Blast Furnace: Mars’ 2016 RetrogradeApril 14, 2016
Astrology 4/25 – 5/1: The VaultApril 25, 2016
This week, the planetary tectonics grind and shift in order to provide the proper stage for the next phase of this season’s story. The Sun enters Taurus on Tuesday, but its light is rivalled by a Full Moon in Scorpio on Thursday, which sheds an intense but tarnished silver radiance across the week. Meanwhile, Venus makes a trio of challenging aspects to Saturn, Pluto and Uranus— a sequence which serves to further volatilize the passions.
Smaug Takes Flight
The entirety of this week’s events take place within the shadow of Mars’ recent retrograde station (April 17th). Although Mars is now trackably retrograde, it’s movement is absolutely minimal. In fact, the red planet covers only 1/3 of a single degree this week, making it for most intents and purposes stationary. A cthonian dragon, the lovable antagonist of any knight’s tale, is in the process of being roused by the stationary red planet’s light. Groggy and foul tempered, he’s already flared his nostrils and shifted irritably within the tight confines of his Tartarian abode. Nations have felt the earth tremble at the dragon’s stirring. This week he takes lazily to the sky to begin his biannual inspection of the human world. Some will try to figure out how to throw a saddle across his back, while others will suit up in medieval cosplay and rush to warn the beleaguered defenders of Esgaroth that the dragon is coming.
Mars’ retrograde lasts for months at a time, so do not look for climatic battles to take place right away. Instead, look for opening salvos, crucial pivots, and growing sources of friction. From there, consider what stories will unfold.
Our Lady of Volcanic Passions
While the dragon flies low through the skies, his choice of targets still in the process of being revealed, Venus in Aries moves through a trio of aspects. The first stop on Aphrodite’s tour is Monday’s trine with Saturn in Sagittarius, which favors organization, but sometimes at the price of joy. Immediately after Venus departs her relatively harmonious aspect with serious Saturn she plunges into a tough square with Pluto. This configuration, which occurs on Tuesday, may coincide with temporary feelings of powerlessness or joylessness. Venus’ aspects to Pluto also tend to bring emotionally difficult facts to the surface, a theme which foreshadows the Full Moon in Scorpio which occurs later in the week. Yet as the Moon edges toward Full, we will see Venus begin rise out of whatever small abyss Pluto tempted her into. On Friday, Venus perfects her conjunction with Uranus in Aries, which will see the Queen of Heaven explode from the underworld with volcanic potency. Constraint is thus followed by freedom, and depression by mania. Though there are certainly insights to be gleaned by Venus’ passage this week, it is a bit of a roller coaster.
On Tuesday, the 19th, the Sun rolls into tropical Taurus, beginning its one-month tour of the bovine sign. Sol’s movement slows the ambient pace, grounds concerns and stimulates the desire for stability, luxury and security. On Tuesday, the day of the Sun’s entrance into Taurus, these may be in relatively short supply, as this week’s planetary action is of a more dynamic and challenging nature. Similarly, the desire to slow down and stabilize is almost immediately challenged by Thursday’s intense Full Moon in Scorpio. Nonetheless, the Sun will be in Taurus until May 20th, giving us plenty of time to get our fields plowed and seeded.
The Full Moon in Scorpio arrives on Thursday night, shining a ghostly spotlight across the Earth. Passions are due to be roused, and fierce rivers of feeling to overflow their banks.
This Full Moon has the rare and questionable distinction of occurring in the single degree of the zodiac considered to be most difficult for the Moon. Though the Moon is traditionally in her “fall” or “depression” in all of Scorpio, the maximum velocity of that fall is thought to take place in the 3rd degree of the sign- exactly where this Full Moon occurs.
The Moon’s gentle light is thought to provide comfort and sustenance. This life-supporting mana has often been likened to milk, which nurtures the most vulnerable. Yet this Full Moon, in intense Scorpio, suggests something other than a soothing milk-bath. Like all of life, milk is subject to corruption, and sours easily. This milk no longer nurtures, and can even become poison if left too long to rot. This Moon thus focuses its light on those cartons which have been left out too long, and whose status has shifted from life-giving to totally gross.
As this Moon’s beams will seek out what has become sour and smelly, it will be easy to figure out what to toss— yet more sophisticated methods might also be employed. Though soured milk can no longer serve as an accompaniment to cookies, it has a long history of use in baking, gardening, skin-care and cheese-making. So when life hands you sour milk, make cheese. Cottage cheese, specifically.
Yet not all of what arises during this Full Moon can be improved through alchemical rehabilitation. Some of what overflows during this lunation will be beyond recycling, and must be poured out onto the waiting Earth. This is the question— what soured matter might again aspire to become medicine, and what must we instead release, bury and then grieve?
There is a long tradition in mundane astrology of interpreting the Moon as both the will and plight of the common people. Both this Full Moon and the last seem to have opinions about the Democratic primary race in the United States. Our last Full Moon, which was partially eclipsed, occurred directly atop Bernie Sanders’ natal Mercury, and immediately preceded his anointment-by-bird and many-state winning streak. This Full Moon, however, takes place in exactly the same degree as Hillary Clinton’s natal Sun, shifting the silver spotlight on to her. However, the problematic nature of the Moon in Scorpio makes its status as a positive or negative omen unclear. The question, then, is whether she can make cheese out of a primary race which has definitively soured.