1. Planets

Mars in Astrology: Zodiac Sign, House and Meaning

Mars in Astrology

Mars is the red planet of energy, vigor, and courage and represents what motivates us to act, participate in life, satisfy our libidinal desires, and pursue our ambitions. It represents the capacity to protect and defend oneself and to be competitive, combative, or aggressive.

In a horoscope birth chart or natal chart, the placement of Mars represents what stokes our inner flame and drives us to take action in our lives. It can speak to the ways we deal with conflict, anger, and heated emotions and how we assert ourselves in relationships with others.

It can also represent where in our lives we tend to experience challenges that require our active confrontation and the experience of tension, struggle, or friction.

Key Concepts

  • Mars rules the zodiac sign Aries, as Mars provides the courage for Aries to act independently in pursuit of their desires.

  • Mars is exalted in Capricorn because Mars desires to win, and in Capricorn, it has the stamina for the long haul.

  • Mars has its joy in the 6th house of Daily Work because Mars has the willpower to rise to the challenges and pressures of this house.

  • Mars is related to the Major Arcana tarot card The Tower, which represents the destruction of that which is built on unstable foundations.

Astronomical Features

  • Mars spends 2-7 months in each zodiac sign.

  • Mars cycles through the entire zodiac every ~2 years.

  • Mars retrogrades once every 2 years for 2.5 months.

Mars Symbolism and Meaning

Ancient astrologers derived the earliest significations of Mars—once known as the God of War—from its fiery red appearance in the night sky. Its visual characteristics reveal its symbolic function as the fiery planet that stokes our hot and impassioned emotions.

Mars represents the part of us that is compelled to pursue the goals, relationships, and experiences we want and avoid those we do not. It represents our capacity to sever, separate, and cut ties with that which repels us.

Mars in Balance

The influence of Mars in balance can show up as the ability to take decisive action toward that which we desire to experience or achieve and the willingness to take reasoned risks and defend that which is worthy of being protected or fought for.

A balanced Mars can also be seen as the ability to feel and express anger in productive ways and expel excess energy through physical activities that provide a beneficial sense of release.

Mars out of Balance

When malefic planet Mars is out of balance, it may manifest as an inability to mobilize one’s actions in accordance with one’s will or desires, a tendency towards lethargy or apathy, and feeling dominated or victimized by others.

An imbalanced Mars may also be seen as a desire to overpower others, act with excessive force, express anger and aggression destructively, or tend toward selfish behavior.

Psychological Aspects of Mars

The psychological function of Mars is to assert oneself in the world and act in accordance with one’s will, as well as defend one’s rights, desires, and sense of personhood.

Often conceived of as the oppositional function of Venus, the Venus/Mars dyad can be thought of as attraction/repulsion and as the concept of Eros/Thanatos (or drives for sex and death).

Mars in Mythology

Throughout many ancient cultures, Mars has been personified as a God of War and the Battlefield, symbolic of a conquering hero and a spiritual warrior. Mars has been conceived of as a god of protection and as a force that guards against harm, threats, and invasion.

Often depicted as the masculine counterpart to Venus, Mars represents the archetypal masculine sexual energy. Mars is also synonymous with power in vedic astrology.