Meditation on Mars

by Marguerite Hafeman ©

Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and second smallest planet in our solar system. In western culture the planet is named for the Roman god of war; its reddish appearance comes from iron oxide abundant on the surface. It has a thin atmosphere, the terrain is variable with mountain ranges, canyons, vast flood plains and ancient impact craters. Mars is made mostly of tholeiitic basalt with some plagioclase feldspar, hematite and olivine thrown in.

Other features of Mars include:
An orbital period of 686.971 days, with an average orbital speed 24.007 km/s
Surface gravity 3.720 m/s
Escape velocity of 5.027 km/s
Sidereal rotation period 24 h 37m 22.7s; axial tilt similar to earth’s. 25.19°
Surface pressure .00628 atm
Atmosphere 95.97% Carbon dioxide
1.93% argon
.146% oxygen and the rest is trace
A surface temperature ranging between -226°- 95° F
Two moons-Phobos (panic/fear) and Deimos (terror/dread), which may be captured asteroids.

Mars is approximately half the diameter of earth: Mars is much less dense than earth, therefore has less gravity.
It has a dense metallic core overlaid by less dense materials.
It is seismically active; over 450 marsquakes were recorded in 2019.
It still shows active volcanic activity and evidence of avalanches.
The soil contains perchlorate salt, rendering it toxic.

Landforms and mineral content suggest water was present on the surface until a few million years ago. There is large quantities of ice at both the poles; if melted, water would cover whole planet to a 36-foot depth. Mars has multiple umbrella-shaped magnetic fields located mostly in the southern hemisphere; they are remnants of a global field that decayed billions of years ago. The magnetic fields in the solar wind drape over Mars and into its atmosphere, causing colorful auroras to occur outside the umbrellas.

As an archetype, Mars denotes drive and ambition, libido and passion; in a natal horoscope chart it is representative of the men in a woman’s Life, but is also symbolic of her own anima energies in play. It’s placement reflects the masculine, assertive deployment of drive in a male’s chart and can also delineate the native’s attitude towards other men. Regardless of one’s sexual orientation, Mars frequencies support the active, assertive drive as directed towards growth and goals; they also associate with passion, anger, rage, volatility and violence.

The characteristic style and focus of “going after and acquiring” in a natal chart is determined by the zodiac sign and house natal Mars falls in, along with aspects made to other planets and points. In transit and making hard aspects to other planets and points either transiting or natal, it can serve as a sudden, potent trigger for meaningful events, especially relative to romance, athletic achievement, travel, moving residence, starting or ending a business, accidents or acts of violence and abuse.

Mars spends about 26 months in forward (direct) motion; it then appears to slow down and pause (station) in the heavens, followed by tracking in apparent backwards motion (retrograde) for about 72 days as seen from earth. This is an optical illusion caused by the difference in orbital path and speed of orbit between the two planets, but the effect on earthly affairs is quite pronounced. Mars energy at the stations can feel more heated, intense, inclined to inciting fights and projecting a willful moodiness. Once situated in the retrograde period one can feel listless and drained; romance does not sparkle, projects may drag on without resolution and any predisposition to physical inflammation in the body is awakened.

Retrograde periods are synonymous with “turning within” so with Mars retro it’s a good time to retreat, work on health and exercise, work on deconstructing any festering anger, resentment or impulsive self-sabotage. It is not a good time to seek new romance, commit to marriage or get married. If involved in a dispute it is not a good time to push resolution or otherwise be confrontational and expect to win. The will directed into action may go in another or alternative direction not considered before, to explore new or different options.

Natal Mars turning retrograde or stationing direct by secondary progression will definitely have a major impact on life affairs. In turning retro most commonly the libido is re-directed; this could mean gradually turning celibate, changing sexual preferences or leaving a committed relationship for some sort of experimental situation. In turning direct there are dramatic changes in the outward deployment of one’s assertive and active drives, which takes about three years to gather momentum and “get the hang of it” in working with more free-wheeling forms of activity. With either station there is a quite dramatic re-orientation and/or change in direction of one’s activities and goals in life.

Mars Through the Signs
In Aries: Energetic, sexual, impulsive, outgoing, aggressive and competitive; may not finish what it starts. A sexual adventurer.

In Taurus: Slow, purposeful, determined action directed towards the cultivation of beauty, stability and material gain; excellent craftsmen. Sex is basic and unadorned.

In Gemini: Drive directed into intellect and work with the hands; quarrelsome, restless, curious, not monogamous.

In Cancer: Drive directed into emotion; not objective and dislikes criticism, prone to tantrums if thwarted. Sex drive is tied to emotional needs.

In Leo: Energy focused into leadership and the acquisition of power. Ambition backed by will power, determination and confidence, while success as an issue of pride and status. Sex drive is based in the ego.

In Virgo: Drive directed into efficiency, organization and intricate work; interest in proper health and diet. Sex drive may be redirected into work instead of play.

In Libra: Drive expressed in coordination with other people. Productivity is determined by the cooperation and approval of others. A romantic state of being may matter more than the actual sex.

In Scorpio: Forceful, uncompromising, determined and courageous drive. Dangerous and vengeful as an enemy and keeps activities secret; a powerful sex drive but may withhold to manipulate.

In Sagittarius: Moral courage and the need to act on convictions. Crusaders, movement leaders, evangelists, debaters, sports enthusiasts. Ardent but restless lovers, big on finding the next adventure.

In Capricorn: Energy directed into worldly ambition, management and status. Disciplined action directed into practical results. A controlled sex drive that seeks release in safe conditions.

In Aquarius: Drive devoted to innovation, humanitarian service or uniqueness. Energies are deployed independent of tradition or popular opinion. Dislike of routine and enforced methodology. Sex is playful but can be transactional and cool.

In Pisces: Drive is defused, stamina reduced; the focus is on corporate cooperation, artistry, enchantment, other dimensions, metaphysics or the fostering of illusion. Low emotional control, affectionate, may love universally but not personally.

Mars rules in Aries and is also the traditional ruler of Scorpio; in Aries the drive is more instinctive and impulsive, whereas in Scorpio the drive is tenaciously focused towards union, annihilation or rejuvenation depending on the agenda. The planet is in Fall in Cancer and in Detriment in Libra. A strongly placed Mars may not be a particularly pleasant Mars, as naked aggression and conquest without permission are pure Martian traits admired more by those who live by a violent creed or believe, for example, in the divine right of kings. In signs of affliction the Martian drive can be suppressed, repressed or distorted, or by human will consciously channeled into projects more admired by civilized society.

Mars rules places of action such as forges, sports facilities, slaughter-houses, operating-rooms, burned ground or devastated areas. He also rules Tuesday, iron and steel, chemistry, policemen, dentists, surgery, war and holocausts. Included are sharp instruments, weapons, engineering tools, laboratory equipment and motorized equipment. Mars favors the color red, redwood, mahogany, ruby and garnet, animals and birds of prey, pungent herbs, pepper, coffee, liquors, thorny plants, inflammatory complaints of all kinds, cuts, burns and scalds. He also rules the sex organs, bladder, muscular system, head, face, left ear and sense of taste.

Learning about one’s own natal Mars placement and how it functions in both shadow and light, passive and active, cruel and kind is well worth it. We can't survive or thrive without the fire of Mars, however are just emerging from a dark ages wherein women were judged harshly for being born with a strong Mars and men were expected to have a ruthless and authoritative one. Having the courage to face and understand a natal Mars placement in a difficult house and/or sign, or receiving hard aspects from other natal planets means one has begun the path to ascension. It then becomes the native’s task to become more conscious of the ways the Martian drive impulsively deployed or withheld can sabotage oneself both in the game of life and the quest for personal spirituality. It also pays to track transiting Mars, as its place in the heavens provides an accurate means of knowing when to hold the cards, when to play them and when to fold in that same game of life.

As more active exploration and mapping of Mars is now taking place through the Rover expeditions, it would seem that the nature and function of the more difficult, hitherto hidden human drives and sins, is now surfacing to much greater visibility (and accountability) courtesy of our electronic social media platforms.

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