• Richelle Steyn

Mars Retrograde in Aries 2020 - Marikana Memorial

Updated: Feb 4, 2021

" If I, my family, my relatives and ancestors, offend or have offended your family, relatives and ancestors, in thoughts, words, or deeds, from the beginning of our creation to the present, We ask your forgiveness". Ho’oponopono


On the afternoon of 16 August 2012, members of an elite unit of the South African Police Service opened fire with assault rifles on a group of illegally striking Lonmin mineworkers. Within minutes, 34 miners were killed and at least 78 were wounded. Leaders in the community like Mgcineni Noki, Mambush as he was known to family and friends, died fighting for the right to a living wage. Wrapped in his trademark bright green blanket, Mambush was standing in the frontline when the shooting started. He was shot 14 times - in his face, neck, legs, buttock, elbow, calf and thighs. He left behind his wife, five young children, his sister, niece, 34+ other similar stories and a shocked nation. The Marikana Massacre is a milestone trauma point in the collective psyche of post-apartheid South Africa.

Fig 1. New South Africa (NSA) - Marikana Massacre - 16 August 2012

2012 was dominated astrologically by the opening Pluto Uranus square. The cycle started with the Pluto Uranus conjunction in the mid 1960s. Pluto (evolution, transformation, death & rebirth) and Uranus (revolution - liberté, égalité, fraternité) symbolise a shattering of our ego-centric reality to wake us up to a greater truth (personally and collectively).


The black civil rights movement in the United States and the cultural revolution in China are two examples that correspond with the symbolism of the Pluto-Uranus conjunction (start of cycle) in the mid 60s. In South Africa, the Pluto-Uranus conjunction played out a little differently. On the 8th April 1960 the ANC was banned and a day later, the national leader of the country HF Verwoerd (mastermind of apartheid) survived an assassination attempt by a British national. In 1961 the Republic of South Africa was established (separation from the British Union). In 1962 Nelson Mandela was arrested and in 1963-64 the "Rivonia treason trials" took place with the outcome a death sentence, later commuted to life imprisonment for Nelson Mandela and most of the others on trial. On the 6 September 1966, HF Verwoerd was assassinated. South Africa's black majority civil rights movement which formally began with the establishment of the ANC in 1912 was quashed - denied, suppressed and driven underground - only to break through after a violent, protracted "state of emergency" that ended in 1989 (with the 1988 Mars Retrograde in Aries cycle a key player).


The first exact square of Pluto and Uranus took place in 2012 and astrologically symbolised a continuation of the themes seeded in the conjunction. The Arab Spring and Occupy Movements correspond to the symbolism of the Pluto Uranus opening square. The Marikana Massacre happened in the time between the first exact Pluto-Uranus square (on the June 24 at 8° 24 Aries) and the second on September 19 at 6° 57′ Aries. On the day of the Marikana Massacre, transiting retrograde Uranus was one degree off natal Mars (and two degrees off the 1988 Mars in Aries retrograde point (11.27 Aries)). Natal Mars in Aries (11th House) symbolising the activists in our communities, speaking out and doing what it takes to fight for our rights as citizens to fairness, justice and better living conditions (upgrade and empowerment). Natal Mars in a t-square with the transiting Pluto Venus opposition communicates the power-struggle around the fight for better pay to elevate self-worth (empowerment) and establish identity.


The Pluto-Uranus square dominates the astrological landscape, but notable too is the transiting Lunar Nodal Axis in Gemini-SAG (themes of culture, race, ethnicity, truth, authenticity) with transiting retrograde Neptune in Pisces square the Nodes - a repeated signature for the 16 August 2020 memorial. Neptune retrograde 'reflects tremendous evolutionary pressures to resolve imbalances' (Fernandez, 2004). Neptune (together with natal Saturn) square to the transiting Nodal axis can symbolise 'naiviey, a disregard for boundaries and obligations, lack of self-doubt and serious loss of control' (Fernandez, 2004). For me this describes characteristics of both the striking mineworkers and the police on the day and therefore relevant because of the repeating configuration for the Marikana Memorial in 2020. Neptune at it's lowest expression is a "predator and prey" type mentality that results in the deep wound of victimisation. Neptune corresponds to physical and psychic immunity. The evolutionary imperative is to protect ourselves by strengthen our immunity. Transiting Hygiea (health) in a conjunction with Neptune was a health warning for the day.


On the 16th August (every year since 1994), the transiting Sun in Leo dramatically squares the country's natal Lunar Nodes. This is a powerful, emotionally charged, up-on-center-stage type of energy with a creative mission to take the lead, challenge the comfortable status quo and make a change in order to elevate our personal (and collective) self-worth. This speaks to Mambush with his loud-hailer, motivating the strikers on the day. Footage of the massacre attracted international attention and Mambush has become a struggle icon (Sun square the Nodes). The deadly force of the elite South African Police Service (SAPS) (transiting Saturn Mars on the MC opposite transiting Eris) also in the spotlight (sextile transiting Sun). The transiting Mars Eris conjunction in 2020 will be exactly opposite this 24 degree Saturn MC point.


Interesting to see the transiting Chiron (07.59 Pisces, see Fig 1. above) close to the Chiron return degree of the Republic of South African (06.38, see Fig 4. below) and our natal Saturn close to the ascendant of the Republic of South African chart. This visually communicates a continuity of consequence of action (Saturn) between the apartheid and post-apartheid South Africas, "held" (or symbolised by) our current natal Saturn. The post-apartheid government, led by leaders of the liberation struggle, treating the socio-economically disenfranchised citizens of the country no differently to the way the apartheid government did. The consequence is an existential wound (Chiron Pisces) - a loss of trust in the process of life that happens when authorities and role models abuse their power (transiting Chiron conjunct natal Saturn).


Prior to Mars going retrograde in September (see Fig 3. below), the Marikana Memorial takes place on Sunday the 16th August 2020. The transiting Sun, this time with Mercury (communication/message, work, health) in the same dramatic square to South Africa's natal Lunar Nodes. Mercury Sun together with the South Node and Mars Eris forming a grand fire trine with a strong theme of injustice. Anticipate a powerful, disruptive message speaking truth to power (inconjunct Pluto Saturn).

Fig 2. New South Africa (NSA) - Marikana Memorial - Sunday 16 August 2020


The transiting Pluto Saturn Jupiter stellium (conjunct natal Neptune Uranus) dominates the Memorial day in 2020. Natal Neptune Uranus is a highly idealistic signature often disconnected from the emotional realities of life. As discussed in Mars Retrograde In Aries 2020 - Part 2 South Africa this signature could symbolise the South African constitution as well as certain other legal and social structures/systems/ideologies that do not serve South Africa equally and equitably. The evolutionary intention is to dissolve and replace these redundant legal and social structures/systems/ideologies.

Transiting Pluto in an almost exact square with transiting Eris Mars symbolising power-struggle, conflict, manipulation, betrayal, violence and death (transformation). The transiting Pluto Saturn conjunction exposing the consequences of unethical behaviour and corruption for the evolutionary purpose of change. This astrological landscape communicates a high probability of public/mass activism and protest, potentially clashing with powerful authoritites like the South African Police Service, military and/or big Corporations (like the mines). Transiting retrograde Jupiter square natal Eris (discord, conflict, chaos) is an massively unlucky "bull in a china shop".


Mercury and the South Node in Sagittarius gives the grand trine a strong cultural-ethnic-racial theme. This signature together with transiting Uranus (AC) conjunct natal Sun opposite Jupiter, as well as transiting Saturn conjunct natal Uranus, suggests a high probability of xenophobic type racial conflict (as discussed for the 2019 Johannesburg riots in Mars Retrograde In Aries 2020 - Part 2 South Africa).

The current (2020) transiting Lunar Nodal Axis (North Node in Gemini) is an inverse of the axis in 2012 (North Node Sagittarius). The 2020 North Node is pointing towards cultural-ethnic-racial adaptation and building structures of worth (with a strong survival theme), whereas in 2012 the North Node was more about merging in authentic exchange (building relationship).


In 2020, transiting Chiron is on natal Mars (the individual) whereas in 2012, Chiron was on Saturn (social authorities). South Africa's natal Mars in Aries (11th) can speak to those individuals in groups and communities fighting to survive or fighting for the survival of others. The personal, survival quality of this signature makes it 'vulnerable' and together with transiting Chiron here, paints a picture of individuals and groups/communities exercising their creative genius to "fight the good fight" while suffering casualties in the process. With the natal Mars square to transiting Venus (2nd), money (finances) and relationship are key.

Natal Mars in Aries is a very masculine-yang energy and Venus in Cancer yin-feminine - with Chiron on natal Mars this signature could also speak to the Gender Based Violence (GBV) struggle in South Africa.


Food-shortages, malnutrition and hunger are already issues in many poorer communities in South Africa. Transiting Ceres (harvest, abundance, famine, drought) on natal Saturn (difficulty) trine transiting Venus in Cancer can communicate food being a theme at this time.

Fig 3. 2020 Mars Retrograde in Aries Milestones

Fig 4. Republic of South Africa Vs New South Africa Mapping


Both 2012 and 2020 have a distinctly "end of times" feel.

The Marikana Memorial in 2020 may be opportunistically used for the expression of a whole range of culural and social injustices and issues like outrage against government corruption, government mismanagaement of the Covid19 crises, gender based violence, prohibition, lack of housing, unemployment, food shortages, lack of basic services infrastructure and foreign national employment.

Health warning for emotions on the day (16th August 2020) - "skittish", vulnerable, hypervigilant, wary/suspicious, self-protective/defensive, shell-shocked (transiting Moon conjunct Hygiea (health) square Mars-Eris opposite transiting Pluto).

The positive side of the creative fire energy of Mars in Aries is a sense of aliveness, powerful will and strength to defy fate and create a new destiny both personally and collectively. Mars in Aries can jump-start us out of overwhelm, defeat and victimhood.

Searching for spiritual solutions, I stumbled upon Alan Clay's book Sedna (2019) and suprised to see Sedna exactly on South Africa's ascendant in a conjunction with our Sun in Taurus. Taurus wants comfort and security, easily achieved with money and possessions. The negative manifestation of the Sun in Taurus signature is gluttony, hedonism and greed. On a deeper level though Taurus is about self-worth and living well. Alan Clay (2019) says that the goal of Sedna in Taurus 1st house is a deep re-evaluation of our identity and values, in relationship to our cultural-racial-ethnic-religious and environmental character - and to live in a way that both communicates our deepest spiritual needs and serves our society. With this placement, he talks about a pattern of denying how bad things really are and that our spiritual quest begins when we realise this (i.e. when we realise our pattern of chronic collective denial). As a South African, I have much to contribute to a dialogue on our pattern of chronic collective denial - but will save that for another day. I'm excited about the potential of Sedna to provide additional insights into creating a breakthrough for healing in our country.

Marikana Memorial 16 August 2020 is a continuation of two previous articles (blog posts) Mars Retrograde In Aries 2020 - Part 1 and Mars Retrograde In Aries 2020 - Part 2 South Africa.

If you're interested in participating in a series of monthly online Zoom sessions (dialogues) where we'll share and learn from the actual reality unfolding during the 2020 Mars in Aries Retrograde cycle, then register here. The next session is on the 3rd September at 08:00 PM Johannesburg SAST and will take place every first Thursday of the month thereafter. Check the starting time for your time-zone if you don't live in South Africa. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing your personalised link to join the Zoom session at the starting time. Book an Evolutionary Astrology Consultation if you want deeper insight into how the Mars Retrograde cycle will impact you personally in the second half of 2020. Get deeper insight into your Psyche and Soul using the tools of Evolutionary Astrology and the Lunar Nodal axis in your own birth chart. Visit my website for details of my 13 week, 12 Steps to Mastery online interactive experience. Learn more about Evolutionary Astrology and the Lunar Nodal axis by watching my YouTube video here and here. If you appreciate the content please like and subscribe.


Clay, Alan. Sedna Consciousness: The Soul's Path of Destiny. Artmedia: Whanganui, 2019. http://www.sednaconsciousness.com/Sedna/Home.html

Davies, Nick. The Marikana massacre: the untold story of the strike leader who died for workers’ rights. The Guardian. May 2015. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/may/19/marikana-massacre-untold-story-strike-leader-died-workers-rights

Fernandez, Maurice. “2020 Cycles – Part III / June Eclipses and Mars Retrograde”, Evolutionary Astrology with Maurice Fernandez, https://www.mauricefernandez.com/videos/, 2020, https://youtu.be/trCu9K2k4SQ Fernandez, Maurice. “The Powerful Astrological Cycles of 2020.” Evolutionary Astrology with Maurice Fernandez, Maurice Fernandez, Dec 2015, www.mauricefernandez.com/the-saturn-pluto-conjunction-and-the-transits-for-the-year-2020/. Fernandez, Maurice. Neptune The 12th House and Pisces. Victoria: Trafford, 2004.

Tarnass, Richard. “"What's Happening in the Stars Right Now: An Online Event with Richard Tarnas -- April 23rd, 2020.” YouTube, ArchetypalView, April 2020, https://youtu.be/8RTpTo1ZMEc.

Richelle Steyn certified as an Evolutionary Astrologer through The Comprehensive Diploma Course (Maurice Fernandez). She lives in Cape Town, South Africa. (C) Copyright 2020 Richelle Steyn. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be used or reproduced without the written permission of the author unless credit and reference are provided. Website YouTube Channel

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