The week begins with friction between Mars in Pisces and Saturn in Sagittarius, the two on their way to completing a square, a perfect 90 degree angle in our sky. Though the aspect is not exact until the 19th, it will be felt all week, especially Monday, when the Moon in Virgo locks the tension between the two bodies into a t-square.
Mars and Saturn are the malefics in traditional astrology, the two planets whose significations most consistently enclose difficult situations and unpleasant states. It is their essence to challenge rather than confirm. Instead of offering re-assurance, they ask questions and oppose. Mars challenges us to move faster and hit harder than we would otherwise, and conjures up the daunting spectre of the opponent – one who wishes us ill. There is no neutrality here – just fight or flight, confrontation or escape. The answer to these questions is invariably a species of Courage.
Saturn’s challenges are different. The leaden planet confronts us with the unyielding, the bureaucratic, and the inevitable. The opposer does not appear before us bearing an ax and wearing malice. Instead, Saturn places us inside a world without pity. The challenge is the mighty wall of Indifference. This wall can be scaled, but only with the blessing of Patience, one of our greatest allies.
The two malefics thus offer trials of contrasting natures. The two answers, Courage and Patience, are also of a dissimilar nature. Courage is Yang, and is the point around which our body and spirit unite to bring all available resources into the present moment. Patience, however, is Yin, and a form of acceptance-for-now, which relaxes us by spreading out our power over the entirety of an ordeal.
When Mars and Saturn are in aspect, particularly in hard aspect, these two types of trial interfere with each other. Red and green lights flare simultaneously. Yet stop and go messages do not cancel each other out. They create tension, because one cannot move in harmony with both simultaneously.
Remember yourself mired in heavy traffic, already late to an important appointment. You cannot simply take your time, nor can you just hit the gas and rocket toward your goal. You take advantage of the small opportunities to increase your speed, such as by shifting lanes when one becomes speedier, yet you pick your moves carefully, lest you be halted entirely by a fender-bender.
Neither courage nor patience is enough. Both, in respectful relationship to one another, are required. Such a dialogue generates a third quality, a tantric child. This goes by many names, among them Perseverance, Industriousness, and Relentlessness. For now, we will call this child Relentlessness.
The presence of this second-generation virtue can be seen in the lives of many of the people whose charts hold hard aspects between Mars and Saturn. This quality, this Relentlessness, guides people through the challenging times which Mars and Saturn together augur. Some of us are born to be its lifelong students, while others will have the chance to meet this stern but impressive spirit only occasionally. We might glimpse it hovering about an inspiring figure, enfolding them like a particularly hard-looking angel.
The formulae for conjuring this daimon is simple, but it requires that we embrace both Patience and Courage, and then bring them into conjugal harmony. This formulae may be especially relevant right now, at a point in history when no easy answers or quick solutions present themselves. Those who would make a better world, whether it encompass the globe or merely their garden, are in the sorest need of Relentlessness, for it is a virtue which is not rendered irrelevant by hard times, but is instead fed by them, growing stronger with every hardship suffered and overcome.
The Sun Enters Aquarius
The Sun enters Aquarius on Thursday the 19th, shortly after Mars and Saturn complete their square. Though the frictions augured by Mars and Saturn may linger for a few days, the Sun’s movement into Aquarius provides a breath of brisk fresh air.
The Sun’s entrance into Aquarius on the 19th begins the second section of the month. While the Sun in Capricorn illuminated the harsh slopes of the-way-things-are, the Sun in Aquarius’ light pierces the veil of the present, opening a window into various futures and revealing a mathematical tangle of probability and possibility. Though the Sun in Aquarius does not change the game, it offers a novel angle January’s dynamics. This contemplative orientation will persist until February 18th, when the Sun enters Pisces.