On June 27, 2020, Mars enters the sign of Aries where he will remain until January 6, 2021. Typically Mars spends around 1.5 months in a sign but because he will retrograde back through Aries from September 9 through November 13, he will be spending an unusual amount of time there. Mars rules the sign of Aries so he’s quite at home, and because Aries is the diurnal (daytime) home of Mars, his expression tends to be more visible and outward-facing as opposed to stealthy as in Scorpio.
In my personal life, Mars has become my greatest teacher. My chart is heavily Mars ruled and I was born during the day which tends to bring out his difficult side. Anger, inflammation, and irritation (the less productive expressions of Mars) are things I have worked my whole life to transform and channel into action, achievement, activism, and physical strength. I refer to these more productive and skillful expressions of Mars as my “warrior spirit” and I work to cultivate them daily. In addition, I am currently in an Aries profection year, which if the term is unfamiliar, means both Mars and the house that Aries rules in my natal chart are emphasized for me this year.
The last time Mars retrograded in 2018 was an incredibly difficult time for me. I lost friends, found myself caught in the middle of other people’s drama (which I typically avoid), I was incredibly agitated for much of the time, experienced headaches and insomnia, and was the target of much unprovoked aggressive behavior. All of these things ended up being for the best because I was able to extricate myself from a lot of relationships and relational dynamics that ultimately were unhealthy and harmful to me, and also develop healthy coping mechanisms, but it didn’t feel that way at the time. Mars severs, sometimes like a surgeon’s knife, and sometimes like a machete.
Since then, I’ve dedicated a much greater chunk of time and effort to cultivating my “warrior spirit” so that this time around I can maintain more peace of mind and body. I’ve developed a number of strategies throughout all facets of my life to remediate Mars and wanted to share them here in case others might find them helpful. I am not a professional astrologer, just someone who uses astrology in their own life so my advice here is based largely on my own UPG though I have studied astrological magic with Chris Warnock and medical astrology with Judith Hill so I have drawn influence from them here. I am also a certified nutritionist so will be drawing from that body of knowledge as well. These are things that have worked for me but only you know what your spirit and body need. I will mostly be focusing on regular every-day actions that people can do without advanced astrological magic knowledge, as opposed to elaborate planetary ritual and talisman creation, in order for this to be more useful and accessible. Additionally, nothing here is meant to constitute medical advice.
The types of remediation I will be discussing here fall into three basic categories: discharging, cooling, and devotion. Discharging practices are actions which move energy through the body like shaking or vigorous exercise. Cooling practices are things like baths and deep breathing, which calm the body and mind down, as well as dietary and lifestyle practices which reduce inflammation. Devotion is exactly what it sounds like. this post will be updated regularly as I discover and test new methods.
Before I get to the actual practices, I just wanted to talk a bit about working with unpleasant emotions energetically. The emotions most typically associated with Mars are anger and irritation. I want to first start by saying that although these emotions are usually experienced as negative, they are neither good nor bad. They are a natural part of the human experience and it is only how we relate to and process them that makes them harmful or unharmful. They become harmful when they are channeled into violent or destructive actions, though even destructive acts can sometimes serve a greater good depending on the context. They also become harmful when we harshly judge ourselves for having them, or ignore and/or numb them which can cause them to become trapped in the body causing trauma and disease. For more info on how to process emotions fully, you can read this article I wrote on surrender, or check out the books Letting Go by David R. Hawkins. Other methods you might find helpful are The Emotion Code or The Sedona Method. Additionally, emotions like anger can often fire a spark within us to fight for a just cause.
Discharging practices are most useful when there is excess energy in the body that needs to be expressed, such as when we are feeling agitated or amped up. They are cathartic and movement and body-based. Some examples of movement practices that can help us discharge excess energy are:
- Martial arts (duh) – this is the most obvious example. I no longer practice martial arts but in the past have studied both Muay Thai and Brazillian Ju Jitsu and found both incredibly cathartic. There are many forms, find one that calls you.
- My favorite form of Martial remediation is weightlifting. Mars rules the metal iron and weightlifting is often referred to as “pumping iron.” I especially love working with kettlebells because they are actually made of cast iron and they provide an amazing and versatile form of functional movement. They are also relatively inexpensive and can serve as a fully functional home gym with just one or two. Here is my favorite kettlebell circuit I created. Perform 2-3 rounds of the circuit with 60-90 seconds between rounds. I use a 20lb bell for this. The exercises are all in increments of 5, a martial number, and I have drawn the symbol of Mars on my kettlebell. In this way it becomes both remediatory and devotional, and one could potentially perform the Orphic Hymn to Mars beforehand in order to ritualize their workout. Sweat and heat are an exceptional form of offering, in my humble opinion.
- 10 Goblet Squats
- 10/10 One Arm Row
- 10 Push-ups
- 10 Deadlift
- 10/10 One Arm Standing Press
- 15 Swings
- 30sec Plank
- Ecstatic Dance, especially if it includes shaking. My free course on that explains how to do it but just want to add that shaking specifically is a somatic practice for trauma releasing and is helpful for discharging strong emotion. For more on that, look into TRE® (trauma releasing exercises)
- EFT (emotional freedom technique) – also called “tapping,” this is a body-based practice that involves tapping on different meridian points on the body while vocalizing about an issue or emotion in order to release it from the body. It’s very simple and quite powerful. I was a skeptic until I tried it myself. Learn to do it here or search on youtube for instructional videos.
- Any other form of physical exercise that resonates with you. This can be walking, running, HIIT, etc. I will also add yoga here which I think can fall into both the discharging and cooling categories. Punching a heavy bag or a pillow can also be helpful. Check out my resources page for tools for starting a home fitness practice.
- Cleaning: this practice is great because it’s active and physical and but also productive. Physical cleaning is energetically and spiritually cleansing. Purging and purifying your space of junk/clutter and things you no longer want is also extremely liberating.
- Detoxification: the liver is the main organ of detoxification and also the energetic seat of anger. Supporting the liver and the bodies’ natural detoxification pathways can help us to process anger and move it through the body instead of stagnating. Supplements that help to support detoxification pathways include NAC and glutathione. Some examples of liver supporting herbs include alterative herbs like burdock, bitter herbs like dandelion and gentian root, and milk thistle. Do your own research here and see what works for your body. I personally love to use digestive bitters regularly — I make my own but Urban Moonshine is a good brand. I also love to work with Artemisias, especially wormwood and mugwort which are intensely bitter and ruled by Mars due to their association with the goddess Artemis. We can also support the liver through reducing our toxic burden, by switching to natural cleaning and beauty products, and reducing our use of alcohol and tylenol.
The nature of Mars is hot and dry. Cooling (and moistening) practices are most useful when we need to “cool off” both physically and emotionally. They are great practiced on their own or after discharging practices. In this section I also include methods for reducing bodily inflammation.
- Hydrate: the simplest and easiest one. Drink water regularly and keep your body hydrated
- Baths and showers: also incredibly cooling and calming. I also love taking cold showers, which increase resilience and reduce inflammation
- Swimming and/or spending time near bodies of water
- Deep belly breathing: my favorite form of breathwork is box breath but just spending a few moments breathing deeply into the belly can really help
- Meditation: this is especially helpful for detaching from angry thoughts or ruminating. If you’re a complete beginner Headspace is a great app for learning to meditate
- Yoga – particularly yin or restorative yoga. Tai-Chi and QiGong are also great
- Forest bathing and earthing – spending time in nature and also placing your body and bare feet directly on the earth
- Flower remedies: flowers are Venusian and balance the energy of Mars. They are a gentle form of energetic medicine used to balance our emotional state. You can learn about them here but in general a great remedy to keep in your toolkit is Rescue Remedy, which is great for any time you are in crisis or extremely agitated. impatiens is also a good remedy for Aries. In addition to the flower remedies you can also spend time with flowers, meditate on images of them, or grow them yourself. Roses are especially powerful.
- Demulcent Herbs: demulcent herbs are herbs which act to moisten and soothe inflamed tissues in the body. My favorite are slippery elm and marshmallow root
- Calming Herbs: calming herbs include passionflower, skullcap, kava, and valerian. Again, do your own research and experimentation here.
- Magnesium: magnesium is incredibly calming and also helpful for insomnia. I love to take epsom salt baths for transdermal magnesium and also the supplement drink Natural Calm. If you struggle with elevated cortisol a supplement called Seriphos can also be helpful but this should be discussed with your healthcare provider. Reducing your caffeine intake can help with anxiety and insomnia.
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet. Modern industrial foods which are highly processed can lead to inflammation in the body. Inflammation is more and more being shown to be the main cause of disease and believed to be responsible for everything from arthritis to IBS to depression. Focus your diet around eating as much whole, minimally-processed foods as possible and reduce your consumption of highly processed food and industrial seed oils. If you eat animal products, focus on those derived from animals that are grass-fed and pastured, and wild-caught fish as these are both more healthful and support local sustainable agriculture. Consider joining a CSA or find a farmer to purchase from directly. For more guidance around this a program like the Whole30 can be helpful, or for more in-depth information on nutrition I recommend the work of Weston Price and Ray Peat.
- Cannabis/CBD: cannabis can cause agitation in some people but is calming in others, YMMV. CBD is both calming and anti-inflammatory. It is ruled by Saturn and therefore can counterbalance the effects of Mars if used consciously.
- Anti-inflammatory herbs: herbs like turmeric, ginger, cloves, cayenne and cinnamon are great addition to your cooking. These can also be taken in the form of a concentrated supplement or extract. Keep in mind these can only do so much if you are eating an inflammatory diet.
- Learning and practicing Nonviolent Communication. Here is a great book on it.
- First Aid: Mars can indicate injury. Cuts and burns can be common during Mars retrograde periods. Arnica is a great homeopathic remedy to have on hand as well as Rescue Remedy. Aloe is also helpful.
- Facial massage: Aries rules the head and face, and Mars can cause heat and inflammation here. Facial massage and practices like gua sha can help to relieve facial tension and headaches. Cooling face and eye masks can also be helpful. Craniosacral therapy and Shirodhara are also good to look into.
- Creating a personal “Emotional First Aid Menu”: this is a practice that involves making your own personal list of practices that you can use to self-soothe. I keep this list on my phone and refer to it in emergencies. The list will be individual to each person depending on what works best for them but here is what is on my list for an example. I run through this list when I’m upset and I always feel better after doing 1-2 of the activities.
- walk around the block
- ecstatic dance
- tidy an area of the house
- take a bath/shower
- belly breathing for 3 minutes
- meditate for 5 minutes
- cook a nice meal
- pet my cat
I want to preface the devotional section by saying that I am someone who believes strongly in taking the time to build spirit relationships as opposed to the (very capitalist) “who is good for what” method, but people need to start somewhere. If you are drawn to any of these spirits or devotions, I encourage you to keep them up year round as opposed to just “as needed,” at least when you are starting out. The spirit world is not your personal vending machine. When in doubt, just ask your ancestors.
- Devotional Rituals to Mars: these can be as simple as wearing a red shirt on Tuesdays or performing the Orphic Hymn to Mars during Mars hour, and elaborate as making a talisman cast in iron during an calculated Mars election. For a guide to planetary hours and days, check out Chris Warnock’s article here. He also has a book on planetary ritual and a course on astrological magic if you are interested in learning do make and elect talismans. I have taken the course and highly recommend it. My personal favorite translation of the Orphic Hymns is by Apostolos N. Athanassakis. I find the rhyming Thomas Taylor version to be corny but YMMV. I also would include devotion to Artemis here, or other “martial” deities.
I produced a musical invocation to Mars with Al Cummins that can be used for Martial planetary ritual. Additionally, listening to or chanting the Vedic mantra to Mars can be helpful.
- Planetary charity: this is a practice that involves making monetary donations to charitable organizations related to the planet. The donations are done for a successive number of days and amounts related to the number of the planet. For example, for 5 Tuesdays in a row, giving $25 to an organization that supports victims of war, or soldiers with PTSD. Chris Warnock also has a guide for this.
- Saint work: I often use saint work for astrological remediation because saints are believed to have transcended fate/their own natal chart. This makes natural sense to me as saints are often petitioned by people to assist them in performing the actions and miracles that they did in their stories. Two saints that I find helpful for dealing with anger issues are St. Martha, and St Jerome. Both saints are known for taming ferocious beasts in gentle and unconventional ways. Saint Martha tamed a dragon using only Holy Water (a metaphor for Mars remediation if I’ve ever heard one) and St Jerome removed a thorn from the paw of a lion. Although I don’t personally work with correspondences between systems (I prefer to keep them separate and discreet), both saints to me are reminiscent of the Strength/Force card in the Tarot. Another saint/angel to consider working with is Archangel Michael. St Florian, patron of fire-fighters could also be helpful. You can find guides to working magically with Archangel Michael and Saint Martha through Hadean Press.
Bonus form of Mars remediation: abolishing the police
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