(Originally appearing in Crow’s Calling)
Mars is one of the most misunderstood of the planets, astrologically and magically. Many cite it as the planet of anger, frustration, war and destruction. And it can be, but if you focus solely on those descriptions, you miss the true thread of what Mars is, will. Mars energy is the power of personal will. It is the energy that encourages you to do. What you do with the energy is entirely up to you. It’s much like the opposite of its sister/lover planet Venus. Venus wants to attract and let things happen. Mars wants to go out and make things happen. Mars begins. Mars initiates. Whenever you apply your will to make something happen, you are using Mars energy.
Will energy is particularly powerful for witches, pagans and magicians who do spell work, for it is our connection to will power that fuels our magic. Although through our rituals, spells and meditations we seek to merge our will with higher will to create change, we must first do something. We must take the first action. That is your personal will, your Mars energy. When your will is blocked in some way, typical human reaction is to get frustrated. Some will use that frustration time to reflect on the situation and ask to connect to higher will, to understand why this block has occurred. Most of us, however, use our frustration to transform our will into anger, to destroy the obstacles in front of us. Although that can be an appropriate action in some situations, it is not a very conscious action. It is a reaction. Mars becomes destructive and war-like when it is not used consciously through actions, but when its used in reactions. When used consciously, Mars is the power of victory.
The planet itself gives us clues to its magical and personal powers. The planet can be seen easily from Earth, reflecting a red light due to the reddish pigment of the iron oxide deposits on the surface. Iron is traditionally known as the metal of the warrior, and the ancients used iron as the magical metal of Mars. Although used for weapons, magically iron powder and iron nails are used in protection spells, to ground unwanted harmful energy, like a lightning rod grounds electricity. The warrior can be the defender, and not the invader.
Mars has very thin atmosphere, so it doesn’t trap energy like Venus does. It lets go. It doesn’t become attached to what has happened in the past. This is true even on the surface of Mars. It is covered with many craters and rocky formation. The dayside can reach a very high temperature, while the night side becomes very cool, as its rotation is slightly longer than Earth’s rotation, approximately 25 earth hours. Mars must release the energy it absorbs to produce change. What little atmosphere exits creates strong windstorms that constantly scar and reshape the surface of the planet. Although you can think of these as war scars, I prefer to look at these storms as symbolic of the ability to change and adapt. Mars is all about putting your will into action to create change. The red color and high day temperature also links Mars to the element of fire. Fire is the element of our energy – as expressed as passion, intensity, career, sexuality and even spirituality. Wherever we put our energy is where we will have to use our Mars. Mars energy can be aggressive, but does not have to be violent. The fire energy of Mars can be found in our bodies. Some traditions place Mars at the root chakra, for physical survival, sexual pleasure and intense energy. Others place it as the Solar Plexus, the furnace of the energy body. I would say that Mars energy can be found in both of those chakras.
Water is the symbol of emotion, and what little water exists on Mars is most likely frozen. Symbolically, Mars does not get weight downed in the emotions. They are almost suspended. The fire elemental energy reign
Astrologically, Mars is associated with Aries. Aries is the sign of the ram, the leader and warrior who must charge forward. Aries learns to overcome fear through this fiery energy. Before the discovery of Pluto, Mars was also associated with Scorpio, the sign of strong emotional and psychic power, investigation and desire.
The archetype of Mars can be the warrior, as aggressor or as protector. Warriors can be both. In many traditions of mysticism, from Mexican shamanism to Eastern disciplines, the mystic is considered a spiritual warrior. Mars’ sacred day is Tuesday, called Tyr’s Day after the Norse god Tyr. Tyr is a god of war, but also of justice and self-sacrifice. He gave his hand in sacrifice to the wolf monster threatening the Norse gods. With his sacrifice, the other gods were able to chain the creature. The most famous Mars archetype is of course, the Roman god Mars, known as Ares to the Greeks. Although played a villain in both ancient tales and modern television shows, he was seen as a part of creation, as were all the gods, and not a source of evil. Perhaps as a god of war, a source of pain and fear, but not evil. Other war godform survive into the modern world with less of a stigma attached to them. Set and Horus of Egyptian mythology come to mind. Although Set is often now portrayed as a god of evil, he originally was a god of destruction and the desert storm winds. Unlike the other gods of Egypt, and the Egyptians of the time, he was portrayed as having red hair. His nephew Horus, although with many solar attributes, became the avenging son after his father Osiris’ murder, giving him Martian warrior attributes. In Celtic myth, the warrior kings have great Mars attributes. Bran, the giant god has some Mars characteristics, although he is much more a mystical warrior, associated with ravens and prophecy. King Arthur is a more down to Earth warrior king who is called to action to serve the land and kingdom. In many of the Celtic traditions, not only are the gods and kings warriors, but the goddesses and queens are warriors. In fact, in some myths, the best male warriors actually got their training from the goddesses and warrior women. Martian energy is not exclusive to males.
Magically, you can call upon Mars energy for almost anything. It is a very active energy, so when you need to do something quietly and gently, it is not the best power. Magic to succeed in competition, make a bold change, increase sex drive, overcome an obstacle, grant protection, increase physical movement, motivate exercise, increase fire energy and bring strength are all great Mars goals. Use Mars energy to create and build with the waxing Moon and use it to remove and destroy obstacles in the waning Moon.
To draw Mars energy in ritual, use the color red, through candles, altar clothes and clothing to attract the vibration. Do it on a Tuesday, and or if you know how to calculate planetary hours (I suggest Maria Simm’s A Time for Magick, published by Llewellyn for more information) perform it in the hour of Mars on whatever day your ritual occurs. You can also do strong Mars magick when the Moon or Sun is in Aries. Look this information up on an astrological calendar. Your own personal Mars period begins 105 days after your birthday and lasts for 52 days. The world’s Mars period beings July 3 and goes until August 23. Both are times for physical health and empowerment, action and activity. It’s best to avoid new legal deals at this time.
You can also use the following minerals and plants in your magical spells and charms. Many people are often surprised by what is ruled by Mars. Herbs and stone they feel are healing or feminine often come under this rulership, demonstrating how fire and will can be very healing energies, not exclusive to the realms of war.
- Minerals: Agate, Apache Tear, Red Aventurine, Bloodstone, Carnelian, Diamond, Flint, Garnet, Hematite, Red Jasper, Lava, Mochi Balls ©, Onyx, Fire Opal, Pipestone, Rhodochrosite, Rhodonite, Ruby, Sard, Sardonyx, Watermelon Tourmaline
- Herbs: Acacia, Adam and Eve Root, Agrimony, All-Heal, Allspice, Barberry, Bearberry, Beech, Beets, Benzoin, Betony, Blackberry, Bleeding Heart, Blood Root, Briony, Broom, Carrots, Cashew, Cayenne, Cherry, Chili Pepper, Chives, Coriander, Curry, Damiana, Deerstongue, Dragon’s Blood, Male Fern, Fireweed, Flax, Galangal Root, Garlic, Geranium, Ginger, Hawthorn, Hemlock, High John the Conqueror Root, Holly, Honeysuckle, Horseradish, Houndstongue, Hyssop, Juniper Berries, Leeks, Low John Root, Mandrake, Marjoram, Masterwort, Mastic, Mustard Seeds, Nettles, Red Oak, Onion, Orchid, Paprika, Pear, Red Pepper, Peppercorn, Pine, Poppy, Radish, Ragweed, Raspberry, Rhubarb, Rose, Wild Rose, Rue, Sassafras, Snapdragon, Spearmint, Spinach, Stone Root, Strawberry, Sweet Briar, Sweet Pea, Tarragon, Thistle, Blessed Thistle, Thorn, Tobacco, Tomato, Vanilla, Woodruff, Wormwood, Yerba Mate
(Be sure to consult a reputable medical herbal before using any herbs topically or internally.)
If you want to do a simple ritual to connect to your Mars energy, get a red candle and with a pin, draw the symbol of mars, a circle with an arrow pointing off to your right, like the classical symbol of a man. Light the candle on a Tuesday, and meditate by staring into the flame. If you have an appropriate Mars incense, such as Dragon’s Blood, light it. Ask your higher power to grant you a vision of how you should be applying your will, your power, in accordance with divine will. Close your eyes, and let the images come to you. Let your soul, your inner fire be guided by the true light of divine will, and not of your ego. When done, thank the power of the divine and the power of Mars and go out into the world. Create. Change. Be victorious!
Next: Jupiter & Expansion
* A Salem Witch’s Herbal by Laurie Cabot. Celtic Crow Publishing.
* Archetypes of the Zodiac by Kathleen Burt. Llewellyn.
* Astrological Magick by Estelle Daniels. (Samuel Weiser)
* Astrology From A to Z by Eleanor Bach. Evens and Company.
* Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs and Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Crystal, Gem & Metal Magic, by Scott Cunningham. Llewellyn.
* Lifting the Veil: Practical Kabbalah with Kundalini Yoga by Gurunam. Rootlight Publishing