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Mars in Libra brings a refinement to the god of war. Where Mars travels informs self assertion, how we go about getting what we want in life, and what energizes us.
Mars in the air sign of Libra is not so self driven as Mars in its home sign Aries. Rather, this Mars is reliant on relationship exchange to feel stimulated. A peaceable back and forth grants energy and vigor, and gives this Mars a sense of direction.
While the expression of masculinity we tend to exalt most is the kind that engages in direct pursuit, demonstrates assertion, and healthy predator-prey behavior, in the spirit of Libra it’s worth remembering that Mars finds itself in a debilitated position in 30% of the zodiac, to say nothing of aspects. What this shows, I think, is that masculinity, as a quality set apart from gender, rests along a spectrum of expression. The rightness certain places along that spectrum depends on the value we place on it. Mars in Pisces has a softness about it, and might feel shy about directly expressing its desires. Mars in Libra is concerned with what everyone thinks and desires, and takes that into consideration as they decide what they want. Mars in Cancer is sensitive and vulnerable and this influences their actions, yet they have strong self preservation instincts, and Mars in Taurus might not get what it wants today. It might not get what it wants tomorrow. It might not get what it wants the day after that. But if it can consistently get itself up off the couch by god, nothing will stop a Taurean Mars, they will achieve their objective despite how long it takes, and they will probably amass wealth while doing it.
All that is to say that psychologically, some Mars placements are more able than others to get what they want according to the socially accepted method of asserting desire.
That’s a large part of what Mars boils down to. The method and means by which a desire is fulfilled, and with what measure of efficiency.
I belabor this point about Mars because I think it’s clear that “we” have Mars issues. Caroline Casey calls it uninitiated hyper-yang death frenzy. She suggests that society is mythologically devoid of proper avenues for expressing Mars gusto, desire, adventure, and roughhousing. So it becomes distorted unfulfilled desire. Thus we carry a fiery rage that comes out in strange ways, like endless war and the subverting of desire to consumerism.
But it might not be all of us who have Mars problems. Because it’s not all of us who are actively deciding to push the red button on hellfire stealth helicopters, nuclear missiles, or, more mildly and invasively — drafting resolutions that dictate who gets the privilege to express and fulfill their desires most efficiently. Usually this has to do with thick black liquid deep within the bowels and waters of the earth, sweeping forestry along the surface of the earth, and beyond environmentally, who gets to speak and who gets to be heard, and who gets to own and assert their desires and who gets to have them subjugated and who has them fulfilled.
Another reason I don’t think it’s all of us who have Mars problems is, in the reality I am attuned to, I see a lot of active work unfolding on healing qualities of gender expression. Men, a great many of which naturally carry Mars within them, are encouraged to express emotion and are increasingly acknowledged when they do. Also, the feminist movement of the 1970’s is now reaching blanket consciousness (by which I mean it has settled like a thick fog over a great many people who have access to the internet). Most people have heard of rape culture, and there are a great many men who are sensitive to the danger instinct that is activated in women literally the moment they choose to step outside.
Now femininity and spiritualizing femininity is on the rise too, and this is something I attribute to Neptune, but that’s a subject for another post entirely. There is this strengthening and emboldening of the feminine occurring. I see it contained in things like the goddess movement, gender parity in government, greater universal awareness around women’s issues, and greater action to safeguard the environment.
The rise of feminine consciousness is not something that has exclusively to do with women, but it mostly has to do with women. Feminine consciousness is a quality, women are natural carriers of that quality and naturally give it expression, but it exists in men too.
We often forget that we are flesh and blood. And blood matters. There are ancient emotions and ancestral impulses, and animal drives running through us — all beneath the surface of awareness. To say nothing of desire, fight or flight starts in the lizard brain and ends in protecting your ass and those of your beloveds when you sense danger. There is no time to deliberate in a dangerous situation, only enough time to act in the interest of survival. This is beyond rationalization. However, we can and often do rationalize it. We are quick to justify our feelings or decisions after the fact. Thinking actions out slowly and carefully might mean we’d change our minds, admit to being wrong, and change how are, the composition of our personalities we’ve come to know, and that others have come to know us by. That is partial ego death, and when your ego changes, everyone around you whose ego structure depends on yours being composed in a certain way, engage in questioning of their own. That’s a lot of ego questioning and a lot of conscious transformative work. That is called death. Yet this is not literal body-death, but mini ego deaths, over and over and over again until as many channels as possible are open and flowing. Who has time, desire, or impulse to go through all that? And yet as a connected society, that is part of the Pluto in Capricorn message.
Circling back around to Mars in Libra, this placement is about engaging in artful conflict. And on this point, where Mars in Libra can get stuck is the endless deliberation of view points, endless appeasement and adjustment, or taking into consideration all sides but never actually making a decision or taking action.
With Mars in Libra we are wise to remember that there is an alternative way to approach conflict, and that is as a means to integration of all the parts of the self . Libra more thoroughly sees itself in the other, but it is still looking to express itself.
“Why do you object to conflict? You all seem to think conflict is a dreadful thing. At present you and I are in conflict, are we not? I am trying to tell you something, and you don’t understand; so there is a sense of friction, conflict. And what is wrong with friction, conflict, disturbance? Must you not be disturbed? Integration does not come when you seek it by avoiding conflict. It is only through conflict, and the understanding of conflict, that there is integration. Integration is one of the most difficult things to come by, because it means a complete unification of your whole being in all that you do, in all that you say, in all that you think. “
Mars in Libra can be understood as an active struggle against the accepted and perhaps vain social values, discussing these with others, and together coming to a joint resolve to move forward toward a better way of being.
Mars in Libra is in Venus’ domain. In mythology, Venus and Mars were often close together, in varying states of lovemaking, reprieve from war, having affairs as in the case of Aphrodite being Hephaestus’ unwilling wife, and sexing Mars all the while. Symbolically this links Love and War, and indeed both Venus and Mars represent states of desire. Thus Chris Hedges puts it:
“There are few sanctuaries in war. But one is provided by couples in love. They are not able to staunch the slaughter. They are often powerless and can themselves often become victims. But it was with them, seated around a wood stove, usually over a simple meal, that I found sanity and was reminded of what it means to be human. Love kept them grounded. It was to such couples that I retreated during the wars in Central America, the Middle East, and the Balkans. Love, when it is deep and sustained by two individuals, includes self-giving — often self-sacrifice — as well as desire. For the covenant of love is such that it recognizes both the fragility and sanctity of the individual. It recognize itself in the other. It alone can save us.”
~Chris Hedges, War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning
Finally, I’d like to end with a brief set of thoughts on what Robert Bly and James Hillman call the “deep masculine”. Robert Bly asserts that it is “grief, rather than anger, that is the doorway to a man’s feelings. James Hillman suggests that so often we seek satisfaction in the highest heights of the mountains (the rational mind), but we can also learn much in the depths and darks of the valleys. (Shepherd Bliss, Yoga Journal 1986)
Mars remains in Libra until January 3. This is the first time he is in Libra since he had his retrograde stint back in 2014. So that area of your chart is lit up again. Though Mars is still direct, he’s slowing down preparing for his retrograde in late Scorpio and early Sagittarius next year. He is disposited by a very well dignified Venus until early December, and he will aspect Pluto and Uranus and trigger that square just as we are having the Saturn-Neptune square exact. Lots of energy swirling about. Make sure to ground yourself and take care of your nervous system, and make a lot of soul, and make a lot of love steeped in more love.
Wishing you well,
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“Aristotle said that only two living entities are capable of complete solitude and complete seperateness: God and beast. Because of this most of the acute form of suffering for human beings is loneliness. The isolated individual can never be adequately human. And many of war’s most fervent adherents are those atomized individuals who, before the war came were profoundly alone and unloved. They found fulfillment in war, perhaps because it was the closest they came to love.” ~ Chris Hedges, War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning