Mars's 'New Attitude!'


'New sign, new attitude!' says Mars, having entered Libra on Tuesday (Jul 3) after nearly eight long months in Virgo.

Grasp this development from its larger perspective: Ordinarily, during eight months, Mars would've made it through four full zodiac signs. But most lately, it's been Virgo and more Virgo.

Thanks, Mars retrograde of the first part of this year, which is so totally a thing of the past. I know I keep mentioning it (and, okay, maybe I'm a bit obsessed by how irritated it made me)… but it's only a reminder to honor how many of us encountered undesired tangles or delays, extra red-tape or excessive cleanup-work, and/or a constrained sense of forward momentum as a factor of Mars's loitering. Much of what was begun in earnest when Mars first hit Virgo at the end of '11—and which we naively expected to get further with, and faster, than sticky circumstances would allow—is only now finally showing glimpses of relative completeness. Let's let ourselves off the hook for such dashed expectations, flushing away any personal regret. Everything happens in its perfect time.

While Mars officially exited the shadow of his retrograde on Jun 19, his arrival in Libra earlier this week is perhaps the most momentous indicator of 'new attitude!' Mars in Libra is more interactive and externally oriented than when he's in Virgo, asserting his will in perpetual consideration of the other players and the alternatives they might prefer. He accordingly adopts a moderate, indirect approach, tactfully gearing each forward step as a response or anticipatory measure that factors 'the other side' into its account.

What Mars in Libra thusly gains us in diplomatic forethought and/or cooperativeness, he also flirts with surrendering in terms of independent initiative. Mars is, after all, considered to be in his detriment (or at a certain disadvantage) in Libra, mainly because his expression of personal desire is always already mitigated by mental calculations of the potential reception it might receive. Whether this means such expressions of desire suffer from an actual deficiency of authenticity will depend on where we choose to strike the balance between self-determination and the influence of others.

Mars's residence in Libra meshes rather well with Venus's continuing presence in Gemini, foregrounding an accent on air-sign energy that's only further emphasized by Jupiter in Gemini and Saturn in Libra. Air is the element of intellect and sociability, enabling us to articulate and circulate our ideas, so we may better connect with those of like mind while contrasting ourselves with those we diverge from… all the while continuing to evolve the mental frameworks through which we understand the world.

With these two great planetary pairs (Venus/Mars and Jupiter/Saturn) traveling through air signs, we're being coaxed out of our self-enclosures and into conversation, the social exchanges a rich opportunity to expose our latest thinking to the real-life testing-grounds our fellow humans present us. This provides an ideal follow-up to the Mars-in-Virgo marathon, during which we were tinkering and toiling with methods and practicalities under the proverbial microscope, concentrating more on personal goals than on how others might react to what we'd done.

Venus's four months in Gemini (including her retrograde from May 15 to Jun 27) has helped increase the breadth and variety of our social influences, encouraging us to connect—on however a partial or fleeting basis—with any-and-everyone who might have an interesting angle to pose, an alternative to point out or question to ask, in a celebration of our perpetual interdependence on each other. Venus's retrograde is now over (though she remains in its shadow through the end of July), nudging us to begin letting go of those partial or fleeting relationships which have already served their purpose, while continuing to explore what new insights our latest or lately-reinvigorated relationships may have in store.

Mars-in-Libra's part in this is to inspire us to outwardly advance our personal stake in these relationship matters, to share more of what we personally want… and, through such acts, to better determine where we are in- or out-of-sync with other key individuals. How much should we compromise our desires on behalf of a relationship we value? When must we acknowledge an unbridgeable gap between our desires and theirs? These questions can only be answered in a situation-specific context. Under this astrology, however, everything ought to be up for discussion.

While Mars will remain in Libra through Aug 23, the most critical period of its visit is unquestionably when he tangles with the Uranus-Pluto square. As I've previously mentioned, the most sensational revolutionary qualities of Uranus-and-Pluto's faceoff—the long-range astrological condition that's stirring much of the 2010s drama—reveal themselves whenever another planet transits into the range of their impact. By early next week (Jul 9), Mars in Libra will be within five degrees of both opposing Uranus and squaring Pluto, two sharp and intense aspects that hit exactitude on Jul 17-18. These dual contacts—Mars opposed Uranus, and Mars squared Pluto—speak to the tensions that may build when we express our desires to one another and are not met with acceptance or cooperation.

Mars in Libra may seek to satisfy himself in fairness, considering others as well as himself, but the square with Pluto is a reminder that no two parties or positions approach a situation with neat equivalence. One side almost always possesses a power or privilege the other does not. What is seen as 'fair' to one may likely still smack of disadvantage to the other. To negotiate a truly honorable harmony, therefore, might necessitate delicately unknotting a tangled power-dynamic that isn't immediately obvious without some serious participatory scrutiny.

The opposition to Uranus, meanwhile, heightens the jumpy quality to potential disagreements, increasing our vulnerability to surprise reactions, both theirs and ours. Though we may prefer a mutually beneficial solution, our worn-down patience could easily snap… especially if we've begun to suspect the 'other side' is such a wild-card, it almost doesn't matter what we do. (Of course, it does.) Did you notice how quickly the justification for our behaving erratically was pinned on someone else's unpredictability? When Mars opposes Uranus, it's hard to accurately determine whose finger went for the trigger first.

We must still aim for the middle Mars-in-Libra way, though, even knowing that Uranus and Pluto are significant threats to simple peace. In our efforts at diplomacy, we may suddenly find we've lost our cool. We may be challenged by somebody's refusal to hear us out, or confronted about a personal entitlement we've taken for granted. We might display careless first-reactions or raise our voices in self-righteous exasperation. In other words, we could behave with trademark human emotionality… which isn't altogether unexpected, considering the scope of the tumult this collective metamorphosis has spawned. As soon as we catch ourselves acting out, we must strive to restore our moderateness, taking responsibility for where we've been uncooperative or disrespectful without dwelling in regret, blame or self-flagellation.

Shit happens. It's what we do afterward that determines whether it's properly disposed of… or if it ends up on the bottoms of our shoes, spreading itself around with every footstep, stinking up the whole damn place.