Despite bathing in the soothing and spiritual waters of the recent Grand Trine of Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune, I've found myself getting a little edgier since Mars entered the picture. The warrior planet's conjunction with expansive Jupiter on Monday July 22 was in tender Cancer, but frankly I've been more crabby than comforting of late. I'd been expecting that Mars joining this Grand Trine would energize the deep and wide emotional perspective that this special alignment offers, which still might occur. But for the present, I've been noticing myself being more judgmental and critical than this collection of planets in sensitive Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces suggests. I may have to try a Self-Healing Analysis Tarot reading to get to the bottom of these new feelings.
There's something about Marsy...
One of the reasons is, perhaps, that Jupiter is a planet of judgment and an aggressive Mars' conjunction with it fires up our opinions. Jupiter is in Cancer, a highly subjective sign that's more about personal truth than objective reality. We are likely to find meaning through the process of self-examination during this giant planet's year-long transit in Cancer, but the emotions and protective instincts of this sign can be rather defensive. Instead of expressing my beliefs with a modicum of detachment and openness to other opinions, I find that I'm being rather judgmental these days. And, of course, Mars generally prefers aggression to accommodation.
I have learned, though, that when I'm critical of others and puffed up with my sense of righteousness that I'm really reacting to my own fears. Having a critical opinion about something or someone is fine, but when the pattern repeats frequently enough I know that it's my problem, not theirs. Deeply felt responses give the illusion of authenticity, as if the intensity of our feelings reflects some kind of objective truth. This is rarely the case. The stronger the opinion, the more likely it is to be an internal issue.
The sensitive warrior
Mars in Cancer is a difficult transit according to astrological tradition. The sensitivity of this sign makes it hard for the warrior planet to fight cleanly. Being straightforward isn't easy in this curving, comforting and protective sign. Mars is in a defensive stance where it's determined to protect traditions and familiar patterns by keeping away outsiders and outside ideas. Even the smallest encroachments of strange people and concepts can trigger strong emotional reactions.
Find a cause
There are, happily, healthier ways to work with these transits. One is to put passion (Mars) and beliefs (Jupiter) into forward gear where they can help to expand the world instead of shrinking it down to a bunker of intellectual and emotional resistance. Carefully cultivating fresh areas of professional and personal exploration will nourish and revitalize the soil of our lives and reward us with satisfaction that cannot be gained by standing still. Fighting fairly to advance a cause, achieve a goal and break new ground are desirable ways to direct the powerful feelings of these times. In spite of our instinct to turn inward, we all benefit when more energy is put into creating the future than into defending the past.