On March 28, Venus makes a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius, finally ending several weeks of enclosure between Mars and Saturn, and also initiating a new Venus/Saturn cycle. At the same time, Venus and Saturn are also both conjunct the asteroid Juno within less than 1º. Venus and Saturn together can push us to examine our commitments to love and those we love. They can also ask us to face our fears around love and longevity, desire and distance, connection and constraint. There is also a kind of freedom that comes with this conjunction as Venus is no longer held between Saturn and Mars, inviting us to assess what commitments will allow us to be most free.
With Juno also in this conjunction, the topics of commitment, compromise, and fidelity get further emphasized. Juno is the Roman goddess of the feminine, marriage and commitment, the counterpart to Jupiter and protector of the community and the state. Hera—the Greek goddess with whom Juno is syncretized—is often depicted in myths as the jealous and long-suffering wife of Zeus, who time and again entangles himself in adultery and infidelity. Venus was last conjunct Juno on January 7, 2022, while Venus was retrograde in Capricorn before its first conjunction with Mars on February 16, and so this second conjunction with Juno could be following up on stories that were started the first week of January.
This triple conjunction between Juno, Venus, and Saturn may ask that we return to the compromises and commitments we’ve made, acknowledge where our boundaries and agreements have been violated, and take responsibility for the ways we have participated in the crossing of our own boundaries as we bring one cycle to a close and begin another. This may require renegotiating our agreements with loved ones, repairing injury and reasserting our boundaries, or finally separating from situations in which we have been stuck in dissatisfaction, jealousy, or bitterness. For all of us, this could be a time for recommitting to our own love and desires, initiating a new cycle in which we choose to prioritize that which brings us into more enduring relations of connection and care.
[Image read: 28 March 2022: Venus conjunct Saturn + Juno in light lettering on a dark green starfield]
Today Mars in Aquarius is making a square with Uranus in Taurus. Mars making an overcoming square with Uranus can be like setting the charge to a landmine or a match thrown into explosive materials, but even if events aligning with this square are sudden or unexpected, they are also likely part of a longer story. Mars was last conjunct Uranus in Taurus on January 20, 2021, in the midst of the ongoing Saturn/Uranus squares. That conjunction was the start of this Mars/Uranus cycle within which we are now in the closing square, a cycle of disruption, destabilization, charging off into new directions, and innovating new ways of addressing topics like anger, conflict, harm, and violence. Now in Aquarius, Mars compels us to commit to ideologies and social systems that can take the lessons of the last 14 months and use them to devise blueprints for the worlds we are making together. When we look at the headlines from January 20, 2021: Biden and Harris were sworn into office; U.S. COVID death toll rose beyond 400,000 (we are now around 972,000); charges were filed against extremist militants involved in the January 6 insurrection at the capitol; 155+ people were killed and 50,000 displaced in Sudan’s West Darfur as U.N. troops withdrew from the region; ICE was separating families from one another as asylum seekers in Mexico appealed to the Biden administration to adopt humane immigration policies. With this square between Mars and Uranus, we might see developments or decisions related to these kinds of world stories.
You might also think back to your personal headlines from January 2021: where were you feeling the push or impulse toward radical changes? Where were impelled into personal revolutions? How was conflict or anger teaching you about patterns in your life that could no longer remain the same? And how have you witnessed the development of those stories over the last 14 months?
This kind of aspect can be disruptive, agitating, and perhaps even overwhelming, so take some time to slow down, reflect, and ground throughout today and the rest of this week.
[Image read: 22 March 2022: Mars square Uranus in light lettering on a dark red starfield]
On March 19, Venus in Aquarius will make a square with Uranus in Taurus, both at 12º. This is the closing square of this Venus/Uranus cycle which began on April 22, 2021. At the time of that conjunction, something was initiated, perhaps related to revolutionary acts of pleasure and embodiment, breaking from established conditioning in order to move deeper into your own felt experiences of desire and satisfaction. This was in the midst of Uranus and Saturn’s ongoing squares, a time when we were asking what happens when insistently revolutionary change collides with unwavering and potentially limiting beliefs about the world as it is or as it can be?
Now as Venus forms this square with Uranus on March 19, we are entering the final quarter of this cycle, bringing the lessons that began in the felt sense of the body into articulated ideologies, translating the somatic into the systemic. Venus has been in a potentially stressful condition enclosed between Mars and Saturn since March 6, which can feel like being cut off from others, isolated between a rock and a hard place. But at the time of Venus’ exact square with Uranus, the Moon in Venus’ second domicile intervenes, breaking up the enclosure temporarily by making an aspect between Venus and Saturn. It is almost as if the Moon’s intervention offers us the breathing room and perhaps meaningful connections with others to recall all that we have learned over the past 11 months.
How have you dared to follow where your desires have led? How have you shared experiences of sensuous pleasure that have pushed you toward greater authenticity and freedom? What have those experiences taught you that you can now implement into more sustainable structures for moving into more livable futures? Venus will still be more or less enclosed by Mars and Saturn until March 28, except for the days when the Moon intervenes. But in the midst of whatever might feel challenging during this period, a larger story of revolutionary change is advancing as well.
[Image read: 19 March 2022: Venus square Uranus in light lettering on a dark teal starfield]
As war escalates in many places around the world, I’m thinking about Mars. War, violence, and anger are some of the oldest significations of Mars in astrology, in sources such as Teucer of Babylon, Vettius Valens, and Ptolemy, forward to Abu Ma’Shar and William Lilly, and even into 20th and 21st century sources. How am I to make sense of this within a framework of feminist astrology?
If Mars speaks of war, anger, and violence, then it requires us to question our socialization toward war, anger, and violence, the ways we have been conditioned to think of war as a legitimate form of engaging with conflict capable of producing outcomes that are legitimate because they were accomplished through violence. The ways in which anger is so often discouraged or suppressed, especially for folks who are socialized as girls and women, or projected as a deficiency onto those who carry incendiary rage after centuries of injustice, like the stereotype of the “angry Black woman.” Or the ways that anger is often times the only emotional expression acceptable from people socialized as boys and men, to the detriment of their emotional wellbeing and their connection to themselves and others. Mars in someone’s chart can provide us with important information about how that person might deal with conflict, how they may internalize or externalize frustration, whether their temper might be fiery or subdued, intellectualized or practical. But a feminist astrology would never allow someone’s Mars placement—or Mars transit or Mars progression—to function as an excuse or endorsement for someone’s violence, for their mishandling of anger or conflict. Rather, it can provide us with a sense of where and how to concentrate their own efforts toward generative conflict and channeling their anger in alignment with their values.
If someone’s Mars placement or Mars’ influence in dynamic timing techniques coincides with experiences of violence, that is a tragedy, but I refuse to accept that it was necessary that the archetype of Mars find expression in those ways. Rather, we must understand that violence is never an isolated event. As Miriame Kaba once said on How to Survive the End of the World, citing Danielle Sered, “No one enters violence for the first time by committing it … If that’s true, then all this shit that we talk about—these binaries about victims and perpetrators—that explodes it all." She expounds on this idea in an interview with Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha in Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement: “It is absolutely true that people who harm people were also harmed. I know people sometimes don’t want to hear that. I know that makes people mad, people feel like that’s an excuse, whatever. But I, with every fiber of my being, the both/and harm and survivorship really sits with me all the time. Cause there’s not one person I’ve worked with who harmed other people that was not also deeply and profoundly harmed themselves in some other context. So, it just makes me much more patient, it makes me much more empathetic, and it just gives me the real understanding that we have to live with the complexity of how harm plays itself out in ourselves, in our community, and in our world” (298). If no one enters violence for the first time by committing it, if every person who causes harm was also harmed, then we must understand every event of violence as an expression of a cascade of violence. This does not eliminate individual responsibility and the need for consequences, but it does suggest that the consequences for violence and harm must include healing for the person who inflicted violence or harm in order to end such cycles.
Bringing this back to astrology, Mars can indeed describe experiences of violence and eruptions of war, but only within social conditions that permit such expressions because we have not adequately done the work of personal and collective healing. And we are still living within such systemic conditions. What if rather than accepting Mars as descriptive of violence as an inevitable outcome, we instead choose to interpret Mars as descriptive of where and how harm must be addressed, where and how anger must be felt, where and how conflict can no longer be avoided? What if a feminist astrology insists on interpreting Mars as descriptive of where we must exercise our most fervent commitments to nonviolence, to refusing abuse and war? I believe this has potential for mundane astrology as well as natal astrology, and perhaps for astrological magic as well.
None of this is to naïvely suggest that simply by interpreting Mars different, we will avoid violence and war. Rather, it is to suggest that the archetypal powers of Mars are capable of more than the proliferation of endless war and senseless violence on this planet, and when we dare to articulate those other possibilities, we do indeed contribute to movements that carry us away from those narrow possibilities. Indeed, even under the conditions of wars that are already underway, how might the interpretation of Mars as a place where we must exercise our most fervent commitments to nonviolence generate more possibilities for how we might navigate war astrologically?
There is so much more to consider here. I feel drawn to return to Judith Butler’s Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable and The Force of Nonviolence: An Ethico-Political Bind as resources within which to think more deeply about feminist analyses of war in relation to Mars. I want to return to Audre Lorde's essay, "The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism" for the ways that it so clear articulates how we might work well with anger. But these were my initial thoughts I wanted to share, part of a larger ongoing project for thinking critically about feminist astrology.
On March 5, the Sun will make a conjunction with Jupiter at 14º Pisces, a condition in which Jupiter is said to be in the heart of the Sun or cazimi. This is really lovely because it marks the start of a new solar cycle for Jupiter, a moment of purifying and clarifying the purpose of our hopes, dreams, and aspirations, perhaps even some kind of revelation or realization related to our faith and what we believe about the nature of freedom. This conjunction also happens in Jupiter’s own bounds, which adds even more affirmation to what Jupiter will be able to accomplish this cycle as it becomes a morning star.
For this whole month, Jupiter is technically not visible due to its proximity to the Sun, what ancient astrologers called being “under the beams of the Sun.” When a planet is hidden under the beams, it is often working behind the scenes, in the background, out of the public eye in some sense. This can also be a condition of depletion, a planet scorched by its proximity to the Sun, but because Jupiter is in its domicile, it is said to be in its own chariot, protected from the Sun’s rays—like an oasis in the desert, where it has all the resources it needs in order to provide itself with shelter, hydration, shade and relief. It doesn’t change the blazing, scorching heat that close to the Sun, but it has the resources with which to mitigate that condition.
All of that said, Jupiter making this conjunction with the Sun is like two royals having a meeting or congress with one another, extending favor to one another, and marking the start of a new journey as Jupiter will then appear as a morning star in a few weeks (around March 25). Jupiter is being renewed and refreshed during this conjunction on March 5, which has the potential to be really excellent for the Pisces and Sagittarius parts of our charts that Jupiter rules. Something is getting reborn at the close of one cycle and the start of another. How can you make yourself more available for this renewal?
[Image read: 5 March 2022: Jupiter in the heart of the Sun in light lettering on a dark teal starfield]
On March 3, both Mars and Venus will make conjunctions with Pluto at 27º Capricorn, with the asteroid Vesta less than 1º away. As they each conjoin Pluto, the push-and-pull, together-but-separate dynamic that has been unfolding between Venus and Mars since their conjunction on February 16 could get intensified or magnified in some way. It could also be a time when we must confront the power dynamics operating within those kinds of entanglements, the potentially toxic or even abusive ways in which desire can be exploited or manipulated. Where are you disempowered, undermined, or even harmed by following the thrall of relationships that fueled by compulsion rather than care? Transformation and even healing are possible, but only if we are willing face the shadows and bring light into our own underworlds. With Vesta close at hand, this could be a reclamation of your own sexual agency and power, erotic healing that comes from committing to sacred forms of sexuality in which you honor the abiding flame of your inherent worth—even if doing so requires refusing the machinations of others.
This could be a time for going deep into the conflicts in our relationships, knowing that moving toward conflict rather than avoiding it is a bid for greater intimacy. It requires courage and vulnerability to be truthful in your needs and desires, to listen and respect the needs and desires of others, to acknowledge and explore how those trajectories diverge as well as finding where and how they might align. I often think of a quote Kazu Haga shared on the Finding Our Way Podcast with Prentis Hemphill: “Conflict is the spirit of the relationship asking itself to deepen.” As Mars and Venus conjoin Pluto, what are the depths of relating to which conflict is calling you?
[Image read: 3 March 2022: Mars and Venus conjunct Pluto in light lettering on a dark starfield]