It was July 21, 1944, a blustery day at Mitchell Field, Long Island. As gale-force winds buffeted the plane he was in, Dad’s heart raced. He knew it was not safe to jump. But his commanding officer was determined to impress a visiting general. So the signal was given. The paratroopers summoned their courage and leapt into the wind. Many were thrown together and became entangled in each other’s chutes, with tragic results.
Dad was blown onto an aerial line, severely injuring his back. He spent months recuperating on the beach, cursing his bad luck. A fiery Leo with an Aries Moon, Dad had been determined to do his duty and defend his country. Yet that seemingly ill-fated jump turned out to be a stroke of luck for him. If he’d been sent overseas with his buddies, all of whom died in action, he would likely have met the same fate. His heroism in jumping out of that plane had saved his life.
Dad, who died in 2011, would have turned 96 at the upcoming New Moon (Tuesday, August 18, 7:41 p.m. PDT). So naturally I see his story reflected in this lunation. The Sun, Moon and Mercury are in fiery, heartfelt Leo – that’s Dad, primed for action, ready to do his part. The Leo planets are trining dynamic Mars in courageous Aries – that’s the heroic spirit that drove him onward despite the risk. But they’re also frustratingly square to retrograde Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn in Capricorn – that’s the short-sighted decision made by the powers that be. Things would have turned out differently had that colonel protected his men instead of being so concerned with his image. Yet who’s to say which outcome was best? Most likely, I would not be alive and writing these words to you if Dad had not made that fateful jump.
Heroism takes many forms. Many people are being heroic these days in ways both large and small. You don’t have to fight for your country or save someone’s life to do so. Those who stand up and speak out about injustice are heroes. Getting the vote out is a heroic act. So is wearing a mask. As the pandemic rages on, there are days when just getting out of bed is heroic.
Nineteenth Century philosopher and psychologist William James believed that a passion for war was inborn in human nature. But he also said that it was possible to create a measure of peace by learning to channel our fighting instincts in different ways. As he put it, “We must invent new outlets for heroic energy.” Sporting events and other Mars-fueled activities have fulfilled that role to some extent. Mars, an energy which lives in all of us, finds it stimulating to fight against evil and injustice. Mars knows that working to conquer a problem or right a wrong is vivifying.
We will have many opportunities to be heroic the next few months, with Mars in Aries turning retrograde (Sept. 9 – Nov. 13) while squaring those business-as-usual Capricorn planets. And Mars is already in his shadow phase, itching for action, at this spirited New Moon. It’s a good time to think about creative ways to channel your innate heroic nature. You could champion a cause. Or, you might begin a creative venture like a book or an art project. Why not start lifting weights or commit to a walking regimen? Visualize a stronger, more inspiring version of yourself – then take small, steady steps to manifest it. Rather than sitting around watching the news or scrolling through social media, growing more and more incensed at what you see (or what ‘authorities’ want you to see), take some kind of inspired action. If you meet resistance from those recalcitrant Capricorn planets, remember that it’s a process, not a slam dunk, and be patient.
As for me, I’ve just embarked on a month-long body-mind cleanse that’s long overdue. It may take every bit of heroism I’ve got to see it through. But I owe it to myself to be healthy and strong for all that lies ahead. I’ve asked Dad to channel me some of his fire from the other side. Good luck to you with whatever you pursue. May it catch fire, and bless and inspire us all!