My friend Alice called me late one Friday afternoon. “I thought you’d be on your way to happy hour,” I said; it was her usual Friday post-work ritual to go for drinks with her co-workers. “Nah,” she said. “Ramona will be there.” Alice and Ramona had once been close friends, but the relationship soured when they became rivals for a coveted sales position in their company. In a twist that proved fortuitous for Ramona, Alice had been reprimanded (falsely, she insisted) for making a costly mistake. The sales position went to Ramona. Alice strongly suspected her rival had undermined her, but eventually decided to let bygones be bygones.
“I thought you’d sorted all that out,” I said.
“I thought I had, too. But lately, every time I look at her, all I can think is, ‘I hate her!'” Alice chuckled. “Hey, it’s bad enough that I have to work with her everyday, I’m not gonna drink with her, too.”
The July 27, 2018 Full Moon/Lunar Eclipse falls in Aquarius, a sign that represents casual friendships and group affiliations based on shared interests. We shake Aquarius’ convivial hand when we head off for Friday night drinks with co-workers, serve on the board of our local astrological organization, or bake cookies for a fundraiser. Some of us are “group” people—Aquarian by nature—and some of us are less so. But few of us can escape the web of sociability altogether.
The Full Moon in Aquarius falls in the height of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere, and it’s typically the time of year when we celebrate simple, sociable connections with others – a neighborhood cookout, an afternoon at the beach, or yes, happy hour with work friends. But this Full Moon is a lunar eclipse, when relationships are often due for some reevaluation. And Mars, the planet of competition, war, and aggression, has been retrograde in recent weeks, and frustration has been building. So in order to do what’s needed to maintain vibrant and satisfying social connections, we’ll have to pay alms to Mars as well.
When fighting Mars collides with fraternal Aquarius, groups speak with a warlike voice. Perhaps you’ve found yourself embroiled in some nasty social media disputes, testy interchanges with co-workers or customers, or – like Alice – found some old anger hidden deep in a dark corner of your psychic sock drawer. The embers of ancient disputes are often rekindled during Mars’ retrograde times, and the resulting conflagrations tend to emit noxious fumes. Mars may lately have taken hold of some group to which you belong, stirring a bubbling cauldron of harsh language and bitter rivalry; even if you manage to rise above the fray and call for a cease-fire, you can find yourself in hot water.
But in-group fighting doesn’t have to mean the end of valuable alliances. From time to time, all groups need to clear the air. Tensions build up; misunderstandings are swept under the rug; resentments fester. Just because traditionally “Aquarian” relationships tend to be optional ones doesn’t mean that they’re not important, or not worth the effort of working through the occasional rough patch. Mars’ retrograde periods (this one lasts until August 27) reopen old business, offering opportunities to settle some scores and to close the books on enmity once and for all. But to do this well requires that we harness Mars’ best qualities: courage, and commitment to a fair fight.
And keep in mind that since radical Uranus entered a new sign in late May, many of us have been undergoing profound changes in our daily lives. This Full Moon, with the Sun and Moon in a square aspect with Uranus, compounds the Mars retrograde frustration factor and provides fertile ground for extreme reactions. Part of fighting fair will mean understanding that some things shouldn’t be taken personally (a tall order when the Sun is moving through Leo), but may simply mean that both parties are under pressure in other areas of life.
Aquarius celebrates collectivism, and at this Full Moon we celebrate ties with our like-minded compatriots. But it’s won’t be an easy, uncomplicated happy hour, or a sunny and congenial Saturday afternoon barbecue. To regain goodwill, productivity, and fraternity, Mars demands that we first clean out the dark corners of these relationships, to address any conflicts that keep us from working together as a strong, cohesive group. When a group is stronger on the inside, it can achieve broader goals on the outside—so be brave, clear the air, and fight fair.
© 2012-2018 April Elliott Kent