Mars is currently retrograding in Gemini having entered the sign at the end of August and will remain there until March. On one level this highlights the various wars of words and ideas that are going on around us. Most public debate on issues of politics, economics, culture and social relationships all seem to be heavily polarized in terms of left wing and right wing, liberal and conservative, woke and anti-woke. We are all encouraged not to bury our heads in the sand but to engage with these debates, form our own opinion and pick a side that we believe in. However, when you examine both sides of the main issues as put forward in the public arena you find that neither seem to be anywhere close to touching upon the truth. All nuance and subtle appreciation for the complexities of human society have vanished and been replaced by individuals just promoting the agenda of whichever organisation is funding them. Sometimes, if you follow the money all the way back through various intermediary organisations, you find that it is the same backers supporting opposing sides of the various arguments, which has to make you a little suspicious.
We therefore need to go a little deeper and take a step back from all the political, medical and culture wars and reframe the struggle as the need to retain one’s independence and to be wary of getting drawn in to any one-sided thinking. To be a truly free thinker in this day and age is very difficult as we are being bombarded by information that is seeking to persuade us of something all the time. We can be exposed to hundreds of messages from billboards and posters to clickbait headlines and adverts that we see for only a brief moment. In fact the less time we are exposed to a persuasive message the more likely it has bypassed the conscious mind entirely and can work away freely in the hidden depths of the subconscious.
Mars is the planet that pertains to the will and Gemini is the sign of duality and also of communication. When the will of Mars meets the sign of communicative Gemini we get the art of persuasion, the desire to influence other people through the force of will acting through the spoken or written word. It is necessary to familiarise ourselves with how persuasion and influence operate in the world and to guard ourselves against them. One of the best ways to do so is through developing logical thinking. Most people believe themselves to be logical thinkers but the fact is that most of the time our thoughts are influenced by our feelings and our feelings are caught up in our own prejudices, sympathies and antipathies so we do not see things objectively. To subject the ideas and concepts we encounter from outside to objective thinking it is necessary for thoughts to proceed from previous ones in a purely logical way and for our personal opinions and assumptions to be put to one side. This faculty for logical thinking comes from Mercury which is the planet that is said to rule Gemini. While some of us, because of the Mercury placements in our natal chart, have a greater aptitude to logical thinking, it is something that can be strengthened in us all and it is essential that it is, if we are not to just accept everything we are told.
In addition to logical thinking we can strengthen our resistance to being influenced by paying attention to all the ways in which we influence others. When we talk or write to others there is the point we wish to make but there is also the will to persuade the other person that the point we are making is correct and should be accepted by them. We rarely just communicate the facts and allow the other person to make up their own mind but we are invested in getting others to see the situation the way we do. However, influencing others in this manner runs counter to the spirit of the age which is to respect individual freedom of thought and action. It is not the case that we should aim for our words to have no wilful Mars energy in them at all. Firstly it is not possible and secondly wilful speech is not in itself harmful if it is merely expressing the ideas of the speaker in a passionate and strong manner. Where it becomes harmful is when the will of the speaker wants to directly influence the will of the listener rather than allow the listener to judge the content of the speech for themselves.
No matter how strong or weak minded we feel we are there are always people stronger and weaker than us. So we should not be naïve in thinking we are immune to being influenced by another nor should we think that our words have no effect on others. The more we notice our will trying to influence the will of another and consciously refrain from doing so the more we will become aware of the will of others trying to influence us and a sensitivity will arise in us as to how the dynamics of influence operate.
It also helps if we can connect to a feeling of reverence for the sanctity of individual freedom. We tend to value physical outcomes more than what goes on at the level of the soul. If, for example, we are convinced that a certain pharmaceutical or herbal treatment is good for a loved one we might use all our persuasive skills and the strength of our will to push them to take it. If their mind and their will is weaker than ours they may go along with our wishes and they may even see an improvement in their health if our knowledge happens to be good but the violation of their freedom only serves to weaken them further.
One of the best-selling books of all time was published in 1936 by Dale Carnegie called ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ with one chapter headed ‘Twelve ways to win other people to your way of thinking’. Since then there have been many training courses that teach certain exercises which can greatly increase a person’s ability to influence another human being. Those who show most talent in this arena are often then hired by governments, multinationals, think-tanks and in mass media which has led to world where everything we hear seems to be thinly veiled propaganda. Ideally someone should write a book called ‘How to Win Friends by Respecting Individual Freedom’, but as it does not offer the possibility of personal gain or profit it is unlikely to sell many copies. However, it is something that should enter the culture of today and be discussed as widely as possible.
On the 8th of December there is a full moon which is exactly conjunct the retrograding Mars in Gemini. The time of a full moon illuminates something, it helps us to see an issue more clearly and we can feel inspired by certain concepts and feelings. This is why traditionally artists, poets and philosophers would sit out under a full moon to receive inspiration from higher realms. So during the first half of December it is an opportunity to grapple with the question of influence, persuasion and how the force of will can enter into the words we speak and hear. Mars remains in Gemini right the way through to the end of March so there will be plenty of time to reflect and work through what we may receive as revelation during the December full moon.
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