2020: An Unprecedented Year
Before we dive into the details of Mars in Aries, we need to consider why this transit is particularly important in this year of 2020. Normally, Mars takes about 6 weeks to move through each sign of the zodiac in its nearly two-year-long orbit around the sun. But every two years or so, Mars also has its retrograde period, which is set to begin in September of 2020. So rather than spending its normal 6 weeks in its own sign, Mars will be in Aries for 6 months! This will only add more fuel to the astrological intensity of this pivotal year of 2020.
A Double Dose of Intensity
As always, I want to set the framework for this discussion by rooting us in a few fundamental principles of “an energy approach to astrology.” First, that the PLANETS regulate the flow of our energy and represent “functions” or “dimensions” of experience. Second, that the SIGNS are our primary energy patterns and indicate specific “qualities” of experience. And third, that the ASPECTS reveal the “dynamics” of our experience and how the energies interact.
When a planet transits the sign it rules—as Mars will be doing as it transits through Aries from the remainder of 2020—it often feels empowered to fully express the dimensions of its archetypal character, as it is being mutually amplified by similar characteristic patterns that it shares with the sign it rules. In some cases, this can lead to the expression of the more extreme characteristics shared by the planet and sign, both positively and negatively.
In the case of Mars transiting the sign of Aries, we can expect the planet to fully embody the archetype of the warrior, with its vigorous, courageous and unbridled spirit emboldened by the fiery, expressive and initiatory energy patterns of Aries. This is the idealized form of the hero—full of gusto and bravado, launching the latest adventure, exploring the new frontier, slaying the next dragon, ever ready to serve with honor and glory in any arena it is called to duty.
Of course this passionate nature of Mars can quickly overheat, turning combative and aggressive, spoiling for a fight, and becoming overly forceful and domineering, And when amplified by the impulsive and impatient qualities of Aries, there’s an increased risk of the energy turning abusive or violent. Rash decisions can lead to accidents and errors in judgement. Any and all impediments to the willful self-expression of the Martian energy can cause frustration, generating anger and resulting in explosive outbursts.
Enter the Dragon
When Mars made its entry into Aries on June 27, 2020, the risk of escalating violence between the ongoing social justice protests and law enforcement was a real concern, especially considering the ongoing Saturn/Pluto conjunction—symbol of violent conflict with authority. (Fore more on the Saturn/Pluto conjunction check out my previous article). And when President Trump began sending camo-clad Federal agents to Portland, it seemed like the Mars in Aries script was beginning to play out. Thankfully, things never escalated to dangerous levels, and it seems like the situation has been diffused for the time being.
But on August 3rd, just as Mars in Aries made an exact square to Jupiter in Capricorn—an aspect that represents the dynamic of tension—BOOM! The next day, a giant explosion (Jupiter/Mars) of a munitions warehouse rocked the city of Beirut, leaving hundreds dead and thousands injured. It remains unclear whether it was a military attack or a tragic accident. Either way it has all the characteristics of a Mars in Aries (military, explosions, accidents) square Jupiter (massive) in Capricorn (structures).
Simultaneously, Mars also moved within orb of its first square to Pluto—planet of volcanic eruptions, destruction and death. If you’ve watched the horrific videos of the atomic-like concussion wave that spread across the city, you can appreciate the visceral tone of this powerful configuration. The devastating effects on a city already besieged with challenges are quite tragic. We should also keep an eye on any escalation of rhetoric between Hezbollah and Israel in the coming weeks.
Mars will make its first of three exact squares to Pluto on August 12. Remember, square aspects have the dynamic of tension about them, and the planets involved will seek to release that tension. It’s also worth noting that Mars and Pluto share a special relationship: Mars consciously acts upon the unconscious desires of Pluto. Mars is thought to be the “lower octave” of Pluto, with the two planets sharing an archetypal resonance around issues of sudden violence and volcanic eruptions. It could certainly portend more confrontations as Mars provides an active outlet for the compulsive and cathartic energy of Pluto. This square will remain with a 5º orb until August 28th.
Mars will also be approaching its first square with Saturn in the second week of August. We might feel additional restrictions, limitations and restraints (Saturn) placed on our instinctual urges for more freedom of movement and experience (Mars in Aries). The challenge will be to channel our creative energies into more productive and structured routines (Saturn in Capricorn).
Path of a Spiritual Warrior
We all need to remain hyper-vigilant regarding our own tendencies towards anger and violence for the remainder of the year. Realizing that we’re all going to be a bit “amped up” with the configurations in effect for the months to come, it’s important that our cooler heads prevail and that hot-headed temper tantrums get nipped in the bud.
A growing sense of impatience is likely to percolate throughout society, and urges to act impulsively or recklessly will likely be triggered. Depending on where Aries is in your personal birth chart, you might encounter increased friction and tension in your relationships—friends, family, bosses, co-workers, lovers, partners—everyone is already on edge, and fuses are likely to run exceedingly short (Mars) as irrational and unconscious emotions (Pluto) come to the surface amid ongoing restrictions and delays (Saturn).
It would seem we’re being challenged by the cosmos to walk the path of the spiritual warrior. In its highest form, Mars in Aries expresses the true meaning of the “martial arts”—literally the “arts of Mars,” which involve practices of discipline, physical fitness, self-defense and the right use of power. The ability to channel all the surplus power of Mars in Aries in constructive ways (Saturn) will be a true blessing for anyone who can learn to work with this energy actively and consciously.
Coupled with Pluto, this could lead us to deep insights and powerful self-transformations. Engaging in physical and embodied spiritual practices like yoga, judo or qigong could prove quite empowering. If nothing else, stay active—running, hiking, biking, strength training—any and all vigorous activities will be beneficial to your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual well-being at this time. Blow off some steam, you’ll feel a lot better.
Keep It Tight, SJW’s
And finally, a message for those who are active in the various protest movements and ongoing struggles demanding social reform. I want to counsel you to be extra vigilant in the coming months, as you—above all—are being called to embody the archetype of the spiritual warrior as you continue your campaigns for social justice.
Angry, agitated, “attack & defend” attitudes are likely to be heightened in individuals on all sides of these contentious issues. Language can be weaponized. Law enforcement and authority figures might become more hair-triggered. Things can escalate in a flash and quickly spin out of control. Violence only begets more violence, and will likely derail progress.
Please be patient and disciplined (Saturn) in your willful, goal-oriented efforts (Mars) to enact these evolutionary changes (Pluto). Be wise. Be aware. Be careful. Be concerned. Use good judgement. Listen to those with whom you might disagree. Seek common ground. Know when and where to compromise. Be righteous in your cause, but remain flexible in your approach. Seek out the wisdom and counsel of elders (Jupiter/Saturn).
These are truly unprecedented times in which we are living. The opportunities for broad and sweeping social, political and cultural changes are palpable. But it will be a tightrope walk to navigate the many landmines and pitfalls that are strewn about in our increasingly-polarized political landscape. It no longer seems hyperbolic to say that the history of western civilization may be at stake. And so I’ll close with a quote from the ancient Greek storyteller Aesop: “United we stand, divided we fall.”