Introduction to Planetary Influence 6:
Mars in Astrology
– written by Philip Graves – 9 Jan 2004
– reformatted for WordPress, 8th June, 2016
Mars in Astrology
The glyph for Mars was originally a cross of the Soul over a Circle of Spirit – an upturned arrangement of that for Venus, showing the Spirit struggling under the load of the pained consciousness of the Soul, which exists at the juncture between the spiritual and material realms of existence. Yet equally this glyph, with the crescent of Matter completely absent from it, shows the desire of the conscious Soul to focus on creative Spirit to the exclusion of material restrictions, and thus to vanquish and defeat the limiting conditions of corporeal existence.
The modern glyph showing an upwards-tilting arrow emerging from the Circle of Spirit highlights the more aggressive, forward-thrusting, passionate desire of creative Spirit to fight for its aims and pierce all obstacles and defences in their way.
Martin Schulman also notes that the original glyph featured a cross over the Circle, but interprets it according to his view that the cross represents Matter, and deduces that it shows the need for material fulfilment dominating over and even somehow fulfilling the Spirit. Schulman also perceives the slant of the arrow on the modern symbol to signify an imbalance or incompleteness requiring fulfilment from external sources, whether they be personal or transcendent in nature.
The relationship between Venus and Mars in the nativity is a key to social adjustment, describing the balance between intake and output, passivity and assertion. The opposing nature of these two forces also makes them natural mutual complements in sexual and romantic attraction, with Mars making the moves and Venus calling. The position of Venus on the near side of the Earth and Mars on the far side from it relative to the Sun in their orbits around it is thought to account for Venus being experienced as a pulling force and Mars as a pushing one.
Mars evokes projection and forcefulness, which when positively expressed manifest as vigour; when negatively, as aggression. Because of its confrontational, strident manner, Mars has conventionally been perceived as serving as a negative, disharmonious influence on any point it contacts in the horoscope, albeit an energising influence too; and it has therefore been known as the lesser malefic.
The nature of Mars’s influence is acquisitive; active; angry; ardent in pursuit; combative; concerned with physical achievements; ambitious; assertive; careless; centripetal; courageous; desirous; destructive; determined; direct; domineering; dynamic; enduring; energetic; enterprising; enthusiastic; expert; fearless; fraternal; fretful; hasty; high-spirited; indiscriminately sexual; indomitable; inflammatory; intolerant; mentally sharp and penetrating; patriotic; passionately loving; powerful; protective of self and kin; ruthless; self-assured; striving; unhesitating; unrestrainable; and unswerving; but when denied expression, potentially coarse; cruel; egotistical; quarrelsome; sarcastic and vulgar.
Mars governs adventures, athletics, cutlery, death, dexterity, energy, enterprise, fevers, fires, hurts by violence, kilns, madness, male relatives, mortuaries, poison, prowess, quarrels, sharp tools, slaughter houses, sports, steel, and weapons. It also signifies burnings, calumnies, sudden deaths, enmities, enthusiasm, glory in battle, sharp pains, poisonings, strifes, thefts, treasons, and wounds inflicted by fire or metals. It confers a brave, cynical, demonstrative, often destructive, expert, fearless, impulsive, independent, irascible, reformist, witty nature.
People signified by Mars include alchemists; armourers; apothecaries; armaments manufacturers; barbers; bailiffs; bakers; barbers; bear-keepers; butchers; carpenters; chemists; cobblers; new conquerors, and tyrannical or oppressive rulers; cooks; cutlers of swords and knives; dentists; dyers; engineers; gamblers; gunners; hangmen; leather finishers; marshals; merchants; metal workers; military personnel, esp. high-ranking officers; physicians; smiths; surgeons; tailors; tanners; thieves; usurpers; watch-makers.
Places described include chimneys; forges; furnaces; slaughterhouses; smiths; shops; and anywhere where bricks or charcoal are burnt. Minerals include adamant; multi-coloured amethysts; antimony; arsenic; bloodstone; brimstone; jasper; red lead; magnetite; ochre; touchstone; vermilion. Colours signified are red, yellow, and all fiery and shining in appearance. Flavours are bitter, sharp, and those seeming to ‘burn’ the tongue.
Herbs under its dominion are mostly those red in colour, with sharp, pointed leaves, a caustic, burning taste, and a love for growing in dry places, with a corrosive, penetrative action on the human body, generating a subtle heat. They include wood anemone, asarabacca, basil, bindweed, brooklime, broom-rape, butcher’s broom, Scotch broom, goldilocks buttercup, bryony, cayenne (chili), lesser celandine, chick pea, chive, cress, crowfoots, cuckoo-pint, cumin, daffodil, dame’s rocket (Hesperis / eveweed), eggplant, erysimum (treacle mustard / wormseed mustard), fenugreek, fleabane, frankincense, galangal, garlic, gentian (Autumn), geranium, (wall) germander, ground pine, hedge hyssop, hedge mustard, hellebore, hop, horehound (white), horseradish, leek, lettuce (wild), madder, marjoram, marrow, masterwort, mustard (black and white), nettle, onion, pepper, Polygonum spp., radish, restharrow, rhubarb, rue, saltwort (Russian thistle), sanicle, sarsaparilla (Smilax), sowbread (ivy-leaf cyclamen), spurge, squinancy, tarragon, teasel, cotton thistle, holy (or blessed) thistle, sowthistle, star thistle, toadflax (flaxweed), tobacco, weld, sweet woodruff, wormwood. Trees include bitter almond, barberry, chestnut, cinnamon, gorse, hawthorn, pear (wild), pine, gum tragacanth, savine (dwarf juniper), tamarind, and all that are prickly.
Animals are those that are bold, ravenous and warlike, including barbels, bats, bears, cormorants, cranesbills, crows, dogs, donkeys, flies, foxes, gnats, goats, hawks, horses, kites, lapwings, leopards, mastiffs, mules, ostriches, owls, panthers, pigs (wild), pikes, pyes, ravens, scorpions, sharks, tigers, vultures, wasps, wolves, and stinking worms.
Physically, Mars rules the assimilation; blood manufacture, red corpuscules, haemoglobin and iron; left cerebral hemisphere; diaphragm; digestion; left ear; forehead; gall bladder; ganglia; external genitals; hepatic process; motor function of spinal cord; motor nerves; muscles; naso-pharynx; rectum; sinews; sympathetic nervous system; urethra.
When prominent, it describes a medium stature with a relatively lean, strong, large-boned body; a ruddy or brownish complexion; sharp, piercing, hazel eyes; a round face with a bold, confident countenance; red or sandy flaxen hair, often crispy or curling; an active and fearless manner. If Mars rises before the Sun, the complexion is a bit paler; the height a little greater; the body hairy; and the character valiant. If after the Sun, the complexion will be very ruddy; the stature shorter; the body smooth, not hairy; the hair yellow and stiff; the head smallish.
Illnesses signified include abscesses; blisters; burnings; sudden distempers in the head; dysentery; recurrent, or pestilent and burning facial scars; fevers; fistulas; frenzies; gallstones; genital diseases and wounds (in men); haemorrhages; high blood pressure; infections; inflammation; injuries inflicted by iron; jaundice; migraines; the plague; ringworms; shingles; smallpox; and all illnesses connected with an excess of anger, choler or passion.
Unto character, when well placed, Mars confers boldness; bravery; a tendency to challenge others to act honorably; confidence; a contentious nature; a disobedient, non-submissive nature; a fearless facing of danger; immovability; invincibility; prudence in personal affairs; self-publicisation; scorn for any who surpass oneself; valiance; and a victory-seeking, war-loving spirit.
When poorly placed, Mars produces cheating and dishonesty; faithlessness; fury; immodesty; inhumanity and lack of care for people; a love of quarrels and killing; obscenity; oppressiveness; perjury; an inclination to promote commotions, frays, and public disorder and rebellion; rashness; thanklessness; thieving or traitorous, treacherous tendencies; turbulence and wavering of spirit; and violence.
In ancient astrology, Mars signifies action; energy; troubles; when well placed, an audacious, noble but irascible character; but when poorly placed, boisterousness, cruelty, drunkenness, mischievousness, over-expenditure, rapaciousness, tumultuousness, and a precipitate, ruffian-like temperament. As a vocational significator, it produces military people, and workers with fire. In a lost-item horary figure, Mars as significator suggests its violent theft or destruction (as through a burglary).