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“And it shall come to pass in the end of days that…they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.”

Isaiah II

Mars & Venus in the Crosshairs

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, a popular self help book by relationship guru John Gray, ignited a controversy when it was first published in 1992. Gray’s intention was to assist couples in diffusing the eons old battle of the sexes through understanding, communication and a search for common ground. In the ensuing years, Gray has built a retail empire—a whole series of books about Mars and Venus’ trials from the bedroom to the boardroom, a diet and exercise guide, nine day relationship makeover, videos, compact discs and DVDs.  Gray’s success is a testament to the magnitude of the challenge, “Why can’t we all just get along?” If personal relationships are this daunting, imagine the exponential effect when dealing on a community, national or global level.
A Cosmic Conflict

On a cosmic level, the planets Mars, God of War, and Venus, Goddess of Love, have recently become engaged in an escalating conflict. They are projecting a litany of grievances for us to ponder, and hopefully to resolve. “On Earth as it is in heaven.” Fast moving inner planets normally govern only our personal experience because they dwell in a given sign only one or two months. Planetary retrogrades, however, can extend that window to six or seven months. As a case in point, Mars entered Taurus, July 28, 2005 and, owing to its retrograde from October 1–December 10, it won’t exit until February 17, 2006. This extended time period gives us the opportunity to see the effects of planetary energy in the collective experience. Mars and Venus retrograde on a cycle of alternate years. Atypically in 2005, their retrograde periods nearly collide, with Venus turning tail on Christmas Eve Day, just two weeks after Mars goes direct. Mars transit in the Venus-ruled sign of Taurus further intensifies the oppositional relationship between these two energies. An apt image for Mars in Taurus is an athlete running a handicap race in slo-mo wearing concrete boots. As a further echo, the transiting nodes (karmic destiny points) this year are South in Libra (Venus ruled) and North in Aries (Mars ruled).

Grinding to a Halt

Are Venus and Mars hopelessly incompatible? Fiery Mars, the archetypal male principle, is naturally action oriented and aggressive, tendencies that run counter to peacemaker Venus, the archetypal feminine. Within days of Mars' ingress into Taurus a power struggle between their competing agendas became evident. By mid-November (the time of this writing), a clear pattern has emerged. The players are engaged in a cosmic game of chess; Venus obstructionist strategy has confounded Mars at every turn and forced him into defensive moves. In this battle, the stakes are high. The future course of war and peace hang in the balance.

The Peace Dividend

Since the beginning of recorded history, and probably much before, the call to arms has been the weapon of choice for conflict resolution on planet Earth. If we give credence to the Biblical prophecy from Isaiah that opens this dissertation, mankind now stands on the brink of a massive paradigm shift. We are in the “end of days,” AKA the transition into the New Age. The possibility of an end to all war is anchoring in the collective consciousness. Have we been seeing the first tentative steps toward making world peace a reality? It has been a stop-and-go process—one step forward two steps back. However, Martian slings and arrows—or was it swords and spears—have begun transforming into Taurean ploughshares. Viewing recent events through this lens, an optimistic and hopeful picture comes into focus. A chronicle of the last three months is perhaps the best vehicle for tracking the unfolding of this plan. Hint: Watch the money and the women, both Venus ruled.

Mars Chronicles

July 28: Mars enters Taurus. Aug 1: TIME Magazine’s cover story, a retrospective of the atomic bomb dropped on Japan in WWII, instills renewed public awareness about the horrors of war. Aug 7: Cindy Sheehan begins her lone vigil outside Bush’s Crawford ranch. The “Peace Mom” will eventually be joined by hundreds of protestors and launch an anti-war movement. Aug 13: President Bush announces that he would consider using force to press Iran to give up its nuclear program. The sabers rattle for the rest of the month. Aug 29: Hurricane Katrina strikes. Government inaction is problematic. (Taurus moves slowly.) The over extended military (many guardsmen are overseas) assumes a new role as rescuers. Congress proposes paying for the multi-billion dollar cleanup by cutting social programs while retaining tax cuts for the wealthy. Squeezing the public pocketbook causes Americans to question expenditures on the war in Iraq. The anti-Iranian rhetoric stops. A threat of war is averted.

September 2005

Sept 2-12: Cleanup in New Orleans. Americans question administrative competence at home and abroad—by extension, the lack of a “plan to win the peace” in Iraq enters the debate. Bush tours New Orleans on the anniversary of 9/11. Sept 20: Rita makes landfall. More extensive, and expensive, destruction of property taxes available resources. Sept 24: Massive Anti-war march on Washington. Sept 27: Cindy Sheehan and 370 protestors arrested in front of the White House for demonstrating without a permit. Supporters hold a vigil.

October 2005

Oct 1: Mars turns retrograde. Significantly, at the time of Mars’ station (23 degrees Taurus) Venus is dead opposite at 23 degrees Scorpio. The tug of war escalates. Adding fuel to the fire, Pluto, at 22 degrees of Sagittarius is quincunx Mars and semi-sextile Venus. The icy planet is considered a higher octave of Mars, the original ruler of Scorpio. The quincunx requires an energetic stretch to accommodate a larger conversation—that of speaking truth to power. This dynamic, whose influence is perceptible, is imprinted for the whole retrograde period (10/1-12/9).

Oct 3 Solar Eclipse in Libra. This powerful New Moon eclipse in the Venus-ruled sign of Libra targets trouble spots. The eclipse was visible over most of Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Southwest Asia and India. These areas of visibility are also those most visibly affected—the whole war-torn Middle East, (with reverberations in Washington), India and Pakistan (earthquake zone) and France (scene of riots). Symbolically, when the Sun is eclipsed by the Moon, some aspect of male yang (Mars) principle is eclipsed by the feminine receptive yin (Venus).

Oct 8: Massive earthquake in Kashmir. Taurus hampers action as rescuers encounter difficult mountainous terrain. International response is insufficient and aid is slow to arrive, perhaps due to disaster fatigue. Death toll approaches 90,000 by mid November. Most significantly, the earthquake eclipsed the ongoing territorial dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. Hostilities ceased and the border between the sectors was opened to facilitate rescue efforts. US helicopters, and some troops, were pulled out of Afghanistan to aid operations. Oct 22: Hurricane Wilma (all the damaging storms of this season were named for women) devastates Mexico’s most valuable resort real estate and demolishes parts of Florida. Oct 24: Rosa Parks, whose arrest ignited the battle for Civil Rights, dies. Oct 25: Jupiter enters Scorpio, setting up a mutual reception with Pluto in Sagittarius. Synchronistically, the 2000th soldier is killed in Iraq. Cindy Sheehan, dubbed by some “the Rosa Parks of the anti-war movement,” holds a “die in” in front of the White House. More peace vigils. Oct 28: Mars makes its closest approach to Earth. Because of its proximity the red planet has appeared perceptibly larger and brighter in the night sky since midsummer. Scooter Libby is indicted in Plamegate. Despite comments by Prosecutor Fitzgerald that the indictment is not a referendum on the war, journalists disagree. The consensus is that a trial will call into question all of the reasons for going to war. Bush’s approval rating plummets.

November 2005

Nov 1: The US Senate goes into closed session to debate the manipulation of pre-war intelligence. A climate of opposition emerges. Polls show support for the war eroding. Former President Carter goes on tour to promote his new book Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis. (Taurus rules values.) Nov 5: The suburbs of Paris are burning. The two week rampage of arson (Mars) forces France to confront its economic and social failures—poverty, unemployment and discrimination. Nov 9: Suicide bombers kill 57 in Jordanian hotels. Perpetrators are identified as Iraqis, now the world’s chief exporter of terrorists. Days later, a captured woman models the bombshell outfit that failed to detonate. Nov 15: CBS Evening News headline reads “EXIT STRATEGY.” Congress debates the issue. Nov 16: The “Out of Iraq” caucus, led by congresswoman Maxine Waters, holds a press conference.  

Give Peace a Chance

The world in November looks radically different than it did in August, not only because of record hurricanes, earthquakes and tornados. As chronicled, the fortunes of war are slowly turning. While Mars’ blood and Venus’ treasure may continue to flow, military solutions are becoming less viable. There is growing acknowledgement that the underlying causes of problems in the world need to be addressed. Humanitarian and economic remedies are needed. On the anti-war front, we may see the birth of a new brand of activism, a real peace movement—a true integration of the Libra/Aries nodal axis. It is time for each of us to become pro-active for peace. Some will march, write letters, sign petitions, donate money or join a movement.  Most importantly, we must BE the peace we wish to see in the world. Make peace within yourself, your family, your relationships, your community. Visualize peace. Meditate on peace. Pray peace.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich, when he accepted the Gandhi Peace Award in 2003, had this to say:

There are some who think that peace is somehow a static activity. Far from it. It's a dynamic expression of the possibilities of human aspiration. So we are called upon at this moment, to be witnesses for peace, for truth, for light, for love, for compassion, and for the potential of humanity to evolve from a condition where some believe that war is inevitable, to a condition where our knowledge that peace is inevitable becomes the defining paradigm of a new century and a new world.



Judith Goldberg, MFA has a Master’s Degree in Art Education from the Maryland Institute College of Art and a Certificate in Karmic Astrology from Creative Choices, Inc. Judith writes a monthly column, Star Track: Astrology for the New Age in the Spirit Crossing free online newsletter. Judith is a Vocational Astrologer in private practice in Baltimore, Maryland. She welcomes your comments and questions.

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