March 20 - April 19, 2021
In the origin myth of Aries, a boy is saved from sacrifice by a golden-winged ram, who flies him on his back to safety in the faraway land of the Sun kings. There, the boy offers up the ram to the gods and hangs its fleece on an oak in the sacred grove of Ares, where it is guarded by a dragon and fire-breathing bulls. It hangs there as a symbol of heroism, of a chosen elite, of starting over, and of solar glory. To obtain the Golden Fleece, as Jason would find generations later, is to achieve sovereignty, and to assume the mantle of kingship.
Aries and Scorpio are both under the rulership of Mars, the god of war and the planet of courage and will, but Aries is his diurnal home, as well as the sign of the Sun’s exaltation. Where a Scorpionic Mars would have us overcome the nocturnal, Plutonian fears of the psyche—to survive, and evolve, through our pain, and to understand the soul’s shadows—Arian Mars sends us on a hero’s journey into the outside world, with its own unknown challenges, dangers, and ultimate rewards. Whether you are a toddler learning to walk, a warrior going into battle, or a traveller heading off on your path—head first, and one foot in front of the other, says Aries, is the only way to do it.
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, Aries marks the beginning of spring and the promise of new life. Like the first green shoots poking up out of the ground, and the flowers with their hardy fragility; with the ground still cold and winter only barely in the rearview—Aries has the audacity to live. To claim their birthright, even against the odds. In the Southern Hemisphere, it is the opposite, as the autumnal equinox heralds the waning year, but the same could still be said: Aries is assured of its own survival, and eventual renewal, in a few months’ time, and will accept the darkness with courage. No matter which season gives them birth, those born under this sign are made from the rays of the invincible, all-conquering Sun. Forged in the furnace of Mars, they have the will to face both life and death. With such god-given firepower at its disposal, Aries has the rare ability to create new beginnings where and when necessary, and to boldly keep moving forward, no matter what.
March 15 - April 4, 2021
The season of the fishes this year is full of beckoning sirens, thanks to Venus, Neptune and the nodes. Now, Mercury enters the sign, and we are all in our cups, in more ways than one. For the overseers of this transit I have cast in my mind’s eye a tarotastic assembly of Mercury in Pisces natives. I call on these muses, these sensitive souls and deep-sea divers of the collective unconscious, to guide us courtiers on our three-week journey into the land of poetry.
Our Page of Cups is beautiful and beloved Lost Boy, Kurt Cobain, offering us a heart-shaped box (“I’m anemic royalty, Give me a Leonard Cohen afterworld so I can sigh eternally…”). Charles Baudelaire, mad poet extraordinaire, plays the Knight, surrounded by his Fleurs du Mal (“To escape being martyred slaves of time, be ceaselessly drunk! On wine, on poetry, or on virtue, as you wish…”). And on the thrones sit the Queen Elizabeth Barrett Browning (“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love thee to the depth and breadth and height my soul can reach…”) and King Sidney Poitier (“We all have a capacity for love, for kindness, for passion. We also have the capacity for the opposite, but love is infinitely more effective in the world than hate, although they exist as equal opposites.”) And overhead, our trump card, Billie Holiday, shines as the Moon and sings her haunting tune (“I’ve been told that nobody sings the word ‘hunger’ like I do. Or the word ‘love’.”). She is Lady Day, priestess of pathos, woman in white, who presides over the Piscean night.
Mercury falling through Pisces has the feeling of trying to describe a dream with words—a thing elusive and unattainable that falls flat when bound by two dimensions. Our messenger longs to convey the depth, and the meandering, morphing strangeness—as well as the beauty—that he sees in this realm, but cannot do it justice. He reaches for something that is no longer a part of this world, an Orphic memory that dissolves as soon as he tries to touch it. And so the magician turns to picture, symbol and metaphor to evoke something visceral. Syntax swirls and distorts and sends the voice keening with raw emotion. The mind veers easily into the abyss of Dionysian decadence, of melancholy madness, or of enlightened piety. In this dreamscape, we are travelers only, not permanent residents, but there is a feeling of having been here before and of knowing one day we will return. Nostalgia, the sweet “pain of home,” is strong, so play in the depths, but remember that life is meant to be lived on earth, and, as Aries will soon remind us, the here and now awaits.
March 3 - April 23, 2021
James Joyce was most likely unaware of this, but his Gemini Mars was showing boldly throughout his modernist masterpiece, Ulysses. For starters, he chose for his setting a June day in 1904 when both the Sun and Mars happened to be in Gemini, lending themselves perfectly to the linguistic tour de force and labyrinthine plot. And then, writing with fearless mutability and reckless abandon, his stream of consciousness throws you into a relentless barrage of sentences that move and pulse in such a way that their rhythm starts to work you into some kind of near-shamanic trance or wild ecstasy. It’s brazen and brilliant—Mars in Gemini.
We follow our Irish Odysseus, Leopold Bloom, on his meandering hero’s progress through Dublin, and through the landscape of the Mercurial astrological houses: the local neighborhood and inner processing of the third house, and the day-in-the-life business of the sixth. His counterpart is Stephen Dedalus (Joyce’s alter ego—more doubling!), the young teacher whose name alludes to the smith and labyrinth-builder of Ancient Crete. His spiritual story of faith and identity is both foil and complement to the mundane earthliness of Bloom. Through their parallel lives, we are treated to a show of the epicurean, the emasculated, the scatological, the masturbatory, the artistic, the exiled, the bourgeois, the sympathetic, the grieving, the paternal, the Shakespearean, and the redemptive.
From a mythic perspective, Mars in Gemini depicts the hero’s journey of the Divine Twins. One version is that of Romulus and Remus, the wolf-raised sons of Mars himself, who speak to foundlings and founders, and whose downfall comes from their inability to settle a dispute. Another pair is Cain and Abel, the farmer versus the shepherd, who carry themes of competition, exile, fratricide, bad blood, and a house divided. And others may resonate with Castor and Pollux, the horsemen, helpers, healers and athletes of Greek myth. Their story tells of daring escapades, brothers-in-arms, survivor’s guilt, and soul contracts. In all cases, there is both likeness and the need to differentiate; both closeness and eventual separation. And through their juxtaposition, one is invariably eclipsed, or even sacrificed.
F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald both had their natal Mars in Gemini as well. His was with Neptune, and written into his poignant, elusive, alcohol-fueled prose; into duos like Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby—one mortal and one mythic; and into his own turbulent marriage. Zelda’s Mars was with Pluto, which cast her in the role of the dark twin—equally if not more gifted than her husband, but beset by deeper, shadowier battles of the soul that contributed to her untimely and tragic fiery end.
When Mars becomes the storyteller, we constellate the archetype of the hero-twins both within and without. Mars finds itself at cross-purposes between wanting to act for itself but being tied to its other half. But move forward it surely will. And so this transit may show up as a burst of mental energy in your Gemini house—whether that be worry and anxiety or creativity and curiosity. We become daredevils with words. Or, find ourselves amongst a cacophony of voices and thoughts; fighting boredom and seeking epic tales; spinning along one great long Joycean run-on sentence that propels us on our way, until the Red Planet reaches the quieter shores of Cancer in April, where a much different kind of adventure awaits.