October 5, 2009 Mars enters Cancer
December 20, 2009 Mars station retrograde at 25:42 degrees Cancer
March 10, 2010 Mars station direct at 6:17 Cancer
Mars leaves Cancer on May 26, 2010 and is gandanta until June 4, 2010
Vedic astrologers often describe the red planet as a bad guy, one of four malefics (Saturn, Rahu, and Ketu). Usually Saturn is described as the 'big bad', but according to one of my favorite classics The Brihat Parasara Hora Sastra, Mars is the most malefic planet. It certainly can cause its fair share of misery. But Astrology Gary Gomes believes that Mars is misunderstood, and I agree with him. In his excellent article Mars(Mangala/Kuja/Angarika): The Spiritual Energy of the Mighty Malefic he proposes that Mars has a spiritual side:
One of the most frequently overlooked roles of Mars is its role in spiritual development, which I first encountered through the writings of the late M. Ramakrishna Bhatt--along with P. S. Sastri., one of the finest and best respected translators of Jyotish Sanskrit classics. Mars, according to Sri Bhatt, is the planet of those who avoid rebirth--certainly enough of a tantalizing hint to explore the spiritual dimensions of this planet.
Now that Mars has finally entered the fiery sign of Leo after transiting through its watery sign of debilitation for eight months, I thought I would give a parting assessment in the bright light of hindsight. What sort of spiritual lessons did it impart?
On October 5, 2009 Mars entered Cancer and remained there until May 26, 2010. Astrologically Mars is the planetary archetype for energy, desire, aggression, anger, war, and the ability to get what you want. When it is debilitated, energy doesn't flow smoothly, and it is much harder to get what you want; military victory is harder to attain; accidents and injuries increase, and unexpressed or repressed emotions suddenly flare.
Emotions are more volatile under the Moon's influence on the planet of desire. When Mars is placed in the sign of the Moon, psychological influences increase the negative effects of Mars like accidents caused by impulsive moods and illness rooted in psychological dis-ease. The Moon signifies feelings and emotions, the reflective mind, memory, and the public, and Mars represents will and courage. During the Moon's influence over Mars emotions stimulate desire and action, instead of wisdom and logic. Mars in Cancer can also give a sharp mind and the ability to heal through cutting or manipulating the body; but Mars in Cancer is also unreliable as it can also give start/stops at the wrong time, not to mention friction with the feminine principle.
When Mars entered Cancer, it did so while the Moon was in the sign of Aries creating a parvartana yoga, or mutual exchange of signs. This mutual exchange with the Moon canceled the debilitation of Mars for three days. To start this Mars cycle with this particular yoga indicates a promise of a higher purpose to this period.
One of the biggest media events at this time was NASA's LCROSS mission to bomb the Moon with a Centaur rocket in search for water. It was scheduled to occur while Mars was conjunct Ketu and the Moon was be in the last degrees of Taurus, its sign of exhaltation. Ketu has a fiery nature and when combined with Mars' impulsive and explosive energy it indicates a sudden release of violent energy. However, in this situation the strength of the Moon in its sign of exhaltation won. The explosion was supposed to be viewable on the Earth, but the bomb failed to produced the promised plume. The mission was a huge flop and left NASA scrambling to come up with some mission accomplished story line. By February President Obama cancelled the American project designed to take humans back to the Moon, and then on to Mars.
During the first week of December, NASA announced it found water on Mars. Ironically this followed a November 15th release of a BBC Dr. Who special called The Waters of Mars. This fictional story is set on Mars in the year 2059, where the Doctor encounters the first human colony, Bowie Base One [Perhaps a play not only on David Bowie but his son who directed Moon (2009)]. This group is commanded by Captain Adelaide Brooke who turns out to be a pivotal character in the history of humanity. The Doctor must decide whether to use his knowledge of her fate to change history -- which he does.
Mars in Cancer certainly brought up themes of water and life on the Moon and red planet, as well as suggests that colonization may be an ill-fated idea. It also continued the extra-terrestrial meme of an earlier race waiting in a latent form to be released when humans start poking around. Jay Weidner also discusses this idea in his recent radio interview with Kerry Kennedy of Project Camelot (see Starsyncs for the link). He believes this race seeded the earth, and secretly controls the planet. They possess a knowledge of a 60,000 cataclysmic cycle in which the Sun sends a catastrophic solar flare that wipes life out on earth -- as in the apocalyptic movie Knowing. These "Martians" are currently preparing to return to Mars for safety before the next big flare supposedly in 2012, and later return to earth to regenerate their human slaves when all is clear. Interesting theory in light of our efforts to find evidence of life and water on Mars.
A month after NASA announced the discovery of water on Mars, the red planets trajectory shifted as it slowed and reversed into a three month retrograde cycle that created a reversal of debilitation called neecha banga. In my experience, the retrograde motion of a debilitated planet does not fully cancel the debilitation, but rather slows things down and softens the negative effects and in this case gives more opportunity to learn about our will and what we are will to do to get what we want.
Mars went retrograde on December 20, 2009 while in opposition to the Moon in Capricorn. This dance with the Moon at significant changes in motion is very intriguing and again points to a potential for enlightening lessons.
Astronomically Mars appears closer to the earth during its retrograde period (perhaps making it easier for interplanetary travel). In January Mars was only 99 million km (60 million miles) away and appeared bigger through a telescope than any moment between 2008 and 2014. During this time Mars rose a few hours after sunset in the eastern sky. Keep in mind that malefics have more power express negative aspects at night. At the same time of Mars full opposition to the earth on Friday, January 29, 2010, Uranus returned to the sign of Pisces in a parvartana yoga with Neptune, which as I mentioned in my previous post is connected to the initial explosion on the Deepsea Horizon Oil rig.
After three months Mars stationed and went direct on March 10, 2010, again in opposition to the Moon in Capricorn in the nakshatra of Uttara Ashada, conjunct President Obama's natal chart ruler, Saturn, and dasha lord, Jupiter. As we have seen from his election chart, Uttara Ashada has delivered him 'unchallengable victory' on previous occasions. At this time the big media story was the push for universal Health Care and it was clear that President Obama was directing his will behind the scenes. After canceling trips abroad, he put all of his energy and attention into this bill, which finally passed without the public (Moon) option. Although the President didn't get everything he wanted, it was a significant win and beginning for universal health care.
Two weeks later President Obama shocked liberal supporters with an announcement that he wanted to increase off-shore drilling off the Atlantic coast. For a president on a roll following a big health care win, the drilling declaration was called both aggressive and pragmatic by the press. He rationalized: "Even with a push for cleaner energy sources and efficient cars – and with promises of protection for ecosystems and coastal tourism – the nation still needs more oil." This decision was based on the need to start to reshaping far-reaching economic and national security policies, affecting where the U.S. gets the fuel for its cars, heating energy needs (Mars) of the people (Moon).
As I discussed in my previous post, Mars also rules real estate, metals, and anything that is piercing or penetrating like oil drilling. The event chart showed the influence of this debiliated Mars in the rising sign of Scorpio. Moreover Mars aspected  the ruler of oil, Neptune which was in an exact parvartana yoga with the ruler of unpredictable and sudden change, Uranus, was placed in the fortuitous 9th house. And the repeated theme of flowers and lotus made me wonder what good could possibly come out of this environmental disaster?
And then I realized the irony that The BP logo resembled a flower. In 2000 BP changed its name from British Petroleum to Beyond Petroleum, and unveiled its all too familiar "green" brand image in an attempt to win over environmentally aware consumers. Like the double-cross of the Exxon logo, the so called green flower is really a disguised-in-plain view symbol of Helios, an ancient Greek Sun god, representing energy in its many forms. According to BP the company the logo and "Beyond Petroleum campaign" represents their focus on meeting the growing demand for fossil fuels, manufacturing and delivering more advanced products, and enabling the material transition to a lower carbon future.
It is clear that BP has not been forth right in dealing with this environmental disaster. Withholding crucial video, blocking media access to the site, and a failure to share complete information about efforts and failures to contain the largest oil spill in U.S. history have created the widespread impression that BP is misleading the public and the government. And the Obama administration has also been under fire for blindly accepting BP's cover story. Yesterday, as Mars passed the critical 3rd degree of its gantanta state, the Feds initiated a criminal investigation of BP. It remains to be seen what we have truly learned about our oil addiction, but it seems like the public is waking up and demanding change. I personally believe those in power fear this the most, and are terrified of losing their grip on their human slaves.
Personal Reflections on this Mars Cycle
I have never experienced or witnessed such a long period of continuous pain and suffering both in the collective and personally. My own natal chart contains Mars in Cancer, but its retrograde motion and mutual exchange with Moon in Aries has negated much of its negative potential. So this transit of Mars through Cancer was also a Mars return for me. Moreover, Mars aspects every planet in my natal chart, so I was keenly aware of its vibration in nearly all aspects of my life and witnessed its effects on my partner, family, patients, colleagues, and friends.
As Mars rules my 10th house of work from the 6th house of service and health, it is no surprise that my primary work is acupuncture. I suspected that my practice might suffer a little during this Mars cycle, or I might be a little tired. Initially my practice was busier than ever in part because so many patients were in crisis. I was fully booked through the winter holidays. However, once it went retrograde, things began to slow down. I welcomed this decline as my own health had suddenly been tested. In November I noticed a few flea bites (Mars transiting my natal Rahu which is the current dasha lord), and by the end of December I realized that my body was dealing with an exacerbation of Lyme's disease -- an infection of the blood, which is ruled by Mars.
Most of my symptoms were achy joints and muscles, and very bad headaches that I took NSAIDs to keep at bay. By February the NSAIDs had burned my stomach and esophagus and I ended up in the ER on a Tuesday (Mar's day) night (when Mars is at its most malefic) with severe stomach pain. My attending doctor was -- drum roll -- Dr. Mars -- I kid you not!! The synchronicity of the moment made realized that this was a special moment in time: an opportunity for real change. I had been addicted to NSAIDs for years, and I was in enough pain to finally stop them cold turkey and deal with the pain naturally. Mars also rules the 3rd house of my natal chart which is associated with writing, and thus part of my healing process included taking a break from writing and a fast from the internet. This break made me realize how much the media effects me on all levels; and I realized the illusion of it all. That in the present, I am safe, happy and well. I cannot express how much gratitude I have for this enlightening ordeal.
And can't help but wonder if many of the seemingly painful and intense Mars inflicted problems were all opportunities? It is still hard to tell if the new health care plan will really work, but it is a start in the right direction. It is harder to imagine anything good coming out of the rusty colored oil staining the Gulf of Mexico. Is it possible that we as a species may truly realize that we must stop polluting our world and our bodies, and actually take action to do so? Only time will tell, but I would keep my eye on Mars to see if it offering opportunities for enlightenment.