Damn You, Mars-South Node Conjunction


Last week's conjunction of Mars to the lunar South Node ripped me a new one.

I rubbed salt in reopened wounds from the past, lashed out with overreactions in multiple directions, and indulged my most-familiar self-torture rituals… in order, I guess, to make sure I felt bad enough about it all.

It's a wonder I'm even writing to you at all today, dear reader. But I try to make an effort to share the delicate human behind the words, lest you falsely assume I always follow my own advice or hold a perpetually firm grasp on some 'higher perspective'. (Of course I deploy sufficient verbal obfuscations to prevent feeling totally exposed. Certain details are best kept vague.)

Though the Mars-South Node had hit my radar when I was writing last week's horoscopes, it somehow escaped my notice insofar as it might be personally relevant to my own life… the rage I was spitting, the incoherent rants about how I'm sick of life being about everyone else and their problems, and what about me, and all that. Mars is the great separator; he compels us to assert our own desires, and to battle against any obstacles blocking us from successfully satisfying them.

Even the most relationship-oriented, people-pleasing among us have our many moments when we want what is in conflict with what another person wants. Mars powers our insistence on standing up for our side over anyone else's… which can indeed inspire magnificent victories of confident individuation. Alas, he also loves a fight (sometimes, just for its own sake) and has justifiably earned his long-standing reputation as a 'malefic', showily leading us into danger, opening us up to retributive attack.

Perhaps the Mars-pumped troublemaker in me would like to inform you, dear reader, to 'Screw off!'… that I have no burning yearning to spend my afternoon typing dutifully away at this keyboard, to offer you one single ounce more of my exhausted thought-processes… that I'm off to pander to my least altruistic, most misanthropic tendencies, and just might get in my car with the dog and speed maniacally away, screaming profanities out my open window at the many morons all around…

Might that not come back to bite me? Don't we have a mutual deal here? Were I to tell you, 'Screw off!', would I not jeopardize our agreement that I'll present you writing intended to give you a leg-up (as opposed to insult you, just because I might be grumpy that day) and you'll keep coming back for more, maybe even live a more conscious and satisfying life for yourself, so I'll see evidence that my work is a success?

Mars doesn't care much for the 'we', not if it keeps me from doingexactly what I want. But what about the deal? Mars challenges us to find the right level of assertiveness, so we are neither servants to others' whims nor domineering aggressors who rub everybody wrong and never seem to care.

The South Node raises specters from the past, uncanny reminders (from earlier in this lived life or some mysterious karmic time-capsule) of having gone through eerily similar motions before… but with the always-present potential to make different choices this time around. Recurrences of familiar struggles are a most obvious clue: I must be the common denominator. I am repeating an old pattern of behavior, and I'll continue to greet these same results until I break this pattern.

With Mars conjunct the South Node, as it has been over the past week or so, our instinctive individuating drives (Mars) are strongly, unconsciously influenced by reactive shades from the past (South Node). Before we even know it, we are acting out roles we thought we outgrew… fighting battles that may be less about the opponent right in front of us, and more about someone we haven't seen in years… relying on the most familiar of our defense mechanisms, which may feel incredibly comfortable while we're resorting to 'em but which we know, if we're on a personal-evolution path, present us little new experience to learn from or further our growth with.

In Gemini, where this latest conjunction occurred, we're that much likelier to stumble, unaware, upon an 'evil-twin' dark side to our personality we might prefer to disidentify with. This is not the person I have strived to become. I am not this asshole who just yelled, 'I hate you, and I never want to speak to you again!' This is not me. Only, it is. This ugly lasher-outer is as much me as the coolly self-composed spirit-seeker. When we refuse to integrate the widely divergent facets of our multi-dimensional personalities (and we've all got these different sides, not just those poor Geminis we project this complex onto), they always manage to sneak up on us at the most inopportune times.

I, born with this Gemini South Node in my natal 12th house, have made a split from my supposedly wise-and-conscious self under this nodal recurrence. Instead, I fed the irrational, isolationist crazy person. Mars's trip through my 12th motivates me to individuate through escapism, which sure feels pretty damn good for a while but always aches agonizingly each morning when reality tries to reclaim my soul. Thankfully, with my astrological knowledge in tow, I know to keep on reaching for my North Node in Sagittarius in the 6th: Must show up in the body again today. Must maintain forward momentum in my day-to-day work. Must write, to make meaning from the pain.

This same Mars-South Node conjunction hit Amy Winehouse's chart exceptionally hard, and we lost her to the nodal abyss of least-resistance. Amy was presently at a nodal reversal, meaning she was born with her North Node in Gemini and her South in Sagittarius. Not only was her natal Sun/Mercury in Virgo directly in square to her nodal axis (known as 'at the bends'), but her Nodes fell directly across her Ascendant and Descendant. If one wants to buy into the notion of some lives being more 'fated' than others, Amy's chart would surely fit into that category. Her life ended as transiting Mars-South Node crossed her Ascendant, conjoined her North Node and squared her Sun.

One might wonder how much it really matters, anyway, to talk about this Mars-South Node conjunction after the fact, once we've (or, at least, I've) already endured the eruptive reappearance of an ingrained response… just as it's futile, I suppose, to pine for the salvation of Amy Winehouse's addicted soul, never to be, at least not in this lifetime. What's done is done, and often serves as the stuff of legends.

It can, however, prove helpful to understand the mystical power at play when we feel compelled to replicate our same excruciating circumstances, as if we haven't already endured enough rounds. Or maybe we're mere gluttons for familiar punishments. Sadly, the easiest trap to fall into is the one we've fallen into a million times before.

We may look back to the older forms of fortune-telling astrology with modern hubris, disbelieving its fatalistic predictive pronouncements from our evolved altitude of Free Will, a religion all its own. We do have more choices now, it seems. Yet, we're naively misguided to underestimate the tremendous willfulness required to overcome the whirling undertow of our compulsive—at times even pathological—repetitions in behavior, which are often linked in astrology to the Moon's Nodes, the most mystical and elusive symbols of our craft. Some of us can muster this strength some of the time. Some, not at all.

This past week, my will-to-overcome sputtered, inconsistent, remaining viable enough so I could at least furnish this piece of writing in a single productive fit, before exhausting itself again and surrendering back into the waves for another dizzying spin.