Written for OPA Magazine Career Astrologer: June 2018 opaastrology.org

I am sure you are already feeling the tense uncertainty with a dash of excitement that is in the air these days. Since Mars came into square with Uranus and entered Aquarius in May, the pace, extent, and unpredictability of change has radically increased. This deep process of deconditioning our Selves (including relationships, beliefs, employment, and more) will continue through November with peak moments occurring from mid-July thru mid-August. Let us take a moment to ponder the evolutionary forces at play during this period from an astrological point of view with a focus on the Mar’s retrograde period extending from June 25 to August 27.

The mystery school of Aquarius is where/when we evolve through detaching from our existing reality to gain a less personal, more “cosmic” or “heightened” perception of it. Like the view from a helicopter as it takes off from the forest, our view extends beyond the trees to include the valley, the rivers and streams, the mountains, and perhaps the ocean beyond. If we take our identity in place of the forest, we might imagine getting a broader understanding of the past conditioning that has guided our choices to create the life we are now living. By stepping outside our ego and into our spiritual “observer” or “witness” with the intention of improving ourselves and our lives, we will immediately note, and desire to change, fears, beliefs, and relationships that are inhibiting the full expression and manifestation of our potential. Hence, Aquarius is associated with rebellion from the norm, revolution, and liberation from the past.

Mars in Aquarius heightens our impulsive, instinctive, will to forge ahead into that cockpit of our helicopter, to heat up and speed up this process. It conjuncting the south node of the Moon June 8, July 20, and September 26th reflects the cutting of past emotional and karmic cords for the sake of greater freedom of choice, independence, and innovation. It squaring Uranus virtually from mid-May to mid-September intensifies the soul’s unconscious need within all of us to differentiate and individuate. This process of individualization can take many forms on many levels from changes within our most intimate sexual relationships to countries declaring war on a global scale. One thing is certain, the extent, depth, and radical nature of these changes will be sudden, perhaps shocking, and bring in new realties that replace outmoded, perhaps secure and cherished realities, never to return.

The fixed nature of Aquarius combined with the fiery nature of Mars can lead to inflexible, stubborn, and self-righteous acts of rebellion leading to accidents, trauma, problems with friends and associates, violent situations, and of course, stress. The desire to experiment with new forms of self-expression of an unconventional nature will lead many to challenge their current modes of sexual expression and relationships. These can range anywhere from being asexual/celibate to open marriage arrangements, group sex, pansexual and experimental forms

of “detached,” or observational sex through magazines, clubs, devices, and technological means of “connecting.” This experimentation can have us descending to the lowest, profane forms of sexual expression or result in the highest spiritual awakenings of sacred sexuality. In general, this time period is excellent for meeting new people and creating new means of self- expression liberated from previous inhibitions, fears, and limitations. It affords each of us the opportunity to re-forge our lives to reflect a heightened awareness and balance of our masculine and feminine natures. Specifically, the house position of transiting Mars will indicate the area of life most undergoing “remodeling.” These new relationships can lead to new sources of income (2nd house), new artistic creations (5th), relationships (7th), beliefs (9th), careers (10th) etc. Technology affording us the means by which we can reach others globally can expand our limited perception of “reality” to include vast new realms of expression and understanding. On a world scale, the mass movement demanding freedom of personal choice may lead anywhere from governmental/institutional crackdowns to revolutionary reformation/creation of new communities, means of economic exchange, and artistic, “enlightened,” therapies to reduce stress.

Mars, symbolic of the masculine principle, is naturally extroverted. Acting out from the center it brings our desires, rooted in the Soul, to consciousness in order to be acted upon. While direct then, we can expect our personal will to be activated toward reaching out, manifesting, and change in the outer world. From May to late June, we will feel the inner urges to detach from existing outer realities and conditions to free ourselves and move forward toward the as yet unknown, but “envisioned,” possibilities.

However, during Mars' two month retrograde period (late June to late August), the extroverted natural action of Mars will be inverted and turned inward to reflect on, and modify the changes initiated during the direct motion. It is a time period cosmically designed to “rebel against ourselves,” more than external conditions. This gives us the opportunity to explore our inner psyches, which are fundamental in creating our external realities. We may deal with the reactions from others, the bursting of our illusions, or the karmic results of actions taken that are not in alignment with the evolution of our soul, the other, our personal partnerships, groups, or nations. These are designed to expand our awareness outside our subjective reality, that we may take into account the needs, feelings, and positions/beliefs of others, who, in turn will stimulate our own inner awakening.

As we can see, this is a 6-month stretch of time infused with uncertainty and instability that can lead to increased stress, desire to escape, and sudden impulsive actions causing ourselves and others great trauma. It is a time when our repressed anger can turn destructive and needs to be calmed, soothed, and guided by higher principles, truth, and responsibility. The shadow side of Aquarius is assuming that it is already in a higher state of consciousness than others, which can result in cold, arrogant, unfeeling, and cruel acts of destruction.

The intellect, acting independently from the heart, at a much more rapid pace, can lead to restlessness, accidents, ill health, and the breakdown of the nervous system. It is more important than ever to slow ourselves down and take time out between the impulse and the

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