One recent morning, when I was on deadline and stressed out, an email landed in my inbox that made me angry. Angry, in fact, to a degree far out of proportion to the offense.
Mars, the warrior planet, is strong in my birth chart, and I’ve always had a temper. But as a woman in her sixth decade of life, a professional, a mentor, and a counselor, I was unnerved that such a small thing could still get my goat. It’s times like this that remind me how we came to use expressions like, “That made me mad,” when we mean something made us angry. It really is a kind of madness when petty anger is triggered.
Mars has been transiting through its own sign, Aries, since the end of June. It’s been engaged in frustrating aspects with Saturn and Pluto since late August, and retrograde since September 9. Throwing this Aries Full Moon (Oct. 2, 2020, 2:05 pm PDT) into that volatile mix is like throwing a lighted torch in dry brush on a windy day. It’s a season that’s called us to respond to life-or-death emergencies like fires and hurricanes, and also provided many opportunities to learn how, when, and even whether to stand up for ourselves.
Aries is the sign of self-defense. At best, it’s the gallant knight on horseback, brandishing a glittering and lethal sword, galloping to your defense when you’re threatened. But it’s important to remember whom the knight serves: the ruler of the realm, symbolized by the Sun, ruler of ego, selfhood, and sanity. A knight’s crusade is only as honorable as the monarch who sends him into battle.
You’re the monarch of your life, the hero of your own story. And when you perceive that you’re in danger, the knight is deployed to defend you. This knight is at its best when life and death are at stake. So if you don’t live in constant fear of immediate physical peril, what’s the knight’s job?
Mostly, we put him to work as a security guard. He protects the ego and sees to it that we are treated with proper respect. He waits in readiness, but the scope of his battles is disappointingly small. Then, one day someone insults the King or Queen in his presence, and he grabs the offender by the labels, pinning him to the wall.
Occasionally, such a fellow serves a weak, petty tyrant who turns him into a dark knight, sending him into battle over hurt pride rather than honor. Awhile back, I watched a television series about Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. No one disputes that Escobar was a murderous criminal. Nevertheless, he was beloved by a large number of his country’s citizens because he used some of his nation’s resources to help the poor. Escobar was surrounded by strong comrades and close advisers. But over time, under mounting pressure from his own government and that of the United States, he became isolated and paranoid. He lashed out at some of his oldest and most trusted allies, killing some of them himself.
It’s a familiar story: A powerful man, enthralled by the ego’s need for control and adoration, is ultimately driven mad by the dark deeds carried out by his lieutenants. Whenever Aries/Mars energy goes rogue, it’s a pretty good bet that someone’s ego is feeling threatened.
During my morning of outrage, I contemplated summoning the shadowy knight of pissiness. Fortunately, before I could do anything rash, a prior engagement took me away from my office for a couple of hours. When I returned, I was able to think things through a little more calmly.
I knew I was overreacting, and I knew why. Like many of us, I’m hard on myself, self-critical, with a habit of assuming the worst about myself. So when someone accuses me of dubious behavior or poor performance, I often take it a little too hard.
This time, I took a different tack. Instead of reflexive anger and self-recrimination, I questioned the best, most honorable, and fairest part of myself. Had I been guilty of wrongdoing? Had I done harm? And had I been harmed, really?
In the end, my inner Solar Queen ruled that I had acted in good faith, harmed no one, and sustained no real injury. Satisfied with her verdict, I thanked my knight for his willingness to defend me, but told him that I’d take it from here.
This Aries Full Moon is activating the knight in us, and it’s important that we also consciously summon our inner wise and temperate rulers. Act in good faith. Admit your mistakes. Practice forgiveness. If there’s a real threat, let your gallant knight draw his sword. But if you find yourself pledging vengeance, summoning a henchman to do your dirty work and avenge your ego, remember what kind of monarch you want to be. Remember that you want to remain the hero of your own story—and that calls for the help of a virtuous knight, not a villainous one.