How to Work with Mars Retrograde

Ceremony and Ritual

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bout every other year the fiery plant Mars goes retrograde – the elusive state where a planet appears to be going backward in its elliptical orbit, but it isn’t really. In classical astrology the traditional understanding is that when a planet goes into retrograde it actually descends into the Underworld, descending into shadow. When Mars descends into the Underworld we can know that some of this planet’s more aggressive tendencies can be exacerbated, but as always there are many positive effects of Mars’ entrance into shadow. It is during this time that we are able to align ourselves with the elements of Mars that have perhaps been missing or overlooked in our lives over the past year and change.

Do’s

– Exercise and overhaul your physical fitness routine
– Review conflicts, disagreements, and battles that you have engaged in since the last time Mars went rx and consider what they have taught you
– Explore your relationship to self-discipline
– Inform yourself about the current geopolitical situation
– Refine your diet
– Avoid passive-aggressive behavior
– Dedicate the merits of your actions
– Optimize any areas that seem to especially be calling for your attention
– Refresh your self-defense skills
– Take action to honor those who have served in the armed forces
– Stay hydrated
– Amp up your protective rites and magic

Dont’s

– Pour gasoline on fires by ramping up disagreements and conflicts
– Glorify war and violence
– Give into dictatorial behaviors no matter where they come from
– Ignore your physical health
– Engage in destructive behaviors
– Let a diplomatic outreach or negotiation go off the rails
– Give into division and acrimony
– Stew in rage or anger that has no proper channel
– Leave yourself vulnerable
– Burn the candle at both ends
– Resist getting plenty of rest

Mars is the planet most committed to discipline and perfection. This can work beautifully in our day to day lives because when we are alignment with Mars we see what needs to be fixed and we have the energy to optimize it. However, the shadow side of discipline and perfection is never being satisfied and always wanting more…this impatience for the very best can easily lead to conflict that at the end of the day, no one really wins.

If you are Mars-sensitive and concerned about the effects of the retrograde you may engage in the following acts of honoring and propitiating the God of War:

– Make and keep doctor appointments, prioritizing the health of the physical body
– Add the color red and the scent of cinnamon to your altar
– Donate to a local veterans association
– Exercise and dedicate the merits of your work to Mars
– Donate blood
– Donate to a peacekeeping organization
– Offer dishes of meat (especially lamb, pig, or bull), red wine, and wheat
– Place iron objects, ideally weaponry made of iron, on your altar
– Learn to work responsibly with a weapon of your choice
– Take on a physical challenge you can work your way up to

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.

Hearth and Home Vol. 20: Just Add Water

Lunar Letter

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t is hard to believe that I have not sent out a Hearth and Home since December of last year!

There have, of course, been Things Happening. First, for me, was the completion of the manuscript for my second book, Star Child.

I spent January, February, March, April, and May writing, polishing, and writing some more. My original due date was May 1st but due to the Coronavirus and myself and my husband suddenly finding ourselves thrust in the roles of homeschool teachers like so many other parents around the country, I received an extension and finally got the beast in the second week of May.

I am really excited about this book which explores how we can joyfully parent with Astrology as a guide – I think the past months have shown how much it is needed and I cannot wait to share more about it with you all!

At the beginning of March, I was in my beloved New Mexico, celebrating Jasper’s 9th (9!!!) birthday and eating dinner at one of my favorite restaurants with some dear friends.

By the time we drove back to Texas, everything was on lockdown, Spring Break turned into a semester of homeschooling and an appalling number of people grew sick and died from the virus.

Jasper’s school went online and Heath’s, our 2 year old, day school closed altogether for the semester. We found ourselves like everyone else adapting to a new rhythm and facing new questions and concerns, especially when it came to our children.

In our household, one of the things we learned early on was that the boys needed to get outside and move around and stretch their bodies first thing in the morning.

Our schedule morphed from making breakfast, packing up backpacks, ensuring teeth were brushed, diapers were clean, and clothes were on before loading up into the truck to get dropped off at school to herding everyone outside, applying lots of sunscreen and bug spray and making sure bike helmets were securely fastened. During our morning walks, we would chat about the schedule for the day and, after making the block we would return to the house and water the gardens.

Those of you who have been with me for a while know that I descend from a long line of farmers and gardeners, that I love plants, and that I grow many of the plants that I work with magically. I noticed though, as this past Spring found me more outside than I had been in a long time, that I had allowed gardening to take a back seat and in particular I had neglected the task of watering – one that I have always loved and enjoyed. Now, while I generally have a tough love philosophy with most of my plant allies (you kind of have to in South Central Texas), I was amazed and a little disappointed that I had somehow become too consistently “busy” to water the garden. The boys turned watering into a grand adventure and unsurprisingly I started seeing growth from plants I had forgotten I had even planted!

We are now in the dead heat of Summer so we have to wake up extra early to water, go for a walk, take care of the chickens, and all of the other animals we share our land with, but we do it and I do it because what I have learned, what I have remembered over the past few months, is that water is magic. Even though we are in the middle of 108 degrees July days our gardens are verdant and beautiful and nourished.

When I think about 2020 I see a year that has been full of what rootworkers call Crossed Conditions. From the virus to the anger on the streets and on the screen to needless and unjust deaths this year has tested all of our mettle.

The oldest understanding of Crossed Conditions is that they are times where we are dried up, dried out, and devitalized. The remedy is an invitation to do the opposite, to add water, to call upon the things that nourish, sustain, and protect…the things that keep us tender. What those medicines are is different for each person but now as we have just passed the mid-point of the year, I encourage yourself a couple of questions – consider it a ritual for today’s New Moon in Cancer.

1. What in my life has gone un-watered for too long?
2. How can I restore it?

The answers will surprise you and the remedies are almost always simpler than we think. Watering as a morning ritual, an act of devotion to our land does not solve all of the problems. It doesn’t make the answers easier either. But it does remind me that amid the dried up times that seem perfectly poised to suck the essence right out of us, there is an ally, a Holy Helper and that sometimes all we need to do is just add water.

magic, miracles: receive my lunar letters

ARRIVING on full moons each month.