January 2012 Newsletter
by Tony Howard
Welcome to 2012. It sure feels like “full steam ahead” in my neck of the woods. If you’re feeling a forward whoosh of energy, you’re right on track, as we speed towards the earth trine of Mars in Virgo to the Sun in Capricorn on January 12. We’re just coming out of a Jupiter retrograde cycle (which ended in December 2011), in which you likely did some re-visioning of your big picture plans. You might be itching to put some of those plans into action. If there are projects that have been waiting in the wings, now is a great time to get them moving. The first part of this month is great for spending a little more time working, and less time playing. Take care of the details, get the structure in order, establish the foundation. Because just a couple of weeks later, it’s going to be time to put the brakes on.
The planet Mars relates to our personal will, our ability to take action and assert ourselves, and our sense of “I want.” Every two years, Mars has a retrograde cycle which lasts for about 2 1/2 months. But like Mercury retrograde, our experience of the cycle is actually a bit longer, encompassing the entire span of degrees which Mars will traipse back and forth over, emphasizing that sign and house in our chart.
This Mars in retrograde cycle had its humble beginnings in 3° Virgo on November 18, when Mars first passed the degree at which it will finally appear to move forward, at the end of its cycle. But you don’t need to understand the math to get the gist of the cycle. When Mars moves forward, we move forward. We think, “I want” and then we make that thing happen. Or we get frustrated because we can’t make that thing happen, and everyday human dramas unfold as a result. When Mars officially stations retrograde on January 23, 2012, it’s time to slow down and begin to re-think our course of action. Do we really want what we thought we wanted? Do we have the energy for the plans we’ve set in motion? And do we have the resources to accomplish them? Mars’ forward march is temporarily halted so that we can review all of this and more, and come out with all of our ducks in a row by the time it starts plowing ahead again on April 13, 2012.
Full Steam Ahead in the New Year
Just before every Mars retrograde, Mars forms a trine to the sun, which for this cycle occurs on January 12. So this year is starting with a bigger bang than usual. The Mars trine Sun energy feels great, active, inspired, and full of the heat of forward motion. Because this year it occurs in conjunction with the start of the new year, I predict we’ll feel a lot of drive to make our New Year’s resolutions happen. Maybe even more so than usual. But we’re also likely to bite off more than we can chew due to our enthusiasm, and around the 23rd when the retrograde begins, Mars will withdraw some of his gusto, leaving us wondering how we ever thought we could find the time to climb Mt. Everest. But don’t despair or toss your dreams aside just yet! There is a method to this madness.
The Mars retrograde cycle is crucial to successfully accomplishing future goals. Many of us take on more projects than we actually have the energy for. When Mars is direct, it’s excited to take action. But none of us has the all of the resources to accomplish everything we wish we could. We have to connect with those desires most dear to our hearts and let the other dreams go. We have to respect our own capacity to manifest what we want while respecting our limitations – not with sadness, but with maturity. The Mars retrograde cycle gives us a chance to do that. It gives us a little break from its usual rush of forward momentum so that we can re-organize our energy to best achieve our pursuits going forward. Think of it as an extended strategic planning session.
Mars, named for the god of war, relates to anger and aggression. We humans have a lot of work to do in this area. Many of us have a difficult time expressing anger, while some of us don’t know when to restrain ourselves. We lash out and harm each other. Or we harm ourselves by stuffing our frustrations instead of expressing them. We cross others’ boundaries in the mad pursuit of what we want. Or we let others cross ours because we don’t feel brave enough, strong enough, or safe enough to defend our turf. Get ready to explore some of this challenging terrain during the Mars retrograde cycle of 2012.
You might find yourself stewing over old irritations that come to the surface, triggered by events that occur. Watch for some of those to come to a head as Mars Opposes the Sun on March 3 at 13° Virgo. If you have planets near 13°, note this date. Be careful about blowing your top, but also be willing to express your needs, set boundaries, and let others know you’re angry without also harming them. Techniques like those Michael Faith teaches through his Mindful Dialog site will be extremely useful during this cycle.
This can be a time when things start to change or transform, but remain in a state of flux. Allow a full exploration of whatever comes up so that you can clear it as best as you can. That way, you’ll be ready when the time comes to move forward with even more of your energy reserves intact.
You may find that after the retrograde cycle begins, the dreams that you were so excited about during the Mars trine Sun cycle of January 12 may need some slight revisions. Those that are inauthentic, or that are really not “yours” will have to be let go of altogether. The Mars retrograde cycle will help you sort that out. Depending on your level of attachment, that sorting process may be quite stressful if you struggle to hold on to what you thought you wanted. But not all of you will have to end your plans or let go of them altogether. Some of you may have to delay your project a bit, or alter its tragectory, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ultimately move forward. And although it’s not a good time to start a new project after the Mars retrograde cycle begins on January 23, it’s fine to keep working on a project that’s already gotten off the ground.
When the Mars retrograde cycle is especially challenging, it can show you that your project didn’t have the resources it needed by disrupting the whole process. There can be conflict, fights, and disturbances that lead to endings. If that happens, know that those projects weren’t for you, and do some soul searching to see if your heart was even really connected to them in the first place. It may be that your alterior motives for investing your energy weren’t totally aligned with your best interests or your true desires.
Mars learns through conflict. If conflict arises, that doesn’t mean your project can’t ultimately move forward. In some extreme cases that’s true. But in those cases, the necessity of ending things will be readily apparent, or even out of your control. In many other circumstances, the conflict that arises will just be a catalyst for deeper thought on the subject. You may be offered a chance to process some repressed anger or emotion, or state previously unstated needs, or to set boundaries a little better than you initially did. In other words, this is a learning process. Consider yourself enrolled in Mars 101 for the next 6 months!
Full Steam Ahead
Mars stations direct on April 14. By then you will have a very clear picture of what this cycle was about for you. If you decide to wait the cycle out to launch something new, you might want to wait for the Sun trine Mars aspect of April 23, 2012 at 4° Virgo. Some astrologers advise to even wait a bit longer, until Mars has cleared the degree at which it slowed down. That date is June 19, when Mars passes 23° Virgo. At that point, Mars will fully settle into its next 2 year cycle of forward motion.
All the best to you as you work through this cycle.
This is an excerpt from the full article, Mars Retrograde in Virgo 2012 which appears on my website.
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