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Mars in Astrology: Meaning and Significations

Mars in Astrology: Meaning and Significations

Episode 318 features a discussion with astrologer Sylvi Osland about what Mars means in astrology, where we talk about the significations of the planet and especially what it means in a birth chart.

Mars is generally said to signify things like action, impulsiveness, forcefulness, assertiveness, fighting, anger, war, severing, separation, inflammation, intercourse, fires, discord, robbery, and courage.

This is the fifth episode in our series on the planets in astrology, where we do a deep dive into the meaning of each of the planets, by reading through some passages from ancient and modern astrologers to anchor the discussion.

The passages we read through this time included astrologers such as Porphyry of Tyre, Vettius Valens, Abu Ma’shar, William Lilly, Reinhold Ebertin, Steven Forrest, and Richard Tarnas.

You can find more information about Sylvi on their website:


This episode is available in both audio and video versions below.


Here are some timestamps for topics covered at different points in the episode:

00:00:00 Introduction
00:00:54 Sylvi’s background
00:02:22 Mars diagram
00:03:46 Content warning
00:06:40 Porphyry significations
00:12:22 Mars in the night sky
00:14:20 Mars and redheads
00:16:11 Iamblichus significations
00:19:17 Venus Mars contrast
00:23:00 Fighters with Mars in detriment
00:24:53 Ares: God of War
00:30:50 Mars as “ride or die” friend
00:32:17 Valens significations
00:37:50 Preparing for a Mars transit
00:40:00 Mars Saturn analogy
00:41:40 Valens significations part 2
00:53:26 Abu Ma’shar significations
01:00:20 Mars Mercury
01:05:12 Dignified malefics
01:09:09 Sylvi’s Chart
01:10:40 Sect
01:13:45 Remediation
01:18:09 Mars and the Body
01:20:46 William Lilly significations
01:27:51 Courage
01:31:42 Machine gun vs. sniper rifle analogy
01:33:51 Obscenity and Swearing
01:36:48 Defiance
01:39:22 Reinhold Ebertin significations
01:42:00 Vitality
01:46:55 Mars in Capricorn and Mediation
01:48:35 Detriment vs. Fall
01:49:48 Steven Forrest significations
01:53:26 Trump – Mars conjunct Ascendant
01:55:27 Mars in 1st – health problems, injuries
02:01:10 Tattoos
02:02:07 Richard Tarnas significations
02:04:46 Mars Mercury
02:08:22 Mars Moon
02:11:49 Mars Sun
02:14:40 Mars Venus
02:17:34 Sex and Sexuality
02:23:04 Mars Jupiter
02:29:00 Mars Saturn
02:32:38 Mars Uranus
02:37:02 Mars Neptune
02:41:00 Mars Pluto
02:44:43 Mars synodic cycle
02:50:10 Mars in the 1st House
02:52:18 Mars in the 2nd House
02:55:29 Mars in the 3rd House
02:58:39 Mars in the 4th House
03:01:05 Mars in the 5th House
03:03:15 Mars in the 6th House
03:06:37 Mars in the 7th House
03:10:34 Mars in the 8th House
03:14:14 Mars in the 9th House
03:18:15 Mars in the 10th House
03:21:35 Mars in the 11th House
03:25:10 Mars in the 12th House
03:32:45 Sylvi’s work and contact info
03:36:04 Closing Remarks

Watch the Video Version of This Episode on Mars

Watch the video version of this episode on the meaning of Mars here:


A full transcript of this episode is available: Episode 318 transcript

Listen to the Audio Version of This Episode

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  • The ascendant sign and planets there, in my experience, can tell us something about the quality of the birth process. Two of my daughters have Pluto ascending, another has Neptune …very different vibes in the birthing room!
    My great grand-daughter has Mars on Ascendant – had a difficult forceps birth and her mother lost ‘lots of blood’. Shortly after she was born, I had a client with MAr ascendant. When I asked her if she knew anything about her birth process she told me her mother had lost a lot of blood.

  • I have Mars retrograde in Aries in the 7th house. I have always felt somewhat cursed by this placement! But this episode really helped me gain perspective.

    My Mars is also part of a grand cross with Chiron/Moon, Mercury and Neptune.

    The retrograde aspect has been probably somewhat mitigating. I have struggled in relationships because I made an early decision to do everything on my own. I definitely find myself drawn to people with Martial or Aries-like personalities – direct, physically dynamic etc.

    I was very shy when I was young and felt physically weak – never played sports etc. I am finding that as I get older I very much need Martian/Martial activities to stay sane. I started surfing this year and have a job that is very physically demanding at times (landscaping and building).

    I wonder about working with a Mars retrograde in the chart. Especially in the 7th house. Would love others thoughts!

  • I’m day Mars Asc, Mars retro in the 4th IC conjunct the Moon in Cancer. And it went direct 10 days later. Also Mars receptive trine Uranus by degree and loose square (the moon is more exact degree) to Pluto. Definitely considered all of this a curse and thank you for the new perspectives!

    After listening I’m thinking of a more literal interpretation that my very strict Dad could be a martial parent – no so much that I’m a total jerk. When I feel safe, some people find my enthusiasm grating. Learning to appropriately express manage and process my anger is a foundational experience. I want to protect others from the unexpected overbearing rages I feared as a kid. I want to fight for whimsical things, make them happen despite being mocked as childish, weak or not useful enough.

    The Mars in cancer probably relates to my acute asthma and bronchitis- they are types of watery crushing in the chest. It comes unexpectedly and hard. I try to hide it and “soldier on” which makes me weaker or only able to do things in short bursts. Then I need a lot of sleep that I don’t want.

    I accidentally break things and walk into furniture at home. I have a scar in my hairline from splitting my forehead open on a gate when I was small. I get ideas and want to do them now, loudly. I love swearing, knives and wearing military inspired clothing. I love sewing- especially the cutting and needles. I recently sewed two dresses with knife pockets. I love the idea of a tattoo episode.

  • BTW Mars Asc: One of my favourite songs is the Pixies “Debaser”.

    We sing: “… I wanna grow up to be, be a Debaser!”
    To debase is to reduce in value, debauch, dilute, spoil or to be obscene. I feel debasement works against fascist ideals of purity. Some things are corrupt and out dated and deserve to be sliced up or smashed apart. With discretion obviously (sun in Pisces)

  • I have Mars (1st House) loosely conjunct the ascendant (Gemini) in a day chart. Unfortunately, it is retrograde, opposing my Sun and Mercury in Sagittarius in the 7th. For the longest time I found it extremely difficult to speak with people–especially small talk. I was very shy and people would think I was snubbing them. Some were verbally abusive and others threatened me physically. However, with Mars in the first, I was used to it. So when they did so, I told them that I couldn’t control how they felt about me and would let them beat me up as I was a pacifist. That always diffused the situation.
    A few days before my Mars turned direct by progression, my father died. He was often Mars for me until that time and being true to its retrograde, he had been completely absent from my life for 20+ years. Now I have no trouble speaking and am dealing with the issues and blessings of a prominent Mars that touches so many aspects of my life.