Martian Aspects and Practices: Make the Most of Your Energetic Drive
Planetary transits signify shifts in our energy, awareness, and life circumstance. So, obviously, it can be helpful to have tools with which to navigate the cosmic weather. There is a lot we can do to work consciously and holistically with planetary themes and energies, inviting these into our embodiment for growth, discovery, and self-care. The first step is knowing the nature of the transiting planet and how it is activating our chart—the better to discover how to support ourselves during these times.
[Note: This series is for entertainment and inspirational purposes only, and not intended to replace licensed medical care.]
At a Glance
Mars Transits: 1 ½ months in each sign
Keywords: action, initiative, confrontation
Movement: channel strong energy into martial arts, kickboxing, competitive sports
Meditation: deep breathing, calmness around reactivity and defensiveness, wait to take on difficult discussions until irritation has passed, personal mantras to diffuse a hot reaction
Medicine: peppermint, hibiscus, and rose tea for cooling/soothing effect; nettle tea to cleanse blood and reduce inflammation
Mars is the planet of war, drive, and initiative. It is what we fight for, and how we defend ourselves. It represents necessary components of life—our vitality and will to survive—so everyone needs a healthy dose of Mars in their personality and constitution to feel alive and healthy. Considered a yang, active planet, its influence tends to be stoking, catalyzing, and energizing. Interestingly enough, even though Mars is classically thought to be an extremely hot and dry planet, in its influence on events and health it is considered a nocturnal planet, as its extreme heat and reactivity are tempered by cool, dark, nighttime conditions. This is important to note since Mars—considered the lesser malefic by the astrologers of antiquity—will be potentially more constructive in the lives and temperaments of people born at night. In a day chart, Mars is extra hot and leans on its more conflict inducing and potentially destructive significations. Mars, by day or night, has a lot to say about our relationship with anger, initiative, and how we tend to subjectively experience Mars’ transits. Awareness and lifestyle practices give us Mars management tools to help us harness its powerful forces.
Classically Mars rules over two signs: Aries by day and Scorpio by night. It also has an exalted place in Capricorn. Mars is most at home and powerful in these signs. In Aries, Mars is expressed in visible, external, active, and individualistic ways, making Aries a conqueror’s sign in the outer world. In Scorpio, these traits are turned inward toward the receptive facilities, giving Scorpio a more covert way of working Mars’ power. As such, Scorpio tends to be the sign of penetrating insight and single-minded focus, meaning natives are naturally inclined toward obsession and deep research. In Capricorn, the steady, earthly ambition of this sign blends constructively with Mars’ potent drive. Mars can bring great strength, fearlessness, and athletic prowess to those born with these placements.
Mars, being a hot active planet, tends to stoke our energy and ignite our initiative during its transits. When channeled constructively, these transits are key opportunities to push through obstacles, complete large workloads, and face confrontations directly. They can be constructive, depending on the nature of the aspects and other planets involved, or cause blow-ups of any tensions in work, relationships, or personal growth that have been simmering for some time. With Mars’ association with heat and dryness, the physical effects of these transits can exacerbate hot, inflamed conditions of the skin, joints, and organs or can aggravate pressure headaches. Mars’ associations with weaponry and fire can make us vulnerable to accidents resulting in burns or cuts, so it is important to take care and be mindful during potent Mars transitions.
Mars goes retrograde every two years, distorting its propulsive action and turning it on its end. We can be called back to revisit an old conflict or dispute and are given a chance to find a resolution. Often this is not reached until any pent up, unexpressed anger is allowed to vent and be relieved. Any momentum we were enjoying in the matters of the sign Mars is transiting through will be delayed for about a month and a half, potentially causing stress and frustration. As with all retrogrades, it is important to manage expectations during these times, have patience, and use the stalled momentum to look closely at our lives, and make appropriate adjustments so that we can move forward with more cool-headed clarity when the time is right.
Conjunctions are the most direct and potent, infusing the personal planet or point with the strongest Mars’ energy. We tend to feel the need to be active and productive, and to use our physical strength. The need to take on challenges is strong, yet we must be careful that we are not stirring up conflict where none exists for the sake of flexing our power.
Squares and Oppositions tend to catalyze and stoke Mars matters. Squares have us feeling as though we are working at cross purposes with others, rubbing each other the wrong way, or causing friction and blockages. Oppositions are potentially the most intense, as the 180-degree aspect has in itself the Mars’ signature of a head to head confrontation. At these times, we are forced to confront issues that we can’t ignore any longer and that may require mediation to resolve.
Trines and Sextiles tend to be more supportive, and conduct Mars’ powerful forces into constructive channels. Trines can indicate a feeling of being in an athletic flow state, moving in harmony with a team to overcome a challenge. Sextiles are similar, but a little milder, infusing different, yet compatible energies with Mars’ presence for positive and helpful results.
Movement: Grounding and Embodying Mars’ Energy
Lifting, sweating—anything that requires good old manual labor can be an excellent opportunity to channel an abundance of Mars energy. It’s a time when it feels good to feel strong. If anger and frustration have reached a peak, exhausting ourselves with a good workout can help us get back to center before having a difficult conversation or after a stressful workday. Martial arts of every kind have encoded in them a spiritual philosophy that recognizes the importance of harnessing Mars’ forces for balance, respect, self-defense, and protection. We need Mars’ energy in life to feel vital, to feel alive, so recognizing it as necessary by not suppressing it is important in its management. Any exercise that tests our ability in healthy competition, with ourselves or others, offers a great arena to integrate martial forces. Kickboxing is a personal favorite, but whatever you choose, remember to leave it all on the mat when returning to regular life!
During active Mars transits, the idea of sitting down to meditate may feel antithetical, yet it can be when being quiet in inward reflection is needed the most. Sitting down for a few minutes at the beginning of the day, to breathe slowly, deeply, and rhythmically, to check in and focus on a sense of space around our challenges can help us practice not meeting life from a place of reactivity. When in the thick of potent Mars transitions, personal mantras can be helpful to run quietly under our breath until we feel calm and centred in ourselves. You can choose the words, something short like “I am calm, I am cool, I am in control,” can help deactivate a reactive impulse and give us time to present a constructive response. It can be helpful to remember in our core nature, we are at peace, and we have the power of choice in every moment to not let others disturb this. It takes practice, but we can find a way to be authentic in our necessary anger, and yet do no harm.
Chill out! Cooling foods, cooling herbs, hydrotherapy—these are remedial to Mars strong heat. Cucumber, fresh fruit, melons, and salads can help balance a dry, inflamed system. Aloe vera and rose water can cool hot skin irritations. Nettle tea can be a wonderful herbal ally to detoxify, help build our blood and immunity, and ease the histamine effects of allergy season. Rose petals, hibiscus flowers, and peppermint leaves are some of herbalism’s greatest cooling herbs, so at times of physical and emotional overheating, this blend can cool the body, support digestion, and calm agitation. Laying down with a cold cloth over the eyes, with your feet up, can be helpful to soothe a tension headache at the end of a busy day, or when feeling overworked.
Art by Debbie Stapleton