You can also read this post as it was published on QueerPGH’s blog
“Look around you. Offer yourself an invitation right now: a full minute to just look. What do you see? What do you feel in your limbs, your belly, your fingertips as you look? How does breathing feel in your lungs at this very moment? Is there a scent of coffee nearby? Can you still taste the last thing you ate between your teeth?
What tendrils of the human experience are you noticing? What mysteries arise when you investigate the signals from your flesh and bones? What can your senses tell you about the quality of your life and the choices that you have made? Can these physical sensations also serve as Guides to who you are and your purpose here on Earth?
The senses of our anatomy are the most intimate connection we have with life. Every single second is filled with an abundance of information that is being translated by our bodies.
As we grow, evolve and spend more time on this planet, we learn what we like and do not like through our sensual Selves. We learn that we can take action that will invoke more of certain sensations and banish others. We acknowledge, accept, embrace, deny, numb, reject, explore, ask, pursue, release, connect, climax, consent and take risks all based on our senses: they are entwined with so many realities of life.”
(Introduction: A Sensual Encounter, Queering the Planets, Starsdance Astrology Online Mystery School, May 2020.)
The quote above is from the introduction I wrote for the online course Tere Parsley Starnes and I just finished teaching last week. It was a delightful exploration of the planets of astrology from a queer perspective. We each taught a unit: mine was “A Sensual Encounter” which focused on our body’s experiences of these planets using music, art, food, plants, divination, energetic polarities, affirmations and our physical bodies to reveal how they show up for us every day.
It was visceral and intense! A delightful confirmation that astrology is more than a conceptual philosophy; it’s a language that can be brought to life through embodied spiritual practices.
This is my week off before we begin our next online course and I’m doing my best to just relax. However, the stars above are demanding attention… and it’s not just my brain they’re after. The energy of the moment has me considering and more importantly: feeling the impact of Mars (aka: our drive) in Aries right now 👉 the sign of carnal, primal, urges and instincts that are unmistakable when they arrive.
This is not a chill, comfortable sign. It is one that takes initiative without being asked. It’s the wildness that exists in our DNA, enabling us to survive. It’s the part of our selves that we have been conditioned to tame over time, but still saves us from predators of all types when they show up. When Mars is in this sign? Our willpower fueled by fight-or-flight urges? It’s a natural pairing, but a vicious one.
While this energy is extreme, the embodied habits I have trained into my awareness over the past few months are offering me a unique approach to channeling Mars in this fiery realm that feels worth passing on. The message is bold and much needed in the post Covid-19 era that we are living in right now:
Aries is here to help us fight for life.
It’s the pulse that dilates arteries: our heart rate racing as a car gets too close. It is the oxygen that feeds lungs: our breath becoming louder as we sprint to save someone in danger. It’s a shriek that alerts the neighbors: our howl at high volume crying out for help. It is the service of our autonomic nervous system: what we do by default as spirits living in animal bodies.
In the era of Coronavirus where we are being forced to make life or death decisions on the daily, this energy amplifies the intensity of the moment. Every choice that we make the second we step outside of our safe spaces has lasting impact. Now that Mars in Aries energy is turned up on high until January 2021, we have a lot of time to figure out how to make best use of it.
As a witch who is also a body worker with over a decade of experience, I have spent a lot of time experimenting with embodied spiritual practices. Our animal nature is vital to being alive on this planet: when our awareness weaves intentional approaches with what is happening in our physical anatomy, we align our soul and increase our capacity to thrive in this life.
In honor of the upcoming Mars Retrograde from Wednesday, September 9th – Friday, November 13th in Aries: I’m offering a few approaches from an embodied perspective that serve to support our spirit and our sanity during this rigorous time of rapid change.
FEAR: name it and reclaim your power
A wise witch once told me “oh honey: when you deny your shadow, you give up your power to shape it.” Think of dark things that live inside us all that we know as panic, grief, shame, greed, envy and rage (the list goes on) as alive. Some spiritual practices use this idea to personify these parts of Self: identifying them as magical beings with names, traits, needs and personalities that exist all on their own.
When this separation occurs, we shine light onto our shadowy bits so that we actually know what they are instead of assuming or guessing. Similar to how we might interact with a friend who has self-destructive habits, we must use patience and boundaries in this work! (Aries loves to push boundaries, so it might take some work to make sure yours are as resilient as you need them to be.) We can figure out what these parts of Self want and how to tend to them with love.
There is so much power in naming. In doing so, we reclaim the energy that is being used to push away the undesirable so we don’t have to consciously engage with it. Have a fear of starvation? Name it. Anxious about societal collapse? Own it. Terrified of being left all alone? Notice it. From there, Aries’ impulsiveness can be filtered toward a specific goal of your choosing instead of acting out of sheer panic.
IMPULSE: decide where adrenaline will best serve
If you knew for a fact that you would wake up with your heart pounding, muscles stimulated, breathing heavy and mind racing: wouldn’t you prefer to have a plan in place so that you could just roll out of bed and make use that energy? Instead of feeling trapped in sensation without an outlet? Assume for the next couple months that our bodies are going to be activated and restless. As the skies go, it’s pretty much a give-in. Should you choose to accept it, you have already cleared the first hurdle of this transit’s challenges.
When we have been stuck in a routine that doesn’t involve moving the body, it rightfully begins to act up. Have you ever been around a pet that has been cooped in the house for too long? We know that mischief. Cooped up WAY too long? Training and conditioning disappears: their feral instincts take over. If we do not approach it cautiously with care, an attack is likely imminent.
Consider ways that you can tend to your physical-self’s need to be active based on your ability. This does not mean to train for a 5K, but it does mean finding pockets of time where you can do something pleasurable that circulates some blood cells, lymph and core energy. If your physical body allows it: generate some movement. If you have mobility issues and find yourself frustrated without ideas, please contact me! I would love to help you come up with some ideas free of charge. Aries needs action: we may as well work with what we have been given instead of against it.
RAGE: express your true feelings and allow the consequences
While Aries is not an air sign (the mental and verbal qualities of life) nor is it a water sign (the emotional side of things), this fire sign definitely embodies passionate self expression. Anger spurs action, but it is also liberating, cleansing and sometimes even refreshing.
Rage initiates change in dynamic ways: pushing it’s way past complacency and fear in zero seconds flat. In the wake of the murders of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, protestors around the globe are channeling their outrage towards peaceful protests and Aries is here to support them to balance the scales. While the darker, base expression of Aries is violence (which we have seen in police attacks on innocent protestors) the highest expression is being shown to the world with grace by protestors: channeling rage into intentional action.
We can speak out and act in the name of our rage and frankly: now is the best time to do it. Screaming, clapping, chanting and sobbing allows us to release pent up feelings that have been stuck in our tissues for far too long. The consequences might be terrifying, but they serve the essential cycle of life, death and rebirth. Where there is no change, there can be no life. Aries wants us to live and will do everything in it’s power to keep going: let rage catapult you in the direction of your core values! Even if the outcome is not as expected at least you’ll know that you’re living an authentic, meaningful life that you can be proud of.
BURNOUT: prioritize the cycle of act, rest, repeat
Being in a state of Fight-or-Flight will help keep us alive, but it will also totally deplete us when we’re out of danger. The longer we remain in this state, the more time we will need to recover from performing at our maximum capacity. Aries does not do rest well, but we can choose to take a break as conscious beings: committing to relaxation after answering the demands of our surroundings.
Where are the spaces in your life when you can embrace some down time? What are the things that make you feel most like yourself and rejuvenated just by doing them? Are you getting enough rest and eating the sustenance that support your health? Consider these things and do whatever is necessary to filter them into your schedule. (Feel free to use timers or alarms if this is difficult for you.) The air-mask philosophy is a good one here: we can’t help others unless we help ourselves first.
The skies ahead are rumbling with strife and the next few months are going to be intense. Ready or not 👉 here comes action! The fire of our willpower is lit within us and we’re gonna need to use it, but we will come out of these situations much braver than before.
If you find yourself swirling in drama and unsure how to sustainably ground your actions: remember our karmic work right now that has to do with the gas lighting of Sagittarius (South Node) and reality checks of Gemini (North Node).
Aries teaches us courage: for we do not know what we are truly capable of until we prove ourselves to ourselves.
Inspired to tap into the feral elements of this cycle? On August 30th, Tere and I will be co facilitating Conjuring Signs: exploring the zodiac in real time for 28 days. This class is time sensitive, so be sure to commit early and prepare to explore the impact of the moon on your daily life for a full month! Another option (this one’s free 👌) is to check out the Queering the Planets: Aries Magic Spotify playlist that I compiled from all of the playlists of our course.
This playlist does contain explicit lyrics, as do some of the other playlists. If you would prefer not to hear the ones that contain this type of content, click hereto read how to filter it out by adjusting your settings. (You know what else belongs to Aries? Profanity!)
This playlist is perfect for a Friday night of wild fun, pumping yourself up to do something intimidating, making your way to a protest and/or getting outside to blow off steam with some amazingly queer beats.
What do you do when life gets intense?