Get Your Ambition Back With Mars

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

In astrology, Mars is the planet associated with action, libido, assertion, and aggression. But there’s more to the red planet: Although Ares (the ancient Greek god of war) was violent and brutish, Mars — his Roman counterpart — had a more dignified demeanor. Mars governed military conquests, battles, and soldiers, as well as agricultural innovation and farmers. But anyway, what’s actually the deal with Mars? And what does it mean for you, personally? Below is your comprehensive guide to all things Martian.

What does Mars symbolize in astrology?

I like to say that Mars is a thrusting motion, which includes both sexual desire and inspired ambition. Astrologically, Mars reveals what ignites us — what gets us hot and bothered (literally) — representing the way we find motivation, take action, and get things done. You’ll encounter Martian energy when you’re racing to meet a deadline, competing for a selective position, or expressing your deep-seated value system. Mars is pounding heart, pumping blood, and virile adrenaline shooting through our veins.

Mars — like Mercury and Venus — is considered a “personal planet,” which means it impacts us on a day-to-day basis. Unlike the distant outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto), Mars’s motion in the sky has a direct impact on how we are (or aren’t) finding motivation. Mars is a bit farther away from the sun than our planet, and a Martian year lasts approximately two Earth years. Accordingly, it switches zodiac signs every two months, so we can expect our focus and drive to go through a metamorphosis per Mars’s orbital schedule. (Note that when Mars goes retrograde, which happens every two years, it will spend significantly more time moving through a single zodiac sign.)

So what does Mars mean for you, individually?

Your Mars placement — exactly where Mars was located at the exact date, time, and location of your birth — reveals the way you take action, what motivates you, and how you approach hard work and determination. Mars is also closely associated with our sexual energy and libido, so your Mars placement will also expose the type of lovers (and lovemaking) you crave.

Unlocking your personal Mars placement is really quite simple: All you need to do is use an online calculator (like this one from TimePassages) to pull up your birth chart (again, based on your date, time, and location of birth). From there, you’ll want to find the sign Mars was located in your birth chart — this is going to reveal your unique style of motivation. For example, if your Mars is in Aries, you probably leap before you think. When you get excited about something, you give it 100 percent your all … until you burn out and lose interest completely. Alternatively, if your Mars is in Virgo, you’re likely very careful and fastidious about how you approach work, relationships, and new initiatives. You may be a bit of a perfectionist, but fundamentally, you’re motivated by a high-caliber level of excellence.

Here’s how Mars motivates each zodiac-sign placement:

  • Mars in Aries: Motivated by competition, ambition, passion
  • Mars in Taurus: Motivated by stability, consistency, practicality
  • Mars in Gemini: Motivated by curiosity, learning, versatility
  • Mars in Cancer: Motivated by support, appreciation, honesty
  • Mars in Leo: Motivated by performance, confidence, grandeur
  • Mars in Virgo: Motivated by methods, systems, perfection
  • Mars in Libra: Motivated by diplomacy, resourcefulness, strategy
  • Mars in Scorpio: Motivated by mystery, intensity, tact
  • Mars in Sagittarius: Motivated by philosophy, adventures, excitement
  • Mars in Capricorn: Motivated by success, resilience, determination
  • Mars in Aquarius: Motivated by experimentation, innovation, rebelliousness
  • Mars in Pisces: Motivated by creativity, artistry, compassion

Next, you’ll want to see which astrological house Mars occupies in your birth chart. Your birth chart is divided into 12 sections, with each section representing a different area of life. By locating Mars’s house, you’ll be able to understand exactly where that assertive, dynamic Martian energy shows up. If Mars is in your sixth house, for example, you might be really focused on your routines, health, and day-to-day responsibilities — whereas if your Mars is in your 11th house, you’re likely motivated by humanitarianism, technological innovation, and inspiring large groups of people.

Find out what Mars’s house in your chart means for you using the below keywords:

  • Mars in the 1st House: Identity, presence, sense of self
  • Mars in the 2nd House: Money, material possessions, self-worth
  • Mars in the 3rd House: Communication, peers, local connections
  • Mars in the 4th House: Home, family, origin story
  • Mars in the 5th House: Creativity, pleasure, joy
  • Mars in the 6th House: Routines, wellness, daily experiences
  • Mars in the 7th House: Partnerships, contracts, external dynamics
  • Mars in the 8th House: Depth, memories, psychology
  • Mars in the 9th House: Discovery, exploration, expansion
  • Mars in the 10th House: Legacy, reputation, fortune
  • Mars in the 11th House: Communities, friendship, humanitarianism
  • Mars in the 12th House: Intuition, healing, karmic bonds

So if you’ve been looking for motivation, inspiration, or — honestly — a little kick in the ass, unpacking your natal Mars (by way of both its zodiac sign and the house it occupies) will help you find it. Think of this little red planet as your trainer. Or your career coach. Or your personal, overcaffeinated cheerleader. Ultimately, all the excitement, passion, and ambition you need is already part of your unique cosmic DNA.

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Get Your Ambition Back With Mars