The Personal Planets: Mercury, Venus and Mars



Portrait of Alexander Ruperti 
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Alexander Ruperti

The transit cycle of these three fast moving planets are generally ignored by most astrologers because, due to their speed, their aspects are supposed to correlate only to the trivia of day-to-day existence. Although this attitude is entirely comprehensible in terms of an event-oriented approach to astrology, the person-centered astrologer finds these cycles to be especially significant in the understanding of an individual's inner life. As with all their planets, their essential meaning is derived from astronomical data - especially in their relation to the Earth, which in humanistic astrology represents the human being. Most significant are the retrograde periods of the planets. This phenomenon of retrogradation is, in fact, an optical illusion. The planets do not actually move backwards; only from the vantage point of Earth is this observed. Thus, in the humanistic approach, the cycles of Mercury, Venus and Mars are intrinsically related to both the Earth and the Sun. When a person looks from the Earth (the human point of view) toward the center of the solar system (the life-giving Sun), they see two planets between themselves and the Sun: Venus and Mercury. These are called “interior” planets and refer to one's inner life of feelings (Venus) and thought (Mercury). When one looks outward towards the farthest reaches of their solar-system, the first planet seen is Mars. For this reason, Mars refers to the power of initiative - the way a person starts things and exteriorized their energy. The Involutionary and and Evolutionary Tide In his book The Practice of Astrology, Dane Rudhyar speaks of a tide in the circulation of energies within the solar-system. Accordingly, all planets have a two-fold meaning, first in terms of their progressive exteriorization of solar energy from the Sun outward to Saturn, and secondly in terms of the progressive evolutionary return tide from Saturn back, which signifies a growth in consciousness. The energy symbolised by the Sun is a primal, undifferentiated solar potential sweeping out into the universe and modified progressively by each planet it touches. Mercury is the first differentiator of the solar life-force, Venus the second. Thus, these two inner planets define the essence of all concrete manifestation - the electro-magnetic field. Mercury provides the electricity and Venus the magnetism. Mercury-electricity is the type of electricity which scientists have now found to be the dynamic core of organic life - the potential in all living organisms that makes cellular interchanges possible. Flowing through the nervous system, this energy makes muscular activity possible and conveys sensory impressions to the brain, providing a physiological foundation for thought processes. Mercury symbolizes both the rhythm of this bi-polar, oscillatory, alternating current, and the special character of the electrical potential which it makes available to the organism out of the vast reserve of impersonal solar life-force. In the birth chart, Mercury represents not only the nervous system itself, but more profoundly the quality of the organic electrical potential which animates it. The cycles of Mercury measure the changes of polarity in the distribution of this electrical potential; its position in relation to the Sun at birth will establish the type of electrical polarization in both the nervous system of the individual and also in the etheric body which is the energy counterpart of the physical organism. This will be discussed in detail later in this chapter when I refer to the Sun-Mercury cycle.

Venus, the second differentiator of the solar life-force, then attracts the electric potential and gives it an archetypal form - creating an electromagnetic field. Just as a magnet induces iron filings to assume a definite, though invisible, preexisting pattern, Venus magnetism can be described as the power to give form. Involutionary Venus is therefore the symbol of all seed-patterns - that which gives all matter its unique and cohesive strength. Thus Venus refers to what is often called the “Higher Self” - the latent spiritual archetype toward which the living and growing human personality my conform if one lives true to their solar impulse, i.e., their reason and purpose for being. It is not the spiritual essence as such, but rather the potential inherent in all matter to be what it truly is.

The next step in this involutionary tide is Mars, symbolizing the power of initiative. Before the essential solar purpose of one's destiny can be released into effective action through Mars, it must first be polarized by the electrical and nervous function of one’s organism (Mercury) and then be given a particular form by the Venus magnetic field. Thus Mars represents the impulse to act according to one's particular character with its particular needs. This is what differentiates Mars energy from solar energy. The Sun in the birth-chart indicates the direction of the source of one's spiritual potential. Through the Mercury-Venus electromagnetic field this solar potential takes on an individual character and quality, becoming organic power for individual use and according to an individual purpose. Then, according to the particular function and character of the individual, Mars is the means of release of this power in outward action and initiative. This means that Mars’ action is conditioned by the quality and quantity of Mercury's electrical potential (necessary for Martian muscular activity), and by the particular character, needs and values which establish a person's uniqueness of being - their archetypal form described by Venus.

The Venus-Mars Cycle

Astronomically, Venus and Mars form a complementary pair on either side of the Earth. Being the closest planets to the Earth, they refer symbolically to the most intimate factors in the human personality - the most immediate and spontaneous expressions of human nature. There is a deep, reciprocal action between these two planets which constantly measures an individual’s most intimate and direct responses to whatever or whomever he meets in life. The individual finds their self-motivation through these planets and thereby takes up their personal standard. The sense of “I” and the feeling of being different from others, along with the instinctive knowledge of what is good, valuable and fulfilling for that “I”, are linked to the Venus function. Mars represents the desire and ability to act out this feeling in a purely spontaneous manner. When Venus decides that someone or something may be of value, then Mars will go out to conquer or to meet that person or thing; and if Venus finds it dangerous or detestable, then Mars will either fight against it or run from it.

Venus and Mars, therefore, refer to whatever makes a person act in a natural and spontaneous manner without reference to any outside social conditions (which come under the symbolism of Jupiter and Saturn - the social planets). They correspond to purely personal exigencies: Venus determining one’s particular character and needs, and Mars governing the impulse to act according to this particular character with it’s particular requirements. These may be conditioned by instinct, by one’s heredity and environment (as in the case of a person who is not yet psychologically individualized and therefore acts according to the collective norm), or they may be truly individually and spiritually oriented. As the results of this Martian expression lead to the experiences of pleasure or pain, satisfaction or disappointment, greater confidence and faith or despondency and fear, Venus will build up through these experiences a personal sense of values. The feeling of what is good or bad is established at the Venus-Mars level of experience; and, from these essential feeling-judgements, one acts. Venus, however, not only establishes the individual character and needs of a person but also decides whether or not a particular ife-experience really corresponds to one’s organic and psychological needs. Thus, the Venus feeling-judgements are made not only on the basis of experience, but also a priori - before the fact and independent of experience.

As a person individualizes themselves and establishes their personal reality - their sense of - “I am I”, the Venus seed-pattern will progressively grow from the biological level to the mental-emotional level, and ultimately to the spiritual level according to the spiritual archetype toward which they strive. Each of us acts at certain times on an instinctual level and at other times in terms of individualized and personal characteristics and needs. Rarely do we act as an individualized form of Spirit. Nonetheless, whatever the level of functioning, Venus will indicate the basic character of being, and the strength and quality of the Venus feeling-judgements will depend on the value placed on the person, situation or internal organic condition.

In addition to the personal values of Venus, which are a purely subjective sensation, one must not forget the considerations of society. The importance given to the prevailing social, cultural, religious and moral traditions of the community into which one is born and in which one lives cannot be discounted. Venus values are constantly conditioned by collective agreement. People and things will be judged good or bad, hateful and desirable, not purely on the basis of one’s individual character and needs, but also by the collective norm. They may also be defined by the value the individual places on the moral and religious ideals of behaviour, feeling and thought extant in the world today - either/or ethical judgements - are base on Venus values being opposed one to another. In any interpretation this fact must be take into account.

In traditional astrological interpretations, Venus generally refers to the emotional life - and most specifically love. In the strictest psychological sense, however, this is not true. Venus symbolizes feelings because one’s feelings are base on the value which an individual places on things and people. If one “loves” or experiences “emotion”, it means their basic concepts of good or bad have been stirred, and therefore they will go out to seek that which they have judged as desirable. E-motion means just that - to “go out” - and is the expression of Mars rather than Venus. Actually, emotions are the projection of feelings - they follow feelings just as Mars follows Venus. The love to which Venus refers must be viewed in a far larger context than that of personal feelings. It is an expression of the universal law of attraction and repulsion and as such is quite unrelated to the emotions. Venus in a birth-chart shows the quality of one’s capacity to love - the value placed on love, rather than the individual expressions of love. Venus shows the way in which one will meet love, if and when love comes their way. This individual way of meeting love will depend on those values which stir the feelings and make one attach the label “desirable” or “undesirable” to a person, idea or situation; therefore, it may be conditioned as well by negative factors within the self.

At the level of life symbolized by Venus and Mars, a person only experiences feelings and passes “emotional” judgements. Anything dealing with the thinking processes - concepts or intellectual judgements - comes under Mercury. Venus and Mars refer to the expression of an individual’s essential character of being and it’s basic feelings and values. Those essential elements of human nature are often distorted or frustrated by the conscious ego. The conscious ego does not reveal in any clear way the primary character of an individual - it simply shows the structure of consciousness which has been built up progressively as a result of the experiences of that primary character in its contacts with the outer world, and especially through the behaviour, feelings and thoughts of others. The conscious ego is a manifestation of Saturn and the Moon, which describe the established way of adjusting one’s inherent Venusian character to life. The relationship of Saturn and the Moon to the Venus-Mars pair in the birth chart will show the degree to which the expression (Mars) of the inner spiritual being (Venus) will tend to be distorted or confused by parental or familial pressures, or by the social patterns of behaviour and thought prevalent in one’s environment.

The Venus-Mars Natal Phase

In the cyclic conception of astrology endorsed by the humanistic approach, the conjunctions of Mars and Venus begin cycles of relationship between these two planets. These cycles refer to the development and expression of the most intimate and personal aspects of one’s character, to one’s most spontaneous responses to life (whenever Saturn and the Moon permit), and to the confrontations, challenges and opportunities which life offers. We are all born during a particular phase of this Mars-Venus cycle, and that gives a specific coloration to our intimate feelings and emotions. Even when there is no aspect between these two planets at birth, there will be a phase relationship between them. This phase relationship - whether waxing or waning; moving toward a sextile, square, trine or opposition; or moving from the opposition toward a waning trine, square, sextile or conjunction - the phase will always accurately portray the way Venus and Mars will function within the personality. The source - whether karmic or ancestral - of the natal feeling and emotional tendency will be found in the Mars-Venus conjunction which occurred prior to birth. If this conjunction took place before the time of conception - which will be the case when Mars and Venus are in a waning phase at birth - then special attention should be paid to the opposition of these two planets prior to birth.

In any case, the aspects between Mars and Venus during the waxing half of the cycle - from conjunction to opposition - will have quite a different meaning from those aspects formed during the waning half of their cycle. During the waxing phase, Venus is the servant of Mars. The accent will be on the desire to express oneself, and to go out into experience on the basis of instinctive or subjective values. Here the value of an experience will be revealed after the act. For this reason, a waxing square between Venus and Mars - regardless of their Sign and House positions - often relates to the fact that the result of the experiences in the personal, intimate sphere of these two planets is not what one had hoped for at the time of initiating it. Conversely, aspects during the waning half of the cycle have their source in the opposition between Mars and Venus. The opposition of these two planets is, positively, a symbol of emotional objectivity; however, negatively it can also reveal a condition of emotional deadlock, indecision or conflict between the desire and the will to act. It may reveal an incapacity to mobilize sufficient energy to go after what one really wants intensely. A waning square may create a crisis in consciousness brought about by a conflict between desires and established values. It is an aspect of emotional involvement - of experiences aiming at breaking the comfortable inertia of one’s happiness or self-complacency. One is led to revise the values on which they have based their behaviour, and to reconsider their conscious motives in the emotional sphere of their life.

Venus Lucifer and Venus Hesperus*

Viewed from the Earth, Venus will never be more than 48 zodiacal degrees from the Sun; thus it will never be visible high in the heavens, but only near the horizon. Venus will either rise before the Sun and appear in the early morning sky near the eastern horizon, or it will rise after the Sun and be seen in the evening sky near the western horizon. Into both instances, it's hour of glory is brief; for the morning star disappears with the dawn, and the evening star shortly follows the Sun beneath the horizon of our conscious awareness. To the morning star Rudhyar has given the name: Venus Lucifer connoting an emotional life geared toward the future. Here one is filled with an air of expectation, and often cannot wait for the consummation of their desires. There is an adolescent emotional attitude - impulsive and oversensitive. Sometimes there may be difficulty in expressing one's feelings, or the person may cover up their real feelings and appear outwardly cold. In its best manifestations, however, Venus Lucifer is emotionally communicative, creative and filled with enthusiasm for new things; and additionally there may also be a prophetic sense.

Rising after the Sun, Venus appears as the evening star. Rudhyar has named this astronomical phenomenon Venus Hesperus, and correlates it with a more “cultured” emotional life which is colored by ethical or moral precepts. The person feels after the act. These feelings and emotions tend to be conditioned by past experiences and also by what society dictates that one should feel under the given circumstances. The tendency will be to judge the value of one's experiences according to accepted moral or aesthetic standards. Here one is constantly making efforts to be “objective” in emotional matters. This tendency, or that of subjecting one's feelings and emotions to what the community considers to be ethically or morally right or wrong behavior, can hinder any truly spontaneous expression of one's particular character and needs. If one's experiences have been disappointing in the past, then the tendency to feel after the fact can also inhibit the emotional life through fear. Thus, Venus Hesperus often gives indications similar to what can be expected from a weak or blocked Mars function, for Mars is the function of expression of Venus values and feelings.

Venus Retrograde

A second important consideration in establishing the kind of Venus values which an individual will try to exteriorize through Mars is whether the planet was direct or retrograde at birth. When Venus is retrograde and therefore appears to move in a direction counter to that of the soli-lunar life-force, this means that the person’s sense of value and feeling-judgements will be different from what is collectively considered as being “normal”. This “difference” makes a person potentially capable of becoming more objective toward the habitual or assumed values and judgements of the community. They may act in their emotional life counter to accepted moral or ethical principles. In a general way, Venus retrograde asks a person to detach themselves from the natural and compulsive desires and instincts which sway most people. It also demands a release from the habitual pressures exerted on the individual by the cultural, moral and religious standards prevalent in society.

This will be a life problem if Venus is retrograde at birth. The person with such a Venus may find themselves obliged, as a result of personal-emotional conflicts, to develop a more introspective and perhaps even a more mystical attitude toward life. There may also be sexual problems - either circumstances forbid a normal sexual life for one reason or another, or the person willingly foregoes the sexual aspect of life in order to fulfill some higher spiritual purpose. If the astrologer is confronted with a Venus retrograde problem, they should try to help their client realize that what is objectively a question of emotional or sexual frustration may have a positive spiritual value in terms of the essential life purpose. It seems that spirit develops in a direction which runs counter to the natural instincts. Venus retrograde is a symbol of such a counter movement. For this reason, this person must learn to work with the spirit within them and to accept the fact that so-called normal, instinctual fulfillment is not for them. They must transcend this urge and try to become creative on higher levels. Since Venus is retrograde, one’s Self (not necessarily the ego) is potentially free from the usually compulsive demands of the life-instincts (survival of the species); therefore they stand a better chance than “normal” people to live according to their own truth. They may develop their personal capacities and detach their sense of value from those cultural, social and religious considerations which hold sway over un-individualized people. Of course, when a person tries to live in such a spiritually free way, they will certainly have difficulties in their contacts with so-called “normal” life-situations. Venus retrograde can signify problems in terms of normal social and outer effectiveness. However, the life-purpose of a person with such a Venus retrograde does not aim at such effectiveness in terms of already established values but rather at an inner change which could lead the individual to become a force in attempts at reorienting those established values. 

Mars Retrograde 

As is the case with all the planets beyond the orbit of the Earth, Mars is retrograde around the time of its opposition to the Sun. At that time Mars is closest to the Earth and fully illumined by the Sun, just as the Moon when it is full. For this reason, the opposition phase in the Sun-Mars cycle is a symbol of objectivity in action - Mars retrograde is not a weak Mars. On the contrary, because the planet makes a loop and approaches ever closer to the Earth, its reddish light becoming increasingly more intense as it approaches its opposition to the Sun, its presence is imposed ever more insistently on human consciousness When Mars is retrograde, the talk before the humanistic astrologer is to try to see, in the fullest and clearest possible way, the meaning of the individual Mars function and the best way to use it. The Martian energy, normally outgoing, when retrograde is turned inward and subtly reoriented in a new direction. It may also be dammed up or frustrated in some way. Since Mars is the impulse to act - the external manifestation of Venus values - the a retrograde Mars is the principle significator of a deviated or frustrated capacity to express outwardly those values which Venus suggests. No one can say whether Mars retrograde will be regenerative or self-destructive in any given case. Both possibilities are always present. Generally speaking, however, the individual born with Mars retrograde should be advised by the astrologer to direct their emotional energies inward, and to be prepared to control them. They must use them in a way which is different than what is considered “normal”.

In examining the lives of people born with Mars retrograde, one finds that their main concern has been to live according to some moral, religious, spiritual or other ideal of perfection. Superficially, this may appear to be a motley assortment, containing both saints and show-people, martyrs and musicians, prophets and princes. It includes those who have suffered martyrdom for their faith such as Martin Luther King Jr. and those who have achieved fame and recognition such as Lord Byron and Mozart. Prophets such as Nostradamus and pioneers such as Annie Besant (birth control) and Sigmund Freud also had Mars retrograde in their natal charts, as did Beethoven, Alan Leo, Louisa May Alcott and Annie Oakley. A binding factor among this group was their resistance to the normal expression of their instincts - sexual or otherwise - either for some imposed reason such as O. Henry and Toulouse-Lautrec, or freely such as Thomas Mann. Although this group does include famous murderers and revolutionaries such as Pancho Villa and Leon Trotsky, one notices relatively few people involved in highly competitive occupations such as politics, sports and chess players.

When Mars is found retrograde at birth, the astrologer must immediately look to see whether the planet is in the first half of the retrograde period, when it has not yet reached its opposition to the Sun, or whether the opposition aspect has already taken place. If the opposition has not been reached, then the Mars problem may become clearer at the time when, by secondary progression, Mars comes to the opposition. There can be a conscious experience of the problem and its possible solution. When, however, this opposition has already taken place before birth, the Mars problem will be a karmic factor existing in the unconscious mind, or it will refer to heredity or social limitations on the individual’s destiny.

The Transiting Mars-Venus Cycle

As with all cyclic manifestations, the meaning of the Mars-Venus cycle is derived first from the astronomical data. The most significant feature here is the accent on the number five. Although the conjunctions of Venus and Mars occur about every two years, a cycle of five conjunctions can be detected in which nearly every fifth conjunction is one with Venus retrograde. Venus is retrograde at other times, of course, but not while in conjunction with Mars. The accent on the number 5, which is also revealed in the Venus-Sun cycle, is interesting in the light of Venus’s basic symbol - the five-pointed star, or Pentagram, which is also the symbol of creative man. Thus, the Venus- Mars cycle is intimately related to the creative potential within each individual. The conjunctions of Mars to retrograde Venus occur not only approximately every 77 months, but also every 32 years they recur in the same zodiacal signs with approximately 7 degrees and 20 minutes average lag), Every fifth conjunction of Mars-Venus is therefore usually a conjunction with Venus retrograde; and five times, at 32 year intervals, this Mars-Venus retrograde conjunction occurs in the same sign. Furthermore, the numbers 32 (years) and 77 (months) both add up numerologically to five. Thus, in every respect, the conjunctions of Mars to Venus retrograde occur according to a five-fold rhythm, suggesting that they are particularly related to the Venus function. These fifth conjunctions - the only ones with Venus retrograde - come at the center of an approximate 9-month period during which there are three Mars-Venus conjunctions. Rudhyar considers them to be basic turning-points in the Mars-Venus relationship; since they fall in the middle of a 9-month period, the entire period will be of special significance to everything which deals with one’s emotional life.

At the time of the Venus retrograde conjunction there is an opportunity to change one’s Venus values and give a deeper spiritual significance to one’s individual actions. A person should then try to move more freely and effectively, in terms of their true character and needs, toward whatever appears valuable and desirable. It would be worthwhile to check the times in the past when Mars conjoined Venus retrograde to see in what way they coincided with attempts at personal metamorphosis, at trying to establish a deeper and truer relationship betweens one’s true Self and the set patterns of behaviour of the conscious ego. One can use these periods to become more objective troward their intimate personal nature, so as to realize how far and in what way their behaviour is conditioned by exterior and alien elements. As always in the humanistic approach, one must relate this information to the natal chart in order to derive an individual meaning. The personal significance of these conjunctions will be colored by the natal House in which they fall. Mars-Venus Retrograde Conjunctions 1914 November 22 Sagittarius 8 1921 April 7 Taurus 10 1927 August 30 Virgo 23 1934 January 25 Aquarius 22 1940 June 7 Cancer 14 1946 November 7 Sagittarius 1 1953 March 22 Taurus 1 1959 August 14 Virgo 16 1966 January 9 Aquarius 14 1972 April 21 Gemini 17 1978 October 22 Scorpio 23 1983 September 19 Leo 24 (Venus Stationary Direct two days previous) In the 1st House this conjunction is likely to indicate a personal involvement in the general climate of change affecting the orientation of consciousness and attitudes in the collective. One will throw themselves with intense emotional enthusiasm into activities aiming at a transformation of their prevailing feeling-judgements - perhaps flying in the face of the prevailing social and cultural trends. Since the emotions are strongly aroused, it may be necessary to avoid rashness and angry impulses and to hold oneself as steady as possible. A person can accomplish a great deal if they maintain the proper attitude at this time - especially by transmuting the lower impulses through some form of artistic or creative activity.

When this conjunction falls in the 2nd House, a person may have to reconsider the value-judgements for which they are ready to expend their energies and resources. One should ask themselves if it is really worthwhile to spend so much time and effort on the furtherance of whatever has been attracting their attention. It may be necessary at this time to break free from the influence of one’s cultural or ancestral past if that has been the primary determinant of one’s values, or to give those feeling-values a new, more personalized meaning. The tendency to spend too much of one’s resources and personal energies may be very strong and should be controlled. This could conceivably lead to a problem of self-control and purity of motive, or to a loss of either material possessions or values. In other cases, danger may arise by allowing oneself to act on the basis of irrational impulses. Falling in the 3rd House, this conjunction can indicate a desire to reorient the way one expresses their personal feelings. This can precipitate disturbances in the everday contacts with one’s immediate environment, and especially within the family. One may verbalize one’s feelings or wishe to put them on paper. Here one must remember that revolutionary feelings can lead to repercussions, and those things which one said or wrote in the heat of anger may be used against them later on. Emotional agitation can also lead to accidents. A person should not try to impose their newly endorsed values too forcefully on others. Although the mind may be stirred to seek independence from its many past illusions and traditional entanglements and to express its views with passion, the Mars-Venus retrograde conjunction in the 3rd House aims essentially at building the capacity to give a more beautiful, harmonious and significant meaning to one’s everyday experiences. In the 4th House this conjunction will signal a trend toward change in one’s personal feeling-judgements, and those values will be felt rather than analyzed. The necessity to hold traditional ideas in a personally significant manner will be experienced rather than conceptualized, and one will try to reinterpret them and so release their vital meaning on an emotional level. The personal relationship to one’s family and home may undergo a drastic change. At this time a person should not try to be too selfish or too preoccupied with their own particular problems. There will be constant challenge throughout this period to act at all times from the deepest harmony of one’s own nature. The desire to express new feelings and new personal or cultural values can be very strong when this conjunction falls in the 5th House. During this period, the emotions tend to be arrogant and selfish. One can easily take on an aggressive attitude which, in the long run, can lead to difficult situations. Here, one should watch the welfare of their children, or those whose education is in their care. The desire for new experiences of love, happiness and beauty may impel one to exteriorize their romantic dreams, or fulfill a sensuous lust. The challenge, therefore, is to act with faith and strength of character as one tests their capacity to express their own significant values and symbols against the established attitudes and opinions of society. The reaction of loved ones and society at large will provide a mirror, revealing oneself to oneself as one really is, whether this be through intense happiness or great frustration. When this conjunction falls in the 6th House, the strong emotional arousal can precipitate emotional and physiological disturbances. There is a challenge to overcome one’s personal weakness and selfishness through work and service, which may necessitate a change in the basic values of their employer/employee or “master-disciple” relationships. In some cases, mixing love with work can provoke a crisis. A sense of a higher spiritual value, of a larger, more-than-personal reality, can provide the impulse to work for new and better life-conditions in spite of any pain or suffering which might be entailed. Falling in the 7th House, this conjunction will indicate the tendency to become emotionally involved in changes which will significantly affect one’s intimate relationships, especially marriage. There will be an urge to give new values and a new meaning to these relationships, or else to seek a new relationship. The quality and level of experiences in some intimate relationship may no longer satisfy, and one will feel the need to transcend them. One may realize that they must bring something of greater value to their relationships, or that they themselves must become a symbol of some new value to others with whom they are in intimate personal contact. It will be necessary to control possessiveness and selfishness in love. When the conjunction falls in the 8th House, the emotional outlook toward business enterprises or the fruits of one’s interpersonal relationships will undergo a basic change. Here new values are being imposed from without, or else one will try personally to introduce those values into the relationships or groups in whose activities they participate. One may need to control their emotions in order to avoid anger and violent methods when dealing with partnership matters, or matters of business organization. This does not mean, however, that one should not take initiative in driving others to accept new goals in relation to marriage, business or group activities. In the 9th House this conjunction will challenge the individual to involve himself emotionally in some new way in some philosophical, religious, or perhaps legal endeavor, while at the same time maintaining their basic sense of perspective. New developments affecting one internally on the feeling level may lead to a significant journey, or involve contacts with strangers, or perhaps foreigners. At this time a person should seek to develop their creative imagination, and expand it according to the new point of view on which they have pinned their new faith. They should try to illuminate their personal and emotional life through a deeper understanding of social or spiritual values, thus enabling them to find a more personally significant place within the larger scheme of activity. There may be the desire to fire the imagination of others, or to force one’s new-found emotional outlook on them. There is a vast amount of emotional energy being released for use in one’s professional work when this conjunction is in the 10th House, provided one is ready to introduce new values or change their habitual way of participating in the “work of the world”. It may be necessary to use greater caution, however, for if one’s initiative is too self-centered, it may result in entanglements affecting one’s public standing or which cannot be kept from the public eye. Much may center around the behaviour of a woman of social or professional influence who obliges one to change their public image, or these new values may result in a change in one’s professional goals. When this conjunction falls in the 11th House, a generalized desire for reform in social ideals and purposes will stimulate an individual to become personally involved in such reform. In some cases, there may be emotional disturbances caused by friends or advisors, or in relation to social organizations. In other cases, one may be challenged to replace physical passion and romantic love with friendship of a creative or spiritual nature. There is a general tendency to question habitual ideals of living, and to replace a selfish enjoyment of the fruits of one’s public or professional activities with some form of social work or humanitarian activity. This may prompt an active participation in what one now feels to be more worthwhile cultural or spiritual goals. Falling in the 12th House, one finds that the present trend to question the value of social institutions and precedents may provoke peculiar emotional tensions of which the individual is not fully aware but which, nevertheless, are disturbing to them on a subconscious level. There may be an intense urge to reorient oneself in relation to collective values; however, this may manifest in a personally uncontrolled manner. There is a danger here of becoming a passive instrument of the collective social passions of the time, or of the pull of one’s own seemingly overpowering unconscious instincts. The capacity to transmute the feeling-values and make a new start in one’s intimate personal life will depend on the meaning which a person can now give to their own past and to the accomplishments of their society. The Sun-Venus Cycle Viewed from the Earth (geocentrically) Venus will never be more than 48 degrees of zodiacal longitude from the Sun, and therefore the usual cyclic phase-relationship based on 360 degrees which exists between the Sun and Moon and the outer planets does not apply to this cycle. Venus does not move from conjunction to opposition and back to conjunction. Instead it moves from the conjunction to the semi-square (actually 48 degrees ahead of the Sun), then retrogrades back to the conjunction and moves again to the semi-square (48 degrees behind the Sun) where it again changes direction and proceeds forward to the conjunction. Heliocentrically (viewed from the Sun), this constitutes a complete Sun-Venus cycle. The Sun-Venus conjunction, when Venus is in direct motion, is called the “superior” conjunction. Venus is at or near her greatest distance from the Earth at this time; and the Sun is seen between the Earth and Venus, just as the Earth is between the Sun and Moon at the time of the Full Moon. This is the “Full Moon” phase of the Sun-Venus cycle. Venus retrograde conjoining the Sun is called an “inferior” conjunction. At this time Venus is as close to Earth as she can be, and shines with her greatest brilliance. Because Venus is seen between the Sun and the Earth at the “inferior” conjunction (just as the Moon is at the New Moon), this is the “New Moon” phase of the Sun-Venus cycle. In an 8-year period, Venus will make ten conjunctions to the Sun: 5 direct (superior) and 5 retrograde (inferior) - thus completing five Sun-Venus cycles. These cycles refer to the development of one’s sense of values, based on the feeling-judgements of Venus. Unlike the Mars-Venus cycle, however, they relate the feeling-values of Venus to the spiritual potential of the Sun rather rather than to Mars action. The evolution of personal likes and dislikes which attract or repel are associated in this cycle with the experience of the Self, quite apart from the considerations of society (Jupiter and Saturn) or the thrust to exteriorize them (Mars). Although theoretically the scale of Venus-values can be based on personal experience - separate and distinct from the social, religious and cultural strictures of one’s environment, in actuality these collective standards can and do have a far greater influence on one’s behaviour and one’s seemingly personal responses than the individual will be consciously aware of. Even the rebellion of youth against such strictures is conditioned by the standards of the peer-group - the microcosm in which one operates. The effort not to conform is, therefore, as binding and deterministic as blind conformity itself. All such conditioning is a form of bondage - especially when it functions beneath the level of conscious awareness - and is the greatest barrier to a real development of those fundamental values on which a truly individualized person bases their feeling-judgements. When transiting Venus is retrograde, the individual is presented with a special opportunity to become more objective toward all those values on which they have base their personal identity. As far as Venus moves in a direction counter to the normal flow of the solar life-force, one can divorce themselves from the powerful currents of biological and social drives which run their life. At such times, the individual consciousness has a better chance to detach itself from and to contemplate objectively, both the compulsive and instinctive desires, as well as the pressures of the cultural, religious and moral standards of society. There is a better chance to face one’s motives objectively - to evaluate the cost of one’s desires and all previously assumed values. The inferior conjunctions of Venus with the Sun can reveal a new set of values - new standards of behaviour on which one may base their own personalized feeling-judgements. Without them an individual’s psychological and spiritual development cannot take place. These conjunctions are crucial moments in the retrograde periods, and potentially they are moments of revelation. Such an increased illumination or intuitive discovery of Self may, however, take place totally on an unconscious level, without the individual knowing that they have done anything extraordinary to change their life-experience. The existence of Venus retrograde does not, however, guarantee such an illumination. Like all astrological indications, it is a possibility rather than the certainty of something concrete occurring. Before any new personal values can be found, a person must first be willing to establish a new standard for their feelings and actions - the yardstick of personal truth - and that requires conscious attention. This may appear paradoxical. How can change which often takes place on a subconscious level require conscious attention? There is, however, no essential contradiction. Conscious attention does not mean a willful effort to change one’s values and establish new standards, but rather an effort to focus one’s attention on the reality of what is. A person must be willing to see their values as they are, whether they be individual or determined by the external considerations of their family and or society. They must also be able to see that some of their feeling-judgements are founded in the truth of their individual experience, while others are merely the reflection of the prevailing norm. They must consciously ask themselves: “Is this true for me?” In humanistic terms, the Venus retrograde period is not measured from the day the planet goes retrograde until the day it turns direct, as one might suppose from traditional astrology. Rather, it is described astronomically by the apparent loop which Venus makes in the heavens in terms of its relative distance from the Earth. This loop actually begins when Venus (direct) first reaches that zodiacal degree on which it will later conjoin the Sun. At that time, Venus begins approaching ever closer to the Earth until the time of its inferior conjunction, when it is at its closest to the Earth. Then, leaving the Solar embrace, it moves away again from the Earth until it reaches its normal distance, when it will once again return to the conjunction degree by direct motion. For example: Venus conjoined the Sun while retrograde (the inferior conjunction) on April 6, 1977 in 17 degrees Aries. The first time Venus reached the conjunction degree was February 22, which was also the same time when it began to loop earthward. On May 19-20 it returned to 17 degrees Aries by direct motion. Thus, the Venus retrograde period began to become active on February 22 and lasted until May 19-20. These dates do not correspond to the stations which Venus made on March 16 and April 27, which describe the period during which it was actually retrograde in motion. The new cycle begins with the inferior conjunction. That period of time between February 22 (the time it reached the conjunction degree) and the inferior conjunction on April 6 is the 12th House phase of the old cycle. During this time the old cycle comes to a fulfillment, and one is confronted with the results, both positive and negative, of their attempts to express Venus-values in a personally meaningful way. If, during the previous cycle, one’s behaviour has created problems, then these problems may become acute during this period. It will be at the time of the inferior conjunction that one can theoretically find a solution to such problems. The symbol of the degree of the conjunction will provide a significant key to this solution, which will serve at the same time as the seed-idea for the new Venus-cycle. The basic adjustments in consciousness necessary in order to inaugurate a new Venus cycle may come during the period between the inferior conjunction degree (i.e. April 6 to May 19-20). One must wait until the following superior conjunction, however, to see the objective results of the new trend set in motion on April 6, for the superior conjunction represents the “Full Moon” phase of the Sun-Venus cycle. Although the indications furnished by the inferior conjunction’s degree symbol and the House position of the conjunction are the basic factors to consider in an individual interpretation of this cycle, the significance of any natal planet or Angle which Venus may contact during its retrograde period must not be neglected. The natal planet or Angle will somehow be related to the need to establish a new set of values in terms of one’s psychological and spiritual development. If, on the other hand, the astrologer is attempting to interpret the Venus retrograde period in general terms as it will affect people everywhere, then they should note all the major aspects, particularly the conjunctions, which Venus retrograde may make during this period. In this example, Venus retrograde came to the conjunction with Mercury on March 29, 1977, prior to its conjunction to the Sun. Following the inferior conjunction it made an opposition to Pluto on April 12, and a trine to Saturn on April 18. The conjunction with Mercury was part of the old cycle, and must be seen as a conditioning factor or a precondition of the new Venus trend. It points to the necessity to communicate, as well as an emphasis on the general quality of Mercury communication. The opposition (awareness) to Pluto (the masses) points to a potential for regeneration - the reformulation of values and the elimination of worn-out or obsolete standards. This will be followed shortly by the trine (a harmonious blending or synthesis) to Saturn (security and responsibility). It is interesting to note that during this time there was much discussion (Mercury) regarding strategic arms limitation. From a growing awareness on the part of the general public of the great destructive power of nuclear weapons (Pluto), the talks aimed at blending national security with a responsibility to the human race (Saturn). In an individual interpretation of the Sun-Venus cycle, the wheel of Houses forms the basic frame of reference., as it does for all personal experiences. The House position of the inferior-Sun-Venus conjunction will show the field of personal experience in which there can be either Venus problems and the need to review one’s basic values, or Venus fulfillment. In the 1st House there is a strong indication of emotional fulfillment in the personal life - perhaps the culmination of something started along the lines of romantic self-expression. On the other hand, a need may exist to sublimate the sex drive into artistic or creative activity of some sort. The sense of the beautiful and the transcendent can be greatly stimulated at this time, since one possesses more creative inspiration than usual which may be channeled into actual creative activity or into an appreciation of the arts. The person emanates a magnetic glow which will make them most attractive and can indicate energy through their social activities or pleasure-seeking adventures. In the 2nd House Here one should take advantage of the constructive conditions prevailing in relation to finances and general resources, and thus plan ahead. The accumulation of wealth seems certain, and possessions can bring much joy. One may find themselves with an abundance of inherited gifts ready to be used. The main question now is: For what purpose is one going to use those gifts and resources? It may be worthwhile at this time to question assumed values and purposes in the use of possessions. In the 3rd House An emotional situation in the environment is reaching fulfillment, and a female neighbor or relative may be the focal point. New intellectual values can stimulate the feelings and make it possible to create more harmonious conditions in the everyday life. One should share the best of what they have with those around them and seed to discover new meanings in all relationships and habitual experience. There will be a need throughout this cycle to communicate those new-found values to others. Emotional self-indulgence should be avoided. In the 4th House Definite and harmonious results related to one’s efforts in matters of real estate or in the mome life. Something is coming to fruition which should bring great happiness and a sense of fulfillment. Actions should stem from a deep harmony of one’s own nature. If an individual does not feel at peace with themselves secure and happy in the home - it will be because new values and emotional realizations encourage them to establish their personal life on a foundation of wider significance. One should not hesitate to introvert their energies with the aim of giving a newer and deeper meaning to their basic feelings and feeling-judgements. In the 5th House The emotional implications of this situation are very strong. Here, the person’s desire for love, happiness and beauty are urging them to exteriorize their romantic dreams or to fulfill their sensuous desires. There is the possibility that some emotional complex may complicate matters, making it impossible to act with emotional freedom. The love-image which one projects onto another may be rejected. There may be a test of purity of motive, and a need to express more significant or more spiritual feeling-values than one has done before this time. One must now learn to be more sincere than ever before. In the 6th House Significant and harmonious things can happen in one’s everyday work. At this time organization is easy, and one can release their creative powers through their job. Certain basic values seem to have to be changed, and what one is doing has to be given a new meaning in the light of higher spiritual values or larger realities. In some cases, emotional conflicts can be transfigured by using them as an inspiration for creative activity of some sort. In the 7th House An intensification of the emotional life is reaching a climax here, and some close relationship is being fulfilled which warms the heart. In some cases, this can be an indication of marriage, while in other cases there may be a tendency toward undue emotional indulgence in one’s interpersonal relationships. What happens may make it necessary to change the value and meaning one has given to close relationships, since instinctual experience may no longer satisfy. Love must take on a new quality. In the 8th House This is the time to bring to fruition all matters that have recently come out of one’s business associations. One may need to organize one’s affairs in a more efficient manner or in terms of larger values, or to make the value of what one offers more convincing. For some people, this can be a time of self-renewal - for a personal reorientation towards more meaningful social or religious ideals. In the 9th House One may experience a great emotional uplift at this time through a realized significance of the great principles on which one has pinned their faith. Long journeys for pleasure, or perhaps for a honeymoon are favourable. In any case, one should not be afraid to seek wider horizons - to expand their consciousness through accepting what had previously seemed to be alien ideas. Now is the time to imagine things anew, and to seek a constructive meaning for the experiences and fruits on one’s relationships. Such significance will enable one to fit more harmoniously into the social scheme. In the 10th House There is a strong urge for emotional fulfillment through public recognition. Positive efforts are now bringing a rich harvest, and there is the possibility of public acknowledgement of one’s past creative activity. What happens now could lead to more significant participation in the work of the world, provided that one is open to the change and growth of the values they espouse. An individual can build their professional career through efficient management, and perhaps also due to the help of a woman of social or professional influence. In the 11th House Friendships and group activities can give great emotional satisfaction of this time. This means, however, that friendship of a creative and spiritual nature should take the place of passionate, romantic love. The things that one has worked so long for or longed for can now come to pass, and much may have to do with a woman, or with artistic or cultural factors which are taking on a new importance in one’s life. Ideals of social reform mays stir one emotionally, and one can now have the power to crystallize group opinion or feelings along some new line of endeavor. In the 12th House Very profitable social occurrences appear as the culmination of one’s efforts to reach a greater awareness of the hidden factors in one’s life - especially on the level of one’s most basic and fundamental feelings. A strong emotional glow pervades the inner life, and it is possible now to concentrate one’s emotional power out of the depths of the subconscious for some future objective use along new lines of endeavor. At this time pme must orient oneself in a new way toward the collective values of society. Some people may even succeed in creating new symbols of new cultural forms to take the place of those generally accepted. Others may simply lose themselves in an introverted dream world. The Sun-Mars Cycle Mars is the first planet outside the Earth’s orbit. Its cycle begins with the conjunction to the Sun and culminates at the opposition. The Sun-Mars opposition falls in the middle of Mar’s retrograde period and is the most important moment of the cycle. The power which is release instinctively and without conscious awareness at the time of the conjunction can, at the opposition, be understood objectively and consciously in terms of the solar purpose determining its use. This will sound less abstract when one realizes how often the instinctive, emotional release of psychic energy or libido through Mars is blind and without aim. Mars energy is almost always confused and egocentric, thus often leading to problems. For this reason, Mars is traditionally deemed a “malefic” planet. Of course, Mars is not the cause of the problems - it is the individual use of one’s Martian energy which leads to trouble. The confused and self-centered activity begun at the Sun-Mars conjunction is always deeply conditioned by past frustrations, inadequacies or failures of the ego in past Mars cycles. This is bound to produce varying degrees of tension which will mount during the waxing half of the cycle from the conjunction to the opposition. The waxing square is a particularly stressful moment. After this square, Mars continues to move along; however, the pressure of all that has not gone well builds up, symbolically slowing down Mars’ motion until it seems to stop. At the time of Mars’ closest proximity to the Earth (the opposition to the Sun, the Mars problem must be solved in one way or another. If solved rightly at the moment of the opposition, any difficulties have not been in vain. Knowledge and wisdom grow out of the close confrontation with Mars. The ego may have been frightened by that confrontation; however, it has grown wiser and more mature because of it. During the remaining half of the cycle what has been learned should be incorporated into the consciousness and demonstrated effectively through one’s individual actions. If, however, the Mars approach to Earth has caused destructive fear, sudden anguish or a passionate reaction in the shape of violence, or if there has been an attempt to escape from the resulting confrontation, then the remainder of the Mars cycle will merely add more confusion, more egocentricity, more violence and more tragedy to the heavy load of past inadequacies which the ego already carries, and which may have made it miss the opportunity offered while Mars was retrograde. Everything, therefore, depends upon what the ego - the individual in their waking consciousness - will be able to do when Mars power comes very close to the individual and challenges them to a wise, clear, objective, realistic and considerate appreciation and understanding of its nature and of its correct and effective use. The past obviously cannot be undone; yet, by looking at one’s past action (or inaction) at the time of the Mars opposition in the light of a new understanding and a new determination to do right, one can make of it the foundation for a transformed attitude toward life. Past misfortunes or lost opportunities can be viewed in a new light and from a new perspective at the time of the opposition. What may have been a deep psychological wound or an overpowering sense of remorse can be seen to have been, in reality, a necessary experience in terms of one’s spiritual training. In this sense one may change the meaning of their past experiences. Whenever an individual can fit whatever happens to them into the larger framework of their complete life-span, realizing that it is but a step toward the realization of their total life-purpose, then they will be able to transform the meaning of their their life. As a result of this new perspective, one will be in a position to give a new direction, a new motive and a constructive purpose to their future Martian actions. This is not, of course, an easy thing to achieve; something within seems to resist one’s efforts toward such transformation. The ego seems not to want to eradicate the memory of the painful experiences, and one may become prey to self-pity. Therefore, it will take real courage to transform the past hurt or the failure to act, and to give it the meaning of a constructive step on spiritual growth. However, at these times of Mar’s opposition to the Sun, life seems to lend a hand and to make the process of self-analysis and self-transformation easier. Moreover, when one experiences this opposition with a fully conscious knowledge of what it implies, they will certainly encounter an opportunity to repair a mistake, to do right by someone they may have wronged, to forgive someone who has wronged them,or to do something which they failed to do in the previous months or years. When the energies are being used spontaneously in the attempt to satisfy one’s personal desires while Mars is direct in motion, there does not seem to be the time to do much in the way of transforming, refining or purifying them. When Mars is retrograde, however, one becomes uncertain about the best way to express themselves. The feeling and desires appear confuse or conflicting. This time then affords the best opportunity to change one’s use of Martian energy. Only when one doubts or fails or finds obstacles in their path do they stop to question themself. One can stop and ask themselves questions then; however, this does not mean that they will. Most of the time people rather wish that something would happen to make them change. One hopes that others will put things right or change in regard to oneself. Pride and self-esteem stand in the way and will not permit one to take that first step toward a conciliation. Thus, matters have a way of becoming worse when they might have become better if one had taken the constructive initiative. As a result, the opportunities offered by Mars retrograde periods are often missed; and, instead of showing a way of self-transformation, Mars forces a crisis. If the opportunity offered by Mars retrograde is given under stress, then one must realize that it was because they have misused, deviated or perverted the Martian energy in their own life. A person can only blame themselves. Mars is a personal planet and acts in terms of the particular quality of one’s individual ego. Nonetheless, blame, remorse or regret are of no positive value. The Martian opportunity for the redressing of wrongs and changing one’s personal attitude toward society and the task of spiritual living is there to be used. There is no point in lamenting upon how hard life makes it all. “Why did this happen to me?" is a fruitless question. One must recognize that their troubles began in the first place because they tried to dictate to life - because they acted in an immature way, or missed an opportunity to grow in psychological and spiritual maturity when they had come to the natural and proper time for such growth. The four critical points - conjunction, waxing and waning squares and opposition - demand one’s conscious attention in every Mar’s cycle. Not every transit cycle of Mars will reveal itself as equally significant to everyone; however, there will always come a time when a Mar’s retrograde period will bring to light the results of one’s Martian outpouring of energy and will challenge the individual to purify their motives and reorient their activities. When applying the Mars’ cycle to a specific individual life, the astrologer must consider the natal or solar House in which the Sun-Mars conjunctions fall every two years, and most especially, the House through which Mars retrogrades at the time of its opposition to the Sun. These Houses will indicate the fields of experience in which the individual will most likely have to introduce changes into their behaviour because of problems or crises produced by their past actions. Any natal planets in these Houses will be implicated in the Mars problem or challenge. Sun-Conjunction-Mars In the 1st House, the climax of the Martian factor in one’s life will bring a great deal of forcefulness and initiative to the personality. If that energy is not properly controlled, it can cause disturbances. Mars is releasing new power for sheer self-expression, and for deliberate use if the personality is consciously oriented. One must be careful not to let their enthusiasm lead them out of their depths. One attains the ability to mobilize one’s energies for quick and decisive action, but also the tendency to stick too narrowly to one’s personal approach to life and its problems, forgetting that other people have opinions as well, and they may be right. While strong personalities may succeed spectacularly in pushing themselves to the fore, weaker natures risk being overcome by the intensity of their emotions and impulses. In the 2nd House, this conjunction can put a strain on the finances and one may be obliged to spend more than they originally intended. It will be necessary to maintain strong control over one’s resources and not give away too much of oneself - financially, psychologically or physically. Nothing should be done on the basis of irrational impulses; and if one takes risks, they should be calculated risks. In the 3rd House, the momentum of events may lead one to go further than they intended to go. The possibility exists for a change rather than a physical or geographical move. One should control their moods and be wary of traffic accidents. There is also the strong possibility of quarrels with relatives or neighbors. The mind can be sharper than usual, which is a good thing since the challenges of everyday existence may now necessitate a maximum of intellectual agility as well as the capacity to make rapid decisions and to act quickly. In the 4th House, the conjunction may indicate the time to make a definite move. This should be undertaken without forcing issues in any way. In the home one should be as positive as possible, avoiding fights and keeping one’s temper in check at all times. On the other hand, the strong personality can now attempt to probe more deeply into their own psychological nature, piercing through their ego conditioning so as to be better able to release the qualities of their essential being. In the 5th House, emotional impulses reach a climax and can precipitate trouble. One can lose themselves in the passion of a love affair. As the conjunction stimulates creative expression on one level or another, a person will be able to act with more faith and greater force than usual. One should, however, watch out for the risks entailed in following impetuously the call of the personal desires or instincts. In the 6th House, a great deal of heat may be generated where one works, and one may suffer from the impatience of the irritation of their superiors, or form someone who has much to do with their position. If previous Martian expression has brought trouble, this is an excellent time to transform oneself through discipline, work and service to others. One can be driven now by ruthless ambition or burning zeal to better the conditions of their life. In some case, previous health issues can come to a culmination. Foods causing undue fermentation should be avoided. In the 7th House, one may want to rush eagerly into some new close association or partnership. The feelings are strongly stimulated in relation to the marriage or business partner, and there is an element of stress in relationships which must be watched. One should be as considerate of others as possible. The impetuous motion toward social experiences and relationships can be an escape from self if it if not a gift of self in the form of devotion to a person or a cause. In the 8th House, there will be an element of danger or of rach impulse in relation to one’s business life, or to the property or wealth inherited or coming to one through the action of of the marriage partner or some close associate. Partners may tend toward over-expenditure and risky financial ventures. One should not act from motives which are too personal when taking the initiative in group endeavors, although one’s courage and faith can serve as an example and stimulate others to action. In the 9th House, there will be a strong impulse to embark on expansive moves, to travel far, and perhaps to be a sort of evangelist. This search for larger worlds goes forward with faith and courage. Whether is be a search for material wealth and power or for spiritual truth it will be a personal search - for oneself and not for others. It may not be wise to plan too far ahead at this time. In the 10th House, one may meet a crisis in the development of one’s career or of one’s public ambition. There may be a need for caution and gentleness in any forceful initiative one feels obliged to take. The possibility of having to overcome antagonism and obstacles is present at this time and will be even more pronounced if one’s own ambitions are purely egocentric. One will tend to drive oneself, and others, ruthlessly to reach the goal which one has set themself. A mature personality, conscious of the role they must play within the greater whole, will now mobilize their personal energy, their will and their faith in order to further the public purpose to which they are personally dedicated. In the 11th House, the relationship to friends and social organizations becomes important. There is a need at this time for calm judgement and impersonal action, If one is a reformer, they may find a great opportunity for action; yet there is also a danger in this and cooperation must be stressed. The social or cultural attitudes tend to be aggressive, even if they are also pioneering, and often lead one to conflicts with friends, associates and advisors. There should be an urge to work out certain ideals by experimenting with them or by acting them out in some concrete behaviour. One’s inclination towards forceful criticism may lead to lost tempers in intellectual controversies over social problems. In the 12th House, the inner life will be very active and might lead one to give way to unconscious fantasies or impulses which can carry them down the garden path. On material levels, there is the possibility of danger from hidden enemies and business competitors. Social passions or forceful instincts can overwhelm the conscious behaviour. This can, in certain circumstances, be a good time for spiritualistic investigations and practices. Psychologically, however, the past will have to be faced on one way or another, and old skeletons in the closet may rattle with considerable intensity. Sun-Opposition-Mars Retrograde Although this phase marks the culmination of the Sun-Mars cycle, it must always be seen within the context of the conjunction - the beginning of the cycle where the seed was originally planted. This holds especially true for the House position, for although the House placement of Mars retrograde will indicate the area of life experience where the crisis is most likely to manifest, the House in which the conjunction fell will reveal how that crisis originated. For example if Mars retrograde falls in the 7th House there is likely to be some sort of conflict or confrontation involving partnership - either marriage or business. This does not, however, reveal the root cause of this conflict. For this, the astrologer must look to the House in which the conjunction occurred. If it fell in the 2nd House, then the crisis may have stemmed from an unwise expenditure of one’s personal resources,. In the 8th House it may indicate a rash outlay of the partner’s money, especially for personally selfish reasons. If the conjunction fell in the 3rd House, the cause of the crisis may stem from something said or written in the heat of anger, and may involve  a neighbor or relative. The opposition is an aspect indicating the potential for objective awareness. In the following cases, although the emphasis will be on the Martian energy, one must not forget that it forms a polarity with the Sun, and the solar life-purpose may provide a greater understanding of and perhaps a spiritual insight into their Mars energies. The Houses involved also express this polarity. The conflict or crisis will arise in the retrograde Mars’ House and therefore will probably receive the most attention. It is, however, the polarity of that House - the House in which the Sun falls - wherein the greatest potential for self-enlightenment is possible. Sun in the 1st House - Mar retrograde in the 7th House The problem here is defined by the use of the power of interpersonal relationships. The crisis may be precipitated not so much by one’s actions, as by the failure to act. One may project one’s own Mars energy onto the partner, expecting him or her to take the initiative and to fight one’s battles - whether physical or spiritual. The conflicts which ensue, by they marital or with the business partner, often come as the result of one’s failure to pull their own share of the load. Because the first angry words may, in fact come from the partner, one may not see that they themselves have created the situation and is responsible for it. Instead of giving way to the impulse to project their emotional needs onto others, one should look to the 1st House placement of the Sun in this opposition and become aware of the strong energy flowing through their own being.. This energy is one’s to direct, and the responsibility for fulfilling their solar purpose can not be designated to another. Sun in the 7th House - Mars retrograde in the 1st House At this time one feels themselves to be filled with emotional fervor and power - perhaps more than they can use constructively. Throughout this period, therefore one must carefully remain in control of themselves and be conscious not to force themself or their desires with too much insistence onto their marriage partner of close associates. The tendency to act out ones selfish desires, will be strong at this time, and from this conflicts can arise. The lesson of Mars retrograde in the 1st House is that of learning control of all one’s personal desires and impulses. One must differentiate between positive action and rash, impetuous behaviour. One should look to the 7th House placement of the Sun in this opposition and become aware that they are not alone - that their actions do indeed affect others. They must learn to cultivate compassion and become sensitive to the needs of others. In that way one will be able to act out their own individuality without harming someone else, and to courageously proclaim their own deepest truth without deafening those closest to them. Sun in the 2nd House - Mars retrograde in the 8th House Large demands may be made on one’s reserves of power and on both one’s internal and external resources at this time. One must learn to show discrimination in their use. One may become dependent on the resources of others and may squander them or treat them carelessly if they have not learned to value them as their own. This is especially true of the fruits of one’s relationships, principally sexual, and one may become so concerned with their own satisfaction that they totally disregard the physical and emotional needs of the partner. In this case, physical love becomes largely an escape from self, and the resultant feeling ofloneliness is generally blamed on some supposed inadequacy on the part of the partner, rather than on one’s own selfishness. The position of the Sun in the 2nd House points to a need to become aware not only of one’s personal resources, but of their individual and truly personal values. They must learn that their real wealth lies within themselves, rather than what they take from others. Sun in the 8th House - Mars retrograde in the 2nd House There are plenty of resources at one’s disposal during this time, and the challenge lies in how one may best use them The problem may be simply one of learning wise and prudent management - not to squander those resources rashly in the heat of the moment. This may, however, involve more than simply a bookkeeping talk, since the tendency here is to become totally absorbed in one’s own values to the exclusion of the wants and needs of the partner. Life itself may become an impassioned quest for more and greater wealth. One must be able to step back and view this objectively and to discover where their own real security lies. The 8th House position of the Sun shows that the only things which will truly belong to anyone are those which they have shared with another. One’s real wealth lies in the harvest of their relationships, fulfilled for the mutual benefit of all concerned. Sun in the 3rd House - Mars retrograde in the 9th House The passion of one’s new-found faith can become oppressive to others if a person uses this time to stand on a soap box a harague anyone who will listen. The lesson to be learned here is that the true value of one’s great thoughts and expansive dreams must be found in the actions which they inspire people to do - right where one is now - and not in the number of people one succeeds in converting to their point of view. Nothing will be solved by running off to distant realms, either geographically of mentally, when the immediate demands of life within one’s environment begin to press in and require attention. Long journeys or metaphysical pursuits tend at this time to be merely and escape from mundane reality and the real needs of the present moment. The 3rd House position of the Sun points to the need to be able to act according to one’s own truth freely and without the need for others’ agreement. Sun in the 9th House - Mars retrograde in the 3rd House The intellect appears full of vigor and fire at this time; and, while one may find themself irritated by conditions affecting near relatives of neighbors, nevertheless the condition can be turned to one’s personal advantage if they do lose patience. There may some risk of an automobile accident if one verns their temper through fast driving, so it may be wiser to scream and yell then to drive 90 mph. During this period,dilemmas may arise which oppose the near and the far, wisdom and intellect, long-range plans and everyday necessities. One should not become too hypnotized by the near and the intellectually practical, however, and an effort should be made to concentrate the present restlessness and scattered activity of the mind on a goal or a philosophy. There is no point in behaving like a squirrel in a cage, or in postponing decisions that must be made now. The answers to one’s present problems are to be found in the 9th House - in philosophy, religion - the sense of the greater reality and of the divine. One should still the restless promptings of the intellect and seek instead to listen to the inner voice - seek understanding rather than technical know-how. The desire to dominate others intellectually should give way to the effort to understand the meaning of one’s life-purpose. Sun in the 4th House - Mars retrograde in the 10th House This period may bring a great sense of personal power and perhaps a call to public activity in which the individual will have to take the initiative. Such a development may cause some emotional conflict in the home, especially if one seeks to avoid their public duty and crawl into the shelter of their domestic security. If, however, one assumes responsibility for the energies now operating in their nature, they can achieve a great deal both in the professional sphere and in terms of their personal growth. One must discover whether one’s public activities are founded on a personal ground-of-being, which is expressed by the 4th House position of the Sun, or are merely the expression of an empty ego-centered ambition. At this time the home and the family can take on a new and a personalized meaning. Instead of seeing one’s hereditary traditions as chains which bind one to a life of servitude to an outworn past, one may recognize that they are in fact roots - the foundation on which they can build a life of meaningful public service. Sun in the 10th House - Mars retrograde in the 4th House The tendency towards extremes of temperament must be curbed here, and one should be careful not to give in to the rising heat of momentary emotions. This energy can be used, instead, to transform one’s ambitions and to forward their professional standing. Much can happen in one’s home life affecting the foundations, both physical and spiritual, on which their life is being built. Self-centeredness causes problems, and life now demands that one seek to grow not for oneself alone, but for society - for the world. A person should not build only to become a greater and more powerful ego, but rather to play a more significant role in terms of the actual needs of society. To do this they may have to depersonalize their desires and detach the true experience of Self from their emotions. Sun in the 5th House - Mars retrograde in the 11th When a person channels their Mars’ energy into the groups and organizations to which they belong, heated discussions with one’s friend and advisors are bound to ensue. As long as they do not turn into self-indulgent and immature temper tantrums, they can serve to get the creative juices flowing. Great achievements and realizations are possible at this time, provided one is in full control of their creative energies and knows how to direct them without dissipating the energy released. Violent arguments are pointless, and emotional indignation and anger serve no purpose. This is an excellent time to learn this lesson. Because the Mars energy here focuses on groups and friendships, one may find it necessary to probe the deeper meaning of these facets of their life - to question the personal value of their strongest ideals and loyalties. There is a danger here of becoming fanatically attached to an organization and forfeiting one’s own power to that of the group. The 5th House position of the Sun in this opposition shows that the greatest gift one can give to any Cause is their true self and that a person must learn to realize their ideals through their own creative force, rather than passing them off on to the group. This is the time when a individual can become creator in whatever field lie their most effective and real abilities. Sun in the 11th House - Mars retrograde in the 5th House One must realize now that the fundamental conflicts of life are usually not solved, but rather transcended. What must be overcome here is the tendency to squander one’s energies and resources through taking ill-advised risks. At this time one may become too egocentric in their mode of self-expression, and they may try to project their desires onto other people. Mars in the 5th House certainly demands that one be creative; however, it does not demand that one sacrifice all (most specially their friends and loved ones) to their “art”. Creativity must be put in its true perspective - it involves more than simply projecting one’s ego out into the world. The 11th House position of the Sun challenges one to dedicate their creative efforts to some greater cause of purpose which transcends the level of ego desires. The pull of this opposition must be integrated through a calm and steady determination to demonstrate in some concrete form the value born of one’s sense of purpose. Impatience and the desire to achieve quick results will be the greatest barrier to creative fulfillment at this time. Sun in the 6th House - Mars retrograde in the 12th House At this time a person may be endowed with a far greater energy potential than they previously believed possible. This is an excellent time to accomplish a lot of work, especially completing all those projects and tasks which one started some time ago and are still unfinished. A few angry words can bring hidden enemies crawling life bugs out of the woodwork, and one will be forced to deal with them. Their greatest enemy at this time, however, will be their own hidden fears and anxieties, which can have a detrimental effect on the health. In the area of work it is now important to reflect on the true relation between what one is doing and the demands of society. The conscious limitations imposed on one’s activities by the restrictions of their heredity and environment, as well as the memory of the past from which one springs as a spiritual being (karma), produce problems to which one can only respond through a willingness to undergo some sort of personal metamorphosis. The 6th House position of the Sun indicates a necessity to learn that one’s happiness can be found in the midst of one’s daily activities. Throughout this time, as one confronts the dark side of their own nature - the violent instincts and irrational impulses which one has kept hidden not only from the world, but from themselves as well - one must realize that this is not their true Self, but simply a manifestation of their secret fears. Sun in the 12th House - Mars retrograde in the 6th House One must work carefully and with patience at this time; for haste or rash behaviour can lead to accidents on the job. This is especially true if one works with or near any type of machinery. Emotional self-control and kindness are necessary in all one’s working relationships. The essential challenge of this time is symbolized by the 12th House placement of the Sun, which calls for personal dedication and service to humanity. This goal can be easily lost in the drive to increase one’s efficiency and productivity. It must be remembered that these are not an end in themselves - they may be the path, but they are not the destination. The purpose of life is not to produce, but to serve; work is not the final goal, but rather the means by which an individual may participate. The Mercury Cycle Mercury is the planet closest to the Sun, and when viewed from the Earth it appears to behave toward the Sun in much the same way that the Moon responds to the Earth’s orbit. The Moon weaves in and out of the Earth’s orbit during every 28-day lunation cycle, and Mercury moves back and forth, toward the Sun and then toward the Earth three times a year. Thus, both Mercury and the Moon are distributive agencies of the solar-force. Traditionally, both the Moon and Mercury are said to symbolize the mind - Mercury having to do specifically with the nervous system, the intellect and the verbal expression of ideas, while the Moon relates relates to the memory. Like Venus, the other inner planet, Mercury always remains zodiacally close to the Sun. Because they will never be separated by more than 28 degrees, Mercury is never visible at the midheaven. It will rise either just before the Sun and disappear from view with the dawn, or it will twinkle in the evening sky close to the western horizon and then follow the Sun beneath the line of our vision. Thus, Mercury will be either a morning star or an evening star. Mercury-Prometheus and Mercury-Epimetheus To the astrological phenomenon of Mercury appearing as either the morning or evening star, Dane Rudhyar has given the names, respectively, “Mercury-Prometheus” and “Mercury-Epimetheus” after the Greek Titans. These two demi-gods were brothers, and their names translate as: Prometheus - “forethought” and Epimetheus - “afterthought”. In the legends of Greek mythology, Prometheus is known for stealing “fire” (symbolizing the power of reason) from the gods and giving it to man. His brother Epimetheus, is principally known as the husband of Pandora. Thus, Mercury-Prometheus represents the progressive, forward looking mentality, while Mercury-Epimetheus symbolized the conservative mentality which bases its judgements on precedent. In Jung’s view, Prometheus is the introvert and Epimetheus the extrovert. The former represents a mentality that sacrifices everything connected with the present order to create an anticipation of the distant future, while the latter symbolizes an approach to life base on traditionally “right ideas” - the worldly wisdom which manifests through public opinion. Prometheus cares nothing about public approval, while Epimetheus strives always to remain in harmony with the general expectations. The Promethean mind deals principally in ideals and abstractions and is little concerned with the details of daily life. Their orientation is strictly toward the future. The Epimethean mind, on the other hand, represents the contemporary “nothing but” intellectual attitude, limited by its slavish adherence to the collective norm. It is a mistake, however, to assume that Mercury-Prometheus is in some way better or more desirable than Mercury-Epimetheus. They represent two different types of mentality - each having its strengths and short-comings. The Mercury-Prometheus type of person can spend so much of their life in the future that they fail to see what is in the present. There is the possibility of losing a spontaneous approach to life’s experiences. Epimetheus, with its gift of 20-20 hindsight, may have difficulties because of a tendency to act first and think about it later. There is also the tendency to dwell on past experiences, thinking of what one should have done rather than about what one is going to do next. Mercury Retrograde In many traditional astrological texts a natal Mercury retrograde is interpreted as referring to a weak, dull or lazy mind. This is far from being the truth. Symbolically, a retrograde Mercury indicates a mind which operates in a realm which opposes the instinctual nature and the normal flow of the life-force. Thus for such a person, the greatest spiritual growth can come from experiences precipitated by the contrasting pull of rational, mental values on the one hand, and instinctual feeling-judgements on the other. The results of such a contrast can be many and varied., but, as in the case of retrograde Mars and Venus, the tendency is toward introversion - that is to say, the Self is more interested in the development of personal consciousness than in other people, events or the material world in general. Inner, mental growth will be more important for that person than outer success. For this reason Mercury retrograde can be a negative influence for a person wishing to lead a normally successful life. Even though the natal condition of Mercury gives a basic tendency to the mentality, in most lives there are several changes of polarity in the mental life. These can be measured by the secondary progressions of Mercury both direct and converse. Marc Jones published an article in American Astrology entitled “Mercury Magic”, in which he illustrated the importance of the changes in Mercury’s polarity during a life-span. Briefly, he said that the year which corresponds by secondary progression (either direct or converse) to a change in Mercury’s polarity is always an outstanding year in an individual’s life. He used this information as a means to gain the confidence of a “client”, since he could simply look at the ephemeris before erecting a chart and note the years in that life when Mercury changed direction. Since such a correspondence is usually correct, the client, even if skeptical on arrival, felt that they had come to a good astrologer and would pay closer attention to what the astrologer said subsequently. Apart from this use of Mercury’s progressed stations, definite shifts in the conscious mental attitude usually coincide with changes in Mercury’s polarity, as do changes in the electrical and nervous potential of the organism. The main difference between the indications furnished by the direct and converse secondary progressions is that all backward motions symbolize, in humanistic astrology, a return to source. Converse progressions therefore refer to factors rooted in an ancient racial or spiritual past which come to the surface of the consciousness under the pressure of karmic forces. There is usually something fateful and uncontrollable related to whatever is measured by the converse progression. This is especially true in relation to Mercury, Venus and Mars, and to the converse New and Full Moons. As with Venus, Mercury’s transit cycle begins at the time of Mercury’s inferior conjunction with the Sun in the middle of its retrograde period. When Mercury reaches its inferior conjunction and is therefore at its closest point to the Earth in its cycle, it is positioned between the Sun and the Earth. Symbolically, this is as if Mercury were focusing that solar energy especially strongly upon us. At this moment it changes from its Epimethean-retrograde phase to Promethean retrograde phase. The conjunction thus indicates a reversal of polarity in the electro-magnetic fields of all living organisms, and therefore the need for readjustment in all Mercury matters and functions. For this reason the inferior conjunction and the whole retrograde phase of Mercury can refer to important changes both in world affairs and in the lives of individuals as well. It can also reveal the new mental values which are necessary to one’s personal development. This introduction of the “new” may at first necessitate a critical purification process, especially during the period lasting from the time Mercury is stationary retrograde up to the inferior conjunction with the Sun. Whatever form the new opportunities for growth may take, the key to what happens will be found in the degree and Sign of the inferior conjunction. In this connection, the use of the symbol for the degree, especially from the Sabian series, will be most enlightening to the psychologically and spiritually oriented astrologer. When Mercury is retrograde, the general tendency will be toward mental introversion. This means that people everywhere will be preoccupied with their own personal affairs and will have less energy at their disposal for objective activity and interpersonal relationships. It is wiser, therefore, not to force issues or to run ahead with new plans at such times, since other people will not be inclined toward interest in someone else’s projects. When Mercury is retrograde, one should watch and wait, trying to understand as objectively as possible what is happening in the field of their own thinking and in the lives of other people and the world in general. There will be no point in trying to forge ahead on an old momentum which is about to exhaust itself, as Mercury is in its Epimethean-retrograde phase. Moreover, it is too early to count on the power of the new Mercury tide which is still in its early and insecure phase of growth during the Promethean-retrograde phase immediately following the inferior conjunction. he humanistic approach, therefore, suggests that one use consciously the retrograde periods of Mercury in the attempt to reorganize and purify the mind, and to free one’s thinking from the usually compulsive demands of the natural instincts. Of course, if one tries to do this, they will obviously not be able to give full attention to the so-called normal extroverted activities. They must be ready to temporarily sacrifice their extroverted effectiveness to the effort of self- improvement. At this time one should seek new goals, develop new techniques, and do all they can to change the quality of their thinking. The retrograde period of Mercury is divided into two parts. The first part, from the moment of change of direction up to the inferior conjunction, is a sort of 12th House period in terms of the ending Sun-Mercury cycle. It should be treated as such and used as a summing-up period during which one assesses their successes and failures. Then one will be able to decide what new factors should be introduced, and what mistakes should be corrected. If the old cycle poses problems at this station, then one can expect a possible solution to present itself at the time of the inferior conjunction. They may use the last half of the retrograde period to work it out. The new trends set in motion can then reach fulfillment at the time of the following superior conjunction between the Sun and Mercury, which is the symbolic “Full Moon” phase of the cycle. The natal House through which transiting Mercury retrogrades will be the field of experience to which one should give special attention. It will focus the Mercury challenge to improve the quality of one’s thinking, and to seek new standards and new ideals for living. Any planet touched by Mercury while retrograde will also be involved in the process. In closing this chapter on the three personal planets, it must be said that the most important retrograde periods are naturally those when the planet retrogrades over an Angle of the Birth-chart, and particularly over the Ascendant. Such transits generally refer to a need for regeneration or reconsideration of one’s attitude. This will occur in a climate of mental and nervous stress in the case of Mercury, and of psychological and emotional stress in the case of Mars and Venus. Such retrograde periods should not be used for truly new departures; however, they will give one the opportunity, even if it is under pressure and with the risk on making matters worse, to put things right that have been wrongly or inadequately started in one’s personal life.