If you follow either or both western sidereal or Vedic astrology, you may have already heard about one of the most significant astrological events happening this year in which Mars will transit through its own constellation of Scorpio (sidereal zodiac, not tropical). Saturn has already been transiting in Scorpio since November 2014, and Mars joins in the same sign transit from February 20, 2016 until September 17, 2016. During this period, Mars will have a brief transit back into Libra, from June 17 to July 12.
Usually Mars only transits in a sign for about two months, but when it retrogrades (~every two years for ~10 weeks), it remains in a sign for a much longer period, as in this case. This makes the transit quite important, strong, and influential by virtue of its grinding down in one relatively small part of the zodiac slowly and for a long time. Mars and Saturn come together in conjunction every ~two years, but usually only for a few months, which is long enough, believe me, since this is not an easy pairing and especially because it falls in intensely passionate and fiery Scorpio. Yet this time, because of the Mars retrograde cycle, their little dance is going to go on for around seven months.
Mars is an enemy to Saturn, and when they are together in the same sign and especially when close within 10 degrees of each other, the result can at times be explosive, overheated, oppressive, aggressive, or at least quite frustrating because they can tend to work at odds with each other when acting through their less favorable expressions. This is because Mars is pitta (hot) and tends to push forward quickly and assertively, but Saturn is vata (cold) and tends to resist and constrict.
Mars and Saturn will be close within 10 degrees of each other from March 27 to May 16 and again from August 2 to September 12, which enhances tamo-guna, the difficult, stuck, and stubborn tamasic fixed energy; and this is even more significant occurring in a fixed (tamasic) sign that is also “fiery” (Scorpio). Fixed signs are ruled by Lord Shiva, God of Transformation! All this can point to some difficult situations which will require a certain kind of mindfulness and foresight to manage, especially during their retrograde cycles when they become more malefic, i.e., powerfully challenging.
Saturn’s retrograde in Scorpio began on March 25, 2016 and extends until August 13, 2016. On Sunday morning, April 17, 2016, Mars will station retrograde in its own constellation of Scorpio and will remain retrograde in Scorpio until June 18. Mars will retrograde back into Libra on June 17 and will go direct on June 30. Pluto, modern ruler of Scorpio in western astrology, will retrograde two days after Mars retrogrades, on April 19, 2016, and will remain retrograde until September 27, 2016. Pluto is transiting now in sidereal Sagittarius squaring Uranus within a 3-degree orb. The latter tension aspect has been in place on and off for about four years now and reflects our tumultuous times.
Mars and Saturn (and Pluto) are malefics who teach us/aka “give us the results of karma” through often very intense and difficult circumstances and conditions, and again, when they retrograde they become stronger and more challenging. They will test us in ways that require us to focus and align more than ever with our highest principles and practices. In this transit, we might expect escalating major world tensions and turmoil including terrorism, wars and unrest, seismic events and major storms, accidents, and political madness. On an individual level, I believe that we must invoke the blessing of the Divine Power to help us remember that ultimately, everything difficult that is happening is there to teach us to be more open-hearted.
Mars and Saturn will be in an exact conjunction on August 24, and at that time will be conjoined the fixed star Antares, symbol of war in the heart of the Scorpion (~16 degrees sidereal Scorpio), and all of this will be following the August 18 lunar eclipse and then triggering around two more eclipses occurring in September. The conjunction is squaring the lunar nodes.This chart shows the conjunction in Washington, DC, where it occurs exact the IC (Imum Coeli, AKA patala lagna/4th house cusp). According to mundane astrology, the IC represents the homeland, land and buildings, patriotism, disasters, the common people, and democratic movements (especially opposition parties). Rahu, the Moon’s North Node, is exact the ascendant for Washington at the time of the conjunction, indicating some upheavals ahead in the government and possible on the US East Coast.
My mapping software (Solar Maps) does not use the stars but we astrologers know that Antares is close to 16 degrees of sidereal Scorpio, so it is conjunct the Mars-Saturn conjunction. Here below are maps of the world and the USA where you can see the major intensity of Mars-Saturn-Antares-Rahu along the US East Coast corridor and right through the capital.This world map below also shows where Mars and Saturn and Antares as well as the lunar nodes Rahu and Ketu will be angular (prominent and strongest) at their conjunction, and these areas could be potential hot spots for some difficult times ahead in 2016 and 2017. Anywhere on the world map that you see intersecting lines of the lunar nodes with Mars and Saturn could be the “hottest” spots.
I looked for times past when Mars and Saturn conjoined the fixed star Antares in square to Neptune as they will in August 2016, and had to go back to the 9th century BC to find this. In recent times, excluding the Neptune square, Mars and Saturn conjoined Antares on Oct. 12, 1839 and Feb. 17, 1986. There was a huge damaging earthquake in San Salvador two days before the exact conjunction in 1986, and two months later, the Chernobyl disaster hit as the Moon in Scorpio triggered the conjunction point. In 1839, an Indian cyclone that killed 300,000 people occurred about 6 weeks after the conjunction, when the Sun transited near it, triggering it. This time, the conjunction is potentially a set up for a large terror, warlike or natural disaster anytime from now through late November when the New Moon will activate the conjunction. I hope I am wrong on this, of course. Scorpio is the sign of intense transformation. Its modern ruler is Pluto, but the traditional ruler is Mars. Mars being in his own sign of Scorpio will be very strong and its fire can be fanned by the wind of Saturn which is known as Agni-Maruti Yoga. This can play out in willfulness, impatience, anger, negative attitudes, resentments, violence, and sudden explosive events. Domineering and tyrannical attitudes can also ensue and especially related to issues of authority. On a positive note, certain stubborn, deep-rooted problems that have been around a long time will be coming out in the open more and more to be addressed and resolved. This tendency starts to become most prevalent when they are both retrograde from April 17 to mid-July and then again in August when they start to move close to the conjunction.
There is so much political intrigue with this, and some potential for mass poisoning of the environment and especially through water sources (chemical, nuclear, biological, or industrial), both this year and through all of 2017. God forbid, but we are already seeing this in various localities, such as in cases of radiation poisoning the oceans and rivers, and toxic contamination of municipal water supplies, and some of that is just due to Saturn’s transit (dis-ease, difficulty) in Scorpio (poison, water) during the last 16 months or so.
When Mars and Saturn are in Scorpio but especially when retrograde and within 10 degrees of each other (April 17-May 16), we could be ripe for a major accident, terrorism, or intense environmental, meteorological or seismic event. This also points to cultural upheaval and civil unrest as certain established worn-out systems are being challenged. The last time Mars and Saturn retrograded together in Scorpio was during the American Revolutionary War.
The higher expression of Mars and Saturn in Scorpio operates when consciousness is purified, balanced, or evolved enough to bring the inner will into alignment with divine will, in which case we can see a very productive and inventive combination. In this case, the conjunction can be a powerhouse for good, if we ourselves are in balance and can just harness what they have to offer: Saturn = discipline, realism, hard work and conservatism. Mars = goal-directed energy, valor, passion, and vim and vigor.
On a personal level, muscular tension and emotional rigidity can become a problem, and if this happens, I recommend Dandelion, a North American Flower Essence (not the herb but the flower essence). Impatiens, the Bach flower remedy, is another good one for the Mars when it goes off balance and drives too hard and fast.
To understand how this transit affects one at the individual level, we have to carefully examine a whole slew of various natal and progressed charts. For some ascendants, Mars and Saturn will form a raja yoga (power and purpose, and rise in life) or dhana yoga (money combination). For certain individuals, this will be a very strengthening, empowering and life changing transit. For others, it will bring a tough situation to a head, or will help provide an opportunity to face, improve or even perhaps resolve certain difficult, imbalanced, unhealthy, and deeply ingrained attitudes, habits, and conditions.