Eros and Risk
by Jodie Forrest
Recently I've been thinking about Mars a lot. Why? Partly because I'm teaching an astrological apprenticeship/mentoring program on Venus and Mars in Oakland, CA on October 3rd and 4th (see the Creative Juices Arts studio website), and partly because it's transiting over my Ascendant just now, and will be in my first house until mid October. Mars transits over our Ascendants about every two years. Last time it went over my Ascendant, I spoke at UAC, the major astrology conference that happens every 3 or 4 years. I was psyched for the lecture and it was well received. Later in the conference, I caught both a cold and a stomach bug and, because of a hotel key malfunction, I got locked out of my room while I was sick. The red planet does seem to bring challenges and stress! Yet it brings excitement and adventure, too. Which will it bring? The choice is really up to you.
Where Mars is in your chart, natally and by transit, you will need to develop your willpower (Mars). You will face a kind of cosmic assertiveness training (Mars). You can do this on purpose--have an adventure or take on a challenge that you've always wanted to do, even though it may scare you a bit or a lot. Or, if you chicken out, the universe will nonetheless send you the Marsy raw material that you need in order to grow, and you will probably experience some kind of stress or challenge or fear that you did not *choose* to experience. Dealing with Mars pro-actively is better than dealing with it reactively.
That's the only way I used to think about Mars.
Lately I've been thinking of many of the planets as pairs, as two complementary energies that are always linked to one another. Sun and Moon. Jupiter and Saturn. And, of course, Mars and Venus. It's important to consider these two planets *together* in your chart, and by transit and progression. Mars asserts, sets boundaries, protects you, goes after what you want, blazes trails, takes initiative, faces fears, releases adrenaline... Suppose all of that energy were never tempered by any Venusian energy. Combat, but no negotiation and no peace treaty. Drive, but no relaxation. Sex, but no eros--no ability to feel empathy and a tender connection with the other person. The will to power, but no attempt to consider others' positions. Competition, but no cooperation. Expenditure of energy, but no recuperation. Force, but no aesthetics.
Of course, sometimes we *need* to use our Mars, and no other planet can do its job. But would you want to live in a world without Venus? Me neither. It would be just as difficult, albeit in a different way, to live in a world with no Mars to stimulate and enliven Venus, and help it not automatically compromise even to its own detriment. No spirit of adventure. No ability to set boundaries. No desire nature (we wouldn't *want* anything--love, accomplishments, food, excellence, chocolate ;-), etc.). No drive. We might make a lot of art (Venus), live in beautiful surroundings (Venus), be very, very mellow and get along fabulously well with one another (Venus), at least on the surface, but our fears would probably rule us, too. Any progress or inventions or explorations that were scary might never happen.
These two planets are meant to work together in our psyches. So take a good look at the relationship between your natal Venus and Mars, and at whatever transits they are experiencing or progressions they are making. Transiting Mars and Venus themselves move fast enough that they tend to serve more as triggers for the more slowly moving astrological events. But if they're active in your chart right now, consider their transiting interrelationship too. Sometimes Mars may need to be more prominent, or encourage or protect Venus. Sometimes Venus may need to be more prominent, or sweeten Mars or allow it to stop striving and relax. And that's just in your own psyche--this pair of planets is of course active in all of your relationships, and interacts with your friends' and partners' and spouses' and relatives' Venus and Mars, too.
Sound complicated? So is astrology. So are people!