It’s Scorpio Season (and thus Mars season). The Sun is cool, maybe even cold. Mars inadvertently splashed water onto the stovetop and the steam rises hot and dissipates, but the tea is not cooking thoroughly. Can you drink the too-cool half-steeped tea? Is all the caffeine being extracted from the Earl Grey? Will you have enough energy for a good day? Will you stay up ’til midnight anyway, running on half-cylinder? There are two kinds of Mars: Aries Mars and Scorpio Mars. While Aries Mars is a marathon runner holding the Olympic torch — muscles burning but he keeps going; Scorpio Mars is a shark swimming sleek through water. A shark runs on half-cylinder while resting, keeping her eyes open and, some research indicates, keeping half of her brain alert while she “sleeps.” Mars is like that. Ze never fully sleeps. Mars is that part of the chart that can’t stop. The Energizer bunny.
I mentioned the Sun and Mars above together with an ulterior motive. While the first decan (the first ten degrees) of Scorpio is sub-ruled by Mars (in addition to being generally ruled by Mars), the second decan is sub-ruled by the Sun. Wednesday morning, November 2nd, we entered this 2nd decan, where the warmth and vitality of the Sun replaced some of the cold endless drive of Mars. This worked out well for me: just an hour after the Sun hit 10˚00’ Scorpio, I was sitting in a reclining chair, not to rest, but for a root canal. Of course, as often happens for important events in my life (unplanned and mysteriously), Scorpio was Rising. Which means the Sun was Rising also, since the Sun is currently in Scorpio. I had previously decided to not pull a tarot card before this root canal, because, honestly, I was a touch afraid to (which is not like me…). However, when I noticed that Scorpio II was rising with its ruler, the Sun, I figured the root canal would go well. And it did. It was quick and easy. A Scorpio Mars can be a probing drill into the root canals, so that all works anyway — but with the vivacious Sun adding its life-essence to the scene, I felt even better.
There are many historical images associated with the decans, but the one I am using this week is a person standing atop a Scorpion’s back while holding a great serpent. I love this! I’ll draw it surfing-style, since that’s what I’m feeling this week. Then, on November 12th when Sun enters the 3rd decan sub-ruled by Venus, the scorpion can be replaced by Venus surfing on a seashell (but in the night, like in Soul Surfer, the movie wherein real-life Bethany Hamilton got her arm bit off by a shark). I figure I’ll surf the rest of my way through Scorpio this year, riding the shark to keep my tabs on its whereabouts.
This past week is complicated by the fact that Mars stopped and turned around in the sky the day before Halloween. Since Mars is the shark that doesn’t know how to stop swimming, this retrograde presents a riddle: what happens when the shark is forced to stop? Well, when such a shark is caught in a net (there are many types of sharks and not all need to move through the water to breathe, but I’m referencing those that do in this article), it dies. It’s gills can’t get the water it needs to extract oxygen. Too little caffein in that tea. Yet the energy has to go somewhere. Mars retro is a chance to take that forward-moving energy and redirect it. After all, Mars did not literally stop in space and turn around. That would have caused the whole solar system to explode. It’s only from our view that it appears to do so. That’s a hint: what is our personal rewind this month? Where has your go-go-go been on auto-pilot? Mars retro is the most rare of all the planets’ retros. It’s that rarest of times to take control of those ship’s controls and steer the shark to warmer waters. What do you want? Where are your feelings guiding you? What warms your soul? Go there. Ride that shark to your get-away island!
One last thing: Halloween has passed, yet Scorpio’s cross quarter day has not arrived (the day halfway between the northern equinox and December solstice). Hmm…that’s because our calendar is not astronomically-based (I wish it was). I believe that Halloween comes from the ancient cross-quarter holiday of Samhain (pronounced sow-in or sah-win). That means that we still have another astronomical holiday coming up in a few days, on November 7th. At the risk of culturally appropriating the ancient Celtic culture (ringing any bells?), and making some druids mad, I plan to celebrate a Samhain-type activity this Monday. To me, that’s the real holiday of the season — not October 31st. I believe the druids will approve. Cross-quarter days belong to everyone — cultural domination does not belong to anyone.
One last-last thing: although we will add an extra hour to our clocks this Sunday in the middle of the night, yet the constellations will glide as usual, uninterrupted, over the horizon in their routine way. This again emphasizes the distinction between the astronomical (and actual) life and natural world versus the contrivance of our calendar. I am thankful that western (tropical) astrology retains the solstices, equinoxes, and cross-quarter holidays to keep us in sync with Nature.