Starfire by Mary O'Gara, Ph.D., D.D.

What They Say

“If a nation loses its storytellers, it loses its childhood.”
—Peter Handke

Mary O'Gara

Mary O’Gara is a financial astrologer and certified life/creativity coach who work with writers, artists and small business owners. Location and relocation questions are an important part of her work with small businesses. She lives in Albuquerque, NM, and consults internationally by phone and teleconference.




Starfire - May 2016
by Dr. Mary O'Gara, a writer and spiritual life coach from New Mexico.picture








Illustration © 2007 A.M. Scott


star chart Chart 2

May 2016 - Double Retrograde: Mercury and Mars
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Double Retrograde: Mercury and Mars

We have a rare configuration in the skies: Mercury and Mars are both retrograde. Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto are also retrograde, bringing the grand total of retrogrades to five, half of all the planets; Jupiter, Saturn and Pluto spend a lot of time retrograde, though, and are much less dramatic than the retrogrades of Mercury and Mars.

Mercury and Mars are both personal planets, which means we deal with their impact primarily as individuals. The other planets are social planets (Jupiter and Saturn, rulers of business and organizations) or transpersonal (Pluto). 

Mars has been retrograde since April 17th.  The internet was flooded with dire warnings, of course. I caution against buying things with moving parts while Mars is retrograde, and I also warn people to beware of road rage incidents. The simple truth is that retrograde planets are focused internally, so Mars retrograde is a time for deepening our commitments to our personal goals and intentions.  As we grow and change, sometimes anger and other negative emotions need to be released–and safe driving is always worthwhile during transits that foster growth, change and healing for people who may be harboring a lot of anger.

The key to Mars retrograde is intention. What do you intend to do? How do you need to grow and change in order to fulfill that intention? What do you need to strengthen within yourself?  What do you need to release?

As for shopping, let me share a story about how I handled a major purchase while Mars was retrograde.  My husband and I are doing some remodeling and upgrading in our home, supporting our intention to live in our single family dwelling for as many years as possible.  After my recent visit to a local hospital for five days, we were very clear that we’d rather be home than in assisted living.  By the time we were ready to have our swamp cooler (New Mexico air conditioning) turned on, Mars was retrograde.  We have a service contract with the plumbing company that installed our new furnace last year, and we insisted (because of the retrograde) that the same plumber come for this service call. And, oops!  The cooler we thought would last one more year had leaks in the wrong places. We needed a new cooler. Same plumbing company.  Same plumber.  Used the almost new motor (the most important moving parts) from our old cooler as a defense against Mars retrograde.  And we have a good warranty on the new cooler.

We could have used the same brand as one more precaution.  We’d already planned to upgrade to a better cooler that required less service and provided better filtering.  Mars retrograde supports commitment to our own intentions, so that felt like a safe change. 

The final question was about buying anything with moving parts (even just the pulleys).  But our new cooler was already in the company inventory, and it had been manufactured before Mars turned retrograde.  Check. 

Notice we considered every detail carefully.  We used the same company, same individual plumber, honored our previous commitments, and backed ourselves up with a good warranty and service contract.

You shouldn’t ignore retrogrades.  And you don’t have to stay in bed and cower in fear either.

On April 28th, Mercury went retrograde. We’ll have both Mercury and Mars retrograde until May 22nd, then Mars alone until June 29th.

Mercury retrograde means our minds are more internalized. We’re less focused on externals like shopping, so it’s still best to stick with the people you always do business with or at least with familiar brands. Shop for what you need now, but postpone purchases that are new and unusual for you.  (I wanted a new laptop and couldn’t manage the purchase before Mercury went retrograde; it’s my first laptop, so I’m waiting until Mercury is direct.) 

If you meditate regularly, you may notice that the double boost from Mercury and Mars retrograde makes your meditations deeper and more meaningful now. If you use guided meditation to manifest whatever you desire, the internal focus may speed up your demonstrations. 

For creative work, this double whammy is excellent for editing. You’ll be willing to change words, research meanings, and cut your favorite (but boring) metaphors.

Personally, I’m going to use this time to start a weight loss program (reverting to a lower weight) and recover the joy in walking (another reversion).  The only warning from Mars retrograde is to move slowly–visualize first, then take baby steps in the physical world.

In spite of everything you hear about the risks of retrogrades, they’re a normal part of the cycles of life, a time for reflection and inner growth so we can function even more effectively in the external world when both planets go direct.

Usually I tell people to clear out what’s no longer needed and develop plans while Mercury is retrograde.  Then I suggest implementing those plans the minute Mercury goes direct.  If your new plans only involve you, go right ahead with them on May 23.  But if you are planning marketing or promotions, wait until June 30 because Mars is the planet for promoting and selling.

In the meantime, enjoy exploring your own talents, intentions and commitments and creating new ways to be your best authentic self when the two personal planets are both direct again.

Mary O’Gara, Ph.D., D.D.