Mars’s Station and the March Backward

Hi folks,

I hope this note finds you safe and well.

This little Virgo has always loved the week after Labor Day — that moment of transition (for those of us here in the US, at least) when the unstructured summer gives way to order and focus, to work and school. It makes me — paraphrasing Nora Ephron — want to send bouquets of sharpened pencils to my friends.

That said, 2020’s post-Labor-Day week has felt more than a little off kilter, and here’s part of the reason why: Mars, God of Action and Direction, stationed on Wednesday, September 9, to travel backwards till November 13.

When planets station, we feel their full force for several days on each side. Mars is standing presently in the late degrees of Aries, the sign of wildfire, which may be one explanation for the current havoc being wrought in the western United States, where the red skies over California and Oregon look so unearthly, even Martian.

Mars is also, of course, the God of War, and other kinds of violence — and, well, all of that has been making news too. In the days leading up to Mars’s station, more information was revealed about Donald Trump’s disdain for fallen soldiers and also, the fact that he’s admitted to helping cover up the Saudi government’s murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a one-time refugee, US green-card holder, and father of American citizens.

So much for the energy of the station. Next up, the retrograde carries us back to March. Yep. You remember March, right? When WHO declared COVID a global pandemic and the morgues overflowed here in hometown New York City?

Back then, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto (the planets I have dubbed the “COVID clump”) were parading through the late degrees of Capricorn, when fleet-footed Mars passed among them, making a conjunction to each one as he went: he tagged Jupiter on March 20, Pluto on March 23, and Saturn on March 31.

Now (thanks to their own retrogrades) Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto have each returned back to their positions from March — all three are, once again, in the late degrees of Cap — with Mars making a new series of aspects to them: not conjunctions this time, but squares. Three sets of three squares, in fact.

Mars squared Jupiter on August 4, Pluto on August 13, and Saturn on August 24. Now that he’s headed retrograde, he’ll make the same circuit again, backwards: squaring Saturn on September 29, Pluto on October 9, and Jupiter on October 18.

Then once more into the breach, after Mars turns direct on November 13 — Mars squares Pluto for the third and final time on December 23, Saturn for the third and final time on January 13, and Jupiter for the third and final time on January 23.

What exactly does it mean for Mars to re-aspect the same three planets that he aspected back in March, and to redo those three re-aspects three times each? For one thing, it means that the stories and situations which captured our attention back in March will be active again now.

One conspicuous example of this is the revelation, which came out Wednesday, right smack on Mars’s station, that on March 19 (*almost* right smack on Mars’s conjunction to Jupiter) Donald Trump confessed that he had “played down” (i.e. lied about) the danger posed by COVID, despite knowing, as early as February 7, that this virus is both airborne and significantly deadlier than the flu.

We can expect to learn more about what went down last March, while Mars is moving retrograde this fall. We can also — I’m sorry to say it — expect another wave, more lockdowns and, yes, more death.

These aspects play out in our individual lives, too. What situations, apart from the obvious, were you dealing with six months ago? What do you need to clean up or make amends for? What deserves a reboot or fresh start?

It’s been more than 500 years since the last time that Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto all met together in Capricorn; they assembled there in the autumn of 1517, just a couple of weeks after Martin Luther nailed his theses to the church door and set off the Protestant Reformation.

Capricorn is the sign of institutions, structures, authority, and responsible behavior. Capricorn stands for tradition, “the way things have always been done,” and yet, perhaps paradoxically, challenges us to act with integrity on a personal level, to own up to all our own choices.

“Just following orders” was no defense at Nuremberg and it is no excuse now. You are a free moral agent, living in some really, really interesting times. Own your flaws; own your good qualities too. Words like “I’m sorry” and “I have reevaluated things” are especially powerful during this retrograde.

“Our collapse is so complete,” writes George Packer of the United States in the present moment, “that the field lies open — the philosophical questions brought on by despair allow us to reimagine what . . . we can be.”

Here’s to building back better.

Big hugs,


P.S. Here’s the link to my latest AstrologyHub video, which was recorded on Monday, September 7.