Astrologer Laura Craig

Mars in Aries: Stoking the Fire and Fanning the Flames

Mark Rothko “Orange, Red, Yellow 1961”

June 27, 2020 - January 5, 2021

As we in the northern hemisphere enter the dog days of summer, the Red Planet enters Aries in a blaze of glory, to turn the heat up even higher on the thermostat of life. He was last in his home sign from January 1 - February 14, 2019 and this time around, due to a retrograde, he will be camped out there until the end of this year, ensuring that we have a six month supply of kindling to add to our individual and collective fires. 

As with any archetype, we can expect to see both the positive and the negative manifestations of Mars throughout this transit. Greco-Roman mythology reflected the human psyche’s ambivalence toward violence in its war gods. On the one hand, the Greek Ares was a savage figure, hated by the other Olympians, a symbol of frenzied rage and brutality, and in him we see a reflection of our baser instincts and more dangerous animal drives. The Roman Mars, by contrast, was more of the dignified and heroic warrior, a symbol of action though bravery, the leader and progenitor of the people. One instills fear and the other inspires courage. One is motivated by bloodthirst; the other is motivated by glory, but both relish battle.

Mars, in astrology, is our phallic, protruding life force: the Yang to our Venusian Yin. It rules the head, and its symbols include iron, sharp objects; red stones such as coral, carnelian, bloodstone and garnet; thorny plants, nettles and thistle; cayenne and black pepper—among many others. In the astrology of countries, Mars represents the police, military and militant groups (ahem). Aries, the cardinal fire sign, is the archetype of the warrior, the pioneer, the daredevil and the survivor. In the tarot, the closest approximation to the two is the Emperor or the Tower. If it burns, stabs, or severs, then you know the war god is close at hand.

Among firefighters and indigenous peoples in regions of the world where wildfires are a threat, there is a practice called controlled burning, whereby a fire is intentionally set under precise and carefully-managed circumstances, and in doing so, prevents the truly catastrophic wildfires from running rampant. It seems counterintuitive at first, but it comes from a prehistoric knowledge and respect for the role fire plays in the balance of the ecosystem, and an understanding of its innate properties. Fire is an element of nature—it has a rightful place on the earth. Fire is hungry—it must be fed. And so, by controlling and limiting its fuel source, the steward of the land allows it to be satiated without ravaging everything in its path. There is a wisdom to this, I think, beyond the ecological sense, that we can apply to this transit. How can we use intention and proactive thinking to feed the hungry god—through smaller acts of courage, strength and boldness—so that we avoid the conflagration of the lightning-struck tower, or the cruel devastation of the scorched earth policy? How can we be more conscious about discerning between our inner Ares and our inner Mars? And at the same time, how can we build in cooling and calming practices to our routines, so that we can maintain some sense of peace and equilibrium? 

Where Aries falls in your chart is the area of life where you can expect extra blood flow for the next six months. It looks more confident, more competitive, more driven, and more assertive. It also could look more dominating, more belligerent, more destructive, and more inflammatory. It is a transit that, like a wildfire, must be managed with care and knowledge of self, not with fear and avoidance. Forewarned is forearmed. As passions, and tempers, run high this year, let us remember to pick our battles, so that they don’t end up picking us. 

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