outcome ruler) is itself transiting Pisces, we are prone to sensitivity.

Frankly, this is among other things, a set-up for exploitation….and since when one person is exploited there generally is an exploit-er, this would also be a time for anything from lying and con artistry through to denial and delusions of entitlement.

Mars in Pisces can be identified with the artist. Not celebrity…not the flashy-flash of acclaim…but the connecting with the understanding of those basic, universal truths. As such, for some this becomes a time of inspiration. For others, it becomes a time of surrendering to truth and dropping all the masks, all the pretenses and all the excuses.

But since water – as an element – is ‘emotions,’ Pisces, the sign of deep open ocean, is also the sign where some people feel ‘drowned’ in feelings. And where feelings become so powerful, or if they hit you as a tsunami might, it’s understandable that some will try to flee. So Mars in Pisces sometimes becomes that very thing – the moment when we do that Mars-assertiveness thing of running away.

Venus will enter Aquarius on February 2nd at 2:48 a.m. and be in Pisces until early on February 26th. And once we get there, things will seem more manageable. But for the most of February, facing not only situations in the world but situations in our world are likely to be a source of internal testing. The Venus side of this is that our values and willingness to try (try again) are going to get tested. The Mars side of this is that our willingness to face not just our own feelings…but how we feel about feeling our feelings…is going to test us.

For some of us, the whole of this will be me-versus-my-Self; life will be going along just fine but you’ll be dealing with what you think life is. Or isn’t. Or what you’re going to do about something…or whether you’re just going to put up, shut up and not do anything.

For some of us, the Aquarian worldly society-social-life-income-worldly stuff side of things and how you’re not (Venus) getting what you want in or from life, or what isn’t working in your life generally is going to be the source of Mars conflict, irritation, feelings of loss, denial, uncertainty and anxiety (Pisces is very big on hard-to-get-hold-of feelings like anxiety). Pisces also being the sign of acceptance, faith and things like meditation, prayer and feeling at one with nature, if your Venusian life is raising Mars havoc in your soul, this is a time to refresh your acquaintance with the Serenity Prayer.

 As I went about uploading this image to include it in this post I realized that
some people who read its words will be put off by the 'religious' references.
But then I thought...'isn't realizing that different beliefs are natural? And isn't
that just part of being individual and human?' If we have problems with
differing beliefs, is letting go of how we tend to limit ourselves to 'this' way of
believing or not the very core of acceptance, spirituality and thus serenity?   
And after you do that, then you start thinking through the bottom line Pisces lesson: where we are not accepted it is because we have not accepted. At some level, in some way, shape or form you are at odds with the greater society. And while granted, times are changing and there is huge, HUGE resistance to ‘the old’ passing away while new ideas, new values and new standards get put in place, hiding doesn’t work. We all need to at least understand where the Aquarian society is going. Do we need to like it? No. But things are changing. Standards are changing. The more we try to hide, the more these years of Neptune in Pisces will melt away our defenses and expose us to exactly that we are trying to escape.

That’s the challenge of Mars in Pisces, Venus in Aquarius. It may be dismally, incredibly hard to join the world at whatever level, yes. It may be scary to recognize that whatever your ‘secrets’ are (and we all have some!) that is exactly what life is urging you to deal with. Maybe you don’t need to shout it from the rooftops, but you do need to own it and let go of the secrecy, the isolation and the fear.

For instance…a lot of people in the United States – and around the world – have suffered hugely in the economic downturn. Will it help you to (Pisces) hide at home or not think about how to earn a living? No.
There are some also some (a far, far smaller percentage, granted) who have thrived economically during these past few years. Do you think that you are (Aquarius) entitled to live a comfy life, ignoring your fellow humans? If you look at social history, it would seem you do so at your own risk.

In my ‘other’ blog I wrote a bit ago about a problem which is just now really coming to light in the United States – a problem with prescription drugs.

So much of the whole prescription/drug issue is Neptunian. From the pharmas (and the medical profession, to some extent) who seem to treat human life as a commodity to why people often get into trouble with prescriptions, be that a lack of knowledge about the drugs they’re taking (‘oh, I don’t have to know…my doctor gave it to me’) or the popular-but-deadly ‘if one works, two should work better’ or beyond all the inability on the part of doctors, patients, friends and family to understand that life is not all happiness and sunflowers and not all painless…from the oblivious misery of addiction to the ridiculous cost of health care, there is tons about all such discussions which come down to our very human and deeply rooted fears.

Those fears…and all we do to try to get past them, those are the stuff of Venus in Aquarius and Mars in Pisces. As humans we often drive ourselves to excel not for the delight of it, but because we’re more afraid of failing. We’re more afraid of not being accepted by our peers. Because we’ve ‘signed onto’ some set of expectations we think our parents have for us.

None of these things are ‘bad,’ per se. That’s the weirdness of metaphysics. The mechanics of the universe are meant to get us to move, however that movement can be achieved.

In growth, in attempting...there we find life.

In stillness lies death.

That’s a simplification, yes…but it’s a simplification of an essential law of existence. Birth and growth all come with effort. They’re not painless. People long for vacations and dream of having no obligations but when we look at the actuarial tables we discover that many, many people die soon after retirement. Why? Metaphysically it’s because they’ve given up not on life, but on earning their living….be that financially or metaphorically.

Apparently we humans need goals.

Looking again to the zodiac, we know that this never-ending cycle of life moves from Aquarius through Pisces and then starts again at Aries. In lunar astrology, the final ‘phase’ – the Balsamic – begins at 15 Aquarius and is all about release. What has been has been…we let that go and look towards a renewal at the New Moon which in theoretical zodiacal terms is always the ‘Aries’: the birth, the new, the starting point.

So times may be trying now. Whether you’re moving forward and starting something new and letting go of the old because you’re in a building mode, or whether you’re having to deal with something which hasn’t worked and which isn’t being accepted (maybe by others, maybe even by you!)…this is a time when life will reveal what is ‘done.’ What has outlived its usefulness. Though uncomfortable in some ways (maybe many ways) this is a time to peel away that which is no longer useful so that we can move forward with a fresh vision, renewed outlook and eyes on the future.

One more thing: as of February 1st, Saturn will have crossed the exactitude of the solar eclipse we are going to have in November 2013. Especially in all things Saturn (career, marriage, law, government, life structuring, income plans) this has our world – and us as individuals in that world – entering something just a bit short of a year-long period which underscores the whole ‘letting go so you can build anew’ theme.

One of Saturn's moons shown silhouetted against
it's planet (photo credit: NASA-JPL)

Any time we see these cycles “echo” each other, we  know for sure and certain that’s the basic mark. In fact, if you’re having Venus/Mars issues on a personal nature and a social/societal level, this would be something of an indicator of where the ‘break’ is going to be.

The rule here…and now we’re talking about eclipses… is that which has outlived its purpose, however comfortable and familiar it may be needs to go if it is stopping us from being the person we are at our core or in our soul. Solar eclipses have a reputation for being very rough on us, and with the current sequence being in Scorpio and Taurus, this is all about our values and how well they work with those around us. Saturn’s presence in Scorpio and its ‘setting off’ this eclipse degree tells us that things can’t just be about what we want, like or value…which sort of gets us back to that conversation about relationships and marriage. It’s one thing to have this lovely idea of marriage. It’s another to deal with the reality – the naked reality. Saturn in Scorpio is about revealing the naked reality of – among other things – our tendency to live in personal bubbles, bubbles built on our personal need to be secure.

Oh yes...and since Saturn entered 11 Scorpio (the degree of which we speak!) a week or so ago, if you felt things get a little "destabilized" then, write yourself a gold star for astro-sensitivity, and bear this in mind. Give or take the fact that there are some among us (sigh...) who are simply clods, those who do pick up these clues even before the celestial gong gets sounded do well to learn how sensitive their celestial antenna really are!

We tend to think security is all about ‘me,’ but the reality of it is that the well-functioning ‘us’ is far stronger than the ‘me’…which is where all that 4th quadrant theory comes in.

The world – in theory – wants to join with us, and it sure as heck wants us to join in with the world. We all tend to do so to some degree.

The world apparently wants more of us…and wants us to want more of ourselves.

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