Astrology readings

Getting Wyrd: Mercury/Neptune Opposition

A rocky peak rises from a sea of fog in an Arizona Valley; image by NOAA.

A rocky peak rises from a sea of fog in an Arizona Valley; image by NOAA.

Mercury's opposition to Neptune is building in intensity, inviting the numinous into the daily flow. For Mercury in Virgo, Neptune's opposition can be a frustrating distraction to the current, earth sign synergy. Staying on track/task could be a challenge. But Neptune can open the mind to the domain of the irrational as well as magical.

The synchronistic flow of the past week continues through Mercury/Neptune, a poignant reminder that mystery and meaning imbue our daily narrative. Combined with Mercury's trine to Pluto this weekend, the remainder of the week offers up cutting-edge insight and altered perceptions. Be careful with all communicative transactions, as critical details can evade even the most astute.

Take a step back, and if in doubt, allow the next few days to pass before you can once again rely on clarity. By the weekend, Mercury's Pluto trine can re-empower prudence and reasonable control, giving the mind an acute focus. Mercury in Virgo's constructive powers will be at maximum strength by the start of next week, so use that as an incentive to wait out the fog.

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Mercury Direct & Jupiter Trine Neptune

Mercury direct.jpg

Alongside the first quarter Moon in tropical Scorpio, Mercury stations direct. While this is the end of Mercury's retrograde cycle, obstacles, setbacks, detours, miscommunications, and irritations gradually fade out and get resolved. Still, residual glitches and frustrations are likely the next several days. 

With Mars retrograde until Aug. 27, we don't get a clear and unhindered push until about mid-Sept. Of course, do what you usually do, but if you're considering a full-on barrage into some new terrain,  next month is far more ideal. But now that Mercury is direct in this waxing gibbous phase, we can regain our strength and willpower, and put the pieces back together. So stay focused, but still, take your time. 

Jupiter trine Neptune encourages a faithful adherence to our vision or spiritual practice. And this waxing Moon increases our engagement with any current process. Leaps of faith, however, require extra caution/consideration now. The Moon through Sagittarius over the weekend kicks up idealism and spontaneity. These Jupiter/Neptune vibes can arouse compassion and sensitivity, but can also tempt us into avoidance of duty. 

Jupiter's trine to Neptune is the final of three aspects since last Dec., but its correlations are prominent until Jupiter enters Sagittarius in early Nov. Under Jupiter/Neptune, there's a tendency to ignore the nitty-gritty reality of things and favor the bigger picture or how things could be. Idealism is helpful for creative innovation, but problematic when we apply it to situations requiring a sober assessment. 

Still, Jupiter/Neptune gives us increased access to a belief in ourselves or what we're currently doing. For empowering those who have lost their faith, this has been helpful. This weekend's peak energy allows for opening ourselves up or cultivating a holistic perspective of life in general. If you can remain skeptical and discerning, this Jupiter/Neptune trine can feel enjoyable and affirmative of a larger purpose. 

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Defying Boundaries: Mars Retrograde 2018

Base jumpers; photo by  Xof711

Base jumpers; photo by Xof711

This year, Mars turns stationary retrograde on June 26/27 (check time zones below). On this day, the red planet will stop moving, reverse direction, and appear to move backward for about two months. It'll pause again around Aug. 27/28, returning to its usual west-east path and ending its retrograde cycle. 

Mars retrograde happens every two years as it reaches its perihelic opposition to the Sun. When this happens, Mars is closer to the Earth and appears brighter in the night sky. In fact, when Mars is retrograde, it's visible throughout the entire night due to the Sun's opposition. 

This July and August, Mars will outshine Jupiter, making it the second brightest planet in the sky (except for the Sun and Moon, of course, which are considered planets in astrology). For skywatchers, this is an optimal year for viewing Mars, whether with naked eye or telescope. 

Mars will reach its closest approach to Earth on July 31, a few days after reaching maximum brightness at the exact opposition to the Sun on July 26/27. This year is the nearest approach Mars has made to Earth since 2003. Mars will be roughly 35 million miles away from us, compared to its average distance of 140 million miles (though still incomprehensibly far).

And before 2003, Mars hadn't been this close in nearly 60 thousand years. Will Mars' closeness to the Earth this year give us some extra juicy Mars drama? Perhaps. In looking at 2003, there were some interesting Mars-like events like record-breaking heat waves in Europe (causing 35,000 deaths that summer), historic wildfires in California and Germany, and the initial stages of the "War on Terror" via the Invasion of Iraq (which reached its 15 year anniversary earlier this year). 

Did I mention that Mars has a 15-year cycle? Mars will be retrograde in both Aquarius and Capricorn this year and turning stationary retrograde near the lunar South Node. The last time Mars turned retrograde in Aquarius was in 1971. Just days before its retrograde station that year, then U.S. President Richard Nixon certified the 26th Amendment, lowering the voting age to 18. 

Also, the Apollo 15 mission, the fourth manned mission to the Moon, literally goes to the Moon and back within this retrograde period. The 1971 Mars retrograde cycle was the first time the lunar rover drove on the Moon's surface. I want to point out that sending some guys in a rocket ship to the Moon to drive around in their new all-terrain vehicle is hugely Mars-like. Interestingly, the first manned-lunar mission occurred just 13 days after Mars stationed direct in 1969 (that time, at the first degree of adventure-seeking Sagittarius). 

Dave Scott on the rim of Hadley Rille at Station 10 during the Apollo 15 mission; photo by  NASA .

Dave Scott on the rim of Hadley Rille at Station 10 during the Apollo 15 mission; photo by NASA.

How Will Mars Retrograde Effect You? 

I don't believe that Mars' closeness to the Earth has any physical effect, which is to say that just because Mars is closer to us, doesn't mean that it's causing anything to happen. I view astrology as having a correlative or symbolic significance. So how will Mars retrograde correlate with changes in your life?

Unlike Mercury retrograde (which occurs quite frequently but isn't always significant for everyone, every time), Mars retrograde is rare, but its most notable impact likely happens when it stations retrograde or direct on prominent places in our horoscopes. 

You might read that Mars retrograde isn't a good time for starting a business, a new job, sexual relationship or otherwise living your life as you would typically do. We could probably find evidence to corroborate some of that, but honestly, I wouldn't stick to that view dogmatically. 

When Mars is retrograde, you can still have great sex and launch into new directions, but you need to be extra mindful of acting solely on impulse. When Mars is closer to the Earth during its perihelic opposition and retrograde cycle, the Mars archetype gets louder. If we imagine that Mars is the archetypal warrior and trailblazer, then those impulses within each of us get a bit magnified. 

Perhaps, you'll find yourself or others feeling extra lascivious. You might notice the rise of inner assertiveness or less tolerance for those who infringe on your boundaries. You might see some usually timid people feeling audacious, more willing to make bold moves. Controlling a temper could be a problem. 

And with Mars stationing near the lunar South Node around June 26, you might find yourself needing to release some unresolved anger, anxiety, aggression, or face some unresolved conflict or fear you couldn't deal with before. Mars dares us to live and defend our right to do so. 

Living doesn't stop just because Mars is retrograde, though because it appears to be moving backward, we might find ourselves reviewing or reconsidering how we're utilizing our inner Mars. During this time, we're collectively building up momentum and giving our actions, desires, and impulses extra thought and attention. 

Also, since Mars is opposing the Sun during its retrograde cycle, it's making a somewhat rebellious statement. Since the Sun is the ruler of the solar system, and Mars is in opposition and retrograde, Mars is less restrained by the Sun's rule and control. Thus, during Mars retrograde, we might find ourselves or others more likely to break the rules. This rebellious theme is especially pertinent this cycle because Mars will backtrack into a square aspect to Uranus.

Sometimes those rules were self-imposed or enforced on us by family, society, community, culture, or authority figures. When Mars is retrograde, we are tempted to break free of restraints or restrictions to forge new paths for ourselves with either positive or negative consequences. When Mars is retrograde, we're more prone to crossing new boundaries and thresholds which once contained us. 

If Mars stations or is retrograde near critical placements in your chart, especially if making difficult aspects, you might need to be extra cautious about pushing yourself too hard, trying to force something to action prematurely, or seriously watch your temper or immediate, automatic reactions (violence represents the negative extreme of Mars energy). 

While this Mars retrograde cycle might not be a good time to start an actual war, rebellion, or revolution (those instigating the fight aren't likely to succeed), its a good time to check in with how we've allowed others to control our actions. And observe how we have silenced ourselves or kept our inner warrior from getting what it wants and deserves. 
 
Mars retrograde, especially at the stations (June 26 and August 27), can limit or even slow down our momentum. While sometimes frustrating (or amplifying repressed or unacknowledged frustration), it gives us a chance to reconsider our current trajectory or gain more clarity about our ultimate target. If you find yourself losing steam or unable to act with confidence, utilize this retrograde period to regain your strength, courage, willpower, and passion so that you'll be ready to launch when the time is right for you. 

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True color image of Mars taken by the OSIRIS instrument on the ESA Rosetta spacecraft during its February 2007 flyby of the planet; photo by  European Space Agency & Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research for OSIRIS Team ESA/MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

True color image of Mars taken by the OSIRIS instrument on the ESA Rosetta spacecraft during its February 2007 flyby of the planet; photo by European Space Agency & Max-Planck Institute for Solar System Research for OSIRIS Team ESA/MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Mars Square Uranus, Mercury Retro, and Eclipse Season

Due to its retrograde cycle, Mars will square Uranus three times this year. It made its first square on May 16, one day after Uranus entered Taurus. The second, retrograde square occurs on Aug. 1, and the final square happens on Sept. 18. The most problematic square is likely to be in early Aug., with both Mars and Mercury in retrograde. 

Taking significant risks at that point without full consideration of the consequences, or lacking a very carefully laid out strategy could lead to problems. If you find yourself unable to move forward at this point with specific plans, intentions, or ambitions, step back and reassess. 

If you intend to move forward with some important matter in the first weeks of August, be prepared for unexpected changes, detours, delays, setbacks, or breakdowns and plan accordingly. The combination of Mars and Uranus is highly volatile and unpredictable.

On another level, however, this combination of planets in late July/early August gives us an opportunity to define and defend who we are on a deeper soul level. While you can expect considerable resistance from others, the tension inherent to this aspect can be helpful for strengthening a commitment to a unique path or destiny. 

Working at a higher level with Mars/Uranus will likely require upsetting other people for the sake of being true to ourselves, but ignoring our authenticity can be equally painful. With the Mars/Uranus square occurring alongside Mercury retrograde, don't resist the flow if you feel obstructed. Sometimes, the best thing to do is wait things out, at least until after Aug. 18/19. 

Also, consider that from July 12-Aug. 11 we'll be in a triple eclipse season, so this will be a profoundly transformational period for many of us. Both prominent retrogrades and eclipses often lead to significant changes of direction, focus, and perception. Consider that your current plans or intentions are likely to change in the coming months quite suddenly, so remain flexible.  

Johannes Kepler's depiction of the geocentric motions of Mars, from  Astronomia Nova  (1609).

Johannes Kepler's depiction of the geocentric motions of Mars, from Astronomia Nova (1609).

Mars stationary retrograde @ 09 degrees Aquarius

June 26, 2018

2:05 PM Los Angeles

5:05 PM New York

10:05 PM London

June 27, 2018

1:05 AM Dubai

5:05 AM Beijing

7:05 AM Sydney

9:05 AM Auckland

Mars stationary direct @ 29 degrees Capricorn 

August 27, 2018

7:05 AM Los Angeles

10:05 AM New York

3:05 PM London

6:05 PM Dubai

10:05 PM Beijing

August 28, 2018

12:05 AM Sydney

2:05 AM Auckland

Life feels overwhelming when faced with things outside of your control. Understanding yourself is key to finding your power and place in the world. While you can't control fate or the chaos of life, your destiny belongs to you, something you can always strive for to gain command of your life path

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Reaching the Mars Zone: Sun/Mars Conjunction 2017

Dan Steele on an Eastern Illinois University Relay team, via Wikimedia Commons.

Dan Steele on an Eastern Illinois University Relay team, via Wikimedia Commons.

We're reaching a conjunction of Sun and Mars (exact July 26). If you looked down at the solar system while hovering above it from space, you would see a direct alignment of Earth, Sun, and Mars. The last conjunction, when Mars was on the far side of the Sun (where we can’t see it), was June 14, 2015 (this will be important to consider, so bear with me here). The last opposition (when Mars was behind the Earth opposing the Sun), was last year during Mars’ retrograde cycle on May 22, 2016. Thus, a Sun/Mars conjunction or opposition alternates roughly each year. You don’t need to understand the technical details, but check out the images below for a visual. The main point is that the last conjunction was in June of 2015, so what’s shifting now relates to what began or shifted at that time.

        The Sun/Mars conjunction July 26, 2017 as seen                 from a heliocentric (Sun centered) perspective

        The Sun/Mars conjunction July 26, 2017 as seen                 from a heliocentric (Sun centered) perspective

The Sun/Mars retrograde opposition May 22, 2016 as viewed from a heliocentric (Sun centered) perspective

The Sun/Mars retrograde opposition May 22, 2016 as viewed from a heliocentric (Sun centered) perspective

Mars is the archetypal warrior of the solar system. It relates to our need and desire to actively get what we want from life (claim what we desire), to defend ourselves, and take up some space in the world. This Earth/Mars synodic cycle (the technical term for the Sun/Mars/Earth alignments), relates to shifting themes connected to the archetypal nature of Mars. Look to the house or place that holds 4 degrees of tropical Leo for insight into the next two year cycle. Mars has many faces, and they shift alongside these conjunctions/oppositions.

While you may not realize it, you go through a roughly two year cycle craving or pursuing a particular theme which takes up much of your physical and psychic energy. That particular craving will be shifting again, and you'll be in pursuit of something else entirely which you can actualize over the next two years. I feel that the emergence of these cravings/desires are more closely related to the conjunctions, because Mars is symbolically engulfed by the Sun (it literally disappears behind it) and is renewed, thus Mars receives a new mission to actualize in the world.

The conjunctions of Sun and Mars deal with the emergence or start and activation of new paths. The oppositions relate to critical turning points in which we change the direction or flow of these actualizing impulses (because Mars is retrograde at these times). From the evolutionary astrological perspective, it is believed that Mars is a lower octave of Pluto. While Pluto is a symbolic reference for the desires existing within the soul, Mars is the means through which they’re carried through and actualized in the physical world. Thus, these conjunctions are significant markers in time and space for which we can better understand and work with to initiate (during the conjunction) or revise and redirect (during the retrograde opposition) desires of a metaphysical origin.

If we entertain the hypothetical suggestion that Mars somehow relates to the actualization of the soul’s pre-existing desires, then these cycles help us burn off our karma, or maybe even acquire more of it. So, we must bring more consciousness to this process to direct these energies to our evolutionary advantage. Check in with yourself (or your chart) to see what the next chapter holds and where much energy and passion will be directed. You're probably feeling it now with a change in the flow of your vitality and life force. On a purely collective level, this conjunction is heating up our drive, enthusiasm, and passion, or even revealing pent up frustration or anger. This may be a time to check in with yourself to see what's in the way of you attaining what you want or taking up some space in the world.

While the psychologist Sigmund Freud was probably off with many of his ideas, he did suggest that depression results from internalized anger and rage (but perhaps excluding clinical forms). I think that’s deeply insightful. To elaborate, if we repress our creativity, passion, and even sexual desires, then such feelings turn destructive and debilitating within the psyche. Also, if we favor one desire over another, then we tend to experience a polarization and the repressed desire manifests more strongly (even taking over our willpower for a period of time). If you're feeling moody, irritable, angry, frustrated, or depressed around this conjunction (unless of course you have obvious reasons to be), it's likely due to a blocked Eros, an inability to express your willpower or sexual and creative drive. You may want to get proactive now about ways you can direct this energy toward healthy and productive outlets.

Following a powerful New Moon with an applying conjunction to Mars (which occurred on July 23), this Sun/Mars conjunction is a significant starting point, and it’s been building up for some time. Mars has been in very close proximity to the Sun since mid-June of 2017, and so you’ve been feeling this transition ripple since then. This exact conjunction on July 26 may not manifest as a significant event, but so often the days surrounding the conjunction are accompanied by new beginnings of different flavors.

Whether you experience this energy positively or negatively has largely to do, hypothetically speaking, with how aligned you are with your soul’s true desires. Are you actively engaged with your life force, creativity, and passion? Are you listening to Eros? If not, then this can be a good time to connect with that reality, and begin taking those steps toward making changes that can better align you with what you’ve come here to do. If you are, then ride this wave confidently toward the actualization of what you really want. As we’re in the midst of eclipse season for the next month, expect to be on an accelerated path for change and personal transformation.

Upcoming Earth/Mars Synodic Periods

July 27, 2018 opposition @ 04 Aquarius

September 2, 2019 conjunction @ 09 Virgo

October 13, 2010 opposition @ 21 Aries

October 07, 2021 conjunction @ 15 Libra

December 07, 2022 opposition @ 16 Gemini

November 17, 2023 conjunction @ 25 Scorpio

January 15, 2025 opposition @ 26 Cancer

Life feels overwhelming when faced with things outside of your control. Understanding yourself is key to finding your power and place in the world. While you can't control fate or the chaos of life, your destiny belongs to you, something you can always strive for to gain command of your life path. Evolutionary Astrology can help. Click here for personal readings. 

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A Steady Gaze: Full Moon in Sagittarius 2017

 A swing high above Saturn by NASA's Cassini spacecraft; photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Cornell, via Wikimedia Commons

 A swing high above Saturn by NASA's Cassini spacecraft; photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Cornell, via Wikimedia Commons

Full Moon @ 18 degrees Sagittarius 23'

June 9, 2017

6:10 AM Pacific

9:10 AM Eastern

This month, the Full Moon culminates in the tropical sign of Sagittarius conjunct Saturn. It brings to a head the consequences of several choices recently made and an awareness of the reality of certain limitations we’re currently dealing with. In Sagittarius and forming a t-square with the Sun in Gemini and Neptune in Pisces, this lunation may also bring about a critical testing of our beliefs, ideologies, and faith in the universe/God/Goddess/higher power. With this potent Saturnian energy, the Full Moon also correlates with the manifestation of situations which require the solidification of commitments. 
 
This weighty Full Moon has a quality of seriousness with a focus on a specific mission, goal, or purpose. The Sun in Gemini creates some tension because there is an equally powerful desire for variety and a tendency toward distraction which can leave us running in circles, unable to tend to our responsibilities and more important priorities. Saturn in Sagittarius suggests narrowing our focus and sacrificing anything superfluous to avoid getting lost in uncertainty, confusion, and vagueness of purpose. In fact, this Full Moon is helping us to more clearly define or accept our purpose, whatever that may be.
 
In the days leading up to the Full Moon, look around for environmental cues that could be helpful in making more conscious choices and decisions. If you’ve been working hard toward some end goal, this Full Moon could help to bring about the rewards of your labor. But don’t expect any opportunities which manifest to be easy pursuits. Whatever shows up alongside this lunation is going to require time, energy, discipline, and hard work to reach success. Full Moon’s often coincide with an influx of excess energy, though some of us may respond to this particular lunation with feelings of depression, hopelessness and futility. 
 

This is because Saturn is always forcing us to face our limitations and employ reality testing to keep our ideals in check with what’s actually possible. If you find yourself feeling frustrated or sad, check in with yourself and take a sober look at what you’re dedicating the majority of your time and energy toward. We all need a purpose and some sense that we’re guided by a higher power; this is simply human nature. This lunation could be a powerful wake up call for some to rediscover their connection to a higher source and to connect with a divinely guided plan for their life. 
 
And remember, whatever you’re feeling is only transient in the moment. It will pass in the following days. Take whatever awareness or realization you acquire with this Full Moon and use it to guide you out of the fog of uncertainty and existential angst. Reflect deeply upon any potential commitments you’re considering at the moment. This powerful Full Moon is helping to provide us with a much needed perspective to take us to higher ground in our personal and professional lives. Most of all, pay close attention to your feelings and emotional center. It will have a lot to tell you about your current life direction. As always, have faith and trust the flow.

Love and Blessings,

Chad Woodward

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