Mars Retrograde began yesterday with yet another installment of the “you can’t make this shit up” category of astrological events. Thanks to a combination of smoke and clouds, this is what it looked like in Northern California yesterday (see the above picture of the Martian surface). When a planet changes direction, the planet is the closest to earth it can be and it appears to come to a stop. The planet’s energy is more present. Mars, the god of war, anger, and conflict is more “present” right now. Can anyone else say “duh”? Mars is also about courage, right boundaries, and right action. The retrograde asks us to look within ourselves and consider how we are working with Mars. Are we standing around with a broken bottle in our hands going, “who wants a piece of me?!?” — or are cultivating the “inner warrior”, with the courage to actually confront our own fears at their source, which is within.

On another note, when Uranus (sometimes called the “Lord of Lightning”, for its association with the sudden and the shocking) stationed retrograde a few weeks ago, California received an unprecedented barrage of lightning, kicking off the annual fire season. That’s another “you can’t make this shit up” event. I don’t know why, but California seems to be registering these astrological events in a very literal way with its weather. It’s almost like it’s saying “look! Loooook!!!”

At the very least, this is amazing. Even though these are tragic events, and even though the situation in Californina is quite miserable, the astrological background reflects something amazing. This is all a part of something larger. There is meaning here, which give a whole different meaning to the word “meaning”. Such correlations inspire awe and wonder. They help us bear witness to the “mysterium tremendum et fascinans” — the awesome and trembling mystery. We are a part of something vastly larger than ourselves, and largely incomprehensible — and yet there is deep meaning in that (and not the opposite that many people suppose when considering our smallness in the face of things).

Finally, awe and wonder go a long way to helping us, in the words of the serenity prayer, “accept the things we cannot change.”

My professional advice (especially if you have planets in Aries, Libra, Capricorn, or Cancer)? Stay mindful and get a lot of physical exercise. Breath work and yoga are good. Punch/ scream into a pillow if you must.

Alex Stein is an archetypal astrologer. https://www.alexsteinastrology.com/

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