Present Moment, Past Ties
Mars enters Cancer at 1:34 pm GMT at the same time as Chiron stations retrograde in Pisces. This shift of the god of war into the sensitive sign of the crab requires careful management of emotions. Mars in Cancer is deeply protective and often triggered when something or someone we love is under threat. It identifies strongly with the notion of family, be it by blood or otherwise, and acts to protect that bond in the face of external attack. The intuitive nature of water coupled with the fiery aspect of Mars can, however, see us unwittingly fighting other peoples’ battles, only realising what’s happened once we’re so deeply submerged in the conflict we can no longer pull away onto safe ground. Whilst Mars in Cancer can be a wonderful ally for those in need of support and protection, it can just as easily fall prey to those who enjoy stirring trouble then sitting back to watch the ensuing fireworks! It will pick up and act out other peoples’ anger as readily as its own, so we need to be clear about the genesis of emotion at this time.
This Mars can easily divide the world into ‘good and bad’, ‘right and wrong’, ‘for me or against me’. These stark divisions fail to honour the complexities of the human condition. We may be mobilised to defend ourselves or another, a cherished cause or important belief. However, with greater attention and less defensiveness we can recognise the common experience shared with our detractors who are as deeply committed to their cause as we are to ours. In battle we simply concretise each others’ position with neither gaining nor giving ground, in which case it may be more helpful to harness the fiery compassion of Mars in Cancer to be a living example of our beliefs rather than just arguing for them! If we find ourselves embroiled in conflict in the coming weeks it may be worth considering just who and what the conflict serves, and whether our own cause is better supported in other ways. Choosing our battles well is always good practice when Mars is in a water sign. This time around is no exception!
As it enters Cancer, Mars forms a quincunx with Saturn in Scorpio emphasising how important it is to know ourselves intimately if we are to walk through this world in a positive way. Emotions denied, thoughts and feelings ignored, painful memories consigned to the outer reaches of our consciousness, all can foster stresses and strains which seem inexplicable, overwhelming and intractable. The mental and emotional states created by avoidance and denial can be extremely pervasive and very powerful, fuelled by suppressed energy forever seeking an outlet. They cause us to respond to the present as if it is the past, to one person as if they are another and to ourselves as if we are only parts of who we actually are.
This kind of fragmentation is commonly overlooked but, given time, the disenfranchised thoughts and feelings express themselves with or without our consent and we may struggle to contain them when they do. That seemingly minor incident which kept us awake all night, that person at work who irritates the hell out of us even though we barely know them, that feeling of dread/exhaustion/apathy we awaken to every morning, all may alert us to something in need of our attention: thoughts, feelings and memories hidden in the shadows yearning for the light and warmth of awareness. Something inside has been triggered. Allowing it to speak, listening to its message, expressing its essence, all can allow it to pass through us rather than remain stuck. In this way we can free ourselves to respond to the present with greater clarity, liberated from past experience and old energies that otherwise keep us bound.
Mars can be very attached to old emotions when in Cancer. It may tell us we must protect the past so we end up cherishing aspects of it which simply restrict us in the present. History has its place and where we come from can be important, but if we invest too much of our current energy in maintaining old conditions best released, we do ourselves a disservice. Just because we’ve always been a certain way, honoured particular values and positions, doesn’t mean we can’t change them if necessary or allow ourselves to express other aspects of our nature less aligned with the valued self-image projected into the world. Things change, life changes, so do we. Allowing these changes to occur is a powerful act of surrender, but may feel like giving up a worthy fight to Mars in Cancer, who cannot see beyond the priorities of yesteryear.
In the coming weeks we can align with Mars to commit energy to the balanced and effective expression of feelings, or we can allow it to take the reins and embroil us in all manner of emotionally charged battles rooted in times past and best avoided. It is time to evaluate what and who we are programmed to defend and, perhaps more importantly, why. There may be better ways to further a cause and more effective means to honour our priorities. Arguments, in the long run, simply waste our energy in meaningless conflict that goes nowhere, only hardening the resolve of all concerned to change nothing and give no ground to a deeper understanding of the paradoxical forces underlying everyday affairs.