September 2021: Mars opposes Neptune
This month begins with an opposition of Mars to Neptune. This aspect, which is exact today, grew over the latter half of August and will fade out through the first half of September. Any combination of these two planets combines the hard, pointed, energetic qualities of Mars with the soft, yielding, diffuse qualities of Neptune, making it a tricky aspect to handle. On the one hand, Mars can deliver energy for active spiritual or artistic pursuits, as we bravely sally forth into the Neptunian realms of imagination, vision, and divine union. On the other hand, Neptune can douse our inner fire, leaving us feeling soggy, sapped, and listless. As with any astrological alignment, we are likely to get a mixed bag, experiencing various combinations of its positive and negative expressions.
With Mars-Neptune, our inner warrior (Mars) may feel called to higher action, rooted in the compassion that arises from knowing we are all one (Neptune). This is the aspect of the spiritual warrior, peace activist, or martial artist. Martial arts combine the flowing qualities of Neptune with the fighting spirit of Mars, and they also rely on an awareness and manipulation of subtle (Neptune) energy (Mars). Aikido represents a particularly Neptunian response to Mars. In Aikido, which has no offensive moves whatsoever, a practitioner gently guides an aggressor to the ground, not only using their force against them, but doing so compassionately.
Less savory versions of Mars-Neptune include creepy, passive aggressive, or toxically manipulative behavior. Neptune rules dreams, which are a short step to illusion, and one more step to deception. Thus Mars-Neptune is the gaslighting aspect, par excellence, as the aggressive dimensions of Mars hide behind the smoke and mirrors of Neptune. The stalker, dissolving seamlessly into the shadows, is yet another expression. Toxicity of all kinds is possible as the invasive, violent, corrosive aspects of Mars enter the Neptunian waterways: interpersonal toxicity, codependent power plays, toxic spills, infections, etc. Violent water– like the flooding brought by Hurricane Ida– is yet another expression.
Neptune also rules the power of the image, and thus relates to film, photography, and the media. Neptune is the central bank behind the statement “a picture is worth a thousand words”. The Taliban’s recapture of Afghanistan hits a number of Mars-Neptune points, from the imagery of armed men permeating the media, to the sense of cultural cancer coming out of remission, as a latent militant system permeating the whole region suddenly comes back on line. It also underscores the ultimate futility of US military might (Mars), as 20 years of military effort are washed away (Neptune) in a single stroke.
Mars-Neptune also relates to the ability to powerfully enter the consciousness of others or the collective, for good or ill. Thus, artists like Maya Angelou and Igor Stravinky, both born with Mars-Neptune aspects, were able to captivate large numbers of people with the incomparable products of their imagination. Said Maya Angelou: “If one is lucky, a solitary fantasy can totally transform one million realities.” Charismatic, creative, smooth-talking evil genius Charles Manson had a Mars-Neptune alignment, allowing him to penetrate the minds of his followers and turn them into murderers. Meanwhile, a man born in the same hospital at roughly the same time as Manson, thus possessing the same birth chart, grew up to be a great guy and beloved veterinarian, noted for his uncanny animal-whisperer qualities. Can you see the similarity between the two, while also understanding how it is that astrology cannot concretely predict anything?
Let the Taoist concept of Wu Wei– effortless action– be your guiding light during this period. Learn to flow with the subtle vibrations and pulsations of the universe, what the Taoist’s call the Tao, and the tantrics call Spanda. The more “in flow” you are, the better. The more you struggle against the current, or try to bend it to your will, the more you are likely to feel the toxic, soggy qualities of Mars-Neptune. If you feel the latter, do not judge yourself. Simply quiet down and watch your thoughts and sensations arise, crest, and dissolve back into nothing. Then get back on your cosmic surfboard and try again. You do not need to make things happen: simply let them happen through you, around you, within and without you.
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