The Planets: Cast of Characters, Part 3 – Mars

Mars energy can be evidenced when energetic individuals eagerly step up to the plate to fill an interpreted need and serve some cause higher than their individuality. A daring competition, a brave act, whatever it will take to reach the goal, they live to taste the victory and strive to achieve accomplishment. They define success in their own terms to direct and carry out their actions accordingly in order to manifest their personal truth, their principles and beliefs.

It is true that their actions may not always (or ever) have sincere motivations while they fulfill their own agenda. But overall, Mars fuels individuals with a passion to do, to stir up, to invigorate, to poke and prod, to construct and deconstruct… until the target is reached or something greater to stand up for emerges.

Have you ever known an athlete who practiced ceaselessly until they achieved their desired outcome, who anticipated and successfully won the race because all they can think about is their (quite often obsessive) passion for the sport?

Some people fight, race, compete, and defeat for the pure enjoyment, the adrenaline rush, the excitement, and glamour of victory and the illusory sense of power coursing through their veins. Some practice and commit to winning ‘the game’ out of the strong instinct to prove their ability to themselves, if no one else. Some can be the worst sore losers, and the more mature ones find pleasure in learning what they can do better next time and walk away satisfied, for now. But in either case, a deep-seated energetic, a dynamic force lures these people into battle. A test, a dare is like the proverbial carrot dangling before the rabbit. These preparations and challenges are too delicious to pass up.

We can easily replace these sentiments towards athleticism with law, medicine, math, science and so on, and understand how this same force works through individuals who stay up until dawn demanding from themselves the answer to their investigation, or the doctor who by steady hand and sharp eye performs the best surgery in his career, or the lawyer who leaves no stone unturned to find the evidence necessary to defend his client.

Mars is often symbolized as the bullying young child who is still learning to set boundaries, develop patience, and come to terms with the realization that life does not revolve around everything he wants and that he must sometimes slow down and live in the confines of his parents’ time and space; or teenagers who challenge their parents by coming home late intentionally, by smoking when asked not to, or by driving too fast when no one is looking; or the adults who defend and protect their family, their status, and their career to define themselves accordingly and to live up to their names and incomes and lifestyles.

The fictional character Robin Hood is a wonderful depiction of a Mars-inspired individual. Robbing from the rich to give to the poor, his actions are for a greater cause, even if it means risking his freedom and his life to achieve it. He justifies and defends his principles and, lucky for him in this fictitious world, comes out victorious in the end… and gets the girl!

Yet Mars exists in every one of us, male and female. The stereotypical male depictions of Mars must not overlook this, and the symbolism must be digested by women as well if they are to attain balance in life and within themselves. When Mars is strong or well-placed in a female’s chart, they will have a natural ability to stand up for what they believe is right, to pursue what they’re after with force and stamina, just as when Mars is strong or well-placed in a male’s chart. Beyond gender, Mars energy emerges in countless forms of power (or the reaction to the longing for the illusion of power), such as defensiveness, conviction, aggression, impulsiveness, combustion, tantrums, initiative, productivity, construction, passion, fearlessness, and bravery.

Revisiting our medieval kingdom in this series, the King (the Sun) and Queen (the Moon) rely on their bravest, strongest, and sharpest warrior to defend the kingdom and defeat the enemies. This is the fundamental, innate motivation of Mars at its mundane level.  An evolved Mars has moved through this phase of battling outwardly and now turns to conquer (or surrender to) the spiritual quest within himself, where he dives deep down into the well of his inner strength, resolve, and stamina to stay secure and determined as the bull towards the red cape, on his charted course to enlightenment and a truly authentic, principled life.

Depending on how Mars is placed in our natal charts, we may closely resemble the spiritual warrior upholding his righteous place of dharma, particularly as we mature into adulthood, having gone through a few battles of our own. Perhaps our passionate, frisky spirits are convincing us to fight and advocate for external causes while we defend our changing belief structures during a certain time in our lives when we have not yet determined our own core truth, what we believe is worth fighting for, what is worth risking everything for.  We may become capable of winning the ‘fight’ but lose our soul in the process if we become too side-blinded and obsessed with outcomes. We may become so caught up in the fight, unable to change course, listen to reason, or let go… ‘Come hell or high water!’

Select quotes from the great classic Moby Dick by Herman Melville ring with great Mars vibration:

“All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab, were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. He piled upon the whale’s white hump the sum of all the general rage and hate felt by his whole race from Adam down; and then, as if his chest had been a mortar, he burst his hot heart’s shell upon it.”

“Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!”

“Come, Ahab’s compliments to ye; come and see if ye can swerve me. Swerve me? ye cannot swerve me, else ye swerve yourselves! man has ye there. Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents’ beds, unerringly I rush! Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!”

It is too easy to discuss the vicious, horrific, and trembling of Mars, mistakenly forgetful that Mars is so much more. Mars is represented by The Emperor in the Tarot, and yes, Mars is the destructive energy tearing things down, pushing away what no longer serves him, but Mars is also the bold and necessary productive energy that rebuilds, the force who constructs new beliefs, new plans, new pathways, new buildings, new communities, new warriors. He is the divine architect who, because of his previous ways and wisdom earned, redesigns and rebuilds stronger and better.

Mars is the investigator, the researcher, the policeman whose call to duty is strong, whose call to humanity is powerful, particularly to uphold justice and his values, whatever is determined to be worthy of the fight. Without this drive, we would not have answers to life’s most mysterious questions, science would not have come so far, and medicine would still be primitive.

In the deep recesses of the human heart and the constant effort required to maintain right relations, Mars emerges through powerful emotions, causing great chemistry and sexuality and/or great suffering. The individual who aches in pain, desperately wanting the understanding and the truth to why so-and-so treated them so unexpectedly, how will they respond? Will it be with ferocious Mars heat or with the determined, mature Mars detachment which knows when it’s better to walk away rather than fight? The woman who clings to deeply embedded emotions of the past as if they were her own child in the present identifies with them as if they were Herself… she can no longer see by the light of her inner Self when blinded by tears of rage or jealousy, the shadow-side of Mars. Mars also ignites the brave selfless soul who will throw himself into danger to save a child from an oncoming car.

The discussion about Mars can truly be endless. Its constructive and/or destructive energy is positioned in our astrological and psychological ‘toolboxes’. We can use Mars energy for good or ill depending on our personal agenda and its placement and condition in our natal chart gives us clues. Mars sits somewhere in everyone’s chart, operates somehow through everyone’s personality. We may be the obsessive conqueror, constantly fighting one day or the passionate lover, or the brave, spiritual sojourner strong enough to respect the rights, decisions, and actions of others the next day.

Who better to calm the fiery power and impulse of Mars, to slow down the eagerness to jump before looking then Mercury, the planet of reason.

In Part 4, find out why Mercury, the favorite Court Jester to the King, is both the intelligent one and the trickster.


Written by Renate Maria Bell -certified Vedic Astrologer, Jyotish Visharada, and approved teacher with the Council of Vedic Astrology. She can be reached at 2022© Do not use, post, repost, or reprint in part or in whole without the expressed written consent of the author.

Image of The Emperor from the Rider-Waite Tarot Card deck