Our greatest adversary in life is forgetting who we are, our inner truth, integrity and our ability to love.

Last time we unveiled the esoteric secrets of Parvati as remedy for the moon, and previously we also discussed how to attract Lakshmi’s blessings of wealth and abundance. Today, on a Tuesday, the day of Mars, let’s dive deeper into the esoteric knowledge of this red bodied planet, and how we can transform its powerful energy towards a higher purpose that would benefit our life and path forward.

Our natal chart is essentially a study of time, through the cosmic fabrics. But in a way, it is the thing that binds us. It is not something that should define you, nor should you feel imprisoned by it, because this is not your fate written in stone. You can change things and free yourself – but the only way to do this is 1. gain and receive the awareness and insights of it, and 2. you need to now invest your efforts, work and willingness – to continuously make the effort to change and free yourself from the binds. The only job of an astrologer is to translate to you where the binds are, and to practice their compassion during the session, and to also leave you with hope and perhaps tips or guidance how to change what no longer serves you – but afterwards, it is up to you.

Freedom requires courage – courage to make the effort and take the reigns, to become self autonomous. Self autonomy demands making choices, out of awareness and honesty, and having responsibility and accountability because the consequences of our choices will be ours too. Spiritual astrology isn’t for the faint of heart, but real love too isn’t for the faint of her also.

Now let’s begin,

and first, let’s dive into the myth behind Mars in order to understand the rest.

Astrology began with Babylonian astrology and then Greek, and then after came Vedic. The planet Mars relates to the Greek god Ares from ancient Greek myth, who is the god of war and courage; and under the Greek influence, in ancient Roman religion and myth, Ares’ name translates to their god Mars – god of war, courage, and agriculture guardian. In both myths, Mars (Ares) is known for his passionate relationship with Venus (Aphrodite), and out their love their son Cupid (Eros) is born, who is the god of love, passion and desire. He then falls in love with Psyche, her name meaning “soul or breath of life”, and their beautiful union reminds us to breathe life into the desires of our soul.

In astrology, we often look at the connection between Venus and Mars (I look at your Eros and Psyche too for soul connections) in the natal charts to see how you’ll be able to experience your relationships, and the depths and dynamic of them. Cycles of Venus and Mars in the sky as transits are very telling also, often Mars chases Venus; and typically once a year he catches up to her, and these two cosmic lovers finally meet and kiss in a conjunction – a union – which is a time that marks a beginning of a new love cycle in your life, depending on your chart.

Today let’s begin our discussion with Vedic astrology and its myth, as there is beautiful symbolism to unveil in its layers.

Angraka graha, Mangala, 1842.

Mangala: Mars

In Vedic philosophy and astrology, and Hindu literature, Mangala is the personification and the name of planet Mars. Also known as Lohita (the red one) he is the celibate deity of anger, war and aggression. According to Vaishnavism, he is the son of Bhumi, the earth goddess, and Vishnu, born from the depths of primordial waters.

Other names associated with him from ancient scriptures are: Raktavarna, meaning whose colour is like blood; Kuja, meaning he who is born from earth; and Bha, meaning shining. His element is fire – to symbolize the importance of purification and cleansing.

Mangala is both feared and admired, but his name in Hindi and Sanskrit is synonymous with the auspicious and blissful happiness. It is also believed that once a person is able to transform its Mars energy into a higher purpose, they will achieve the blessings of good fortune in many areas of their life.

The legend goes that lord Shiva was wiping his brow cast beads of perspiration upon the Earth, thus creating the persona of a child. Bhumi, the earth goddess, troubled by the upheavals caused by quakes on account of demonic activity sought Shiva’s help to restore tranquillity. And so he gave her the child arisen from his brow to rear and bring up, as a means of gaining equanimity and peace. With the tender and loving hands and nourishing waters of the unconditional maternal love of Vishnu, the child grew up a kind hearted and mature adult, who was then brought before Shiva to be blessed as an auspicious deity; and was given his place in the zodiac from where his sterling and honourable qualities would hopefully help mankind in its evolution.

And yet, in Jyotish astrology Mars is considered a malefic planet of the first order. It is also, along with Saturn, considered karmic. Mars is also connected to Ketu, or past life. And why is that? Because it is precisely through facing and growing from our karma that humans can evolve spiritually. The so-called malefic effects are meant to cleanse us of our accumulated negativities; and unfortunately humans are taught lessons through adversity. It is perhaps a paradox that we are apprehensive of an entity whose name signifies the auspicious.

In Hinduism, if your natal Mars is in the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 7th, 8th or 12th house, it is said that you have Manglik dosha and this will directly and negatively affect your marriage. It’s because it makes you fiery, hot tempered, easily tempted by desires and lust, aggressive, argumentative and fiercely independent. It is advised that you marry someone who is also a Manglik, because otherwise your partner can’t be a match to you and will not understand your energy, and the marriage may be quite disastrous. 

My opinion is that these placements make you really interesting and passionate for life – full of magnetism and charisma and motivation; and yes, it will cause a hot temper, impatience, impulsivity etc., which you need to learn to manage and tame; and transform your passion for fighting for what matters to you and being passionate towards your partner (get spicy!) rather than burning all bridges and houses in a matter of seconds when something isn’t as you wish. With self-awareness, integrity and effort – this can make you absolutely amazing and the best partner possible! Make this your goal and fight for that – to be the best version of yourself. And definitely find yourself a partner who is a match to you, on all levels, so that your energies blend and calm together in mutual understanding. When both partners are Manglik, the dosha is canceled.

Three levels of manifestation

The first thing to keep in mind is that there are three layers of manifestation or expressions of Mars: 1. habit, 2. passion, and 3. higher purpose.

When Mars is in habit – we are essentially dormant in its energy, might be “sleepy” or starved energy, unacknowledged, and we are basically acting out of habitual patterns and limiting recycled thought patterns. It might seem contra-intuitive for passionate fiery Mars to be “habit” but it often is in many people’s charts, even when they think it isn’t. The physical manifestations of this can be unmotivated, lazy, minimum effort, no initiative, staying in the comfort zone, fearful. This is the example of men who will not take initiative and keep making you doubt how they feel about you or what their intentions are – it makes you feel unstable.

The next manifestation of Mars is passion. And the negative side to this if untamed or misunderstood or unhealthy channeled passion, can result in anger, anxiety, stress, struggle, constantly facing obstacles, pride, playing hardball, overly-ambitious, materially motivated and status focused, too many sexual partners, casual relationships, fear of intimacy, playboy or playgirl (i.e. immature expression of sexual energy), inconsistency, impulsivity, selfishness, dominion.

And the third level of manifestation is Mars’ higher purpose – which is when we develop our energy properly and we come into greater emotional maturity and self growth. This shows up as positive motivation, calm focus, being proactive, knowing what you want, who you are and standing in your truth and higher values, having integrity and being loyal, emotional maturity, and essentially using this raw passionate energy towards serving a higher purpose.

“Ludovisi Ares” Pentelic marble, Roman copy after a Greek original from ca. 320 BC. Some restorations in Cararra marble by Gianlorenzo Bernini, 1622.

Mars in the natal chart & How to transform it

In the natal chart, Mars is associated with passion, drive, physical strength and energy, initiation, motivation, sexual drive, anger, and it is also our masculine energy. Mars is the karaka of the 3rd house – which is the house of words, communication, hands, and this house also rules the part of night when we fall in deeper sleep – which related to the part of our brain and subconscious also related to manifestation. On a higher level, the 3rd house is essentially the courage of the soul.

As we already mentioned, Mars is also connected to Ketu, and Ketu is symbolized by the feet. The feet are what walks us on our path forward in life; and combined with the words and hands that Mars also is with the 3rd house – this shows us that we can weave and shape some of our destiny depending on our own actions and choices.

Mars is also the masculine aspect of love. The masculine aspect of love is the word, the action, the initiation, and the hands that hold the beloved. In a woman’s chart, Mars is her inner beloved, and the energy that she needs to integrate within herself to come into the sacred marriage and meet her right partner in life. In a man’s chart, Mars is his energy, and what he needs to transform in a higher octave and manifestation, so that becomes a man rather than be stuck in boy psychology.

Mars is a soldier – but he is not a king. Mars takes orders, and is raw energy that if you do not know how to handle, you’ll find yourself a Lamborghini with a powerful engine which you don’t know how to handle and you’ll go off road. Your detriment is not knowing what to do with that energy, and thereby becoming its subordinate. You need to give it rules, values, ethical code, and practice discernment and self-control.

If you have little children, you’ve probably heard of the “terrible twos”. This is when they start acting out and having big tantrums. Astrologically, this is when we have our first Mars return – which marks our beginning phase of self-autonomy and forming our beliefs and abilities to be independent. So this is essentially a time when we want to have more control in our life and have our “words” matter. So for a little child this means giving them some options and choices; for example, “do you want to drink your juice out of the blue cup or yellow cup?” This will allow your child to feel some autonomy in its life and come into some calmness. It will also help it have some more confidence and trust in its own abilities, when it wants to do stuff and you allow it; yet you also don’t let it hurt others, so that it learns self-responsibility and self-accountability. This will help them become more responsible adults.

“Mars, Venus and Cupid” by Joseph-Marie Vien (1716 – 1809)

Mars also rules our sexual energy – and yet, remember what we mentioned above: Mars is celibate.

So what does that imply? This means that you should know how to harness your sexual energy. A lot of people go from partner to partner, and men often think that it is sex they want – and yet – what men actually feed their energy from isn’t sex – it is love. This is how sexual energy works for men. If they only have sex with someone, without the emotional connection of love, they will be essentially draining their own energy and vitality, which will affect their physical wellbeing eventually also.

What men actually need and desire from sex is connection. And so it will never be enough to just sleep around, or have more and more sex, unless they have heart centered emotions for the woman. The sooner they realize the subconscious intention and undercurrent energy behind their desires, the better.

Mars wants lust – but what Mars needs is love. Lust is temporary, love recharges you. Many times men try to forget a woman they loved by sleeping around and what that does is taking them further down into depression. You need to understand the way sexual energy works – and I invite you to research and learn about this.

Mars (Ares). Engraving by by G. van der Gucht after L. Cheron after L. Carracci.

Mars is also the significator of anger. Anger is an emotion, and just like all other emotions, there are no good or bad, but there are unhealthy ways of expressing them. So you need to learn how to deal and manage your anger. You can view anger as a dragon. For women – the initiation towards maturity is to learn to ride the dragon; and for men – they need to conquer the dragon. For women, they need to tame the wild animal of emotion, whether anger or fear, and then learn the message it is telling them. Anger is usually a sign of our body that someone may have crossed our boundaries (so we need to set better boundaries or move away from this person entirely), or it could be some injustice against us, or it could also be a sign that there has been sadness undealt with inside of us for too long. Anger often stems from a past experience of feeling powerless. You need to hear its message, and then act accordingly.

For men – the maturity initiation with dealing with emotions is to go into the forest and fight the dragon, You fight the fears and inner demons. You fight the helplessness you feel sometimes.

You take off your armour, to unveil your heart and true emotions, and in that complete vulnerability you need to understand your inner self. Many men hold on to jobs, money, titles, for a sense of self-worth – so the initiation is to strip this off, and know how to be self-sufficient and have true self-confidence. It is also about knowing self-responsibility, self-accountability, and having honour and integrity.

The remedy for anger is courage. Courage is the virtues that meets anger, meets wrath, and matures us.

Wrath is a step above anger, in that it seeks to destroy and obliterate someone or something else because they have enraged you. It is essentially destructive and harmful, and energetically it is like holding a live wire. We can only experience wrath for so long – then it will burn us up and empty us out. Wrath often times comes from a place similar to other Marsian things such as sloth and envy – from a place which feels “less than”, “not enough” or that we can’t do anything. Courage reminds us to have faith and trust in ourselves, and put in the effort to make our life better, and be grown ups. Courage does not mean to go into a scary situation without feeling fear. Courage means feeling ALL of our feelings – rage, fear, sadness, hopelessness, and making the effort anyway. It is the power to move forward.

Again – remember – courage of the soul is what the higher purpose of Mars is.

Mars is a fighter and warrior. Many couples who come to me for sessions and consultations, who have strong hard aspects with Mars, whether in synastry or natal, they struggle with anger and fighting in their intimate relationships. They have amazing passion and sexual attraction, and yet their fights can be horrible. They can also have the tendency to be really independent individually, and we must remember the humble truth that relationships thrive on inter-dependence. We all need to feel needed.

As an advice for them I sometimes say:

1. You need to learn how to fight and disagree with each one in a healthy way. Remember to fight for a solution and not against one another, and practice listening and understanding on what the issue really is; allow yourselves time and space to cool off but don’t turn your back on one another.

2. Channel the energy of Mars in other pursuits outside the house, so that it doesn’t express itself as conflicts and fights. Try sports, daily exercise and cardio to spread the energy, or maybe fighting for a social cause, activism or in professions such as law. If living together, you can try having more space at home between the two of you to calm the energy, or take walks separately each day.

3. Mars is the part of you that wants to fight – so choose to fight for something that matters to you, is meaningful to you, is valuable to you – and then dedicate your energy to it to accomplish it. Perhaps it is learning to play the guitar, or to sart your own business, Mars is the energy you need to harness to motivate you.

You have to channel the Mars energy in a healthy way – towards something that matters to you, and is valuable to you. Mars is what gives you motivation and vitality, so acknowledge it and thank it, but be mindful otherwise you’ll drain yourself and your physical health.

“Mars and Venus Surprised by Vulcan” by Alexandre Charles Guillemot (1786–1831)

Mars is also connected to the 4th house of home and family. Protect your loved ones, protect their privacy, don’t talk behind their backs, protect their honour, don’t betray them, be loyal and fight for love. Protect your house and its boundaries, and set boundaries in your own life.

Remember Mars’ symbolism to earth and fire. Earth is about grounding yourself; and fire is about purification and cleansing that which no longer serves you. This is about cleansing thoughts also.

The remedy for Mars is devotion, faith, integrity and courage. Commit to deepening your bond with your partner and the deepening the intimacy rather than cheating. Practice courage and make the effort to transform your life. Fight for what is valuable and what matters to you. Channel your great passion into what is valuable to you and what matters to you.

Learn how to transform emotions and how to manage extremes – because extremes will only keep you trapped in karmic cycles. Learn integrity and honour, have a good set of higher morals and values. Have faith and trust in self, so that you let go of righteousness and controlling people and situations. Unhealthy expressions of Mars are usually because of low self confidence, which then becomes controlling and dominating behaviours, until it becomes tyrannical. Face your inner dragons, face your fears, and know when and for whom to take the armour off.

Our greatest adversary in life and what limits the higher expression of Mars is not knowing who we are and not knowing how to love. Love is not lust, not sloth, not gluttony, not excess, not overindulgence, not control, not dominion, not single-mindedness, not imprisonment, not stinginess, not lies, not betrayals, not revenge, not anger, not impulsivity, not impatience, not pride.

“Mars and Venus” by Jacopo de’ Barbari, 1460/1470–before 1516.

Remember what brought Mars higher into his auspicious manifestation – the love of Vishnu. Mars needs love, needs to fight for and protect those he loves, needs the kiss of Venus and the compassionate loving touch. Nothing in life acts in isolation, and once we learn how to merge these energies, all becomes of love, for love, with love. Turn the red into the red of your beating passionate loyal heart; into the devotion and dedication towards what matters to you. Mars is the part of you that inspires you to be the loving trusting supportive hands into which your beloved can fall safely into. Learn to devote, provide, and deeply love, with the honour, faithfulness, wisdom and courage that the passion of your true heart gives you.

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Cover artwork by Margarete Petersen. All rights reserved by the artists.

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