The Lion's Last Roar

The Lion's Last Roar

Mars, the action planet, takes two years to orbit the Sun and pass through all twelve signs of the zodiac. Its location is an indicator of the ways in which we take initiative and express anger. The warrior planet has been in bold Leo since September 18, which tends to puff up chests with an exaggerated sense of self-importance that can put style before substance.

There are, of course, creative expressions of this transit, yet the measure of any planet’s behavior in Leo is rooted in the degree of one’s self-confidence. When we are sure of ourselves the generous and open-hearted side of this sign is evident, yet insecurity provokes childlike pouting, bullying and posturing.

Political jockeying for attention and popularity is underway in the U.S. in advance of the 2012 elections, while parties clash in Greece and the public career of Italy’s adolescent-like leader Silvio Berlusconi is being shaken. Prancing with false pride and inflated egos is not limited to those in the public eye nor to those with planets in Leo. But this especially boisterous phase of activity is about to end as Mars moves into Virgo on November 10.

Normally, Mars’ presence in a sign lasts about two months, but because the red planet will be retrograde (moving backwards from our earthbound perspective) from January 23 to April 13, 2012, its stay in this analytical sign won’t end until July 3.

Impetuous Mars doesn’t like to stand still, so spending almost eight months in any sign can be strain on our collective patience. A downside of Virgo is pettiness, which can increase the number of battles over minor details. Instead of the Leolike inflation of self, we may see more criticism of others. A constructive use of this transit to refine ourselves and our systems. Pragmatic Virgo is more interested in producing results than making headlines. We can only hope that individuals and institutions will focus on improving the ways that they function, which happens when Virgo’s criticism is constructive.

Although the transit of one relatively fast-moving planet like Mars is not the primary astrological shaper of events, we may also see a shift in the class issues raised by the Occupy Wall Street movement. Leo is a sign of nobility and reflects the one percent of upper income individuals who control commerce and communication. Virgo is the working person’s sign, representing the lower and middle classes. Mars in Virgo may put more steam into the cause of those concerned with the growing wage gap between these two groups.

Regardless of where your sympathies lie, the test for all of us is to connect the diagnosis of social ills to solutions that can cure them. Simplistic slogans alone, however, will not do the trick. The rising tides of change that began with the economic meltdown of September 2008, when structural Saturn was opposed by revolutionary Uranus and continued through the Arab Spring, are likely to intensify as we approach the seven transformational squares of Uranus and Pluto from 2012-15.

The transits suggest that patchwork solutions are unlikely to be effective without examining the larger context of social, economic and environmental values and institutions. Thinking big and acting small, however, could make this transitional period one of rising collective consciousness that becomes the next great step in human evolution.