Tracking Mars

Mars is associated with vitality, initiative, passion, force, anger, and aggression. Mars stirs your desires and prods you to take action. As a rule, Mars spends about two months in a sign, taking about two years to travel through the zodiac and return to the position that it occupied at your birth. But those figures are only averages because, like the other planets, Mars sometimes slows down, turns retrograde, and spends several months in one sign (see Chapter 18 for more on retrograde planets). To show you how varied its schedule can be, in 1997, Mars sped through Scorpio in about six weeks. But when it returned to that sign in 1999, it lingered there for over five months. Naturally, the more time it spends in a sign, the more it energizes the planets it contacts there.

The major transits of Mars are as follows:

1 Mars conjunct the Sun: You feel determined, aggressive, and brave. But act quickly (and try to avoid angry outbursts). This energetic transit usually lasts only a few days, although occasionally, when Mars goes retrograde, it can carry a longer, hardier charge.

1 Mars opposite the Sun: You're energetic but embattled. This is a don't-mess-with-me transit.

1 Mars conjunct the Moon: You're feisty, expressive, and in no mood to repress your powerful emotions or peevish irritations, which somehow just pop out. Just remember that a little self-awareness goes a long way.

1 Mars opposite the Moon: Take care. Your emotional outpourings — which feel externally caused — can quickly escalate into confrontation. Count to ten.

1 Mars conjunct Mercury: You feel impatient, excited, and filled with ideas. You express your opinions with confidence — and aggression. A hint of competition or hostility may sneak into your communications.

1 Mars opposite Mercury: You argue, you debate, you take no prisoners. You're quick to respond, but you may also feel frustrated, beleaguered, confrontational, and hostile. Be careful of what you say.

1 Mars conjunct Venus: Your sex drive, ability to love, and artistic impulses are working overtime. You're at your most irresistible.

1 Mars opposite Venus: Socially and sexually, you're in the mood for love. But your strategies for getting together with other people may be less than successful. You run the risk of being too assertive or uncooperative — or of attracting people who are behaving in a similarly out-of-balance fashion.

1 Mars conjunct natal Mars: Mars returns. The hero's journey begins anew as a fresh wave of energy and desire washes over you. Your challenge is to harness that energy. This transit, which occurs every two years, marks the end of one energy cycle and the beginning of another. This is the moment to pursue a new interest, invent a project, and stay open to possibilities that arrive unbidden. Transiting Mars can also generate hostility, so watch your temper.

1 Mars opposite natal Mars: Though your stamina is high, you may not find it easy to use your energy in a constructive, consistent manner. Something you've been involved in for about a year has reached a critical point. Much effort is required, and your temper could flare out of control.

1 Mars conjunct Jupiter: The universe supports your grandest visions by prodding you to get off the couch and do something to actualize them. You're motivated to take action. Under this encouraging, expansive transit, you also benefit from travel and education.

1 Mars opposite Jupiter: This can be a fortunate transit. You have plenty of energy, and you're buoyant and optimistic. But you run the risk of promising too much, overestimating your capabilities, and overreacting.

1 Mars conjunct Saturn: Because you have a strong sense of limitations and bristle at the obstructions you face, this tends to be a challenging transit. It can also be a time of great accomplishment, thanks to your increased ability to get organized and to focus.

1 Mars opposite Saturn: This transit calls for caution, diligence, and responsible behavior. Alas, you're likely to act rashly, resist the dictates of others, and express your authority awkwardly. Plus you're irritable and you feel sorry for yourself.

1 Mars conjunct Uranus: You act impulsively, rebelling against constraints and sometimes taking off in unanticipated directions. During the few days when Mars is conjunct your birth Uranus, buckle your seat belt and avoid skateboarding. As usual with Uranus, the rule is simple: Expect the unexpected, and be safe.

1 Mars opposite Uranus: Tension, strain, accidents, and unpredictable events can interrupt your plans. Don't take reckless chances during this agitating transit. And be sure to back up your computer files.

i Mars conjunct Neptune: Your dream life picks up, and you seek inspiration. Artistic, spiritual, or healing activities excite you. But be careful about drugs and alcohol, and avoid making big decisions — your judgment may be skewed.

i Mars opposite Neptune: Vivid dreams and artistic inspiration characterize this transit. But your efforts to get something done in the workaday world could go awry. You may feel taken advantage of, confused, or out of the loop.

i Mars conjunct Pluto: Your attempts to pursue your ambitions and express your personal power in interactions with others receive a boost.

i Mars opposite Pluto: In your desire to establish yourself, you run the risk of stumbling into power struggles.

i Mars conjunct the Ascendant: You express yourself effectively, as long as you avoid sounding angry, and you're motivated to take steps on your own behalf. Following the conjunction to the Ascendant, Mars travels through your first house, boosting your physical energy and lending you a boldness that you may not normally feel.

i Mars opposite the Ascendant: You may feel angry or upset. After forming the opposition to your Ascendant, Mars travels through your seventh house for about two months, highlighting issues concerning marriage or business partnerships and underscoring your unwillingness to be passive. But arguments and tension upset you, and you may take out your frustration on those to whom you feel the closest.

i Mars conjunct the Midheaven: This transit, along with the two-month-long sojourn of Mars in your tenth house, motivates you to chase after your professional desires. It also increases your impatience. Try not to be belligerent.

i Mars opposite the Midheaven: Your professional efforts fizzle out or are rebuffed, and your attention goes elsewhere. As Mars conjuncts your I.C. (which is directly opposite your Midheaven) and travels through your fourth house, it awakens your interest in home and family and energizes your domestic life. Hidden conflicts emerge.

Mars transits are energizing. When Mars is traveling through a house, you find the energy to take action in that area. You benefit from taking a courageous approach.

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