Posted by: Donna Cunningham | December 15, 2009

Mars Alert—Code Red!

Mars stationary Skywriter Donna Cunningham©12-15-09 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

 There’s a level of pure rage loose in the world that’s hellish to be around. It’s not just road rage, it’s mall rage, bar brawl rage, and hate crime rage. 

It’s not just Out There, it’s In Here as well, inside me and every third person I talk to.  It’s more intense now with Mars going retrograde, but it’s been building for a while already.

It’s been a rough ride lately, reining in my own rage. Some days the best I can do with it, despite all those years of healing work, is just to take the phone off the hook and discipline myself not to take it out on anyone else. And pray to have it lifted. Because the plain truth is, it’s not ABOUT anyone or anything, it just IS, and it would be totally unfair to take it out on anyone else. 

If you’re feeling some of that same heat boiling up inside, don’t blame Mars for it. The planets don’t CAUSE our woes, they just reflect the activation of certain instincts our species is hard-wired with.

Don’t even blame the fact that Mars, Pluto, and Saturn are all in hard aspect to one another right now. Had you noticed that?  I did just this morning when I was cozied up with my ephemeris, trying to figure out when it would go away. See, Pluto and Saturn are still square one another in early degrees of Capricorn and Libra. At 19° of a fixed sign, Mars is semisquare Saturn and sesquiquadrate Pluto—a tight little triangle of hard aspects. (A semisquare—45,° give or take 3°—is half a square. A sesquiquadrate—35°—is a square and a half, so these aspects partake of the qualities of a square.)

 Later I’m going to tell you what that almost unnoticed triangle confirmed for me—something I’d finally gotten to anyway in my earnest work these past several days to work through the feelings. It’s something that may just apply to you as well if you’re struggling too, something that might just be underlying this red hot lava eruption of emotion.

But for now, let’s stick with the rage. It won’t go away just because these aspects are over. I’m getting a refresher course of things about it I’ve had to learn and relearn over the years.

 Rage is a primal wave of energy and emotion.Mars stationary Skywriter Donna Cunningham

Rage is contagious.

Rage seeks a target. Any target. Whoever’s there.

Annoyances and misdeeds in the present are not what you’re furious about.

You’re not mad at who you think you are.

You’re not upset about what you think you are.

Anger is a defense against other emotions.

It’s very old. There are layers and layers of feelings below it.

You felt it as an infant, maybe even at birth.

If you sit with it and resist the temptation to aim it, it will change.

 What emerges may surprise you.

Okay, so what was it that Pluto and Saturn whispered in my ear this morning when I looked in the ephemeris?

I’d already gotten there several of the times I sat in my meditation spot and processed those lava eruptions. Per instructions, I kept asking myself,

 “But what are you really angry about?” 

“Yes, but what are you really upset about?”

“What’s really bothering you?”

“What’s under there?”   

And finally, I’d get hit with a wave of deep wrenching grief. It’s even harder to sit with than anger. It’s grief over a lot of separate losses, all of the people who made me feel safe and loved who aren’t on this plane any more.

Most of all, there’s a terrible, ongoing grief about how unsafe our world is now, about all the suffering that’s going on. So many people have lost so much–homes foreclosed,  jobs disappeared, dreams of a good education for their children shattered. And they’re not even given a decent space to grieve those losses because they have to tough it out now just to survive.  That’s Pluto and Saturn in combination at its all-time worst. 

It seems like I cry every single day when I watch the news. I know better than to watch it a lot, but that doesn’t keep me from knowing it’s there, from feeling it in the air when I go out in the world.

Mars stationary Skywriter Donna Cunningham

And that’s what the Pluto-Saturn-Mars triangle is about—old grief that’s being triggered, then shunted into a boiling hot rage. I didn’t see before how it was all connected, just thought it was two separate and unrelated sets of energies to contend with. I still learn so much about astrology and about myself from living through transits like these.

Is it just me, or are some of you out there maybe going through this as well?  Tell us about it in the comment section.

Two related articles on this general climate of rage are Pluto, Saturn and the Blame Game—the Brat Backlash Has Begun! and Pluto meets Saturn on the Square—Fear and Loathing in America.

UPDATE:  Apparently a lot of you are struggling with the same combination of rage and grief.  See the lively discussion in the comments below.  I’ve taken some of the most moving and insightful comments and published them here: Readers’ Replies to Mars Alert—Code Red.

Other Related posts on this blog:Donna Cunningham Skywriter Mars

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  1. Oh, yeah, you’re spot on as usual. I wrote about my rage yesterday on my blog. Called it “My Grand Cross of Rage.” Felt so much better getting it out of my system.

    Tr Mars is in my sixth and I’m now using it to get all my piled up chores done.

  2. dear ms cunningham i have mars radix rx in leo have been feeling impatient when mars tr was on my mc at the beginning of the cycle but now i’m quite steady as usual. maybe us mars rx are better equipped for the retrograde transit?

    • Yes, Barbara, I do believe that people with one of the inner planets (Mars, Mercury, Venus) respond better to the retrograde periods of those planets than people who have them direct natally. They seem to take action, make decisions, and the results work out pretty well by comparision. Donna

  3. Donna,
    Thank you for this writting today! I have never cried so much in all my life as in this past week or so. With 6 planets in Leo (Venus, Jupiter, Sun, Mars, Mercury & Pluto) & Aries Moon I am terribly affected by this current Mars transit.
    I have dealt with so much rage in my life that now I seem to bypass it completely and go straight for the depth of pain and loss that is always underneath!
    Thank you.

  4. Oh Donna, I think you are right. I have been smoldering about this all year. What are we leaving our children? should we even have HAD children? what about the lions and tigers and bears? the dolphins, the whales, the elephants? why are all these children being born all over the world who do not have a pot to piss in or water to drink? I am not suicidal and never have been, but sometimes I just think, how many people like me should just disappear to make this world a better place? and i can’t even calculate a number.
    Right on Donna.

    • Hi, Mimi and Laurie, I’m moved that it helped you to read that. So often when I write something so self-revealing, I second guess myself and think I should just delete it, but apparently being that honest helps some folks who’re are going through something similar. Donna

      • ps i haven’t felt rage, just despair and disgust at the human race.

  5. Oh, Donna, I had to laugh at the photos of the volcanoes because…well, aren’t they actually a picture of ME?? It certainly feels that way. And then I felt such compassion for your grief. Oh, yes, there is a range of emotions in the air.

    I’m doing my ABSOLUTE BEST to find and hold on to my sense of humor through it all, to find some lighter moments to help take the edge off that fiery hot lava flow that surrounds me, seeking something to incinerate. Thing is, there’s an awful lot of lava merging from other volcanoes into mine.

    It’ll pass eventually. And you’ve given us such wonderful tools to work with.

    The astro community is so lucky to have each other’s understanding. We don’t have to go through this alone. Thank goodness we all have each other to talk it over with.


    • Those volcanos a picture of you? Nope, they were self-portraits! I love your sense of humor, CJ, and it helps me too. Donna

      • CJ, I never, ever, picture you as a volcano! More like a big, bubbly fountain, spraying us all with a cooling mist.

  6. Well, my husband has Mars Squaring his Mars right now, and you know he is annoying. Mars is also sitting on his Jupiter which is the apex of his Yod. Saturn and the Moon are part of that Yod. I am not going to even look any further. That’s enough.

    Mars is sitting almost on my Pluto and I finally took a stand on something that I kept threatening to do, but never did. Too bad it is the cutting off my nose to spite my face type of thing. 🙂 Just to prove a point…so I think. So, I am not a happy camper right now. Pluto is part of my Grand Trine with the moon and Jupiter, so I hope that eases the pressure.

    And along with everyone else the state of affairs in the country and others always bothers me.


    • Hi, Susie, Well sometimes a nose needs cutting off! Maybe we do dumb things when we’ve reached the last straw on something, but as long as we’re not really destructive of the relationship, asserting ourselves can work. We just need to stay firm about changing the balance. Donna

      • LOL..I am trying to stand firm this time, but I always feel like my feet are in sand! Maybe this will change the balance…finally. And I never liked my nose anyway. 🙂

  7. Yup – right on, Donna.
    I have the busiest week of my year right now …and am going between rage and crying spells….I never cry. Ever.
    When did you say we are out of the woods???????????
    Add these aspects to the stress of the pre-holidays…and boombambang ….
    A cup of pre Xmas cheer might just help out.

    Peace (anyways),

    Molly K.

  8. How beautiful. With my natal Mars Rising at 1 Cancer, I am experiencing this t-square very personally With Mars rising natally, I feel glad that the boiling rage isn’t attacking me acutey right at the moment (or at least I’m used to it), but just the same your comments:

    “Anger is a defense against other emotions.

    It’s very old. There are layers and layers of feelings below it.

    You felt it as an infant, maybe even at birth.”

    …really, really resonate with me. Thanks!

  9. Its good to do some venting that is for sure Donna. In my mind rage is overwhelm and when other regulation devices do not work, too many feelings emerge at once. Mars recently opposed my moon and now Black Moon Lilith. Perhaps 20 years ago I would have been debilitated by the anger I experienced last week.

    Its too much sometimes and finding ways to express anger and to let go is a good idea.

    A teenager I know seems to get in trouble with the law every week and his rage is sending him to juvenile detention very soon. I cant seem to help him change that tide of emotion. Its up to him.


  10. And this morning i realized there was nothing in the newspaper I could bear to read. Except the part about the octopus making a shelter out of coconut husks..

  11. Donna, I am one of those born with Mars retrograde. So maybe that is why I’m not feeling the rage. But my mind is constantly working, anlayzing — I’m a very Mercurial Virgo:) I am disgusted with the news like everyone else [and I check online headlines in small, small doses] and I am fed up with a society that glorifies fame and money instead of character, morals and values. Despite the news, I think it’s important to remember what Voltaire pointed out long ago: it’s only about 10 percent of the people who are doing the bad things (and hence, in our day, making the news headlines.) MOST of us simply want to live and enjoy life with our loved ones. I’m not trying to ignore the serious issues going on around us, but to put it in perspective (a Mercurial analytic defense mechanism?) Beware of the media manipulating us is one of my mantras.

    • No doubt you’re right about Mars retrograde folks–or it just doesn’t tie in with your chart that strongly. And I agree about the news–it’s calculated for the greatest drama and entertainment value…all the way down to the weather report. It ceased to be journalism a long time ago. Donna

  12. Aha! Your post about all this fixed energy transits relating to grief resonated for me.

    My past weeks have been filled with highly active nightly dreams that leave me feeling odd & sadly out of sorts the next day. Few nights ago it was a beloved pet that died several years ago. I could hear his purr, smell his fur, his heavy girth and feel him nudging my chin as I held him and happily told everyone how he had returned and wasn’t really gone! Then last week I was visited by my recently departed, dearly loved and missed Mother-in-law (and astrology mentor). Both dreams left me feeling sad and melancholy for days. This theme started several weeks ago with a reoccurring dream of a friend who died tragically 23 years ago.

    I just plain old miss my MIL and I believe our cat has returned to await the crossing over of his brother, who is alive but ailing. My friend regularly crops up in my dream life and leaves me longing for a different outcome for her life cut suddenly short.

    Having both Sun and Neptune at 18-19 Scorpio puts me in the thick of these transits. And hopefully helping to heal my sense of loss. I’d not made the connection between my dream-visits with these current transits. I’d been watching for irrational anger and rage…but not this intense nostalgia for those I’ve loved and lost. Thanks for your insights Donna. I hope to take these feelings of grief and turn them into a greater appreciation for loved ones here and now.

    • Hmm. Kim, since you have the Sun and Neptune in Scorpio being set off my the Mars-Saturn-Pluto triangle, those weren’t dreams, they were genuine contacts with your lost loved ones. A strong Scorpio or Pluto in the birth chart are often signatures of mediumship, and the gift can awaken under strong transits like these. And under the stimulus of another loved one crossing over, like your brother’s illness. Be happy–these are genuine expressions of love and concern from those on the other side. Donna

      • Thank you Donna. That’s how I’ve been feeling about these dreams. I know just moments after my mother-in-law crossed over back in April, she “checked” in with us to say good bye as we drove to the hospital. It was one of the most powerful other-worldly-contacts I’ve had yet. I could hear her voice and sense her kissing my husband and son goodbye. Right then the sun broke through the clouds and I knew she was finally at peace. Such moments remind me I’ve got to tune into this part of myself and nurture it more.

      • Mediumship is a gift with many drawbacks, and in the US we aren’t trained how to protect ourselves from those who crossed over in an unstable condition. Be sure to shield yourself well as it opens up for you. Donna

  13. I am responding much like Jay, more a sadness and depression than anger. I have a Rx Mars natally, and transiting Mars is exactly conjunct my Pluto now. I am saddened by the greed in the world, inability of govt to pass health reform, big money corporations and a simple thing like finding a very sweet dog I want to adopt, who happens to be a pit bull, and my home owner’s insurance co. may not be willing to cover me if I do. Fault of the people who train dogs for aggressive sport, not the true nature of the dogs.


    • Thanks, Jennifer. A lot of issues to contend with at once, but know that you’re not alone. Donna

  14. This transit has been really good at helping me look at my feelings of anger and rage. As I sit and meditate on what lies below of these layers of anger, I finally I hit the other day: shame. It has been like a whole new depth of feelings I did not know about came alive. Since then I have been exploring it to see how it binds me to my negative behavior, how did it set up in my life, how it is impacting my life. Your articles have been very helpful in understanding the key components of my anger. Thank you.

    • Oh my, shame….that’s a whole other component of the Plutonian personality. There’s a fairly old book, out of print but perhaps you can get a copy on John Bradshaw, something like Healing Toxic Shame. A very important book that came out during the era of Adult children of Alcoholics being the self-help issue of the day. Donna

  15. Hi Donna, it’s interesting that you used an image of a volcano for your blog post on Dec 15…because on this day, Dec 15, 2009 a volcano erupted in the Philippines:
    – M

    • Wow!! Well, my early mentor, Rod Chase, taught me to see how well the news fit the astrological patterns. He was especially good on news stories at the New Moons, but this is quite a lot more dramatic. Thanks for telling us. Donna

  16. Mars can be a great pain if not under the light of the spiritual warrior. So much destruction on earth
    he has caused being *a* warrior. But we forgive him / us for such arrogance and action with neither consciousness or consequence by the justice of the dark feminine. We know the sun god temples both kicked and murdered… the dark feminine off the grid for standing up to mar’s actions and now we must all be accountable both within the self and the collective of letting such warriors without consciousness have free reign without monitoring.

  17. Dear Donna, Thank you for this writing. There is SO MUCH I could comment about this at this time, however, THANK YOU VERY MUCH for a confirmation of my own thoughts and happenings with the approaching MARS RETRO and I will leave it at that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Donna! I stumbled upon this wonderful web site. Thank you so much.
    Q. I have Mars in my 3rd house in Pisces. 00 degrees sun in Cap/Sag 1st house. and SAturn and Venus in Scorpio in 11th house. I haven’t given much thought as most of what I’ve read doesn’t give much crediance to Mars in Pisces. I have worked very hard in the past 6 years to “not let the world see my emotions”. Even tho I am a very emotional person on the inside.
    Can you give me some insight into how to best utilize my Mars in Pisces?
    Thank you for ideas or suggestions.
    I will be reading more of your writings in the future and I will be looking forward to them for sure.

    • Welcome to our group, JoAnn. You’ve caught me mid-series, but I’ll see what else evolves about Mars as this series continues. Meantime, in addition to the Mars articles, use the on-site search engineat the top, right hand corner for articles about Pisces’ ruling planet, Neptune and also the series of articles about the 12th house, which is related to Pisces as well. Donna

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