.: Wiping off the War Paint :.

art by Tim Paza May

It is said the hardest part of the Hero’s Journey is in the return. I sometimes wonder if we have completely forgotten how. It is also said that healing is in the return-that is, if we do it properly.

Ideas like these always march to the forefront of my mind when Mars is close. You may be aware of his ingress into Aries a couple of days ago, and how he will be wearing his spartan gear until early January 2021. You may also be privy to the fact he will go retrograde in September and remain so until November 13th. But were you aware of his increasing magnitude in the night sky? From his first visibility in the East to his midnight star opposition with the Sun while retrograde, Mars grows both in size and brightness by over 4x, which for those watching on creates both awe and a touch of terror. His iron filled rust glows an orange desiring for a more blood-tinted red. He becomes the watcher of the witching hour- the single eye of Odin, the good eye of the witch, that promise of transformation via initiation if we are willing.

Now, with all fears and predictions aside, I see Mars’ time in Aries as a profound opportunity to remember two things:

1. The importance of initiation
2. How to return

* By using masculine/feminine below, I don’t imply male/female, but the universal energetics of these principles.

When it comes to initiation, we lack it entirely in our culture-yet, we still get initiated without context by love, by money, even by the Gods (planets). We aren’t entirely uninitiated, but in essential ways we are. Because of this lack, one may theorize it to be the root of many of the problems we currently face. Without proper initiation, something like a “false masculine” is created: In men, it overcompensates, trying to prove itself; In women, it fills all the gaps (which there are many) that the absence of healthy masculine should provide; And in all those between, a mixture of the two will always be dancing back and forth. In my eyes, the healthy masculine (Mars) has boundaries made of steel, stands firm as an oak, and defends what is sacred, allowing the feminine to thrive and blossom and nourish life. In my eyes, I rarely see this. What takes its place is searing projections. What seems to compensate for this lack, is a lot of shouting across the abyss, finger-pointing, fumes, fights, and flapping flags above camps we are either in or we are out of. With proper initiation, all sides can be understood and honored. It’s because initiation teaches us how to be truly human. It also shows us just how precious this life is. It reveals the spirits to us as well. In other words: We are put into our place-we are humbled!

…and even if we are to be initiated, how do we return?

The Lakota have a tradition which is quite telling.

Whenever the warriors would come back from battle, there would be a ceremony in which the war paint was wiped off their faces. The warrior they embodied before is not the person they will be when returning to the tribe. Through this kind of ritual, it is a way of making sure the ghosts are clear and you aren’t going to infect your family and tribe with the spirits of war. In our culture, we have nothing like this. The war paint stays on. And we don’t honor our warriors, we cut them off, leaving them with the ghosts, war paint cracking with the wrinkles on their faces. And even if we have never faced an “enemy” in battle, we still face them every day. The world is becoming more polarized than ever. This separation is a dangerous business. The war is in the streets. The war is in our feeds. The war is all around us, but really, it’s all in our heads!!! There is never a war in our hearts.

We need to wipe off the war paint before we return. Yes, there are battles in the great war for our freedoms to be fought, but for the sake of us all and the fighting chance to live in a world with Heart, take off the mask before you return. Mars is close until the end of the year. Will he become an ally or something else you don’t identify with?

I’ll exit with this quote by Anais Nin:

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

May it be so.


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Dedicated to Kosmos, Mythos, and Psyche. “Great stories are worthy of constellations.” Substack: https://kosmognosis.substack.com/

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Adam Sommer

Dedicated to Kosmos, Mythos, and Psyche. “Great stories are worthy of constellations.” Substack: https://kosmognosis.substack.com/