This is the second in a Three-part series on Mars. If you haven’t read Part One, it might be a good idea to read that before you read Part Two. It can be found here:
As we left off, I promised to explain where Mars does well and where it is not as effective by sign placement. In order to do that, I need to explain some terminology. Any planet is strongest when it is placed in its ruler. Additionally, astrology has a designation called “Exalted”. These placements are generally good in any chart.
The weakest placements are called “Detriment”, and an equally problematic placement is called “Fall”. All of these positions are problematic in any chart.
For easy reference here is a list of the planets and their rulers, exaltations, detriments, and falls:
The Sun: Leo is its Ruler, it is Exalted in Aries, in Detriment in Aquarius, and Fall in Libra.
The Moon: Cancer is its Ruler, it is Exalted in Taurus, in Detriment in Capricorn, and Fall in Scorpio.
Mercury: Gemini and Virgo are rulers, it is also exalted in Virgo, detriment in Sagittarius, and Fall in Pisces.
Venus: Its Rulers are Taurus and Libra, it is Exalted in Pisces, in Detriment in Aries and Scorpio, and Fall in Virgo.
Mars: Its Rulers are Aries and Scorpio, it is Exalted in Capricorn, in Detriment in Taurus and Libra, and Fall in Cancer.
Jupiter: Its Ruler is Sagittarius, it is Exalted in Cancer, in Detriment in Gemini, and Fall in Capricorn.
Saturn: Its Ruler is Capricorn, it is Exalted in the sign of Libra, in Detriment in Cancer, and Fall in Aries.
Uranus: Its Ruler is Aquarius, it is Exalted in Scorpio, in Detriment in Leo, and Fall in Taurus.
Neptune: Its Ruler is Pisces, it is exalted in Leo, in Detriment in Virgo, and Fall in Aquarius.
Pluto: Its ruler is Scorpio [co-ruler along with Mars], but that is where I somewhat veer off from other Astrologers. I believe Pluto is exalted in Leo, in Detriment in Taurus, and Fall in Aquarius.
For our purposes here, I’m only going to describe the Planet Mars through the dignities.
The Rulers of Mars: Aries & Scorpio
The strongest placements by sign are the rulers of Mars, Aries and Scorpio. Another note here, modern astrologers designate Pluto as the ruler of Scorpio, and I subscribe to that as well, but I find Scorpio is better understood if we include its original ruler-Mars, when it comes to understanding the function of Mars in Astrology. So, for the sake of argument consider both Mars and Pluto as rulers of Scorpio.
There are subtle and not so subtle differences between Mars in Aries and Scorpio, so I’ll describe each. Just remember that these two placements are the best signs for Mars to manifest its energy. There is also two house placements that are best, but I’ll tackle house placements in Part Three of the Mars Series. [For those of you eager beavers, the 1st and the 8th houses are very good placements for Mars to manifest. Though, due to the nature of Mars, that’s not always a good thing.]
Mars in Aries – Ruler: Mars represents the mobilization of energy, the capacity to take action, and to assert oneself. In Aries, Mars is in its most powerful placement. So, when Mars’ capacity to ‘act’ is activated, so too may develop a tendency toward aggression, forcing issues, and to overdo. The negative aspects of Mars may operate as recklessness, argumentativeness, vindictiveness, or even open hostility.
Mars in Aries will bestow a powerful physical energy that needs positive expression. Headaches may occur, as well as outbursts of anger – a rapid loss of temper and a sudden raging storm that is over as quickly as it began. Resentfulness is not usual.
When afflicted [by aspect to another planet or by house placement], this combination can be accident-prone. There is a need to take precautions against burns and scalds during with this placement.
The negative aspects of this placement are impatience and irritation. The main need is to slow down and count to 10 before acting. Try and channel the vitality of Mars in Aries into worthwhile projects so that it does not burn out purposelessly.
Mars in Scorpio – Ruler: when well-aspected gives a keen, sharp and forceful mentality, a rather blunt manner and an indifference to the finer sensibilities of others, consequently these people often make themselves disliked at first until others get used to them and realize that they are not such ogres as they seem.
They are very ingenious and mechanical, with indomitable courage and inexhaustible energy, which carry them over all obstacles whatever goal they set themselves. In this respect they are very selfish and ready to sacrifice whatever stands in their way. They make good police officers, soldiers and surgeons, and are able to fill any other position where a dominant authority is required, or skill with sharp tools.
When Mars is afflicted in Scorpio it brings out the worse side of the passionate nature and leads the person into sex excesses. In either sex, Mars in Scorpio indicates a quarrelsome nature and a biting tongue.
Here there is that classic smoldering intensity, and a look that is a little dangerous, too. Here the individual [“Native”] comes across as observant, self-controlled, and yet ready to pounce on any opportunity. They are passionate, and crave activities that take one deep into a subject. They’re skilled at reading the essence of a situation, and appear to make strategic moves at the right time. They’re prone to acting obsessively, and likely find it hard to forgive and forget. A competitive spirit keeps them from giving up easily, and this propels them on the path of success.
Mars in Capricorn – Exalted: The inherently aggressive and impatient nature of Mars may make the attempt at “slow and steady” a bit challenging, but Mars is exalted in the sign of Capricorn precisely because it slows down the aggressive nature of Mars, and adds in a little caution. Thus making Mars more effective in many ways due to using some critical thinking instead of sheer force of action. Recklessness is reduced here, and more can be accomplished. In Capricorn the risky decisions are tempered with the caution and sense of responsibility of Capricorn for an excellent result from Mars’ actions.
Mars in Detriment: Taurus & Libra
Placements in Taurus or Libra are the weakest placements by sign. What does “weakest” really mean? Well, it means that, in these two signs Mars has the most difficult time expressing its energy. Simply put, since Mars is action, “weakest” means action is delayed, or not effectual.
Generally people with these placements are great at planning, but not as effectual at executing a plan. It does not mean that Mars in Taurus or Libra never gets anything done, but it does mean that time is a real factor. Meaning it usually takes longer to execute a plan, and since these two signs are ruled by Venus, executing a plan will often depend on partners to help. These placements are not good at working alone, they require cooperation.
Why is this trait bad for Mars? Well, Mars doesn’t like to depend on anyone but Mars. When Mars has to stop and ask for help, it taps into another kind of energy—generally Venus because Venus rules the cooperative signs of Taurus and Libra. Mars doesn’t like to ask for help, and hates to cooperate even more. So, in these two signs, Mars is thwarted and has to rely on Venus to get things done. Mars?? Not a happy camper in Detriment.
Mars in Taurus – Detriment: Mars in Taurus denotes plenty of practical and emotional energy, but these energies can often be at odds with each other.
The planet of energy [Mars] is not very active in Taurus, as the physical drive is reduced to a low gear. There is often an obstinate, yet practical, determined, and very stable action. The pursuit of material goals with intent and determination will be the mode of action for people with this placement. Results are often based on dogged persevering after a course of action is determined. Once things finally get rolling in one direction, it is nearly impossible to change course.
In Taurus, the energies of Mars are indeed channeled into a practical mode that may center on acquiring money, creature comforts, and material possessions. Much energy is apt to be aimed at securing wealth, and a very comfortable lifestyle.
The negative side of this placement is often the lack of flexibility. Taurus is a fixed sign, and energies expressed here sometimes come out looking like stubbornness. Even emotions can be held on to too tightly and then released with a major blow up.
Mars in Libra – Detriment: Mars in Libra is in detriment and not the best placement for Martian energy—at least not for the individual. However, it is beneficial for partners, colleagues, family and friends, as in Libra the energy is well spent on “Others”, instead of “Self”.
With Mars in Libra the energy and will are focused on creating greater balance in our lives. Although the sign of Libra is often depicted as somewhat passive, the truth is that Libra energy is quite strong. Libra is Cardinal, it initiates the autumn, and as such it is as strong as any other Cardinal sign, although it may express its strength is more cooperative ways. That is the key here, Mars must learn to be cooperative, or the energy of Mars and the sign of Libra itself will be in constant conflict.
Mars in Libra is the champion and defender of justice, and can be quite bold and outspoken when things become unjust. With Mars in Libra, we become the adjudicators or arbitrators of justice in our lives; speaking out against any injustice that is pulling us out of balance.
Mars in Cancer – Fall: In Cancer, the Mars energies are largely of the emotional sort. While physical endeavors and practical affairs may find the energy to function satisfactorily, mental energies are apt to struggle.
This placement often causes actions to be tinged with a very sensitive flavor. Energies are expressed in a very emotional fashion. Much of the assertiveness of Mars is turned toward the domestic scene. There is a cautious side and insecurities can prompt reckless actions that the individual will regret and/or feel shame or guilt.
This placement of Mars is not very physical or competitive, and not inclined to any sort of combat, physical or mental. Mars in Cancer has a very positive side, as it often shows a quiet, peaceful nature.
There is an intensity in emotions that often results in moodiness and discord in domestic relations. The digestion can be strongly affected by moods and feelings. With energies tied to feelings, there is a tendency to become very angry internally.
Well, that does it for Part Two. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment, and I will drop by to answer.
Once again I want to thank everyone for your continued support.