Fear of astrological transits, and especially retrogrades, can be lurking below the surface of our general astrological dialogue, affecting our emotions and behaviors. For this reason, I'm often ambivalent about writing about future transits. It's nice to know what's happening astrologically, to feel like we're in alignment with these symbolic weather patterns, but when we attach seriously to edicts of what to do or not to do, we begin to lose our sense of soul centered power, our ability to simply live in the moment intuitively. It can be challenging to balance the value of living consciously in alignment with astrological cycles and the trust to simply live consciously.
Recently someone asked me about the prospect of beginning a relationship in the current Mars retrograde cycle (January 23rd to April 13th). She had been told that initiating a sexual relationship in a Mars retrograde ‘would end up in disaster’. Followed strictly, that would mean not becoming intimate with someone she’d been seeing for awhile. They both felt ready to take things to the next step. Should they wait for three months? Does that mean every relationship commenced in this time period will end up in disaster? What actually qualifies as disaster?
We’re also in Mercury retrograde, also considered to be an inauspicious time for starting anything. With Mercury, conventional wisdom focuses on communications issues, equipment breaking and problems with traveling, To begin a relationship under Mercury retrograde is associated with problems with communication as if Mercury will somehow ’cause’ the problems.
And let’s not forget Saturn. We are in a Saturn retrograde that began on February 7th and continues to June 24th. Saturn rules business and the structures we create in the material plane. Most would suggest that we don’t begin new ventures during this time period either, but focus instead on working on what we’ve already committed to, setting boundaries to define what works and what doesn’t.
Should we just sit around and watch television for the first half of the year? I don’t think so. When we think of planets causing misfortune, calamities, disasters and problems because we began something in a retrograde time, we can feel paralyzed and then begin to manipulate our way through life feeling disempowered and disconnected from our intuition. This is not the best use of astrology, nor of our life force.
From an intuitive view, I would suggest that we are operating always in alignment with the planetary energies, because we are the planets. Looking at astrological forecasts and charts simply gives us a language to help explain what we’re feeling or what we feel compelled to do, the kind of flow, challenge or complication that might be within us at the particular time.
One of the most intense relationships of my life began under a Mars retrograde. It was definitely not easy, nor was it a disaster. I learned about my own Mars and how it operated (or in fact didn’t operate) in my life. Anger, assertion, ego and physicality were highlighted in that dynamic and combustible dance that brought me into another round of therapy. The healing I accomplished was profound. I wouldn’t have been the same person without it. Was it a bad relationship because it happened to start it under the retrograde and would it have been calm and peaceful if we’d waited a couple of months? (I know absolutely not!) … or did the retrograde define the energy I was called to review in that cycle of life?
I’m not saying we should all completely ignore the current triplet of retrogrades and charge forward into projects and relationships. Probably most of us are in alignment with this review vibration internally anyway. I’m saying it’s not necessary to be afraid that planets are affecting us negatively and then putting our lives on hold. It’s a time to rethink, review and restructure the direction of our life force, our relationships and our business affairs. If that includes something that seems to want to start at this time, then start it. There is something you’re learning, healing or understanding here. Follow your gut instinct. Read documents carefully (always good advice!). In most cases, if there’s an problem you can do a re-start later. There are always more retrogrades and more reviews, and there’s never a perfect time in human reality. Life is complicated, messy, delightful.
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Marjorie Orr has an M.A. (Hons) in English Literature and Philosophy from Glasgow University, and was a current affairs journalist, award-winning BBC TV documentary producer and then a psychotherapist. She has a worldwide following for her astrology... read more