A constant topic with clients this past spring has been the ongoing conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Scorpio begun in mid-February of this year and continuing on and off until mid-September. For some of us (dependent on the position of the planets in our birth charts) this combination is particularly striking. For all of us, it colors the general atmosphere of the times. We can describe it as an increased agitation in the world and also a feeling of dread and unease, of everything being up in the air with no clear direction to take toward resolution.
To speak of the planetary archetypes in their most general sense, Saturn is contraction. It slows and frustrates and delays. Ultimately, the difficulties and suffering of Saturn push us toward self direction and transformation. But it can be an unpleasant journey. Mars is fire. It is the life force, our capacity to take action. When Mars is strong and unencumbered, we act toward progress in our lives and in the world. However, when these two planets sit together in the same sign as they do now, one can have a feeling of going many directions at once while really going nowhere.
When Mars is aspected by Saturn, it becomes agitated and misdirected. This agitation may manifest as an urge to change everything! Changes of careers, relationships, residences all can arise in this moment. It may even be a good period to act on these urges, but only if one intuits that these changes are really leading toward progress rather than just change for changes sake. The later can cause real havoc.
Conversely, this agitation may also feel like a paralysis. This conjunction raises a need for certainty when certainty, for the moment, is all but impossible. The fast moving and vibrant fire of Mars is being held in place by the immovable hand of Saturn. We want to take action, we feel we must take action but it’s only through letting go of any hope for real certainty in the moment, taking small and routine actions every day, that we can begin to actually move this albatross of Saturn.
Thus, what arises as positive in this conjunction is a capacity to orient one’s self to the present moment. If there can be no certainty and there are too many directions to take, then we must use these limitations to live in the present and make progress in small ways, hour to hour and day to day. It is through these small routine actions, letting go of the big picture for the moment, that the fruits of Saturn begin to reveal themselves. Our tasks may feel Sisyphean in nature but ultimately, in letting go of our worries, our fears and our dread- only doing what we can in this moment- everything begins to open up. For those with enough self discipline and self awareness to recognize this present turbulence and move forward accordingly, the period can be quite useful or successful, even if at times it feels like purgatory.
By mid-June, Mars appears retrograde long enough to briefly separate from Saturn and enter Libra for from June 17-July 12 before returning. During these weeks, situations which have felt stuck may finally move forward, however briefly. Mars ultimately leaves Saturn’s position in Scorpio for good come Sept 17.
As the conjunction takes place in Scorpio, the water sign of Mars, we should also note the many difficulties relating to water and fears associated with water- droughts, floods, calamities of this nature. This may continue until Saturn also leaves Scorpio in January 2017. Scorpio is a sign which signifies mystery and depth. We see our hidden fears, our hidden neuroses arise as a people, a terror arising from the depths. We see an uptick in zealotry, conspiratorial thinking, both political and religious extremism. Scorpio also relates to the past. We fear our history. What has happened may somehow happen once more. It is no surprise then to find out that the US presidential candidate Donald Trump who embodies so many of these manifestations has his natal Moon in Scorpio.
What is most useful to know is that all this fear is transitory. Much of the fear that arises is just that, fear alone. In many senses, there is an apocalyptic undercurrent to these fears. This apocalyptic feeling is itself an affect of the psyche arising, of ourselves diving into its depths. To view it from this vantage point and to experience it as such is to metabolize it- to pass through the fear and delve into the mystery of the psyche which is ultimately the greatest manifestation of this present archetypal field.