While Mars makes his extended transit through Scorpio, he'll aspect three of the asteroid goddesses. What happens when Shadow Mars turns his attention to the ladies?
On January 25th, he will conjoin Juno, at 11 degrees Scorpio. This aspect fuses the intensified power dynamics of committed partnerships (Juno) with action (Mars). Juno is emboldened by Mars, and Mars' urge to conquer is brought into the arena of commitment. While a conjunction is "harmonious," this is still a pushy union. The need to commit completely may become overwhelming (for one partner, at least). This could be a moment for ultimatums. Or, it could trigger a search for life-partner material as you, once and for all, decide that you're done settling for lovers who are afraid to commit like a real man or woman. It takes courage to commit fully. Not just saying the words (although some people can't even get that far) but showing full intent through actions and intimacy. Committing with blood and bones.
Next up, Mars will make a tense little inconjunct to Vesta at 19 degrees Aries, on February 9th. Vesta's primary devotion to self and independence will sit uneasily with Mars' push to merge. Mars will want in, Vesta will have her walls up. Sex (Mars) versus purity (Vesta). It could be interpreted literally, but Vesta's devotion often describes the sacred fire of a creative project, career or other area. Mars will represent a challenge to that sacred fire, and since this is an inconjunct, adjustments will need to be made on both sides. Honour the flame (honour your boundaries) but don't shut out the impulse to go deeper (or allow someone in). Mars does rule Aries, but the resonance won't make this aspect any easier. An inconjunct is still an inconjunct. If anything, it will make it more volatile as Vesta assertively pushes back.
Note that Mars in Sag will inconjunct Vesta again (on March 16th) when she is in Taurus. That will mark a shift in the dynamics between purity versus passion, and I'll write more about it when Mars enters Sag.
On June 21st, Mars Rx (at 23 degrees Scorpio) will inconujnct Ceres in Aries. This time, Mars will disagree with the nurturing of independence. Note the difference between Ceres and Vesta in Aries. Vesta guards and preserves independence through religious focus. Ceres nurtures independence by helping it grow. Again, we see the tension between complete union (Scorpio) versus allegiance to self (Aries). Ceres in Aries cannot tolerate domination. Mars in Scorpio will attempt to dominate. What comes to mind is someone trying to be protective, but coming on way too strong. There will need to be an adjustment between actions versus security needs. Since Ceres is also associated with loss, Mars in Scorpio will bring up the spectre of the King of Underworld (death, cycles of change). Mars Rx can suggest revisiting an old issue (parental or otherwise) involving loss/fear of loss. This aspect could feel quite threatening, even though it may not manifest as an actual threat.
Finally, on July 11th, Mars (now direct) will inconjunct Vesta again, and this time she will be in Gemini (at 23 degrees). These two will have a lot of issues to work out over the next few months. Vesta in Gemini is devotion to the exchange of information. The freedom to make choices. Mars in Scorpio will want only one choice (his choice) and this aspect could manifest as the extreme pressure to make a choice, or to say/write something. The adjustment this time will be between the relentless pressure to choose (and choose honestly) versus the dry focus on superficial facts.
Mars tangling with Vesta across three signs brings up some interesting issues: the stainless vessel of absolute devotion versus the barrage of messy passion, anger and darkness.
If you're looking at your chart to see if any of these aspects impact you, remember that asteroids use very tight orbs (no more than 2 degrees).