Relationships: Mars & The Gift of Autonomy

This is the first post in a series on Sidereal Astrology For Relationships. This first post is about Mars & The Gift of Autonomy.

I am now offering Sidereal Astrology Readings for Couples. Limited appointments available. Schedule here.

We each have two fundamental and equally important needs that we seek to have met inside relationships. And there are all kinds of relationships where this happens. Familial, friendship/platonic, communal, romantic, and those that don’t fit neatly inside the confines of those relationship structures.

We have the need for connection–to be accepted and approved of. And we have the need for  autonomy– to feel our bodies, our feelings, and our identities as separate autonomous. However, each of us has a unique hierarchy of survival that shapes which fundamental need takes precedence, how, why, and when. Your sidereal birth chart is an invaluable and versatile tool to name and understand your hierarchy and the experiences that have defined it.

Square graphic with muted light gray background. 5 balloons in a row close to the ground. 4 are white, 1 is red. The 2nd in the row is the red one floating above the rest. Text in white reads SIDEREAL ASTROLOGY FOR RELATIONSHIPS. Text in red reads MARS & THE GIFT OF AUTONOMY. Text in white beneath that says BY DAYNA LYNN NUCKOLLS.
Mars & The Gift of Autonomy by Dayna Lynn Nuckolls

Understanding the wounds, coping strategies, and gifts of your sidereal birth chart is an efficient and comprehensive guide to navigate the relational dance of togetherness and separateness.

Mars, Conflict, and Survival

That fundamental need for autonomy is signified by the condition of the planet Mars in your sidereal birth chart. In fact, autonomy is what I call the “gift” of Mars. More on that in a bit.

Conflict in our relationships is fundamentally about the struggle for autonomy. Autonomy generally equates to having a measure of control over oneself, one’s feelings, one’s self image, and freedom of movement. Mars in your sidereal birth chart is going to have much to say about your conflict style. When we compare your Mars with your partner’s Mars we can see the specifics of what’s at the root of much of the conflict in your and create tools for how to navigate it.

There are situations where autonomy is seen as a threat to your survival, like when you grow up in a high control group or under the thumb of a codependent caregiver. There are also situations where autonomy is your only means to survive because there is no one else to rely on.

Mars and the Wound of Abandonment

Wounds most simply are our experiences inside relationships. They can occur at any point in life, but it is our earliest experiences with our caregivers that shape the world we adapt to in order to survive. Although there is likely a negative judgment attached to the general usage of the term wound, I mean it here with no inherent value judgment attached. Wounds can be malignant or benign, willful or passive. 

Some wounds dominate our experiences more than others. Other wounds feature less prominently. No matter how they are experienced, everyone experiences wounds. We survive as adaptations to that world long after we have aged and moved on to new places and phases in life. Abandonment is one of those wounds that we all experience in one way or another, and it is the wound of the planet Mars. 

One partner’s Mars may tell the story of mostly malignant experiences of abandonment during childhood. They may have been disowned, willfully or passively left to take care of themselves without any adult supervision or care. Maybe they were alienated because they had a different father than the rest of the children in the family. Their anger at these experiences kept emotional distance between them and the rest of the family.

Another partner may have experienced mostly benign abandonment. They had experiences where they got to see what they were capable of doing on their own without having to shoulder age inappropriate responsibilities. Perhaps they were given the freedom to explore their need for autonomy, yet they were still held when they needed help. They might have been allowed to embody and express all emotions, even when those emotions made their caregivers feel uncomfortable.

Coping With Abandonment

Coping strategies are how we survive and adapt to our wounds. They are the tools we carry with us in expectation of having to survive those relationship experiences again and again. Coping strategies are evidence of what we have survived and the fact that we have survived. They are there when we inevitably need them to help us navigate the realities of relating and surviving. They can also be stumbling blocks that keep us from getting other important needs met.

The partner who has experienced mostly malignant abandonment learned to cope with that abandonment by emotionally isolating, or by preemptively severing from those they become close to. They may engage in reckless behavior that negatively impacts their loved ones. Their experiences didn’t equip them with the tools to be close in a relationship, even though they might crave the feelings of deep connection and acceptance. Still, they unintentionally find themselves bracing for abandonment.

The partner who experienced mostly benign forms of abandonment would likely have a sense of autonomy that is less disruptive to the relationship. They are able to sever when there is danger or when their emotional or physical boundaries have been violated. They would be able to maintain a measure of emotional autonomy inside a close relationship, holding on to themselves and their emotional truth without. They would be able to take risks without necessarily making their partner the collateral damage.

The Gift of Autonomy

Gifts are the ultimate goal that we strive to manifest inside relationships. These gifts can be accessed via the privilege of being born in the right place at the right time, with the right gender expression, racial appearance, sexual predilections, or class station. They can also be hard won in spite of, or even because of, our malignant wounds. Autonomy is one of those gifts.

The person who had malignant experiences of abandonment (death of a parent, being disowned, having to care for themselves or siblings while a parent worked, etc) might get to that autonomy in a way that disrupts or sabotages their relationship. Autonomy wasn’t a product of the presence, care, and attention of a competent adult. It was foisted on them when they had no agency, no option to say no.

How might this partner learn to express and embody that need for autonomy inside the closeness of an intimate partnership? The condition of Mars in this person’s sidereal birth chart will provide the context in the form of tasks and tools, and the timing of how and when this can happen for them.

Without having gone through hardship to arrive at the gift of autonomy, the partner who had mostly benign experiences of abandonment might be willing and able to model the tools they were gifted through those experiences. Maybe they are aware of their strengths and abilities and are better able to gauge when their partner is doing something that might have unintended consequences.

Perhaps this partner’s emotional boundaries mean that the relationship is not workable. The struggle for autonomy is just not an experience that is familiar or tolerable for them. Willingness and endurance are two of the most important traits required to navigate these kinds of differences.

Do you know the condition of Mars in your sidereal birth chart? What are the differences and similarities between the condition of your Mars and your partner’s Mars? Learn about this and much more in a Sidereal Astrology For Couples Reading.

Sidereal Astrology For Couples Readinghttps://orcle.me/couples

Guide: How To Cast Your Sidereal Solar Return Chart

This guide contains written and visual instruction for casting your sidereal solar return chart using astro.com. I suggest that you familiarize yourself with my Guide: How To Create Your Sidereal Birth Chart first.

Navigate your web browser of choice to https://www.astro.com. If you have an account, log in. If you do not have an account, make one and follow the instructions for casting your sidereal birth chart.

Once you navigate to www.astro.com, follow the instructions below to cast your sidereal solar reaturn

1. Click the three lines at the top of the homepage if you are on a desktop or laptop computer. The three lines will be in the upper right corner on the mobile version of astro.com.

Astro.com Hompage

2. Click “FREE HOROSCOPES” in the menu that opens.

Main Menu

3. When the menu expands, click “HOROSCOPE DRAWINGS & DATA.”

Free Horoscopes Menu

4. On the next menu, click “EXTENDED CHART SELECTION.”

Horoscope Drawings & Data Menu

5. On the Extended Chart Selection page next to “HOROSCOPE FOR:” choose the name of the person you would like to cast the solar return chart for.
6. Click “CHART TYPE”. Scroll down to the “SOLAR AND LUNAR RETURNS” section, and click “SOLAR RETURN CHART.”

Extended Chart Selection

7. In the “START DATE” option, type the year you would to cast the solar return chart for.

Extended Chart Selection Page

8. Under the “ZODIAC AND HOUSES” section, choose the following options:

  • HOUSE SYSTEM: Whole Signs
  • ZODIAC: Sidereal
  • AYANAMSHA: Hindu/Lahiri

9. Click the “SHOW THE CHART” button to see the solar return chart.

9.

The Most Important Planet(s) In Your Sidereal Birth Chart

Dominance and prominence are designations given to planets. These designations help determine which planets have the most influence in your sidereal birth chart. Planets in your sidereal birth chart represent the people in your life and your experiences in relationships with them. Dominant and prominent planets are the people and relationships that have the most influence in your life.

Dominant planets are calculated by examining the concentration of signs in your sidereal birth chart. Dominant planets say who the people are that have had control of your circumstances and have had responsibility for you. They tell you what the dominant experiences have been in your relationships.

Prominent planets are calculated by examining the position of planets in your sidereal birth chart (proximity to the Ascendant, Midheaven, or Descendant.) Prominent planets say who has had power in your life and over your environment. Prominent planets often explain why you might resonate with the interpretation of certain sidereal zodiac sign(s) even though you do not have any planets occupying those signs. It is because the ruler of said sign(s) are place prominently in your sidereal birth chart.

Learn how to calculate the most dominant and prominent planet(s) in your sidereal birth chart in this lecture. Calculating Dominant & Prominent Planets in Your Sidereal Birth Chart.

Chart Ruler?

There are so many ways to understand the dominant and prominent planets in your sidereal birth chart. In sidereal planet, this planet/these planets is your rightful chart ruler. The ruler of your ascendant (rising sign) is not always your chart ruler. It’s not for most people.

Jupiter in sidereal Sagittarius being most the prominent AND dominant planet in my birth chart means that I always have Jupiter figures entering my life, like godfathers. Protecting me, encouraging me, sometimes giving me money, counsel, or connecting me with other people.

They are usually men who are older than me, like an uncle or big brother. Even in my family, there has always been way more men than women who were regularly present and close.

The most dominant planet in your sidereal birth chart is the planet that has the most influence based on the signs occupied in your birth chart. The most prominent planet in your chart is the planet that has the most influence based on the position it occupies.

Sometimes the most dominant planet is also the most prominent planet. Sometimes it’s not. Some people don’t have a most dominant or prominent planet. Sometimes you have more than one in each category.

Prominence As The Missing Piece

The most prominent planet your sidereal birth can be the most telling (if you have one) because it usually explains why you identify with certain signs that are not occupied in your birth chart.

For example, you might not have any placements in sidereal Scorpio or Aries, but Mars is the most prominently placed planet in your birth chart. Mars might be in the same sign as your Ascendant. Maybe it’s the only planet conjunct your Moon.

I happen to have the same planet as my most dominant (by signs) and most prominent (by position/place.) You may have the same planet as your most prominent & dominant if the ruler of your ascendant is in the same sign as your ascendant (sidereal Libra rising + Venus in sidereal Libra.)

If you have a planet in the same sign as the Midheaven, then that planet may be the most dominant and prominent.

Remember, planets are people and our relationships with people. Sidereal zodiac signs articulate our personal hierarchy of relationship (survival) priorities. So, if Mars is your most dominant planet, that means Mars is at the top of your hierarchy.

That means that Mars, experiences of alienation (differences can’t be concealed) and abandonment, are significant themes in your relationships. These are the experiences you’ve had to survive. These experiences have defined your relationship priorities which are also your survival priorities.

This would also be true if Mars is your most prominent planet.

Learn how to calculate the most dominant and prominent planet(s) in your sidereal birth chart in this lecture. Calculating Dominant & Prominent Planets in Your Sidereal Birth Chart.

This download includes 48 minutes of audio and 4 worksheets guiding you through calculating the dominant & prominent planets in your sidereal birth chart. Audio recording includes an extensive question and answer session.

Saturn in Sidereal Aquarius 2022-2025

Change My Name

Saturn will transit sidereal Aquarius April 28, 2022 through March 29, 2025.

An illustrated collage of face parts cut up into squares and strewn amongst pieces of cut up newspaper. Face parts in all shades of skin, browns, oranges, beiges. Face parts include eyes, eyebrows, eyelashes, noses, mouths, etc in all different shapes and colors. Black text inside  white partially transparent rounded rectangles say "Change my Name. Saturn in Sidereal Aquarius. April 28, 2022 - March 29, 2025."

I told Jesus
Be alright
If he changed my name
I told Jesus
Be alright
If he changed my name

I told Jesus
Be alright
Be alright
Be alright

“I Told Jesus” by Roberta Flack on YouTube

One thing the God of the Bible was gonna do was change somebody’s name. Story after story is about the new identity that emerges from leaving behind one’s former self for a new self, one’s old name for a new name.

The God of the old testament gave new names to those God called to lead their people towards liberation, and to those given mantles to change the trajectory of their family lineage. Abram became Abraham while Sarai became Sarah. Jacob was called Israel.

This practice of changing names has been important for people, past and present, both as political statements of self-determination and as a reorganization of one’s sense of self. The latter is political, too.

Just as Jesus of Nazareth changed his disciple Simon’s name to Cephas (as a prophecy for how Cephas would soon carry forth Jesus’s work and legacy), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s father changed both of their names from Michael to Martin Luther. He did this in honor of the legacy of Martin Luther, father of the Protestant Reformation. Malcolm Little was called Malcom X and then el-hajj Malik el-Shabazz in the tradition of the Nation of Islam, relinquishing the surname of their ancestors’ enslavers. He was renamed as an acknowledgment of a new identity from a new lineage, no longer seeing and knowing himself as the offspring of chattel.

There are also instances in the Old Testament of the Bible where colonizers changed the names of those they colonized. Pharaoh changed the name of Joseph, son of Israel (Jacob), to Zaphenath-Paneah. Daniel became Belteshazzar under the reign of imperialist ruler Nebuchadnezzar. Both Joseph and Daniel were given names as a way for their colonizers to appropriate and claim ownership of their gifts.

Though this particular kind of name change is not unique to the Bible, it illustrates the legacy of colonialism and imperialism. Empire makes objects of its subjects by supplanting the subjective gaze for that of empire. The colonized must see and know themselves as empire sees and knows them in order to survive empire. They must answer to the name that empire calls them.

What does it do to one’s identity, one’s sense of self, what one even defines as oneself, when one’s name is changed? Name changes are not in any way superficial or aesthetic. They form the shape and content of identity. They are symbols that allow us to conceptualize (see in our imaginations, our minds) ourselves. We come to know and see ourselves by the words and names we are called, for good or ill.

Whose Vision Determines What You See?

A question I pose often is, “whose vision determines what you see?” We assume that we see ourselves, each other, and this world through our own vision. If we are not seeing through our own eyes, whose eyes are we seeing through?

What we call the ‘self’ is an aggregate of internalized gazes. By gaze, I mean who and what other people perceive and/or demand us to be, and how they treat us and judge us. An internalized gaze, then, is the way we consciously and unconsciously see ourselves, each other, and the world through the judgements and perceptions of others. This often happens to the exclusion of our own gaze, until the time comes to see ourselves anew. That time is now.

The gazes of those who have, and have had, the power of life and death over us comprise the most of this self that we identify with and project outward. That which makes up the self that you identify with and as “me” comes from other people in direct proportion to the amount of power they have over you.

Enslavers’ power of life and death over the African’s they kidnapped and tortured.

Parents’ and other adults’ power of life and death over children who have no power of their own.

Whiteness’s power of life and death over all who must survive its obsession with dominance over all.

Capitalism’s power of life and death over all who must be fed and housed under its perpetual theft and hoarding.

Patriarchy’s power of life and death over all who must survive its entitlement to authority, assumed and enforced with violence.

One’s parents and caregivers, government and all proxies for the state, the dominating culture and their cultural norms⎻these all have the power of life and death over us in varying degrees at different points in our lives. Whatever self one might identify with as “I” is most certainly the self that has managed to survive these forces of life and death.

Are All People Persons?

Who lives without fear of physical violence from their caregivers? Who is conditioned to expect violence as a consequence for existing?

Who is granted the dignity of safe housing and food security? Who suffers from chronic housing insecurity and hunger?

Who can move freely without fear of imprisonment or an untimely death? Who constantly faces the threat of imprisonment and death?

Who is granted the freedom to embody and express their feelings as their evolving authentic self? Whose is stripped of bodily autonomy, the right to feel and to control what they do with and what happens to their body?

The one who conforms, without error, to the gaze of the forces of life and death is granted the rights and privileges of personhood. They are granted freedom from a life without fear of violence, houselessness, food insecurity, or an untimely death. And when they err, they are punished and expected to repent and atone.

Under these definitions, who is seen as a person and at what cost? Are all humans granted personhood? Are all who are granted personhood humans?

Who has assumed the power to determine what a person is? This answer is simple. Those who harness and then weaponize the power of life and death over others determine what a person is. The definition of personhood precludes the self-determination of individuals and once sovereign peoples. The right is violently stolen.

Reclamation As Revolt 

Name changes are a political act of self-determination. They expose and reject internalized gazes. They reclaim the power and the right to see oneself through one’s own eyes.

Name changes get to the root of imperialism and colonialism. The root is when and where the three-headed beast of patriarchy, capitalism, and whiteness claimed dominion over you by stripping you of your right to decide what name you will answer to.

Self-determination, as the gift of sidereal Aquarius, is the process of, right to, and survival based need to:

  • Recognize and name the gazes you have internalized;
  • Realize that those gazes are not your authentic self;
  • Reclaim the right to see yourself through your own eyes and imagination;
  • Reimagine, redefine, and rename oneself.

Self-determination is the difference between identifying with who and what has power over us, and identifying with a real imagined self that exists independent of who and what has power over us.

So, whose vision determines what you see?

Saturn Return in Sidereal Aquarius

An illustrated collage of face parts cut up into squares and strewn amongst pieces of cut up newspaper. Face parts in all shades of skin, browns, oranges, beiges. Face parts include eyes, eyebrows, eyelashes, noses, mouths, etc in all different shapes and colors. Black text inside a  white partially transparent rounded rectangle says "Saturn Return in Sidereal Aquarius. April 28, 2022 - March 29, 2025." Birthdates for Saturn Return in sidereal Aquarius: Mach 2, 1993 through June 2, 1995, August 9, 1995 through February 16, 1996. January 27, 1964 through December 19, 1966.
Birthdates for those having their Saturn Return in sidereal Aquarius

You are having your first Saturn return if you were born:

  • March 2, 1993 – June 2, 1995
  • August 9, 1995 – February 16, 1996

You were born after a decades long fight against apartheid in South Africa “ended” with the election of Nelson Mandela. During the 1980s crack cocaine ravaged Black communities in the United States. It culminated in the 1994 Crime Bill which has irreversibly harmed generations of Black people. That same year HIV/AIDS became the number one cause of death for Americans aged 25-44. Also in 1994 was the Rwandan Genocide and the start of the First Chechen War.

Underlying all of these events is the same thing: the colonial exploits of whiteness, patriarchy, and capitalism and the movements of self-determination that rose up in reaction. 

Your Saturn return begins the very first time Saturn enters sidereal Aquarius which is April 28, 2022. Your Saturn return does not end until the very last time that Saturn leaves sidereal Aquarius which is March 29, 2025.

You are having your second Saturn return if you were born:

January 27, 1964 – December 19, 1966

You were born at the height of the 1960s Civil Rights struggle in America which culminated in a polarized combination of wins and losses: the 1965 Voting Rights Act, the assassination of Malcolm X, the formation of the Black Panther Party, The Vietnam War and the anti-war movement, The Cold War, desegregation.

Underlying all of these events is the same thing: the colonial exploits of whiteness, patriarchy, and capitalism and the movements of self-determination that rose up in reaction. 

Your Saturn return begins the very first time Saturn enters sidereal Aquarius which is April 28, 2022. Your Saturn return does not end until the very last time that Saturn leaves sidereal Aquarius which is March 29, 2025.

Preparing For Your Saturn Return

Download and work through the content of my 2 workshop Saturn Return in Sidereal Aquarius – 2022-25. This download includes 2-hours of audio, 13 slides, and 6 worksheets. I cover the following topics:

  • What is Saturn?
  • What is the Saturn Return?
  • What does Saturn in sidereal Aquarius mean in my birth chart?
  • What is my Saturn Story?
  • What will I experience during my Saturn return?
  • How can I prepare?

The Full Moon in Cancer is Coming…

The Full Moon in Cancer is coming, Thursday, January 28, 2021. Why am I telling you this now? Cause it’s gonna be ROUGH.

Here is the good news: You will have had 1 full year of Saturn in Capricorn by the time we get to that Full Moon. One full year of remembering that you are mortal. One full year of confronting the reality that YOU are the adult now.

The question is, have you approached this time with these things in mind? Have you confronted the fact that mommy and daddy can’t protect you from everything? …Can not, did not, will not.

And if you’ve looked to leaders in your community, nation, or family to be a good mommy or daddy…

Don’t get me wrong. YOU DESERVE to have your needs met, to be protected, to have your needs recognized. BUT! Have you embraced your ENTITLEMENT to have your needs met?

At your big age, how can you expect anyone—the government, your lover, your loved ones—to meet your needs when you are too ashamed to need?

3 of the 4 Cardinal signs will be occupied during the Full Moon in Cancer, January 28, 2021: Moon in Cancer; Saturn, Jupiter, Venus, and the Sun in Capricorn; Mars in Aries. That’s all of those red lines in this chart. Those red lines = power struggles, conflict, confrontation.

In our personal lives and in our communal lives, the Full Moon in Cancer (Jan 28, 2021) brings into focus:

Indulgence – Attunement – Addiction
Neglect – Resourcefulness – Repression
Abandonment – Courage – Recklessness

Addiction and Repression are two sides of the same coin: How does one learn to regulate a mind-body whose needs were never acknowledged?

Recklessness: The adults weren’t/couldn’t adult, so do you know where the limits are when you were expected to find them on your own?

Libra is missing from this Cardinal party. That means we will be looking to what Libra represents as a solution: objective agreed upon principles that help us know what to do in any given situation. That’s law and legislation.

Also, the pressure is on Libra + what it represents.

Last thing… don’t get caught up and sent off like ya’ll did last year. Tropical astrology had ya’ll ready for a Leo Full Moon party, but instead… you FELT that Full Moon in Cancer. Tell a friend!

Originally tweeted by The People’s Oracle (@PeoplesOracle) on January 18, 2021.