Mars is the place in your birth chart that gives you your drive and aggression — but as I noted last time in my article on Nelson Mandela, a highly-charged Mars doesn’t necessarily manifest itself in destructive ways. It is always easier to destroy than to create, and yet there are always those among us who, thankfully, choose the High Road. On a hunch, I decided to have a look at the birth chart of another famous 20th Century leader who helped lead his people against an unfair system to see if there were similarities… and there they were, plain as day.
Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi (born October 2, 1869, 7:11 AM, Porbandar, India) led his nation against an oppressive regime while facing considerable odds against him. Gandhi famously chose the path of non-violence, and Mandela came from a background of violence to eventually advocate a less violent path. Like Mandela, Gandhi had a highly-charged Mars.
Both Gandhi and Mandela had a Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in a challenging aspect to Mars. Mandela had that conjunction square his Mars in Libra, and Gandhi had it opposite his Mars in Scorpio. A quick check of any reference will tell you that there is a world of difference between Mars in Libra and Mars in Scorpio: the former is a peacekeeper, and the other holds a grudge. And yet neither Mandela nor Gandhi are exactly known for either backing down for the sake of agreement or for harboring resentment. Part of this is undoubtedly due to their being “evolved souls,” whatever that may be… and if there’s a specific indicator of that in a birth chart, I’ve never been able to spot it. It seems that no matter what hand we’re dealt, heroism or villainy or bravery or cowardice are all personal choices.
I admit that as an astrologer there is sometimes a tendency to seek out the difficult manifestations of a planetary aspect more often than might occur in the average population, for much the same reason that a doctor tends to see more illness than health in his or her patients. I’m sure there are many physicians out there who see people with inherent physical weaknesses who nonetheless manage to remain healthy and functional, and there are many astrologers who see clients who do not manifest the lower side of their birth chart’s potential — myself included. Although we all carry the potential for villainy, I’m thankful the great majority of my clients find ways to deal with the darkness in a constructive manner… and I’m thankful I have a job that helps them do so.
The more I look at the chart of Gandhi and Mandela, the more I become convinced that, although they were men of high ideals who were struggling against systems that were inherently wrong, they probably enjoyed that struggle — a lot. It’s classic career advice to tell someone to do something that they love. It may be good news for most of us, most of the time, that there is no upheaval and revolution going on for us to be swept up in. But for all of us, it may be a very good thing that at times when civil disobedience is called for, there are those who are equipped to lead the way… and those who enjoy doing so.
Mars has now entered Libra, which is considered a problematic placement, and will remain there for ten months. As I’ve written here before, that’s going to be an incredible challenge for many of us, and specifically in regard to relationships with our loved ones, friends, co-workers, and even with society as a whole. And as that Mars approaches the opposition to Uranus and the square to Pluto… coming into effect now and reaching its first peak on Christmas Day… many of us will face major challenges to our peace of mind. If we keep in mind the example given to us by Gandhi and Mandela, who struggled against much greater obstacles than ours, we will be better people for it.
Use your anger like a scalpel, and not a club… and let your wisdom wield that scalpel wisely. You may even find a way to enjoy it.