Depending on who you ask, Mars can be a benefic planet, a malefic planet, or somewhere in between. Mars means a lot of things to a lot of different people.
Per David Cochrane’s work in Vibrational astrology (look at this video from 23:49), Mars has the meaning of “how we try to achieve things” — we wake up in the morning wanting to accomplish something. When we don’t achieve in the way Mars wants us to achieve, frustration arises. The drive to accomplish something generates energy and willpower. Cochrane (who I’ve studied under) is always looking for the energy process that causes characteristics that we consider archetypal for a given planet, in this case Mars.
Other astrologers will say that Mars has to do with our warrior ways, or our energy and willpower, or, in my view, ego. I have concluded through my own observations that if Mars is in a low degree of a certain sign, that lends itself to a more primitive ego. If Mars is in a high degree, it lends itself to a more mature ego. (I allude to this in my April 7 post).
To get to what we’re going to talk about today — or more accurately, post interpretations of different Mars lines — I’m going to relate a story to you. When I was born in New York City, my Mars IC line went right through Pennsylvania and all points directly north and south. Growing up in the New York area, I was very close to it — maybe about 100 miles away, and, just as importantly, on the east side of it, so I grew up with Mars in my 3rd house.
When I moved to Pittsburgh, PA in 1988, I moved west of my Mars IC line, so it relocated to my 4th house. I was still pretty close to the line — not as close, but roughly 250 miles away. Different astrologers have made different decisions on how close to a line the influences go. Some astrologers say you have to be less than 50 miles away. Some astrologers allow for as many as 700 miles away.
I would tend to favor a more moderate approach in between those two extremes, but notably David Cochrane says we have to be very close to the line for it to have an effect. Two years before I started his astrology program, I went to his workshop in Gainesville, FL. I didn’t learn anything from him on this issue at the time. What I did experience was the opinion of somebody in his workshop who claimed to be an astrocartographer, or at least had studied it.
It was about a month before I would leave Pittsburgh for good. I was not doing well at all there. In a particular form of symbolism, my workouts were getting more and more difficult to do over the previous year. It was like I was running out of willpower, even the willpower to live. I was also not sleeping well, and I had gained too much weight.
I wasn’t sure of the reason, but I was getting the impression that it had to do with being close to my Mars IC line. I showed my Astro Map to the astrocartographer, told him where I lived, and he said, “That’s really bad.” He confirmed that it had to do with living so close to my Mars IC line.
I said, “It feels like I’m sinking.” His response was, “And it’s going to get worse every year.”
That’s a powerful expression of being close to your Mars IC line, for sure. It wasn’t the only reason I was doing so badly, but it was among the most major reasons. When I got to Colorado, I found my workouts were super-easy. We’ll go over the Mars IC line in this tutorial. I’ll be using the interpretations from Time Passages’ Astro Maps, as well as Dan Furst’s interpretations in “Finding Your Best Places: Using Astrocartography to Navigate Your Life.” So I’ll be using the same interpretations I used for the other planets I’ve posted so far — Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus.
Let’s review what an Astro Map looks like:
You can see both Ascending and Descending lines running diagonally from North to South and back again. This person’s chart almost has the Bowl shape — planets are distributed among 7 houses and 192 degrees, with nothing on the other side. Descending lines are slightly fainter than Ascending lines, and the vertical Midheaven and Nadir lines are solid and dashed lines, respectively.
The Mars line is bright red, but some of the other planets’ lines are red, also. Let’s zoom in to see the Mars ascending line.
Here we can see The Mars Ascending line originating from Africa, near Libya and Egypt, cutting between Greece and Turkey into Eastern Europe, through Ukraine and into Russia, coming very close to Moscow.
Time Passages has the interpretation as follows:
With Mars on the Ascendant, experiences in this location bring out your most extroverted self. You may find that once you arrive here, you suddenly know exactly what you want and what you can do to make it happen. You could become supercharged in this place with a strong sense of personal power and a strong libido to go with it! You may find that in this place you learn the art of setting intent and taking action. You could find yourself playing the role of pioneer, ground breaker, or mover and shaker. While you might enjoy the oomph you experience in this locale, you might also find it causes you to react more aggressively than usual or to behave impulsively at times. You will want to seize the energy that becomes available to you in this part of the world and learn to use it in a way that skillfully manifest acts in service to the greatest good; acts that create power-with rather than power-over.
Dan Furst has it as follows:
There is something to be said for the Mars on the Asc line too, for this can enhance our valor in committing ourselves to our goals, and giving them our best shot. Those who’ve been timid and irresolute in asserting themselves, setting boundaries and otherwise finding the resources hidden deep within their well of courage can benefit from being temporarily under a Mars line, or from building relationships with other people under their Mars lines, who can help them in the aggressive roles of agents and sales reps.
Here’s a graphic depiction from Astro Maps of Mars on the IC line
Time Passages has Mars on the IC line as follows:
With Mars on the Nadir, in this place your self-assertion and will power will be tested in the arena of your most personal and private reality. This is a locale where rather than being extrovert you tend to explore issues from the depths of your psychological roots. You may find that you become assertive in these parts when it comes to dealing with home and family matters. Personal relations could become challenging while you are here, or your inner world act up in ways that you can no longer ignore. At the worst, you may find that factors in your private life catch you off guard and derail you temporarily. You might also find that you have the courage and energy you need here to face problems head on and become empowered to make real and necessary changes. With the increased energy and stamina this place tends to bring, you might find yourself in initiation, in one way or another, whether you renovate a home, plan a reunion or further your inner exploration with family therapy.
I think Dan Furst’s interpretation is more accurate, and more consistent with what I’ve heard:
The Mars line pointing down to the Nadir is one of the toughest in our maps, as it can mean an aggravating friction in practical matters of making a living, maintaining a harmonious home life and relating to the Mother. This line is not an easy one to travel under, as it can entail mechanical breakdowns and practical difficulties, so that one who travels under this line in rural India during Mercury retrograde may have a hidden masochistic streak.
Even that interpretation doesn’t quite get it.
Moving along to Mars on the Descendant line, on this particular Astro Map it mostly goes through some sparse towns in Siberia before migrating southeast to Antarctica without hitting much in between (it runs several hundred miles west of Hawaii). Nonetheless the interpretation is as follows:
With Mars on the Descendant, self-assertion with regard to relationship will likely come up for you in one way or another. In this location you may suddenly find yourself highly energized and opinionated, especially regarding close relationships, or become involved with othres in order to experience love, sex, sport, self-will, action and adventure. You could potentially become a rash, ardent or independent lover while here, or else seek out another who reflects these fiery qualities back to you. You may also discover that you quarrel more with others as a way to stand up to their strong influence, or require lots of space to yourself to integrate intense encounters or just to express independence. You could find yourself exploring a greater degree of self-reliance both within and outside of your relationships. You benefit from cultivating moderation and objectivity in the passionate dealings with others that you might encounter while here.
Dan Furst has it as follows:
Mars on the Dsc is one of our worst lines for love, marriage and all kinds of cooperation, as it can represent disputes, conflicts and out-and-out fighting with spouses, colleagues and partners of all kinds. You’d do well to find your true love under a Venus line, but don’t honeymoon with him or her under a Mars on the Dsc line unless you want what the Japanese call a Narita divorce.
Finally, let’s take a screenshot of the Mars on the Midheaven line, as it’s probably the best line of the four:
Here we see the Mars Midheaven line going through central China through southeast Asia and Indonesia before dropping west of Australia. The Time Passages interpretation has it as follows:
With Mars on the Midheaven, this place brings out an ambitious and vigorous part of your personality, especially when it comes to advancing your career and attaining success in the world. In this place you have what it takes to overcome obstacles and achieve big goals. Roadblocks and glass ceilings will not stop you here. You may also find that in this locale, you have an advantage when it comes to performing any kind of physical activity with increased endurance and agility. At its worst, you could also find you lose your temper more easily in these parts or behave impulsively without thinking about the consequences. You will also likely find that here, you access a stronger sense of will and a courageous, pioneering spirit that could allow you to move mountains. Anyway you look at this placement it benefits you to find creative ways to move the excess of energy that you will find here.
Dan Furst has it as follows:
Perhaps the best is the Mars line that points up to the MC, as this line can fortify our courage in going after challenging career and spiritual goals. This one is called the Pioneer line because it carries the bold heart of the one who builds the log cabinet in the wilderness, braves the animals, the elements and other dangers, but gains in the end the satisfaction of having dared and done an ambitious goal that demands everything we’ve got.
I would love to hear commentary from my readers who have lived near a Mars line, no matter which one, and find out how you think it’s affected you. I can only offer the IC line, and it may be that I might wish to focus on other lines (like Venus), but Mars is what it is. Furst says “Mars is impetuous, quick to anger, sexually relentless and insatiable, inclined to act once and think later, if at all.
“Who was likely to have coined the outrageous order, “Kill them all. God will recognize his own” ? Mars, of course.”
And yet this very literary interpretation of Mars is very much unlike David Cochrane’s depiction of it as a simple energy process that can affect many things, but it always starts with the energy process.