MARS/NEPTUNE – The Unconditional Surrender

Life is a symphony of interconnected cycles, each with its unique flavour, duration, crisis points, and overall evolutionary growth. Unfortunately, we often measure time in linear and arbitrary units, which keeps life moving at a steady but monotonous pace, and it fails to acknowledge the significance of momentous events. Surprisingly, many people don’t even notice the cycles of the Moon, which is puzzling since observing this very regular cycle could help us understand ourselves better. Astrology is the study of cycles, and there is much to learn from it, including how to predict or prevent inevitable events with wisdom.

In the Mars/Neptune dance, a two-year cycle that involves the God of War and the Ruler of Seas, we witness a remarkable transformation. By the time Neptune is finished with Mars, he appears washed up, dishevelled, disoriented, and wasted on some sandy shore. Nevertheless, Mars has learned to survive in Neptune’s nebulous waters. Although he may feel disappointed with himself, he has gained wisdom, refinement, and a deeper understanding of the futility of his belligerent ways.

The current Mars/Neptune cycle began on May 18th, 2022 and will continue until April 29th, 2024. We are presently in the first quarter of this cycle, and due to Mars’ retrograde motion, it will remain stationary within a 5º orb square to Neptune through October and November of 2022. This unique configuration provides an exceptional opportunity to observe Neptune’s impact on this vital energy source, as the effects of a typical Mars transit usually last only 5-10 days. Following a significant period in Gemini, the first-quarter square will recur on March 14, 2023.

Critical phases (quarters, or squares) in the current Mars/Neptune cycle.

Surrendering the Masculine Archetype to Cosmic Forces

During a Mars/Neptune transit, Neptune’s weakening effect on Mars’ typical way of operating dissolves the ego attachment to masculinity, challenging Mars to confront his sensitivity, compassion, and imagination. Mars discovers he cannot fight Neptune using his typical confrontational approach and must surrender unconditionally to the greater cosmic forces. Activities during this transit can appear strange and confounding, necessitating caution about what we believe and exercising a pan-psychic approach to everything.

In the Mars/Neptune interplay, there are no obvious or reliable cues to action, and what we see is frequently not as it appears. Like a child watching helplessly as her father sobs, or become intoxicated, or drowning, the sight of masculine archetypes being overwhelmed by ‘weakness’ can be disheartening.

When analysing the effects of Neptune, the ruler of the quantum field, on any celestial body, a degree of compassion and acceptance for the wonders of nature must be applied. This is because two or more “realities” can coexist simultaneously, depending on our perception or point of reference. In the case of Mars aspecting Neptune, we experience the actions of a more primitive masculine archetype, which is ultimately in tune with natural and mystical forces. However, this archetype is also subject to the intuitions and inspirations prevalent in their time and place, and what one person may see as an ideal, another may see as a nightmare.

When Neptune is involved, our consciousness must take a more inclusive consideration of the many alternative outcomes before we can begin to grasp a sense of proportion of the fight we have before us. This involves acting from a new centre, a point of stillness reached only by inner silence and freedom from ego distractions. Only the present emerges from Neptune’s quantum field of infinite possibilities; in the now, the past dissolves into mere hearsay and assumptions, while the future is but an illusion. It is only when we focus our attention on the present moment that we can fully open up to the ultimate authentic experience. We must surrender to our hidden inner selves and not be swayed by the provocations of the outer world.

The surrender required by Neptune can be particularly challenging for Mars, whose primary function is to protect the ego/self from any perceived threats, whether real or imagined.

Like other outer planets such as Uranus, Pluto, and Eris, Neptune’s effects seem to transcend known natural laws, physical properties, and measurable manifestations. As such, understanding Neptune requires us to tap into our intuitive and supernatural abilities. We can awaken and utilize Neptunian powers through our fantasies, creative visualizations, daydreams, symbolic imagery, and divine channels. Neptune is the master of the cosmic dance, inviting us to dive deep into its undulating waters where rhythmic tides of music, pulse, sound, and colour stir the spirit.

The Complexities of Personal Power and Sexual Desire

When we examine the effects of Neptune on Mars, we see an aggressively masculine force that favours explicit, impulsive gestures. But these actions become hazy, weakened, glamorized, or altogether ineffectual. In fields that involve motion and energy, such as dance, gymnastics, or underwater ballet, we may display exceptional imagination and intuition. However, our aspirations tend to be out of proportion with reality, making it difficult to achieve anything else.

Without a sense of mystery, peculiarity, and magic, our drives, ambitions, and career prospects can easily slump into a commonplace rut. Those who possess enough charm to captivate others, with or without consent, can transform fantasies into reality by tapping into their wishes and visualizations. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to understand that personal power over others is implicitly sexual in nature, which is a fundamental truth we must acknowledge when dealing with Mars.

We rely on our Mars energy to ensure our self-preservation through procreation, ultimately. It is the ongoing conflict between man’s ego-driven desire to leave a genetic legacy (or other distinctive marks) on the human race, versus the constant undermining forces of nature. Through this lens, we can effectively view the Mars/Neptune archetype and the idealised masculine as someone who can fulfil everyone’s sexual fantasies or, alternatively, someone who sees everyone as theirs for the taking.

Naturally, this “assertiveness” function is not based on gender or sexual preference. However, it’s important to understand that the primary motivation of Mars is sexual – its role is to drive the individual to assert themselves (or their genetic legacy) in the present moment to survive and potentially dominate the competition. While the function is inherently masculine, it is not exclusively male – we are all in the race to win, or at the very least, not to lose.

Harmful Expressions of Mars/Neptune Energy

When we bring visionary Neptune into the mix, we can see how the idealized masculine is subject to the changing fashions of its time. Media celebrities, athletes, fashion models, and other icons throughout history and across cultures provide examples of how symbols for sex and glamour have varied, heightened, and faded with the times, particularly in the post-millennial age.

With Mars/Neptune, a captivating story of heroism and accomplishment is played out in at least one person’s image-making faculties. This person embodies what is considered sexy, dangerous, virile, and competent, and has the necessary qualities to deliver, rescue the day, or fight for the underdogs, the distressed, and the disadvantaged. They represent a saviour, inspiring the “idealized masculine” archetype we aspire to merge with, if not embody ourselves. This is the person we want to have children with.

Stories require effort to keep telling and retelling, and like the sea, Neptune cannot be held to one distinct rendition. We must commit to keeping up with her fluctuating tides and moods, repackaging the story to suit her whims and fancies. This “need to stay tuned in with the audience” can be particularly stressful and tiresome during hard aspects, such as squares and oppositions. It leads to irritability, discontentment, physical depletion, disinclination to work, lethargy, and impotence, none of which are particularly appealing or offer any guarantee for survival because sooner or later, the idealized becomes bogus.

The recourse for the unintegrated Mars/Neptune type is to fake it, to try to deceive the present moment either by promising something they cannot physically deliver or through passive-aggressive conduct where they attempt to undermine any competition. They cynically downplay or avoid life’s demands, misrepresenting their level of interest, if any.

An unintegrated Mars/Neptune type may know they cannot win but refuse to surrender or leave the race. They may continue to play with the intent of messing things up.

Therefore, the most harmful expression of Mars/Neptune energy is observed in those who deliberately exploit, misuse or abuse the good intentions of others, often with criminal intent. The misuse of one’s physical or intellectual force, sex appeal, or procreative ability to harm others, such as causing confusion, sabotaging their efforts, transmitting illnesses (including sexually transmitted ones), or inflicting mental anguish, is not uncommon.

At its worst, Mars/Neptune periods can bring about unprovoked attacks from strangers, allergies, sullen or hostile attitudes, discontentment, feelings of inferiority, complaints of being underappreciated or cheated or being victimized by society or its lower elements, problems with pests (of both the two and six-legged varieties), addiction to narcotic poisons or drugs, sexual issues, paranoia, and neuroses.

In any case, extremes of indulgence in an idealised masculine persona or complete abstinence may result from a Mars/Neptune aspect. This is perhaps the most sexually bizarre aspect possible, and everything erotic can present as strange, distasteful, or unpleasant. People we do not like can captivate and entice us to engage in unusual practices. Words like sleazy, creepy, sneaky, and wet are used to describe those whose motives are not only unwholesome and unclear but also undesirable.

Humility and Self-Sacrifice During Mars/Neptune Transits

For those who feel uneasy with the traditional masculine archetype (which includes most people in modern society), experiencing a Mars/Neptune transit can be a particularly challenging time. It seems to provide all the evidence needed for an indefinably negative period, where the forces that attack are hidden, covert, or mysterious, often originating from within ourselves.

Sooner or later, the subtle influence of Neptune will wear you down. It’s easier to go with the tides’ flow than resist them. In this way, a sense of calm or even delirium takes over your mind. You lose sight of where you end, and the waves begin. You start to accept anything Neptune says. You follow its lead, no matter how ridiculous or absurd. If it tells you that you’re worthless, you must agree. You may plead with it to stop and promise to behave, but the waves will continue to wash over you. Eventually, you’ll find yourself on your knees before Neptune, and it will laugh in your face.

At best, during this time, we may posture to defend the underdog through self-sacrificial actions or conscientious objections to wars or other shared abuses. However, we cannot rely on allies for the most part. Humiliation, defeat, and victimisation often result from misguided attempts to impose our distorted ego ideals upon others. Neptune has a way of humbling everyone, eventually.

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  1. A truly awesome explanatory writing, Ang. I am very grateful to read it.