Mars - Deliver or Destroy
by Guru Rattana, Ph.D. - Issue #32, March 28, 2001
Mars represents our energy, our power and our passion. Mars is how we express our masculine nature. Venus is how we express our feminine nature. It is through the dance of the Mars-Venus polarity that we define and then go after what we want. Mars symbolizes our desire for personal power, physical strength, willed action, intuitive impulses and ability to initiate.
Mars is the first planet outside the Earth's orbit. It transits the twelve signs of the Zodiac in about 22 months. The Sun is in Aries, which is ruled by Mars, between the 20th of March and the 18th of April.
Positive expressions of Mars's energy include passion, intention, ability to command and act, courage, exploration and discovery. Mars's primal force is stimulating, spontaneous, energetic, enthusiastic and passionate.
Negative expressions of Mars include impulsiveness, narrowness, violence, manipulation and control. Negative Mars energy is impulsive, agitated, angry and revengeful.
Mars is our primal energy. Mars initiates. Mars open doors. Mars gives us the courage to persevere. Mars gives us our unique identity and the ego drive to place our personal stamp on our life victories. Mars energy is most relevant to daily terrestrial life and to achieving our temporal goals.(1) Mars empowers our ego and our personality in physical reality. On the soul level, Mars represents the fiery energy of spirit, that facilitates the death of our limited ego and the birth of our higher self.
Mars is associated with the bloodstream and the whole physical body. Mars is related to our sexuality, the urge to reproduce ourselves and thus, at least in a biological sense, to conquer death.(2) Mars is associated with the navel chakra, the warrior and the martial artist. Mars symbolizes our conscious drives, how we exercise our power and our aggressiveness.
Mars encourages our self-reliance and motivates us to explore new horizons. Mars does not vacillate or subordinate himself to others. Mars goes for the gold, meeting obstacles and solving problems from the perspective that challenges are meant to be conquered. Mars is filled with self-confidence, and uses force if necessary to achieve his goals. Mars knows how to take action, and it is a good thing, because he often encounters and creates personal crises.
The Nature of our Energy
The sign of our natal Mars indicates the nature of our energy, and how we promote and go after our heart's desires. The sign of our Mars defines the quality, quantity and type of our desire nature, and our physical vitality. Our Mars, and the house it occupies, indicates our capacity and manner of self-assertiveness. We can understand some of the most obvious and dynamic features of our temperament, by identifying the sign and house placement of our Mars. (Basic characteristics of each sign are outlined below.)
Our Moon shows how we protect ourselves. Our Mars indicates how we respond and interpret communications. Mars is both our offensive and our defensive mechanism, and is thus associated with anger, violence and war. Mars is our first flight or fight response. The nature of our responses depend on how strongly we feel about how we have been treated, how much we feel we have been offended, and how we interpret the nature of the threats to our security and well-being.
It is through our life experiences that we develop and change. Mars is the primal force within us, that makes sure we have the energy to fully experience life and to evolve. Mars represents our survival instinct and sense of self. We survive and grow through a strong sense of individuality, and need for personal satisfaction and achievement. Mars gifts us with our desire for sexual satisfaction, creativity, personal power, recognition, and other forms of gratification that motivate us to live a rich and fulfilling life.
The Mars Challenge - Command and Control Thyself
Mars is raw power, pure testosterone and sexual drive. Mars generates heat. This energy can be expressed in action, passion, and fevers, or create accidents, irritations, conflicts and wars. Since Mars is a personal sign, it is up to us to choose what we want out of life, and use our free will to get it. We are not relying or calling on outside forces. We are learning to rely on ourselves. We are learning to tap our inner resources, empower ourselves and find our strength within.
The energy of Mars is "the active force of the ego expressing itself in the immediate environment".(3) The awakened individual, who has consciously cultivated internal control over his or her own will, commands power by his or her presence. The asleep individual, whose actions are dictated by unconscious urges, usually desires to exert power over others. This desire to control others is not necessarily overtly abusive. It can be covertly passive aggressive. This desire is born from deep fear of both one's own power and one's environment, which leads one to try to control both others and one's environment in order to feel less threatened. The underlying urge is to feel safe. The problem, of course, is that we can never feel safe by trying to control our environment or those around us. Mars teaches us to control our energy and our responses, and to act in ways that facilitate the creation of our own protection and safety. Self-empowerment and protection are the essence of the martial arts.
The challenge for Mars is to integrate the desires of the flesh with higher aspirations. The fight is between the individual and others, between physical pleasure and spirit, between the personality and the soul. However, Mars's ultimate challenge is not choice but integration. When we relate to polarities as choices, the conflict never ends. There is always right and wrong, heaven and hell, a good guy and a bad guy. The quest for integration requires a conscious interweaving of matter and Spirit. Mars's journey is to discover and manifest the interplay between matter and Spirit. For this, Mars must learn to understand and eventually merge with Venus, without losing his identity!
Mars teaches us to harness our energy to attain our goals. Mars teaches us to evaluate our actions in terms of results. Do our actions help us achieve our goals, or lead us into dead ends and create more problems? He helps us use our energy to promote what we want, instead of provoking negative responses and karma. Our Mars lessons teach us about disgression and when to put on the breaks. Mars is also the initiator of new forms of self-expression. Positive Mars energy inspires us to move forward, to explore and to create anew. The end result is the cultural advancement and evolution of humankind, and fuller soul expression.
The Mars-Venus Polarity
Mars and Venus represent the masculine and feminine polarities. Mars is the energy of individualization. Venus is the energy of relationship. Mars expresses the urge to individuate. Venus expresses the urge to relate with another, or merge with the collective. Mars feeds our desire to stand out and to make our unique impression in our environment. Venus is the receptive force that nurtures and is nurtured by others and the environment. Venus is the pacifist. Mars is the aggressor. As we learn to balance these forces, we can be appropriately cooperative and confrontive (honest and direct). Mars creates separateness, individuality and diversity. Venus harmonizes opposites, creates unity in diversity and promotes peaceful cooperation to achieve common goals.
Mars is often viewed as the bad guy. But Martian qualities are essential for human survival and advancement. The fiery planet rules the sign of Aries. Aries represents the stage in human development, where we first see ourselves as separate entities and distinguish ourselves from mass consciousness. Aries offers us the toy of selfhood, and gives us infinite opportunities to discover ourselves on the playground of life. Mars gives us the force of life so we can express ourselves on the world stage. Mars is the life force that births the separate self. This energy can also be used to destroy old habits and false images of self, so that we can evolve into higher expressions of selfhood.
Mars is our personal power planet. It is our generator. Martian heat ignites primal desires. Our emotional maturity, spiritual evolution, and moral integrity will determine how this energy is expressed. Mars can be either a murderer or a warrior, a megalomaniac or a mystical servant of humanity.
We need Mars's fighting spirit to succeed in life. Mars gives us the courage to face life's challenges, the stamina to endure stressful situations, and the energy to respond to problems and pressures. It is the Mars within us that makes us want to win and achieve our goals. Mars gives us the ability to go for what we want, the desire to strive for higher levels of self-expression, and the facility to cut through confusion and focus on our destiny path. Without Mars, Venus would not feel safe. Without Mars, Venus could not exist. Without Mars, Venus would have no one to love.
Symbology of the War God
Every planet represents a principle of cosmic law, which is represented as a god or goddess in mythology. Mars is the war god or the Light of the Aggressor. Mars is the force in man that causes him to assert his individual desires upon his environment. Mars however, is not condemned to be a warmonger. Mars represents raw energy. The Egyptians called this god Artes, from which the word "arts" is derived. This raw energy can be used to bring man's personal spirit into creative expression.(4)
The Hebrews and the Chaldreans used the word Aretz, which means "Earth - that canvas on which Man can paint a picture of himself, using the bounty of our planet and the games we play upon it as his paints and brushes".(5) Mars in Hebrew is Madim, which is closely related to Adam. Ad means light. Aum signifies spirit.
Mars was highly esteemed by the Romans. March, the first month which brings in spring, was named after Mars. The Romans attributed many positive qualities to Mars. "He was a great god of nature, a giver of fertility, a protector of fields and herds, as well as a general inspiration to all new projects and ideas".(6)
The esoteric glyph for Mars is the scepter, symbolising the rod of authority. It was used in the traditional coronation of kings. The cross that sits on top of a circle symbolizes the delegation of power, to the monarch who commands this power.
The other Martian glyph symbolizes a shield and lance, which is also an erect penis symbolizing virility and procreative powers. Mars, son of the Sun, is the active masculine principle. Venus, daughter of the Moon, represents the active feminine principle. The mythological unification of Venus and Mars produced the child Eros, who represents the personification of Love in action.(7)
Attributes of the Warrior God
Zeus means sky or light. In Norse Mythology, the warrior god Tyr was associated with wisdom, law and order and the dispensing of justice. Tyr always spoke the truth.(8) Tyr doesn't win all the time. "At its best, the Tyr archetype is a rational, clear-eyed adult, a warrior god with specific goals, who understands calculated losses, the inevitability of failure and death, and the compromises and sacrifices necessary to uphold social contracts, law and order. At the highest level of functioning, Tyr makes sacrifices to protect and foster life, not merely to suffer ... Because life is often difficult, this protection and defense can sometimes include calculated loss and sacrifice, but such concessions should not be so great that they give away the Sun's (ego, identity) power".(9)
Tyr helps us understand Mars's higher purpose. His function is to deliver us to higher stages of evolution, not to destroy us through chaos and carnage. Obviously, the beasts of the human psyche must be tamed. This is an awesome task, which requires the undaunted courage and dedication of a true warrior. This duality is resolved by transmuting the raw energies, which manifest as rage and aggressiveness, into courage and devotion to the truth. It is basically a question of how the Mars energies are used.
Harmony is not created by repressing, suppressing or eradicating Mars's energies. Harmony is created by the active use of these energies for some personal, collective or creative purpose. In other words, if we attempt to deny or suppress our Mars energy, we lose our power to defend, to protect and to take care of ourselves. If we make ourselves into victims, someone or some system will certainly take advantage of us. We will also create internal damage because we turn against ourselves. Mars requires that we constructively use our primal energies to live happy, health and harmonious lives.
Mars represents our animal nature. In its unconscious expressions, this instinctual energy is expressed as raw aggression, manipulation, misuse of creative energies and abuse of sexual power.
In its lower expressions, egotistical desires and material gain are more important than spiritual values. In fact, one forgets that Spirit is the source of all creative energy, which makes materialization possible in the first place. Asleep Mars is only concerned with personal achievement, regardless of the cost to others, the environment or the collective.
Some of the negative expression of Mars energy include selfishness, cruelty, lust, exploitation, manipulation and control of others.
Awakening Mars is confronted with a war of dualities, the most primal being between the ego/personality and the soul. Idealism, courage and discipline are needed to fight the perceived battle between good and evil. On the inner planes, the real battle is one of interpretation. We must confront our obsessions with sin, distrust of the physical body, fear of sexuality, antifeminism, and male superiority.
Mars energies will be expressed, either by yelling at or shooting someone and creating conflicts, or by running a marathon, dancing or creating a piece of art. Our evolutionary journey includes consciously cultivating our Mars energy, and directing it to the activities of our choice that promote our highest creative expression. The good news is we can guide and direct our energy to set goals, to do what it takes to attain them, to take care of ourselves, and to live fulfilling lives.
Awake Mars represents the Self, which initiates new forms of creativity. The power of destruction is used to eliminate what is no longer needed, and to make way for new forms to be expressed. Mars gives us a strong moral outlook, and the power to discriminate between what works for us and what does not.
In its highest expressions, "Mars is the force, which creates matter out of the primal energy of spirit".(10) Mars is our creative impetus. Awakened Mars is the vehicle, through which dynamic divine energy is infused into the material world, for the highest good of all. Awakened, we use this energy to bring advancement, progress and upliftment to ourselves and all humanity.
Mars is the neutral dynamic force behind both destruction and creation. Yogi Bhajan says that GOD stand for G-O-D - Generating, Organizing and Deliver or Destroy. These are all attributes of Mars. Awakened Mars Generates new ideas, Organizes activities to manifest ideas and knows when to Deliver the goods or not. Awakened Mars knows when destruction of old forms is appropriate to make way for the new, and when destruction is a waste of energy and resources.
The Root of Our Problems is Misuse of Power
After spending weeks trying to figure out Neptune and explaining this confusing planet as clearly as I could, it was with some relief that I turned to Mars. In comparison Mars is a simple planet. Mars is pure energy. All we have to do is understand energy and use it correctly. That seems simple enough. However, the more I observe how we use energy and power, the more I realize how the human race hasn't even begun to understand this basic concept. In fact, the history books are a testimonial to the abuse of power. The daily news is a living chronology of the abuse of power. On a personal level, our health, relationships and level of satisfaction indicate how wisely we use our power. I conclude something is seriously amiss.
It seems to me that the most obvious, yet overlooked, fact of life, and the root of all our problems, is the misuse of power. We don't know who we are; i.e. we are in a perpetual identity crisis. We don't understand the nature of our power or how to use it. Therefore, we constantly create problems, and with most attempted solutions, we create more problems. Our political, economic and legal systems feed off problems. We are addicted to problems. Problems are how we make money, and justify the existence of many of our economic activities that we call gross national product.
Obviously, in a universe where evolution is the basic reality, we are always going to have problems to solve. When we are trying to move from fear to love, we will always have conflicts to face. When empowerment is our goal, free lunches are not going to be the norm. If we accept the assumption that we are working toward evolution, love and empowerment, we need to seriously consider how we use our power, individually and collectively.
Collectively, we can start by examining the extent to which our economic system is based on profits for a few and the exploitation and consumer submission of the majority. How is this situation supported by a political system owned by special interests? How does this result in an inequitable social system, where poverty and homelessness are accepted as the way things are? How about our food industry, which specializes in preservatives, packaging and shelf life, not nutrition? When our international "security" system is based on weapons of mass destruction, how can we feel secure?
OK, that is enough examples. I am restraining myself. I earned my Doctorate and MA in international relations and economics, and taught international environment and development at three universities. I am writing this article today, because I realized that a shift in consciousness is essential for any changes in our economic and political system. When people are asleep, they accept the system without questioning its sanity, or exploring opportunities for fundamental change.
There are so many egregious abuses of power, that those who care either hide out in denial to try to protect their sanity, or are obliged to use their energy to fight the direct offenses. The problem is that fighting specific causes can be an endless battle, when the underlying cause is the structural violence of the system. A few examples of structural violence include:
- economic systems that do not factor in the cost of natural resources
- social systems that underpay and devalue women, the role of the feminine, the Earth and the environment
- religious institutions that use fear, sin, dogma and external authority as a means to control people, and
- political systems that are controlled by private interests who profit from common resources at the expense of the general public.
The time, resources and energy that could be used to create housing, education, healthcare, and the numerous other activities that help people and enhance the quality of life, is too often wasted on legal battles, other defensive strategies, and frustration, and that is the underlying operating principle of structural violence - those out of power are doomed to waste their energy by the operating mechanisms of the political-economic system.
Transformation Starts with Mars
Fundamental transformation starts with Mars. Currently our global system is based on greed, abuse of power and immature, unbalanced masculine energy. Mars holds the key to redressing our personal and collective dysfunctions. We must understand the pivotal importance of Mars in our own personal lives. If we miss this first step in our development, then everything else goes awry. Mars teaches us to identify with our own identity, and not with how authority figures, our peers or cultural stereotypes try to define us. Mars teaches us to use our energy efficiently, effectively and constructively. The right use of energy is the base from which all else follows.
All spiritual paths teach us that the conflict starts within our own selves. Our inner conflict is projected on to the world and into our environment. The basic battle is our own. The battle is between pure spirit and limited ego, and between unconsciousness and consciousness. Mars is pure fire energy. In terms of consciousness it manifests as intuition. If we are not tuned into our intuition, we try to figure things out mentally. When we try to figure things out, we get confused. When we think too much, we lose touch with our body and instinctual self. When we are not in control of our instincts, we are controlled by them. We act out our instincts instead of acting out of conscious choice. Our energy gets used to create external conflicts and problems. As a result of our real life dramas, and the internal disconnect from our instinctual self, we feel emotionally traumatized and stressed out.
We not only don't know what to do, we don't know when to act, and when to wait. Awareness between cause and effect is lost or confused. Our life becomes a series of miscalculated or uncalculated actions, with much of our time being spent trying to clean up the messes we have created. Misuse of power includes everything from insulting, uncaring communications, to unwanted pregnancies, rape, terrorism and armed conflicts and wars, and it all starts in our own psyche, and our inability to be in charge of our energy.
Source of Creative Expression
On the positive side, Mars is the juice for our creative expression. My vision for a peaceful, equitable and sustainable world, is based on every person making his or her contribution, by doing his or her creative thing. Mars energy needs to be channeled into creation, not destruction. We have to fight FOR something, not be against something. There is more juice when we focus our energy on creation and, of course, the results are infinitely more satisfying.
Imagine for one moment that every human being was engaged in creative acts. Imagine that you could devote your life (and be remunerated for it!) to building equitable economic structures, supporting your favorite cause, teaching and inspiring people to be the best they can be, engaging in your favorite sport, making your living as a dancer, artist or any other art form, being an explorer, inventor or scientist? Feel free to add to the list. How would that make you feel? How would that change your life? How would that change the world if our system was structured around encouraging and promoting the highest creative expression of each man, woman and child?
For me the most profound statement at the Academy Awards March 26, 2001 was that of Director Steven Soderbergh, who won the award for best director of the movie "Traffic". He said "I want to thank everyone who spends even part of their day in creative endeavors". He added that the World is so much richer because of our creations. He understands the power and pure joy of creativity.
Cultivating Conscious Connection to Energy
Mars gives us energy so we can defend ourselves. However, self-defense does have to be based on destroying our enemy. In fact, conscious Mars does not define the enemy as external to himself. Mars gifted us with martial arts so that we could eliminate the conflict within ourselves, and thus end creating external conflicts through our own projections. The masters of the martial arts don't really fight each other; they dance with each other's energies. They use their ability to defend themselves when they need it, not to provoke conflicts. They teach us that the best defense is oneness within oneself and with the Universe. Oneness creates fearlessness. When we are fearless, we experience universal love. When we experience universal love, we feel secure and honor (not fight) others.
All fear is rooted in disconnection with self and universal energy. Fear is the root of all conflict and confrontation. Becoming fearless is an art that we must consciously cultivate. The martial arts, yoga and meditation (and other life activities like public speaking, acting and sports) teach us to consciously feel the energy of fear in our body. It is by embracing the energy of the emotions, and letting it move through our body, that we connect with the vital pulse of life that flows through us at every moment. The intensity and frequency of the energy varies and changes with our modes, circumstances and activities. Our goal is to embrace every sensation, movement and energetic expression. The more we do so, the more alive we feel, the more empowered we become, the more radiant our aura, the more peaceful we feel, and the more we achieve oneness with all life.
Mars is our strategy. When we are conscious of our power, and at peace with our energy, no matter how it changes and manifests, we are empowered to move from reaction to action, and from victim to co-creator of our own lives.
Reclaiming Our Mars
Reclaiming our Mars involves waking up to how and why we have allowed ourselves to be suppressed, abused or in any way tyrannized. Here's a quick checklist to determine if you are suppressing your Mars energy:
Are you experiencing any of the following and to what extent?
- feel overworked
- brow-beaten by your partner
- made a conscious or unconscious decision to suffer in silence(11)
- rationalize away your feelings
- don't speak your truth
- rescue others and don't have enough time for yourself
Of course, feel free to add to the list. We abuse ourselves in so many subtle ways.
We need a healthy relationship with our Mars energy to break destructive habits, make decisions, follow through and maintain our commitments. Reclaiming our Mars also involves the wisdom to achieve a balance between individual and collective needs, so we can live in harmony with others and our environment. If we don't take care of ourselves, we won't have the energy for social action, or for our families and friends. We end up complaining instead of taking action.
Reclaiming our Mars can uncover deep-seated anger and frustrations. We can feel both enraged and sad. The key is to get clear what you want, make a commitment to yourself to get it, and take action to obtain it. Anger and action are both navel, fire energies. When we take action for ourselves, the energy is used to achieve results, instead of creating internal distress.
Mars energies must be consciously contained and expressed. To contain energy means to fully feel it in our body. The more we own and embrace our energy, the more magnetic we become, and the more we attract to us what is ours to enjoy life. The more we take action for ourselves and others, the more empowered and fulfilled we become. Conscious, empowered individuals cannot be exploited and manipulated by an unjust, inequitable, economic and political system. Wake up, find your identity, define your destiny and go for it, and you will participate in a global revolution. Hail to Mars and Tyr - defenders of truth and justice. The fun has just begun.
Our Mars Journey
When our Mars energy is weak and undeveloped, we can be either excessively passive or inappropriately aggressive. When we are unaware of our energy patterns, we lack self-confidence, and feel uncomfortable in our own skin and in our environment. We will probably attract problems in the areas of health, romance, prosperity and self-preservation.
When our Mars energy is strong and developed, we can take care of and do not feel threatened by ourselves, others or our environment. Our Mars journey is our quest to stand up to and embrace the energy of our deepest fears, to overcome our perceived limitations, to learn to take action for ourselves, and to direct our energy to fulfill our destiny.
Our Inner Hero
In its highest expression, Mars is our inner hero. Mars slays our internal and external enemies. Mars gives us our identity from which we can make truly personal choices. Mars give us the courage to act and the ability to promote and protect our self-interests.(12)
To support us, our inner hero needs discipline and positive direction. The unconscious expression of our inner hero is a wounded inner child, whose responses have been created by real or perceived abuse, abandonment and emotional pain. Unattended and unacknowledged, our wounded inner child perceives the world as hostile, and its instinctive responses are defensive. Coming from anger and fear, our inner child acts from "me against them or the world". The basic problem is, that the fear and negativity contained in the aggressive approach to life, projects disruptive energies into our environment, and sabotages our success.
Our main inner Mars lesson is to cultivate our inner hero from our wounded inner child. It is precisely the energy that feels defenseless against the world, that can be nurtured into being our strongest protector and supporter. To do so, we must get in touch with how we have suppressed and denied our own inner power, and opened ourselves to victimhood. We must revisit how we were bullied or defeated in the past, and examine how these experiences crushed our spirit.
When we feel immobilized by external events or intimidating experiences, we cease to go after what we want, and often squander this vital energy in addictive and other sabotaging behaviors. When our defeats and hurts control our unconscious mind, our natural enthusiasm, which responds to "Just do it", does not get us the results we are after. What can we do when we feel thwarted and stuck? We can embrace, heal and love our inner child, and make him/her into our inner hero.
In the process our ego begins to serve us. I am not a proponent of eliminating the ego. Mars teaches us that we need a strong ego to survive in this world. However, our ego must serve our heart. A healthy heart-centered ego can wisely use the human gift of free will. Mars teaches us to champion our own cause, and gives us the fortitude to pursue our dreams. Mars also gives us the will and resolution to express our truth, to promote our ideas and to seek the highest expression of our Self. As the hero of our Soul, our Mars helps us live our life from personal integrity, to act honorably, to feel our inner strength and to enjoy the power and passion of being alive.
Integrating Mars into our Psyche
Mars rules some very basic aspects of our human experience: the ability to assert ourselves, to protect ourselves, to defend ourselves, to create boundaries, to initiate and to act. My personal observation is that both men and women haven't done too well in integrating the Mars function into their operational psyche. On the one end of the dysfunctional spectrum, Mars's energy has been used to create violence, aggressive behaviors, manipulation and control and stress. At the other end, when the Mars energy is notably absent and suppressed, it is expressed in passive aggressive behaviors, poor boundaries, depression, helplessness, low libido, underachievement, psychosomatic illness, and inability to take care of oneself.(13)
The problem is that misuse of Mars energy in either direction creates imbalances, distortions, victimization and exploitation. Most economic history is about the relationship between have's and have not's. Most political history is about power struggles, which end up in victors and vanquished. The underlying theme of unhappy relationships and divorce is also a power struggle. It is thus critical that both men and women examine their relationship with Master Mars, for the war god does not have to create war - he can also create peace.
Our Personal Mars
Where are we going? What will happen to us? What choices will we make? What is our modus operandi? How do we get what we want? The answer to all the above can be found by exploring our natal Mars.
Mars makes us tick and turns us on. The sign of our Mars indicates the nature of our energy, how we use our energy, what motivates us to take action and the results we can expect. The house placement of our Mars shows the area of life where we devote most of our time and energy. How Mars interacts with other planets (the aspects) indicates aptitudes that will help us and difficulties that will hinder us in our physical activities in our life.
Mars is our temperament and our temper. In a woman's chart, her Mars indicates her preferences in men, and influences the type of men she will attract and be attracted to. In a man's chart, his Mars indicates his expression of masculinity and defines the type of lover he will be.
Our Mars determines our approach to action and our approach to life: whether we are forceful and energetic, or passive and timid. The nature of our Mars determines our ability to assert ourselves. Our Mars defines our unique way of interaction, the results we want and how we deal with challenges and obstacles in our way.
Mars in the Signs
Our Mars sign and house is perfect for who we are, and what we came here to do this lifetime. Properly understood and expressed, our Mars equips us with the appropriate energy, behaviors and motivations to accomplish our life goals. "Some people need dynamic, fiery Mars energies to fulfill their destiny; others need gentle, surrendering energies to do their soul's work. Whatever our destiny, Mars helps us to get there by giving us the desire, the power, and even the sex appeal to make it happen".(14)
Some people are more comfortable with their Mars energy than others. Our task is not to judge our Mars, or any other natal planet. Our task is to explore, understand, and learn to use our Mars energy to our best advantage, and to accomplish our goals. Instead of judging or being afraid of our Mars, it is useful to consider our Mars as strategic energy for achieving our highest good.
FOUR TYPES OF ENERGY
There are four basic types of energy:
I will first briefly discuss the nature of each type of energy and then discuss the specific attributes of the 3 astrological signs in each category.
Fire signs - Aries, Leo, Sagittarius - focus their energy on willing something into being. Inspiration is their m.o.
Fire energy is radiant, excitable, enthusiastic and dynamic. It burns with inspiration. It is spontaneous and self-motivated. Fire energy centers on personal identity. Those with Mars or The Sun in fire signs are self-centered and impersonal. They enjoy being channels for life. They have high spirits, a lot of energy and strength, and faith in themselves. They are direct in their communications. They can direct their will-power and maintain their focus. They require a great deal of freedom to express themselves.(15)
Fire signs are often impatient and excitable, lack self control, and can be insensitive to others. They may rush into things with haste without proper consideration for the consequences of their action. They may come across as overbearing because of their insistence on their point of view.(16)
The fire signs must learn to direct their energy to creative expressions. Their goal is to deliver, not to destroy. The conscious application of the creative spark must include the building of one's own soul identity. Fire signs must cultivate emotional balance so they do not burn themselves out with over activity, pressure and stress.
Air signs - Gemini, Libra, Aquarius - focus their energy on ideas beyond the veil of the physical world that can eventually be actualized. Theorizing and discussion are their m.o.
Air signs specialize in mental activities: abstract thought theory, concepts and verbal communication. Air signs have the capacity to detach themselves from the emotional experiences of mundane life. They are thus able to be objective and rational in their approach to life. Their detached perspective gives them the freedom to interact with all kinds of people, and be in many different situations, without getting emotionally involved or taking on the worries of others. The air signs do not feel threatened by others' points of view. On the contrary, they find diversity interesting and even entertaining. They are the most social of the signs.(17)
If air signs become lost in their thoughts and theories, they can become mentally unbalanced, eccentric and fanatic. Thoughts and ideas are so important to them, that they can feel threatened if others are not willing to talk things out. They have a hard time relating to and expressing their emotions, and become impatient with demands to express what they are feeling. They feel threatened by the confines of physical reality, and often avoid relating to and caring for their physical body. They can overlook the need to test their ideas in physical reality.(18) They can become so attached to thinking things over, that they miss opportunities to manifest their ideas is real life.
Air signs must understand the value of connecting with the ethereal world of ideas, and discipline their minds to focus, so that they can play their pivotal role in the manifestation process. They must learn to constructively use the positive and negative minds, and be able to go to the neutral mind at will. Cultivating the power of visualization is a useful pastime for air signs.
Water signs - Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces - are owned by their feelings and emotions and often, like a fish in water, are not even aware of how their emotions are creating their reality. Instinctual awareness and intuitive direction are their m.o.
Water signs can tune into the intangible subtle energies that impact the quality of life. When water signs are able to embrace their emotions, they can experience the oneness and love of all creation. Water signs have the capacity to be aware of the deepest dimensions of life. They are intuitive, psychically sensitive and heal others through an empathetic attitude and a caring aura.
When water signs have not embraced their emotions, they can be overwhelmed by irrational fears, be so sensitive that almost everything is perceived as a threat, and their compulsive passions can dictate their actions. When they are not in touch with their feelings, and unconscious of what motivates them, their lives can be emotional roller coasters. Their secretive quality makes them appear calm on the outside. However, emotional storms are constantly brewing deep inside, which periodically and unpredictably erupt, creating upheavals in their lives. If unexpressed, these emotional undercurrents also create illness, stress and emotional instability. Water signs can be over sensitive, feel highly vulnerable and be too easily influenced.(19)
Properly cared for, the sensitivity of the water signs can be cultivated into a penetrating power. Over time, water signs embody the process of gaining consciousness of their soul and its deepest yearnings. The water signs must learn to protect themselves from outside influences, in order to cultivate a peaceful inner sanctuary, where they can go "for deep reflection and subtlety of perception. The realization of the true nature of their emotions and yearnings is a slow and often painful process, but as long as they are willing to face their real motives, they are assured of increasing inner contentment as the years pass".(20)
Earth signs - Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn - concern themselves with practical reality, the material world and the physical senses. Practical reason and action are their m.o.
Earth signs are gifted with the facility of navigating physical reality. They rely on practical reason, and focus on getting things done. Because they understand how the material world functions, they are often able to be more patient and self-disciplined than the other signs. They naturally know how to make a living, meet their basic needs, and persist until they reach their goals. They can endure hardships, have physical fortitude and strength, and are able to look out for themselves. They are efficient and act in a matter-of-fact manner to protect their self-interests. Earth signs tend to be conventional, premeditative, cautious and dependable.(21)
The earth signs often lack imagination, and are too caught up in manifestation to appreciate more subtle influences on life. Relying on appearances can get them into trouble. They can become addicted to routines and preoccupied with order.(22) Their narrow definition of reality can limit their world-view, and close them off to energies and ideas that could help them manifest their dreams, with less effort and struggle.
Earth signs need to learn to use their ability to relax and tune into the present moment, to connect with the more subtle realities which enrich their experience of life.
MARS THROUGH THE SIGNS
1) Fire Signs
Mars in the fire signs feels right at home, since the basic energy of Mars is fire. These expressions of Mars give the person a lot of passion, vital energy and stamina. The basic problem is that they can burn themselves out, with too much activity or internal stress.
Mars in Aries and the First House
NATURE OF ENERGY - Lots of physical and mental energy Initiatory, fiery, primal, raw, physical, spontaneous, self-motivated.
MOTIVATIONS, HOW ENERGY IS USED - Goes for what one wants directly, aggressively and strategically To initiate action, to start projects, to lead. Focus is on one's self and one's own projects and body. You get to choose your destiny but it must involve the exploration of unknown territories and open you to new perspectives.
ASLEEP EXPRESSIONS - Inconsiderate of others' wishes, needs and rhythms. Naïvely, and often unknowingly, creates problems and difficult situations from which one must extricate oneself. Desire for sexual gratification is too self-centered, without due consideration for the partner. Lacks self-control, patience and humility. Easily distracted, and off to the next activity or project before the previous one is completed. Hot, uncontrolled temper. Could be prone to stress and violence. Wastes time fighting others and being a victim, or victimizing others. Defines success as conquering others or the environment. Destructively competitive and aggressive.
AWAKE EXPRESSIONS - Ability to act courageously and move through obstacles with ease. Independent, enterprising, self-reliant, willing to take risks. Confidently explores unknown territories and tries new approaches to problem solving and living.
LESSONS AND AWAKENING STRATEGIES - Learn to be true to yourself. Appropriately make choices so you don't create more problems than necessary. Become a leader by example. Learn how to direct your power without creating rivalries, antagonism and hostility. Shift from being "against", to fighting "for" a good cause. Learn to act compassionately towards others and from your heart. Learn how to cooperate with others, and productively use their input. Create allies instead of enemies.
Mars in Leo and the Fifth House
NATURE OF ENERGY - Lots of physical and creative energy. Fiery, passionate, consistent, dramatic, exuberant, charismatic.
MOTIVATIONS AND HOW ENERGY IS USED - Being appreciated for one's own being, creativity and as a lover. To get attention, to be creative, to express oneself, romance and passionate love making. Likes to have fun, likes children, pets, toys, entertainment and being in charge. Destiny will place you in the limelight as an entertainer, leader, promoter or teacher.
ASLEEP EXPRESSIONS - Demands attention, needs recognition, arrogant, poor loser, narcissistic, pompous and bossy.
AWAKE EXPRESSIONS - Enthusiasm, good spirit and humor, generous, capable leader, self-confident, inspiring. Supportive of others, magnetic personality.
LESSONS AND AWAKENING STRATEGIES - Learn to act from the heart instead of the will. Give up need to control and inspire others through your enthusiasm for life. Cultivate teamwork.
Mars in Sagittarius and the Ninth House
NATURE OF ENERGY - Restless, erratic, freedom-seeking, persuasive, high physical energy that can create inner stress.
MOTIVATIONS AND HOW ENERGY IS USED - Taking risks, spiritual pursuits, adventures into the unknown, foreign travel, foreign languages, higher education. Seeks meaning and higher purpose in all that one does. Always pursuing knowledge, upliftment and expansion of one's horizons. Destiny calls you to be a leader or teacher, who inspires others to live life to the fullest.
ASLEEP EXPRESSIONS - Impractical, speculative, self-righteous crusader. Lacks consistency, endurance and discrimination.
AWAKE EXPRESSIONS - Hopeful, optimistic, enthusiastic, positive and philosophical outlook on life.
LESSONS AND AWAKENING STRATEGIES - Learn to live within one's means. Take responsibility for one's own actions and the consequences. Don't try to convince others - inspire them with own example. Let the truth in your heart direct and interpret your life experiences.
2) Air Signs
Mars in the air signs are also comfortable placements, because air and fire are both masculine energies. These placements stimulate mental activity. Emotional energy is often lacking. If people with Mars in air signs don't use up all their energy thinking about things, they have adequate physical energy.
Mars in Gemini and the Third House
NATURE OF ENERGY - High mental energy, less practical energy. Fluctuating, versatile, variable, nervous, concentrated mental energy.
MOTIVATIONS AND HOW ENERGY IS USED - Exploring, communicating, talking, writing, teaching, traveling. Your destiny is people oriented and unfolds as you follow your curiosity, develop multiple aspects of self and learn from many varied life experiences.(23)
ASLEEP EXPRESSIONS - Dissipates and wastes energy with too many projects and activities. Lacks depth, over excitable and fails to follow through to completion. Distracted, impatient, dabbles in many things, but never gets good enough to achieve satisfaction. Resists commitment because fears entrapment. Scattering energies creates frustration.
AWAKE EXPRESSIONS - Alert, witty, spontaneous, entertaining, good debater and communicator. Learns with the intention of getting the most one can out of the process.
LESSONS AND AWAKENING STRATEGIES - Choose only two focal points so you can channel your energies constructively. Commit to something long enough to attain mastery "or to be illuminated or transformed by your experience ... and build confidence in your ability to succeed".(23) Seek meaning in your experiences and identify purpose in your actions.
Mars in Libra and the Seventh House
NATURE OF ENERGY - High mental energies, less physical and emotional energies. Lack of personal aggressiveness, even soft, sometimes passive. Relaxed, pleasant presence.
MOTIVATIONS AND HOW ENERGY IS USED - Socializing, mediating conflicts, diplomacy, partnerships, relationships. You achieve your destiny through social skills, graciousness and your ability to create peace and harmony.(24)
ASLEEP EXPRESSIONS - Indecisive, argumentative, lacks individuality and a clear sense of one's own position. Too easily swayed to others' points of view. Tries to please everyone but oneself, and ends up feeling confused and not getting one's own needs met. Too idealistic and avoids conflict by being indirect, but ends up being passive aggressive.
AWAKE EXPRESSIONS - Ability to be fair, to facilitate compromise and to be cooperative. Able to gracefully bring different interests together to cooperate and work as a team. The heroic negotiator who brings greater levels of justice, peace and fairness to the world.
LESSONS AND AWAKENING STRATEGIES - Learn to have your own opinion and not be swayed by your need to support others, or to achieve harmony. Cultivate a sense of balance and peace within that is unshakable by external circumstances. Stand for your own truth without giving into others expectations or demands. Develop a relationship with your neutral mind and cultivate the ability to return and stay in this place of power. Give up trying to please everyone all the time, and stop worrying about what others think about you, or anything else.
Mars in Aquarius and the Eleventh House
NATURE OF ENERGY - Highly mental, absence of emotional energy, mentally alert, scientific, innovative mind. Detached, unconventional, erratic, expressed brotherly/sisterly love more than romantic love.
MOTIVATIONS AND HOW ENERGY IS USED - Seeks the truth and experimentation. Avoids confining situations and restrictive relationships. Personal freedom and individuality are high priorities. Personal goals are related to larger social causes. Your destiny path involves supporting humanitarian causes, and contributing to the common good.
ASLEEP EXPRESSIONS - Inability to empathize and take others feelings into consideration. Suffer from nervous tension created by inability to fit into social expectations, and to connect with emotions. Cold, aloof, and driven, alienated and alienating.
AWAKE EXPRESSIONS - Non-judgmental, original thinker, independent and self reliant, non-conformist. Intuitive, honest, helpful, visionary, inventive.
LESSONS AND AWAKENING STRATEGIES - Open your heart, so that you can relax and enjoy yourself and others, while you pursue your idealistic visions. Develop compassion, empathy and flexibility. Embrace diversity with an open heart
3) Water Signs
Mars in the water signs fosters emotional intensity. If people with this placement learn to express their feelings and be present to their emotional energy, they can accomplish a lot. However, they get things done indirectly and not through massive outputs of physical energy. The "Just do it" advice, that is appropriate for fire and air signs, is not appropriate for water signs. They manifest more through attraction and magnetism, than with the sheer brute force which they do not have. Once their emotions are balanced, they can attract situations to themselves and then respond appropriately. If they try to go after what they want with too much physical action, they will wear themselves out and not have the emotional energy left to take care of themselves, or to respond to opportunities.
Mars in Cancer and the Fourth House
NATURE OF ENERGY - Highly emotional, indirect in approach to life and communications, low physical energy. Intuitive, highly sensitive to subtle energies and feelings. Gentle and nurturing.
MOTIVATIONS AND HOW ENERGY IS USED - To control environments to feel secure and safe. To avoid conflict and confrontations. To be loved and to love, to protect self and others. Your destiny involves nurturing and caring for yourself and others.
ASLEEP EXPRESSIONS - Insecure, afraid, emotional, worrywart, defensive, need to be the best. Domestic discord, codependent caretaker, martyr. Look to others for support and guidance that must find within oneself. Get hurt easily and then hide out, withdraw and recoil from life experiences.
AWAKE EXPRESSIONS - Kind and compassionate. Able to channel powerful healing energy.
LESSONS AND AWAKENING STRATEGIES - Remember to take care of yourself first so you are able to help others. Become emotionally independent through self-nurturing and self-parenting. Be able to count on yourself so you feel safe to interact in the world. Learn to be comfortable while being uncomfortable with your feelings, and cultivate your emotions as your power base.
Mars in Scorpio and the Eighth House
NATURE OF ENERGY - High energy level that won't stop, determined, seductive. Intense, penetrating, covert, secretive, probing, highly emotional at a deep level.
MOTIVATIONS AND HOW ENERGY IS USED - Understanding at a deep level and finding hidden causes. Need understanding and meaning and an experience of power. Your destiny involves solving problems and making the most of resources. Your destiny must feel like "the real thing" whatever that may be for you. It must involve deep meaning, purpose and you will feel happy when you know you are leaving a legacy.
ASLEEP EXPRESSIONS - Unforgiving, covert, inflexible, hesitant, strongly held points of view. Negativity creates emotional upsets and bad vibes in your environment and relationships. Afraid you won't get what you want unless you manipulate, scheme or pull strings. Unconnected with Source and feel have to control everything yourself. Intrigued with dark forces and powers.
AWAKE EXPRESSIONS - Perceptive, purposeful and dedicated. Highly intuitive and psychic. Can create alchemy and magic with your thoughts backed up by clear, positive emotions. Can identify hidden resources and unblock energy.
LESSONS AND AWAKENING STRATEGIES - Cultivate high integrity so your intense energy works for your highest good and that of others. Develop a neutral mind and balance your emotions, to avoid slipping into negativity and into extremes. Be conscious of your power and its effect on others and your environment. Develop a conscious relationship with your emotions, and use them to vitalize, not sabotage yourself. Learn to channel divine love, and you will heal and create with your presence. Keep things simple, light, fun and above board
Mars in Pisces and the Twelfth House
NATURE OF ENERGY - Emotional and sensitive. Little practical energy. Lacks physical drive. Unifying, intuitive, kind and forgiving. Inconsistent, indiscriminate, unfocused, shy, not aggressive. Unpredictable emotional energy, can be manic depressive.
MOTIVATIONS AND HOW ENERGY IS USED - Serving and caring for others, from a heart open to the divine love of the Universe. Your destiny and success involve merging with a higher, universal cause
ASLEEP EXPRESSIONS - Lacks cohesive direction and control of physical reality. Sacrifices too much and becomes a martyr or a victim. Victim of own fears, weaknesses and addictions. Too influenced by others and apologetic.
AWAKE EXPRESSIONS - Understands the power of selflessness. Flows with the rhythm of the Universe. Sets aside own agenda to connect with higher powers. Compassionate and understanding toward other human beings.
LESSONS AND AWAKENING STRATEGIES - Learn to be discerning and pick causes that uplift, not deplete, your energy. Create boundaries and practical criteria for your choices. Take care of yourself, so that you cannot be drained of energy or abused. Learn the difference between supportive empathy and misplaced sympathy. Learn to serve your spirit, and don't try to save anyone but yourself
4) Earth Signs
Both earth and water signs are feminine. Earth signs with Mars also do not respond favorably to typical masculine action-oriented advice. Earth signs are slower to respond. They are good at manifesting, but they must be left to operate at their own pace. They are practical, but they do not have the get-up-and-go energies of the fire signs. They do well by complementing their earthiness with emotional balance. When they command their emotions, they too can attract opportunities and then respond appropriately.
Mars in Taurus and the Second House
NATURE OF ENERGY - Persistent, but prone to inertia, passivity and control. Lack physical energy, stamina and direct action.
MOTIVATIONS AND HOW ENERGY IS USED - Satisfying basic needs, feeling safe, accumulating things. Slower to act and more patient with process. Motivated to create security, abundance, and taking care of self and loved ones. Your destiny involves beauty, artistic expressions, and using your ability to manifest to take care of yourself and others.
ASLEEP EXPRESSIONS - Too complacent, couch potato, inflexible. Afraid of being deprived and not having enough love, money and possessions. Clings to what they have, even if it isn't appropriate or useful. Attempts to be in control by being defensive and "resisting anything and everything". Lack of flexibility prevents constructive use of creative energies. Defensiveness shuts out the flow of love and abundance.
AWAKE EXPRESSIONS - Stable, loyal, artistic. Pit-bull determination, perseveres to achieve values, goals and success. Confident in your ability to manifest and create what you need.
LESSONS AND AWAKENING STRATEGIES - Make sure your first loyalty is to yourself and not situations that do not serve you. Learn to act to get what you want, instead of reacting out of insecurities. Build trust in yourself, to take care of yourself and meet your basic needs. Let go of the past and transform the status quo.
Mars in Virgo and the Sixth House
NATURE OF ENERGY - Analytical, efficient, disciplined, practical and sometimes too mental.
MOTIVATIONS AND HOW ENERGY IS USED - Likes and insists on reasoning things out. Motivated to achieve precision and excellence. Healing, helping others in service-oriented activities. Your destiny involves a service-oriented, practical profession, where you specialize in accomplishing specific tasks effectively.
ASLEEP EXPRESSIONS - Wastes energy with obsessive perfectionism and knit picking. So lost in details that misses out on the bigger picture. Lacks imagination and spontaneity. Opinionated, fixed ideas on how things should be, unreasonable standards. Represses emotions.
AWAKE EXPRESSIONS - Unselfish, disciplined, industrious. Skillful at tasks involving details and exactitude. Good reasoning skills. Devoted to improving the world and the lives of others. Demonstrates excellence.
LESSONS AND AWAKENING STRATEGIES - Learn to evaluate, but not constantly question one's path and purpose. Cultivate patience and acceptance, and stop demanding perfection in yourself and others. Learn to discern between busywork and activities that accomplish results. Experience satisfaction in the moment, and find perfection in divine order. Let order reveal itself by surrendering to the timely unfoldment of life.
Mars in Capricorn and the Tenth House
NATURE OF ENERGY - Highly practical energy and adequate mental, physical and emotional energies. Goal oriented, able to sustain, capable.
MOTIVATIONS AND HOW ENERGY IS USED - Planning, organizing, strategizing. To build and construct with a preconceived plan and ambitious goals. Desire for power, control, and recognition, and to feel loved. Your destiny involves positions of leadership and authority, where something significant is accomplished.
ASLEEP EXPRESSIONS - Ambitious at the expense of others and own health. Controlling, dominating and oppressive for self gain. Suffocates spirit by strict observance to rules and regulations. Tightly wound control freak, bothered by guilt.
AWAKE EXPRESSIONS - Responsible, respectful, hard worker, adept at overcoming obstacles. Sees the big picture, competently handles authority and responsibility.
LESSONS AND AWAKENING STRATEGIES - Self-mastery through practical life experiences is your ultimate goal. Discipline yourself to not get involved in activities that build your ego through recognition or status. Choose activities that create lasting value in your life. Give up strict control, and let life unfold. Develop sensitivity to your own feelings, and to the feelings and needs of others. Make people around you feel safe and valued (start with yourself).
Kundalini Yoga - The Navel Center
Mars is associated with the navel center. Any exercises associated with strengthening the navel center are recommended while the Sun is in Aries. In terms of pranayama, breath of fire is particularly powerful in generating inner heat, and bringing the navel point into alignment. Sat Kriya is a classic Kundalini Yoga exercise that centers the navel point as well as raising the Kundalini. Nabiya (Nabhi) Kriya is a classic set of exercises to strength the navel point and the lower chakras.
References and Footnotes
Alan Oken's Complete Astrology, Alan Oken, Bantam Books, New York, 1980. (Oken Astro)
Astrology, Psychology and the Four Elements, Stephen Arroyo, CRCS Publications, Davis, CA, 1975. (Arroyo)
The Astrologer's Manual, Landis Knight Green, CRCS Publications, Sebastopol, CA, 1975. (Green)
The Mars Book, Donna Van Toen, Samuel Weiser, York Beach, Maine, 1988. (Toen)
Soul-Centered Astrology, Alan Oken, The Crossing Press, Freedom, CA, 1990, pp.192-199. (Oken)
"Mars: Your Inner Hero," Phyllis Firak-Mitz, The Mountain Astrologer, Issue 93, Oct/Nov 2000, pp. 12-18. (Mitz)
" Astrological Mars and the Norse God Tyr," Jodie Forrest, The Mountain Astrologer, Issue 93, Oct/Nov 2000, pp. 19-25. (Forrest)
1. Oken Astro, p. 562
2. Oken Astro, p. 291
3. Oken Astro, p. 271
4. Oken Astro, p. 199
5. Oken Astro, p. 200
6. Oken Astro, p. 200
7. Oken Astro, p. 199
8. Forrest, p. 23
9. Forrest, p. 22
10. Oken Astro, p. 199
11. Forrest, p. 23
12. Mitz, p. 12
13. Mitz, p. 20
14. Mitz, p. 12
15. Arroyo, p. 95
16. Arroyo, p. 95-6
17. Arroyo, p. 96
18. Arroyo, p. 97
19. Arroyo, p. 98
20. Arroyo, p. 99
21. Arroyo, p. 99
22. Arroyo, p. 100
23. Mitz, p. 14
24. Mitz, p. 14
25. Mitz, p. 16
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