The 1999 Mars Saga through the Lens of Shamanic Astrology

What follows here is an article that appeared in the April/May Issue of The Mountain Astrologer. Please see What is Shamanic Astrology for background information on Shamanic Astrology and to see the information that prefaced this article.

The Mars journey is playing an important role in the seven planet alignment taking place in May 2000. This article is designed to begin preparing our understanding ceremonially and shamanically for the events of May 2000. Valerie Vaughan’s fine article and research in the Dec/Jan 1998 Mountain Astrologer had a discussion on the close groupings of the Sun, Moon and five classical planets throughout history. From the perspective of Shamanic Astrology, these seven bodies are vital in that they are the visible bodies. The truly remarkable feature of this momentous time in May, 2000 not generally noted, is that all seven bodies will be located in the “underworld”, that is below the horizon and not visible.

Generally, astronomers and observers use the following orbs with the Sun to determine visibility (For example Jim Maynard’s Celestial Guide employs this technique).

Mercury 10 degrees
Venus 10 degrees
Mars 15 degrees
Jupiter 10 degrees
Saturn 15 degrees

Note: Venus can break this rule at interior conjunction when it’s sometimes possible to see her within less than ten degrees from the Sun. The May 2000 alignment finds Venus and Mercury at exterior conjunction along with Mars on the far side of the Sun.

From May 3-5, 2000, the Moon will be invisible at the New Moon. Venus is ending her time as a morning star, sinking below the horizon, just as Mars is disappearing from the evening stage joining Mercury, Saturn and Jupiter already invisible within a few degrees from the Sun. Amazingly, on the days after the tiny crescent Moon appears in the west after sunset, the closeness of this planetary grouping actually increases, as Venus, Mars and Mercury all draw closer to the Sun. The full implications of the visible planets all together in the underworld (not a feature of the 1962 or 2040 alignments) will be expanded on in a later article.

New Mars Cycle Begins

The primary focus for this article is the beginning of a new Mars cycle on April 24, 1999. This new cycle is associated with, as we will argue, the archetype of Scorpio. The intent of this approach is to introduce a methodology, applicable in general to all visible planetary cycles, which is capable of revealing:

  • The archetypal nature of (in this case Mars) the synodic cycles for the current age.
  • A workable ceremonial approach to experience the cycle and receive inspiration.
  • A structure for draping and projecting a workable and effective mythic story line on the synodic cycle.

This proposed structure and story line for Mars is presented as exploratory and non-dogmatic, as it has grown out of my own independent research and collaboration with colleagues and apprentices in Shamanic Astrology. Our hope is that you will try it out and see what happens. We welcome feedback.

Proposed Mythic Story Line Projected Onto Mars Synodic Cycle

Based on the evidence of the April/May 1997 Mountain Astrologer we found the synodic cycle of Mars begins at opposition, when Mars is brightest, closest and most dominant, rising at sunset in the east as the Sun sets in the west. This is when Mars is directly overhead at midnight commanding the entire night sky. Alternate theories are possible, and other scenarios have been worked with, but this one has worked best so far. Also, this theory more easily fits the fragments of myth and fairy-tale, that seem related to the Mars cycle.*5 (For a more thorough explanation please see the April/May 1997 issue of TMA)

Additionaly, we have determined the sign that Mars occupies at opposition is the overtone archetype for the entire 26 month cycle. Each successive opposition signals the beginning of a “quest”, a warrior/heroes quest, to experience and integrate a new principle of masculinity, or universal animus for humanity that applies to both men and women.*6

The Phases Of The Story Line

Phase Zero) Gestation/Incubation (Three month process): Dreaming and imaging a new reality on the foundation of established elder wisdom. Preparing for a new life. The transmission of a new archetype arrives.

Where is Mars? Morning Star

This phase begins with Mars enteromg into the sign of the next quest until the date of the Sun/Mars opposition. This phase includes the onset of the retrograde and begins around the time of morning quadrature when Mars is directly overhead at sunrise, and rises around midnight.

Phase 1) Birth/Emergence (Three month process):

Aggressively accepting the challenge of the new version of the masculine. A new hero/warriors adventure begins. Allies are called in, and great youthful enthusiasm reigns supreme.

Where is Mars? Evening Star

This phase begins with opposition and ends when Mars resumes direct motion and once again reaches the degree it was at opposition. During this time Mars commands the evening sky. Note: From gestation to emergence, amazingly, Mars can remain within the boundaries of the same group of stars, six months!

Phase 2) Challenge; the “Labors of Mars” 10 month process

A brash and impetuous Mars encounters great obstacles as he slowly but steadily moves westward, sinking toward the western horizon, often times in pursuit of the an evening star phase of Venus. He moves through seven signs and has ten meetings with the moon before descending into the underworld.

Where is Mars? Evening Star

This phase generally begins around evening quadrature, when Mars is directly overhead at sunset; still quite bright. Then, rapidly fading in magnitude, Mars sinks to the western horizon.

Phase 3) The underworld/Shamanic death and rebirth (4 months)

Mars enters the mysterious and relatively unknown (in a technological/rational era) realm of shadow and shamanic initiation of death, surrender and rebirth. Mars can be conceived as “blinded” as he passes off the world stage of ordinary reality. Possibly this phase is related to Native American ceremonies like the Okeepa and the Sun Dance. This is not the same as the Christian concept of Hell.

Where is Mars? Invisible

Mar is invisible due to its close proximity to the Sun: Mars begins this phase within 15 degrees of the Sun and during this phase experiences a conjunction with the Sun, always occurring when Mars is farthest from Earth and dimmest in magnitude.

Phase 4) Rebirth and the Growth of Wisdom (4 months)

Having “survived” his underworld ordeal, greatly weakened and humbled, but possessing a greater spiritual vision, Mars resumes his development of the current masculine mystery school integrating it back into ordinary reality.

Where is Mars? Morning Star
This phase begins when Mars emerges from the Suns glare with a very faint heliacal rise as morning star in the East. This phase ends when once again Mars reaches the sign in which he began the current quest.

5) Maturity and Elder Knowledge (2 to 3 Months)
Mars, the warrior/hero, nears the end of the journey. He makes a slow, thorough passage through the sign and region marking his quest, savoring it, and if things have gone well, demonstrates his knowledge as elder and teacher of this mystery school. He then prepares to dream the dream onwards.

Where is Mars? Morning Star Mars continues to brighten as morning star. This phase ends around the time that morning quadrature is achieved.

The Warrior/Heroes Quest

Current Story Line and Data

The creation of a mythic story line can include additional features. For example, we have provided the dated framework of the warrior’s many encounter with the Moon. *7 Certainly other visible planetary contacts that the warrior/hero makes on his journey are worth noting, and the dates are included here. The ominous presence of Saturn in dramatic opposition to Mars, as he incubates and then embarks on his Scorpio quest can inspire many possible story line ideas. And then, the actual star groups along the ecliptic can also add to the celestial drama. During the Scorpio gestation phase, the warrior almost reaches the prominent stars of the Scales. These stars are Zuben Elgenubi (15 Scorpio) and Zuben Elshamali (19 Scorpio). Mars pauses for a time and retrogrades, as if to gather strength and allies, before proceeding past the Balance in August of 1999.

One possible story line is as follows. The warrior/hero, set to embark on a Scorpio quest for humanity, receives a very long and intense activation from Saturn, keeper of the collective chit of humanity. Mars, then approaches the scales, contemplates them with a rising passion, before advancing past the Balance, dispensing Scorpionic justice (i.e. death and rebirth) or alternately having 10 “hard” Scorpionic challenges (meetings with the Moon) thrown at him on the way to the underworld. In the underworld, Mars undergoes a Sun-dance initiation, where all the gods and goddesses have convened in May of 2000.

Interestingly, in the next Martian story line beginning in 2001, we find Mars at gestation and emergence at or near galactic center.

The Final Phases Of Previous Mars Cycle

The Warrior/Hero Virgo Quest

March 17, 1997 to April 24, 1999

Phase 5) Virgo Maturity and Elder Knowledge From Oct 7, 1998 to Jan 26, 1999

Date Aspects Sign Of Mars Degrees From Sun

Date Aspect Degree from Sun
October o7 1998 Mars enters Virgo 00 Virgo 45 Degrees AM Star
October 15 1998 Moon conjunct Mars 06 Virgo 47 Degrees AM Star
November 13 1998 Moon conjunct Mars 23 Virgo 58 Degrees AM Star
November 21 1998 Mars where cycle began 27 Virgo 62 Degrees AM Star
December 12 1998 Moon conjunct Mars 09 Libra 72 degrees AM Sta
January 09 1999 Moon conjunct Mars 23 Libra 85 degrees AM Star
January 16 1999 Mars at AM quadrature 26 Libra 90 degrees AM Star
January 19 1999 Mars opposes Saturn 28Libra 92 degrees AM Star

Phase Zero) Scorpio Gestation/Incubation From Jan 26, 1999 to April 24, 1999

Jan 26 1999 Mars enters Scorpio 00 Scorpio 103 degrees AM Star
Feb 06 1999 Moon conjunct Mars 05 Scorpio 96 degrees AM Star
Mar 06 1999 Moon conjunct Mars 12 Scorpio 125 degrees AM Star
Mar 18 1999 Mars Stationary Retrograde 12 Scorpio 136 degrees
AM Star
Apr 03 1999 Moon conjunct Mars 11 Scorpio 152 degrees AM Star
Apr 19 1999 Mars opposes Saturn 06 Scorpio 173 degrees AM Star


The Warrior/Hero Quest For Scorpio

Phase 1) Scorpio Birth/Emergence Apr 24, 1999 to July 15, 1999

05
Moon conjunct Mars
22

Apr 24 1999 Mars opposite Sun 04 Scorpio 180 degrees PM Star
Mars rises in the east as the Sun sets in the west at sunset, Mars is brightest (Mag -1.7) and at the closest part of its orbit to Earth; and always Retrograde at this time of its cycle.
Apr 29 1999 Moon conjunct Mars 02 Scorpio 172 degrees PM Star
First conjunction of the Moon with Mars after opposition
May 01 1999 Mars closest to the Earth 01 Scorpio
The combination of the above events signals the actional commitment of the warrior/hero to the new adventure for the next 26 months, the archetypal integration of Scorpio, the sign of Mars at opposition.
May 05 1999 Mars Retrograde enters Libra 00 Scorpio 171 degrees PM Star
Ma 26 1999 Moon conjunct Mars 25 LIbra 141 degrees PM Star
Jun 03 1999 Mars Stationary Direct 24Libra27 132 degrees PM Star
Jun 22 1999 Moon conjuncts Mars 27 Libra 17 degrees PM Star
Jul 04 1999 Mars re-enters Scorpio 00 Scorpio 107 degrees PM Star
Jul 15 1999 Mars at degree of opposition 04 Scorpio 101 degrees PM Star

Phase 2) Scorpio Challenges: The “Labours Of Mars” From July 16, 1999 to May 10, 2000

Jul 20, 1999 Moon conjunct Mars #1 06Scorpio 98 degrees PM Star
Aug 07, 1999 Evening quadrature 15Scorpio 90 degrees PM Star
Aug 10, 1999 Mars opposes Saturn 17Scorpio 88 degrees PM Star
Aug 18, 1999 Moon conjunct Mars #2 21Scorpio 85 degrees
PM Star
Sep 16, 1999 Moon conjunct Mars #3 09Sagittarius 75 degrees PM Star

Sep 16, 1999 Mars conjunct Antares 09Sagittarius 75 degrees PM Star
Oct 15, 1999 Moon conjunct Mars #4 29Sagittarius 67 degrees PM Star
Nov 13, 1999 Moon conjunct Mars #5 21Capricorn 60 degrees PM Star
Dec 12, 1999 Moon conjunct Mars #6 13Aquarius 53 degrees PM Star
Jan 11, 2000 Moon conjunct Mars #7 06Pisces 46 degrees PM Star
Feb 09, 2000 Moon conjunct Mars #8 28Pisces 38 degrees PM Star

Mar 08, 2000 Moon conjunct Mars #9 19Aries 31 degrees PM Star
Apr 06 2000 Mars conjunct Jupiter 11Taurus 24 degrees PM Star
Apr 07, 2000 Moon conjunct Mars #10 11Taurus 23 degrees PM Star
Apr 16, 2000 Mars conjunct Saturn 18Taurus 22 degrees PM Star
May 05, 2000 Moon conjunct Mars 01Gemini 16 degrees PM Star

May Moon Mars conjunction may not be visible. Sometime in early May, 2000 Mars will disappear into the underworld. May is the window of time so many point to, including the seven planet stellium grouping in Taurus in the underworld.


Phase 3) Scorpio Underworld From May 10, 2000 to Aug 23, 2000

Jul 1, 2000 Mars conjunct Sun 10Cancer Zero degrees

This time period requires further elaboration at a later time. Mars will connect with many other planets during this time below the horizon.

Jul 1, 2000 Mars conjunct Sun 10Cancer Zero degrees

This time period requires further elaboration at a later time. Mars will connect with many other planets during this time below the horizon.

Phase 4) Scorpio Rebirth and the Growth of Wisdom From Aug 23, 2000 to Dec 23, 2000

Late August, 2000 Mars emerges from the glare of the sun to become a dim morning star.

Aug 28, 2000 Moon conjunct Mars 18Leo 16 degrees AM Star
Sep 26, 2000 Moon conjunct Mars 06Virgo 27 degrees AM Star
Oct 24, 2000 Moon conjunct Mars 24Virgo 37 degrees AM Star
Nov 22, 2000 Moon conjunct Mars 11Libra 49 degrees AM Star

Dec 20, 2000 Moon conjunct Mars 28Libra 61 degrees AM Star

Phase 5) Scorpio Maturity and Elder Knowledge From Dec 23, 2000 to Feb 14, 2001

Dec 23, 2000 Mars Enters Scorpio 62 degrees AM Star

Dec 30, 2000 Mars reaches 4Scorpio 64 degrees AM Star

This is the same degree where this Mars quest began.

Jan 18, 2000 Moon conjunct Mars 15Scorpio 74 degrees AM Star

Dec 23, 2000 Mars Enters Scorpio 62 degrees AM Star
Dec 30, 2000 Mars reaches 4Scorpio 64 degrees AM Star This is the same degree where this Mars quest began.
Jan 18, 2000 Moon conjunct Mars 15Scorpio 74 degrees AM Star
Dec 23, 2000 Mars Enters Scorpio 62 degrees AM Star
Dec 30, 2000 Mars reaches 4Scorpio 64 degrees AM Star This is the same degree where this Mars quest began.
Jan 18, 2000 Moon conjunct Mars 15Scorpio 74 degrees AM Star

Phase Zero) Sagittarius Gestation/Incubation Begins Feb 14, 2001 to Jun 12, 2001

Feb 14, 2001 Mars enters Sagittarius 85 degrees AM Star

Feb 15, 2001 Moon conjunct Mars 01Sagittarius 86 degrees AM Star

Feb 22, 2001 Mars reaches morning quadrature 90 degrees AM Star

Ma 05, 2001 Mars conjunct Antares 09Sagittarius 95 degrees AM Star

Mar 14, 2001 Moon conjunct Mars 14Sagittarius 100 degrees AM Star

Apr 12, 2001 Moon conjunct Mars 25Sagittarius 118 degrees AM Star

May 08, 2001 Moon conjunct Mars 29Sagittarius 139 degrees AM Star

May 11, 2001 Mars Stationary Retrograde 29Sag02 142 degrees AM Star

Feb 14, 2001 Mars enters Sagittarius 85 degrees AM Star
Feb 15, 2001 Moon conjunct Mars 01Sagittarius 86 degrees AM Star
Feb 22, 2001 Mars reaches morning quadrature 90 degrees AM Star

Ma 05, 2001 Mars conjunct Antares 09Sagittarius 95 degrees AM Star
Mar 14, 2001 Moon conjunct Mars 14Sagittarius 100 degrees AM Star
Apr 12, 2001 Moon conjunct Mars 25Sagittarius 118 degrees AM Star
May 08, 2001 Moon conjunct Mars 29Sagittarius 139 degrees AM Star
May 11, 2001 Mars Stationary Retrograde 29Sag02 142 degrees AM Star
Feb 14, 2001 Mars enters Sagittarius 85 degrees AM Star

Feb 15, 2001 Moon conjunct Mars 01Sagittarius 86 degrees AM Star
Feb 22, 2001 Mars reaches morning quadrature 90 degrees AM Star
Ma 05, 2001 Mars conjunct Antares 09Sagittarius 95 degrees AM Star
Mar 14, 2001 Moon conjunct Mars 14Sagittarius 100 degrees AM Star
Apr 12, 2001 Moon conjunct Mars 25Sagittarius 118 degrees AM Star
May 08, 2001 Moon conjunct Mars 29Sagittarius 139 degrees AM Star

May 11, 2001 Mars Stationary Retrograde 29Sag02 142 degrees AM Star

Phase 1) Sagittarius Birth/Emergence June 13, 2001 to Aug 24, 2001

June 13, 2001 Mars opposes Sun 23Sagittarius 180 degrees PM Star

Jul 02, 2001 Moon conjunct Mars 18Sagittarius 157 degrees PM Star

Jul 19, 2001 Mars Stations Direct 16 Sagittarius 128 degrees PM Star

Aug 2, 2001 Mars reaches 23 Sagittarius 112 degrees PM Star

Mars returns to the degree it was when opposing the Sun

Notes

4. I am using synodic cycle to refer to the angular relationship of any given planet to the Sun, and its return to a designated starting point. For example, for Venus a synodic cycle could be from one heliacal rise to the next heliacal rise. For Mars we are primarily using the time span from one opposition to the next opposition. The significance of these cycles is rooted in the observers experience of the sky. Here is the raw data on the Mars synodic cycle.

1 synodic cycle 1 synodic cycle 779.94 days

About 26 months or 2 years and 2 months

7 synodic cycles 7 synodic cycles 5,459.57 days

15 years 5,478.63 days

-19.07 days before birthday

22 synodic cycles 22 synodic cycles 17,158.64days

47 years 17,166.38 days

-7.74 days before birthday

37 synodic cycles 37 synodic cycles 28,857.71 days

79 years 28,854.13 days

+3.58 days after birthday

5. For example, the Pawnee tale describing a morning star seeking an evening star, of Innana sending Dumuzi into the underworld after her return from the underworld, and Rapunzel being seperated and reunited with her prince. See the Feb/Mar and Apr/May 1997 issues of the Mountain Astrologer for details.

6. The most recent, current and yet to occur Mars oppositions to the Sun

Date Sign And Degree of Overtone

Jan 22, 1978 02 Leo

Feb 25, 1980 06 Virgo

Apr 01, 1982 11 Libra

May 11, 1984 21 Scorpio

July 10, 1986 18 Capricorn

Sep 28, 1988 06 Cancer

Nov 28, 1990 06 Gemini

Jan 08, 1993 18 Cancer

Feb 12, 1995 23 Leo

Mar 17, 1997 27 Virgo

Apr 25, 1999 04 Scorpio

Jun 13, 2001 23 Sagittarius

Aug 29, 2003 05 Pisces

Nov 07, 2005 15 Taurus

Dec 25, 2007 03 Cancer

Jan 30, 2010 10 Leo

7 .This structure has great meaning when applied to the Venus cycle (as will be expanded on next issue), and may have a similar significance for Mars. For example, in the Pawnee telling, the maiden as evening star (Venus), throws 10 “hard things” in Morning Star’s (Mars) pathway for him to overcome as he journeys to the west. See accounts in Krupp and Aveni’s work. Notice that there are 10 Mars/Moon conjunctions during Mars’ journey to the underworld.

June 13, 2001 Mars opposes Sun 23Sagittarius 180 degrees PM Star

Jul 02, 2001 Moon conjunct Mars 18Sagittarius 157 degrees PM Star
Jul 19, 2001 Mars Stations Direct 16 Sagittarius 128 degrees PM Star
Aug 2, 2001 Mars reaches 23 Sagittarius 112 degrees PM Star
Mars returns to the degree it was when opposing the Sun

Notes

4. I am using synodic cycle to refer to the angular relationship of any given planet to the Sun, and its return to a designated starting point. For example, for Venus a synodic cycle could be from one heliacal rise to the next heliacal rise. For Mars we are primarily using the time span from one opposition to the next opposition. The significance of these cycles is rooted in the observers experience of the sky. Here is the raw data on the Mars synodic cycle.

1 synodic cycle 1 synodic cycle 779.94 days 779.94 days

About 26 months or 2 years and 2 months

7 synodic cycles 7 synodic cycles 5,459.57 days

15 years 5,478.63 days

-19.07 days before birthday

22 synodic cycles 22 synodic cycles 17,158.64days

47 years 17,166.38 days

-7.74 days before birthday

37 synodic cycles 37 synodic cycles 28,857.71 days

79 years 28,854.13 days

+3.58 days after birthday

5. For example, the Pawnee tale describing a morning star seeking an evening star, of Innana sending Dumuzi into the underworld after her return from the underworld, and Rapunzel being seperated and reunited with her prince. See the Feb/Mar and Apr/May 1997 issues of the Mountain Astrologer for details.

6. The most recent, current and yet to occur Mars oppositions to the Sun

Date Sign And Degree of Overtone

Jan 22, 1978 02 Leo

Feb 25, 1980 06 Virgo

Apr 01, 1982 11 Libra

May 11, 1984 21 Scorpio

July 10, 1986 18 Capricorn

Sep 28, 1988 06 Cancer

Nov 28, 1990 06 Gemini

Jan 08, 1993 18 Cancer

Feb 12, 1995 23 Leo

Mar 17, 1997 27 Virgo

Apr 25, 1999 04 Scorpio

Jun 13, 2001 23 Sagittarius

Aug 29, 2003 05 Pisces

Nov 07, 2005 15 Taurus

Dec 25, 2007 03 Cancer

Jan 30, 2010 10 Leo

7 .This structure has great meaning when applied to the Venus cycle (as will be expanded on next issue), and may have a similar significance for Mars. For example, in the Pawnee telling, the maiden as evening star (Venus), throws 10 “hard things” in Morning Star’s (Mars) pathway for him to overcome as he journeys to the west. See accounts in Krupp and Aveni’s work. Notice that there are 10 Mars/Moon conjunctions during Mars’ journey to the underworld.

June 13, 2001 Mars opposes Sun 23Sagittarius 180 degrees PM Star

Jul 02, 2001 Moon conjunct Mars 18Sagittarius 157 degrees PM Star

Jul 19, 2001 Mars Stations Direct 16 Sagittarius 128 degrees PM Star

Aug 2, 2001 Mars reaches 23 Sagittarius 112 degrees PM Star

Mars returns to the degree it was when opposing the Sun

Notes

4. I am using synodic cycle to refer to the angular relationship of any given planet to the Sun, and its return to a designated starting point. For example, for Venus a synodic cycle could be from one heliacal rise to the next heliacal rise. For Mars we are primarily using the time span from one opposition to the next opposition. The significance of these cycles is rooted in the observers experience of the sky. Here is the raw data on the Mars synodic cycle.

1 synodic cycle 779.94 days

About 26 months or 2 years and 2 months

7 synodic cycles 5,459.57 days

15 years 5,478.63 days

-19.07 days before birthday

22 synodic cycles 17,158.64days

47 years 17,166.38 days

-7.74 days before birthday

37 synodic cycles 28,857.71 days

79 years 28,854.13 days

+3.58 days after birthday

5. For example, the Pawnee tale describing a morning star seeking an evening star, of Innana sending Dumuzi into the underworld after her return from the underworld, and Rapunzel being seperated and reunited with her prince. See the Feb/Mar and Apr/May 1997 issues of the Mountain Astrologer for details.

6. The most recent, current and yet to occur Mars oppositions to the Sun

Date Sign And Degree of Overtone

Jan 22, 1978 02 Leo

Feb 25, 1980 06 Virgo
Apr 01, 1982 11 Libra
May 11, 1984 21 Scorpio
July 10, 1986 18 Capricorn
Sep 28, 1988 06 Cancer
Nov 28, 1990 06 Gemini

Jan 08, 1993 18 Cancer
Feb 12, 1995 23 Leo
Mar 17, 1997 27 Virgo
Apr 25, 1999 04 Scorpio
Jun 13, 2001 23 Sagittarius
Aug 29, 2003 05 Pisces

Nov 07, 2005 15 Taurus
Dec 25, 2007 03 Cancer
Jan 30, 2010 10 Leo

7 .This structure has great meaning when applied to the Venus cycle (as will be expanded on next issue), and may have a similar significance for Mars. For example, in the Pawnee telling, the maiden as evening star (Venus), throws 10 “hard things” in Morning Star’s (Mars) pathway for him to overcome as he journeys to the west. See accounts in Krupp and Aveni’s work. Notice that there are 10 Mars/Moon conjunctions during Mars’ journey to the underworld.

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