Stand Down-Mars Retrograde and More!

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I chose the phrase “stand down” as the title for this post because that is exactly what is being called into motion with this cluster of potent retrograde planets; the most recent being Mars and Pluto.

One of the definitions of the phrase “stand down” is …

“to relax or cause to relax after a state of readiness.”

And, this state of being is one that will serve you in good stead as Cardinal (initiating and catalyzing) energy and Mutable (flexibility)energy play their games of contraction and expansion cloaked in the mantles of their astrological/elemental signs. Be alert and ready for change and disruption, but be sure to give enough time to rest and integrate what has newly been formed. There will be outbursts, flare ups, challenges and more, but co-existent with all of these are times for reflection, cooling down and gates to be opened and accessed as we re-think the limitations and possibilities that are available to us.

Below is the auspicious line-up that will be exerting maximum influence with the potential for change that is not going to be a quick and easy fix. Then again, another phrase that comes to mind is…

“nothing truly worthwhile and lasting comes easy”

January 7 – May 9
Jupiter Retrograde in Earthy and Mutable Virgo

March 25 – August 13
Saturn Retrograde in Fiery and Mutable Sagittarius

April 17 – June 29
Mars Retrograde in Fiery and Mutable Sagittarius

April 18 – September 26
Pluto Retrograde in Earthy and Cardinal Capricorn

and, in a few days…

April 28 – May 22
Mercury in Earthy and Cardinal Capricorn

Planetary Expressions

From now until May 9th Jupiter, Saturn, Mars and Pluto will be exerting their will and the choices we make; the space we allow ourselves to move unencumbered and the overall attitude we offer as fuel to these will determine how gracefully we navigate. Let’s look at the dynamics of these planets:

Jupiter is one of expansive quality. It tests the boundaries of how far we can stretch and reach and just as easily contracts back to its former state. The trick is learning to fine tune where we wish to apply this abundance. In planetary magick, Jupiter is one of choice for expanding finances. Its energy is aptly suited to material endeavors, but therein lies the caution. Excess and abundance are not interchangeable. Having enough of what one needs is a state of abundance. Having more than one can productively use quickly becomes the excess clutter that turns swiftly into negativity and unhappiness at best and malcontent and greed at worse. What is often overlooked as well is that residing in a state of abundance is to have gratitude for an absence of lacking. As we know, wealth and excess can often create the greatest vacuum of lack, as happiness is sought purely by the measure of what has been acquired.

Saturn is one of order and structure that is both timely and timeless. The space of a Saturn return in ones natal chart is usually peppered with change, transition and a “cleaning up” so to speak of what is no longer productive and of durability. Saturn seeks to control, so of course, there will be perceived rigidity in this. Keyword here is “perceived”. Most often that rigidity is the “cause and effect” response our underdeveloped will and personality wield in trying to maintain the status quo, regardless of well it has served us. There is a certain maturity that is required and this is where the time piece comes into play. Maturity is not measured by chronological and/or linear time. It is the sum total of all of the experiences and lessons achieved (not learned, but fully integrated) that occur in a timeless (past, present and future in synchronicity and simultaneously) state of informed Will. Each pass of Saturn’s gift is one of opportunity to breathe into the now, informed by our past as we step into a future that is our ordered, structured and timely existence.

Mars is one of action, disruptive and transformative. The negative overtone here is that of aggression and the war like nature that is often attributed to Mars energy. And, this is partly true; but the larger truth lay in the forced nudging of the mother bird as she pushes her young from their nests so they can soar. This calls them to action, to flapping wings and eventually finding their own ways carried on the currents of wind. Mars demands that we move, but it is not the cosmic GPS that plots our course. That is your choice to make. The aggression that is felt within this energy is a matter of pacing and unrealistic views of your own abilities. Moving too fast will cause you to stumble and fall, but that is not the fault of the initial energy that catalyzed that movement (Mars). Therein lies the task. Know thyself, breathe into the action and pace yourself along the way to allow for the integration of what, if approached in this way becomes the Phoenix rising. If not, ashes and burn-out become the master.

Pluto is one of reflection, retrospection and deep openings. Pluto calls to the mysteries of endings (being the one of the furthest out in our solar system)and the reunion of past experience as the informed teacher of what will become. Pluto can be called upon to awaken the memories of who and what we truly are. I think of Pluto’s energy in terms of the lemniscate of eternity. The future coiling and reaching back continually into the past as the present is created from these dual efforts. I have always imagined that moving beyond Pluto I would emerge through the darkness, passing through the polarized veiling of brilliant light and emerging in the birthing of the next galaxy that is at once our past and the potential of our future.

The Next Layer-Element and Sign

Jupiter Retrograde in Earthy and Mutable Virgo

Physical and Manifest (Earth) Expansion (Jupiter) that is detailed and analytical (Virgo) in its flexible and resilient (Mutable) focus.

Saturn Retrograde in Fiery and Mutable Sagittarius
Action and the will to act (Fire) that seeks to become structured and organized (Saturn)
Will that reaches and stretches beyond itself(Mutable) to ignite a network of community that will seed the fires of a broader collaboration (Sagittarius)

And, in this case – Saturn and Mars are tag-teaming their energies. Structure (Saturn) and Upheaval (Mars) in intensifying the need to create order are amplified by Fire’s need to expand, destroy and heal and Sagittarius’ desire to spread a larger web of newly quickened growth. 

Mars Retrograde in Fiery and Mutable Sagittarius
Passion flows into desire to act (Fire) that un-relentlessly urges (Mars) us to stretch and move (Mutable) beyond the comfort zone of boundaries we have self-imposed(Sagittarius). These are the small fires that are flung far and wide, each fulfilling the desire to take root and become the blaze of permanent and lasting change.

Pluto Retrograde in Earthy and Cardinal Capricorn
The gift of beginning anew and re-birthing (Cardinal) from what is contained in the continuum (Pluto) of time converging as one stream of source. This is the slow and steady sure-footed progress of one who creates the path that dips into the waters of the Soul and is able to scale the heights of their nature (Capricorn), remaining equally grounded in all levels of being (Capricorn).

As we progress through the months, I will write more on each of these and their interactions and potential for your own work. As you can see there will be overlap for a time as the year progresses and some of these planets begin their direct motion and others join in the dance, adding the finishing nuances to what has been achieved thus far.

Sun in Earthy and Fixed Taurus
April 19 – May 19

A Helpful Ally

We can use the stability of this solar month of Taurus to provide a fixed and grounded foundation. Taurus is of the Earth element and one of the fixed signs of the zodiac. This means that the manifest realms are where this energy is at home and weaves its magick of strengthening. With much of the Retrograde energy seeking to intensify and to a large degree de-stabilize various aspects of our being (mundane and spiritual) the stubborn attribution that is often given to bullish Taurus can be parlayed into a useful tool of mediation. Additionally, we have the entire solar month to see clearly from its sustaining light as we move through the challenges that arise.

Stand Down and Rest Comfortably

The greatest lesson that I envision with these planetary Retrogrades is one of learning to be gentle with yourself as you accept that you do not have to shoulder the burden of everything that is part of who you are. Learning to rest in the stillness of who you are becoming as the landscape of your nature shifts and changes in accord with greater and deeper cosmic changes.

I offer a final common phrase to consider…

That of taking “the path of least resistance”. This does not mean passively laying down effort and intention. But, rather it speaks to trust and cultivating the ability to discern when action is required and necessary to move forward and when being carried on the current of a stream if deeper knowing and sinking into its depths as it changes and reshapes you is the best course. Being fully present in whatever experience you are having will support a feeling of being anchored as the emotions, mind and body move through these various states of transition.

The months ahead will provide ample opportunity to ride it out as we are stretched and pulled (Mutability) in many directions and when to actively become co-creator as the catalytic force and first stirrings of what will be (Cardinality) bubble up.

End Note:

I would also encourage you to read through some of the other posts I’ve written about these retrogrades and astrological signs. The beauty of astrology is that there is no singular way in which these energies present themselves. There is a common thread that serves as the foundation, but each day, each year, what appears as the same combination of planet, element, modality, sign, aspect, etc… is slightly different from the previous. These are the subtle nuances that give life to the interpretation and offer the space of application for the diverse and uniques blueprints that are our natal charts. 

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One Response to “Stand Down-Mars Retrograde and More!”

  1. Reblogged this on The Magickal Pen and commented:

    The Planets are calling us to change. Read more about these potent Retrogrades…

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