Prometheus Bound: Mars In Aquarius Retrograde
The talk of the astrological town as it were, and the seminal astrological event of 2018, besides the entrance of Saturn in Capricorn, is the apparent retrograde motion of Mars through the first decan of Aquarius and into the last decan of Capricorn. Mars has been slowing down for quite some time, stationed today at 6:04 am EDT, and finally began his about-face at 5:04 pm EDT. We can say that a Saturn ingress is big news, as are Cardinal sign ingresses, and lunar phase charts, and of course, they are. They dominate the thoughts and conversations of even non-astrologers on a frequent basis. But Mars retrograde in Aquarius is kind of a big deal.
For whatever reason, most likely related to larger centurial or millennial cycles I have yet to study, Mars does not retrograde back through Aquarius often. The last time he did so was in 1971. Elon Musk was born twelve days before the last station of Mars in Aquarius at nearly 22 degrees. There is no birth time listed for Mr. Musk, but it would not surprise me a bit if Mars figures prominently in his chart, for he really is the embodiment of Mars in Aquarius: visionary, eccentric, and given to practical foreward thinking. One may not associate the word practical with Aquarius, but we bring Aquarius into proper focus when we acknowledge Saturn as the true ruler of that sign.
The correction of rulership is what first attracted me to Traditional Astrology, and it is my opinion that Aquarius suffers most in description and execution by having a new ruler foisted upon it. Uranus ruled Aquarius is revolutionary, hyper-liberal, iconoclastic, and shocking. In order to accommodate that narrative, we must first contemplate that Saturn is not those things. Yes, Saturn does rule limits, and conservatism, but Saturn also seeks to subvert the natural order by opposing the lights, the Sun and the Moon, who rule Leo and Cancer respectively. Leo and Cancer are the King and Queen; they are Daddy and Mommy; they are the basis of the structures of family, town, society and nation. Saturn opposes them in Capricorn and Aquarius in the shadows at the end of our seen galaxy. Saturn does this, because he recognizes in a very essential, radical way, that the status quo cannot survive without subversion and challenge. Saturn does this because he knows that lights cannot shine without a dark palette to provide contrast. The traditional ruler of astrology and the occult is Saturn after all.
Furthermore, to suggest that Aquarius is anything but conservative, particularly monetarily, is actually rather amusing. Check out this list of names: Ronald Reagan, Jeb Bush, Sarah Palin, Katie Hopkins, Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones. These people are all high profile conservatives and all Sun-sign Aquarians. If anything, when politics and entertainment collide, Aquarius is predicatably counter-culture, just not in a way that makes people who call themselves counter-culture feel good. The entertainment industry, a Leonine endeavor, trends heavily liberal. Politically, if you study the charts of folks who trend left, at times, hard left, you will find Taurus (of all things) and Leo much more prominently featured. Aquarius offers the response, and sometimes, he shocks and appalls us. Sadly, we are so painfully polarized at this moment, that there is no real conversation happening on the global stage. (And no, I don’t support immigrant children being taken from their parents. If ever I extol the virtues of a politcal philosophy, it is never to that point. Hardcore party-liners on both sides of the political aisle are the monsters to me. People who refuse to question allow atrocities to happen. There is no excuse for that. Please do not infer that I approve of such travesties.)
Back to here and now and then: when I meditate on Mars retrograding through the unfamiliar waters of the Water-bearer, it brings to mind the ancient Greek Titan, Prometheus. According to the myths of old, Prometheus created mankind out of clay, and provided us with fire, because he saw that we were unfit to figure out how to survive without celestial guidance. The gift of fire came with severe consequences for our compassionate champion. A primary theme of Greek mythology is the general Olympian disdain for humanity. Zeus, the chief Olympian, punished Prometheus for his aid by binding him to a rock, and setting an eagle on Prometheus daily to peck at his liver, which was considered the house of emotions during Greek times. Interestingly enough, several entities who sought to provide humanity with any sort of accelerated advantage are considered enemies of God or enemies of divinity and celestial order: think Enki or the angels who taught Enoch about agriculture and astrology/astronomy. The true nature and story of Saturn asserts himself here again.
With Mars in Aquarius travelling backwards this summer, we are forced to contemplate Prometheus bound to that rock, and being punished, basically for being a benevolent proponent of humanity. But was he really, or was he simply giving us more information than we can handle? At any rate, that push-pull is what defines our spiritual essence in the universe, and again, neither can exist without the other. It does not seem like much of a coincidence to me that Mars and Saturn are both retrograding through Saturn’s home signs during the summer in a face-off with the lights. Tomorrow, Saturn will join with the Moon in Capricorn in opposing the Sun. The Moon would rather be anywhere than Capricorn, particularly while being so clearly outmatched by Saturn in his domicile. Later, Mars will engage the Moon and the South Node in opposing Sun in Leo, which will mark a total eclipse of the Moon. Saturn is the clear victor this Summer, and Mars in Aquarius is his weak proxy. Sun in Leo is a worthy opponent, but ultimately, this looks to be an uncomfortable Summer in general.
Of note: Mars is also perihilon to the Sun, which means that he is closest to the Sun in his elliptical orbit, and therefore bright in the sky. He will increase in brightness throughout the summer, and will remain in a perihilon state until September. If you live in my neck of the world, and go view the sky around midnight, you will see Mars rising in vivid, rubescent brilliance. He is so bright, in fact, that he will surpass Jupiter in brightness later this summer. And this, my friends, is the the root of astrology and astronomical observation. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors sat by the fire at night, and told stories and gazed into the night sky. They would have undoubtedly noted the intensity of the reflective light of Mars, and correlated it with events going on around them. Again, we join the link between the past, present and future. This summer really does belong to Saturn, Lord of Time.
Here is the chart for Mars retrograde for my area. I can’t spend much time on this chart, because this article went in directions I did not intend. Venus is the big winner here, as she is high in the sky, and Mars takes orders from her, being in both her bounds and face. Venus opposes Mars and confers no benefit back to him. Venus also enjoys some dignity of her own by being mutually received by the Sun by triplicity (see note 1). Venus is not of her own sect, but outshines the planets that are in sect. She is also the hour ruler. All in all, Venus presides over a rather dull party, one without good tunes, and one where the bartender waters down all the drinks. (Jupiter has not been game for a good party in a long time, being retrograde in Scorpio. Saturn is retrograde in the cadent third. He is stuck at school writing, “I will not be a sour-puss” on the chalk board one hundred times. The Moon is reluctantly dragging herself closer and closer to her inevitable pairing with old sour-puss himself.)
Note 1: No, I do not agree that planets must behold each other in order to mutually receive one another. Dignity is dignity, and aspects are aspects. They do not depend on one another to exist. More to the point, mutual reception achieves something important in many cases, by preventing planets from existing in a peregrine state. If we view a peregrine planet as a “stranger in a strange land”, then we can appreicate how comparatively rare peregrinity is. It is rare to be dropped into a location not speaking the language, having no currency, or even clothes, like a character from the Terminator. In life, we almost always have allies, even if our own birthrite is an allegiance.
The featured image for this article is a sculpture created by Nicolas Sebastien Adam in 1760, and is one of the marvels to be found at the Louvre.