Exaltation, Detriment, Fall: Mars

Mars, as a symbol of an aspect of human consciousness, represents our active nature. He is aggressive, doesn’t second-guess, and is associated with both the child and the soldier. These may seem incompatible but they are similar in a very key way: the naïveté and pure faith in self that possesses a child to go out and experiment in the world are precisely the aspects a warrior needs to abandon his earthly cares and fight for something bigger than him.

Mars rules masculine Aries by day, and feminine Scorpio by night, and is exalted in Capricorn. Opposite to his domicile in Aries is Venus-ruled Libra, and opposite to Scorpio is Venus-ruled Taurus – these are the two signs of Mars’s detriment. Mars is in fall in Cancer, opposite his exaltation sign of Capricorn.

Mars, being a masculine planet, prefers his placement in masculine Aries. Here he displays his physical, inexhaustible energy in full force, taking charge of the first sign of the zodiac to get things going. Mars in Aries is like Mars to the power of two: imagine a child alone in a house and able to follow his own whims entirely – great for Mars, but perhaps a challenge to the other houses in the neighborhood. This conquering tendency of Mars is cooled a bit in watery Scorpio, and may reflect the complementary quality to action: reflection. Mars in his house of Scorpio finds a fertile environment to consider actions, think things out, and, in some cases, to prepare the venom for his deadly sting. Scorpio is almost a hibernating house of Mars – we may observe him acting indirectly here, but still as strong as ever. This is not to play into the myth that Mars is malicious, though a poorly-placed Mars can incline the native to come on too strong, pick fights that aren’t worth it, waste energy in pursuits that exhaust him, etc. On the other hand, a strong, well-supported Mars can make the native a strong fighter for a cause that is just, or which aligns with the native’s integrity.

Mars’s exaltation in Saturn-ruled Capricorn can be understood a number of ways. First, we may consider that Mars, the ‘lesser malefic’ is strong under the wing of Saturn, the ‘greater malefic’. So-called malefics exhort the native to earn what the planet represents, contrary to the benefics which require the native to be flexible and receptive to accommodate the gifts they give freely – one must prepare the ground, in a way. The malefics are the way we prepare this ground: they give us the energy and attention to create and revise in order to make the best of the gifts which we are given. This metaphor of preparation is suitable to Mars in Capricorn: the planet of action in this seemingly-barren earth sign gives us the energy to till the field and plant something lasting. Mars in Capricorn may not give the native the brash strength of, say, Aries, but it is necessary for continuing the cycle, and directs our energy toward something lasting (Saturn).

In our article on Venus, we noted that both of her signs of detriment are ruled by Mars; the converse is true here. Mars’s detriment in Libra and Taurus reflects again this crucial difference between the feminine and the masculine in astrology. Venus, representing divine feminine energy, is concerned with peace, finding balance (Libra), and endurance (Taurus), whereas masculine Mars relies on disruption of these in order to accomplish. This disruption is, again, something he has in common with Saturn – Saturn / Kronos creates time through disruption of the harmony of the spheres; Mars creates action in much the same way. Mars in Libra may actually be inclined toward extremes, if the chart doesn’t have a strong Venus to synthesize the energies. Mars in Taurus may be disruptive to the Taurean status quo, which, again, can prove advantageous or disadvantageous to the native, depending on other planetary placements, how well they are able to integrate this Mars energy into their Self, and the influences of those surrounding them.

Finally, Mars’s fall in Cancer reflects an indirectness in Mars’s expression that may be frustrating to him (or the native!). Though Mars and the Moon get on well, the cool feminine nature of Cancer may serve to hide Mars’s natural fiery impulses, and he may be said to approach his goals sidewise, like a crab. This is a very interesting Mars energy and can serve a native very well (there is a lot to be said for indirectness, after all, despite it being a less preferable mode for Mars’s nature). A Mars in Cancer native may give the appearance of being sweet and docile, slow to anger, or even give one the impression of being ineffectual. It would be an enormous mistake to take this assessment at face value, however, for once one penetrates the depths of Cancer, or wears away this tempering influence in the native, Mars comes out swinging and can settle a matter with a single blow. Don’t get on the bad side of a Mars in Cancer native: they are long-suffering and extremely forgiving and accommodating of slights, but if you keep pushing or taking advantage, there will come a day when you see that Mars emerge from the depths, snap a claw, and perhaps take an arm or leg with it.

Do you have Mars in any of these signs? How do you experience it? Do you see a connection between the way you act (Mars) and the condition of the planet ruling the sign he is placed in?

25 thoughts on “Exaltation, Detriment, Fall: Mars”

  1. Yes, the connection is that Mars in Cancer makes me less decisive than my 10th house Sagittarius sun wants me to be. But when I do make a decision I act with that swiftness you mentioned.

  2. Yes I have. My Mars is in Capricorn in house 4, not easy but useful. It makes me tough when nescessary. It is sextile my Saturn in Scorpio in house two and it trines my Sun in Virgo in house 12. In hard times I function the best when I am alone or with a person that I can totally trust. I work best in the background. I am often the safety net as well.
    For me it is a good Mars: I would not trade with anyone. Especially now that I am a little bit older (62). When I was a teenager this was not easy for me. 🙂

  3. Taurus Mars conjunct Jupiter makes me feel super lazy or super motivated. Scorpio pluto is in opposition to Mars (but Jupiter just misses the orb) and I’m learning how to use that to give myself a kick in the pants when I need to get moving but would rather lounge around and daydream.

  4. I have Mars in Taurus in the 10th. Aries is on the MC and Mars conjuncts my Moon. And even with that, that damn Venusian influence waters down my Mars–makes me to want to aggressively (Mars) pursue relaxing (Taurus) instead of more constructive activities. ?

  5. I am a 4H Gemini Mars. I always referred to myself as a “home manager” Heck, I even custom built (Mars) my house (4H) making sure the design laid out well for entertaining (4H Gemini/7H Virgo Venus/Libra Sun and Mercury)! I’m definitely a perennial student (9H Scorpio Neptune/Jupiter conjunction). I do admit to dabbling in lots of home projects and not finishing them in a timely fashion. My 8H Libra Sun exactly trines my Mars which keeps me strong and motivated.

  6. I am a double Pisces woman with a super strong Mars. Mars in domicile in Aries and trine my Uranus/Jupiter conjunction in Sag, as well as trine my Leo Asc . My Mars is also parallel Pluto if that counts.

    All I know is I am highly spirited, I can be very competitive, but not necessarily in a negative way, I am competitive because I think it’s healthy (I’m also generous and let people win). I am very driven, usually. I almost have too much energy to contain inside at times- sometimes I get very restless when there is not enough to do, which can cause me to act compulsively. I have a compulsive streak that can be absolutely horrible- (I blame it more so on Uranus/Jupiter squaring my Mercury though). So I have to constantly try to calm myself down when I get too excited.

    1. Yes, I mean compulsive (i have a lot of 8th house), not impulsive, which is more Aries, although they can occur in me simultaneously.

  7. Mars in Capricorn, conjuct Mercury and the Sun, in the 8th House. I think carefully about it before I do it, but I don’t have any doubts….

  8. My Mars in Cancer in the 3H is in mutual reception with my Moon in Aries.
    I feel really lazy and passive until suddenly “I find myself” in the middle of an argument with a teacher or someone else (of course I put myself in those situations but I like to think otherwise). I speak up for myself and others, even if I stutter while doing so.

  9. anonymoushermit

    I’m envious of those with Mars in Capricorn. I think it’s the best Mars to have. I believe that Mars in Aries is great at times, but too impulsive.

    1. Anonymoushermit, there is no need to. If you have Mars in Capricorn than you need this in your life and believe me: it is not for a party! When you know you can be impulsive you have the solution in your hands! See the benefits of your own Mars….there are a lot!

      1. anonymoushermit

        Oh, I have Mars in Libra, not Aries. I was just stating my opinions on the Mars sign! I am a bit envious, but in a friendly-two friends-laughing kind of way, not malicious, or toxic. Haha.

        1. I have close family that have libra mars and I notice they appreciate beauty similar, like a libra, maybe that’s why its fall and detriment in mars/sun, because venus isn’t comfy in a warrior and ego placement. though I don’t understand why cancer is in the fall in mars and just fine in sun? is the warrior sign of mars not comfy for a moon energy but ok in the sun energy?

          I do like the description of mars cancer in the OP, it helps explain about the sideways approach to getting what you want.

        2. You have a great Mars! I understand that you are not toxic or something nasty. (and please excuse me for if my English is sometimes not quite correct: I am from The Netherlands. I learned English enough but my syntax sometimes “rattels”).

        3. My Libra Venus wonders why a Mars in Libra would be anything else than perfect. Only my Libra Uranus doesn’t like the idea of a Mars in Libra.

  10. I already wondered why my strong Mars doesn’t love to fight, but nonphysical fights does my Scorpio Mars indeed love. So I gained an insight here. But I wouldn’t say that this Mars is weaker than in Aries, only because it is less fond of physical injuries. Quite the opposite, it is Mars’ task to increase the chance of survival and not to lower it.
    My Mars is wrapped into a planetoid stellium. No idea whether Mars is strengthened this way.

    1. Strange indeed. And the Mother and father (Moon/Saturn) and the student and teacher (Mercury/Jupiter).

      1. I found it strange because shouldn’t a lover make you feel better? I’m less surprised in the case of teacher and student. The case of Saturn and Moon is again strange because Saturn is also said to be the higher octave of the Moon.

        1. Avatar

          I think Pluto is the higher octave of the Moon. Saturn could be the higher octave of Mars since it deals with action and planning, with the difference that Saturn’s goals are to produce something tangible and durable that will last. Pluto and the Moon have both that connection that they deal with our psyche, we our deepest needs and emotions.

  11. My natal Mars is in Cancer. You’re right, Caitlin, I want to get in, settle things “with a single blow,” and then exit that situation.
    I do appoach things sideways, that just strikes me as the most often, most effective way to be effective. Ditto for scoping things out, as far as possible, quickly, beforehand (another Cancer Mars way of doing).

    Very infirmative series that you have going! Thank you!

  12. They aren’t weakened they are not comfortable in their skin so to speak. I have mars in cancer and I’ve defeated plenty of mars in other signs. Including ppl with mars in Aries, Scorpio, and Capricorn. An most ppl fear me when they get to know me. I find that planets in their fall and determent aren’t weaker they are just less comfortable. It took me years to get used to my mars. Growing up was hard everything mars based felt like I didn’t fit in my ow n skin. An hoe everyone else thought using mars didn’t work for me. Lucky my mothers a mars in cancer also and she showed me how to get used to it. Idk really know how to explain it properly. Only that it isn’t weakness just discomfort.

  13. Thank you for your take on mars in cancer. I too have this aspect, but my mars ist conjuncted to jupiter in cancer in the 7th. Both of them ( mars and jupiter) are in a quincunx to my natal sun in virgo. I got my moon in cancer 7th too but unaspected to mars and jupiter and in sextile to my sun. I was all my life a person who loves learning and different cultures. I was rather shy all my life, but i got to say in my youth I had a phase of promiscuity and i got involved or was gotten involved with others way too fast and too strong. Ihad onesided relationships (friendships and lovers both) that were like, well, i was the follower, not the leader, and i had a lot of intense relationships with exeptionally damaged people (they had been abused, migration and integration issues, drug addicted parents) and these friends all were extremely selfish and took my way of accepting them and being close zo them into let’s say codepedency. I have codependency issues. And difficult people and me are like magnets. One time, sb made me that angry (after years of tolerating snd accepting their bulls***t) that i blew off like never in my life. So to say my whole way of looking at the world got shattert by my own incredible blowup. I got so angry and aggressive (verbally and inside) that i dreamed of killing and really could not recognize myself. I hate huge hate and will for war in me. Of couse that man and me are now enemies. I still get angry and cry sometimes and spend hours thinking about him now, after 9 years. I kinda still wish he was dead. My anger at him can still arise in me today. Interpretation? I feel like mars in cancer is a mother who… i nean.. have you ever thought of a mother that sees her babies threatened.. and how she will fight then? I mean first a mother would do anything to not get into an ugly fight. Fighting is from a mother’s point of view the very last, but very ultimative thing. She will go hiding, begging, waiting, enduring, hoping, dealing, submitting herself, sacrifice, suffer and be hurt in her pride.. but she will not leave her children to go to war. But if there is no other way, she will go. And then… reckon… world order is upside down ehen mothers go to war.

    After a couple years

    1. Avatar
      Hildegarde's Noviciate

      I think your insight about the mother connection is dead on. Mars in Cancer in 10th shows the world how I love to support people and nourish them.
      I am especially protective of my son, my younger sister, animals…anything or anyone that could be exposed and maybe too vulnerable…elderly, children, disabled, the sick or special needs..
      Because of my aggressive mother instincts, you try to bully any of the above and people see a whooole other side of me…my pinchers come out verbally shredding. Once the red mist evaporates from my eyes and I see the emotional devastation I sometimes inflict on the mean people, I cringe. I try to keep a lid on it.

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