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Attributes of Kubera ‘Lord of the Horses’ Detail of the offering cake from the Attributes of Kubera ‘Lord of the Horses’ in a Tibetan “rgyan tshogs” banner. http://catalogue.wellcomelibrary.org/record=b1465547 Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International

Neptune retrogrades on the 18th, and as a molasses-slow mover, apparent motion for this big fella around changes of direction is almost standing still; it’s as if we’re observing something in another dimension, where we appear speeded-up while we see elements there as barely inching along. That implies a certain subtlety to the effect, the notorious fogginess turned up to 11. With it reversing short of perfecting a trine to Pallas, and on its way to completing a trine to Jupiter (in effect, participating in a Grand Water Trine with these two), what we may expect is an opportunity for emotional balance that slips away, something that almost achieved wisdom or practicality, that slips into exaggeration, deception, opportunism, or gives way to beliefs, which may or may not support a healthy feeling scenario. The suggestion is that at least part of the retro period will be spent trying to retrieve that nearly-reached state of emotional equilibrium–so see emo ups and downs as part of a larger balancing process, rather than as isolated experiences.

Fire Grand Trine forms roughly on the 18th of June and burns through about the 28th, with Ceres, Vesta, and Juno all late in Fire signs. This presses us to find action equilibrium, that is, expressions of our authority, personal power and reach (of which negotiations are one facet), our status (especially those roles that concern our relationships to others, and how that confers the ability to make the Will felt), and expressions of what we honor or find sacred. It’s a matter of seeking out, probably repeatedly, things that make us feel we’re imprinting our values on others and the environment. This can be exceptionally fulfilling if we succeed. The configuration offers us an unusually large window for Self-realization and the creation of satisfying circumstances, one where our actions and ideals can blend almost seamlessly, and where inspiration lights a fire under action that is right in line with what we care about most.

Mars retrogrades on the 26th in Aquarius–goes direct again on 28 August. This happens every 2.5 years and for most of us will describe a period of looking inward, or at least hesitating where earlier we would’ve charged ahead. We may be thrown back on ourselves when we try to act and fail, or we may have introspection forced on us if we hope to go forward. We examine our own (and often everyone else’s) intentions, and we look closely at the result actions bring–good, bad, or neutral. Review of our choices occurs, and motivations should be faced, if we want our own actions to be effective in the future–this is no time to dodge Self-responsibility. ‘Pulled Punches’ may be a theme, as may ‘Sexual Frustration’, ‘Thwarted Will’, and sudden losses of drive, initiative, aggression, or appetite. Ego may take over, in a panic at the disorienting feeling of drifting, or the ‘I Am’ may shrink to nothing, gaining awareness of the Cosmos as a whole and forgetting the individual needs.

A great deal of your response will depend upon your current and natal relationship with Martian energy, especially your confidence level, your sense of personal authority (the kind that grants you permission to apply your Will to the environment), the vulnerability of your ego, and your usual ability to get your Martian needs met: to be taken seriously, to receive gratification from your world, and to act as you wish. The measure of successful Mars expression will vary wildly from person to person, so the experience of retro energy may also vary significantly, and there’s always the individual who has Mars retro in the natal chart. This person may feel a little more ‘at home’ suddenly, as the world is somehow a bit more in tune with them than usual. Mars retro natally can make for a misfit or a renegade, a pirate or a pioneer, and the retro cycle may offer them some relief from their usual outsider role.

The House in the natal chart ruled by Mars may also see action, likely a pull-back from something that was going forward with no hitch–and you may see the same thing in matters of the House Mars is currently transiting and turning around in. The question becomes, ‘Is there a precipice there that this withdrawal of energy allowed you to avoid, or are you being intimidated or over cautious?’ If we’re in tune with ourselves, Mars retro can offer us information we might’ve overlooked when Mars was direct; we could avoid conflict, ego-blunders, precipitous acts, and impulsivity driven by primal demands, as either our own engine sputters or the world makes us back down, our confidence shaken by externals or the withdrawal of ‘muscle’, in one form or another.

Receptive Mars is not a term we normally employ, but which we might consider trying to manifest in some form during this period. Conflict with our own Martian urges can create real dissonance and delay or otherwise confuse our efforts, if we’re typically more straightforward. With this Mars retrograde the turnaround occurs on the same day that Earth conjoins and Sun opposes Saturn, with Hygeia forming a Cardinal T-square that suggests until we find optimum channels for the shifted energy we may suffer headaches, clumsiness, eye strain, palpitations, and unusual bone and muscle weakness–so especially at the point of retrograde, take care to avoid unnecessary stress and strain, or those injuries you find yourself suffering when Mars energy can’t find a way out may pop up and sideline you unexpectedly, making it even tougher to sort out forward momentum in a retro atmosphere.

And in case you missed it, here’s the New Moon of the 13th.