Mars Retrograde in Gemini
Mars stations retrograde on October 30 and will be retrograde until January 12. This retrograde cycle is at the heart of Mars’ extended journey through the sign of Gemini from August 20, 2022-March 25, 2023. As Mars moves retrograde, we may need to revisit and reconsider points of contention or conflict, both in our own thinking as well as in our conversations or connections with others.
Black feminist activist and scholar Angela Davis—who has Mars in Gemini in her natal chart—writes in an essay entitled “Difficult Dialogues”:
“We fight the same battles over and over again. They are never won for eternity, but in the process of struggling together, in community, we learn how to glimpse new possibilities that otherwise never would have become apparent to us, and in the process we expand and enlarge our very notion of freedom.”
This feels like valuable wisdom to bring into this Mars retrograde cycle in Gemini: the battles in which we are engaged are never won for eternity. We fight them again and again, and in doing so, as we engage in these struggles with one another, we learn how to glimpse new possibilities that we would perhaps never have known if we had avoided the conflict or turned away from the fight.
If during this period of the year you find yourself revisiting and rehashing conflict—particularly around the topics of the house that Gemini occupies in your chart—consider that rather than struggling to win or to be right, a possible goal for engaging in such conflict can be to come to recognize what we could not recognize in any other way. What are you learning about yourself, one another, the situation, or the world in which we live because of this clash of perspectives? What is becoming more possible because of revisiting and reviewing this conflict again and again? And how might these lessons expand or enlarge your very notion of what it means to be free?
On October 25, there will be a Solar Eclipse at 2º Scorpio.
Eclipses bring the kind of change that comes from an interruption of expected patterns, sometimes interruptions that come from witnessing the shadow of something we have not previously been ready or able to see. Every solar eclipse is part of a Saros Series, a family of eclipses that gradually spiral from one pole of the planet to the another over the course of hundreds of years. This eclipse is part of Saros Series 6 South, which began on March 6, 1049. At the origin of the series to which this eclipse belongs, the Sun and Moon were conjunct Venus in Pisces—where Venus is exalted—suggesting that eclipses in this series may bring some kind of dramatic new developments or disruptions related to love, desire, pleasure, or artistic pursuits. At the same time, Mars in Leo was opposing Pluto in Aquarius, which can describe conflict or struggles with power or those in authority, challenging the misuses or abuses of power that we are witnessing.
At the time of this eclipse on October 25, the Sun and Moon will once again be conjunct Venus, now in Scorpio where Venus is in detriment. This concentrates the Venusian themes of love and relationships, perhaps coming to major turning points once we acknowledge ways we feel under-resourced or deficient in our loving connections, perhaps requiring going deep into areas that might feel uncomfortable or difficult to face. There may be challenging power dynamics that we have to confront in order to truly love in the ways that we need. This eclipse is likely to be most personal for folks who have visible planets at 2º Scorpio, and we may also see events related to these themes reverberating throughout public life.
Altogether, I am reminded of several quotes from bell hooks:
“Trust is the foundation of intimacy. When lies erode trust, genuine connection cannot take place.”
“To be loving we willingly hear each other’s truth and, most important, we affirm the value of truth telling. Lies may make people feel better, but they do not help them to know love.”
“Love can never take root in a relationship based on domination and coercion … there can be no love when there is domination.”
Whether you experience this eclipse in a deeply personal way or not, I hope it reminds all of us to examine how we are loving—affirming truth and trust, refusing domination and coercion, in all of our relationships.
The Sun ingresses into Libra at 9:03pm eastern on Thursday, September 22, marking the equinox and the start of autumn in the northern hemisphere. It is a time when the hours of day and night are equal in length, as the Sun crosses the celestial equator. Libra is described as the sign of the Sun’s fall or depression, in part because as it moves through this sign, its light and power diminish. Libra is also a sign concerned with cooperation, collaboration, and holding the needs of others together in balance and harmony, whereas the Sun is a singular, centralizing force around which all others orbit. In Libra, the Sun is challenged with distributing attention away from the one and toward others, building relations rather than blazing ahead alone.
This year as the Sun enters Libra, it moves immediately into a conjunction with Mercury, still in its retrograde cycle. Their conjunction will be exact on September 23, a condition known as cazimi when Mercury is in the heart of the Sun. The equinox is likely to bring some fresh flash of clarity or understanding amidst weeks when communication and the transmission of ideas have a tendency to go awry.
At the Sun’s ingress, its ruler Venus is in the sign of its fall as well, in Virgo, in aversion to the Sun and applying to an opposition with Neptune which goes exact on September 24. Venus opposing Neptune can be a time when our relational boundaries feel blurry or eroded, when the practical details of how to love well may be drowned out by projections and unachievable ideals. As we start this new season focused on cooperation, collaboration, and building relations with others, remember that boundaries support our capacity to love and that love is more than a feeling or a fantasy. bell hooks writes, “Love is an action, a participatory emotion. Whether we are engaged in a process of self-love or of loving others we must move beyond the realm of feeling to actualize love. This is why it is useful to see love as a practice. When we act, we need not feel inadequate or powerless; we can trust that there are concrete steps to take on love’s path.”
On September 9, Mercury stations retrograde for the third time in 2022. The retrograde station is at 8º Libra, and Mercury will move back to 24º Virgo where it will station direct on October 2.
There is a theme across the majority of Mercury’s retrogrades this year, starting in an air sign, then stationing direct in an earth sign—a pattern that could invite us to consider the tangible, material implications of our thoughts and ideas, grounding our perspectives in the material conditions of our lives. When Mercury stations retrograde in Libra, it is opposing Jupiter in Aries, trine Mars in Gemini, and exchanging signs with Venus in Virgo. Mercury in Libra can describe connecting with collaborators, being in conversation with co-conspirators, and finding ways to translate across our differences to find ways of moving forward that take many voices and needs into consideration. With the opposition to Jupiter in Aries, we may find the task of collective action overwhelming in some way or struggle to make connections between the small scale and the larger scale. The trine with Mars in Gemini could indicate that it is through struggling with our fundamental interdependence and wrestling to find the words with which to meet one another that we might finally come together. With Mercury and Venus exchanging signs in aversion to one another—unable to witness each other—a theme of this retrograde could be asking whose voices are left out because they seem to share nothing in common with us? The retrograde is a time of reflection, review, and re-evaluation, returning to terrain we’ve already covered to discover a different way forward.
Mercury and Venus will meet up in Virgo on September 26, finally having found common ground. Then when Mercury stations direct on October 2, it will be time to make the most efficient use of our available materials to put our plans into action. When Mercury returns to 8º Libra and clears its retrograde shadow on October 17, it will once again be co-present Venus, suggesting that it is possible to reach some kind of alignment with those who may have seemed entirely incongruous at the start.
[Image reads: 9 September 2022 Mercury stations retrograde at 8º Libra, 2 October 2022 Mercury stations direct at 24º Virgo, in light lettering on a dark green starfield]
Mars in Gemini
On August 20, Mars enters the sign of Gemini where it will be until March 25, 2023. That is over seven months, which is a long time for Mars to remain in one sign. This extended stay is due to Mars’ retrograde cycle in Gemini. Mars will be retrograde from October 30-January 12.
Gemini is a mutable air sign ruled by the planet Mercury, a sign associated with sociality, dialogue and discourse, gathering the data, analyzing and synthesizing multiple points of view, and adapting one’s perspective to account for new information as it becomes available. Gemini is driven by seemingly boundless curiosity, the desire to learn more, to engage in conversation with others, and formulate a clear, critically-thinking analysis. In general, Mars in Gemini can be assertive, argumentative, prone to debate or verbal conflicts, aggressive speaking as well as mental frustration.
Mars’ journey through Gemini can be an invitation to acknowledge, address, revisit, and reconsider points of contention or conflict, both in your own thinking as well as in your conversations or connections with others, doing repair where there has been harm, and exploring where there may be potential for partial alignments or agreements between seemingly irreconcilable positions. Especially during the retrograde period, we may find ourselves returning to difficult or even painful conversations, re-engaging with ties that had been severed, expressing frustration or injury where needed, and doing our bests to listen well and also to be heard clearly.
[Image reads: 20 August 2022: Mars ingresses into Gemini, in light lettering on a dark red and yellow starfield]
Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio
At 12:13am eastern on Monday, May 16, we will experience our first Lunar Eclipse in Scorpio with the Moon conjunct the South Node since 2005, the first in a series of Scorpio eclipses that extend from now until May 2023. With the Moon at 25º Scorpio—in the sign of its fall—and the Sun at 25º Taurus—just one degree from the fixed star Algol, the head of Medusa in the constellation of Perseus—this eclipse is likely to demand confrontation around heavy emotional experiences.
The Moon in Scorpio can feel as if it is drowning in feelings of being overlooked, misunderstood, ignored, or neglected. Conjunct the South Node, we may become acutely aware of just how much energy we lose from wrestling with these feelings of disconnection and unworthiness. In the myth of Medusa, she was raped by the god Neptune in the temple of Minerva. Minerva considered this to be a desecration of her temple, and instead of holding Neptune accountable, instead sent Perseus to slay Medusa. She was punished for the harm she had endured and survived. With the Sun conjunction Algol, this eclipse is likely to stir the rage, indignation, and passionate fury that comes from having not only experienced immense harm, but then having been punished by systems that blame you for your own suffering.
Eclipses are fundamentally an interruption of the usual cycles of light, and thus often describe intense or dramatic change, specifically the kinds of change that precipitate from interruptions in familiar or established patterns. In the intervention, we are faced with the shadow—things that have been hidden or that we maybe have not wanted to witness. In this eclipse, we may be facing the shadows of deep harm and fury as well as experiences of disconnection and unworthiness that deplete our ability to show up fully in our authenticity. There are ways of avoiding the pain and denying the rage that are no longer possible. There are patterns of internalized neglect that we can no longer accept. These experiences will likely be related to the Scorpio house in your chart, especially if you have any planets around 25º Scorpio.
Be gentle with yourself, and also give yourself whatever context you need in order to feel safe and held through deep inner emotional confrontation and purging. This is not a lunation for setting intentions and casting spells; this is a time for feeling deeply and surrendering to emerging possibilities.
[Image reads: 16 May 2022: Lunar Eclipse at 25º Scorpio, in light lettering on a dark purple starfield]
Jupiter ingresses into Aries
On May 10, Jupiter ingresses into Aries for the first time since 2011. Jupiter in Aries is fiery and assertive, driven to pursue the enactment of belief, asserting freedom, and understanding that hope comes from our actions. Jupiter in Aries teaches us that our beliefs and aspirations mean little or nothing unless we are willing to put them into action. Jupiter in Aries understands that freedom is not something we seek from others, but it is something that we assert for ourselves, exercising our power to insist on living in ways that allow us to flourish and grow.
Trans pioneer Sylvia Rivera—who had Jupiter in Aries—co-wrote in the “Street Transvestites for Gay Power Statement on the 1971 NYU Occupation”:
“Do you really want Gay Power or are you looking for a few laughs or maybe a little excitement … If you want Gay Liberation then you’re going to have to fight for it. We don’t mean tomorrow or the next day, we are talking about today. We can never possibly win by saying ‘wait for a better day’ or ‘we’re not ready yet.’ If you’re ready to tell people that you want to be free, then you’re ready to fight. And if you’re not ready then shut up and crawl back into your closets. But let us ask you this, Can you really live in a closet? We can’t.”
As Jupiter moves through Aries, ask yourself: what do you really want? Are you truly ready for freedom, and if so, are you willing to struggle, to fight, to engage in generative conflict whenever necessary in order to create the freedom that you seek?
Jupiter is the nocturnal triplicity ruler of the fire signs, and so has a particular dignity in Aries. When a planet is in its own triplicity rulership, it has the support of its allies, followers, communities, and supporters. While we often describe Aries as a sign that can be fiercely independent, when Jupiter is in Aries, it reminds us that our pursuit of freedom is never something we accomplish on our own but something that we do with and for others as well. There is no personal or individual pursuit of freedom that can be separated from our collective pursuits of freedom.
[Image reads: 10 May 2022: Jupiter ingresses into Aries, in light lettering on a dark red starfield]
Mercury stations Rx at 4º Gemini
Today Mercury stations retrograde at 4º Gemini. During the course of its retrograde cycle, Mercury will regress into Taurus before finally stationing direct at 26º Taurus on June 3. Mercury is in its domicile in Gemini, a sign where it has access to everything it needs in order to review the available data, reframe the questions we are asking, revisit conversations that perhaps have not been resolved, and try to see things from a different point of view. As a mutable air sign, Gemini can be adept as adaptation, remaining flexible in our ideas and ideologies as new information becomes available. Over the next several weeks, don’t be afraid to rethink your perspectives and positions as you reflect on how it is you came to those conclusions, now with more experience and hopefully greater insight.
As Mercury regresses into Taurus on May 22, we will need to ground our theories in practical, material, embodied experience. How do the conclusions you’ve come to hold up when you apply them to the lived realities of your physical and perceptual world? What wisdom do you uncover when you start from the felt experience of your own body, the rich soil of your senses, and the tangible relations of the earth itself? This Mercury retrograde cycle brings us from the intellectual down into the material, perhaps unlearning some of what we think we know so that when Mercury stations direct on June 3, we have the opportunity to craft new understanding on the solid foundations of what we can know in embodied ways.
As always, remember that Mercury retrograde periods are not times for panic or fear-mongering. They happen several times a year and provide us with opportunities to reflect, review, revise, and question. This might not be an ideal time for launching new ventures, but do what needs to be done, re-reading, reconsidering, and revising before you press send—and following up as needed to clarify where intentions may have been lost in translation.
[Image reads: 10 May – 3 June 2022: Mercury retrograde from 4º Gemini to 26º Taurus in light lettering on a dark starry background]
Today Venus makes a conjunction with Neptune at 24º Pisces. Venus—the planet of love, desire, pleasure, and beauty—is exalted in Pisces, and Neptune—the planet of fantasy, dissolution, altered states of consciousness and non-ordinary realities—has many affinities with the watery mutability of this sign. Together we might find ourselves carried on tides of possibility that exceed our limited and limiting notions of love and pleasure. This is an excellent day for allowing your imagination to guide you into greater awareness of all the connections in which you are already held and all the delights that may be available to you if you surrender rigid or static ideas of who you are or have to be. How much more love and pleasure become available to you if you let go of parts of your identity that foreclose the expanse of what is possible?
Then this weekend on April 30, there will be a solar eclipse at 10º Taurus just as Venus is perfecting a conjunction with Jupiter at 27º Pisces. Eclipses can mark intense or dramatic change that comes from the interruption of the familiar or predictable. They compel us to face the shadows of what may have been previously hidden, and in doing so, parts of our lives can no longer remain the same. As a solar eclipse, this could describe a significant ending and new beginning in the areas of our charts occupied by Taurus. This eclipse is ruled by Venus who is in extraordinary condition, exalted in Pisces and conjunct Jupiter, the ruler of Pisces. Together, these dignified benefics support us in feeling the immensity of what must change and reassure us that as parts of what has been fall away, we are more capable of becoming more of ourselves. And as we each become more of who it is that we’re here to be—in this moment and in the days ahead—we become more capable of allowing our whole selves to be loved.
[Image reads: 27 April 2022: Venus conjunct Neptune in Pisces, 30 April 2022: Solar Eclipse in Taurus, Venus conjunct Jupiter in Pisces, in light lettering on a dark blue starfield]
Around April 12, Jupiter will be conjunct Neptune at 23º Pisces. Jupiter conjunct Neptune can be an initiation into the mystical, affirming altered states of consciousness and expanding our perception of non-ordinary reality. This is a really beautiful alignment for visioning, for dreaming, for tapping into greater imagination that exceeds the limits of our linear or rational thought, and for finding how imagination and even fantasy can facilitate greater freedom.
Judith Butler writes in an essay entitled “Beside Oneself: On the Limits of Sexual Autonomy”:
“… fantasy is a part of the articulation of the possible; it moves us beyond what is merely actual and present into a realm of possibility, the not yet actualized or the not actualizable … The critical promise of fantasy, when and where it exists, is to challenge the contingent limits of what will and will not be called reality. Fantasy is what allows us to imagine ourselves and others otherwise; it establishes the possible in excess of the real; it points elsewhere, and when it is embodied, it brings the elsewhere home.”
As we approach this period around the Jupiter/Neptune conjunction on April 12, you might explore:
-How does your existing model of reality limit who you can be or what you can imagine?
-What fantasies allow you to experience and embody more of yourself and more of the kind of world in which you desire to live?
-What ease or satisfaction becomes available to you when you imagine yourself otherwise, and what would need to change in order to make that imaginary version of yourself more possible?
If there’s a caution around this time, it’s to be careful that you do not indulge so fully in fantasy, dreams, and imagination that you become detached from reality or swept away in illusions, projections, intoxication, or even something like conspiracy theories. Jupiter and Neptune together can facilitate powerful altered states, eroding the limiting structures we impose on reality, and that can be a source of freedom, but it can also tend toward overdoing or over-indulging.
This week holds one of the most challenging astrological aspects of the year and the start of one of the most beautiful periods of astrology in all of 2022.
On April 4, Mars makes a conjunction with Saturn in Aquarius. Both Mars and Saturn can indicate challenges or difficulties, and when they are together, these experiences can be compounded. Fiery, confrontational Mars can describe anger, conflict, or even harm, and cold, distant, slow-moving Saturn can describe constriction or paralysis, like charging against an immovable barrier. Together, we might find ourselves stuck in antagonisms that seem both unavoidable and irreconcilable. The best we can do might be to slow down and learn the lessons we can only learn when we stay with what feels difficult or impossible.
Then on April 5, Venus departs Aquarius and ingresses into Pisces, the sign of its exaltation, joining Jupiter and Neptune. Venus will be in Pisces from April 5 until May 2. With both benefics together and dignified, this is a time for indulgent pleasures, allowing yourself to be swept away by aesthetic riches that encourage you into greater and deeper feeling. Make art and make love, fill your life with experiences that inspire your own creativity, spend time watching dance or listening to music or visiting art galleries or museums or reading poetry that stirs your emotional life with a sense of profound connection with whatever enlarges your sense of what is possible. You may find that the Pisces area of your chart blossoms and flourishes during these weeks with Venus and Jupiter together, especially around their conjunction on April 30. Whatever goodness we experience while Venus is in Pisces won’t eliminate the challenges instigated by Mars and Saturn, but it is likely to provide us with opportunities for pleasure and relief amidst or alongside those difficulties.
[Image read: 4 April 2022: Mars conjunct Saturn, 5 April 2022: Venus ingresses into Pisces in light lettering on a dark brown and teal starfield]
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]
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]
Mars and Venus conjunct Pluto
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]
Venus Conjunct Mars
February 16 is the first of two conjunctions Venus and Mars will make this year. Venus stationed direct on January 29, and is still moving rather slowly, allowing Mars to overtake Venus in this first conjunction. For the next month, Venus and Mars will be moving within 1º of one another. This could be a tense but passionate dance between these two planets over several weeks. Then they will make their second exact conjunction at 0º Aquarius as Venus builds speed to pass Mars, just minutes after they both ingress into Aquarius on March 6. Venus draws us toward connection with beauty and grace; Mars severs and separates, cutting ties or charging off on our own. At their best together, Venus and Mars can describe the erotic thrill of intimacy and distance, pulling one another close, backing away, then coming together again. Mars keeps us from merging, and across the space between us, we are enraptured with longing. When more troublesome, this dynamic could describe relationship dynamics that are on again/off again, the uncertainty of are we together or are we separated, and the anxiety that comes with unstable attachments. Try to be mindful of these dynamics and make choices during this time that both align with your values and honor your boundaries. These two conjunctions and the weeks in between could also describe a weaving together of the areas of your life ruled by Venus and Mars. Look to the parts of your chart occupied by Taurus, Libra, Aries, and Scorpio, and consider how those areas of your life might be described by this dance of arousal, connection, separation, and reconnection.
[Image reads: 16 February 2022: Venus Conjunct Mars in light lettering on a dark starfield]
Venus conjunct Vesta in Capricorn
Vesta is the Roman goddess of the hearth fire, the keeper of the sacred flame, the goddess of hospitality and the home, as well as principles of ritual and sacred sexuality. As a virgin goddess who belonged to no one but herself, Vesta symbolized self-determination, choosing one’s own path, even if doing so requires rejecting the expectations of others. In the myths of Hestia—the Greek goddess with whom Vesta became syncretized—the gods Apollon and Poseidon both sought her hand in marriage. Hestia refused and asked Zeus to let her remain an eternal virgin, not in the sense of sexual chastity but in the sense of belonging to only herself. Zeus agreed, and she took her place at the royal hearth of Olympus. Hestia chose her own calling and in doing so committed herself to a life of sacred devotion.
As Venus makes a conjunction with Vesta—just days after stationing direct, and in a close trine with revolutionary Uranus in Taurus—you might consider: to what are you devoted? In what ways have you acquiesced to the expectations or desires of others—particularly in your relationships—and how might you commit yourself to a more authentic path? Venus is just emerging from its retrograde cycle, and it seems that one of the first ways we will be integrating the lessons of the last 42 days will be to return to our own desires, our sacred hearth fires, and commit to our own self-determination, even if doing so requires refusing or disappointing other people’s expectations. This does not mean a refusal of relationships or even partnerships with others, but it does invite us to no longer abandon ourselves and our desires, whether or not we are in committed partnerships.
What do you consider to be your sacred calling? What if the altar of your sacred calling burns with the flames of your truest desires? In other words, you will know what you are here to do as you choose to devote yourself to your heart’s desires, trusting that they will light the path to which you are called.
[Image reads: 1 February 2022 Venus conjunct the asteroid Vesta at 11º Capricorn in light lettering on a dark starfield]
On January 11, Mars in Sagittarius will make a square with Neptune in Pisces, both at 20º. Mars often describes fiery, assertive, driven, and even divisive action, and in Sagittarius, this can be directed toward expanding one’s territory, striking out beyond familiar borders, and conquering that which demands courageous adaptation. However, as Mars squares Neptune, we may find ourselves charging into a tidal wave that sweeps us off our feet, swirling us around and disorienting our plans. It might be challenging to accomplish your intentions around this aspect. At best, you might surrender to the current, adjust your plans to move with the tide, even if it takes you off course. With Jupiter in Pisces ruling both Mars and Neptune, it does feel as if there is some oversight, some promise or potential that even if you find yourself wrestling with the waves or surrendering to their force, this confusion might lead the way to something greater than you could have anticipated.
[Image reads: 11 January 2022 Mars in Sagittarius square Neptune in Pisces in light lettering on a starfield that fades from a reddish tint to a teal tint]
As Venus moves into the heart of the Sun on January 8—a condition known as cazimi—we are halfway through Venus’ retrograde in Capricorn. What this retrograde cycle holds and describes for each of us will be unique to our own charts, but Venus’ general significations of love, desire, pleasure, union, beauty, aesthetic harmony, and justice are under review in the cardinal earth domicile of Saturn. This may be a time when you have been reflecting on what it means to love in ways that are sustainable and enduring, reviewing the deep structures of your commitments, and reassessing the boundaries that allow you to love well. As Venus makes its inferior conjunction with the Sun, it finds favor and resources that may have felt scarce over the last several weeks. This is a moment of renewal as Venus becomes a morning star, even as it continues to move retrograde over the next several weeks, still hidden beneath the beams of the Sun. The lessons of this retrograde may come into some measure of greater clarity or focus today. Pay attention to the dynamics unfolding in your relationships, your desires, and your sense of beauty and justice. Venus will not emerge from under the beams of the Sun until around January 18 and will not station direct until January 29—so this journey is not yet over and all that has been undergoing review beneath the surface has not yet been revealed. But as Venus makes this conjunction on January 8, we are moving through a significant turning point along the way.
[Image reads: 8 January 2022 Venus Cazimi at 18º Capricorn in dark lettering on a bright spot within a dark starfield]
Michael J. Morris is a witch, an astrologer, a tarot reader, an artist, a writer, and a teacher.