If, in the future, anyone tells you that they don't believe in astrology, remind them of the new moon of the 27th August 2003 when Mars was the closest it had been to the Earth in 60,000 years. Refresh their memory on the great hullabaloo that was being made as we all looked heavenwards to the blood red star that rose every night over the south eastern horizon. We dug out our telescopes to look at the polar ice cap and marvelled at the surface of another world and its two orbiting moons. We even sent probes to the red planet to see if there really was life on Mars. Yes, Mars has captured our imagination as we live under a celestial event that we humans last saw when we lived in caves. Furthermore it has certainly demonstrated that the planets do indeed have an effect upon us!
Mars is the Bringer of War, Lord of Conflict, who in his Greek form as Ares, rides into battle accompanied by his sister Eris (Strife) and his sons, Deimos and Phobos (Fright and Fear). Amongst the blood of death he and his retinue draw close to battlefield soldiers as they make their final preparations to kill or be killed. It is not difficult to imagine that as we draw breath for what could the last time, the heavens open up and we come closer to the gods. Soldiers require bravery and courage, two key martian words, if they are going to survive. It is the god of the red planet who brings them such attributes. An archetypal martian character is the youthful warrior, strong and brave, a hero who has passed through the powerful initiation of battle and later will become a famous military leader and the hero of many.
How many stories have been written about the soldier hero? Loads, so let's face it, as a race we are fascinated by war. Hands up who hasn't been in a fight! There is something shameful about fighting, the guilt of exposing our animal nature perhaps, yet there is also something wonderfully exhilarating too. Amongst other things, the rush of adrenaline received by the blood as we are being threatened increases the heart rate, expands lung capacity, makes us stronger to run longer and fight harder and gives greater mental clarity. The adrenaline rush makes us feel superhuman and we like that very much. Obviously we would want to win if we were fighting for our lives, but to win in any competitive event gives us a strong sense of satisfaction. Mars makes us feel strong, youthful and active. And of course there is much charisma associated with these characteristics.
Mars has a powerful influence in our spiritual/religious thought as we fill our imaginations with classic tales of good battling evil. (I wonder if there are as many names for the devil as there are for god.) The tools of war are close to our hearts - guns, bows and arrows, tanks, combat aircraft, magic swords….. In the movies the bad guy always gets the best lines. Kids are fascinated by these tools we use to maim and kill ourselves, and to them, pulling the legs off a daddy long legs comes as natural as peeing on the ground. So when Mars draws this close to us it doesn't take too many brain cells to work out that we are going to be fighting amongst ourselves - again. We don't seem to learn, do we? Turn on the television or read the newspaper headlines and it won't be long before words such as attack, bomb and terrorist are mentioned.
In 1915 the Dean of Astrologers, Alan Leo, delivered a series of lectures on the red planet. As he spoke over 1,000,000 men had already made the "great sacrifice" for their country and many millions more were to share the same fate in those First World War trenches. Part of his lecture linked Mars to the Animal Soul of Man, our base instincts for survival, assertion and procreation. Physiologically Mars governs the muscular system, red blood corpuscles, body heat, the adrenal glands and the sexual organs. The martian energy within all of us is closely linked to our base or animal instincts. I'm sure the Ancient Greeks had the right idea to channel this primeval desire to fight and compete into sports. We used to march armies onto mainland Europe and kill the local population. Nowadays we just send our football teams: for 90 minutes everyone has a chance to let passions rise, cheer our warrior heroes, insult the opposition and then leave the field without anyone getting killed. However, as recent world events indicate, we have a long way to go before we can claim to have mastered our animal impulses.
I'm useless at cryptic crosswords. You could give me the solutions with the clues and I still wouldn't be able to manage to work out how the answers were arrived at. Looking at the horoscope for 9/11, when the first plane crashed into the Twin Towers, is similar: it's impossible to read into that chart such an event or the subsequence events that have unravelled. Yes, Saturn and Pluto were in opposition which does mean "destruction of existing patterns" and Mars too was very powerful, having the previous day moved across the Moon's south node and entered the sign of its exaltation, Capricorn. Yet by themselves these are not sufficient astrological indicators to suggest an event of this magnitude. As an astrologer I am left reflecting on the Greater Mystery which lies beyond our ability to study and understand through any of our knowledge based systems. There is quality about our present time that makes me feel as if there is a portal at a high level being opened. This hole is allowing very powerful energies to enter and impact our physical world.
We are moving into an era where the magic of symbolism is having an increasingly powerful influence upon the general population. The spiritual repression that was administered by religions has waned and our collective spirit is once more free to roam. There are major alignments of the outer, or spiritual planets, that not only reflect the reawakening of our collective consciousness but point to human consciousness becoming more receptive to cosmic forces. Mars's closest pass to our Earth is a powerful symbol of the incisive nature of this particular planetary energy. The metal of Mars is iron/steel that is sharpened into blades. The blade cuts and divides thus linking this train of thought to the Martian principle of Separation - the red blood flows and the spirit is separated from life. Furthermore we are highly attracted to the energy of Mars, in its positive and negative manifestations, for iron is magnetic. We are all coming under the influence of Mars, we can't escape it, and it is up to each of us how we react to this powerful surge of cosmic energy.
Here are five pieces of advice that can be applied when you have to deal with the close proximity of Mars in your own life:
- Since an excess of Martian energy produces inflammatory illnesses, high fevers, burning and scalding, the wise course is to cool and calm these conditions. The heat and itching of Mars can manifest on the physical, emotional, mental or spiritual levels of our being, but in all case it is best not to inflame the situation.
- As mentioned before, two key words of Mars are courage and bravery, attributes that are associated with the heart. If we direct our negative Martian energy, such as anger, frustration, irritability etc. into our own hearts it will be transformed by the power of love and then can be sent on to its initial destination.
- When Mars is active so is the spirit of change. High levels of Martian energy indicate that things need to change and it will not be at all difficult to identify what needs to change. Plough your energy into constructive change rather than destructive change and thereby avoid the karmic debt that has to be paid when Mars's power is used without compassion and wisdom.
- My fourth piece of advice is do not panic. If you loose your head when Mars is around it may be more than a metaphorical loss. Find the courage within your heart to face the adversities. There is always enough courage in the heart because our soul will only be given what we are capable of dealing with. Connect with the inner warrior. The fire of Mars is very closely linked to the solar fire, after all the Sun is exalted in the Martian sign of Aries. The Sun is at the heart of the solar system and its fire is the warmth and love in our hearts.
- So rule number five, and then I'll stop, is to endeavour always to direct the dynamic power of Mars through the heart, the centre of love. The tremendous amount of energy from planet Mars can be used constructively for the good, when it is mixed with the fire of our hearts.
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