I have the permission of the author, renowned US astrologer and researcher, Michele Adler, to post this excellent and interesting article on Mars. Enjoy!
SOME THOUGHTS ON MARS
1. Ivy Jacobson once observed that you can generally have what you want from the house Mars occupies in your natal chart, depending on how much effort you make. She noted that you stand the best chance if Mars is in the 11th house, because it is the “hopes and wishes” house. One example is Dolly Parton, who has Mars in the 11th at 20 Cancer, the decanate of Pisces, and out of bounds by declination.
2. Mars in the 12th house is supposed to mean hidden enemies that are violent, but note two people who have that placement: General Norman Schwarzkopf had Mars in the 12th opposing the Moon in Capricorn; he was the brilliant general who led the heroes of Desert Storm in the 1990s. Stephen King, an author of many a gruesome tome, also has Mars in the 12th house, and in his case, it no doubt has activated his imagination. Both men clearly used Mars effectively.
3. A Mars-Mercury conjunction is a “take no prisoner” aspect. The conjunction is found in the charts of lawyers, law enforcement officers and people who deal with confrontation. They usually win. You rarely see anyone with this conjunction who isn’t formidable. Mars conjunctions always give force and energy to the other planet. That is why Mars-Jupiter conjunctions are sometimes called “fortunate actions,” or why Mars-Pluto conjunctions give force to transformation. (Hillary Clinton, Cher, and the late Diana, Princess of Wales, all have this conjunction in their natal charts, and all three have re-invented themselves throughout their lifetimes.)
4. If Mars is out of bounds in declination, (that is, the declination of Mars is beyond 23 degrees 27 minutes) this can make for a superior athlete, an astronaut, or someone who goes the distance when it comes to confrontation. It can also give huge energy to matters and fields related to the sign in which it resides. Henry Kissinger, former US secretary of state, political scientist and diplomat/negotiatior, has Mars in Gemini, out of bounds in declination, and in the 27th degree of Gemini, (the Aquarian decanate) aligned via opposition with the Galactic Center. (The Galactic Center’s degree–27 Sagittarius– seems to turn up in charts that have international reach. It also seems to make for a high degree of intuition and imagination.)
5. Always consider the decanate of the sign in which Mars resides. Look at the element to determine the decanate. If Mars is in Gemini, then it’s in the first decanate. The second decanate will be the next AIR sign after Gemini, since Gemini is of the air element. So Mars in 10-20 Gemini falls in the LIBRA element, 21-30 Gemini falls in the AQUARIUS element.
6. Mars in a fixed sign—Taurus, Leo, Scorpio or Aquarius—is steadfast and doesn’t give up easily. If Mars falls in the 15th degree of a fixed sign—considered an avatar degree—it can be very resourceful, capable of making things happen that others only dream about. It can also be ruthless. Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin has Mars in 26 degrees of Scorpio, the Cancer decanate of the sign, out of bounds in the 3rd house and parallel to an out of bounds Moon.
7. Mars in mutable signs can throw its energy to analysis and mental pursuits and gives strength to the arts and communication skills. Mars in Gemini produces great talkers and negotiators; Mars in Sagittarius is good for teachers, diplomats, athletes, the law, foreign countries, and church-related work. Mars in Pisces is a great position for musicians and dancers and for healers too. Mars in Virgo is also a healing position, doesn’t mind the analysis that goes into building something and making it perfect, and can excel as a teacher, trainer, editor or mentor. All of this, of course, is shaded by the house Mars occupies, and the aspects it makes.
8. Mars in cardinal signs: Mars in Aries is the placement of its ruler: It can mean great athletic ability, leadership ability, or simply someone who enjoys sports and competition and functions as a “power behind the throne”. Mars in Libra can give brilliance in law and military. Mars in Capricorn is an executive position, doesn’t mind the effort it takes to reach the top.
9. I’m saving Mars in Cancer for a separate note, because it’s always categorized as a weak placement. This brings up something I do not understand. I assume that any planet is not just in one particular sign, it is on the axis of two signs. So Mars is not just in Cancer, it is on the Cancer-Capricorn axis. However, when you get into exaltations and falls, Mars is exalted in Capricorn, and in its detriment in Cancer. (The degree of exaltation is 28 Capricorn, and the degree of detriment is 28 Cancer.) I do know of an NFL football team that has incorporated several times and always with Mars in Cancer. It hasn’t made for many winning seasons. On the other hand, it can be overcome by indomitable will, so perhaps it is strongest when it is operating only by and for the individual. An example is Diana Nyad who has Mars in 20 Cancer, and achieved a swim from Havana,Cuba to Miami, on her 5th try and at age 64. And champion swimmer Michael Phelps was a 14-time Olympic gold medal winner; he has Mars in 14 Cancer, and out of bounds in declination. It is interesting that Mars in Cancer can give great strength in water-related sports.
Outside of the realm of sports, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the greatest of the musical composers, had Mars in 00 Cancer (a formidable degree) retrograde and out of bounds by declination. Tim Berners-Lee, considered the founder of the World Wide Web, has Mars in 8 Cancer and out of bounds in declination. William Penn, who established the original US settlement in Pennsylvania, had Mars at 4 Cancer. There’s nothing weak or detrimental about any of those examples.
Also, Mars in Cancer in the Scorpio and Pisces decanates can produce those who are psychically attuned to other dimensions. Channeller Jane Roberts (Seth material) had Mars in the 7th house in 27 Cancer, the Piscean decanate. JZ Knight, who was famous in the 1980s for channeling Ramtha, has Mars in the 8th house in 16 Cancer, the Scorpio decanate, with Mars out of bounds in declination. It is nteresting that both are women, channeling male (Mars) entities.
Mars in Cancer can be an impetus in creative work. George Lucas produced and directed Star Wars, a story that had a family relationship at its core, a Cancerian theme. He has Mars in 25 Cancer, the Pisces decanate. I tend to think that the arts and the artists give us plenty of ways to understand signs and planets in more depth than we would have otherwise.
10. Regarding TRANSITING Mars: If transiting Mars is retrograde, it’s best not to start quarrels. The late Pat Geisler said in her wonderful book, “The Plain Vanilla Astrologer,” that whatever nation launched a war under Mars retrograde always suffers from the action. It is also a good idea to watch when transiting Mars is in conjunction with the angles of your natal or progressed chart. It can sometimes result in minor accidents, or it can mark a time when other transiting aspects are activated.
11. The degree-for-a-year direction is useful for identifying key years in your life when Mars is prominent. For example, if you are 30 years old, add 30 to your natal Mars to see where it is, what sign or house it occupies and whether it’s making significant aspects.
12. Astrologer Eugene Moore said that an unaspected Mars can mean scattered energy, a quick temper. (An unaspected planet does not form a Ptolemaic aspect with any other planet, these aspects being the conjunction, sextile, square, trine or opposition. I would use 10 degrees for aspects to the Sun or Moon, and 5 degrees for everything else, though Moore gave it 8 degrees for everything, too wide I think for a sextile.)
13. Mars should not be feared. It is force and energy and, when used appropriately, can result in high achievement. Even Mars-Saturn, frequently touted as a death aspect, can be interpreted as meaning the “force and energy of a foundation.” Without Saturn, there is no skeletal system, and the greatest of efforts become useless without a solid Saturnian base.
So what are your own observations about Mars in your chart? In what sign and house does it reside, what is its closest aspect(s), is it retrograde, out of bounds in declination? How has it represented force and energy in your life? And what do you see as its meaning in your chart?