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Everything You Need to Know About the Ruling Planet of Mars

Andrea has a background in Myers-Briggs and Western astrology. She mostly writes about relationships.

The fourth planet from the Sun has inspired myths since the dawn of civilization. The red planet is a major player in astrology.

The fourth planet from the Sun has inspired myths since the dawn of civilization. The red planet is a major player in astrology.

An Overview of Mars as a Ruling Planet

Mars is one of the big players in astrology. Traditionally, it rules over two dominant signs: Aries and Scorpio. Both zodiacs are known for their aggression, passion, and hot-headedness.

Aries is the first sign of the zodiac. It is the cardinal fire sign that rules the beginning of spring. People born under Aries are described as instinctive, passionate, confrontational, and blessed with strong leadership skills. Aries rules the head and mind, which can result in a boost in mental power.

Scorpio is the eighth sign of the zodiac and is the fixed water sign that rules the middle of autumn. Scorpios are described as loyal, fierce, cunning, manipulative, jealous, and moody. Scorpios relate to the root chakra and have an extra boost in sexiness.

Mars was named after the warring deity in Roman mythology of the same name and rules the Judgment card in tarot. The question is: will we end in fire like Aries or in ice like Scorpio?

The Planet in Our Solar System

After Mercury, Mars is the second smallest planet in our solar system. The planet has the tallest mountain of all the planets (named Olympus Mons), and it is the first planet we Earthians have decided to extensively explore. Multiple robots have gone to Mars to scout it out for life.

Facts About Mars:

  • It has two moons: Phobos and Deimos.
  • Borealis basin in the Northern Hemisphere covers 40% of the planet. It may have been the site of a giant impact.
  • Mariner 4 was the first spacecraft to visit Mars. It was launched on November 28, 1964.
  • If it melted, the volume of water in the south polar ice cap could cover the planetary surface of Mars.
  • Mars can be seen from Earth with the naked eye.

Mars in Your Natal (Birth) Chart

Everyone has a placement with Mars in their natal chart. You can easily find information about your natal chart online.

If you have Aries and Scorpio in Mars, you likely are a confrontational and ambitious person. If you have Aries and Scorpio in your chart at all, then you likely are more aggressive than someone who doesn’t.

Mars counters Venus, which is the planet and goddess of love. Where Mars seeks to go forward, to fight, and to accomplish tasks, Venus brings people together and melts away conflict.

Mars, Sulfur, and Alchemy

In alchemy, Mars would be a sulfur property, and sulfur symbolizes the soul. Sulfur represents properties like dryness, heat, and masculinity. In alchemy, it represents evaporation, expansion, and dissolution. The element is seen as the middling element: salt (high) and mercury (low).

Even though Scorpio is based in water, Scorpios are more combative than the other water signs (Cancers and Pisceans). When it comes to desire and action, Scorpios are sometimes even more like fire signs.

Of all the zodiac signs, Scorpio has the widest spectrum of emotional intensity. Scorpio can emotionally go down to the depths of the Mariana Trench, turning to steely ice. On the other hand, Scorpio also knows how to soar to impressive heights as the burning phoenix, using heat to turn water to steam.

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Scorpio experiences metamorphosis in all its stages, and this zodiac sign represents the alchemy we all seek. Scorpio is based in the time of year when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest. Indeed, this sign is the first in the zodiac to encounter death and is open-minded to the possibilities beyond our temporal lives on Earth.

Mars represents the energy Scorpio has that the other water signs don’t. Scorpio is so similar to Aries that if the two cross each other on a bad day, they may start fighting.

Mars Rules the Root Chakra

The red planet rules over sexual energy, which is essentially tied to the root or red chakra. In meditation, you could visualize the root chakra as the planet Mars instead of the core of the Earth.

While Venus controls romantic attraction, Mars is more about physical attraction. The planet is about initial actions, not reactions. Those who have a lot of Mars energy will jump right into conflicts or relationships without much prior contemplation.

Tarot Cards: Knight Cards

In tarot decks, the knights are associated with fire. They’re hasty, they jump quickly into battles, they have instincts that help them to win, and they’re ready to attack. Knights don’t symbolize people who sit on the throne and wait for people to come to them. They’re not typically known for long-term strategies. They're known for having fantastic impulses, for being risk-takers, and for craving action. As such, the fire knight—or the Knight of Wands—is pure Mars energy. The card represents the full, raw power of Aries.

Mars Is Linked to Yang Energy

Mars rules anger and is related to yang energy. Some anger can be an excellent guiding force, but if it is not managed correctly, it can be highly destructive.

Both Aries and Scorpio often need to work harder than other signs to keep their impulses in balance and not let their anger control them. Aries may have a harder time than Scorpio, who gets some yin energy from the water element.

For those with Mars as a guiding force, I encourage establishing routines that help support you. You likely need regular exercise, a healthy diet, and good sleep in order to keep your anger at bay. Try to walk away when you feel yourself getting too hotheaded, and try your best to be patient. Remember that not all anger is bad. When balanced, it can be constructive rather than destructive.

Mars Rules Masculinity

Mars directs the masculine force of nature and is connected to testosterone. We all have some degree of testosterone. Mars in your astrological chart can reveal how you express your masculine force.

The red planet takes almost two years to complete its orbit and it can make you feel impatient, forceful, and rash. Though this may be uncomfortable, this energy can also help you to be more assertive, forthright, and intentional.

Just remember that ultimately you want to harness the lessons of Mars for good not evil. You want to apply yang-like characteristics to your ambitions and dreams.

Fate or Free-Will?

So, can we blame Mars for our anger and rash decisions? No. Mars represents a core of ideas, but we can’t simply blame the planets and stars for all our interactions. We need to learn how to come off autopilot and manually direct our emotions and thoughts, though this isn't necessarily easy.

Keep in mind that Aries and Scorpio are constellations. Your sun sign is based on the position of the Sun at the time when you were born. The idea is that the energy of the cosmos has an influence on us and our seasons. However, we are not only influenced by large planetary objects and burning balls of plasma. We’re also influenced by tiny microorganisms that we can’t see. We’re influenced by both the infinitesimal and the gargantuan.

Though we may be affected by these influences, we can still take ownership of ourselves and our choices. For example, you were not under the influence of Mars when you decided to kick a trash can—that was your bad choice. It is important to learn how to take ownership for your actions and find more agency through calmness.

Signs of Unbalanced Yang Energy

Constantly feeling hot

Short-tempered; easily annoyed

Frequent headaches/migraines

Dry skin

Insomnia

Anxiety

Temper tantrums; screaming

Constipation

Trouble focusing

Restless leg syndrome

Overly passionate

Hives

Personification

Humans love to personify things in order to better understand them, and the esoteric world has pulped together several concepts and put them on the shoulders of Mars. Metaphorical language can sometimes be easier to remember than plain data. We can better remember the stories of mythological characters and can learn to make better decisions through the faults of heroic characters and deities. Knowing that, let’s learn more about Mars the Roman god, the namesake of the red planet.

Mars is Ares in Greek mythology. Mars was celebrated with festivals in March and October. He was known as the god of war and a guardian of agriculture.

Mars is Ares in Greek mythology. Mars was celebrated with festivals in March and October. He was known as the god of war and a guardian of agriculture.

Mars: The Roman God

Mars was the Roman god of war and second only to Jupiter in the Roman pantheon. The Roman god was also a guardian of agriculture. Most of the myths involving the god were borrowed from the Greeks—Mars is Ares in Greek mythology.

The Original Purpose of the Zodiac

The zodiac in Western astrology dates all the way back to Babylonian times. The zodiac was used by agrarian societies to better understand the seasons. At this time, human lives were deeply connected to food, particularly the harvest. Without tools to determine the seasons, the harvest could be chaotic and unpredictable (leading to death and sickness). Therefore, the zodiac was an important early development as it was a step toward the creation of a calendar system that could help prevent famines, droughts, floods, and the like.

Mars was one of many Roman guardians or gods of agriculture. These gods were almost always considered significant.

Important Aspects of Mars Mythos

  • Mars was the son of Jupiter and Juno.
  • Mars was the most prominent deity among the military gods worshiped by the Roman army.
  • Most of his festivals were held in March, which is the month named for him (Latin Martius). There were also festivals in October, the month that started the season for military campaigns and ended the season of farming. It is therefore unsurprising that Aries begins in March and Scorpio begins in October.
  • Other names: Mavors, Mavorte.
  • Symbol: The Spear of Mars.
  • Siblings: Vulcan, Minerva, Hercules, Bellona, Apollo, Diana, Bacchus.
  • Consort: Nerio, Rhea Silvia, Venus, Bellona.
  • Children: Romulus and Remus, Cupid.
  • Mars as Ares in Greek culture was often treated with contempt and revulsion.
  • Mars’ altar in the Campus Martius was supposed to be dedicated to Numa, the peace-loving second king of Rome.
  • Augustus helped make Mars a major focus in Roman religion.

Trivia Knowledge

  • According to legend, Mars was the father of Rome. He impregnated Rhea Silvia who gave birth to the twins Romulus and Remus.
  • The priesthood of the Arval Brothers would call on Mars to drive off “rust,” the wheat fungus and red oxides that affect metal, which was a threat to iron farm equipment and weapons.
  • It is likely that Mars was once a thunder or storm deity. Those traits were picked up by other gods, like Jupiter.
Animals important to Mars: the woodpecker, the bear, and the wolf. Wolves are also recurring animals in several Roman myths, including the founding of Rome.

Animals important to Mars: the woodpecker, the bear, and the wolf. Wolves are also recurring animals in several Roman myths, including the founding of Rome.

Important Animals

The animals considered the most sacred to Mars include the woodpecker, the bear, and the wolf.

The woodpecker was revered in Rome. It was one of the most important birds in Roman and Italic augury, the practice of reading the will of the gods by examining signs in the sky from clouds, stars, colors, and the like.

Wolves are often seen in Roman myths. For example, Romulus and Remus survived thanks to a she-wolf who nursed them.

Sacrifices to Mars

The most common animal sacrifices to Mars were pigs, rams, and bulls. The ram is the symbol of Aries and the bull is the symbol of Taurus.

Depictions & Legends

  • In Roman art, Mars is often depicted as either mature with a beard or young and clean-shaven. He wears a helmet and carries a spear.
  • He appeared on coins in the late 4th and early 3rd century BCE.
  • His helmet is a plumed neo-Attic-type.
  • His spear is often depicted with a garland or laurel, symbolizing victory.
  • Legend has it his spear would tremble or vibrate ahead of an impending war, as was reported to occur before the assassination of Julius Caesar.

References

1. Evans, James (1998). The History and Practice of Ancient Astronomy. Oxford University Press. pp. 296–7. ISBN 978-0-19-509539-5. Retrieved February 4, 2008.

2. Jones, Nancy; Steigerwald, Bill; Brown, Dwayne; Webster, Guy (14 October 2014). "NASA Mission Provides Its First Look at Martian Upper Atmosphere". NASA. Retrieved 15 October 2014. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.

3. Mary Beard, J.A. North, and S.R.F. Price, Religions of Rome: A History (Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 47–48.

4. "NASA Findings Suggest Jets Bursting From Martian Ice Cap". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA. 16 August 2006. Retrieved 11 August 2009. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.

5. Williams, David R. (1 September 2004). "Mars Fact Sheet". National Space Science Data Center. NASA. Archived from the original on 12 June 2010. Retrieved 24 June 2006. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2021 Andrea Lawrence

Comments

Andrea Lawrence (author) from Chicago on March 25, 2021:

@Heidi Thorne

I enjoyed writing this hub. It's amazing to me how similar Aries and Scorpio can be.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on March 25, 2021:

Scorpios can be a very confusing mix of fire and water tendencies. This explains why. Interesting info!

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