Learn about your Mars placement. Discover exercise tips and strategies for success and taking charge. Originally published in WellBeing Astrology Magazine 2021.
Imagine you’re swimming in the ocean and a dark shadow appears below you. You glimpse a shark. Adrenaline courses through your veins and without thought you swim for shore with amazing speed. Or perhaps you’re being attacked and you fight back with a sudden burst of energy and courage you never knew you had. That is the power of Mars.
Assertiveness and Power
Mars is the warrior planet, known for his courage, strength and drive. The placement of Mars in your birth chart signifies your assertion style, your will power and how you claim what you desire.
In traditional astrology, Mars is the lesser malefic planet. His hot and dry nature reflects his red desert surface — barren to life. Mars’ placement in your birth chart can be an area of tension or inflammation as his shadow side can play out strongly; including anger, conflict, impatience, aggression and dominance.
Mars does have many positive qualities for you to consciously draw on, such as courage, boldness, drive and confidence. It’s up to you to choose how you wield your Mars — his hot, fiery nature can warm and inspire others with its passion and courage, or burn them up with his anger and aggression. This article is a guide to harnessing Mars so you can unleash your inner warrior for personal empowerment.
The War God in history
Mars had a poor reputation throughout history. The ancients all recognised the bloodlust of Mars, linking this fiery planet to their volatile gods of war. The Babylonian god Nergal ruled plagues, fevers and the underworld. The Greek’s god Aries was brutal and destructive, spreading bloodshed wherever he went. The forceful Romans valued the hot-tempered energy of Mars and their soldiers prayed to him for success in battle. He was also their god of agriculture, as they believed his ferocity also protected their lands. Mars’ festival was at the beginning of Spring each year, when Romans prayed that he purify their land ready for the coming fertile season. Hence where the name Mar(ch) comes from.
“Rather, O blessed one, give you me boldness to abide within the harmless laws of peace, avoiding strife and hatred and the violent fiends of death.” – Homer to Ares
How can you fit Mars’ driven, assertive energy into your diplomatic modern life? Here are some tips to help inspire you to consciously use your Mars.
What is your mission?
If you were a soldier on a battlefield, what would you be willing go to war over? What banner would you fight under? Your answers hint at your mission, and Mars is the ultimate tool for achieving it. Keep your Mars focused by channelling his energy into a task you feel passionately about, or towards something that will bring you meaning. Whether it’s proving yourself at work, marching for your ideals or seeking higher truths, Mars loves getting stuck into a mission or mandate.
Society teaches most of us, especially women, to be compliant, fit in and to sacrifice your needs for those of others. Yet Mars is in everyone, prodding you to protect yourself and your own interests. If you feel ignored or pushed aside, it’s time to heed his call. Mars calls you to focus on yourself, with the message “if you don’t nobody else will”. Remember, healthy assertiveness takes the needs of others into account, while aggression does not. This is the litmus test of a healthy versus shadow Mars.
Pick your battles
Sometimes you need to push yourself forward to survive or thrive. Mars can be your ally to do so. Mars can help you not take no for an answer, by drawing on his confidence and sense of conviction. P!nk (Mars in Cancer) and Lady Gaga (Mars in Capricorn) are examples of women with a prominent Mars. You can see the Mars influence coming through in the boldness and courage they have each shown, and in the way they won’t take no for an answer. P!nk named one of her albums I’m Not Dead because “It’s about being alive and feisty and not sitting down and shutting up, even though people would like you to.” Very Mars indeed!
Just do it
Like the Nike slogan, Mars has a “just do it” quality that lights a fire inside you and helps you conquer fears or cut through obstacles. It’s best to use Mars when you want to take initiative, drive forward or draw on your courage. When adrenaline floods the body, the blood rushes to the brain and unthought-of options suddenly drop in. You can use Mars in situations of stress or tension to boldly pivot towards a new way forward.
Let’s get physical
Mars can be like a small toddler, prone to tantrums, and the same trick works on both — direct them into high-energy activities to burn off extra fuel. The sign your Mars is in can show the kind of activities that will help keep your Mars calm and well distracted. Mars also rules your sexual desires and the lust that leads to survival through procreation. Ask anyone who has endured a traumatic situation and they’ll tell you about the raw hunger of survival sex. Sex in itself is a wonderful Mars release, and the element that you have Mars in can indicate the sexual pleasures you may seek out.
Mars out of control
There are a few indications that show your Mars could do with some attention. An over-expressed Mars can lead to defensiveness, creating conflict or being overly competitive. If this is you, consciously channelling the strong energy and drive of Mars into useful actions will help relieve the pressure. On the other hand, an under-expressed Mars can manifest as a struggle to find motivation, a lack of confidence or avoiding conflict. If that’s you, your Mars needs a prod to help him along.
Mars in action: Sam Stosur and Russell Crowe
Samantha Stosur is a great example of a strong Mars being used successfully. While we don’t know her birth time, we do know Mars dominates in her chart, as it’s in its own sign of Scorpio and rules her Sun and Mercury in Aries.
Like the Nike slogan, Mars has a “just do it” quality that lights a fire inside you and helps you conquer fears or cut through obstacles.
Sam is a superb athlete and a longstanding part of the Australian tennis scene, renowned for her hard hitting serves and strong forehand, which she used to beat favourite Serena Williams at the US Open in 2011. The Mars in Scorpio tenacity shows in her mental strength and the fact she is still playing well into her 30s, when most players have retired. She stays out of the limelight off the court, preferring the privacy Scorpio is renowned for.
Russell Crowe exemplifies the other side of Mars, with his Sun, Mars and Jupiter all in Mars’ sign of Aries. Known for his passionate acting style, he often plays fighters or warriors, including his breakout role as Hando in Romper Stomper, his acclaimed Maximus in Gladiator, and even Robin in Robin Hood. His Mars in Aries temper has its own reputation, especially when protecting a loved one from media, but these days he focuses much of his Mars drive into his beloved football club, the Rabbitohs.
Mars in the zodiac signs
How can you manage the strong energy of Mars so you don’t burn yourself and others? The goal is to find positive outlets for your Mars, and your natal Mars sign offers strong clues to what these might be. Don’t know your Mars sign? You can go to astro.com for a free copy of your birth chart (hint, look for the male symbol ♂) or book in a consult with an astrologer for more indepth information. If you don’t know your Mars placement, read the options below to see which one you most resonate with.
Mars in Aries | Mars rules Aries, which is its diurnal (day) sign so the tendencies of Mars show obviously here. A natural warrior, Mars in Aries has boundless drive and enthusiasm, craving any action towards independence and adventure. Honest and direct, your mission with Mars in Aries is to follow your pioneering spirit, exuberantly expending your energy on an engaging or challenging task.
With Mars in Aries you might love high-energy and heat, or be drawn to activities done solo or in competition against another. Think kickboxing, squash, bikram yoga or even athletics; the short burst energy of Aries loves sprinting. Aries rules the adrenals, so throw yourself headfirst into adrenaline-junkie activities such as sky diving, base jumping or car racing; anything that brings you to the edge of survival and back again.
Mars in Taurus | With Mars in Taurus you have resilience. Instead of high, fast energy you’ll have a solid, consistent power. Mars in Taurus is on a mission to build anything that creates stability, grounding and comfort. Whether you want to build a home, craft a garden or build a business, with Mars in Taurus tangible, enduring results will create satisfaction.
You might like to feel physically strong and want to push against heaviness. Weightlifting, strength-based exercises or football are perfect for you. The graceful stability of barre fitness or getting active in your garden also give this Mars an excellent outlet.
Mars in Gemini | This is a social Mars, who puts energy into communication and connection. Mars in Gemini is driven by curiosity, and with this placement your mission is to seek and share a wide range of information and ideas. This is the journalist hunting down leads or the researcher combing a variety of sources to discover the real facts.
Mars in Gemini loves aerobic activities that keep you nimble with a variety of moves. CrossFit and circuit training and social sports that involve throwing through the air, like basketball, netball or softball. You may also enjoy gymnastics and quick moving dance, especially if set to music.
Mars in Cancer | The urge for Mars in Cancer is to protect and nurture and any mission towards this end can appeal. Mars in Cancer can get stuck, as he is always driven towards comfort, but a mission to protect or nourish others will get him moving. Cancer is also about defence, and with Mars here you might do well in jobs that defend the rights or property of yourself, your family or your nation.
This watery Mars likes to go with the flow, quite literally, and you may be drawn to activities or sports that make you feel good. Anything with water works well, such as swimming, surfing, kayaking or walks on the beach. You may also prefer movement with flow, such as contemporary dance and vinyasa yoga.
Mars in Leo | Another fire sign, Mars in Leo is passionate about expressing itself and if creativity is involved then all the better. A positive Mars in Leo mission would aim to build self-esteem or try to inspire confidence in others, encouraging them to shine their own light.
With your Mars in a fixed sign, you might benefit from activities that work on core strength, such as pilates or iyengar yoga. Mars in Leo is active, playful and worships the sun, so well-paced outdoor sports like marathons, beach volley ball and soccer fit here. Creative movement like dance works well too, especially accompanied by music with a strong beat. Think Latin or hip hop.
Mars in Virgo | Mars in Virgo is driven towards refinement and purity and will appreciate a mission that helps create order out of chaos. With Mars in Virgo you may have an uncanny ability to recognise problems and immediately know what is needed to fix it.
Mars in Virgo has an exacting style of fitness and will love anything that requires precise movement of their physical body. Think ballet, gymnastics, ashtanga yoga and pilates. Mars in Virgo will also like a practical, regular routine of exercise; even the simple act of a daily walk will support you.
Mars in Libra | With Mars in a sign ruled by Venus, your mission may be peace at all costs. Be aware of leaving your own needs out of the equation though. Finding true balance between yourself and others is an artful purpose that will keep your Mars in Libra well occupied.
A social placement, Mars in Libra can thrive in team sports that have friendly competition and banter. This could include tennis, basketball, AFL or golf. If you find it hard to get motivated, an exercise partner can help you stay on track.
Mars in Scorpio | Scorpio is Mars’ nocturnal sign, and the tenacity and strategy of Mars will show up strongly. The detectives of the zodiac, Mars in Scorpio loves nothing more than getting to the bottom of a mystery. Research projects are also great to channel your Mars in Scorpio energy into. With your Mars in Scorpio you can push for power, so look for a strategic mission to create or develop power as a positive use of this placement.
Mars in Scorpio might love water sports, especially those with an edge of danger. Scuba diving, big wave surfing and white water rafting all fit this, though swimming works just as well. Dance, martial arts and boxing can also bring the flow Mars in Scorpio craves.
Mars in Sagittarius | With Mars in Sagittarius you might have itchy feet and can be restless unless you are exploring and expanding your horizons. Mars in Sagittarius is a traveller and truth seeking, with a drive towards finding wisdom, meaning and purpose.
Sagittarius rules the thighs, and getting them active is what this Mars does best. Running, cycling and horse riding as well as hiking and climbing, with Mars in Sagittarius you may love freedom and adventure.
Mars in Capricorn | This solid Mars is all about planning and goals, and you may need to sink your teeth into a challenging mission to feel a sense of achievement and self-respect. Mars in Capricorn is all about hard work and tenacity, so don’t be afraid to set big targets with some obstacles in the way.
The strategy of rock climbing and orienteering let this Mars in Capricorn have the battle with the earth that it craves. Carving out time in your schedule and creating a set of achievable fitness goals to aim towards can help you stay motivated.
Mars in Aquarius | With Mars in Aquarius you can be fuelled by higher perspectives and may crave a lofty, ethical mission to drive towards. Inventive, unusual and intelligent; with Mars in Aquarius you may have a brave, bold mind and want to blaze your own trails.
With Mars in an air sign, you might opt for group exercise classes that let you go your own way but still be social. You need mental stimulation alongside the physical, so try martial arts, pilates or spin. Technology, like fitness apps or devices can help with motivation.
Mars in Pisces | Mars in Pisces is about compassion in action and wants to create inclusion for all. Mars is dampened down and less fiery in Pisces, but with this placement you can take action if you see injustice or harm to others. Activism for peace would be one mission to take on for your Mars in Pisces.
If you want to exercise your Mars in Pisces, lead him to water! Swimming, aqua aerobics, surfing, SUPing, anything that brings in flow. Free flowing movement like dance, hatha yoga or Zumba also help you let off steam.1