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*Whether Astrology is science or magic, we’re open to most things, if they may be of benefit. ~ Ed.
The Rider Waite tarot deck card—”strength” numbered VIII—shows a woman dressed in a white robe, bending over a lion and stroking it on its forehead and jaw.
In the illustration, the lion—the beast—is docile and subdued by the woman’s caring touch. Her white robe suggests purity of intent. She is portrayed as gentle and kind, so the lion does not seem to be in any hurry to leave her presence.
This card speaks of this specific kind of quiet inner strength that has no need of force. It speaks of the kind of strength that requires little words even, as it is conveyed almost completely by the power of strong, yet calm and grounding, energetic presence.
The late Ruth Bader Ginsberg once said, “Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”
In other words, we should do it in a way that brings peacefulness to the wild beasts within ourselves and others so that we may stand courageously in front of that which we might fear and show it only the utmost kindness and compassion.
We should do it in a way that creates space for understanding and cooperation.
We should do it with purity of intention and respect for all others involved.
This kind of graceful, yet powerful inner strength, is exactly what the current energies are helping us cultivate. This is precisely the inner work that the astrological energies are now asking of us all.
Just like nature’s cycles tell us when it is time to rest and when it is time to get work done—whether it is night versus day or winter versus summer—if we listen carefully enough, nature also cues us, to develop things like discipline, power, authority, and strength.
If we are in alignment, we will naturally flow into focusing on these things when our energetic environment calls for it. It is really that simple—if we are in tune—to watch and listen for these cues.
Mars retrograde, from September 9th to November 13th, is one such cue. This only happens once every two years, and this one is doubly strong with Mars, not only in its own sign of Aries the entire time but for three times longer than an average transit.
When any planet is retrograde, it is retracing its steps over recent degrees of the zodiac, and the planet’s energy becomes directed inward while we review our relationship with that energy in our lives. When Mars is retrograde, we review our sense of self and what drives us, and this includes the way we fight for what we care about.
One of the most important things to remember about Mars retrograde is to not engage.
However, we will more than likely be triggered and feel the need to engage because it is precisely that tense dynamic that brings our attention to our relationship with this energy. This is how it teaches us this wisdom, inner strength, and mastery over ourselves, which in return allows mastery over our situation.
Saturn is playing a big part right now, too, working with Mars retrograde to provide us with even more growth.
Saturn will be stationing direct in its own sign of Capricorn on September 28th at a 90-degree angle to Mars retrograde in Aries. This makes for a hard combination.
Saturn rules karma, time, authority, responsibility, limits, restriction, rules, boundaries, and discipline. Saturn is all about showing up and doing the work. Just when it is finally going direct, it is challenged by Mars retrograde that still has seven more weeks of retrograde.
As the weeks go by, these influences can begin to feel intolerably restrictive and like there is no end to it, but we are moving through this, and the energy is shifting. We know the nature of the beast, at least as far as this transit of Saturn and Mars is concerned, and we know what soothes it.
Mars retrograde is about rest, reviewing our relationship to the warrior energy within, inner reconnaissance, and future strategy. It is about refraining from any kind of engagement now. Saturn demands we show up and keep doing the work, even as it piles on seemingly endless challenges, limits, and restrictions.
These two together are asking for monumental amounts of strength and personal mastery from us.
As we navigate this, we can keep turning toward whatever spaciousness within we can access right now, however small it might be. We can keep turning toward what feels good, nourishing, simple, supportive, and easy.
We can give ourselves as many breaks as necessary, get fresh air, meditate, play with animals, and do whatever it is that supports us, day in and day out, and moment to moment as we navigate this intense energy.
We are all experiencing this in our own way.
We are all being stretched in some way.
We are all facing some kind of challenge or adversity.
And we all have the magical capacity to show up and meet whatever comes face to face with courage and grace—not force—just like the woman in the white robe who stands face to face with the lion in card VIII of the Tarot.
We all have the power and strength to be her.
We all have her within us, and this astro is helping us access her and our true inner strength.