Vanessa Irena

Mars Being Disarmed by Venus – Jacques-Louis David

The planet Mars, also known as the lesser malefic in astrology,  is the most dominant planet in my natal chart. Along with Saturn, he is my greatest teacher. He is the planet of action, the god of war, and and his action is to pierce and sever. 

The following is a lost of things ruled by the planet Mars, according to Cornelius Agrippa in his famous Three Books of Occult Philosophy:

Things are Martiall, amongst Elements, Fire, together with all adust, and sharp things: Amongst humours, Choller ; also bitter tasts, tart, and burning the tongue, and causing tears: 

Amongst Metals, Iron, and red Brass; and all fiery, red, and sulphureous things: Amongst Stones the Diamond, Loadstone, the Blood-stone, the Jasper, the stone that consists of divers kinds, and the Amethist. 

Amongst Plants and Trees, Hellebor, Garlick, Euphorbium, Cartabana, Armoniack, Radish, the Laurell, Wolfs-bane, Scammony, and all such as are poysonous, by reason of too much heat, and those which are beset round about with prickles, or by touching the skin, burn it, prick it, or make it swell, as Cardis, the Nettle, Crow-foot, 

And such as being eaten cause tears, as Onyons, Ascolonia, Leeks, Mustardseed, and all thorny Trees, and the Dog-tree, which is dedicated to Mars. 

And all such Animals as are warlike, ravenous, bold, and of clear fancy, as the Horse, Mule, Goat, Kid, Wolf, Libard, the wild Ass; Serpents also, and Dragons full of displeasure and poyson; also all such as are offensive to men, as Gnats, Flies, Baboon, by reason of his anger.

All such birds, that are ravenous, devour flesh, break bones, as the Eagle, the Faulcon, the Hawk, the Vultur; and those which are called the fatall Birds, as the Horn-Owl, the Scrich-Owl, Castrels, Kites, and such as are hungry, and ravenous, and such as make a noise in their swallowing, as Crows, Daws, the Pie, which above all the rest is dedicated to Mars. 

And amongst fishes, the Pike, the Barbell, the Fork-fish, the Fish that hath horns like a Ram, the Sturgeon, the Glacus, all which are great devourers, and ravenous.

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. 

Over the years 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. My astrological praxis is drawn from the study of traditional and medical astrology as well as astrological magic. 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 knowledge in order for this to be more useful and accessible. It is also my personal contention that the use of astrological talismans is separate from remediation. Additionally, nothing here is meant to constitute medical advice. 

Note: astrological remediation is a vast subject with numerous applications across a wide array of traditions. In this context I am using it specifically to mean actions that we take to come into right relation with a planet, as well as to mitigate their unfavorable expressions.

The types of remediation I will be discussing here fall into three basic categories which I have named discharging, cooling, and devotion. These are not official terms but just rather how I think of them.

  • 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. 

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 check out the book Letting Go by David R. Hawkins. Additionally, emotions like anger can often fire a spark within us to fight for a just cause. 

discharging practices

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 do not currently 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, particularly with a barbell. Mars rules the metal iron and weightlifting is often referred to as “pumping iron.” If you are interested in learning to lift with a barbell, I highly recommend the program Couch to Barbell. I am a massive proponent of weightlifting for both heath and as a spiritual and devotional practice. It is a core facet of my devotion to both Saturn and Mars, but it actually remediates every planet in the chart. I also love working with kettlebells because they are relatively inexpensive and can serve as a fully functional home gym with just one or two.
    • Here is a 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.]
      • 10 Goblet Squats
      • 10/10 One Arm Row
      • 10 Push-ups
      • 10 Romanian Deadlifts
      • 10/10 One Arm Standing Press
      • 15 Swings
      • 30 sec Plank
  • Ecstatic Dance, especially if it includes shaking. My free course 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. 
  • 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.  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. Note: I don’t not support the use of detox diets in any way. They are often harmful and unnecessary. Our liver detoxes for us. What we are doing here is providing it with additional support.

Cooling Practices

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. 
  • 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.
  • Eating fruit and other sweet things like honey, which are Venusian in nature.
  • 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. Reducing your caffeine intake can help with anxiety and insomnia.
  • Theanine: another supplement I have found extremely calming.
  • Focus your diet around whole foods as possible and prioritize protein and fiber. For more guidance around nutrition here are my favorite books on the subject. Note: While eating whole foods is important for both heath and satiety, becoming overly rigid about diet and ingredients can become it’s own form of stress. I recommend the 80/20 rule, where we strive for 80% of our food to be whole foods and leaving the other 20% for more fun and less nutritious food that we enjoy. 
  • 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.
  • 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 activities 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

Devotional Practices

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 personalthe 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 (an apt metaphor for Mars remediation) 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

additional resources