Slippery Mars Shenanigans


As if the current Mercury retrograde (with extra muddling, courtesy of Neptune!) wasn't enough, I also want to draw your attention to some potentially tense Mars business headed our way.

Yesterday (Wed Aug 3), Mars entered watery Cancer, the sign where he's said to be fallen (or operating with extreme discomfort, instability, or sometimes even desperation). By next week, he'll trigger the Uranus-Pluto fray, exacerbating their still-developing square. A Mars-Uranus-Pluto T-square, needless to say, isn't for the weak at heart.

Mars-in-Cancer as provoking agent can be so slippery because we don't always see his provocations coming. Mars represents our assertive drives, how we as individuals protrude into the world around us, in order to seize what we want. At his best, he's strong and brave and direct—he valiantly thrusts toward the desired booty, and refuses to surrender until he's secured the prize. However, in his fall in Cancer, a zodiacal energy known for emotional responsiveness and nurturance, Mars's efforts are impacted by his intuited sense of how to 'take care of' others while simultaneously pursuing his own desires. This may result in under-the-surface actions, taken supposedly to 'spare feelings' or 'do what's best' for another person… though often without explicitly expressing these motives.

Even with the purest of intentions, an individual can end up behaving in a shady manner under Mars-in-Cancer's influence. We might try to avoid exposing our sensitivities to the painful intuitive awareness that, in doing what we want, we might hurt someone we care for. 'Why be out in the open about it, if it's just going to create a tense situation?' we might tell ourselves, before creeping out the back door or sneaking that extra hundred dollars out of the joint account.

Likewise, Mars in Cancer can incite unexpected outbursts in folks who believe they are doing the considerate thing for somebody else, once they find their deed is not desired or appreciated by the other party. 'Can't she see I'm doing this for his own good?!?!' yells the exasperated caregiver who, in the heightened ire of seeing his efforts backfire or be rebuffed, has forgotten the whole purpose of 'caring'.

Don't let me give you the impression there's nothing positive or worthy about Mars in Cancer, despite its fallen status. Aligning one's assertions with a water-sign sensitivity to their impact on others, wanting to take actions that demonstrate our care for them… these can obviously be very good behaviors to embrace in ourselves. The distinction pivots on whether we act presumptuously in our responsiveness. Cancer-style intuition is non-verbal, which means we feel a feeling emanating off another person—and, in trying to make intelligible sense of it, we carry out an act of interpretative translation that may not always be 100% accurate, though we may be sure of what we felt. Not to mention that feelings come and feelings go. We mustn't assume that someone else continues to feel as they did when we initially formed our intuitive impression of their emotional state.

To get the best results from Mars in Cancer, it's vital to check in with the other involved parties before we proceed along a path that will influence them, even if we believe we have their best interests at heart. People have the right to know what we're doing on their (supposed) behalf. The concealed actions or circuitous maneuvers are never as caring as we imagine them to be. And who are we, anyway, to assume responsibility for the management of others' emotional reactions?

Next Tuesday (Aug 9), Mars forms a square to rabble-rousing Uranus, followed the next day (Wed Aug 10) by an opposition to intensity-fiend Pluto. Whenever Mars plays off either of these outer-planet heavyweights, the chances for standoffs or conflicts are surely upped. A Mars-Uranus square often gets sparks flying, when some step we take collides unexpectedly with a wild-card obstacle or reaction. Surprising developments, amazing or upsetting, can progress quickly from there. A Mars-Pluto opposition sets up power struggles, pitting our self-directed moves against an intimidating opponent or psychological issue we haven't yet dealt with. As the two sides face each other, we are forced into acknowledgment of the deeper or heavier consequences to what we're trying to do. Nothing, it seems, is as simple as we'd wish it to be.

Of course, these two formidable Mars aspects are occurring together because, for the next several years, Uranus and Pluto are in square to one another. Let me remind you this is the defining astrological factor of this decade… a revolutionary challenge to the structures of authority just now beginning to intensify, evident everywhere we look. If a world that, in some pretty unflattering ways, no longer seems to resemble the one you cherish and appears due for a major overhaul, that's the Uranus-Pluto square you're picking up. Just as this mega-aspect is deconstructing and reconstructing our macro-level society, so too does it have a similar influence on the micro-level of our individual lives.

Every time another faster-moving planet travels into the Uranus-Pluto square's orb of influence, as Mars does next week, we've given another opportunity to have our say in how this revolution ends up happening. Mars in Cancer brings an emotionally humane voice to this restructuring debate, asserting the motive of caring where the terms have mainly been about preserving and consolidating power (Pluto) and the radical efforts by countervailing forces to break it down at all costs (Uranus).

Next week's Mars-Uranus-Pluto T-square will likely present each of us with chances to address a building tension, from what we know in our guts to be the 'caring' angle. Reinjecting emotional wisdom into that tension has the potential to help diffuse it, though no doubt it won't be easy, even in the best-case scenarios. As Mars's placement in Cancer tells us, we can't be totally sure of how best to enact that gut-truth nurturance... not without some externalized dialogue, possible disagreement, and the willingness to listen when we're informed we've missed something.

But if, under this influence, we try to fly beneath the radar, pulling invisible strings in the righteous name of others who haven't exactly signed the permission slip, such slippery actions might rapidly devolve into unintended friction or a nasty clash. If you want to show you really care, be above-board about it.