Mars Retrograde In Libra: Charm OffensiveDecember 7, 2013
The Nodes in Aries and LibraFebruary 20, 2014
The following is an excerpt from my 2014 Astrological Almanac. The 2015 Astrological Almanac is now available. This handy tome contains descriptions of every day, monthly summaries and more.
War and peace, harmony and hatred color the horizon of 2014. The Year of the Horse will trot through placid months and run spooked across the eclipse-dark plains of others, eyes rolling wild. Maintaining our balance atop history’s unpredictable stallion will be our task, but we will not be alone. Trust and fear accompany us on this journey, and together they will expose the beating heart of our relationships. Soulful commitments and agonizing splits brew inside the year’s heavy clouds. Within seven billion beating hearts, the seeds of accord wait to be discovered, but also the case for war- the primordial Casus Belli.
2014 places a tremendous emphasis on relationships. Not just romantic relationships, but those with friends, colleagues, business partners, lovers, co-workers, parents and children.
Astrologically, there are several reasons for this. One is that the first half of the year sees both Venus and Mars turn retrograde. Venus’ retrograde through Capricorn throws relationships into question, and then, once she has finished, Mars’ retrograde in Venus-ruled Libra descends into another round of queries.
These retrogrades, in and of themselves, would be enough to bring war and peace to the forefront. However, another factor further complicates the matter. The North and South Nodes, the old Head and Tail of the Dragon, shift into Aries and Libra early in 2014, laying a special emphasis on the Mars- and Venus- ruled signs.
The Head and Tail of the Dragon mark the signs they reside in for eclipses, and indicate potent exchanges of energy. In Aries and Libra, they suggest a sacrifice of individual needs in order to strengthen relationships. The energy is pulled away from personal projects and lent to partnerships and alliances. This is, however, no simple transfer of priorities. The Nodes push and pull relentlessly, digging through the past to find the future. The year pushes us toward greater cooperation while unearthing every ounce of distrust. We’ll have to examine the case for war carefully before deciding for peace.
Though the first half of the year presents a number of feuds, but few of these will provide the possibility of outright battle. Many of the conflicts which emerge this year will be between people who are part of the same social network, and they will require a great deal of diplomacy.
Just as individuals have friends, lovers and enemies, so do nation-states. 2014 promises to be very interesting year in international politics, with plenty of soap-opera drama between nations. Alliances will be broken and new coalitions forged.
Dance of the Erotes
The dance between Mars and Venus which dominates much of the year will give birth to a number of attractive and troubling offspring. In Greek mythology Ares (Mars) and Aphrodite (Venus) conducted a long lasting adulterous affair which bore many children.
Between the god of war and the goddess of beauty arose graceful Harmonia, who soothed disputants, bringing concord where there is conflict. Yet the affair between Ares and Aphrodite also seeded Eris, the goddess of strife, whose delight in mischief set in motion the disastrous Trojan War. Concord and discord run rampant through much of the year, taking turns with things here on earth.
Between wrathful Eris and compassionate Harmonia in temperament was winged Eros, the god of sexual love himself. Eros, who later became the chubby cupid of Renaissance art, was often subdivided into a whole cloud of fluttering spirits- the Erotes.
Besides Eros himself, there were three principle Erotes: Anteros, Himeros and Pothos. Anteros was the spirit of mutual desire, love returned. Himeros, on the other hand, lusted over all he surveyed, and lorded over unreturned desires, especially sexual ones. Finally there was Pothos, the daimon of longing. Pothos gazed into the void, wishing for something to fill it. He loved what-was-not.
We’ll all get to know this swarm of strange gods, for 2014 promises an abundance of roles for all of those who proceed from the union of Mars and Venus.
“Grand Cross” is a technical term in astrology for a configuration of four or more bodies aligned so as to make a cross or square in the heavens from earth’s point of view. These four bodies are ideally each 90 degrees apart from each other, making the Grand Cross composed of four squares and two oppositions. Grand Crosses, being composed entirely of “hard” or frictive aspects, are generally considered to augur difficulty.
Because each planet’s function is impeded by three others, the energy is frustrated, for no planet is able to perform its function easily. Metaphorically, the cross begins to spin like a generator, the polarities involved building up a tremendous charge. This energy tends to be released in out-of-control bursts, triggering chaos and crisis. Events which people do not have control over are common during these periods.
The most effective strategy for weathering these astral hurricanes can be likened to the way one deals with their mundane counterparts. One strategy is, of course, to batten down the hatches and stay inside. The “bombshelter” strategy is effective, but often unfeasible, as entanglements are often unavoidable.
Another is to stick to the Zen eye of the storm, avoiding the whirling extremities. In lived terms, this means not engaging with the chaotic energies, for to engage one point means to get caught in the whirling mass and taken for a ride. But to stay in the eye one must move as the storm moves, keeping pace.
Due to the geometry of the zodiac, there are three species of Grand Crosses. They come in Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable varieties. In each of these configurations, a planet resides in all four signs of a given mode. Thus all of the elements are activated, but only one Mode. 2014’s cross is of the Cardinal variety, with Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn hosting the respective planets.
The Cardinal signs all describe different ways to begin. A Cardinal cross, in which all four are represented, thus suggests a tremendous amount of initiating or creative energy. The difficulty is that so many processes are underway that they interfere with each other, tangling the processes they would initiate. Getting caught in a Cardinal Cross often means trying to do too much at once, or having to deal with too many processes developing simultaneously.
The processes underway this year are those described by Pluto in Capricorn, Uranus in Aries, Jupiter in Cancer and Mars in Libra.
The first member of the Cardinal Cross is Pluto in Capricorn, who reveals a hard portrait of things-as-they-are-and-have-been. The inexorable and pitiless tides of history become visible. In Capricorn, Pluto pushes us to accept heavy truths and to respond with deep pragmatism.
Meanwhile, Uranus gathers the lightning in Aries, chafing at all limits to personal sovereignty. Uranus wreathes our inborn potential and dignity in a cackle of electricity, stirring impatience with all obstacles.
While Uranus awakens us to potential, Pluto makes clear the cold limits of reality. These two bodies have been battling since 2011, stirring revolutions, protests and crackdowns, and will continue to do so for the next several years. 2014’s Cardinal Crosses are a result Jupiter and Mars’ intrusion into their titanic wrestling match.
Gentle Jupiter in Cancer gazes across the sky at both of these bodies, attempting to nurture and protect. In Cancer, Jupiter attempts to create a greenhouse, a walled and protected garden. Yet he does so atop shifting ground, tectonics disturbed by Pluto’s inexorable push and Uranus in Aries’ bombastic calls to awaken, disrupting the slow-growth process which Jupiter attempts to seed.
These three are joined by Mars, who patrols Libra from December 2013 through July 2014. In Libra, Mars tests relationships and makes people impatient for justice and foolhardy in pursuit of it.
These four bodies hold a loose Grand Cross formation for the first half of 2014. Inexorable evolutionary forces, bright potentials, slow growth strategies and troubled alliances all dance together for half of the year, generating a tremendous but unstable energy.
As he does every year, Mercury will turn retrograde three times in 2014. The messenger’s retrograde stations take place in the three waters signs, Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio. However, all of these stations are in very early degrees, and Mercury’s retreats will take him back in the Air signs for the bulk of his backward journeys.
These three retrogrades (which occur in February, June and October) all have their own unique lessons, but each begins in a water sign and ends in an air sign. Somewhere in the murky depths of the mind we’ll discover charged complexes of feeling and intuition, yet it will be our work to drag them back to the shore, to dry in the cold air of reason. The theme is thus emotion transformed by the application of reason.
We Don’t Need No Water
The dynamics of 2014 can be divided into two unequal portions. The first portion runs from January through July, and the second from August until December. With its Mars and Venus retrogrades and Grand Crosses, the first section of the year is considerably more complicated and volatile than the second part.
The second portion of 2014 has a decidedly different character than the first. While patterns are woven by the dynamic first portion
of the year, the second plays them out. Consequences, rewards and results characterize it. Things will not happen simply or limply, though. While the first half of the year held tense Grand Crosses, the second holds a number of Grand Fire Trines.
While Grand Crosses are a result of planets holding the four corners of a square in our sky, a Grand Trine is formed by at least three planets forming an equilateral triangle. Due to the geometry of the zodiac, this always puts all three planets in the same element. There are thus Grand Water, Fire, Earth and Air Trines.
2014’s variety is a Grand Fire Trine. Riotous Uranus in Aries and triumphant Jupiter in Leo form two points, while the third will be filled, alternately, by Mars, Mercury, the Sun and Venus in Sagittarius.
These Grand Fire Trines oversee seasons of swift moving, potentially reckless, action. Things do not crawl, but move quickly toward their conclusions. The strange strands of DNA woven by the first half of the year’s chaotic loom will be given flesh and blood during the swift-moving second.
When 2014 comes to a close, we will have come to the end of a short period of history. Saturn, who has been in Scorpio since October 2012, will enter Sagittarius, where he will be until 2017. The years-long emphasis on subversive sex, surveillance and doom will give way to years of maniacal enthusiasm and bold moves.
Great but unstable possibilities whirl about 2014. Much depends on our ability to navigate conflicting forces. We’ll be challenged to find, and hold, common ground with people we don’t generally agree with. To do this, we may need to sacrifice our more radical dreams to make way for something we can all agree on. 2013 made the world’s problems crystal clear- it is 2014’s job to negotiate the solutions.