Mars is a centrifugal force. It’s glyph, the male symbol, is a circle – symbol of spirit and totality – which reminds us of the Sun. However, instead of a dot at the centre, we have an arrow moving away from the centre.
This symbol can also be understood as the representation of a warrior: the circle is the shield, the arrow a spear. Warriors, unless defeated and running away, also walk towards the front lines, sometimes beyond the borders of the kingdom, or in protection of them. A kingdom is a relevant metaphor for a personality.
Let’s start from the centre.
In our bodies, the Sun rules the heart. The Sun also rules over our spiritual heart.
We experience the Sun – heart – as located at the centre of the chest.
When we place a hand on our heart, if we are genuine, we mean “love”. We don’t place a hand on our belly or on our head to mean this. There is no desire, no expectation, just a kind of warm blessing. This is the Sun at the centre.
The Sun also symbolises the Will. The most fundamental will is the will to live and to be ourselves in this world. This manifests as vitality. According to clairvoyant and world class healer Barbara Ann Brenan – this will is the rear side of the heart chakra.
The Sun is the creative power within. If we “follow our heart”, we create – or strive to create – the life we want to live, and to become the kind of person we want to be in this world. This is self-expression.
The Sun symbolises the Self. Buddhists are most probably right to say that our deeper Self has no separate existence. The source is the same source in every one of us. We can call it “God”, “Sun” or “Consciousness”. Or “Great Spirit”.
In astrology textbooks we read that the Sun represents the conscious will. I would rather say it is the Will that should be conscious. We are so easily forgetful of the heart. Why?
The Sun is at the centre and Mars is the force that moves away from the centre. If there is a source, there must be a stream. If there is the Sun, there must be sunrays moving away from the disc.
I don’t see Mars as an energy that is different from the Sun – sunrays are the sun. We are sun rays.
We, spiritual beings having a human experience are moving away from the centre of our own being, and rushing from essence into existence.
This movement is symbolised by Mars.
The word “existence” etymologically, means “to be out”. The root “ex” is also found in words like exterior or external or exit. “Essence” etymologically means “To be”.
These are good old philosophical concepts.
In the world of existence, we manifest as a “me”, an “ego”.
We also live the ego at the level of the chest. We can put a hand on our heart, at the same place, to say something like “Me the Great One! Me the winner of the race!”. It’s also on our chest that we hang ribbons and medals when we get any. It’s the same place, but obviously much more external than when we join our hands in meditation or prayer.
We are sun rays, we are the Sun – the creator – expressing itself in the material world as you and me. The role of Mars is to fight all resistance and obstacles to our Self Expression. This is not supposed to be a violent fight, as our adversaries are not other people but the heaviness of the material world, the difficulties which arise from external circumstances and also from within, from our fears, our ignorance and so on.
The position of Mars in our chart tells something about the nature of our fight for self-expression.
Now, look at the crazy story we are living: once upon a time there was a sunray that was so focused on the movement forward, away from the centre that it completely lost the memory of being the Sun – and having a purpose. Mars got lost in the world of the Moon – the physical world.
It started to believe in separate existence and in its own death.
In the world of Lunar consciousness, everything comes into existence, grows, reproduces, declines and disappears, like the Moon does.
Sunrays hit the leaves of the plants and are turned into organic material.
Sunrays, in a spiritual sense, become embryos. They are born and then go through all phases of psychological development. This includes building an ego, a sense of self. But this psychological ego belongs to the Moon. As children, we learn to identify with our body and we take it from there.
In the biological dimension, ruled by the Moon, Mars fights for survival, assert itself as a “me”, competes for sex and power as instinct tell him to, and dies on the battlefield. Then the soul gets reincarnated. The Moon always reappears after the New Moon. We are caught in the wheel of Samsara. This is just an illusion though, the illusion to be cut off from the Sun.
The position of Mars in the chart also shows how we take action within the realm of the Moon. The Moon rules over the subconscious realms and over the instincts, and so does Scorpio, water sign ruled by Mars and Pluto.
The Sun and the Moon are the King and the Queen, the Yin and the Yang. Everything is a combination of Yin and Yang; everything is a combination of Sun and Moon. We learn that the Moon rules Cancer and the Sun Leo, that’s correct, but in a larger sense they rule over the whole kingdom.
The other energies are not extra energies essentially separated from Sun and Moon. They belong to them. They specify them.
Mars is the energy of Sun and Moon when this energy is moving away from the centre.
The spiritual path consists of remembering where we come from. The death of the ego is the remembrance of the self. The sunray has never been cut off from the Sun and with a bit of memory or intuition of who we really are, what we really want and love, Mars finds a higher purpose to serve. Mars is never the king, it’s a knight or a highwayman.
Mars rules over Aries and Scorpio.
Aries rules over the head and Scorpio over these things that we keep hidden most of the time. Head and genitals/anus are as far from the centre as we can get, whilst still remaining part of the trunk. When we practise meditation, we strive to sit still and become aware of our own centre – our heart, or the heart of the brain – and before we succeed Mars takes us to the head (and not to the pineal gland but rather the frontal mind)or the emotional dimension of desire and old wounds. That’s Mars. In meditation we don’t act out but in life we often do, unless Saturn bars the way.
If you are looking at a baby being born, at the moment someone says: We can see the head! This is a pure Aries moment. The symbol of Aries is a head facing you. Birth is literally coming into existence, which is Mars’ mission. However, we were not born from the Sun without help. To incarnate we need a mother, Mars comes through the Moon.
It makes sense to see Mars, ruler of Aries, as the natural ruler of the first house. The Ascendant is an indicator about how we were born, how we started in this life, and also how we will approach new situations and start new things. The Ascendant is the surface of our being, and that’s where Mars is taking us, pushing with energy.
Also: Aries rules the face. I started this video talking about our experience of Self and Ego at the level of the chest. The face is another part of the body we strongly identify with. We can play with a child at “Pick-a-boo! It’s me!” and what we experience as “me” when we say “Pick a boo” is different from what we experience at the level of the chest.
Our face has a lot to do with how we appear to others. It is also how the world appears to us: most of our senses are part of our face. Let’s face it, that’s the definition of the Ascendant. So, it really makes sense to see Mars as the natural ruler of the Ascendant.
The story of Mars, sunray under the illusion of being cut off from the sun and living exclusively in the world of the moon, gets its happy ending when we awake, when we remember our heart as centre and king of our own being. This can be metaphorically illustrated by the mediaeval picture of a knight pledging allegiance to their king. The King is the Self.
Now, of course, these metaphors may not please feminists, but I am not able to bin the old symbols and bring up new ones that would be relevant to psychic and spiritual realities that are infinitely deep and subtle.
So please remember that Sun and Moon are in everyone. Being a man or a woman in this world is a question of biology, it’s relevant to our bodies.
As souls, we don’t have to conform to gender roles: women don’t have to play Moon, only Moon and Moon all the time, and suppress their own Sun. Men don’t have to play Sun, only Sun and Sun all the time and suppress the Moon in them.
Maybe the evolution of our culture will one day see the Sun as Feminine and the Moon as masculine, why not, I don’t know – but such evolutions, if they happen, must come from the collective unconscious, from the deep-down psyche, and not be forced by ideologies. Better not play sorcerer apprentices, and invite spiritual guidance instead.
I hope this helps deepen our understanding of ourselves and our energies.