Mars-Retrograde Wrap-Up


I write to you from the final stretch of Mars's retrograde (which wraps up on Fri Apr 13), and I'm already excitedly embodying the experience of transition back to so-called 'normal' physical rhythms.

I made it back to the gym yesterday, after about a month away, and have once again began to prepare the home-cooked meals that are both healthier and more enjoyable than the crap I've been eating.

Furthermore, I have wrapped up the administrative tax-season accounting work that has monopolized my workday initiative for the past many weeks… and can start to once again return my attentions to more creative, soul-satisfying labors.

It is almost as if I'm ready to 'pick back up where I left off' in mid-January, before Mars kicked off his backwards-looking dance through the sign of Virgo—only, though I'll be reigniting certain familiar fires I've let peter out since then, I wouldn't say I'm in quite the same spot 'where I left off'.

Heading into this Mars retrograde, I was still riding a certain high of personal achievement… having recently completed my first-ever book, ASTROBARRY'S 2012 (which has now sold nearly 1,200 copies!), and returning from a very successful professional visit to Australia (spoiler alert: I'll be back in November 2012!). I felt more confident than ever in my abilities to expand astrobarry's reach, both to touch more and more people's lives and to provide myself continued creative and financial growth from the work I've committed myself to. I was super eager to hatch plans for my next big writing projects, and to fill my calendar with more travel adventures that bring me face to face with astrobarry enthusiasts in all sorts of interesting destinations. All that was standing in my way were a few bits of other essential 'non-creative' work for my businesses (The Sacred Well, as well as astrobarry)—purchasing, inventory management, bookkeeping, back-end organization and maintenance tasks—which begged for completion. Since I knew what I was doing, I expected it to go fairly quickly.

But nearly as soon as Mars turned retrograde, I watched each workweek become quickly consumed with every piece of work taking much longer than I'd anticipated… though, oddly, I seemed to be operating with a fair bit of efficiency. I had apparently misjudged (1) just how much there was to do and (2) how inattentive I'd been to these tasks over the prior year or more, which had allowed disorganized piles and backlogs to accumulate beyond a reasonable level. I had to confront layers of shame related to my inattentiveness to this important business. And while I proceeded to motor like a devoted robot-secretary through whichever responsibility presented the next looming deadline, I also complained (not so quietly, I'm afraid) about my unsuitability for the type of work I was doing. Why was I spending my precious time on items that any number of other people could handle just as well (if not better), at the expense of writing and teaching and consulting with clients… work that I conduct with unique soulful flourishes nobody else can replicate? The contrast between my occupations was so glaringly evident, it had become nearly unbearable.

Likewise, during my leisure hours, what could a month or two earlier have been legitimately described as 'celebratory holiday revelry' no longer qualified as such once the holidays came and went, and my reaching toward excessive consumption slipped from 'celebratory' to 'escapist'. When I'm throwing myself into work I find meaningful and creatively rewarding, I find it much easier to maintain consistent, balanced bodily habits. But when my plate is loaded up with what I consider 'menial busywork', however, I often slide down the slippery slope of justifying further indulgence—a second dinner, another night of cocktails, a nostalgic replaying of my younger lifestyle patterns—as a misguided gesture of 'reward' for having put in the robot-hours. My overindulgence is meant to somehow compensate, or so I tell myself… though the instant gratification quickly gives way to discomfort in my body, after my having ignored its preferred intake specifications. Combine that with Mars-retrograde's strange effect on my sleep habits (suddenly, ten or eleven hours seems just right) and its parallel adverse impact on my motivation to exercise (even after making it to the gym, I still have no steam), and I'm suddenly feeling depleted, sluggish and heavy. (Again.)

I wish these weren't familiar feelings. Yet, they are. Though as commonly as I may have felt out of touch with my physical body at an earlier age, I now experience this sensation far less often or acutely than I used to. I have evolved on this front quite a bit during my adulthood, but not without periodic recurrences of past behavior. Then along comes a Mars retrograde, and I tempt myself toward falling backward into an unhealthy 'reward-system' relationship to physicality… only to realize I can't pull it off with the same pleasurable results, I know the rhythms too well to fool myself anymore, my body has developed different limitations with its increasing age, and the negative consequences of unhealthful practices are worse than ever.

The same goes for my understanding of my work patterns. I spent so many years dedicated to these same sort of administrative busywork tasks, first for other people's businesses and then for my own. But as I've built increasingly successful writing and astrological-consulting practices, I can no longer persist in splitting my time between 'what I know I'm meant to be doing' and the old habit of cramming my workday full of items I really ought to learn to delegate… if, that is, I seek to continue evolving my professional self further toward my unique calling, and away from survival-mentality thinking that, frankly, impedes on my creative space.

So as Mars wraps up his retrograde, I prepare to move forward… not exactly as I was before, but with greater consciousness about how the regressive ramifications of my refusing to handle life's responsibilities the way I know to be 'right' will build up over time, dare I think I can resurrect yesterday's habits to deal with today's changed circumstances.

Mars may turn direct in a few days, but he shall remain within the shadow of his retrograde into the second half of June, and not enter a new sign (Libra) until early July. And I may be ready to move forward… though I'm also confronted with choices like, having officially finished what had to be done on the back-end business front, for instance, of either (1) celebrating its finish and happily moving along to something I find more personally interesting, setting myself up to be in the same position next year at this time, or (2) using the rest of Mars's transit through his retrograde-shadow to actually make changes in how I manage this work, so as to improve the entire process for my own future relief. Having the awareness isn't enough—we actually have to act on what we've learned, or we're merely prolonging a certain agony.

With a fast-action proliferation of other ideas, opportunities and endeavors heading towards us, courtesy of Venus's impending retrograde in Gemini, it will be very easy not to see this last conclusive Mars-retrograde step through to its most efficacious end. The astrology only gets more hyper and headline-making as April feeds into May and then June. Here's to really finishing what's been started… even if we find ourselves having to leap into other new beginnings at the same time.