This Friday 22nd April, we have a transformational full moon in Scorpio, a highly complex misunderstood and sometimes feared sign. What many people don’t understand is that Scorpio has three different symbolic totem associations – the scorpion, who aggressively exercises power through emotion and instinct and will sting you on the foot without a second glance; the Eagle, who sees all, discerns hidden motives, discovers deeper truths below the surface of life and exercises power through the intellect; and the Dove of Peace or Phoenix, who observes compassionately without judgement and exercises power through love, healing and transformation.
When there is Scorpio energy around, issues around power and powerlessness tend to come spiralling up from the murky waters of the unconscious. There can be fear, there can be conflict, there can be war… and there can be healing!.
This is an interesting full moon because BOTH of Scorpio’s rulers – Mars and Pluto, have just turned retrograde. This only happens with Mars once every two years, so its relatively rare. His retrograde cycle lasts until the 30th June, beginning in Sagittarius and ending in Scorpio. Saturn and Jupiter are in also retrograde and Mercury in Taurus will be joining the gang from 30th April until 24th May… joy of joys! Start backing up your data now!
So… we have a strongly Martian / retrograde theme – which are almost diametrically opposed to each other. It’s very much a push pull energy.
Mars is the masculine planet of forward motion, assertion, aggression, defence and war. He determines how we go after our goals, how we meet challenges and how we react in the face of fear or stress. Very often when Mars goes retrograde, things get delayed, we feel irritated (largely because we want to keep moving forward) and the aggravation can lead to anger or even rage, which is stirred up from the depths of our beings. .
As always, there is a reason for this – the planets aren’t out to get us, even if it seems that way sometimes. We’re being given yet another chance to check in with ourselves and this time, to see how we react to stressful, potentially volatile situations.
Most of us are familiar with the Fight or flight syndrome, when faced with a threat or a stressor.
FIGHT – when we instinctively and impulsively act, attack or defend. This comes in really handy if we’re being chased by a lion, or we need to jump into survival mode. We’ve all heard stories about women who have suddenly accessed super human strength and lifted cars off their children to save their lives. When we’re in fight mode, adrenaline courses through our veins and we are stronger, faster and potentially more lethal than at any other time.
The problem is, many of us are living in that mode almost constantly – which has resulted in us being an over-stressed, aggressive and volatile society.
FLIGHT –when we turn and run – as fast as possible in the opposite direction. Other ways that we flee, are by numbing ourselves out – getting busy, zoning out in front of the tv, reaching for the wine or whisky bottle – anything to just make the issue go away.
FREEZE – a lesser known reaction is the “deer in the headlights” syndrome. When faced with the threat/ aggressor/stressful situation, we just freeze – unable to move or respond in any way. Sometimes, this is good, because it gives us a moment to assess what’s going on and to re-group. Usually we recover relatively quickly and can then put on the boxing gloves or scamper off. It becomes problematic when the paralysis continues and we become scared of making the wrong move in our lives, so we do nothing at all.
FACE – We take some deep breaths and face the situation or the person in a direct, but non-aggressive way.
I’m going to add a 5th option:
FEEL – When somebody or something presses our buttons, we allow first acknowledge the sensations in our body and the feelings that we are feeling, without judgement – breathing at the same time.
And then… when the feelings settle, we decide how we are going to respond.
We all have our automated ways of dealing with fear or stress and this Mars Retrograde (in Sagittarius/Scorpio) challenges us to explore other ways of responding. If we generally freeze or flee, then we might need to become more assertive. If we tend to fight first and think later, we might need to practice a less confrontational way of protecting or defending ourselves and dealing with our masculine energy.
This is a good time to reflect on some situations in your own life and find out what your patterns are.
This is how I unpacked one experience in my own life, which happened last year whilst helping out at a retreat centre overseas. When I arrived there, I quickly discovered that the person who ran the place was rather grumpy and somewhat abrasive – not what I expected. As a result, I more or less kept out of his way, until one morning, when he raged at me in front of the entire team, due to not receiving a telephone message.
The first thing I felt, was the heat rising to my face and that familiar old “kick in the solar plexus”. In an instant, I was right back to being an 8 year old child, being shouted at by a a red-faced, rather manic step-father. I froze… tears prickling in my eyes, rooted to the spot.
Then my fiery gut instinct kicked in (I have Mars in Leo!)… fight… go to war… give it straight back, in no uncertain terms…take him on… I mean, “how dare he!” But, I’ve been rocking around on this planet for long enough to know that going in with guns blazing does NOT generally work out well in my life, however righteous I might feel at the time.
And then I fled. For the rest of the day, I weeded in the garden like a mad-woman, allowing every conceivable emotion to surface – the anger, the humiliation, the indignation, the unfairness, (and I can tell you, they were definitely NOT all about him) He had triggered my ‘man” issues in techni-colour. Later that night, I burnt up the pages of my journal, letting it all out, leaving nothing unsaid, mounting a thorough investigation into the stories I was telling myself. It was quite a night!
When it was all out, I meditated for a while and when I was calm, I asked myself what the most self- valuing thing I could do, would be. One option was to get the hell out of there the next morning, another was just to ignore the whole thing as if nothing had happened and the third was to face him. I elected to do the third, because I knew that was my 8 year old needed me to do.
So… the next morning, I requested a meeting with him, which lasted all of 2 minutes. I sat down opposite him, and clearly, calmly (yes I know, even I was shocked at me) stated that I felt that the way he had handled the situation was not acceptable to me. And guess what… right there and then, his eyes softened, he said that I was right and asked if I would accept his apology. Here’s the kicker –for the rest of my stay, we got on like a house on friendly fire. I am, to this day, so grateful for the amazing healing opportunity that his man presented with me with.
And that is, as I see it, what this full moon in Scorpio is all about.Its an opportunity to feel, investigate, transform and heal.
The one thing I know for sure is that we can always choose whether we’re going to go to war or not. We can also choose whether we’re going to engage with and get involved in other peoples’ drama. I chatted to a dear friend yesterday who said it’s like standing on the edge of a murky dirty, smelly river. We get to choose whether we’re going to plunge into it, or not.
On 21st May, in keeping with this symbolic transformation theme, I’ll be running an Art & Soul workshop, where we will access and creatively engage with, our Power Animals and see what they have to tell us. Email me for details
I also have some space left on my SLOW Retreat in the Midlands from 6th to 8th May, where we will spend the whole weekend reveling in the senses (Taurus) and making the most of the retrograde energy by slowing down, reflecting and revitalising.
In Life and Light