You know that feeling when you wait and wait for a bad situation to shift, keeping your mouth shut and hunkering down, and then when it finally starts to change you can’t stop yelling about it? That’s a little like how November feels this year. Pent-up tensions and such, screaming at the rooftops. On the one hand, yes, let us all holler already. Yes to forward momentum, yes to that tingly rush of life returning. I’m thrilled to expand my palette of available feelings beyond low-key dread and apocalyptic “I guess this is fine now” normalcy. On the other hand, imagine your entire neighborhood hollering all at once — but not in unison like a pack of wolves, rather a cacophony of growls and snarls and teeth-gnashing more like a dozen leaf-blower soloists stopping and starting.
In brief, November grounds us in the our need to have the feelings and take the actions we’ve been putting off for a long time. As we gear up for this, it might not look or sound pretty. Expect at the very least some grumpiness, some conflict, some need to blow off steam. Be aware of your own or other people’s tendency to bounce straight from crash position to self-righteous attack, and remember that no matter what oppression you personally experience you are still capable of doing harm — fight for what you need, yes, but don’t dehumanize anyone else or ignore their needs in the process. There’s much Mars energy afoot this month, slam-banging up against our fears and desires and exhaustion; whenever we work with Mars we do well to honor our need for anger, passion, and self-protection while making sure we’re not using our feelings to justify hurting others. This can be tricky — the part of the brain that takes over when we feel threatened also effectively smothers our more considerate, compassionate selves (witness the history of white supremacy calling itself “self-protection” for one chilling case study). So working with Mars this month also means getting curious about who and what you feel threatened by, and why.
Many tender queers also choose relationship styles that reject Mars — privileging cooperation, collectivity, gentleness, non-violent communication, caring for each other as one would care for a baby rabbit. I am not here to turn y’all away from this path of downy sweetness, but I’ve been witness to relationships like this crumbling from the weight of unspoken needs. When you’re afraid to have direct conflict, you end up meeting your needs indirectly — snarky side comments, self-denial that becomes resentment, self-censorship that blocks true intimacy. Mars, as the ability to assert what we want and don’t want even if it will make someone else unhappy, is foundational to honest, healthy relationships.
With Mars in Scorpio all month, there’s a need to look more closely at what activates us and why. Scorpio helps us transmute toxins, compost hard feelings, and fully release old patterns. We just need the willingness and the support to do this hard work.
Oh and no big deal, but there’s an eclipse coming up on November 19th that is sure to catalyze these themes in a big way! If you have any planets near 27 degrees of Taurus, Scorpio, Leo, or Aquarius you’re going to feel this as a more dramatic wake-up call than everyone else. More on this eclipse and more details on all the transits of the month on my Patreon. I’m also available for one-on-one support and insight about your specific life transitions, so go ahead and book a reading if you’re curious! My calendar has been filling up more quickly than usual, so book now if you’d like to see me soon! Good luck out there this month, my friends, and remember that you have the power to harm or heal with the same damn tools.
For this month’s horoscope, I invite you to take a look at how you do conflict. If you know your Mars sign, read these for your Mars! If you don’t, reading for your Sun, Moon, or Rising sign will give you a piece of the puzzle but not the full story. And even if you know your Mars placement, your expression of Mars is unique — informed by the rest of your birth chart, your formative experiences, what our culture has taught you about gender, and so so many things. So take what resonates, my friends, and compost the rest.
Your conflict style: When you are excited or stressed out, you want to do something about it. Like, right now. What action you actually take has a lot more to do with the rest of your chart, but Mars in Aries wants to act quickly to ease the discomfort of feeling uncertain or unsafe. As Mars moves through Scorpio this month, you’re learning an unfamiliar skill set but a necessary one: get quiet, get still, and breathe through the discomfort. Instead of needing to change or solve a situation right away, see if you can get more information about why you feel the way you feel. Knowing what instinctive responses you bring to a conflict can make it easier to assess what the hell is going on instead of leading with “I feel unsafe, I’m done here, bye!”
Your conflict style: You’d rather not fight, but if you have to fight you definitely want to win. Mars in Taurus has powerful inertia — slow to get riled up, and then powerfully riled up until it finally winds down. Many people with this placement can endure a lot until one day they’re totally done. No negotiation, no debate, just “I’ve taken all I can and I don’t even want to be here anymore.” As Mars moves through Scorpio, you’re likely going to get activated by your closest relationships this month, which means learning two critical skills: 1) Don’t project your shadow side onto your partner(s). Pay attention to what’s your own trauma story and what’s actually happening here and now. And 2) learn to release pressure more frequently. Don’t let it all build up until your structures collapse. Set aside regularly times to check in with your dearest ones about how things feel and if there’s anything not feeling great that needs repair.
Your conflict style: Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee is your default conflict style. Everything is fun until you get your feelings hurt, and then you may lash out instinctively. But instead of throwing punches, your stinger is in your words. In medieval Ireland soldiers would go to battle with poets whose job it was to satirize the enemy. Words have always been powerful weapons, and you wield them well. But as Mars moves through Scorpio this month you’re deepening into the wisdom that comes from your body, not your mind. Your main assignment this month is to pay attention to what happens in your body when you feel angry or afraid. What muscles tighten? Do you feel hot or cold? Do you need to move or do you curl up? Paying close attention can help defuse the need to react immediately, so when you do show up to battle you know what you’re actually fighting for.
Your conflict style: With Mars in Cancer, conflict at its heart should be able to deepen intimacy, not fracture it. Often this placement makes it harder to approach a conflict head-on, in the moment. Cancer needs time to think and feel and brood and then come back with a decision or a request. The goal, though, is to complete that last step. Too often the mulling things over process can become general avoidance — like, “I need to tell my Mom to stop misgendering me and I’m not looking forward to this conversation” becomes “Oh damn, I haven’t returned my mom’s calls for six months and she doesn’t know why.” As Mars moves through Scorpio this month, you’re getting an extra boost to actually say the things you need to say. Say them lovingly, if you like, but make sure you set those boundaries clearly and firmly. Doing so lets the people who love you know how you need to be loved.
Your conflict style: You’re generally not afraid to speak up when you need to, but you sometimes regret the consequences of how and when you speak up. Like with Mars in Aries, acting in the moment often seems like the only possible response to an intolerable build up of energy. With this placement, it’s important not to stifle this response but also to learn how to channel it. You get to be intense. You get to blow off steam. You get to be irrational, childlike, stamp your foot and throw tantrums all you want. But — and this is a very important but — you don’t get to do these at the person you’re in conflict with and expect them to stay calm and mature. Take your big feelings and work them out with a friend or therapist or your journal or by taking a long run or a hot shower. Honor them, express them, let them move through you and only then show up to the conflict ready to do it well.
Your conflict style: If everyone would just get over their egos and be willing to think more carefully about what’s actually happening, disagreements would be a pure joy in your life — the capacity to cross-pollinate opinions and beliefs with research, evidence, and all of this in service to the greater good of collective diversity and intelligence! And yet, here we are in our ego-driven flurries of activity. With Mars in Virgo, you want everyone to be doing this better, including yourself. That critique can be useful, but knowing how and when to offer it is an important skill. Mars in Scorpio is reminding you that you, too, have a powerful ego at times, especially when you think of yourself as the most humble, the most helpful. Pay attention to those superlatives, my friend, and don’t be afraid to get a little muddy with the rest of us growling puppies.
Your conflict style: In your perfect world all disagreements would be courteous, articulate, and debated with a sense of respect and curiosity. One of your strongest motivations is to understand and be close to people. Conflict, at its best, helps you understand yourself and your loved ones even better. In this very imperfect world, you may fear that disagreements will fracture your closeness — many people with Mars in Libra keep quiet about what doesn’t feel great for them in the interest of preserving the peace. This month, it’s worth recognizing the much stronger foundation you can build when you assert your true needs and desires respectfully, holding curiosity and care for your loved one’s needs and desires even when they don’t match your own. Too many people believe wanting different things in a relationship will end it — often what’s needed is an acknowledgement that it’s okay to have differences.
Your conflict style: With Mars in Scorpio, you have several modes available when you feel threatened: fight, flight, or freeze. Fighting tends to be absolute and final, flight may look a lot like ghosting or avoidance, and freeze is the mode you use when you don’t have the energy to even feel the pain or fear. There’s nothing inherently wrong with any of these modes, they are literally hardwired into our nervous systems, but you have a tendency to stick with just one mode for a little too long.
Lean too hard on the “fight” mode and your life is full of blocked numbers a wary resentment. Lean too hard on the “flight” and it’s hard to ever get close enough with someone to work through the harder parts. And when “freeze” is your default vital parts of your lived experience are never fully processed and released — like eating a heavy meal but never digesting it. You may feel uncomfortably full for a very long time. Luckily, as Mars moves through your sign this month AND there’s an eclipse on the 19th, you’ve got ample opportunities for change. Let yourself thaw if you’ve been frozen too long. Let yourself rest if you’ve been fighting too long. And if you’ve been in non-stop flight, now is the time to hold someone’s hand and say, “I’m scared. Will you stay with me through this?”
Your conflict style: When confronted with a belief you find baffling, a desire you don’t share, or a request for behavior you’d rather not perform, your first instinct is generally “No, and let me explain to you why I’m right.” That’s if it’s a relationship that really matters to you. In less central relationships, you may just bounce before having that conversation. And when you have an unmet need your first instinct is to seek out a new experience that might offer you what you’re lacking.
Sagittarius at its best leads with joy and wants to educate, synthesize, and collaborate on the making of meaning. At its worst, Sagittarius energy inclines toward skipping out whenever things get too thorny, which deprives you of really deepening into the kinds of relationships that have the capacity to hold you and teach you. And it’s okay if you don’t want normative romances — it’s okay to be poly, to be ace, to be only interested in long-distance or short-term hookups. I’m talking about love in its purest form — with best friends, with animal friends, with ecologies, with birth and chosen family. These are the relationships where you’re being asked to deepen right now, to stop running away when things get alarming and do the work of self-soothing, being vulnerable, and staying present. You may be surprised by how much you can have what you ask for when you’re willing to stay in the connection and actually ask for it.
Your conflict style: You honestly don’t have time for a lot of drama. On the one hand, this gives you a talent for taking the high road and working through conflicts maturely. On the other hand, this can give you a tendency to believe you’re above the petty human drama that is other people’s feelings. Watch out for a tendency to relax into self-righteousness. Remember the times that you’ve been inarticulately emotional, and remember them not with shame but with appreciation for that mode of being. You’re most comfortable when you can solve the problem, but often conflict needs you to be present with the feelings first — however irrational they may seem. This month, extend some generosity to your lovers, collectives, and even the parts of yourself that are too mad or sad or scared to choose their words wisely.
Your conflict style: There would be no conflict if everyone understood things as well as you do. Okay, I’m kidding, but there’s a part of you that really wants to believe that, right? You pride yourself on how well you understand the systemic patterns, root causes, and hidden undercurrents of any situation. And you’re on the side of what’s best for everyone, even if they don’t know it yet. Can you see how this might get you into dangerous territory? Working with Mars in Scorpio this month means working with your own fears of vulnerability — what would it mean to accept other people’s narratives as valid for them even if they seem like dangerous nonsense to you? What different ways can you find to disagree with love and respect?
Your conflict style: With Mars in Pisces your tool of choice for self-protection is just not being where the conflict is. Which means, sometimes, not being embodied when you feel threatened. You are like a wizard who dissolves into mist before being stabbed — what body? Who had a body here? I am just dewdrops and wind. While this is a magical talent, it also puts you are risk of disincorporating each time a loved one raises their voice in frustration and this month is asking you to expand your toolkit. Where Pisces dissolves, Scorpio dives deep. Become a diver. Notice where you’ve buried your weapons and your treasure. Find ways of doing conflict that honor your edges and your connections.