Today is Ground Hog Day in North America, where if a groundhog sees it's shadow s/he will go back into the burrow and winter will last 6 more weeks.
It is also Imbolc (or Candlemass) .... the Celtic day marking of the halfway point between Winter Solstice and Spring equinox which is symbolized by lighting a candle to keep away the dark.
Both indicate a time to take pause and acknowledge our passage through darker and colder (and more inward) winter days as we wait for spring to bring sun and warmth and outward movement (well in the Northern hemisphere at least).
The first New Moon of 2012 was a few weeks ago in inventive Aquarius, with its lightning bolt ruler Uranus sitting at the beginning of the zodiac in excitable, pioneering Aries. Things were looking good, projects were starting up, plans were being hatched.
The Chinese New Year of the Water Dragon added even more impetuous, creative energy to our seed ideas, all waiting to be planted, nurtured so they could burst forth in manifestation. A new year a new day a new start!
And then… suddenly... things ground to a halt and it feels like we're driving with the brakes on!
What happened? Well, what happened was, Mars, the warrior planet or forward motion, last week began moving backward in meticulous detail oriented Virgo. For the next few months (until April 13th) many will find themselves having to rethink, revise, and reorganize their plans.
This doesn’t mean nothing will get done, but it does mean you may find yourself moving more slowly and more cautiously than usual. It’s a bit of ‘hurry up and stop!!’
As the planet of primal energy, aggressive action and sexual desire; Mars rules our animal instincts. It is what impels us to move forward, to act, to do. This is the raw, yang, masculine energy that gets us out of bed in the morning, or into bed er… whenever! (wink wink)
This fiery planet makes us assertive, forthright and adventurous or impulsive, rash, and impatient. The thing is, the god of war does not like to be held back, and when its energy is turned in on itself, it can become a bit paranoid, frustrated or temperamental.
You may find that Mars in Virgo wants to fix things. Everything has to be just right. And then some!
Patience (which is not a Martian trait) is going to be high on the list of desired skills this next while as we are asked to rethink, revise, and reorganize our plans.
That’s not such a bad idea. Virgo is ruled by Mercury so we will be rethinking as well as re doing. Backtracking can reveal mistakes or details missed in the first sweep of a plan or project.
All in all, this can be an excellent time to fine tune things; just be careful not to drive yourself mad with this transit. Taming Mars rash forward motion may be a challenge, yet it probably will be worth it in the end.
Also, right now Mars and Venus are opposite each other (just for a few more days) which has added some sexual friction and tension between Yin and Yang elements. Opposites attract yet sometimes what we love can become what we hate. Venus in Pisces has a soft and dreamy side which can balance Virgo's critical nature. (wearing rose coloured glasses isn't always such a bad idea if it keeps the peace!)
Be careful, as bottling up this intense energy could also have negative effects on one’s health. Take time to breath, exercise, go for a walk etc to dissipate some of the tension. Virgo can be very critical, and feisty Mars turned in on itself will be more inclined now to have us find fault with others as well as with ourselves or. Let many things pass and try not to obsess!
This transit will give us the opportunity to examine how Mars functions in our lives (sometimes through sheer frustration). Mars rules both the head (Aries) and the root chakra (Scorpio) and its retrograde motion may show us something about our impulses, our survival instincts, how we deal with anger or sexuality, how we express our courage. Do we lose our head or do we lose ground?
This transit may also cause some self doubt when things don’t manifest a quickly as we would like them to. New projects may not get going as planned, perhaps due to hesitation, caution, and fear of taking risks.
Symbolizing the desire principle, Mars pushes us to get what we want from life. Maybe this pause is a good time to ask ourselves what we really do want. Sometimes our egos push us into things we don’t really need. Since we may not be able to just barrel through anyway, we can instead re-examine our motives and reassess our goals.
Looking more deeply at the things that we want and correcting our course if necessary will be of long term benefit even though it may not seem like it right now.
In June Mars will move into Libra just in time to oppose Uranus and square Pluto in their first exact square (the one that has been building since last year)
The resulting pressure and tension will catapult us all forward into something very explosive, revolutionary, and deeply transformative. Mars will have its day!
So taking the time now to get it right may well be the smartest thing you have ever done.