Holy War – Mars Retrogrades in Sagittarius April 2016
By Agent 17 – Armand Diaz
Holy War – Mars Retrogrades in Sagittarius April 2016 – retrograde dates 17 April – 29 June
“Spring ahead, fall back” is a mnemonic that helps some folks (in the Northern Hemisphere) remember that clocks are pushed ahead for daylight savings time in the spring, and back for standard time in the autumn. Yet it also sums up nicely the flow of the astrological year: we begin to spring ahead with the Aries ingress, when the sun enters the first sign of the zodiac. Above the equator or below, it’s a time of beginnings.
This year, however, we may find that we are “falling back” before we get very far. That’s because Mars, the ruling planet of Aries, screeches to a halt and turns around to retrograde through the skies from 17 April until 29 June. When Mars retrogrades at this time of year, as he did in 2014 at the peak of the Uranus/Pluto square, we may find that things slow down just as we expect them to be speeding up.
Sagittarius is a sign that is associated with our belief systems – it rules philosophy and religion, as well as higher education. While the sign of the archer is often striving for higher truths and fueling the spiritual quest, it can also become rather stuck and dogmatic when such a truth is found. Sagittarius can thus be somewhat polarizing, as it leads us to believe we have found the one true holy grail, the ultimate truth, the real deal.
With Saturn in Sagittarius, as he is this year, such truths are simultaneously espoused and questioned. Playing both sides of the argument, Saturn both digs in to advocate for tradition and tests the validity of our beliefs. Mars retrograding in Sagittarius will add to the polarity, and is likely to incite action as well as debate. Already, we have seen some of the manifestations, in the form of ISIS attacks in Belgium and Iraq, and the Turkish/Kurdish tensions erupt. Anti-LGBTQ legislation in the U.S. states of North Carolina and Georgia has also sparked debates about religion (and sexuality – appropriate given that Mars will also retrograde through Scorpio). Expect that conflicts will also heat up at universities and religious institutions.
Before Mars stations to retrograde on April 17th, the Aries action will already be quite hot. Venus enters the sign on the 5th, and the Aries sun will aspect Pluto and Uranus on the days around the powerful new moon in the sign, on April 7th. The first week in April is thus a concentration of power, where revolutionary forces can lead to explosions and implosions.
Mars is not particularly busy making aspects this month, which isn’t surprising given that he’s only moving a few degrees. He will make awkward quincunxes to Mercury and the sun on April 10th and April 27th. With the other two planets in earthy Taurus, we may find that these are the days when Mars’ energy winds up manifesting in concrete ways. Confusion may reign around the 27th, as it’s only a day before Mercury stations to retrograde. It may be the moon’s aspects to Mars, prominent on the 6th, 10th, 15th, and 25th that get our attention most directly, however.
Mars’ station on the 17th is accompanied by a square from the moon, and occurs less than a day before Pluto stations to retrograde. With both Mars and Pluto stopping in the sky, expect this to be an especially hot couple of days. At the least, we’ll be seeing a lot of irritability and volatility around this time. Personal interactions are likely to be especially charged, and at the collective level things could get very intense indeed. Give others some space, and take some for yourself, as well.
The full moon on April 22nd is in Mars’ other home sign, Scorpio. This is traditionally a difficult full moon, as Luna is both exposed and dissected. Feelings are examined rather than felt, and tension is often high. With the dual Mars/Pluto station just a few days past, it’s likely to be a challenging time.
This April, we are both pulled forward and pushed backward. Or maybe we are pushed forward and pulled backward. However you think about it, it’s likely that just as our motivation peaks, our ability to do something about it is hampered or suppressed in some way. Frustration can build, and acting out is a possibility. More optimistically, remember that the greater the tension, the greater the release that follows.