Mars Turns Retrograde in the Nation’s Birth Chart

For the next 80 years as the Nation’s Mars function remains retrograde, it is of urgent importance that we Americans confront our violent shadow.

Francis Donald Grabau reports from the 10th House

On July 19, 2006, the Mars function of the U.S. came to a standstill as it turned retrograde by progression at 18 degrees and 42 minutes of Libra in America’s 10th House. This area of America’s chart symbolizes both the Office of the President and all public figures upon whom the reputation, honor and international standing of America rests. It’s the area of America’s birth chart signifying the Nation’s power, culture, ideals and achievements. Mars is the Nation’s energy; it’s power, force, and ability to take action. Symbolized by this event is a critical shift of gears as the force of American power turns inward upon itself.

Never before in the Nation’s short life has its power ever been in such a retrograde situation; a situation which will last until March 27, 2086. America is due for an 80-year period of self-examination regarding the nature of Mars, its power, force, and potential aggression. Since this event is focused in the Nation’s 10th House, the whole world will watch as America undergoes this process. It would be hard to find a better phrase than the “War on Terror” to describe the Mars war function when it turns against itself, unless we called it the “War on War.”

When Americans signed the Declaration of Independence, the planet Mars was occupying the sign of Gemini—the symbol of words, letters and documents. America as a nation expresses its Mars force largely in terms of dualistic Gemini talk; it’s a nation marked by aggressive thought and speech. America’s elder statesman, Gore Vidal, has quipped that only Americans could be tricked into thinking they can declare War on a Noun, a part of speech—and an abstract one, Terror. The phony American War on Terror is really a War of Words, a violently aggressive attack against peoples’ minds, leading them into a fear based realm of mutual distrust, dishonesty and paranoia.

America declared a “War on Poverty” and a “War on Drugs” before it reached its most recent Declaration of a “War on Terror.” Mars in Gemini declares itself, and so does America, in forceful Gemini jingoism. Americans love sound bites and word capsules. Our media is almost exclusively concerned with such tricks and spins of language to the exclusion of any thoughtful content. American jargon has been seeded all around the globe by us “Yankees” who, in World War I, described ourselves with lip smacking self-satisfaction as Yankee Doodle Dandies. To yank is to jerk, is to be a … Yankee.



Americans love tough talk. We are a people inclined to aggressive speech and thought, to verbal and mental Gemini abuse. We invaded both Afghanistan and Iraq so we could “Kick Some Ass.” It would seem, however, that we are being forced to realize the ass we’re kicking is our own. It’s the force of our Mars in Gemini language suddenly turned retrograde and bouncing back upon us.

With Mars gone retrograde in our Nation’s 10th House, the world hears our warlike babble and violent slang thinly disguised as the mocking “diplomacy” of the Empire of the Dark Force. Guantanamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib are symbols of America’s crude, sadistic and arrogant bigotry foisted on the world. Mars, turned retrograde in the Nation’s 10th House, demands that we vigorously reexamine our country’s ideals and its Culture of War. While the U.S. dollar has lost 33% of its value in the last five years alone, public figures reveal that we continue to maintain 714 military bases in 130 of the 192 countries in the world. Far too much of the Nation’s spirit and income is spent on war.

War is only one aspect of the power of Mars; another is the power of honest work. With Mars turning retrograde, American blue collar workers are losing their jobs, their pensions, their hard won workers’ rights and their unions. Mars in Gemini favors white collar workers over physical laborers, paper pushers over miners, talkers over doers. In the U.S. the talkers actually believe they are the doers! Paper pushing nerds, bureaucrats and computer clicking investors—all those people who “work” exclusively on the verbal-mental level—are distinctly favored by Mars in Gemini. They tune in to the power of Mars through aggressive, pushy, thought and speech.

In America, negative Gemini double-talk is preferred over honest labor, and everybody is encouraged to display talents for making money by slight-of-hand. The American “get rich quick” syndrome is pragmatic like Gemini and focused upon immediate results, with very little consideration given to the long term. Unlike the honest work of the physical laborer, the farmer and craftsman, the “work” of bureaucratic paper pushers produces lots of needless trash—psychic and physical. America’s trash is, in fact, choking the world’s oceans, landfills, and air. The whole world is pointing to us as the number one polluter on Earth—yet, we adamantly refuse to sign the Kyoto protocols.

America’s Mars turning retrograde in 10th House Libra symbolizes “blowback.” America is the world’s main supplier of toxic war weapons and toxic trash. We export little else, other than Hollywood propaganda or fast food franchises, and now we have entered our time of payback. Several thousand pounds of weapons and trash, in the form of the most minute nanoparticles of depleted uranium, is circling the Earth. America led the world into the Atomic Age with nuclear bombs, radar, satellites, and a million throw-away appliances. Mars rules magnetic iron and by turning retrograde it will attract all this nuclear-metallic garbage back to our shores like filings to a magnet.

Mars is the primary force of Aries. In America’s chart, Aries is focused upon the 4th House land base of the Nation, as well as the 5th House of our gambling streak and the legislators of the Senate. Enormous shakeups and energetic changes are due on both these fronts. Mars turning retrograde favors a more introverted force; a Homeland Security police force. It suggests hesitant use of power and halting work on the part of our legislators. Witness how, despite the November 2006 elections, Nancy Pelosi and John Conyers both argued that “impeachment is off the table” where international criminals like Bush and Cheney are concerned.

A retrograde Mars’ lack of positive, energetic force is indicative of the kind of widespread apathy which seems to stalk the land. Mars’ force is a Nation’s military and police force, and this could be an indicator of a Nation about to blatantly militarize its police and “guard” its citizenry. Events in the 1990s such as Ruby Ridge, Waco, the Oklahoma City Bombing, and the 2001 Pentagon/World Trade Center attacks reveal that there is, indeed, a rogue Mars force within American government aimed at its own people. America’s “War on Terror” is an oppressive military-intelligence campaign eroding the civil rights and liberties of all Americans.

A few years after the events of 9/11, the Mars function in America’s birth chart was stimulated by a thrice repeated opposition aspect from the planet Pluto. This is the planet that set off the events of that day; throughout 2001-2002 Pluto repeatedly crossed over America’s Ascendant and opposed the planet Saturn in Gemini. America’s “shadow function” was thereby activated as it has never been before during its entire history. That shadow function is largely described by America’s Natal Pluto, found in the business and government sign of Capricorn at the Nation’s birth. It signifies an unconscious agenda operating in America that equates corporate business with government. Pluto’s opposition to Saturn, the ruling planet of Capricorn (in focus on 9/11) was an exposition of the Pluto Power of Saturn-ruled (Capricorn) business and government.

When we consider the astrological dictum which declares Pluto to be the “higher octave” of Mars, we see that the ensuing oppositions Pluto made to America’s Mars throughout 2004-2005 found us at war in both Afghanistan and Iraq, not because the people wanted war but because the Pluto shadow government found it profitable for business. The propaganda machine of America’s corporate government churned out daily heaps of deceitful propaganda persuading the people that war was essential.

Endless scandals throughout those years revealed how Halliburton, Bechtel, Blackwater and other corporations spectacularly overcharged for their shoddy services for the Military-Industrial-Complex. Just as transiting Pluto began its series of three repeated oppositions to America’s Natal Mars, the scandals of Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and Bagram began to slowly leak out into the media.

The lies told us by the government—the illegal-immoral torture of prisoners and innocent detainees—point again to America’s Mars function in Gemini, found in square aspect to Neptune in Virgo. It reveals a predisposition in the national psyche which inclines Americans to mask (Neptune) the motives and force of our actions (Mars). It requires greater understanding if we are to successfully handle the implications of our collective Mars function turning retrograde, and remaining so for the next 80 years.

While Mars in a Nation’s chart is symbolic of its army, police and athletes, it is a Greco-Roman kind of war that Mars embodies. It refers to individual force exerted in an Aries fashion; hence, is associated with implements such as javelins, swords, catapults and guns and rifles. Pluto, its higher octave, is the real ruler of modern wars, wherein vastly more devastating and “impersonal” forces are at work: nuclear bombs, missiles, weapons of mass destruction. Mars is the force that can cut, amputate or even kill but it refers to hand-to-hand combat. When combined with Jupiter it can signify collective groups of individuals practicing such war techniques as Spartan and Roman group tactics employed in war.

Pluto deals with absolutes, with extreme force, with all that brings radical decomposition and death. Pluto, as the classical Lord of Wealth, refers to the Plutocracy, the absolute rule of absolute wealth and absolute power. Mars is no match for Pluto. In any contest between the two Pluto wins, because it summons far greater resources than Mars alone can muster. Mars, therefore, is seen as referring primarily to individual prowess, to personal aggression, to war as a classical battle between individual soldiers or knights jousting. Pluto, on the other hand, summons all the wealth and power required for the construction and use of hydrogen and atomic bombs such as America dropped on Japan.

Throughout 2004-2006, Pluto transiting in the sky through Sagittarius has opposed the U.S. Mars and squared the U.S. Neptune, creating a highly volatile (if temporary) T-square configuration among the three planets. Its effect has been to expose modern warfare as the tool of corporate government, and the profit making device that brings untold riches to the Plutocracy by means of widespread death and suffering to individuals. Americans, subject to our Nation’s essential Mars to Neptune challenge, are finally beginning to awaken en masse to the official lies of its unelected leaders.

Mars square Neptune symbolizes lying and deceit, masked actions of an often war-like nature. But because both these planets are found in the mental, intellectual, communication oriented signs of Gemini and Virgo as well as in America’s 9th and 7th Houses, the lying expresses itself most vividly in 9th House legislation and court arrangements, which serve to confuse, undermine, and overwhelm the thinking and efforts of its individual citizens. Devious bureaucracy plagues the American system of government and courts, and erodes the civil liberties of citizens. Witness the rigged elections, the illegal appointment by the Supreme Court of the dysfunctional personality, George W. Bush, to the Office of the President!

The “shadow government” of America is found in the placement of Pluto in Capricorn in America’s birth chart, and Mars is the planet which astrologers claim is “exalted” in Capricorn. For the next 80 years as the Nation’s Mars function remains retrograde, it is of urgent importance that we Americans confront our violent shadow. It is virtually assured that we will, one way or another, and that our Mars to Neptune penchant for avoiding the meaning and results of our actions has come to an end.

Mars, Pluto, and Neptune are the key players in America’s economic life and our economy is in deep trouble. In fact, America is all but bankrupt. Stocks and bonds may be doing well, and the Federal government may issue as many distorted, Enron-like reports on the marvelous statistics of the Nation’s growth as it wishes, but the typical worker is in debt up to his ears. Inflation will continue throughout 2007 and promises to go critical as transiting Pluto engages America’s Progressed Neptune on the following dates: December 14, 2006; August 24, 2007; September 20, 2007.

At the same time (relatively speaking) transiting Saturn is opposing transiting Neptune (from Leo to Aquarius) giving us all lots of intuitive premonitions as to what is coming our way. It calls for a sober and rational (Saturn) examination of our collective beliefs and faiths (Neptune), and demands accountability rather than continuing obfuscation of the economic facts which are currently being hidden from us. Reality versus mystery in a very focused way throughout the time period encapsulated within these dates of the Saturn to Neptune opposition so closely paralleling those already given above: August 31, 2006; February 28, 2007; June 25, 2007.

I suspect that the most critical moment—the moment when the proverbial cat is let out of the bag—is the three month period on either side of August 13, 2007, when transiting Saturn, ruler of America’s 2nd House of earnings and the treasury, reaches exact alignment with America’s Progressed Ascendant at 27 degrees and 32 minutes of Leo, directly opposite the 27 degree Aquarius Moon of the people. Only two days before that, on August 11, 2007 transiting Saturn will have exactly opposed America’s Natal Moon of the people in a kind of astrological double whammy, which brings both the Nation’s destiny and the Nation’s people under the direct impact of restricting Saturn. That’s when the people face an objective showdown with the Saturn constraints of Leo Authority, a showdown directly impacting our 2nd House issues of money and earnings.

The dollar is being “allowed” to slide further and further. Actually, it’s being forcefully shoved downward by the nation’s exorbitant war costs and the cutting of taxes on the very Pluto corporations that profit from and created the war(s). The mask of Neptune, which has largely disguised the Mars ambitions of our Federal Reserve System and its collusion with international (American) corporations, is about to be taken off. Raw corporate power will reveal itself more and more bluntly and it will do so through the policing arm of the corporate U.S. government.

Even if we manage to get past the August 13, 2007 date given above without dire economic hardships, these hardships are definitely coming our way. It’s very important that we Americans begin to realize exactly what happened in the November, 2004 Presidential election. On Halloween Day, America became a Pisces Nation as our spirit and core identity symbolized by the Nation’s Progressed Sun entered the Neptune ruled sign of Pisces. This had the immediate result of confronting America with its primal Mars to Neptune square inherent in its very foundation. The fruits of our personal Mars actions were masked from us and the officially announced election results were a lie.

Right on cue, the Democratic runner, John Kerry, conceded the results of the rigged election by proclaiming in a cowardly manner: nolo contendere! Pisces, as every astrologer knows, can be the foremost sign of the victim who is incapacitated by his own self-undoing, often as a result of an apathetic failure to defend himself. Negative Pisces and negative Neptune frequently take refuge in escapism. America, with its Natal Mars to Neptune square, tends to lead its citizens toward escapist avoidance through its 7th House Mars in Gemini Media and its 9th House Neptune in Virgo muddled analysis of fact.

If Americans manage to bluff their way through all the challenges coming our way from Saturn’s movement through Leo, the next phase of our economic woes begins when Saturn enters the sign Virgo on September 2, 2007, and our Nation’s Progressed Moon follows into Virgo on August 21, 2008. Virgo calls for efficient functioning with minimal means. Saturn in Virgo will further constrain those minimal means, and the Progressed Moon will carry the people of the Nation into a mood of strict austerity.

Transiting Saturn in Virgo will oppose America’s Progressed Sun in Pisces from (roughly) 3 degrees and 24 minutes of each sign on the following dates: September 26, 2007; March 18, 2008; June 20, 2008. At that time we will be sober, objective witnesses to the actual state of our Treasury, the value of our dollar, and the reality that America is a private bankers’ corporation run by a de facto corporate government.

If, as portended by the rigged 2004 elections, our Progressed National Sun in Pisces has led us to be victims complicit in our own national undoing through apathy, we will know it in no uncertain terms. Large numbers of us may find ourselves cashless and rounded up into detention ‘worker camps’ built by Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg-Brown-Root. Such camps have been commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security as of January 24, 2006 at the cost of 385 million dollars.

Should events in America follow this sad course it will be because Americans, in the grip of our Nation’s progressed Mars turned retrograde, have failed to awaken themselves to the real meaning of their President’s cherished War on Terror. We will have succumbed to the lassitude and apathy such a retrograde Mars can bring instead of employing it in a constructive manner. Such a constructive manner would best be executed by Americans if we carefully examine our priorities and use our limited personal energies in a most circumspect way—in a way that demands we reexamine our essential, constitutionally guaranteed values declared to be “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

©2007 Francis Donald Grabau. Don Grabau is a 64-year old homeless poet and star-gazing astrologer who has practiced the art since 1968. He’s been at various times and places a school teacher, a theatre performer, a professional fisherman, gas station attendant, dishwasher and guerrilla video producer. He has a BA in English/Psychology/Philosophy and an MA in Creative Writing and World Literature. For an expanded version of this article in greater astrological detail in poetic Astro-Gnostic style, see Don welcomes the opportunity for personal astrology readings at [email protected].

Astrology Terms

Squares: these are 90 degree angular relations between planets of a challenging and friction/energy generating nature. They are of two similar but distinctly different kinds: waxing and waning. The square found in the U.S. Chart between Mars and Neptune is of the waning variety demanding that Mars submit its force to the compassion of Neptune.

Retrograde: literally walking backwards, refers to the apparent motion of planets from the human perspective on earth. Astrologers interpret such planetary movement to signify that the planet is refining or changing its usual expression of energy emission in favor of a more ‘self-questioning’ expression of that energy.

Progression: refers to the gradual flowering of a planet’s expression in a person or entities’ birth chart as that planet moves and forms new angular relationships with other planets, points, and elements within any given entities’ Natal or founding chart. The degree, sign, and house in which a planet turns retrograde by progression is considered of great significance in the art of astrology.