by Boots Hart, CAP

Monday, March 11, 2013

Mars in Aries: Who Me?

An Eruption of Italy's Stromboli volcano in 1980 taken by Wolfgang Beyer

On March 12th, at 6:27 in the morning (UT/+0), Mars enters Aries.

As an astrologer I’m very happy I’m not required to get up and sound any trumpets about such things as 6:27 in the morning is way to early for brass fanfares. But apart from that, once Mars does enter Aries it’s likely to be a good thing.

Well, at least on some levels.

The ‘good’ here would be how Mars in Aries tends to be a time when people are spunky and filled with energy and a will to get things done.

Of course, Mars in Aries is also a time when people can get so full of themselves that they ignore everybody else. There is that.

So the energy part of Mars in Aries is useful. The willful conviction part? Well, that depends on who you are. I’d like to say that if you’re the shy, meek type Mars in Aries could give you the gusto to go out and be all you could ever want to be. But even if Mars in Aries is known for conquering goals, if your goal is to never (ever!) have to do anything or expose your vulnerabilities, Mars in Aries can just have you doubling up (or down) on that very sort of determination.

Under the best of conditions, Aries is the sign where Mars represents a rise in consciousness. We should size up what needs doing, what we can do about it and go do just that. But for some, Mars in Aries becomes a time of self-consciousness. Or even inflated ego. Which you are (and which those you care about are) depends on the natal chart…and probably where Pluto falls in that chart natally and by current Capricorn transit.

Why Pluto?

Because Mars has two signs of rulership. And any time any planet which has two signs of rulership enters either of their ruling signs, qualities related to both signs get stirred.

The atmosphere of Mars  as photographed by the Viking Orbiter
(photo credit: NASA, 1976)

That’s a whole subject of its own which I’ll explain in a different blog (it’s kind of annoying and kind of illuminating), but for the moment, let’s just stick to the Mars stuff. (It’s sticky enough!) But just to touch on that here, given that the ‘other’ sign Mars is a ruler in is Scorpio, that’s the big clue to why Mars in Aries can be so hard-headed.

Aries is a cardinal sign. Cardinal signs learn through doing. In other words they do, look at the results and decide what they did right, and what they should probably do differently next time.

Scorpio is a fixed sign. Fixed signs would like to understand everything about how the thing works before they dip their toe in even a thimble of the possibility that they might get involved, never mind DO anything.
Therefore, that Mars is a ruler of a primary cardinal sign which is about BEING and DOING and MAKING THINGS HAPPEN…which at it’s emotional (Scorpio) core should be about making things work better for everybody but which often turn into an exercise in wanting to be ‘seen’ a given way or wanting to ‘win’ approval or support or NOT wanting to end up being told you’re wrong about anything…

Yeah, it’s a bit of a contest. And a contest we each will contest in our own sweetly (or not so sweetly) personal way between March 12th, when Mars enters Aries and April 20th, when Mars moves on into Taurus. (Let’s not get me started on the Mars in Taurus stuff yet…that will just lead to a lot of discussion of the May Solar Eclipse in Taurus, and we’re going to be discussing that at length soon enough!)

What seems important to think about here is how March 12th through April 20th is basically five weeks.
It’s an interesting oddity, this Mars orbit we live with. What do I mean by that? Okay…consider this: Mars’ full orbit of the Sun is 687 days (1.88 years) long. And when you divide 687 by 360 (degrees in the zodiac or a circle), you get 1.908333333…(add as many ‘3’s as you like).

What this says is that the mean average movement of Mars through any given degree should take almost two days, meaning thirty degrees (a sign’s worth of degrees) should take sixty days.

But if you look back through an ephemeris, what you’ll find is that apart from the years when Mars is retrograde in Aries (which will next happen in the year 2020) Mars generally does only spend about five weeks in Aries.

Maybe that is a key to why we do so much and get to hopping on things when Mars is in the most basic of cardinal signs?

It’s probably not just that Aries is cardinal which applies here. Aries is not just cardinal, it’s also a fire sign. In fact, it’s the only cardinal fire sign. There are four cardinal signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn) and each one belongs to a different element. Aries is fire, Cancer is water, Libra is air and Capricorn is earth. This is true of every ‘modality’ – or ‘triplicity’ as cardinal, fixed and mutual are collectively known.

And this is part of the genius of the zodiac – and of understanding life and other human beings as it happens. I’ve heard people say ‘I’m an air sign, I only get along with other air signs,’ to which I say “Really?” Since the modality (the ‘mode of activity’) of a sign is the general description of how someone works, why would whether they put things in airy, theoretical terms trump whether they go for it (the cardinal way of doing things) versus whether they hem and haw and try to make sure there are no other options (as fixed signs will do) or start and stop, learning as they go and changing their plans accordingly as mutable signs do?

After thirty-some years of listening to this ‘I like earth sign people,’ ‘I like water sign people’ and so on, I tend to think that it’s just easier to grasp the nature of elements (earth, air, fire, water) than it is to grasp modalities.

But in the end, modalities probably make and break more relationships - personal and professional. If she’s really a cardinal sign gal and he’s really a fixed sign guy, she’s going to get tired of waiting for him to make up his mind and he’s going to feel like she’s nagging him. If the lawyer is a highly mutable person and their client is a seriously cardinal person, that client is likely to think the lawyer is flakey, no matter what flavor of flake that comes out being.

Yes, we do need to be tolerant of each other, and under Mars in Aries we can either not do that and get all frustrated and impatient (which happens a lot) or we can grow into some personal insight about what individuality really means. About who that “I” person in your head really is, and how it’s foolish to expect anyone to be ‘just like you’ or to know who you are if you haven’t been that person yet.

Mars in Aries is the heart and soul of by our actions we shall be known. That starts with being conscious that we are…and conscious of who we are, both of which are the process and outcome of Mars in Aries. It’s a time for learning more about ourselves through what we do and what happens or what prompts us to get off our duff or open our eyes…and it’s a time when by choosing or not choosing to act, and the quality of our actions we reveal ourselves and our capacities to ourselves – never mind to others!

You’ve heard me talk about the first zodiacal quadrant as being about ‘the self.’ Aries is what starts that off. The sign progression here being Aries, Taurus, Gemini, you can’t respect your Self or have self worth invested in that Self if you have no idea who that Self is, or what they are capable of or willing to do.

And without both of those, who thinks you can make a decent (Gemini) choice about anything?

I’ve also said this before (and yes, I’m going to say it again!)…but it’s also as important to understand what zodiac quadrants don’t contain as what they do contain. The first quadrant is cardinal, fixed and mutable (triplicities repeat in each quadrant)…AND the first quadrant is fire, earth air.

The four elements – the quadruplicities of the zodiac also repeat. The sequence is fire, earth, air, water…right round the wheel. But when you have four elements and only three signs per quadrant, one element is going to get left out.

And in that first quadrant which is all about the Self and learning who and what we are and that we exist and how we feel about ourselves and what we’re able to do if we’re capable of doing anything?

That first quadrant of the zodiac does NOT have water in it. So though we may think (air) fervently. The sheer emotionality and all the instinctual qualities we metaphysically attribute to water don’t show up until Cancer – and Cancer isn’t part of the first and most primary quadrant of the zodiac.

It’s part of the second quadrant (and the right side of the wheel, as opposed to the left). That second quadrant is about interaction. Call it learning to be social and interact with others. Where the first quadrant (and first three signs) embody the idea of the infant through toddler into childhood stages (ages 0-7.5), the second quadrant embodies ages 7.5 through 14. Thus the zodiac defines emotionality as responsive…the whole right side of the wheel (and the signs associated with that right side of the wheel) are reactive and responsive.

And that leaves us with a greater understanding of why Aries – and thus Mars in Aries can be such a self-involved time. You may use that as getting to know yourself. Then again, you could be more egocentric than usual. (Who, YOU? Egocentric?)

At the same time, all signs are part of dualities – you know, the ‘oppositional polarity.’ With Aries, that opposition is Libra, which is not precisely the “you” of it all. No, Aries/Libra is what I do will affect you so that you will respond to me…HOW?

And yes, I’m putting my money on the awareness ticket this time around. At least on the value of the awareness ticket for this Mars-in-Aries quadrille. And why would that be? That would be because as Mars enters Aries, it’s going to be doing so in the company of Photographica, an asteroid which appears to be about ‘the image.’ In Aries, the sign of the physical self, this may be about your looks. It could be about a health problem. It could be a focus on what others think of you or what you want to work on in order to shape what people think of you.

Given that the Moon is going to follow Mars into Aries within less than five hours of the Mars ingress, we can also bet there’s some sort of sensitivity involved. And yes, some cause for sensitivity, whether that’s in-built ego vulnerability, some actual cause for physical concern or a simple desire to change. With Mars changing signs pretty much in the dawn of day after the Pisces New Moon, Eris is still conjunct Pallas too.
But just perhaps of note here is that in the hours between that New Moon and this Mars ingress, Eris and Pallas have changed places. As the New Moon occurred, some ‘dispassionate wisdom’…maybe better put as ‘perspective’ occurred to call our ‘Pallas’ attention to something in such a way which we hadn’t suspected (Eris) and which forced us to choose between the easy and challenging ways forward.

And that isn't always easy - a fact which the following piece of art would seem to show has been something people have been thinking about for a very long time! 

This 1771 painting, "The Combat of Mars and Minerva" by Joseph-Benoit Suvee will seem far more apropos to today's discussion if we remember that Minerva is the alternate name for Athena...also known as Pallas Athena, she who sprung full grown from the thoughtful brow of Zeus (aka Jupiter).

This can be just a little thing. Then again, if your chart aligns with 21 Pisces (the New Moon) or 21 Aries (Pallas-Eris) or even 0 Aries (the Mars ingress), you could be going through a whole period which is at some level about understanding your own capacity. And what you may need to do in spite of the fact you’re not exactly jollied at the prospect of doing it (Pallas/Eris).

There’s more to this period…it’s continuing to evolve. But we’ll get to those factors as they become more likely to be active on the backgammon board of life. (Or Monopoly, if you prefer.)

But right now, we know that as of March 12th (which would still be late on March 11th for those in the western Americas or eastern Pacific Basin) there’s something of a celestial starting gun being sounded at the energetic level.

Ready…set…go where?

Be what?

Good question!

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