Goodbye Mars retrograde

Queen of Wands Cosmic TarotMars retrograde ends today, Monday, August 27 at 10:05am EST.

It will take some time for its energy to build again, so set your intentions for September and get ready for the ride.

I laughed when I pulled the Queen of Wands for this week’s message. This is the queen of fire, and Mars is fiery.

This is the card that wants us to be who we are. The Queen of Wands asks, “What you hiding from? We need people to be who they are, not who they are expected to be…”

This Mars retrograde is closely tied with this summer’s eclipse cycle, which also highlighted expression, change, and personal boundaries.

While Aries and Scorpio – the signs that Mars rules – may have felt most affected by this retrograde, Mars gets to us all.

No matter what your sign, Mars is the planet that rules your sense of drive and determination. It is what leads us when we say, “I will.”

Mars retrograde can cause you to shrink back. To become a bit quieter. To second-guess yourself a little more.

As I mentioned in late July, I have been asking myself, “Where can I be a voice of reason right now?”

I have talked before about my concerns with technology eroding our social ties. I have seen so many people lose real life friendships over arguments they’ve had on Facebook.

I’ve seen people dismiss each other’s religions, ideas, and artwork with statements that didn’t even add up to full sentences.

Offline, I see the frustration building here in my city as public space becomes a premium. There are more cars on the road. Less seats on the subway. Longer line-ups. Less time. More to do.

People are losing their patience.

I can’t help but think that everything is connected.

That when we rush through the day to do more than is reasonably acceptable (it seems so many people now are doing the jobs of two or three people, with more distraction and less privacy), when we live in a 24/7 news cycle that divides more than it unites, when we don’t leave ourselves with any free time because we keep checking our email or Instagram or that new text message that just came in…

When we try to do it all from the crack of dawn until the depth of night, day in and day out, it’s bound to cause tension because it doesn’t leave us any time for reflection, processing, or releasing.

People are carrying massive weights on their shoulders in the form of shame, stress, unrealistic expectations, outdated societal pressure, worry, financial strain, loneliness, and so much more.

And yet, so many expect total perfection from each other.

As though we should never make a mistake.

As though we should always know better.

As though we should always be okay.

“Absolutist statements are often extremely appealing,” Starhawk writes in her seminal book The Spiral Dance. “Something in us wants life to be neatly organized around clear principles, with no loose ends left hanging. We desperately wish all problems in long division would work out to whole numbers, not fractions.

“But if we are interested in solving problems rather than manipulating pretty patterns, we have to accept that they don’t. Only when we are ready to confront the muddiness and unclarity of reality can we hope to transform it.”

A week before Mars retrograde began in late June, I reflected on an unintentional theme that I noticed kept coming up in my conversations with friends and clients: Think for yourself.

Sometimes, insecurities that we feel during periods like Mars retrograde can be useful if we allow them to be moments of learning and reflection.

I like to ask myself why I think the way I do, and why I want what I want.

I also work to constantly let go of any need to be right. My opinion is not the be-all-end-all. It is not the only way, because there will never be just one way for us all to move forward.

I don’t know everything, and I don’t have anything to prove otherwise. But I do try to come from an informed place, as best as I can, when I write.

Because I’m always mindful that some people will believe anything they read. Whether it’s about a politician or a type of food. Or a spiritual belief or an opinion.

Some people will put their faith and trust in anyone who has a YouTube channel, or a blog.

Some people will just do what everyone else is doing and have no idea why.

And knowing that really, really scares me. Especially as a writer.

And especially when, almost daily, politicians are getting caught in lies and yet…they still have their power. Because I wonder:

How many people are believing every single word that is being said?

So if I am going to step into this week’s Queen of Wands energy with a theme that emerged for me during this Mars retrograde, it is this:

Question everything.

Especially now.

I’m not just talking about what we hear from mainstream media or politicians, but also in questioning what we hear from ourselves, and the people we surround ourselves with.

Not because we always need to mistrust, but because we need to be clear about how we are affected by what’s being said.

For example:

Through tarot, I help a lot of people who have hurt people they love, or made decisions that are still considered taboo. And often, one thing they struggle with the most is the judgement they feel from the people closest to them:

“My best friend won’t stop talking about how I cheated on my partner three years ago, even though my spouse forgave me. I feel like I can’t move on, even though my relationship is stronger than ever.”

“I’m happy being single and child-free, but my mom makes me feel guilty for not giving her a grandchild.”

“I told my ex I didn’t love them, but really, I did. I was just afraid of getting hurt.”

So often, I notice that people feel stuck in a moment in time, a place where guilt or worry or shame keeps them tethered. And often, that tether is being policed by others in their lives.

What happens when something is forgiven, but not forgotten? Or not forgiven at all?

What happens when one person’s sense of power comes from making someone else feel like they can never, ever move forward from their choices?

What happens when we are not allowed to take responsibility for our own actions, because no matter how much work we do on ourselves, someone is standing over our shoulder, casting a judgmental glare?

And where do those judgements come from? I think some of them go back to my earlier statement: Think for yourself.

We don’t always know why we feel the way we do about things. Conformity is a strong part of human nature. It is a survival instinct.

But like other instincts, it may not always serve us.

Some of our work is in breaking beyond those instincts so that we can fully evolve.

When judgements come up, it can be helpful to ask:

– How do I know I’m right?
– How do I know this is true?
– Why do I feel the way I do?
– What purpose does my opinion serve?

(I also often reflect on Byron Katie’s thoughtful book, Loving What Is, which is great for deconstructing thought-processes, if you really want to dig deep into your own self-growth right now.)

Maybe, by taking the time to become more aware of our own reactions, and to find our own voice of reason in the day-to-day, we can lend that energy to deeper transformations as time goes on.

If it helps, here is an intention for Mars direct:

I will decide for myself.

Until next time,

Liz xo

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