Throughout August 2020, Mars will be squaring Jupiter, Pluto and Saturn. This will occur twice more, as can be seen on the graph below. Next time is October, then finally between Christmas week and mid-January, culminating in a conjunction with Uranus in Taurus.
The diagram below shows the full ‘loop’ of Mars Rx
(90° graph, mid-July 2020 > mid-Feb 2021, illustrates the squares of Mars to the Jupter-Saturn-Pluto trio.)
The notes below feature Hephaestos, blacksmith of the gods. My thanks to astrologer Anne Steucker, who shared an image which brought these themes to mind. The material below is mostly taken from my contribution to the book “Mars – the Red Planet”, published in 2002, long out of print.
Hephaestus, rival and brother of Ares (Mars)
In one version of his origins,, Hephaestus is the son of Zeus (Jupiter) and Hera, and therefore brother and rival to Ares. Both Hephaestus and Ares offer reflections on the nature of astrological Mars.
Hephaestus was born prematurely and deformed, with feet that were clubbed and pointed backwards. Hera was horrified and flung him into the sea, wanting to be rid of him. He was rescued and cared for by the sea goddess Themis and her sisters but resented Hera evermore for this rejection. So Hephaestus/ Mars is unforgiving, holds on to resentment, and plots revenge.
As a blacksmith, Hephaestus forged the insignia by which the gods were recognised – the helmet of Hermes, and the shield of Athena, for example. So Hephaestus/Mars enables us to fashion the attributes by which our own individuality, our own unique giftedness, can be given shape and form, made recognisable and shared with the world. This being a Solar quality – Aries is the sign of the Sun’s exaltation.
Hephaestus made a beautiful golden throne for Hera, his mother. However, when she sat in it she found herself bound by invisible chains and unable to get out. Obviously it wouldn’t do for the wife of the great king of Olympus to be thus humiliated, so to save face she had to bargain with Hephaestus to get herself freed. He boldly asked for the hand of “the most beautiful woman in the world”. And so it was that Aphrodite became the unwilling wife of the lame blacksmith. And Hephaestus had to endure his own rivalrous jealousy as she frequently strayed into amorous encounters with other men, including his own brother, Ares! Boomerang! Ouch!
The teaching …?
This poignant story is full of instructive resonances, reflecting as it does some of the shadowy side of Mars, and how we might respond to the painful feelings of rejection, failure, exclusion, inadequacy, impotence, envy and resentment. And of course desire for revenge. And craving for glory and power. Any of which can hamper the wise and powerful expression of our own Mars. Interesting that the feet of Hephaestus pointed backwards … indeed, unprocessed feelings such as these often pull us ‘backwards’ to their past source, where we risk becoming ‘tied up’ like Hera. What will we bargain away just to get released from these very uncomfortable feelings?
Hephaestus, tormented as he was, desired Aphrodite/Venus above all. Whatever his motive, in terms of restoring his damaged sense of worthiness, or satisfying his lust, and a likely “I’ll show you” agenda. For indeed, we need to be seen by the Eyes of Love in order to accept and be released from the grip of our difficult feelings. And sometimes, if we don’t feel enough inner worthiness to allow this to occur within ourselves … by Grace, we might be seen, heard and witnessed by a loving friend, family member, partner or therapist. May it be so for us all. And may we likewise offer this to others when the occasion arises.
Remember that the Sun is exalted in Aries … ruled by Mars. In order that the will and vitality of Mars be dedicated to creating the ‘insignia’ of our own individual spark of Light, we may indeed be called to work with these difficult Mars themes. For although the physical Sun casts deep black shadows, the astrological Sun is a small but precious lens through which the Great Eternal Light shines.
Watch/listen to Handel’s aria “Eternal Source of Light Divine”
with Alison Balsom (trumpet) and Iestyn Davies (countertenor).
(Note the sublime interplay of Mars and Venus energies
within each of them, and together …)
Interesting to compare and contrast all this with the story of Chiron, also rejected by his mother, but fostered by the Sun-god Apollo. Instead of holding resentment and plotting revenge, Chiron became a great healer and mentor. Recall that the current ‘loop’ of Mars in Aries was heralded by the conjunction of Chiron and Mars!
So may this Rx cycle of Mars be a healing time for us. The movement of the lines in the planetary diagram at the top of the page illustrates the curling back and over of a series of lines which get progressively lighter, turning from deep red (Mars) to bright yellow (Sun). The background seems more two-dimensional, then as the ‘Sun colour’ takes over, the motif seems to thrust forward. Moving out from the pattern already formed while ‘going over’ the past enables us to move forward … may it be so for us all. There is a lot of ‘rogue’ Mars energy on the loose in ‘the collective’ at present. May it trigger new insights about the condition of our own Mars, so Right Action becomes accessible, on whatever level …
May we all be safe and well, with enough emotional support, food,
shelter and other essentials. May we be free enough of illness
and deprivation to be able to reach out and help others.