There’s a New Moon in Aquarius this Monday, 23rd January at 7.39am GMT.
Aquarius, the sign of the Water-Carrier, is in fact an Air sign, the sign of the inspired intellect, of knowledge from the Gods, of being struck by that ‘thunderbolt’ moment of knowledge, Eureka! Aquarius is inventive and wilful. Often associated with genius, it’s also a ‘fixed’ sign, suggesting stability and sticking to your guns. This occurs in the realm of ideas: the Aquarian will make up their own mind and go their own way regardless of others, they’ll ‘think outside the box’ and they may often be ‘ahead of their time’ – the sign is very future-oriented.There is an association here too with scientific objectivity. Aquarius is linked to any new or futuristic technology, and also with the Internet as a modern tool which brings people together and gives them freedom (very Aquarian) to communicate (air sign). Humanitarian issues are often a concern for this group-oriented sign. The cause of the collective is more important here than the individual, great ideas and inventiveness are for the benefit of society as a whole. Aquarius sees everyone as equal. It believes in equality.
With a New Moon in this sign, there is a seeding of the Idea, and this New Moon is in a harmonious and creative aspect to the planet Uranus (the modern ruler of Aquarius), emphasising the energy still further. This is a great time to start a new group or project, particularly anything future-oriented, original, new, technological or inventive, or something that serves the collective rather than the individual.
There is, however, a slight ‘push-pull’ tone to this New Moon, since Jupiter and Saturn, both form challenging ‘square’ aspects to it. This can be useful though - creating a dynamic tension which makes us ‘need’ to take action. Jupiter may want to run with the great project or idea and expand on it exuberantly and optimistically, although it could be thinking of the practical and financial aspects (in Taurus), which might not quite fit with Aquarius’s airy ideals. Cautious Saturn could perhaps put blocks in the way, create delays, or simply say ‘Hold on, make sure all the practical details are in place. Be slow and thorough. Are the foundations right? Do this by the rules!’ Saturn (in Libra) may also be asking “How will this affect others, is it fair?” The slower Saturn energy is further emphasised by the fact that Mars (planet of action) grinds to a halt in an earth sign 16 hours later!
Mars is our action planet, it’s what gets us up in the morning, gets us moving, makes us DO, and Go, go, go! Mars ‘stations’ and turns ‘retrograde’ at 23° Virgo within a day of the New Moon – at about one o’clock in the morning (GMT) that night (24 Jan). The red planet will appear to stand still in the sky and then turn (slooooowwwwwly) and backtrack along its former path. This ‘retrograde’ motion happens with Mars once every two years and two months. I was born when Mars was retrograde (it was in Libra at the time) so it’s of special interest to me.
Virgo likes to organise, to be busy, to put things in order. It likes to be of service, to do something useful, to attend to the minutiae of everyday life. Separating the wheat from the chaff. It can be nit-picking. I read it somewhere described as ‘the flour sifter’ - I like that image. Virgo is discriminating. There’s a lot about perfecting. Perfecting skills in particular. Virgo likes to be a specialist.
But Mars doesn't really like all that detail, so it gets a bit frustrated in this sign - it wants to charge ahead as fast as possible and not stop for the small things (represented by Virgo). But stopping is what it’s doing right now. There’s a real condensation of our ‘Go!’ energy, and it will take time for Mars to get moving again, and then it will be backwards. Many of you may well have been feeling that ‘slowing’ energy, as things take longer to get done, or to get moving. I’ve certainly been feeling a bit like I’m wading through treacle, especially the last few days, while at the same time not sleeping properly. And I’ve had a niggling headache in the background (Mars rules the head). If you have planets aspecting the position of Mars, especially in Virgo, Pisces, Gemini or Sagittarius, it might be rubbing you up the wrong way right now.
So what can we do with this slowed down Mars in Virgo energy?
When Mars retrogrades we might learn about our own ways of dealing with what motivates us, our self-assertion, our anger, frustration, aggression. The latter being when that healthy Mars action energy gets blocked somehow. ‘Retrograde’, it’s going back over old ground. Old issues which have made us angry or frustrated in the past could come up again, perhaps, still needing resolution.
I suggested to a friend last week (she’s moving house soon) that she put things in the boxes… Virgo likes to put things in boxes! My friend also has a Virgo Moon, so she needs (Moon rules what we ‘need’, what makes us comfortable) to do that anyway. Tidying the house, organising, or dotting 'i's and crossing 't's - it's all about the detail.
In Virgo we might look again at how we do things on a practical level (Virgo is an earth sign), how we deal with our day-to-day routines, our diet, our work, and our health and exercise. Exercise particularly could be a good plan while Mars is retrograde here – it might help somewhat to offset any frustrations which come to the fore in these areas.
Erin Sullivan* says of retrogrades: “Having a retrograde planet requires securing a certain amount of objectivity about the impact that one makes on one’s environment – upon other people and in one’s own sphere of activity. When a planet is retrograde, that objectivity is often lost, symbolically obscured by the Sun’s power.” And she goes on to describe the expression of that planet as “uncertain or awkward… until a degree of maturity and confidence is attained.”
If we don’t express our Mars, assert ourselves in a ‘healthy’ way, we could end up unconsciously ‘sending’ that energy outside ourselves so that we stir up opposition or frustrations in other people. Alternatively we could push down our anger or assertiveness, or becoming more subconscious of it, which could mean it comes out in health issues, or it could drain our energy and create depression.
How can you take action in a practical sense and pay attention to the detail without becoming frustrated? This might be a time to RE-DO things, perhaps, that weren’t done properly before.
Virgo is great with analysis. We could look at our day-to-day systems (Virgo has a lot to do with ‘systems’) and routines and adjust them to make them work better for us. How are we doing this? Is it working? Or if we don’t have a system, it might be time to sort one out! While Mars is slowed right down just at the moment, this might not feel very comfortable, there could still be that background sense of urgency, but if we deal with the ‘small things’ now, it could help us a lot in the future.
This ‘station’ of Mars, when it stands still around 1am on the 24th January, is a peak day, and a powerful time of focus in the cycle, as is the 3rd of March, when Mars, in its ‘backward’ motion, comes opposite the Sun, creating a point of tension, which might often bring up something important. Then the next date of note for Mars is 14th April, when it stations again and turns direct around 4 in the morning (GMT) at 3°41' Virgo. Then it has to gain speed again until eventually on the 20th June it finally regains its ground and reaches 23° Virgo again!
The area of your birth chart (‘house’) through which Mars is moving right now will tell you more about how this energy will affect you personally, and this will be much more prominent if you have a natal planet at or near 23° Virgo, Pisces, Gemini or Sagittarius**, or . Normally Mars spends just over 2 months in a sign, but because of this retrograde motion it will not leave Virgo until 4th July this year. That’s a long period of focus in that area. For example, with this activity in my 3rd house of learning, communication, writing, speaking and the mind, I’m attempting to remember to breathe, slow down and accept what comes rather than getting too scattered mentally.
Don’t beat yourself up too much if you don’t get things DONE (Mars) as quickly as you’d like – Virgo is apt to be over-critical at times too, in its search for perfection, and in this Mars retrograde period we perhaps need to give ourselves time to turn inward more to attempt to be more conscious of our own form of self-assertion, internal drive and motivating force. Mars is the ‘warrior’ planet – in what way do we fight or compete with ourselves internally as well as with other people, our situation, or our environment?
*For more information on retrogrades, read Erin Sullivan’s great book “Retrograde Planets”.
**Contact me with your chart details for a free chart wheel if you want to check this – I’d need time, date and place of birth as accurately as possible. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook