The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 318, titled:
With Chris Brennan and guest Sylvi Osland
Episode originally released on September 8, 2021
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Transcribed by Andrea Johnson
Transcription released November 3, 2021
Copyright © 2021 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan, and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. In this episode, I’m going to be talking with astrologer Sylvi Osland about the planet Mars and what it means in astrology. Hey, Sylvi. Welcome.
SYLVI OSLAND: Hi. Really happy to be here.
CB: Yeah, we’ve been planning this episode for a little while. This is the fourth or fifth installment in my series on the planets where we do a deep dive into the meaning and the significations of each of the planets. We’re going to read through some passages from different ancient and modern astrological authors today in order to sort of guide the discussion and see how the tradition has treated the planet Mars and how it’s changed and some of the ways that it stayed the same. I think you’ve watched some of the last episodes I did in this series, right?
SO: Yeah, they’ve been great. Super interesting content.
CB: Okay, cool. So that’s kind of the program today. And you are well-known through your social media presence through the Astrology4Bros branding, some of your memes and things, and that’s how I originally came across you on Twitter. Is that still part of your thing? Tell us a little bit about you as an astrologer.
SO: Yeah, the Astrology4Bros brand is still alive. That was something that I started as a joke initially that I never expected to continue, but it’s weirdly fitting for a Mars episode. But then I’m also practicing and taking clients and working on things outside of the kind of jokey meme world.
CB: Yes. And in terms of Mars, I’m breaking the mold a little bit where in this series, for the most part, I’ve focused on people that have the planet under discussion as the ruler of the Ascendant. I think there was one where I didn’t do that. I think Jo Gleason–it was just she had a very prominent Mercury exalted in the sign of Virgo. So with you, we’re continuing that trend where Mars is not the ruler of your Ascendant. However, you do have an exalted and very angular Mars, right?
SO: Yeah, definitely.
CB: All right, cool. Well, we’ll talk about that, maybe glance at your chart a little bit later on. I wanted to show the diagram that I usually show at the beginning of the show–which was made by our graphic designer Paula Bellomini–which shows the symbol or the glyph for Mars, as well as the different major dignities and so-called debilities of Mars in the zodiacal signs; where Mars is said to rule or have its ‘domicile’ or its home sign in the signs of ‘Aries and Scorpio’ traditionally. And then the two signs opposite to that are said to be Mars’ ‘antithesis’ or ‘detriment’, which are the signs of ‘Libra and Taurus’. Funny–Mars is ‘exalted in Capricorn’ and has its ‘fall’ or ‘depression’ in the ‘sign of Cancer’. So that’s pretty straightforward, right?
CB: Okay. And in terms of the glyph for Mars–we talked about this a little bit in the last episode–for whatever reason in the past century, those have also become the symbols used, gendered symbols, for men and women on bathroom signs or other things like that, I believe as well.
SO: Yeah, they have been. I heard you talk about that some in the Venus episode as well.
CB: Right. Yeah, and we’ll get into a little bit more of that in terms of some of the gender issues with Mars. So I think we did want to mention early on that because this is the first planet in the planetary series that is one of the traditional ‘malefic’ planets–that has a good deal of significations that are more challenging or difficult or negative, in addition to the positive or constructive ones–that we wanted to give a little bit of a content warning that there will be some serious topics in this episode just because there are some pretty harsh topics that are under the domain of Mars, right?
SO: Yeah. I mean, it can be tricky to deal with because it’s weird to call a planet ‘bad’ or ‘evil’ or something like that. But I like to think about it as if astrology does reflect life–and there are parts of life that are just unexplainably difficult in some way–there has to be some planet that talks about that to some extent. But that’s also not to say that Mars is completely those things or always indicates that, or that the planet itself is evil or horrible or something like that.
CB: Yeah. I mean, it’s just a really important distinction as a baseline that in order for there to be good things, at some point in the world there also has to be the opposite and things that are subjectively difficult, or things that we would not prefer or even terrible things. And if astrology is something that’s supposed to describe the world and describe our experiences of life, then it has to be able to touch on some of the more difficult topics in addition to the positive ones.
SO: Yeah. And I think there can be some confusion around Mars in particular. One of the most common questions I get asked is, “Well, is Mars ‘good’?” or “If it’s in an exalted position, does that mean it’s a positive thing in my chart, or does that mean it’s a difficult thing?” And it can represent both of those things; it more represents extremes, which some of the translations can articulate a little bit better. But it can both represent really, really good things and difficult things.
CB: And we’ll see some of that in the passages that we’re going to read through. We had kind of a debate about whether to start from the newer passages that sometimes do a better job of putting a more well-rounded spin on Mars versus some of the ancient passages that sometimes tend to lean a little bit more heavily into some of the more negative significations of Mars. I think we’re going to start with the old passages in order to keep it consistent with most of the series, but we’ll sort of move into it a little bit more gently this time with a passage from a 3rd century astrologer named Porphyry that gives kind of a general take of some of the positive and negative significations.
SO: Yeah. And I also would like to add with the extremes of Mars and as we’re kind of reading through some of these texts, some of the things that it signifies that can seem really difficult it also represents the capacity to prevent those things or to defend against them. So it’s not always necessarily indicating that it’s going to be something really awful or difficult. It can also show people who are interested in the exact opposite of those matters.
CB: Yeah, let’s just give an example. So for example, Mars is sometimes associated with ‘fire’, and a ‘negative signification’ could be like ‘arsonists’ or ‘people that set things on fire randomly’; but on the flip side of the coin, it could also signify ‘firefighters’ and ‘people that put out fires’.
SO: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great example.
CB: Yeah, so it has that ‘either side of the coin’ possibility at all times, which is one of the reasons why we have to be able to explore the negative significations, but also realize that there can be a sort of constructive inversion of that which sometimes occurs in astrology where there’s people that work with difficult things or in difficult environments, but they do so by helping out people that are in those difficult situations.
SO: Yeah, exactly.
CB: Okay, cool. All right, well, I want to share an illustration from our zodiac calendar which just shows Mars and its domicile in Aries versus Mars and its traditional domicile in the sign of Scorpio. But why don’t we actually jump into our first passage? That way, we can start talking right away about the significations in an ancient astrological context.
CB: So this first passage comes from the 3rd century astrologer Porphyry of Tyre who was actually drawing on a much earlier text, probably from the 1st century CE, by an astrologer named Antiochus. So Porphyry says: “The star of Arēs [which Mars is the Greek word for Mars] is fiery and blood-red, and being much like a branding iron, it has command of the hottest blood in us and the procreative impulse and the conceptions of women, of actions and dangers and spiritedness and anger and audacity and violence and reckless affairs and acute suffering, military expeditions and war and the use of iron and blows, and everything that occurs with swiftness and panic; it is called the ‘Fiery One’.”
So that is our first passage and our first author, really ancient, going back 2,000 years to what some of the earliest astrologers were saying. That’s kind of like a summary of how they viewed Mars and its astrological significations.
SO: Yeah, and you can see right off the bat Mars is dramatic.
CB: Yeah. It has a flare for the dramatic and for extremes.
SO: Yeah, “being much like a branding iron.” I like that because of a metaphor that I use a lot for Mars. It has all of these connotations of ‘anger’ and ‘impulsiveness’; here it says ‘acting with recklessness’. But I think about Mars a lot as the reaction that you would have if you put your hand on a hot stove.
SO: It’s like Mars is ‘heat’ and it’s kind of that innate response to things. So you don’t sit there when your hand is on the stove and think about the philosophical implications; you’re not really using that part of your brain. You’re just kind of like, “Oh, my God, this thing is happening!” and you just react without thought or quickly and usually with swearing.
CB: Right. Which is another good signification of Mars that we’ll come to later, ‘swearing’. But yeah, so it’s ‘concentrated or extreme heat’. So it’s not like the lovely afternoon walk in the park and feeling the Sun on your face sort of heat; it is the putting your hand on a stove or being branded by a hot poker type of heat that’s extreme and concentrated and can sometimes be painful.
SO: Yeah. But then on the other side, it can also be, metaphorically, the sort of ‘passion’ that forces you into action, or the sort of thing that gets you out of bed in the morning; a sort of thing that’s like, “Oh, I absolutely have to follow whatever this is.” It’s ‘motivating’ in that way.
CB: Right. The sort of extreme spirit of maybe not inspiration, but of ‘energy’ and ‘vigor’ and a sort of ‘directedness’ that is experienced as ‘being provoked to action’.
SO: Yeah, exactly.
CB: Okay. And some of the significations come from even just looking up in the night sky. So here’s an illustration of Mars that I got from a graphic site, from Adobe, that says it’s partially illustrated or based on some illustration from NASA. So when you look up in the night sky, each of the planets just–with the naked eye, without a telescope or anything–looks like little stars if they’re visible during that part of the year. And Venus and Jupiter are these two, white twinkling stars, but Saturn is this somewhat dim, sort of brownish star, and Mars is this reddish star.
It actually appears red to the naked eye and that’s partially because it’s covered in red sand on the entire planet. So it has this rust or red-looking appearance, and so red becomes a dominant theme with Mars and is part of the reason why it gets connected to other things that are red, like blood, for example.
SO: Yeah, it’s very imposing. It was really cool last summer to have it be so close to the Earth and really get a sense of why people would come up with those significations just from watching it; it’s very imposing.
CB: Yeah, when it was retrograde in Aries in 2020.
CB: Yeah, and it’s interesting how you can take some of those things–like blood of course is an association, some things are connected with that. But even in modern times, we have phrases like when ‘a person is seeing red’, they’re said to be ‘super angry’ or they’re just ‘enraged’ in anger. And so, culturally, we still have some of these connotations of ‘red’ sometimes being associated with that archetype of ‘anger’ or ‘brashness’ or other martian-type themes.
SO: Yeah, totally. And then there’s even like the ‘Mars Redhead’ study that Judith Hill did. It was looking at the prevalence of red hair in people who had the genetic possibility for red hair and the placement of Mars in charts. And it was a peer-reviewed study through a university that showed an actual correlation.
CB: Did it? Actually I thought the thing with that was that it didn’t end up showing a correlation.
SO: I think that was for the one with Mars and athletes; but for her study, it did show a conclusive correlation.
CB: Okay. Yeah, I was just re-looking at the episode I did on the Gauquelin research on the ‘Mars effect’ in astrology–which was Episode 173 of The Astrology Podcast–and that was the first statistical study that seemed to show some correlation between the planets and life on Earth. And that study went back and forth with the scientific community about being validated or not validated several times, but its association was that Mars tended to be either rising or culminating more in the birth charts of eminent sports athletes compared to normal people. So it was basically positing a connection between athletes and Mars.
SO: Yeah, I know she talks about that some in her study. She has a mini–either lecture set or a book you can get on it, but I know that she’s talked about that in lectures and in some of the classes that I’ve taken from her.
CB: Okay, cool. All right, so going back to this–there’s actually a couple other passages that I wanted to show of some early authors before we move on, but these others might help us to contextualize a little bit of Mars and its ancient meanings. So one of them that I wanted to show is Iamblichus–who was a philosopher from the 3rd or 4th century–and his famous text, On The Mysteries.
And at one point, he has this digression where he’s actually arguing with Porphyry, who was the guy in the last passage, and they’re having an argument about the planets and how they can be relevant to individuals and distinctions like benefic and malefic. And Iamblichus says: “…the emanation deriving from Saturn tends to pull things together, while the emanation deriving from Mars tends to provoke motion in them; however, at the level of material things, the passive generative receptacle receives the one as rigidity and coldness, and the other as a degree of inflammation exceeding moderation.”
So this is kind of an interesting discussion. It was part of the ancient discussion back and forth about the benefic and malefic planets, or that so-called that distinction between benefics and malefics and how and why people could experience some planets as being more constructive and other planets as being more destructive in different ways; and part of the justification actually goes back to Ptolemy.
And you’ll see Ptolemy in the 2nd century making a similar distinction where he says, that as part of his basic definition of benefics and malefics, that the ‘benefics’ tend to be more ‘moderate’ in what they signify and the types of actions that they provoke in people and things, whereas the ‘malefics’ were seen as indicating ‘extremes’ of things, like ‘hot’ or ‘cold’. And so, Mars, often, some of its more challenging significations derive from these notions of ‘extreme heating’ or ‘inflammation’ and other things like that.
SO: Yeah. And I think that’s where a lot of Mars things can be difficult because since it represents more extreme situations in life, there’s not as many instances for Mars to have appropriate outlets. I kind of think about the significations of the planets and what sounds more useful: like ‘Venus is flowers’ and ‘Jupiter is abundant food’ and ‘Mars is weapons and fire’. Most of the time, what would you rather have? Well, flowers and food usually are nicer. But if you’re lost in the wilderness, or somebody’s attacking you or something like that, then it would kind of suck to have flowers and food instead of weapons and fire.
CB: Yeah. And one of the ways I think about that and the way that it often comes up is in Mars and Venus having this contrast, especially with each of them having signs of the zodiac that are opposite to each other, where Ares is opposite to Libra and Scorpio is opposite to Taurus. So Venus and Mars significations are often opposite to each other, but sort of the flip side of the same coin in some sense.
But I was thinking about that recently, about how we focused a lot in the Venus episode about Venus indicating ‘beauty’. While it does indicate that, part of the underlying thing that’s like an overarching signification is just ‘harmony’ and Venus representing things which are ‘harmonious’ or whatever the broader archetype of harmony is. And what’s interesting with Mars is that it kind of signifies the opposite, which are things that are ‘not harmonious’ necessarily.
And that’s part of the contrast between Venus and Mars–things that are harmonious versus things that are not necessarily harmonious, or things that do not necessarily get along well with others, which goes back to this difference where Venus’ significations tend to ‘unify’ and ‘bring things together’ and Mars’ significations tend to ‘divide’ or ‘sever’ or ‘separate’ things into separate parts.
SO: Yeah, totally. But then it gets into the whole ‘peace and war’ significations where actually it requires a lot of energy to maintain peace and kind of vice versa. And so, they can play into each other that way and it shows their opposite rulership really well through those, I think.
But then there’s also Mars in its ‘detriment’: so the signs of Venus, ‘Taurus and Libra’. It’s kind of like if you have all of this energy, and you’re hanging out in a place that is just like a nice party where everyone’s trying to relax, but you’re having a panic attack, or you, for whatever reason, just feel like you really need to get up and run. It’s a lot harder to find a place or an outlet to make that happen within those signs, so it can be really uncomfortable to find that. And then, simultaneously, it’s bad to be out at war with a ‘free hug’ sign or something for Venus in Mars-ruled signs.
CB: Yeah. And that’s the funny interchange and gets us probably more than any other signs of the zodiac into understanding what it’s like for a planet to be in its domicile and have access to its own resources versus being in a sign opposite to the one that it rules and having to take on the resources of another planet in order to do its job, and the sort of awkwardness that can sometimes result in that, even though, eventually, once it gets the hang of it, it can still excel at doing that just as well as any other planet.
SO: Yeah, it doesn’t necessarily make it worse; it just takes a lot more work to figure out how to use that. But I really like that article that Alice Sparkly Kat wrote about planets showing creativity in detriment.
CB: Yeah, because they have some challenge and something that they have to overcome, and sometimes that can be much more constructive in some ways.
SO: Yeah. One of the things that’s been interesting for me in speaking of trying to find outlets for Mars when you have a really strong one in your chart and not necessarily anywhere to spend it, I got really into looking at the charts of UFC fighters. And I am absolutely not a martial artist–I can’t fight at all–but it kind of gives me a little bit of a place for that placement to watch those.
And one of the things that has been interesting about it is watching fighters who have Mars in detriment. They’re not the worst fighters–they’re some of the best fighters–but the way that they respond to conflict seems to be notably different. Like Rose Namajunas is one person who has Mars in Taurus, and her first title shot was this huge upset.
She was massively considered the underdog, and she won, and everybody was freaking out. And they interviewed her, and she said something to the effect of, “Fighting’s not what really matters. I just want everyone to be nice to each other,” or something like that. Like every time they try to interview her, she’ll be a little bit confident, here and there, but she’s basically just trying to make everybody get along; and you’ll see that in some other fighters too.
CB: That’s kind of funny. It reminds me of another famous athlete who had Mars in Taurus prominently in the 10th, Muhammad Ali. And he was famously against the Vietnam War and protested that, but otherwise was very Martian in being one of the leading boxers in the world at the time.
SO: Yeah, totally. He’s a great example of that.
CB: Yeah. All right, so one thing I meant to mention early on was of course the distinction in ancient astrology where they associated and named the planets after certain gods in the Greek and Roman pantheons. And Venus of course was associated with Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty, and Mars, the planet, became associated with Ares, which was the god of war. So that becomes part of the other basic contrast that we see mentioned in just about all authors of associating Mars with ‘war’ and with ‘fighting’ in general.
SO: Yeah. And the opposite of Mars and Venus becomes so interesting here too, because for most of the oppositions, the planets don’t get along in some way. Like Saturn and the Sun–they just disagree and kind of make each other miserable, which you can kind of see illustrated in the stories of the gods.
For these two, it’s more of an ‘opposites attract’ situation, even though they are really contradictory in a lot of ways. Yeah, people who have both of those planets in conjunction will tend to have some sort of magnetism to them. There can be some canceling out of qualities, but yeah, I think the mythology illustrates some of their relationship to each other pretty well.
CB: Yeah, that’s a really good point. All right, so going back, is there anything else that’s worth mentioning before we move on to Valens, just from this passage from Porphyry? So it’s “fiery;” it’s “blood-red.” It’s associated with “iron” and people that work with iron, which we’ll come back to later. It’s associated with “the procreative impulse,” which is again something we’ll probably come back to; “of actions and dangers.” So right away it’s mentioning “action,” “danger,” “spiritedness,” “anger,” and “audacity.” So it’s giving us very striking words right away in terms of the things that it’s associating with Mars.
SO: Yeah, I like “audacity.” I mean, it kind of goes back to the whole ‘impulsiveness’ or just acting on instinct. For a lot of martial people or martial actions, you’ll ask people in hindsight like, “Oh, why did you get into that argument?” or “Oh, my God, I can’t believe you just did that thing,” like the audacity. And a lot of times people will be like, “I don’t know. In the moment, I just had to do this thing.” They’ll have no logical reason behind it.
CB: Right. So there’s an impulsiveness or just the will to act and to take action, and sometimes the action itself precedes thought in some sense. It’s not necessarily a calculated thing where you’re sitting down and planning things out for like a year before doing it. You just have an impulse, and you do or you act.
SO: Yeah. And I think some people on Twitter mentioned this, and I think it might be in some of the modern passages we’re going to read from too, but that’s where later you see Mars start to be associated with the ‘fight-or-flight response’. I think that really illustrates why Mars has a lot of the significations that it does.
CB: Right. Because it represents that impulse to either fight or to run, to flee.
SO: Yeah. And also, a lot of the emotions associated with Mars–like anger in particular is really a secondary emotion; it’s coming from something else. The body is setting off some sort of alarm. So thinking about it, Mars is not necessarily anger in and of itself, but it’s kind of that ‘protective force in the body’ and also has to do with the ‘adrenaline’ and things like that.
CB: Okay. So sometimes those are things that happen that are reactions to external stimuli that are, again, not logical processes; but instead, they’re just impulses that the body has that are almost more ‘primal’ or more physiological in their origin.
SO: Yeah. I mean, it talks about it here, but Mars and ‘lust’ is another situation where people have a harder time implementing their rational mind.
CB: Right. I think it uses a sort of euphemism, like “the procreative impulse,” but I think that’s what it’s referring to.
CB: Okay, so we’re talking about basic, biological impulses and desires as being a fundamental component of Mars.
SO: Yeah. But also, I mean, it’s not a bad thing either. You need a little bit of drive in life, otherwise, you kind of just get a lot of laziness or sitting around, or things just don’t have the same level of excitement to them necessarily. I kind of think about it like a Bunsen burner underneath whatever it represents to kind of get stuff going, in the same way that the benefics can’t always do.
And we talked about this a little bit before the recording, but as negative as Mars can sound sometimes talking about anger and all those sort of things, I also like to think about it in comparison to the benefics as representing people who have the capacity to show up to extreme situations; whereas even though the benefics have all of these really nice significations, they can kind of be more like ‘fair weather’ friends. They’re people who kind of want things to be nice and level, and Mars is the friend that you can call when you’re in jail at 3:00 AM.
Mars is the person who’s going to work through a relationship even when it gets kind of rough or there’s hard times, whereas the benefics are going to tend to be more like, “Oh, I don’t know. The vibes are kind of off. I’ve got to get out of here. This isn’t really what I thought it would be.
CB: Yeah, definitely. The malefic ones are your like ‘ride-or-die’ friends who are there to help you out, or will throw-down in a fight for you, if that’s what it comes to in that moment to defend. ‘Defend’–that’s another good Mars-type thing. Also, a sort of ‘courageousness’ of leaping headlong into the fray instead of hanging back or something like that.
SO: Yeah, totally.
CB: All right, are we ready to move on to Valens? He just gives a list of really serious significations. So have we prefaced this enough? Are we emotionally and spiritually prepared to read Valens’ passage at this point, or should we preface this with anything else?
SO: I mean, I would just also like to say, again, even though I’ve said it quite a few times, all of the things that it represents, it also represents the capacity to prevent these things. And I think that’s kind of implied from the way that ancient astrologers wrote but might not be as obvious here. So when it says it represents these things, it also represents people who would be vehemently against them.
CB: Yeah. And one literary technique in ancient astrology that’s important to be aware of is that ancient authors–not just in the Greek or the Western tradition, but also in the Indian tradition as well–have a tendency to put statements and delineations in terms of extremes.
And so, they’ll give you the most extreme manifestation of something, and you’re supposed to understand that as a literary technique to help you understand sometimes the worst-case scenario or the best-case scenario. And once you’ve established the extremes, then you can figure out what the different gradations or the different shades of gray are in between, but the text itself initially will put things in what seem at first, very stark terms.
SO: Yeah, much less access to writing materials at the time. I can imagine the ancient writers being like, “Oh, I really don’t want anyone to misunderstand what this is. I really don’t want anyone to miss this point I’m trying to get across.”
CB: Yeah, exactly.
SO: And then they write what we’ll read coming up.
CB: All right, well, let’s jump into it. So this first passage is from Vettius Valens who lived in the 2nd century. This translation comes from my book, Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune, which is available in fine bookstores everywhere. Let’s go ahead and read it.
So Valens says: “The star of Mars signifies violence, wars, robbery, screams, insolence, adultery, taking away of one’s possessions, banishment, exile, estrangement from one’s parents, captivity, the rape of women, abortions, sexual intercourse, marriages, loss of good things, lies, hopeless situations, violent thefts, robbery, plundering, separations of friends, anger, fighting, verbal abuse, hatred, lawsuits.”
“He also brings about violent murders, wounds, and bloodshed; attacks of fevers, ulcers, skin eruptions, inflammations; imprisonment, torture; masculinity, perjury, deception, those who have much experience in wrongdoing; and those who work with fire or iron, those who work with their hands, and masons. He brings about leaders and military service and high-ranking officers, soldiers, sovereignty; hunting, chasing, falling from heights or from four-footed animals, poor vision, apoplexy.”
“Of parts of the body, he rules over the head, the buttocks, and the genitals. Internally, he rules over the blood, the seminal passages, bile, the excretion of feces, the back portions of the individual, walking backwards, and falling on one’s back. He also rules that which is hard and abrupt. Of substances, he rules iron, and the regalia of clothing as a result of the Ram, and wine and legumes. It is of the nocturnal sect, the color red, and pungent in taste.” Yeah, so that is Valens’ long significations of Mars from the 2nd century.
CB: So what do you think?
SO: Sounds awesome. Being facetious.
CB: Yeah, it’s a lot. So going back to the original point we made that if some of these things happen in life or a part of different people’s experiences of life, and if astrology is supposed to be a study which encompasses all of human experience in some way, then you have to figure out in that system where some of these experiences are going to live and what planets, or what alignments, or what combinations are going to indicate them. And so, that’s part of the necessary role then here of Mars and sometimes more broadly speaking the malefic planets, let’s say.
SO: Yeah, exactly. And I also think sometimes knowing these significations can also help prepare people to prevent these things from coming about, and can kind of help you look at a period coming up and be more prepared to dodge some of these things, or be a little more on guard.
CB: Yeah. Because sometimes you can have a Mars transit come up and a person can be more prone to, let’s just say, anger on that day, and therefore more irritable or prone towards getting into fights. And if you’re not aware that you’re having that transit, you might be more apt to say something off the top of your head impulsively, or get in that argument, or get in that fight that you might not otherwise if you were being a little bit more careful.
SO: Yeah. And if you know that Mars represents ‘accidents’, and you have a Mars transit coming up, a lot of people will see that and get really freaked out and be like, “Oh, my God! This terrible thing is going to happen.” But a lot of times what that means is more like, okay, you see Mars transiting your Ascendant or something like that on a certain day, maybe that’s not the best day to learn how to ride a motorcycle if you’ve never done that before. It doesn’t necessarily mean this thing is absolutely going to happen, but it can show more of a tendency towards these things. And so, sometimes it can be productive to be a little more on the defense than you would be otherwise, but you don’t have to always go all into full-on paranoia.
CB: Yeah. When we did the thread saying that we were going to do this episode, people were putting forth significations of Mars, which I might show later in the episode because some of them were really good and were not ones in our lists from excerpts. But one of the ones that somebody mentioned was ‘speeding’, like when you’re driving. So if you’re having a bad Mars transit, even if you have an impulse to speed or go over the speed limit, that might not be a good thing to do because you could be more prone to getting in a car accident or something on that day.
SO: Yeah, totally. Yeah, on that note, somebody added ‘road rage’ too, which I really appreciated. In a Mars year, when Mars was going through my 1st house earlier this summer–I’m not normally a person with road rage at all, and I was just getting absurd road rage.
CB: Yeah, I had an analogy when we were talking about Mars-Saturn, especially during the retrograde last year, Mars-Saturn aspects. When you’re driving on a highway, Mars is like the person that is speeding and comes up behind you in your car and tries to push you forward and make you go faster than you want to go by tailgating you, basically; whereas Saturn is like that person that’s driving way under the speed limit that you’re stuck behind, and it’s forcing you to go slower than you would otherwise because you’re just stuck behind this really slow-moving car and you can’t really do anything about it.
SO: Yeah, I remember years ago–I don’t remember which sign it was in, but I know Saturn and Mars were conjoining, and you were using that metaphor a lot on the podcast. And then I actually ended up getting into–not a bad one–but just a little bit of a fender-bender where I tapped the car in front of me. I’m otherwise a very safe driver but things happen, and I just remember that going on and just getting out of the car and being like, “Don’t mention astrology. Don’t mention astrology.”
SO: But this is the exact thing–the exact metaphor that you’ve been using.
CB: Okay. Yeah, you can justify that to the other person and just let them know it’s okay because you heard this as a brilliant metaphor on a podcast recently.
SO: Yeah, people love that.
CB: Right, when you get in a crash. Okay, so this is good. This is bringing up some good analogies. Let’s go back to the passage and see if there’s anything else that we are missing that we should be talking about at this point when it comes to Mars. So yeah, ‘violence’ obviously is a really major recurring thing that keeps coming up with Mars, both in the negative sense of acts of violence that people sometimes receive or are inflicted on people, as well as people that use violence or do acts of violence themselves.
But then of course, in a more constructive or positive sense, Valens starts talking at one point about people that are in professions where violence is used almost as a tool. For example, he mentions “soldiers” and “military service.” So if the military or soldier’s primary vocation is war and the art of war, then Mars being prominent can be those who use those things for better or worse.
SO: Yeah. And then I also think about activists being under the rulership of Mars or being, as some of the older texts would say, ‘the children of the planet’. Those are also people who are engaged in some sort of fight.
CB: Okay, that’s a good point. So more metaphorical, ‘fighting for a cause’ or something, but those who have to sometimes break the silence or those that have to do something. Let’s say the person on the receiving end is a politician or something–who’s standing there getting heckled by an activist or something–does not receive it as a positive thing; they’re receiving it as a disharmonious thing. But it’s sometimes having to use strong words or take actions in order to achieve a specific result.
SO: Yeah. And that goes back to the Mars-Venus dichotomy of a certain amount of what would be war in order to re-establish harmony, or peace, or justice, or those kinds of things. And yeah, having a certain amount of Mars is required to have that ‘impetus to to speak up’, whereas more of a Venusian expression–this is not to say Venus is like this all the time or something–would be more like, “Oh, it’s more important that everybody just get along. I don’t want to bother anyone.” Mars is the one that’s like, “Oh, no, actually this is not okay. And I don’t care what anybody thinks about me. I’m going to do something that’s based off of this internal impulse that I know is right.”
CB: Yeah, that’s a really important thing because the way that manifests can manifest in a wide range of different ways. But the Mars archetype when it’s manifesting in that way is the person that doesn’t care if what they’re doing is breaking the serenity of the silence or something like that, or the person that doesn’t mind speaking up or being the first to interject or to speak up if something needs to be said.
And there’s sometimes not great manifestations of that, or ones where it’s like the person that makes a bad joke in order to interrupt the silence or something like that, but then there’s also obviously constructive versions of that in terms of the person that says what needs to be said even if it’s awkward or uncomfortable at the time.
SO: Yeah, which might lead to something like ‘exile’–maybe not in the sense that Valens is using this here. But you’re probably going to get taken out of the room at the very least, in a lot of circumstances, if you speak up in a big sense, like interrupting somebody at a big hearing or something that would be like an activist-type scenario. But then if it’s just a party or whatever, you’re going to feel kind of socially-ostracized. Usually if everybody around you is saying something super offensive, and you’re the one person there and that’s like, “Actually I’m not okay with this,” that kind of has that effect.
CB: Yeah, that’s really funny. Some of the other significations of Mars is ‘brash’. It represents things that are bold and sometimes things that are ‘uncouth’. I can’t think of a better synonym for that. ‘Uncivilized’, ‘uncultured’, ‘unrefined’, ‘unpolished’ are synonyms that Google is giving me that can be appropriate for Mars sometimes.
SO: Yeah. And I like what Austin said on the episode on the signs. He was talking about Aries, which is a Mars-ruled sign, being more about that ‘friction’, and also Mars being about things that kind of ‘go against the grain’ a little bit. And sometimes that lack of harmony can also be something that transfers into friction that lights a match or gets something going in some sense.
CB: Right. Lights the match to the powder keg or something like that…
CB: …which then also would actually be a Mars thing. ‘Explosions’ would probably be traditionally more of a Mars thing.
SO: Yeah, I’d say so.
CB: All right, one of the little things that Valens started touching on when he started talking about physiological things is he mentions “fevers,” “skin eruptions,” and “inflammations,” which are all sort of irritating-type things that can irritate the skin or can make you really hot, like overheating, and other things like that.
SO: Yeah. And that also kind of goes into the ‘offensive versus defensive’ sides of Mars because that’s really the body’s defense system, but sometimes the body’s defense system can go into overdrive.
CB: Yeah, like when you’re getting a fever. That’s actually your body’s defense system going on high alert to fight off invading germs and stuff.
SO: Yeah, but it’s kind of funny too. Like me, as an angular Mars person, I have a hyperreactive inflammatory response, and also my face just turns red all the time; I’m kind of known for it.
CB: Yeah, there was a period several years back when I had a secondary progressed Mars–that I talked about on the podcast–squaring the Sun for like a year or two, and I developed this skin condition where I would get sunburns really easily. So I went through this whole long period of just going outside for like five minutes and instantaneously having a terrible sunburn, and the redness and just irritation on my skin being a really literal manifestation of basically a prolonged Mars transit at that time.
SO: Yeah, that sounds terrible and very literal.
CB: Yeah, that was good times. Though another one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately that’s a good Mars signification is ‘red peppers’. And it’s funny, there’s that YouTube show–I don’t know if you’ve seen it–Hot Ones, where celebrities have to eat a series of progressively hotter hot wings while they’re getting interview questions thrown at them.
And that’s a really good example of Mars as well–just the heat of a pepper, which in a negative sense is supposed to be something that plants develop as a defense mechanism to keep predators from eating it or insects; it can be used as an insecticide. And for most people, at least the experience of eating something that’s too hot is negative, and you’re just like, “This is painful. This is hurting my insides. Like why am I doing this?” But then for some people that develop a taste for that, or have a knack or a tolerance for spicy foods, that spice is something that’s actually taken as enjoyable or pleasurable to some extent.
SO: Yeah. I like spicy food a lot. I’ve also thought about it as being sort of funny that the antidote to spice is milk. And so, the sign of Cancer has a lot to do with ‘milk and dairy products’–and that being the sign of Mars’ fall.
CB: Right. I like that. That’s a good one. Yeah, that’s pretty good. Okay, so ‘spice’, ‘inflammation’, ‘redness’; also, just ‘irritants’ or ‘things which are irritating’ in an acute way. And that’s a thing I think maybe Porphyry and Antiochus mentioned; they said something about ‘acute pains’.
And that’s sometimes a distinction in traditional astrology. Mars tends to indicate more ‘acute’ ailments or indications or pains versus Saturn tends to indicate more ‘long-term’ ailments or injuries or things that take a while to develop and work themselves out; whereas there’s more of an abruptness or an acuteness to Mars.
SO: Yeah. It almost makes Mars a little easier to understand because it’s so apparent and there. Like the heat of the Sun is a little more energizing and warming, whereas the heat of Mars is just like, “All right, there’s definitely a torch on.”
CB: Right. Like lighting a lighter underneath your hand and feeling the immediacy of the response of your body of like ‘ouch-fire-pain, must-remove-hand’ as opposed to Saturn, which would be more of a long-term thing of ‘coldness’ which sets in sort of gently and eventually starts to become uncomfortable and hurt; but by the time you’re feeling real pain or damage from it, it’s almost at a very advanced stage.
SO: Yeah. And that also goes with Saturn tending to represent ‘older people’, whereas Mars, one of its significations or its rulership can be ‘toddlers’. So Mars is apparent a lot sooner.
CB: Yeah, that’s a good point. All right, is there anything else? Or should we move on to Abu Ma’shar who’s going to be another traditional author that’s going to give us some more constructive and some more negative significations?
SO: Yeah, let’s move on.
CB: Okay, so our next one. I don’t think I made a fancy image for this one, but our next set of significations is going to come from the 9th century astrologer Abu Ma’shar and his Great Introduction to the Science of the Judgment of the Stars, which was translated recently last year into English by Ben Dykes. So let’s see–let me pull up that passage from Ben’s translation.
So Abu Ma’shar says: “As for Mars, his nature is heating, drying, fiery, yellow bile, and his taste is bitter. And he indicates youth, strength, mental sharpness, heat, fires, conflagration, every matter occurring suddenly, a king who has power and valor, cavalrymen, chief commanders, soldiers, the companions of the Sultan, oppression, coercion, war, killing, fighting, courage, hardiness, seeking glory, renown, and rank.”
“The instruments of war, those entrusted with mobilizing wars, seeking retaliation, provoking discord, those craving groups and splitting apart, warring with one another, becoming a thief, digging, stealing, highway robbery, haughtiness, risk-taking, anger, regarding forbidden things as permissible, punishment, fetters, beating, imprisonment, restriction, running away, desertion, capture, prisoners.”
“Fear, conflict, injustice, anger, fury, recklessness, harshness, coarseness of heart, foolishness, stubbornness, with scarce examination, haste, quickness in things, daring, bad in expression, ugliness of speech (and its coarseness and harshness), indecency of the tongue, revealing love and affection, glad tidings, extravagance in speech, [using] wiles in answering quickly [but with] repentance in it [afterwards].” I think that means regretting something after speaking ‘off the cuff’.
Then he goes on: “A scarcity of piety and scarcity of fidelity but an abundance of lying, slander, and debauchery; swearing false oaths, deception, cunning, bad works, a scarcity of good, the undermining of suitable things, an abundance of thought in matters, whims, independence of opinion from situation to situation but quickly going back, an insolent look, little shame, an abundance of trouble and exertion, travels, exile, isolation, being a bad neighbor, fornication, ugly sexual intercourse, jokes, liveliness, the movement which happens at the time of a woman giving birth, the labor pains of a pregnant woman, the death of women in pregnancy, the cutting of a child in the womb, and the miscarriage of a fetus.”
“And he indicates middle brothers, the management of riding animals, veterinary science, the protection of sheep, the treatment of wounds, the craft of iron and working with it, the circumcision of boys, the desecration of tombs, and the robbing of the dead.”
So that is the 9th century astrologer Abu Ma’shar writing in Arabic, probably in Baghdad towards the middle of the 9th century; so around let’s say 850 or so.
SO: Yeah, there’s so much there.
CB: Yeah, that was a lot.
SO: Yeah, I like the part about “being a bad neighbor.”
CB: Right, bad neighbors.
SO: Because I think one of the other things that comes up a lot in my chart also illustrates that placements on your chart don’t always necessarily indicate something about you personally, but it can indicate things in the world outside of you. And me, especially having Mars in the 7th house–it can tend to be the other–I tend to have the loudest neighbors. Or when I’m kind of doing things with Mars, or even just talking about Mars sometimes and kind of like invoking it somehow, I swear to God somebody always starts working on a motorcycle, or turns on really abrasive music, or playing Call of Duty, or dogs start barking.
CB: Those are all very good modern Mars significations.
SO: Yeah. In Mars big transits that stuff will just be all over the place.
CB: Right. I like that. So yeah, Mars is your ‘loud’, sometimes ‘obnoxious neighbor’, or can be in the subjectively negative experience of that.
CB: Okay, what else? One of the things I think that’s interesting from a modern perspective, a bunch of the inner planet significations–from back when we only had seven planets–all of the manifestations of life largely had to come through one of those seven planets, or their combinations, or the signs of the zodiac, or what have you, but some things like ‘deception’ and stuff often gets applied to outer planets like Neptune. But in ancient astrology, things like ‘lying’ and ‘slander’ were sometimes actually given to Mars or sometimes to Saturn as the two malefics that were set in opposition to the two benefics, which were supposed to signify ‘truth’ and ‘fidelity’ and things like that.
CB: But maybe even in a modern sense, the idea of ‘slander’–like when you’re being slandered by somebody or somebody’s spreading bad rumors–is a Mars-type thing.
SO: Yeah, it definitely is. And also, the act of doing that is something that’s kind of like the result of irritation or anger, some of the things that we’ve already talked about more.
CB: Right, or like fighting. Because it’s basically like fighting in a sense, or trying to inflict harm but through words, like verbally. Which brings up, there were some major rap albums that were dropped recently by Kanye West and Drake, and they were feuding with each other.
And one of the things that it made me think of is ‘rap battles’ as a Mars-Mercury signification where people are using words in order to literally fight with each other, or put out diss tracks where they’re insulting each other through speech or through music.
SO: Yeah. I know a person who definitely doesn’t do rap battles, but is in a profession that involves speaking on stage; they’re a stand-up comedian, and they have Mars in Gemini. And one time they said something to me, and they’re like, “Do you ever just save up insults as kind of like ammunition?” And I was like, “No, I don’t think that’s a normal thing for people to do,” but that’s very literal for Mars in Gemini, which has a lot to do with speech.
CB: Yeah, I like that, Mars in Gemini. Also, I think of Eminem, for example, who has Mercury in Scorpio and rap battles. But also, I was really into a few years ago–it was first developed in California, but the New York scene really adopted it–comedy battles, basically. What’s the phrase for that? It’s not a ‘rap battle’, but it’s more of like a ‘roast battle’ where they’re roasting each other with jokes that are sort of like insults.
SO: I’m not sure. I know the word too, I just can’t think of it right now. But yeah, Nick Cannon had that show, which is probably a bad example.
CB: Oh, yeah, that’s a good example, Wild ‘N Out. Yeah, they were doing like battles.
SO: Yeah, it’s a literal example. I would notice it a lot back when I used to do more things with comedy; the people who are really good at improvising or talking to people in the crowd would often have Mars-Mercury conjunctions. They could just think of something just right off the top of their head really quickly.
CB: Yeah, because there’s a ‘quick-wittedness’ which is required for that and a ‘sharpness in mental thinking’. And that’s something that Mars helps with is being quick on your feet.
SO: Yeah, definitely.
CB: In addition to Mars being ‘sharp’ or ‘acerbic’ with your speaking and with your tongue sometimes, which in some contexts obviously can get you into trouble and cause problems for you. But it’s funny, in those contexts, people being able to use that to their advantage and find a way to channel something that they’re good at into a constructive manifestation, basically.
SO: Yeah. And I’ve also seen some people with Mars-Mercury combinations end up writing about martial topics. My friend wrote a book called It Ain’t Over Until We’re Smoking Cigars on the Drill Pad, and it’s a set of poems about Standing Rock.
CB: Okay. Nice.
SO: Yeah, it’s a good one that’s an example of some of those things.
CB: Yeah, I’m just doing a search really quickly for some people. Do you know any other good examples of Mars-Mercury combinations?
SO: This one’s not exactly it, but kind of the inverse of Mercury in a Mars-ruled sign is Winona Ryder who had a spree of shoplifting for a while. It’s like ‘hands’ and Mercury kind of representing ‘hands’ and then Mars being that kind of ‘impulsiveness’ in talking about ‘taking things’. And she had this kind of impulsive shoplifting habit that ended up really catching up to her during her Saturn return.
CB: Yeah, I think ‘theft’ is one of the significations that Valens mentioned at one point.
SO: Yeah, I think he mentions ‘robbery’ twice actually.
CB: I did a NORWAC talk a few months ago where I was trying to get into the Antiochus passage when it was talking about Saturn. It talks about negative significations that people experience, or if the planet’s well-placed, then the native will benefit as a result of the loss of others, or the native will benefit at the loss of other people.
And I thought that was a really interesting insight into how some of the ancient astrologers conceptualized the malefics when they’re dignified–that sometimes it can be the native not necessarily themselves getting hurt, but instead doing something where they’re benefiting within the context of some sort of loss to somebody else, which obviously has its positive manifestations.
We talked about firefighters or something like that, or even in an MMA context or a boxing context. A fighter, in order to be victorious in a fight–in a boxing match or a martial arts match–you have to defeat your opponent; and so naturally you’re winning as a result of somebody else’s loss.
And that’s a really interesting dynamic when it comes to the malefics and a way to think about it sometimes in terms of just broader notions. There’s something underlying that that has to do with some broader notions going back to Aristotle–notions of ‘generation and corruption’, or things that are building up and coming into being versus things that are on their way out, that are decaying and passing away. And the malefics tend to have their domain for the most part in that second part, in the passing away or in the corruption realm.
SO: Yeah. I think it also goes into just the mode of operation of the malefics tends to lean more towards things that come about through abrasive means. And they might bring about something really positive, but they’re just naturally going to be more crude. Imagine Venus is like doing something with a paintbrush. Mars is like trying to do the same thing with a blow torch; you’re not going to be able to be as delicate with it.
And in the same way, I think when Mars tries to bring about things in your life, it might take like a faster, less harmonious route to it, which often looks maybe somebody else on the other side isn’t benefiting, or maybe you’re not considering the impacts that it’s going to have on everything else around you or other people. It might be no fault of the native themselves, but just the circumstances themselves kind of have this abrasive nature to them.
CB: Yeah, for sure. That’s a good term though, that’s a good higher-level archetype of Mars, just ‘abrasiveness’, basically.
SO: Yeah. And it ends up being like this in my life a lot actually because it’s the ruler of both my Lot of Fortune and Lot of Spirit, which has a lot to do with what sort of opportunities come into your life. And6 Mars tends to indicate situations where it’s kind of like one bridge will burn down in some area, and then all of a sudden I’ll have way more time to study a topic that I’m really interested in that ends up being really good for my career, but it’s because of some sort of situation that is sort of horrible in some way.
CB: Can I show your chart?
CB: Okay, here we go. There’s the chart. So for those just listening to the audio version, you have 26 Cancer rising, and your Sun is in Pisces in the 9th whole sign house, but conjunct the degree of the Midheaven. And your Moon is at 13 Sag in the 6th whole sign house, and Mars is over in the 7th whole sign house at 11 degrees of Capricorn conjunct Neptune at 9 Capricorn and Saturn at 1, and Uranus at 0 Capricorn.
CB: Yep, good times. So you’re part of the lovely Capricorn pileup that happened in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Capricorn stellium, which consequently was the stellium that the Soviet Union sort of started dissolving under.
SO: Yeah. What’s been pretty fun too is, just coincidentally, a lot of my friends are born right around the same time. So I get to compare a lot of different conditions of day and night charts and that same Capricorn stellium and how that ends up playing out.
CB: Yeah. That brings up sect, which is actually something I’ve been doing a really poor job of mentioning in this series up to this point, and that I didn’t mention hardly at all in the Venus episode; but it becomes more relevant when you start talking about the benefics and the malefics. So I did a whole episode on sect previously; so people can go back and search for that.
But to make a long story short, part of the way that that works is that you have a day chart because your Sun is in the top-half of the chart. So Mars then would be a little bit more challenging theoretically, whereas Saturn would be a little bit more constructive. Some of your friends that have night charts, Mars should theoretically be a bit more constructive and Saturn should be a little bit more challenging. Is that what you’re referring to in terms of that difference?
SO: Yeah, that’s exactly it.
SO: And it’s a little bit of a confusing example I think because it goes into the exaltation and fall of planets. By nature, if a planet is in its sign of exaltation, because of the conditions of that sign, it’ll tend to prevent it from going into excess a little more than it might otherwise.
SO: Yeah, like my best friend was born in the same hospital as me–a day apart, but a night birth–and I would definitely say that she is a lot better at not getting into pointless arguments compared to me. And I also think of sect a lot, particularly, in terms of day versus night charts as kind of speaking to the level of–well, Austin, in his classes always talks about it as ‘the level of appropriateness’ for a planet.
So if you have this really strong Mars, finding places that are appropriate to kind of spend that energy somehow. I would say it’s been harder for me to find a place for that in my life, whereas my friend is an occupational therapist who works on helping people recover from serious injuries and people who have been in really difficult accidents. And so, she deals with a lot of those Mars significations of all these horrible things, but gets to spend all day helping people get back to their normal lives.
And she also has another interesting indication too where she’s a Libra rising. So her Capricorn Mars is in the 4th house, which means it would also rule her 7th house. And her husband was a D1 athlete and is really interested in sports and like a very active person, so it kind of has that other expression there.
CB: Nice. I like that. An athlete with Mars ruling the 7th house.
CB: That’s pretty good. That brings up what you were just talking about with your friend, the idea of remediation, which is much more prominent in older astrological texts, especially in the Medieval Western astrological tradition, but is much more alive in Indian astrology still today. Sometimes if you have Mars in a prominent place, they’ll say do this remediation in order to counteract the energy in some sense.
One of the other strains in the astrological tradition is the idea of the energy needing to manifest somehow, but if you take it into your own hands and do it yourself somehow you can almost control or channel the manifestation in some way at the highest ideal I guess is the idea.
SO: Yeah, and it’s a complicated art. We’re actually going over that now in Freedom Cole’s class. I’m taking his year one right now, and we’re in the remedies chapter; it’s really interesting. But yeah, it’s complex because there’s so many different ways to approach planets.
And sometimes people think of remediation in ways where they’re wanting to give the planet almost the equivalent of a Chewy bar to kind of give it some other place to go work on. And what they don’t realize they’re doing is they’re actually giving it energy drinks and feeding it and kind of encouraging it to do more of that.
SO: Yeah, it’s a fine art.
CB: The question of if you have a malefic in your chart you’re trying to remediate, do you do something that strengthens it or do you do something that counteracts it in some way.
SO: Yeah, that could be a whole conversation on its own. I mean, like in my life, I really like the Mars in my chart, even though it gives a mix of significations–some which are not always great–but I like a lot of martial things. Some of my favorite jobs have to do with physical labor in professions that are typically thought of as work that only men would do. And so, it’s a lot harder for me to get access to some of the things that would feel like healthy outlets for me.
Like some of the happiest times I’ve had were when I was doing this one job where I was just doing 12 hours of really intense physical labor every single day helping out with a wine harvest. And that was really fun, but not that sustainable and something that’s difficult for me to find a replacement for.
CB: Yeah. I think before we recorded this this weekend, weren’t you doing something involving a chainsaw for work in two past few days?
SO: Maybe. Yeah, I’m training on that. We’re not clear if I’m going to actually do the chainsaw work because that might actually be too martial turns out.
SO: But yeah, I do a lot of stuff with climbing trees–like old growth, really big trees. And when I say that usually people think of the kind of whimsical, just free-climbing that you might do as a kid, but it’s a lot more analogous to arborist work or even rock climbing, but kind of going with the martial thing. It’s hard for me to do just exclusively sedentary work, so I do more physical jobs like that where you’re climbing up really high and doing work up there. Maybe in the future chainsawing off the whole top of the tree while you’re still in it to create canopy variation in mono crop areas.
CB: Yeah. Well, that’s really good, just the notions of ‘movement’ and of ‘the body’ as being core Mars meanings. I think that helps us get to the core a lot better.
SO: Yeah. And a lot of times when I’m trying to explain Mars, I even like to take it into more of a somatic place with things because it’s not necessarily a logic-driven planet, but physical manifestation is so easy to imagine. Like you can just go through the general body regions that the signs represent, and then just imagine heat in those areas and it kind of helps you imagine what it might be like to be born with that placement or what those things might represent.
For instance, Aries rules the ‘top of the head’ and ‘the eye region’. And there’s some disagreement between traditions about where the boundaries are between the signs, but you can see that as one of the signs that Mars would rule with the indications of being ‘hot-headed’ or ‘seeing red’, or just that impulse center where all of a sudden you get this idea and you’re like, “Oh, my God! I have to go act on this thing right now,” this being a very martial place.
Whereas the sign of Cancer being ‘the chest region’ and sort of like the ‘emotional heart’, it’s usually a place where when you feel a lot of love for something or you see something that you find very precious or cute, you kind of feel soft and happy. And the idea of putting heat and strife in that area just feels terrible. That feels like heartbreak; it’s hard to deal with Mars there.
CB: Yeah, that makes sense. What’s another example of let’s say an affliction of Mars in a certain body part?
SO: It’s not necessarily an affliction, but one thing that I think is really funny is Gemini rules ‘the arms and the hands’, and if you’ve ever taken a class where everybody is taking notes next to somebody with Mars in Gemini, so many of them just tend to be such aggressive note-takers. It’s really funny.
CB: Nice. Aggressive note-taking.
CB: I like that. All right, so you started mentioning some other jobs and things like that, and I think that’s a nice segue into our next set of significations from William Lilly and his 17th century text, Christian Astrology–if you think that would be a good segue.
SO: Yeah, let’s go into it.
CB: All right, so here’s William Lilly’s text, Christian Astrology, from 1647. And it’s actually really hard to read because the original text has those funny ‘S’s’ that look like ‘F’s’ and a bunch of other annoying stuff like that, so I’m going to do the Google Docs version of this classic text. And Lilly says that the ‘Nature’ of Mars is: “Masculine, nocturnal, hot and dry, [and] choleric.” He actually says a bunch of other stuff, but this is just a small excerpt.
He starts talking about ‘People signified’, and he says that Mars signifies: “Princes ruling by tyranny or oppression, tyrants, usurpers, new conquerors. Generals of armies, colonels, captains or soldiers generally; physicians, apothecaries, surgeons, alchemists, gunners, butchers, marshals, surgeons, sergeants, bailiffs, hangmen, thieves, smiths, bakers, armourers, watch-makers, botchers, tailors, cutlers of swords and knives, barbers, dyers, cooks, carpenters, gamesters, bear-wards, tanners, [and] curriers.”
So part of our ongoing struggles with Lilly over the past several episodes of this series has been identifying some of the specific professions that he’s associating with some of the planets in a 17th century context, but for the most part, some of this is straightforward. And it’s actually funny when you think about some of the ‘cutting’ significations of Mars from earlier in the tradition and how that then is being associated with some very specific professions like, for example, “surgeons,” people that literally have to cut somebody open in order to fix something inside of them; but because it involves cutting that becomes associated with that specific profession. Or “barbers”–people that cut hair off of somebody else as part of their profession. Are there any others that stand out to you?
SO: You know, I tried so hard to find the chart of a bear-ward.
SO: I was thinking Timothy Treadwell at first, but I don’t think he really counts as a bear ward because he wasn’t trying to domesticate them or anything.
CB: Is that literally what it means, ‘a person that tames bears’?
CB: Okay, good times.
SO: Yeah, that didn’t that didn’t really go very far though. I found some people, but I couldn’t find birthdays for them.
CB: No birthdays, no birth times. All right, well, if you know any bear tamers or bear wards, please let us know in the comments below this YouTube video, so we can look at your chart and see if Mars is prominent. “Butchers,” of course, that’s another funny, cutting thing.
All right, so Lilly goes on, and he has this section which I really like where he distinguishes between ‘Manners’ when Mars is well-placed in the chart or well-dignified as he says versus what Mars signifies when it’s poorly-placed. And what well-placed versus poorly-placed means involves a whole bunch of stuff we’re not going to get into, but let’s just say for the sake of distinction that we’re just talking about well-placed in the chart versus let’s say less-constructive manifestations.
So Lilly says, ‘Manners when well dignified’: “In feats of war and courage, invincible, scorning any should exceed him, subject to no reason, bold, confident, immovable, contentious, challenging all honour to themselves, valiant, lovers of war and things pertaining there unto, hazarding himself all perils, willingly will obey nobody; nor submit to any; a large reporter of his own acts, one that fights all things in comparison of victory, and yet of prudent behaviour in his own affairs.” So that’s when well-dignified.
Then he goes on, and he says, ‘Manners when badly placed’: “Then he is a prattler without modesty or honesty, a lover of slaughter and quarrels, murder, thievery, a promoter of sedition, frays, and commotions, and highway-thief, as wavering as the wind, a traitor, of turbulent spirit, perjurer, obscene, rash, inhumane, neither fearing God or caring for man, unthankful, treacherous, oppressors, ravenous, cheater, furious, violent.” So those are Lilly’s significations in the mid-17th century as one of the last really notable traditional astrologers in some ways.
SO: Yeah, what’s interesting there to me is the part where he says “traitor” for Mars that’s not well-placed. Because even though some of the other Mars things might not necessarily be that great–like the bragging–it also kind of shows that Mars can represent that force of willpower a little bit. So it also takes a little bit of Mars to kind of have the self-control to keep your word to some extent too. Yeah, it’s kind of a fine balance between having too much Mars and tending more towards impulsive outbursts or not having enough Mars and being a little bit lazy and not having as much drive or control.
CB: Yeah, or just being out for oneself and throwing your friends to the flame or what have you, as opposed to having more of a sense of honor or something like that.
SO: Yeah, totally.
CB: Yeah, I liked one of the things that it mentioned is “courage,” and I think that’s really important as a Mars signification and it’s something I was thinking about recently. I forgot where I saw this, but it was some statement that courage is something that only comes about in the face of fear or danger. In order to act courageously that action always takes place within the context of fear or danger of some sort, so there’s like a dangerous component to it. But it’s the ability to rise above that and still act courageously despite the potential for peril or for being harmed yourself.
SO: Yeah, totally. I know some friends who deal with pretty intense anxiety, which is kind of like a different type of low-level fear, and then they’ll do things that are super, super courageous and gutsy; and they also have pretty strong Mars placements. But it’s pretty funny–people will talk about like, “Oh, how do you do this big thing if you deal with anxiety so much?” And they’re kind of like, “Oh, I’m just so used to that fear being around.”
If you just have anxiety and your body is afraid, well, you’re just like sitting there doing nothing. It’s almost like you’re a little more used to facing that when a big situation calls for it. Yeah, it’s almost like a type of conditioning that you live with all the time.
CB: Yeah, that’s a really good point. Sometimes even people with difficult placements are people that can react better in difficult situations because they’ve experienced it previously, or they have some familiarity with that energy. So therefore, they might be better at coping with it in a scenario where they’re suddenly thrust into that type of archetypal scenario again at some later date, as opposed to somebody else who is just completely caught off-guard and isn’t used to dealing with that type of energy.
SO: Yeah, totally.
CB: Okay. Let’s see–is there anything else we should talk about when it comes to Lilly and some of his significations here?
SO: Well, another example going back to the professions thing that I thought was interesting was I looked at the chart of somebody recently who had Mars on the exact degree of exaltation; so not only in the sign of Capricorn, but also on the single degree where it’s considered most effective and most potent. And she is a metalsmith who makes really high quality swords, which I thought was not something that you hear of very often anymore, but like a really, really literal manifestation of that placement.
CB: Yeah, of literally working with fire and iron.
CB: Nice. That’s a pretty good one. It’s funny how sometimes those ancient significations, the very literal ones, can have broader psychological or archetypal manifestations; but sometimes there can still be very literal, very textbook manifestations as well.
SO: Yeah, that’s funny when it comes up in readings or something like that, and you’re like, “Oh, it’s kind of like this,” but you know it’s really just symbolic, and the person’s like, “No, it’s not symbolic. That’s literally my job,” or something like that.
CB: Yeah, I remember one of the analogies that Robert Zoller made once to me. For some reason, I always repeat this on the podcast because it was like a throwaway line, but it was one of the best analogies he ever made when I lived near him for like a year in the mid-2000s. But he said that Ares is like ‘a machine gun’, whereas Scorpio, the other domicile of Mars, is like ‘a sniper rifle’.
And this kind of came up in a consultation once where somebody had the ruler of the 10th in Scorpio, and it was Mars, and it was in its own domicile, but it was under the beams of the Sun. And I was giving some very general delineation of acting in secrecy as part of one’s career or something like that, I think I used the ‘sniper’ analogy. And then he said that he actually worked in the clandestine services in some sort of special operations capacity, but often doing operations that were secret or private or something like that.
CB: Yeah. There’s a funny section in Firmicus where he’s talking about some possibilities of Mars in the 9th house. He, I think–even for writers of his time and through translations and all of that–writes in a pretty dramatic way, and I was reading it to people mostly because I thought it was funny; he’s talking a lot about how it can make people exorcists and will make demons flee from the scene at the sight of this person. And I’ve read it to a few different people who have really strong Mars since their thinking would just be an interesting historical anecdote, and they will get quiet and be like, “No, it feels fitting.” I’m like, “Okay.”
SO: I guess Firmicus was pretty accurate with that one actually.
CB: Yeah, some secret exorcists are in your friends circle.
CB: Something like that. All right, let’s see, what else? One of the ones I thought was funny is Lilly says uses the term “obscene.” And that’s a funny Mars signification as well, the notion of ‘obscenity’ and breaking down what obscenity even is, but it’s something which ‘goes against the grain’ when it comes to cultural norms of what is appropriate in a social setting. And Mars is very much that planet I guess if you’re trying to assign that to a specific planet.
SO: Yeah, definitely. And you talked about it some on the Mercury episode, but the ‘swearing’ in Mars can definitely be a thing.
CB: Yeah, ‘swearing’ is a really good one for Mars. And I was thinking about that a few months ago that the term–I don’t know if I’ll get this banned from YouTube or what–but the term ‘fuck’ is actually one of the best words in the English language that encapsulates the most significations of Mars compared to any other word that I can think of, which is kind of striking when you try to find a single word for a planet.
SO: Yeah, and it’s also just such a satisfying word to say.
CB: Yeah, and versatile. I don’t know where it comes from, but there was a funny thing that used to go around the internet in the mid-‘90s about the versatility of the word and its different applications, but it somehow encapsulates a lot of things when it comes to Mars.
SO: Yeah, there’s a funny story my Mom tells sometimes about my brother when he was little; he ran in the house really upset because my dad had said that word. And she was like, “I told you not to swear around the kids,” and was so upset. And she goes out into the garage where he was working underneath the car and just goes in there basically screaming at him. And he pushes his way out from under the car from whatever he was doing, and he had just gotten completely covered in oil or some sort of horrible substance, like completely coated. And he just looked at her so exhausted, and he was like, “Sometimes it’s just the only word that fits.” Yeah, that summarizes some of the stuff.
CB: Yeah, sometimes necessary. All right, is there anything else with Lilly before we move on to basically jump to the 20th century and the modern astrologers?
SO: No. But one thing–the kind of ‘going against the grain’ thing made me think about the things that are maybe not as acceptable. Going back to sect, another way that I’ve come to imagine Mars in day charts is also sometimes signifying making decisions that might not make sense to the wider culture, or things that might be a little bit ‘defiant’ in some way, as well as just not being able to find an appropriate place for it.
But for me, a Mars timing thing coincided with quitting my other job and being like, “I absolutely have to be an astrologer,” which didn’t make any sense in the context of everything else I was doing; and it’s a job that’s not necessarily as respected. I think it’s changing a little bit with the popularity, but at the time it wasn’t as much.
CB: Yeah, and quitting something, especially abruptly or suddenly, or even getting fired on the other side of that coin suddenly or abruptly.
SO: Yeah. And I think sometimes the ancient writers are kind of speaking from this perspective of cultural norms and what would be socially acceptable and these things. And so, sometimes they’ll give really negative connotations to Mars things, like if Mars rules the Lot of Spirit. There’s that passage that says you basically ‘ruin all of your life opportunities’. In the context of a lot of people, deciding to go against all of my previous training and become an astrologer or something would be considered ruining things, but I don’t actually think of it that way.
CB: Yeah, or just needing to in that instance sever and separate from something with your previous job or employment in order to pursue what you’re passionate about, which is a more true manifestation of the Lot of Spirit.
SO: Yeah, and that whole going about things in a much more martial way.
CB: Yeah, definitely. All right, so let’s jump ahead several centuries to the 20th century. And the first 20th century author that I’ve been sharing in this series is Reinhold Ebertin and his book from the 1940s titled, The Combination of Stellar Influences, which was originally written in German and then was translated pretty early into English, so that it influenced a lot of late-20th century astrologers.
So for Mars, he says the primary ‘Principle’ is “Energy,” and that’s his one-word principle of Mars. And then under ‘Psychological Correspondence’, gives a ‘positive’, and he says: “Will-power, active energy, courage, determination, enjoyment of work and fighting, the urge to do something.” Then he says under ‘negative’ psychological correspondences: “Waste of energy, enjoyment of destruction, impulsiveness, ruthlessness, brutality. Weakness, lack of energy.”
Under ‘Biological Correspondence’, he says: “The heat of the body, the muscles, [and] the sex functions.” Under ‘Sociological Correspondence’, he says: “Fighters, bearers of arms, athletes, mechanics, technicians, craftsmen, [and] surgeons.” So a super concise and pretty straightforward summation of a lot of the things that we’ve been talking about up to this point, right?
SO: Yeah. But you can really see how it’s switching to a lot more psychological of a focus than telling you about what sort of energy to look for outside of yourself.
CB: Yeah. I talked about this as we were preparing for this episode that Mars–almost more than any other planet has this–I don’t want to call it ‘a makeover’ because it’s not a full makeover. But there is more of a shift to ‘psychologizing’ it and viewing it in a much more psychological context in the modern times, and it gets even more drastic as we get further into some of the later 20th century authors, and it gets away from some of the more extreme external manifestations of negative things and more focusing on character traits or psychological impulses.
SO: Yeah, that’s definitely in that.
CB: Yeah. All right, so one of the things that’s kind of important here that’s useful to talk about is Mars becomes more and more associated with the sense of ‘vitality’ versus Mars not being in good condition, or in certain contexts in combinations with certain planets.
We just had a Neptune-Mars opposition in the sky a couple of days ago and that being associated with ‘a lack of vitality’; some sort of “weakness” in terms of vitality or “lack of energy” are some of the delineations Ebertin gives. And I thought that was interesting in terms of this notion of Mars representing ‘energy’ or ‘vitality, or that ‘impulse to act’ and having the ability to act as a result of having energy versus having one’s energy or vitality sapped in some way, so that you lack the ability to act in some sense.
SO: Yeah. And that I think goes back to the ‘imagining’ Mars physically sort of thing, right? You can imagine what it’s like to have Mars in Sagittarius by just imagining what it’s like if you have a lot of ‘energy in your legs’. And even if it’s just kind of that metaphor of ‘wandering legs’, or to be really excited about lots of different ideas or things from all sorts of different places, like wanting to walk around and explore, it really summarizes that.
CB: Yeah, we used the analogy before of Mars in Gemini and people that are very ‘active with their hands’.
SO: Yeah. And you also see it in MMA fighters–of course the people who have Mars in Pisces and love kicking things. And Pisces rules the feet, so a lot of ‘active energy in the feet’.
SO: Yeah, I think the “enjoyment of work and fighting” is also notable here. Sometimes having that energy can lead to ‘irritation or anxiety’, or in extreme cases even ‘panic attacks’ if you don’t have something to do with it, but it also is really useful if all of a sudden you do have to do something that’s very unpleasant.
And I’ve had the inverse happen to me where I had just gotten some Venus material from Sphere + Sundry, and it was while I was doing that physical labor job, and I forgot that it was with me. And normally, I really liked this job, but for some reason that day, it just felt so terrible to be at work. I was actually for some reason complaining that they had got us cupcakes the other day and they didn’t get them for us this day, and I just wanted to sit down.
And then I realized I had this thing with me, so I was basically invoking kind of the opposite or counter energy of Mars. And then I went and put it back in the car, and I felt a lot better and notably different than the days that I had done a lot of, thanks to Mars ahead of time.
CB: Yeah, invoking the desire to work instead of the desire to rest or just have enjoyment.
SO: Yeah, and that’s obviously on a spectrum in some ways. But yeah, positive Mars, you might have a lot of things to do, but it might actually feel a little bit better, and that also goes into the ‘house joys’. So Mars has its ‘joy’ in the ‘6th house of work’. And even though that’s typically not a very exciting house, it can be kind of good to have this planet that has too much going on and is kind of this over-excited toddler, to just be like, “Here, go run around and get all these things done.”
CB: Yeah, to channel it into a constructive realm. And I think that’s one of the reasons why Mars was said to do so well and was said to be exalted in Capricorn because Saturn as the ruler of that sign gives Mars some sort of structure with which to channel that raw sort of energy or power.
SO: Yeah. I think about Mars in Capricorn as well kind of opposite Cancer as being a little like Mars as conflict, and thinking about how in the middle of really complicated conflicts, people will often hire mediators or people who are trained in conflict, who are outside forces who don’t have any emotional connection to the situation and also have tools and a lot of structure that they can add to things; whereas Mars has a more difficult time in Cancer because it tends to represent your ‘close friends and family’. You don’t necessarily want to hire your mom or your best friend to mediate a conflict because it’s very hard not to get wrapped up in it, whereas Capricorn can kind of represent the exact opposite of that.
CB: Yeah, or even just Saturn being more ‘dispassionate’ and more ‘logical’ and more ‘cold’, cooling down the excessive heat of Mars as opposed to Mars in Cancer in its fall being more prone to taking action just based on transiting ‘emotional impulses’ or something like that and ‘doing what feels right in the moment’, or sometimes being given more to ‘emotional anger’ or something like that.
SO: Yeah, and it also illustrates the difference between detriment and fall really well I think because detriment can be like ‘not wanting to participate’ in whatever the environment is; that’s more like Mars at this nice party where everybody else is just trying to chill and relax and there’s not really like an exercise thing happening or like some sort of fight. Whereas Mars in Cancer–it’s almost like you ‘care so much’ that you can take it to an ‘extreme’ in some ways, and then maybe not act enough in other ways.
Some of the most dangerous animals to come upon in the wild are animals that have young with them, or just people’s willingness to fight for things that they love is usually of a much higher capacity than something that they’re just assigned to arbitrarily as a job or something. Yeah, fall can actually indicate ‘both an excess and a deficiency’ of a planet in a sign.
CB: Right. That makes sense. All right, so let’s jump forward to the 1980s now to Steven Forrest’s book, The Inner Sky, which I think was published in 1988. And he has a whole chapter on Mars, but his initial breakdown is just into a function, a dysfunction, key questions, and then what it indicates when retrograde.
So Steven Forrest says the ‘Function’ of Mars is: “The development of will. The expansion of courage. ‘Assertiveness training’.” He says the ‘Dysfunction’, however, is: “Touchiness, rage, selfishness, insensitivity, cruelty, sadism, bombast, irritability, and a ‘chip on the shoulder’.” The ‘Key Questions’ for Mars are: “What battles must I face? Where must I be more assertive if I am not to suffer pointless conflict and strife? How can I sharpen my will? How do I express my aggressiveness?” ‘When Retrograde’: “Tremendous staying power. Hesitant to assert oneself or make demands. Passive demeanor. Anger controlled but internalized.”
Yeah, so that’s Steven Forrest, and at this point we’ve shifted into a much more psychological context and much more viewing the planet less as an external manifestation of a concrete event and more as internal psychological tendencies and character traits.
SO: Yeah, I like “chip on the shoulder” aspect of this because I think sometimes when you’re hearing about really strong Mars placements, there can be a tendency to assume that this person is going to be really angry all the time, or this person’s going to do such-and-such, and I think it also goes into a sect a little bit as well.
SO: But a lot of times, people who have really good Mars placements will not actually be that combative, if that planet’s comfortable, if it doesn’t have a chip on the shoulder. They’re not necessarily going out and starting a lot of arguments or fights because there’s not as much to prove–there’s more ‘comfort in oneself’–whereas Mars in a more difficult place can manifest as this kind of ‘irritability’ or ‘need to prove’ something.
CB: Yeah, if it’s coming from an underlying sense of feeling like it’s actually weak or doesn’t match up to what it wants, it can manifest in some of those weird ways.
SO: Yeah. And then internally that feeling kind of comes initially from a place of ‘not feeling safe in oneself’ to begin with, like ‘not feeling respected enough’ or ‘always being on guard’ somehow; whereas a functioning Mars is generally ‘feeling safe to make assertive decisions’ if you need to.
CB: Yeah. A lot of this of course is making me think of our previous president who had Mars conjunct the Ascendant in Leo. And all the astrologers thought it was really funny because when you take some of these classic significations and then look at it in that context, he played out a lot of them in a very straightforward way.
So Steven Forrest here is talking about “selfishness,” “rage,” “insensitivity,” “cruelty,” “bombast,” having “a chip on the shoulder,” and there were very clear, straightforward, not-super-high manifestations of Mars energy that came through in a personality context because it was right on the Ascendant, so it’s like one of the first things that you see.
SO: Yeah. Great example of doing Mars wrong, for sure.
SO: His chart has been talked about so much, going into decanic dignity, what’s sort of interesting to me is in 36 Faces, Austin calls the last decan of Leo–which is a double-Mars-ruled decan–‘The Banner’, which kind of has to do with the ability to inspire people even when it’s kind of a lost cause. And also, as a body region, Leo has to do with the solar plexus and more like ‘the muscular heart’. So it’s playing a lot on emotions in a certain way, but just in the very literal sense. I don’t know of any other president who has had so many people obsessed with having banners, like literal humongous banners on the backs of their trucks and things.
CB: Yeah, that’s a good point. All right, and of course Mars can manifest in different ways in places like the 1st house where sometimes it’s bodily things versus other times it’s coming forward more in a character-type sense, also, depending on sect and dignity and things like that. I have two friends who both have Scorpio rising, and they were born pretty close together; and both of them had Mars and Saturn in the 1st house in Scorpio, or the 1st whole sign house. And one of them had a day chart and one of them had a night chart, sort of like you and your friend with those placements in different houses, but for them, they both had Scorpio rising.
So one of them had a day chart, and so Mars in the 1st house. Sometimes the more physical parts of Mars would come out and she would do things like impulsively and accidentally injure herself. So she was constantly getting little bumps and cuts and burns and things physically because Mars was in the 1st house in a day chart, so some of the more challenging physical manifestations were coming through that placement. Whereas the other friend also had Scorpio rising with Mars in the 1st house, but it was a night chart because the Sun was below the horizon; so then Mars was ‘of the sect in favor’ and tended to be more constructive, whereas Saturn tended to be a little bit more problematic.
And for her, she was very assertive and could assert herself very well in a very martial way, in a very direct way. And she liked to drive fast, for example, but she had Saturn-type ailments because it was Saturn in the 1st house in a night chart. And she was anemic, so she would get cold very easily; and then at one point she struggled with cancer when she developed that later on in her life. So it’s interesting how you can have those different manifestations again just by taking into account different things like sect and dignity and other things like that.
SO: Yeah, totally.
CB: And I guess the point of that ultimately is it’s both. And I wanted to bring that up at this point because once we get in the modern tradition, it starts being more character- and psychologically-based versus when we’re looking at the older traditions, it tends to be much more external and what types of events you experience with Mars.
But the reality is that it’s both–that you can have both psychological or character manifestations, and you can have external event-oriented manifestations. And really to some extent both are indicated by the birth chart where there can be types of circumstances that you may encounter at some point in your life or types of events that may happen, but also your Mars placement is representing some of these psychological dynamics within you that will manifest at different points in your life as well.
SO: Yeah, totally. I really agree with that.
CB: Okay, cool. Is there anything else we should mention about Steven Forrest before we move on to our last author, which is Tarnas?
SO: No. I did remember–when you were showing that example–a friend. A long time ago, when I was just getting into astrology, I had heard that Mars in the 1st house can indicate that you have ‘scars on your face or just above the neck’. And the 1st house is Libra for him, so the body region would actually be opposite the head. But I asked him about that, and he kind of thought for a second, and he’s like, “Well, I mean, I’ve been stabbed a bunch of times.” I was like, “Okay.” He’s like, “So there’s probably a scar on my head somewhere.” I was like, “All right. Yeah, that seems fitting.”
CB: Yeah, that’s one of the things that I want to do at some point, an episode I’m planning about the physical properties of the planets and how sometimes that weirdly manifests in the symbolic meaning. One of the things I thought was funny, when I went years ago to a planetarium with my friend Nick Dagan Best, and they were doing this show of a tour of the planets, the main thing that they focused on and talked about for a bit with Mars is how it has this gigantic chasm that spans across a huge swath of Mars.
So if you look at Mars, it looks like it has a huge a gash or a scar across the planet, which is kind of a funny thing given that traditionally even prior to modern times–when we could see this and visualize it like this–that ancient authors also associated Mars with scars or cuts or gashes.
SO: Awesome. So Mars has a face tat; that’s good to know.
CB: Yeah, exactly, face ‘tat’. Yeah, Mars is the planet that’s like, “You don’t want to die without any scars.”
CB: And I think somebody mentioned ‘tattoos’ as an interesting Mars signification, or a potential Mars signification, that was mentioned today on Twitter, right? Because with a tattoo you’re literally using a needle in order to put ink onto the body.
SO: Yeah. And I used to do tattoos, so I also had looked at the charts of a lot of my friends who also did them, and there’s definitely a correspondence with strong Mars placements.
CB: Okay. Nice. We had talked about it at one point–I still want to do the ‘astrology tattoos’ episode with you at some point. I always wanted to do a video that was like, “So you want to get an astrology tattoo, here’s some ideas,” or “Here’s a guide for getting good astrology tattoos.”
SO: Yeah, it can be a really good remedial Mars measure, but it can also be an impulsive bad decision.
SO: Pretty easily, too. You’ve got to consult with somebody on that.
CB: Definitely. Well, that is why I think we need to make a good guide, but we’ll put that off to another episode. All right, the final author I wanted to mention here is Richard Tarnas and his 2006 book, Cosmos and Psyche: Intimations of a New Worldview. Here’s the text, and I’ve written it out.
So he says: “[Mars], [t]he principle of energetic force; the impulse and capacity to assert, to act and move energetically and forcefully, to have an impact, to press forward and against, to defend and offend, to act with sharpness and ardor; the tendency to experience aggressiveness, anger, conflict, harm, violence, forceful physical energy; to be combative, competitive, courageous, vigorous; Ares, the god of war.”
Yeah, so that is Tarnas. And I always have Tarnas at the end because he has a way of drawing together the tradition relatively well, and we can see both some of the ancient significations there, as well as some of the more modern psychological significations at the same time.
SO: Yeah, I like the summary a lot.
CB: So where does that leave us? Are there major things that we haven’t touched on or haven’t dwelt on when it comes to some of those significations that he mentioned at the very end?
SO: I mean, I think this description makes it really easy to apply to either Mars in transit through the houses or how it might act on other planets just as that raw force. If you take, again, Mercury and the impulse to speak and language, adding this Mars in kind of helps explain that a little bit better, like “the impulse and capacity to assert” language. Or if it’s the Moon and it has to do with caretaking, it might take that drive and make it a little more channeled and forward-acting.
CB: Yeah, why don’t we do that? In some of the other episodes, we’ve gone through different placements or combinations, but planetary combinations. So we’ve already talked a little bit about Mercury-Mars and that can be ‘verbal combativeness’ or the way that a person speaks, which in a natal chart can indicate a person who’s ‘more forthright or aggressive in their communication style’ or maybe impulsive. Or a Mars transit to Mercury or Mercury to Mars can indicate a period of either being more ‘impulsive verbally’ or sometimes ‘getting into a verbal altercation or an argument’ or something like that.
SO: Yeah. Which one would you like to start with?
CB: Sure. In terms of Mercury, or in terms of moving on to the other ones?
SO: Oh, I guess we could start with Mercury.
CB: Okay, let’s do that then. So what are some others besides that for Mercury and Mars?
SO: I think that can be an ‘ADHD’ combination sometimes, with the mental functions of Mercury; kind of like ‘the mind moving too fast’.
CB: Right. Because Mars is good for really ‘short stints’, but it doesn’t have a lot of endurance. It’s good for ‘short, brief bursts of energy’, but not typically for long-term bursts of energy.
SO: Yeah, it’s great for ‘gossip and slander’. I’ve also seen some writers who have this. I just finished The Broken Earth series by NK Jemisin, and she has Mercury cazimi; so exactly conjunct the Sun in Virgo. So a Mercury-ruled sign with Mars there. And she’s a very prolific writer who also does a lot of activism through her writing.
CB: Okay. I’m just searching through my files really quickly to see if I have any really good famous Mercury-Mars conjunctions. Oh, it’s pulling up hard aspects like squares for some reason. Lee Harvey Oswald is an exact Mercury-Mars square. So that’s fun–assassin of John F Kennedy. All right, what other manifestations do you have for Mercury-Mars combinations?
SO: It can sometimes go into ‘cutting the fingers’, I suppose, because hands are ruled by Mercury, and then that sharpness can sometimes just come out physically. Yeah, you’ll see people cutting their fingers also by transit sometimes, even if Mars is moving over your natal Mercury or in a Mercury-ruled sign. I see that pretty often.
CB: Yeah, or just ‘getting a burn or a cut’ or something like that definitely on one’s hands. Okay, so that’s pretty good. Let’s switch to Moon-Mars combinations–any sort of combination of the Moon and Mars.
SO: Yeah, I just saw a really good chart of that earlier, but I can’t remember–oh, Tyra Banks. Yeah, she has Cancer rising with the Moon and Mars in Aries. So Mars in its domicile, the Moon ruling the 1st, and just thinking about that famous scene from America’s Next Top Model; she gets really mad at one of those contestants and says, “We were all fighting for you,” like that she cares so much. So you have this signification of the Moon that kind of has to do with ‘caring’, but then this Mars ‘fighting’.
CB: Yeah, that’s really good, and that’s also notable just having the rule of the Ascendant in the 10th house. And that reminds me of Bill Gates’ chart, which is also Cancer rising, with the Moon in Aries in the 10th house, and just very ambitious professionally.
SO: Yeah, that makes sense.
CB: Yeah, so other than that though, Moon-Mars can be ‘emotional outbursts’ or ‘anger’ and things like that, let’s say, not just natally, but when it’s transiting. If you get a transit of Mars to your Moon, it can just be a period where you’re ‘more emotionally angry’ for some reason during that period.
SO: Yeah. Whenever I see Mars starting to move over my Moon sign, I know that that’s always a time that I may be more prone to ‘anxiety’. And so, that’s usually where I’ll take steps to be like, “Okay, these are the things that I need to do to calm down more, or to make sure that I’m well-regulated.” And also, some of the texts talked about Mars being ‘drying’, and the Moon is a very ‘wet’ planet. So it can even just be something as simple as ‘dehydration’.
CB: Right. Also, the Moon is ‘the stomach’, and having an ‘upset stomach’ can be a very physical thing.
SO: Yeah, totally. Also, in Mars kind of ‘going to extremes’ and the Moon being a lot about ‘internal regulation of emotions’ and how you process them, it can kind of be like ‘processing everything all at once’ instead of kind of over a longer period of time, so it can be like ‘bigger emotional spikes’.
Or sometimes the Moon being a little bit about ‘needs’ and just something that might typically be ‘a passing mood’ like, “Oh, I’d kind of like a snack right now,” Mars there can make it ‘a more intense hunger’, or ‘a more intense drive’ to go after whatever that thing is; so a little ‘more assertive about personal needs’.
CB: Right, that’s a good point. Okay, so that’s Moon–what about the Sun and Mars combinations?
SO: I think that’s really good for ‘personal assertiveness’. That one is a little tricky because any planet that’s conjunct the Sun–other than the nodes–I suppose kind of takes on this quality of ‘hidden’ and ‘behind the scenes’ significations, or maybe things that are even ‘secretive’ because the light of the Sun obscures the planet; and so its significations become a little more underground.
CB: Yeah, or sometimes ‘internalized’ in terms of it becoming a character component of the planet in some sense rather than something experienced externally.
CB: Yeah, so I’m just looking through a list of different people with Sun-Mars conjunctions–but just Mars becoming more internalized as part of the will and having more of an aggressive tendency in terms of actualizing the will sometimes.
SO: Yeah. And it’s ‘very drying’ because both of them are hot planets.
CB: Right. So both of them are hot planets, so sometimes that can just channel that in terms of turning up the heat, or sometimes interpreted as ‘a hot-headed personality’ in general if not offset by other things.
SO: Yeah, totally.
CB: All right, so that’s pretty good with that. I was going to say we can associate some of these different planets with parents or things like that. And so, a Mars-Sun combination can sometimes indicate either the ‘relationship with the father’ or ‘character traits involving the father’, or sometimes either ‘conflict or separation from the father’ versus the same thing with the Moon and the mother, if we were going in more of a literal, interpretive, non-character-based direction with some of the combinations.
SO: Yeah, that’s true. Or sometimes the Sun can just be ‘authority figures’.
CB: All right, so that’s Sun combinations. Let’s see, we’ve done Mercury–so moving on to Venus-Mars combinations. How does that show up in terms of natal combinations?
SO: Oh, there’s a lot of examples for that one because I think a lot of celebrities have this. Yeah, so if you’re looking at celebrity charts that’s one of the things because that kind of ‘artistic quality’ of Venus applied to Mars can kind of come out in doing all of the martial things–but only acting, only as an ‘entertainment performance’ thing.
I was watching The Mummy the other night–for some reason my roommates were watching it–but Brendan Fraser has this, which I know that’s kind of like a random chart example. But then it’s also interesting to watch, again, UFC fighter charts; sometimes you get people like Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson who has Mars and Venus conjunct in Pisces. He’s almost artful and ‘dance-y’, but almost to a cartoonish extent in the way he moves; and he’s also a model, I think.
But then there are other fighters like Derrick Lewis who has Mars and Venus conjunct in Aries. And in a lot of his interviews, instead of being really intimidating or trying to fight a lot, you get kind of more of the Venus significations of just wanting to relax. He’s pretty open about how he doesn’t really care about title matches, he just wants the money. And he’s also very jokey and charming, which is another Venus signification. But mean, he’s been interviewed after really big fights as being like, “No, I basically just want to go home and eat and smoke weed.”
SO: And even when he is insulting people, it’s kind of charming. He’s like a very funny fighter.
CB: Yeah, so it’s an interesting balance of having both of those two sides of the same coin in terms of the opposing ends of the spectrum somehow working in concert or working together in some ways when Venus and Mars are together in the chart.
CB: That brings up one that we haven’t gotten into a lot, which is just the physical aspects of Mars and its interplay with Venus, and also just continuing through the tradition, a lot of the ones that we saw just about ‘sex’ and ‘sexuality’ being associated with Mars and Venus in the tradition and them being kind of tied in in a very notable way. That’s usually where that’s put in astrology in terms of sex and sexuality and that comes together sometimes in things like synastry when people have strong contacts between Venus and Mars and may have a good physical connection.
SO: Yeah, definitely. And they’re only talking about Aries and kind of brushing over the Scorpio significations. It illustrates the day rulership versus night rulership, but yeah, that’s absolutely a thing. Yeah, it’s a very magnetic combination. And then…
CB: Yeah–go ahead.
SO: I mean, it also goes into body rulership in some ways where Scorpio rules the ‘genitals’. And if Mars represents ‘blood’ and ‘passion’ and all of these other things, it makes sense that it can go into significations of ‘sex’ and ‘chemistry’ and all of these things.
CB: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense to me. And there’s been pushback against that with the traditional revival recently because of the tendency in the past few decades to associate the signs of the zodiac with the houses; the 8th house started being associated with sex because it was equated to Scorpio, and traditionally, the 5th house tended to be associated with sex or sometimes the 7th house in older texts.
But some of those associations, at least with the signs and things, and associating Scorpio with that–because of the assignment of the different parts of the body to each of the signs of the zodiac–sort of made sense to me even from a traditional standpoint.
SO: Yeah. I mean, it’s a Mars episode, so I guess I’ll talk about UFC more, but I think about the moves that are illegal in UFC also correspond with the major body regions that Mars rules. One of them is you can’t kick people in the groin, so it also goes into that protective aspect of Scorpio as well besides just sex; it’s also a part of the body that is very vulnerable.
Also, if you are naked then you’re going to be more defensive; you’re going to be more Scorpionic. You’re just in a more sensitive position in whatever context you’re in. So yeah, that kind of more defensive stance that comes with Mars in its nocturnal expression, it gives a greater range to what Mars can represent than just a ‘Scorpio equals sex’ check-off thing that can happen a lot.
CB: Yeah, definitely. And also, just seeing Venus and Mars as two sides of the same coin and that interplay between ‘giving and receiving’ being tied up in the sexual expression of both Venus and Mars as being two parts of the same hole in some sense.
SO: Yeah. And that also is the part that I think is left out of the Taurus significations a lot. Another thing that people say a lot is, “Stop saying that Taurus only represents ‘eating’.” But yeah, that sign being opposite the Mars part of it also has a lot to do with foreplay because Taurus rules the mouth; and there’s a lot of other aspects that go into sex and those kind of things go together.
CB: Yeah, and Taurus’ association with ‘physical pleasure’, which often in modern times, like you’re saying, gets associated with things like ‘food’ and things like that. But there can also be other manifestations of that in terms of ‘sensual pleasure’ and those associations between Venus and Mars and the body maybe more than any other two planets. I guess the Moon has a close association with the body also, especially traditionally. But it seems like Venus and Mars are the other two that are very much more tied into the physical realm in some way.
SO: Yeah, totally.
CB: All right, so that’s Venus-Mars combinations. So that takes us up to Jupiter; so Mars-Jupiter combinations.
SO: Yeah. I don’t want to put you on the spot, but I feel like you might know some chart examples of this. Well, for instance, my brother has this one, and he’s another one of the ‘1984’ Scorpios. But he, for instance, is really into extreme sports; he was a semi-professional snowboarder for a long time. A bunch of times I’ll call him, and I’ll be like, “Oh, what did you do today?” and he’s like, “Oh, I snowshoed 30 miles by myself,” or “I just entered a triathlon without really training, and then I won it.” So that kind of buoyancy of Jupiter and that kind of support can create a bigger, more fantastical kind of Mars expression sometimes.
CB: Yeah, definitely. That reminds me for some reason of Amelia Earhart who has a Mars-Jupiter conjunction.
SO: In what?
CB: In Virgo. But yeah, just the 1920s version of that, of being an explorer and flying out somewhere on your own with a plane for the sake of discovery and enjoying that.
SO: Yeah, totally. I think Jupiter, of the benefics, tends to help Mars a lot more. I mean, the refinement of Jupiter and bringing everything into balance can kind of help focus some of the crass energy of Mars oftentimes.
CB: Yeah, definitely.
SO: But also, Jupiter wanting to bring help. We’ll sometimes find people who are very ‘assertive about wanting to help’.
CB: That’s funny that you say that because I was just looking up Angelina Jolie. She has a triple-conjunction of Mars, Moon, and Jupiter in Aries in the 10th. So she’s like some of the charts we were looking at earlier. That’s a Cancer rising with the Moon in the 10th, but throwing Mars and Jupiter in the mix and just some of her humanitarian work. When she started I think she filmed the movie, Tomb Raider, or something in the late ‘90s, and then was exposed to some countries that were torn apart by war or poverty and decided to try to take up a more active humanitarian cause in trying to raise money for different places.
SO: Interesting. Yeah, I have a close friend who also has a mutual reception between Jupiter and Mars, which in some traditions is considered basically like a conjunction. And yeah, the impulsiveness with which she wants to help things is really interesting.
I did some climbing stuff with her, and one of the major ways that we learned to climb was through projects where you basically do volunteer surveys climbing trees, looking for threatened species. And you just do a more thorough job than the companies that logging companies might hire out because it’s pretty intense physical labor.
And there was this old growth forest that was being logged, and we couldn’t do anything about it, and she started this whole thing and was like, “Well, maybe we’ll be able to look for this other animal this way too.” And she started this whole project where it was just tons and tons of work in one of the coldest parts of the year, on this off-chance that you might be able to find something, but it’s not very likely because it’s not a species that is typically found that way. But for her, even though it was sort of a lost cause, the feeling of just sitting down doing nothing and watching this thing get destroyed for no reason was so intolerable that she had to take some sort of action.
And hers is actually kind of an interesting chart too, because she’s also on top of all this just petrified of heights on a very deep internal level. But somehow the idea of just not doing anything at all was less scary or more awful than whatever she experienced climbing up there.
CB: Yeah, that makes sense. So just the tendency of Mars to act is increased or expanded by Jupiter, and the notion of not taking action would be very hard. Because when you throw Saturn in the mix–which is our next combination–you get the opposite issue where sometimes Saturn can hold Mars back, so there can be ‘restrictions in acting or not acting’ when one should versus Mars-Jupiter is much more ‘having to act and ‘having the impulse to act expanded’ even larger.
SO: Yeah, exactly.
CB: Okay, so why don’t we move on then to Mars-Saturn combinations. So then like we were just saying Mars’ impulse to act is sometimes held back and sometimes that can be constructive, when Mars becomes more ‘strategic’ in acting only when the time is appropriate. But sometimes it can also, in a destructive sense, can be ‘failing to act’ when one should have.
SO: Yeah. And I have this combination natally, and I know a lot of people who have it as well. But yeah, it feels very much like wanting to move, but then it’s almost like there’s this obstacle or almost like this voice trying to stop you all the time. Somebody on Twitter had a really good metaphor for this. I wish I could remember who posted it, but it was something about this combination being like wanting to move forward and run through a field in this skirt, and Saturn being the snares that stop it and hold you back. I think about sometimes–these are controversial–those leashes that people will put toddlers on in airports sometimes to keep them from running off.
CB: Yes, that can be what it feels like, especially if you have a transit like that at some point and feeling like you’re a toddler on a leash.
SO: Yeah. I know that this combination, in the Vedic tradition I’m part of at least, it talks about this as the Yama yoga, which is the death god, and it’s supposed to grant the ‘ability to walk through hell’, but also gives a lot of capacity to ‘work with end-of-life transitions’ or ‘more extreme circumstances’. But it’s also something that can make somebody feel sort of ‘uncomfortable when everything is pleasant and fine’ often inexplicably.
But yeah, like I said, I have a lot of friends with this combination as well, who also are really drawn to more extreme circumstances. Also, like in the instance of my friend who was born right after me–it’s Mars and Saturn–she works with people who have been through accidents and such, but she specializes in geriatrics; so Saturn representing ‘older generations’.
CB: Right, that makes sense. Yeah, and just having extremes, and ‘extremes of hot and cold’ and there being a tension when Mars and Saturn are in that combination–especially a hard aspect–of one of them getting the upper hand over the other and it creating a sort of imbalance and a tendency to go to one extreme or the other. So the challenge is leveling them out and keeping things on par, one one impulse with the other.
CB: Yeah, that makes sense. Okay, so that’s Mars-Saturn. So that takes us into the outer planets with Mars-Uranus. So Mars-Uranus is ‘acting even more impulsively or unexpectedly’ in some sense.
SO: Yeah, or just all at once, or that Uranus kind of ‘sudden need for autonomy’. ‘Autonomy’ is definitely a word that they both agree on, but I feel like Uranus is even a little less predictable than Mars about when you might need that.
CB: Yeah, that’s a good point. I guess that’s one of the things, just technically speaking, that we’re doing as astrologers when we look at those combinations is seeing when there’s overlap when the same planet indicates similar things; then it doubles-up and there’s an increased version of that. Mars is traditionally associated with ‘speed’ and ‘things that happen quickly’ as we’ve seen before, but then Uranus is also associated with ‘things that happen very rapidly or suddenly and unexpectedly’ as well. So when you put those two together, it’s the ‘sudden’, ‘unexpected’, sometimes ‘explosive’ event or action combination.
SO: Yeah. And I feel like ‘experiments’ is another thing that they can really agree on; the Uranus ‘inventiveness’ and like, “Oh, well, we’ve never tried this before,” and Mars is like the one who’s like, “Well, I’ll try it out. I might fall. I might get seriously injured, but I don’t care.” Yeah, Mars has the ‘bravery’ to test all of Uranus’ inventions.
CB: Right, which can be like ‘bravery’ or sometimes bordering on ‘recklessness’.
SO: Yeah, definitely.
CB: All right, so that was one part. And then what was the other part that you were talking about that was your second signification?
CB: For Mars-Uranus combinations. I thought I ended up focusing on one, but you had mentioned two. So let’s see ‘quickness’ was one that they shared in common. What are other things that they share in common? What are other common manifestations of Mars-Uranus? It can sometimes be ‘unexpected accidents or mishaps’, I guess.
SO: Yeah, or just sometimes, kind of for different reasons, wanting to ‘sever relationships or situations’, or just ‘a sudden need for change’.
CB: Yeah, so ‘sudden, unexpected severing’ or ‘separation or something’.
CB: One of the things that’s coming up then is ‘impulsiveness’, because both of them have a sort of impulsiveness of acting suddenly or quickly. And Mars has that tendency already of impulsiveness or recklessness, and Uranus has this quality of unexpectedness or ‘randomness and rebelliousness’.
And of course, I think one of the things in the United States birth chart that astrologers started picking up on was what Uranus meant–I think the US was founded under a sign-based Mars-Uranus conjunction–and just the idea of revolutions and ‘revolution’ being a Uranus or a Mars-Uranus-type combination.
SO: Yeah, definitely. And doing those sorts of things requires ‘thinking outside of the box’, so I think this comes up in a lot of activist tactics or something. It’s like when you’re fighting a really huge system, you have to come up with something that’s creative in some way or hasn’t necessarily been tried before that other people might not be able to anticipate in some way; so that’s trying to fight in unconventional ways somehow.
CB: Yeah, guerrilla warfare or unconventional warfare tactics.
CB: Yeah, that makes sense. How about Mars-Neptune combinations?
SO: Claire Gallagher who does The Cosmic Lifestyle Podcast–I think she’s on a sabbatical right now, but she also goes as ‘The Body Astrologer’–at one point, she called this combination ‘the tractor in a lake’ or something like that. You have some sort of equipment, but if you drive it into the pond it kind of doesn’t matter how functional it is.
SO: I mean, not completely. There are uses for this also. Sometimes it can take the Mars significations and just make them diffuse and everywhere, kind of like turn it into a cloud somehow.
CB: Yeah. One of the ones I’ve noticed that comes up sometimes is the vitality aspect of Mars, when Neptune hits, it can become ‘diffused and scattered’ and can sometimes ‘sap the vitality’ for reasons that are unclear.
SO: Yeah, definitely. I mean, full disclosure–I have this placement. But yeah, I feel like it can also kind of take the imaginal quality of Neptune and sometimes maybe the spiritual aspect of it and kind of become a motivating force behind those things. So sometimes it can be good for bringing things like ‘a creative idea’, or some sort of ‘higher feeling’, or something out of the ether and ‘grounding it’ in something.
And then I really liked what you said on the most recent forecast about it also sometimes leading to ‘paranoia’. I don’t remember who said it exactly, but it was said on that podcast that sometimes Neptune can also go the other way and be like this kind of ‘fear and paranoia about the unknown’.
CB: Yeah, or ‘picking fights with enemies that aren’t necessarily clear’.
SO: Yeah, I have to be careful of reading fantasy novels and things like that because I feel like I get so sucked into these battles that don’t technically exist and people who don’t need my help because they’re imaginary.
CB: Yeah, it was interesting when you were talking about bringing things into concrete realization. And the two charts that are really close together that I’ve used for that are Carl Sagan–who had a Mars-Neptune conjunction in the sign of Virgo in the 5th house–versus Charles Manson who also had Taurus rising, with a Mars-Neptune conjunction in Virgo in the 5th house, and of course was a cult leader.
SO: Yeah, sometimes they can also take Mars’ ideas and make them a little drunk.
CB: Yeah, actually a very good metaphor for Mars-Neptune would be ‘drunk driving’ and the inherent danger that comes with that.
SO: Yeah, or like Four Loko before they took all the caffeine out of it, because it turns out that was also dangerous, I guess.
CB: Okay. All right, that’s pretty good for Mars-Neptune. And then Mars-Pluto?
SO: Yeah, I always think of Pluto as being like ‘a modifier’, more into things. So it can just kind of take that martial quality and make it much more of ‘a drilling into something’. I think ‘drilling’ is a signification that they both agree on.
CB: Yeah, of just getting to the bottom of something because both of them have that quality. Mars has that ‘penetrating quality’ and Pluto has that sort of ‘obsessive quality’, and so when you put them together it can be like ‘wanting to get to the bottom of things’, or ‘wanting to really drill into and get to the core of something’.
SO: Yeah, kind of ‘unearthing topics’ that might be kind of shadow otherwise, or that other people might not necessarily want to deal with. Mars can also give bravery in dealing with those topics. But sometimes it can kind of go the other way and tend towards ‘corruption’ somehow, or that kind of shadowy Pluto nature can get into that Mars fight. But yeah, that again goes with these things can represent both sides of the spectrum.
CB: Yeah, the first one that you were just mentioning of getting into things and investigating things that are difficult or that people don’t necessarily always want to deal with made me think of Ronan Farrow’s chart–because he has a Mars-Pluto conjunction in the 10th house–and some of the major investigative pieces that he’s done over the past several years that spurred some of the developments in the Me Too movement and things like that.
SO: Wow. Yeah, I haven’t seen that chart before, but that definitely fits.
CB: Yeah. I know one of the things sometimes with Mars-Pluto conjunctions that you have to be careful about is–and you were talking about it–Alan White always used to say that Pluto takes big things and makes them little, or it takes small things and it blows them up and makes them much bigger than they would be otherwise. And sometimes with Mars-Pluto conjunctions, it can take things like anger and blow it up out of all proportions, that sometimes ‘angry outbursts can become supersized’ when there’s hard aspects between Mars and Pluto.
SO: Yeah, totally. And even seeing it by transit, the sort of arguments that come up and just how deep and intense they feel. I know ‘intense’ is a trope of Pluto, but Mars and Pluto both definitely agree on intense.
CB: Right, for sure. All right, well, that’s pretty good for a combination. So we’ve gone through pretty much all of the planets and all of the planetary combinations with Mars. We’ve talked a little bit about dignity and debility in different signs with Mars, and we’ve touched on a few house placements. I think that’s the only other thing we could do, if you wanted to, is just go through and talk about Mars through the houses. What do you think? Is there anything that we haven’t touched on that were major things that you meant to talk about in this discussion?
SO: I mean, there’s so much that you could talk about. I like thinking about Mars and its synodic cycle, which we talked about a little bit.
CB: So the 15-year period of Mars and its conjunctions with the Sun.
SO: Yeah, or just kind of like where it is relative to the Sun, like Mars at the cazimi, or the exact conjunction with the Sun kind of being like starting a new cycle. And then kind of depending on what side of the Sun you have, kind of how you relate to conflict versus that being like Mars going into the extremes of retrograde. And thinking about it all, Mars is ‘the warrior’. And so, the whole thing being kind of like ‘the warrior’s journey’ I think does a really good job of illustrating how Mars can play out.
CB: Yeah, for sure. So we’re coming up on a conjunction here next month in October between the Sun and Mars. And so, that’ll restart the synodic cycle between the Sun and Mars when the Sun catches up to and overtakes Mars and begins that new cycle of switching from being a morning star to being an evening star–or actually vice-versa.
SO: Yeah. And I think it’s just interesting to just look at Mars when it’s a little bit past that conjunction, the conjunction almost being like a cleansing start of a new cycle, a little analogous to a New Moon or something. But then you’ll see when Mars is just a little bit past that it’ll kind of represent ‘the warrior going out on the journey’, and the ‘idealism’ and possible ‘overzealousness’ that can come with those kinds of ideas when you’re new about something and still excited about it.
Yeah, people with this placement sometimes will be a little idealistic in their ideas of conflict and how things should go versus Mars on the other side kind of representing ‘the warrior returning home’ after seeing a huge battle can be a little more of the grisly expression of the warrior that’s kind of like, “Uh, I’ve seen some stuff.” And it’ll fight if it has to, but it’s not quite as excited or optimistic about things or idealistic, I guess.
CB: Right. So whether the impulse to fight or the impulse to war is more sort of going out and looking for a fight versus more reluctant and more maybe withholding of that.
SO: Yeah, but it can also be more experienced in some ways as well. And it’s also a little like coming across a young rattlesnake versus an old rattlesnake; they’re less likely to bite when they’re older. And then that whole retrograde aspect in the middle kind of being like once you actually get into the battle and realize that a lot of the ideas you had about the rules and how things should go and how things would be don’t necessarily match up to all the plans that you made at the beginning, you might have to get a little bit scrappy.
You might have to retreat and replan things a little bit. It can also be Mars retrograde being a little bit harder to predict or control necessarily. But yeah, I just think looking at that whole cycle for Mars especially and being about how you fight and what sort of conflicts you come into as being really interesting.
CB: Yeah, that makes sense, especially the morning star phase, when it’s rising before the Sun versus the evening star phase when it’s coming out into view in the evening after the Sun sets.
CB: Okay, let’s see, so synodic cycle–and then that’s tied in with the 15-year cycle where the planetary period or the primary planetary period associated with Mars is 15 years. So it’ll repeat and be roughly in the same place in the zodiac every 15 years as the Sun, approximately on the same day, in 15-year increments. So it’s not quite as close as Venus, where Venus will do that and only be 2 degrees off. But roughly speaking, it’s somewhat close in the zodiac.
All right, so we’re back after a little. So we’re pretty far into this episode, but I wanted to do one last thing, which is just to try to go through Mars’ placement through each of the 12 houses starting with the 1st house, and just talk about some possible manifestations. And obviously, that’s not going to be comprehensive, but it might at least give people a starting point for understanding what Mars’ placement in the different houses could mean or some different scenarios that could come up just, again, to give you people another perspective on what Mars means in astrology.
CB: Okay, let me pull out a diagram from our poster and from our houses episode that just shows the significations of the 12 houses. So the 1st house is traditionally associated with ‘the self’, ‘the body’, ‘the character’, and ‘the appearance’. So that’s one of the houses that we’ve already talked about of Mars in the 1st house, and sometimes that relates to the person’s character and they can have a more Martian or martial-type character if Mars is in the 1st house.
So they can be more ‘impulsive’; they can be more ‘forthright’. Sometimes that can go to an extreme of being more ‘pushy’ or more Martian in a sort of aggressive sense. Other times, it could be more ‘courageous’ or something like that.
SO: Yeah, and we gave some examples of that one already; the friend who just said, “I don’t know, I’ve been stabbed a bunch of times,” who has Mars in the 1st, when asked about if he had any scars on the head.
CB: Yeah, or my other friend, one of which just sometimes had a tendency to get into little accidents of bumps and bruises and burns and things like that; she was always getting herself into trouble. So those are some of the different ways, physically speaking, in terms of the 1st house. The 1st house has that duality of being about the body and the mind and the meeting point between the two, so it can really relate to either one.
CB: Okay, so let’s move to the 2nd house. So the 2nd house is the place of ‘finances, possessions, and income’. So some Mars 2nd house manifestations can be being ‘impulsive about spending money’, like ‘spending money very quickly’. I know that’s what I’ve seen. What have you seen with that placement?
SO: Yeah, that term ‘burning a hole in your pocket’ about things that cost you a lot of money is very martial; but also people who are really ‘active about getting possessions’. A lot of times, people will spend a lot, but they’ll also be really ‘aggressive about making money’ as well.
SO: So I’ve seen in some charts just actual ‘collections of swords’, something really literal like that.
CB: Yeah, having ‘sharp things’ in one’s possession, or your prized possession being a sword collection or something.
CB: So sometimes that can be problematic. I think there were news stories a few years ago about Johnny Depp being in financial troubles because he had spent money so impulsively and lavishly on stuff that he had ‘a spending problem’ or something like that. He had Mars in a day chart in the 2nd house, so I thought that was an interesting placement and manifestation of that.
SO: Oh, yeah, that is interesting.
CB: So a Mars transit though through the 2nd house could be, on the one hand, let’s say constructively, ‘a period of putting a lot of work into making more money’ and making more money as a result of hard work’ during that period, like let’s say pulling overtime hours at your job. You’re really putting in and you’re extending your energy levels, your vitality and pushing them as far as they can go in order to bring in greater income during that time. Alternatively, let’s say a bad manifestation could be ‘losing money suddenly’ due to something getting robbed on the street or something like that.
SO: Yeah. Also, I see a lot of people just getting ‘sick of all their stuff and getting rid of it’; just taking everything to Goodwill during that time. Maybe even impulsively throwing it all away.
CB: Right, or maybe that’s like the classic person who comes home, and their partner is throwing all their stuff outside and throwing a match on it and set it on fire or something like that.
SO: Yeah, that’d be a really exciting manifestation.
CB: Yeah, it would be like writing that down in the journal if that was the case. It’s one of the classics where the astrologer is more interested in how well that manifestation has turned out than in having lost all their stuff.
SO: Yeah, sounds like a remedial measure to me.
SO: Just kidding. I’ve got to be careful about what I advocate for here.
CB: Yeah. All right, so let’s go to Mars in the 3rd house. So the 3rd house traditionally can be things like ‘siblings’ or ‘some relatives and extended family’, but also ‘short trips’, ‘school’, ‘education’, and ‘communication’.
SO: Yeah, just ‘running all around town’ with that transit a lot of times, or sometimes ‘problems with modes of transportation’. I’ve seen ‘difficulty with vehicles’ coming up then.
CB: Yeah, like your ‘car breaks down’, or alternatively, ‘somebody breaks into your car and steals your stuff’.
SO: Yeah, or ‘fights within the community’. Although sometimes positive manifestations can be ‘organizing your community to fight against something’, say, if some sort of thing is going to come through. Maybe they want to shut down some business or something that you really care about, so ‘fighting with the community’ as well…
CB: Yeah, definitely.
CB: ‘Taking action’ or ‘organizing’, or even ‘leading community efforts in your neighborhood’ can be a 3rd house thing. ‘Siblings’ is a really common 3rd house manifestation and that can be ‘conflict or separation with siblings’ or ‘a fight with your siblings’. What would be a constructive manifestation of a 3rd house sibling transit?
SO: Deciding to ‘do a triathlon with your sibling’ could be one. But also, ‘doing some sort of construction project together’ could be an example.
CB: Yeah. And sometimes when it comes to transits, it can be ‘something happening in that sibling’s life’. It doesn’t even necessarily have to do with you; it’s just something indicated in your chart that’s happening in their life. So it can be that sibling being the one that runs the triathlon or something like that.
SO: Yeah, I think I’ve literally had that happen to me. I didn’t talk to my brother for a long time and then that’s when I talked to him. He was like, “Oh, yeah, I won the triathlon.” I was like, “What triathlon?” But also, he’s made me do triathlons before.
CB: Nice. So yeah, that can be another thing–the person represented by the house dragging you into that thing, so that’s how you get involved in the manifestation of that placement.
CB: Okay, that’s pretty good. Since 3rd house is also communication, it can be the double-edged sword of communication that we talked about with Mercury before in terms of getting into ‘verbal arguments’ or being ‘more assertive in speech’ during that period than you might be in other times in your life.
CB: All right, let’s move on to the 4th house. The 4th house is ‘parents’, ‘home’, ‘family’, and ‘private life’. So this can be sometimes like ‘separating from your home and living situation’, which can be positive or negative. It can be also ‘severing or cutting away from your roots’ in some way, or your parents or your family.
SO: Yeah, my Mom has Mars in the 4th house, and she is the first person in her family, in the last 250 years, to move away from the circle around this one farm.
CB: Okay. Yeah, that’s pretty good. So sometimes it can show also ‘conflict with the parents’, ‘or one of the parents’ can be a really martial or ‘Mars-y’-type character in terms of being really ‘assertive’ or ‘aggressive’ or ‘combative’ in some instances.
SO: Yeah, that’s definitely come. But then there’s also things like my Mom’s parents. Her dad was a farmer who worked super, super hard and was like Mars in that way. And then her mom was a nurse who worked with a lot of people who had been in accidents and things like that.
CB: That makes sense.
SO: So yeah, some of those things can soon come through.
CB: Yeah. So sometimes the family member can take on a profession of Mars and be ‘in the military’, like you come from a military family; or you come from a family of ‘iron workers’ or something like that.
SO: Yeah. And I’ve seen it sometimes too–this is a common thing–but people, if they have conflicts–if the 4th house represents what’s a little ‘more hidden’–they’re somebody who really doesn’t like to do them out in the open. They wait until they’re in a private place when they can settle those things.
CB: Yeah, that makes sense. So ‘preferring to act in private’ rather than let’s say the10th house, which would be ‘preferring to act in public’.
CB: All right, that’s pretty good. Let’s move on to the 5th house. 5th house is things like ‘children’, ‘creativity’, ‘pleasures’, and also ‘sex’.
SO: Yeah. I mean, it’s a house that makes sense with the impulsiveness of Mars, like wanting to have a good time and sometimes that leads to kids.
CB: Right. Yeah, ‘kids’ and then also sometimes ‘games’. It’s pleasures but also that which a person does for pleasure or for ‘entertainment’ or something like that. So somebody that enjoys doing something martial like ‘sports or athletics for fun’ or something like that.
SO: Yeah, I see a lot of people who really just like sports with that placement.
CB: Right. So sometimes the children thing can come up in a Mars context where the person’s ‘children can end up becoming martial’ in some sense if Mars is in the 5th house. So let’s say your ‘child goes into the military’ or something like that when they get old enough or as soon as they get old enough, or sometimes there can be issues of ‘severing or separation with the children’ in some way.
SO: Yeah, those things definitely happen. And I think Mars is, going back to it, representing ‘toddlers’. It can be really interesting to watch it in kids because of that nature of Mars being difficult to hold back; kids have even less practice and are even more forthright with whatever their emotions are. So watching it by transit, you can see the kids being a lot more of a handful during those times.
CB: Sure. Yeah, that makes sense. All right, so let’s jump from the 5th house to the 6th house, which we talked about a little bit in terms of ‘throwing yourself into your work’. So traditionally, some of the 6th house associations in ancient texts were things like ‘illness’, ‘injuries’, but also ‘work’ and ‘subordinates’.
‘Work’ and ‘subordinates’ is funny because sometimes if a person owns a business or is in charge of a group of people, a Mars transit or placement in the 6th house can be about their ‘relationship with people that work below them’. And if there’s a challenging Mars placements there that can be ‘conflict with people that work for you’ or work under you in some way.
SO: Yeah. And that’s interesting with so many of the ancient texts talking about Mars being ‘people who work under the king’, or ‘generals’, or people who are not quite in charge but they’re answering to somebody else and just taking orders, and Mars, again, having its joy in that house.
CB: Right. Yeah, for sure. So sometimes in addition to characterizing things about work and one’s job, or having to put extra energy into that, the 6th house is also the house that has to do with sometimes ‘physical things’. So it can indicate, if there’s a transit going through there, some sort of Mars-type physical issues can come up during that time. So we’ve talked about different things like that in terms of ‘injuries or ailments’ related to Mars.
SO: Yeah. And that’s an interesting one where it can kind of go either way because it can also tend to be more proactive than say a benefic in that house when there is a health issue and kind of indicate like, “Oh, I’m going to take care of this now before it becomes something.” That kind of impetus of Mars becomes productive there, but then it’s also a planet that can cause things as well.
CB: Yeah, or coincide with a period of things like that happening in terms of a Mars-related ailment of some sort or a Mars-related injury.
SO: Yeah. I’ve also noticed it being one of the ‘dark’ houses. A lot of times, Mars, when it does represent health issues or something like that, the problem will start at the beginning of the transit, but it won’t really be apparent until it actually leaves that house.
SO: Yeah, just just sort of interesting. So if Mars is transiting that house, I usually advise that people be extra proactive about pursuing and looking into anything that potentially could be a health issue; it doesn’t mean that it necessarily is going to. But that kind of attitude of like, “Oh, it’s probably no big deal,” during those times it’s good to be a little more on the cautious side.
CB: Right. For sure. Yeah, that makes sense. All right, I think that takes us into the second-half of the houses. So Mars in the 7th house, the 7th house is traditionally things like ‘relationships’, ‘partnership’, ‘marriage’, and ‘how one relates to other people in their life’, or just the generic category of ‘the other’ as opposed to the 1st house, which is ‘the self’. So how do you see that working out?
SO: Well, I just recently–from the Vedic tradition that I just started working in–learned about the condition called Marana Karaka Sthana. So it’s almost like opposite the planetary joys and places where the planets really don’t like to be, and Mars is considered Marana Karaka Sthana in the 7th. It’s basically the ‘planet of conflict’; it doesn’t like to be in the house of relating to others.
SO: So that can be a pretty difficult place for Mars, I think. You don’t want to have to fight with the people that you’re closest to.
CB: Yeah. Isn’t there a condition that’s become well-known with Mars in certain houses, like the 7th and a few others, that’s called kuja dosha or manglik dosha or something like that.
SO: I’m not sure. I’m not familiar with that.
CB: Okay. Yeah, I think it’s just related to the same idea of Mars indicating conflict or separation and being in the marriage house potentially could indicate ‘conflict or separation when it comes to marriage or relationships’ as a possible manifestation. But other more constructive indications can be just ‘the partner being a martian or martial-type character’ like ‘an athlete’ or ‘a soldier’ or some other Mars-type profession.
SO: Yeah. And I think the Mars capacity to put in work can sometimes be useful there because relationships really take a lot of work. and it goes into this notion of malefic planets can seem bad a lot of times, but when you get into a really rough scenario sometimes it’s good to have a planet that can handle a little more trials and has a little more willpower to see things through and do the work necessary to make stuff good again.
CB: Yeah, that makes sense. So ‘putting in work when it comes to relationships’, or maybe even ‘working with the partner’ and activity and action being an integral part of the relationship. ‘Couples who workout together’ would be a pretty straightforward Mars in the 7th manifestation.
SO: Yeah, that’s definitely a thing. And then also the 7th being ‘seeing clients’. You can tend to have ‘clients show up who have more martial issues’ or just kind of more ‘martial lifestyles’. And then of course sometimes they can just go into full-on ‘lawsuits’; the 7th being ‘open enemies’.
CB: Right. So ‘encountering Mars in other people’ when that placement is activated, or if it’s a transit, some Mars-type situation or Mars-type person coming into your life, that either there’s a lot of energy, an energy expenditure surrounding, or in which there can be conflict or separation surrounding that person.
CB: Okay, so that’s the 7th house. Moving on to the 8th house, which is traditionally things like issues surrounding ‘death or mortality’, but also ‘inheritance’, and generally speaking, ‘the assets that belong to others’, including ‘the assets of the relationship partner or the marriage partner’ because it’s the second from the 7th. But also, just this general category of ‘other people’s money’ or ‘other people’s things’ is interesting as a general category.
One of the ones that comes up that often I forget about and I’m surprised about is ‘taxes’. And sometimes if you have a Mars transit through the 8th house, getting hit with a big tax bill can be a negative manifestation of that.
SO: Yeah, I’ve definitely seen some of that stuff come up.
CB: Yeah. Let’s see, so one of the things surrounding that can be because the 8th can indicate ‘inheritance’, a Mars placement there could indicate ‘a conflict surrounding inheritance’ within a family or something like that.
SO: Yeah, I’ve seen that. And just by transit, it can show people who just really don’t want to be dealing with other people for a while. If you have it in your birth chart, I think there can be more of a tendency to use it constructively in a practice with conflict in those areas, but by transit it tends to look like people who just really ‘don’t want to have to deal with the logistics of doing things alongside other people’ or ‘sharing stuff’. I went on a road trip with somebody one time who was having this transit, and they were openly super sick of doing group projects by the end of it, or having to think about everybody else’s needs before they could go anywhere.
CB: Right, that makes sense.
SO: But then…
CB: Go ahead.
SO: Oh, I was just going to say also one of the other 1988 Pisces people who have that stellium in Capricorn is a friend who has that in the 8th. And he became a parent, as in a father–not apparent as in invisible–unexpectedly at one point and just got really, really into working to provide for this family all of a sudden and was really, really motivated by getting resources for other people and making sure he was a reliable person.
CB: Nice. That makes sense. All right, so let’s see, moving on, I’m not going to get into some of the other mortality things. That’s going to be a whole separate episode at some point where I’m going to tackle that. And I’ve been meaning to tackle the traditional ‘length-of-life’ technique and some of the debates and issues surrounding that in Eastern and Western traditions. Actually one of the things that’s interesting about the Vedic tradition is don’t they sometimes treat the 8th house as having to do with ‘vitality’ and ‘longevity’ or things like that?
SO: Yeah. But I mean, I should also say I’ve been studying this tradition for a pretty short amount of time. I’m still very much like a student at the beginning, so I’m not a representative of it.
CB: Okay, understood. All right, so moving on to the 9th house, which is the house that traditionally signifies things like ‘travel’, ‘all things foreign’–relative to the native’s initial culture–‘education’, and also ‘religion’ or ‘philosophy’. So what are some Mars in the 9th house manifestations?
CB: ‘Exorcisms’, okay.
SO: Just that–no. Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of people with this one ‘go to school for martial things’, or simultaneously it can be going to school for something unrelated to Mars but then ending up ‘challenging their professors or the institutions themselves’.
CB: Yeah, sometimes that doesn’t work out well. It can be like ‘leaving school prematurely’, like ‘a severing or separation from one’s education before it’s completed’; like a cutting off.
SO: Yeah. Actually several of the tattoo artists I worked with have Mars in the 9th, and tattooing is a very spiritual practice for them and incorporates a lot of that into it. Another good example of this is–I mentioned her earlier–Claire Gallagher who goes by ‘The Body Astrologer’; and she shares her chart a lot, so I’m assuming this is fine.
But yeah, she has Mars in the 9th. And she sets up exercise programs as a form of ritual and talks about exercise as being something different than what’s been marketed by the vast majority of the health and wellness community, that’s actually not necessarily always that healthy or good; but yeah, I think that’s a really cool example.
CB: Yeah. 9th house stuff can sometimes indicate ‘conflict when it comes to one’s religion or belief system’, which can sometimes mean growing up with one religious background, but having to separate yourself from that at some point or having some sort of difficulty surrounding that that causes you to have to go out your own way in some sense, or sets you apart from where you originally started. I’ve seen an instance of somebody that, for example, grew up in a cult, but had to leave that at some point when they became an adult and decided to separate themselves from that.
SO: Yeah, I’ve seen some of that. I forgot the passage again, but I think I’m pretty sure Firmicus, again, has another good description of this being kind of like ‘heretical’, some sort of defiant person. His description is really beautiful and good for it, but I can’t remember what it is now.
CB: Yeah, that’s a funny one. And then also just sometimes travel–I feel like if you run into ‘problems while traveling’ that can be a Mars transit-type thing; like that one trip you take that just does not go very well while Mars is transiting through your 9th house.
SO: Yeah, I always have a ton of issues whenever Mars transits my 9th, pretty much just related to travel alone though.
CB: Sure. All right, that brings us to the 10th house, which is ‘career’, ‘actions’, but also ‘reputation’ and ‘one’s public life’ as opposed to the 4th house, which is ‘one’s private life’. So the 10th house can be like Mars-related careers, which we’ve already touched on extensively of things like ‘being in the military’, ‘being a soldier’, ‘being an athlete’ or other types of Mars-related professions where the archetype of Mars gets channeled through the career, or through in some instances just the public reputation.
SO: Yeah. But then it definitely goes into ‘the reputation being challenged’ somehow, or the inverse of the 4th house being ‘challenging something publicly’.
CB: Right. What’s that saying? ‘Any publicity is good publicity’, or something like that.
CB: I don’t think that’s always true, but I think definitely Mars in the 10th house would be the one that would attempt to use that strategy more of sometimes ‘creating a controversy in order to advance one’s own interests’, let’s say.
SO: Yeah. I think the 10th house really helps illustrate the difference between day versus night charts as well. If Mars is like ‘crimes’, in the middle of the day, things tend to be more visible. Kind of like sometimes when they say they ‘committed this crime in broad daylight’, or just in a way that a lot of people saw it; it’s considered even more brazen when done.
CB: Yeah, that’s a good point. And sometimes Mars in the 10th house can be using Mars-type things as one’s career. So yeah, that could be things like ‘crimes’ or what have you if it was that manifestation of Mars.
CB: All right, but as a transit, sometimes Mars through the 10th house can be things like having to put in ‘extra energy at work’ or in order to ‘further one’s career in a constructive sense’; or it can be having ‘a severing or a separation from one’s career’ in a more potentially challenging or negative sense in ‘getting fired from one’s job’, for example.
SO: Yeah, or it can be just deciding that on your own and kind of representing deciding to be ‘an entrepreneur’ or something; or just all of a sudden that Mars saying ‘no’ and severing from things and just being like, “I’m sick of all of this. I hate my boss. I’m leaving. I don’t care what anyone thinks.”
CB: Yeah, or like ‘conflict with superiors’, ‘conflict with your boss’, which can sometimes lead a person to want or need to be ‘self-employed’, so that they are their own boss.
CB: All right, let’s see, Mars in the 11th house, which is traditionally the place of ‘friends’, ‘groups’, ‘alliances’ and ‘hopes for the future’. So that can be another one that can be a tricky house because sometimes it can give a propensity, if it’s not well-configured, to have ‘severing or separations with friends’ as a recurring theme in one’s life for either reasons that can be due to the native themselves or sometimes that can be completely outside of the native’s control.
SO: Yeah, I’ve seen that come up a lot, feeling kind of ‘ostracized’ somehow in a group, or having lots of conflict come up. That’s one where you’ve got to find a fight club for that.
CB: Okay, is fighting with your friends the constructive manifestation?
SO: Yeah. Fight conferences, I guess.
CB: Right. You’ve mentioned some positive manifestations of ‘organizing one’s friends’ in order to fight against something or to protest something, for example.
SO: Yeah. And I would say that’s definitely a constructive use of that placement.
SO: Also, ‘critics’; I see that come up a lot.
SO: Because it can be sometimes your audience, like groups or associations that you’re affiliated with, and people who are interested in the same subject matter as you are can kind of be associates in a way. And then Mars kind of has that critical sense to it–not always in a negative way, but kind of just in that martial, ‘taking things apart’ a little bit. Yeah, critics can fall under that nature.
CB: That makes sense. Yeah, that brings up something we didn’t talk about a lot, but just the importance sometimes of Mars in ‘editing’. You were saying ‘critiquing’, but that made me think of ‘editing’ and how crucial the process of editing is to, for example, a film. At the end of it, the director has shot everything, and they have all this footage for their movie, and it’s like five- or six- or seven-hours-long, and the editor’s job is to cut out all but the most essential things.
And what a crucial process that is knowing when and where to sever or separate or cut things out and how that’s part of the creative endeavor of the balance between Venus as creativity versus Mars knowing when to cut something out and when it needs to be removed.
But sometimes it’s funny in film how that’s sometimes like a difficult process for the director, and directors sometimes having tensions with their editors in terms of thinking that something needs to be left in, whereas somebody else feels like that really needs to be taken out and that it’s like excessive.
SO: Yeah, that’s a great example.
CB: Yeah, so just in terms of the constructive or necessary function of Mars.
CB: All right, and finally the last house is the 12th house, which traditionally is the joy of Saturn. And it’s associated with things like ‘enemies’, or ‘sickness’, or ‘loss’, or sometimes ‘seclusion’. So what are your Mars 12th house associations?
SO: ‘Secret enemies’, for sure, or just ‘secret problems’. Even if it’s not a person necessarily, but something in your life that’s acting like an enemy can be an issue.
CB: Yeah, for sure, like ‘conflict with enemies’. I knew somebody that had a Mars-Pluto conjunction in the 12th, and they needed a tendency to focus and obsess on their perceived enemies.
SO: Yeah, a pretty depressing example of this–that also kind of shows that aspects of sect can be complicated and there’s a lot of things in a chart that have to be considered together–is the chart of Selena who had Mars in Capricorn in the 12th in a night chart. And during a 12th house profection is when a friend actually turned on her and ended up killing her. So yeah, that’s an extreme example and a pretty depressing note to end on. But issues are usually not that extreme, obviously, but issues that can be ‘in the background’ or appear to ‘come out of nowhere’ in some ways.
CB: Yeah, for sure. Let’s see, in another context, a more constructive context, it can be working with people that are in those areas, especially 6th and 12th house ones. The positive manifestations of the 12th house can be ‘hospitals’, and it can also be ‘places of seclusion’ like ‘jails’. But in a constructive context, it can be doing good work in those areas with ‘people that are in difficult circumstances’ themselves. And in a way that almost becomes the remediation for people with those placements–a desire to help those that are in difficult circumstances.
SO: Yeah, totally. That Mars capacity to fight and the 12th house being a place that represents ‘parts of the population that are often overlooked’. And so, that’s a really good one. I know sometimes it also has to do with ‘meditation’ and those sort of practices just needing seclusion. I know some people who have this who are really into forms of ‘movement-based meditation’; that comes up a lot.
I also think about it just in terms of the 12th being kind of like ‘alone time’. When you’re really angry a lot of times, it’s just like, “I just need to go be by myself, I just need to go process this for a while alone,” and that being that placement. But then also, like you’re saying, sometimes it can be like helping other people with the same process; so ‘helping other people process their anger’ in some way.
CB: Yeah, definitely.
SO: Yeah, I said it one time online, but if the 6th house is often associated with ‘physical labor’, I think about the 12th house as being like ‘emotional labor’ a lot of times, so kind of dealing with more ‘martial emotions’. And sometimes you’ll see ‘therapists’ and things like that have that placement.
CB: Yeah, that makes sense. I’d like to see that explored more, just that distinction between physical things in the 6th house as one of the houses that’s below the horizon, underneath the earth, and the ‘physical realm’ versus the 12th house being a house that’s above the horizon, in the more ‘mental or sort of quasi-spiritual realm’ and dealing then with more mental topics.
SO: Yeah. I also like to think that part of the reason that the 12th house has such negative significations is it’s also a house that doesn’t just come up as naturally as some of the other ones.
The thing I think about a lot is the 10th house being angular. You might just be on the side of the street, and somebody might yell, “Get a job,” at you, but nobody just randomly yells, “Hey, have you gotten enough rest?” It’s very hard for most people to come across or make space for ‘alone time’, or spiritual well-being, or mental well-being, so planets there can be difficult to create space for.
CB: Yeah, it’s difficult to wrap your hands around or to perceive directly.
SO: Yeah, I think that’s part of why people get sort of upset about the notions of ‘self-care’. It’s like, “Oh, you just need to do this thing for self-care.” And it’s like, well, yeah, but a lot of people don’t actually have the time or the resources or whatever to get the amount of self-care that they need; so the 6th and the 12th kind of being that axis has to do with physical and spiritual and mental well-being being difficult for those reasons.
CB: Yeah, that makes sense. All right, well, that brings us to the end of the 12 houses. So we’ve gone through every planet combination; we’ve gone through every house combination. We’ve talked quite a bit about different zodiac sign combinations as well. That was pretty, pretty extensive then, and I think we’ve covered everything related to the planet Mars. So thanks for joining me to tackle this big topic today.
SO: Yeah, thanks for having me.
CB: Yeah. Is there anything else we should have mentioned, or that we’re going to kick ourselves for not mentioning in this episode when it comes to the planet Mars and its significations and meaning in astrology?
SO: Oh, I’m sure there will be something–it’s like an entire planet–but it seems like a pretty good start.
CB: Yeah. And people can let us know in the comments below this video on YouTube or on the podcast website if there’s something that we missed or other different combinations or manifestations. Especially, I’d love to hear from people with Mars placements in different houses and how that’s worked out for them in unique ways in their life or in certain transits, or even combinations with different planets and how that’s worked out for them.
I always enjoy hearing that stuff because there’s an innumerable amount of different manifestations that there can be, so it’s always interesting hearing it and hearing how it sort of can fit the archetype of different placements, but in new and unique ways that you haven’t heard before.
SO: Yeah, totally.
CB: All right, where can people find out more information about your work? What do you have coming up in the near future?
SO: I’m still doing readings right now, which you can book through SylviOslandAstrology.com. And I’m also on Instagram @Astrology4Bros; that’s the number ‘4’. And Twitter is the same handle. And then I’m working on kind of a collaboration right now with my friend who’s a photographer, who does some sort of photography around esoteric arts, named Carlos Melgoza of Anima Noctura. So that project’s not done yet, but yeah, that’ll be coming out; so that’s something to look into.
SO: And since we’re doing the Mars episode, I also wanted to talk about a good expression of Mars that is worth donating to or that could use help, which is the Giniw Collective, their bail fund going towards the resistance of the Line 3 Pipeline right now. And I’ll have a link to that in my Instagram bio for the next while, but you can go to StopLine3BailFunds.org. Or in the future, if people are listening to this, you can also go to ProtestLaw.org, or you can look up The Center for Protest Law and Litigation.
And also, if anybody does donate to those things, you can always send me a screenshot of that either through email or Instagram, and I will send you a link for a reading that is half-off. I’ll be donating some of my own to this as well. But yeah, it’s a really good cause, and the legal fees have been pretty intense throughout this campaign. I think some people have been getting really stunned; the bails are going for tens of thousands; so yeah, it needs a lot of help.
CB: Awesome. Yeah, so you’ll be donating some of the stuff from your readings, and people can find out more about how to get a reading from you and other things related to that through your website, which is SylviOslandAstrology.com. And I’ll put a link to that either below this video on YouTube or on the description page on The Astrology Podcast website for this episode.
SO: Yeah, and there will be more information on Instagram as well.
CB: Okay, cool. So people can find that on your Instagram page, which is instagram/Astrology4Bros.
CB: Perfect. All right, well, yeah, I would recommend everyone follow you on Instagram because you have always had really great posts, as well as on Twitter. And I guess that’s it. So thanks a lot for joining me today.
SO: Yeah, thanks so much.
CB: Cool. All right, thanks everyone for watching or listening to this episode of The Astrology Podcast. If you’re watching us on YouTube, please be sure to like, subscribe, and leave a comment below. Otherwise, that’s it for this episode, so thanks for watching, and we’ll see you again next time.
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