During my morning meditation I sat again with the 40th hexagram of the I Ching, called "liberation," and thought about the return of Mars to its home sign through its retrograde motion. The 40th hexagram of the I Ching has to do with eliminating obstacles, finishing things that need completing, or untangling things that have somehow gotten knotted up. The image of the hexagram shows a thunderstorm clearing the air of a heaviness that has been built up, and the Confucian commentary reads, "Through movement there is an escape from Peril."
This hexagram has come to me twice now as an entirely appropriate omen for the meaning of Mars retrograding back into the sign of its rulership. One of the traditional words associated with Mars was the word "action," which is associated with the idea of cause and effect, or what we might loosely call "karma." In other words, Mars is a planet that has a lot to do with the actions we take as well as the repercussions they have in the world...their effectiveness for good or ill. When Mars walks backward into the sign of his rulership, we might see the results of various actions we took in the past manifesting in unexpected or unintended ways. Why? Because the retrograde might signify the need to revisit our decision making process, or, as the 40th hexagram states, we may need to untangle, unblock, or clear some obstacles that our past actions have put in front of us (likely ones that we thought we were making from a very strong place in the past). Mars retrograding back into Scorpio may indicate an air clearing thunderstorm or the untangling of this knot we have made for ourselves. As the month of June rolls on and Mars eventually stations and returns to its direct movement, we should see this process of obstacle removal finally completing itself, and hence the title of the 40th hexagram, "liberation," accomplished.
Additionally, the 40th hexagram of the I Ching speaks to pardoning others and dealing gently with mistakes. It's as though Mars retrograde into Scorpio may also signify things coming to the surface that are difficult, embarrassing, or humbling. A few weeks ago I wrote about this same hexagram and talked about how a sudden downpour can trigger us to release deeply held fears, griefs, secrets, or lies. The appropriate response to these downpours according to the 40th hexagram, is gentle acceptance and forgiveness. This is part of what it means to clear the air, and this might be part of what we each need to embody during the finale of our Mars retrograde.
Prayer: Help us to clear the air if it needs clearing, help us to untangle the knots of our past actions if they need untangling, and help us to gently pardon each other if we need pardoning.