How do I move forward?
It’s a deceptively complex question. To properly answer, one needs not only incredible introspection, knowledge of your own motivations and capabilities, but also understanding of the larger world and one’s place within it. We need to understand the game before we play, and we need to learn each piece’s capacity to navigate the board around us. These are all questions asked by Mars, the planet of Motion and Drive, and with its ingress into Taurus on January 6th, we’re given a new perspective.
In June of 2020, Mars emerged triumphant as one of the year’s major players. The Lesser Malefic returned home to Aries, establishing a base of operations it would occupy for the next six months — nearly three times its usual stay in any given sign. With the God of War in his own dominion for half the year the scene was already set for some less-than-desirable events, but thanks to its biennial retrograde it also squared off with the Capricorn Cabal numerous times. In a year of Lower Expression, Mars and its aspects imparted all the most literal themes of rage, fever, contagion, and violence to our awareness.
Naturally, Mars’ ingress into Taurus became an eagerly anticipated event. Astrologers all over Instagram looked to January 6th as an end to the onslaught of cinematic action, posting trendy shareable soundbites about peaceful, slow-paced Taurus. With the Hierophant established as the archetype of 2021, Taurus becomes an important collective indicator. And any time we affix the collective lens to a sign, we begin to see a very different side of the energy. We recognize that the energetic expression is not one we can exclusively control, and the more players involved, the more erratic the game becomes. The next few years will be a crash course in astrology for anyone willing to follow along and learn the spectrum of archetypal expression. It’s not enough to simply apply zodiacal qualities to planetary energies, we also must consider patterns of movement and aspects made to other planets. This is where we see the true potential of Mars in Taurus: its continued clashes with Saturn and Jupiter, and its new alliances with Uranus and Lilith.
Mars has earned its reputation as the Lesser Malefic: we’ve seen its potential as an agitator, inflaming tempers like a match strike. Mars is a passionate planet, but misplaced passions often turn destructive. Because of its Venusian rulership, Taurus has an affinity for sensuality, the kind of slow, full-bodied experience that requires time and patience. It’s easy to see Mars in Taurus as an excuse to return to the senses, to slow down and explore passions previously dismissed but we must remember that Mars suffers under Venusian influence. Its inherent priorities are essentially opposed to Venus’ soft, indulgent preferences, and without serious introspection and understanding typically lead to extreme impatience.
The cool, Fixed Earth of Taurus dampens the blaze of Mars’ fire, but it doesn’t completely stamp out the planet’s flames. Taurus represents the comforts of life, our means of living day to day, and Mars’ presence simultaneously increases our desire and motivation for more while razing the stores we have. With Uranus, the planet of Revolution and Progress, occupying the sign since 2018, Mars’ ingress turns up the heat on issues of economic hardship and financial dissatisfaction. We’re made aware that while we’ve played the game to the best of our abilities, the rules are not what we’ve thought and there are more powerful pieces on the board. Mars becomes the Tormenting Angel of Job, testing our faith and commitment to every truth we’ve ever known.
Over the last six months Mars danced back and forth with Lilith, highlighting the insecurities and taboos impeding our growth from within. With Lilith’s ingress into Taurus in late October, our focus shifted from wounds of self and ego to our material losses and failures. Compounded with the erraticism of Mars and Uranus, Lilith draws keen attention to our sense of lack and instability. Left unchecked, we cast our eye upon others with envy and resentment, sentiments which are prime fodder for Mars’ destructive flames. With these planets preying upon some of our most primal fears, how do we find a path to higher expression?
The answer lies in one of Taurus’ greatest strengths: presence.
Mars in Taurus also holds lessons of Natural Order, and the forced slowness allows us a chance to pull our perspective back into place. In order to make the best moves, we must first understand our own part in the game. The last year has highlighted the presence of powerful players and pushed our focus to their interests and intrigues, but we remain on the board. There’s power in accepting your role, however limited your moves may be — remember, a pawn may become queen if it can avoid capture.
On January 13th Mars squares off with Saturn, challenging our ability to accept our station under Behemoths of Power and Authority. We’ve felt this frustration keenly over the last few years, especially as Saturn has occupied the rocky mountains of Capricorn, a stone monument to our perceived oppression. And while Saturn remains dignified in Aquarius, its new airy influence frames the struggle as an intellectual one. Rather than the literal fire and brimstone of Aries and Capricorn, we operate in a fixed world: with the rules defined, we can focus on making the best moves possible. Mars squares Saturn once more this year when it moves into strategic Scorpio: if we can maintain our focus on the path ahead, we stand to gain serious ground towards our goals. Mars also squares off with Jupiter on January 23rd offering us a chance to zoom out and see the bigger picture, an advantage we haven’t had since 2019 before Jupiter was locked away in its sign of fall. With the Greater Benefic now freed from its Capricorn prison, we once again feel our full capacity for expansion — first in the Aquarian mindscape, then on the gameboard itself.
The major obstacle to our strategy is Uranus, which, along with Underworld King Pluto, has been changing the rules for the last few years as it moves in and out of aspect with our personal planets. But here, too, presence is our secret weapon: our landscape is changing, and no one can project exactly what it becomes. The future may rely upon any number of variables yet to be played by forces beyond our control, but the present is far from static. Each step forward comes with new understanding about the energies around us, a shift in perspective that affords us new allies and resources to call into play. Mars aligns with Uranus, our Bishop of High Weirdness, on January 20th, and with it may come a key strategy for the game ahead. Resist the urge to put these tactics into immediate play: Mars has another full month in Taurus and during that time, it moves into aspect with both Neptune and Pluto, planets infamous for their ability to impede moves and topple pieces. Allow more impulsive players to go first — we’re playing a long game.