Historically these time periods have been very positive for me regarding transitioning from one 'style' of work/service to another in my life and in terms of building my self-confidence. Its almost like these time periods are 'transition portals' for me in relation to what I have to offer the world. The timing of this recent cycle (Feb 22-Apr 2, 2011) certainly coincides with what appears to be another of these kinds of transitions for me (I'll explain below).
Looking at my chart above, you can see that I have both my Sun and Mars in Pisces natally. Using the Placidus House system of astrology puts my natal Mars in the 6th house of work/service as well. In general then, my Mars Returns have coincided with major shifts in 6th house expressions of work and service.
Below is a brief historical profile of life events revolving around this theme for me over the last decade when Mars has been traveling through Pisces:
Jan 4- Feb 12, 2000 (age 20)
I had worked the previous 3 summers (97'-99') in my dad's factory doing hard manual labor. Over the 5 week winter break from college covering Jan 2000 I decided to work at that factory to make extra money. Looking forward to the summer of 2000 I decided then that I would do something different than manual labor on my next summer break. I ended up doing a summer internship at my college during the summer of 2000 where I got paid to sit in front of a computer for the first time. Because I was in the presence of search engines everyday and due to my curiosity/restlessness, this summer was also when I 'discovered' authentic astrology (beyond sun-signs) for the first time. Good thing I decided back in January not to work in the factory that summer! My shift over this period was from that of seeing myself as a provider of manual labor to someone who can provide value in the form of intellect.
Dec 8, 2001 - Jan 18, 2002 (age 22)
Even though now I am very confident speaking in front of groups, it wasn't always that way. I struggled with an unconscious belief that I had nothing good to say and nothing to offer/teach anyone. Its safe to say that I have since dissolved those beliefs ;). However, this time period over the winter of 01'/02' saw me transitioning from grad student to teaching assistant. Despite my trepidations about being a 'teacher' (i.e. someone with valuable intellectual knowledge to share), I taught undergrad students about global climate science starting in Jan 2002. I had never seen myself as a 'teacher' before that point and I discovered that I absolutely loved it! My shift over this period was from student who needs to learn to teacher who has valuable information to offer.
Jun 17 - Dec 16, 2003 (age 24)
This was an extra long period for Mars in Pisces since Mars retrograded in Pisces for a while in 2003. This was one of the absolute busiest times of my entire life to date. Over the summer of 2003, I was working full time as a Park Ranger at Lake Berryessa in Napa, CA while also working every free waking minute that I had finishing up my Masters Thesis at UC Davis. I was frantically trying to work and save money while also trying to complete my thesis because in Sep 03' I was moving to Santa Barbara to start a 2-yr full-time Masters program. The 2nd half of the Mars in Pisces period was experiencing the full intensity of the first semester of that program. This period was relentless for me. The Masters program in Santa Barbara focused on not only teaching knowledge but on 'professional development'. To this point, I was still pretty immature & insecure and didn't really see myself as respected enough to be considered a 'professional' at anything. In fact, over the summer of 2003 my careless drinking even got me in trouble with the law a bit. Oh well, live and learn. My shift over this period was literally about seeing myself as just a 'youth' or novice to someone that can be considered a 'professional' adult in their field. Perhaps accomplishing what I did over those 6 months gave me the inner proof of my own maturity and worthiness to be included in the adult world.
May 1 - Jun 12, 2005 (age 26)
I was finishing up my Masters program in Santa Barbara at this time and actively looking for my very first full-time job in the 'real' world. I interviewed for several positions and was offered a few jobs during this period. I chose one of them and started working there that following July. I was surprised and relieved at how smooth the transition was from full-time student to full-time worker for the first time in my life.
Apr 6 - May 15 (age 28)
This time period was as nerve wracking as it was exciting. The company that hired me back when Mars was in Pisces in 2005 decided to lay me off while Mars was in Pisces in 2007. At this time in 2007, I had a much stronger attachment to 'security' or perceived security than I do now. This layoff was a pretty scary moment for me. However, within 2 days I had two job offers...and for better paying jobs to boot! I quickly signed on with one of them and actually started working from home as a satellite office instead of going to an office to work. I would be working by myself and would represent the company in my area. Before being laid off by my previous employer, I had been trying to build a new sector of that company in the realm of bringing green building into the scheme of things and I had ambitions beyond my job description. This new position was not only working as a green building consultant but I was directing certain operations from my satellite position and managing projects. This time period was a transition from being just another cog in the wheel of a company to a person with an important and active role for a company. It also transitioned me from depending on co-workers to being independent since I had no co-workers now.
Mar 15 - Apr 22, 2009 (age 30)
I was technically 'unemployed' at this time since I had been laid off by the green building consulting company during the previous Nov 08'. But it was during this spring that I started earning 'regular money' as an independent consultant for the first time in my life. Before this, to me, money came from a 'job'. This was my first experience of receiving money for my services which included teaching (something I learned I could do during a past Mars in Pisces experience!) and being an 'expert' on green building certification which I learned about during my previous employment experience. I also decided to take myself more seriously as a 'professional' astrologer since I had been giving readings for some time by this point. It was during this period that I purchased my first website domain (www.myastrochris.com) and began building my website which I launched in June 09'. This period was a transition from being co-dependent on an employer to supply me with money to being independent and valuing my own services and offerings enough to 'sell' them and create wealth in the process.
Feb 22 - Apr 2, 2011 (age 31-32)
So this brings us to the recent period. What kind of transition and growth can I expect this time around with regards to my work/service in the world? My astrology business has certainly grown by leaps and bounds over the last 2 years. What kind of transitions can I expect in this realm? Also, as of right now, I am on the cusp of starting a new type of consulting that will involve 'commission-only' earnings. I have never relied solely on the 'success' of my own efforts before. Could this be the new challenge that breeds ever more confidence in myself to produce money through offering myself and trusting that myself is 'enough' to get by in the world? It seems like the time is ripe for me to take on a lesson that teaches me that I am all that I need to survive in the world and that what I have to offer is valuable enough to allow me to thrive. But we will just have to wait and see how this pans out ;).
Welcome back to Pisces, Mars! Glad to see you again!