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Mars in Leo & the Cardinal Crisis

On October 16, 2009 Mars began his longest transit of Leo since 1962-63. The 1962-63 time period saw publication of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and the Cuban missile crisis. The 1962 Mars into Leo ingress chart cast for Washington, D.C. has a Taurus Ascendant.

Chart for Mars ingress to Leo: October 11, 1962; Washington, D.C. (38N54, 77W02); whole sign houses

Mars ingress to Leo, 1962

Mars rules the 12th whole-sign house of prisons and secret enemies, and the 7th whole-sign house of open enemies. Mars is also the exaltation ruler of the 9th whole sign of Capricorn, which signifies religion, churches and preachers, as well as the Law. Mars with the North Node in the 4th house of this chart represents a popular movement of the People in opposition to the Government. I find this chart to be very fitting for these two rather important historical events, both occurring during Mars’s prolonged stay in the sign.

Mars’s October 16, 2009 ingress chart cast for Washington, D.C. has Sagittarius rising.

Chart for Mars ingress to Leo: October 16, 2009; Washington, D.C. (38N54, 77W02); whole sign houses

Mars ingress to Leo, 2009


Mars, once again, rules the 12th whole-sign of secret enemies and prisons, as well as the 5th whole sign, which is related to ambassadors and “high society.” Mars is also the exaltation ruler of the 2nd whole sign, which has to do with banks and stock markets. Mars is located in the 9th whole sign, which suggests issues of religion and law, and  international communications and travel.

We could speculate from the above that we can expect important events related to spies or “secret enemies.” This could suggest anything from terrorists or insurgents, to countries that are secretly undermining or, at the very least, not cooperating with our agenda. However, with the 5th and 9th also activated, it seems that we are actively negotiating with these countries to deal with the various hidden agendas.

There are, however, more compelling reasons to pay attention to this Mars ingress chart, as it has several parallels to the U.S. Sibly chart.

The most obvious parallel is that both charts are Sagittarius rising and so they share the same house structure. Leo is the 9th whole sign in both charts, the house of the Sibly North Node. Furthermore, on July 20, 2006, the Sibly secondary progressed Mars turned retrograde for the first time in American history (at 18°42’ Libra). Finally, Leo is the sign of the Sibly secondary progressed Ascendant.

It is fascinating that the U.S. has been dealing with either Iran or Iraq for much of the time that the Sibly secondary progressed Ascendant has been in Leo, i.e., since the early 1970’s. Prior to 1962-63, Mars had an extended transit through Leo in 1915-16. This was the time of the Sykes-Picot agreement, which reneged on T.E. Lawrence’s promise of a unified Arab region in return for their allegiance to the Allied powers against the Ottoman Empire in WWI. Instead, Britain, France, and Russia divvied up the Arab lands into spheres of influence, which eventually resulted in what we now know as Iran, Iraq, and Israel. This was a turning point in Arab relations with the West and planted some of the seeds of the current cycle of violence in which we find ourselves embroiled.

It seems to me that part of America’s destiny is to moderate the imperialistic urges (our own and others) symbolized by the natal Sibly Leo North Node in the 9th. America was formed during the height of British imperialism. We defeated the British and expanded past the Mississippi largely with the help of French imperialist ambitions. The post WWII era was defined by the Cold War, which was essentially a contest to see who would be the biggest “superpower.” If this was not literal imperialism, it can be viewed as a competition between American and Russian national egos. Now we find ourselves partnered (in one way or another) with all three of these nations in attempting to deal with the direct consequences of this collective imperialism. The compelling coincidences or synchronicity of this convergence of national interests in the Middle East region once again should not be lost on us.We may be faced now with an opportunity to balance the mistakes of the past century.

Perhaps it is now time that America can become a world leader by example, rather than by force or meddling. By joining in the efforts to limit greenhouse gases, control nuclear proliferation, and expand global economic ties, President Obama has already taken huge strides in this direction. However, until foreign forces leave Afghanistan, Iraq, and possibly even Iran, we cannot really say that this period of history is finished, can we? For a new chapter to begin, it seems that the international community will have to allow the nations of the Middle East to have control over their own destiny, to sort things out on their own, or at the very least without constant military interventions. Viewed historically, it appears to me that Mars in Leo could be a test of our resolve to begin to do just that.

In fact, viewed historically, this Mars transit appears to be part of a much bigger picture. As astrologers, we all know we are now coming under the aegis of the transiting  Uranus-Pluto squares. These planets’ alignments have been historically important for the U.S. Mars and will activate the mid-point of the forming transit Uranus-Pluto squares three times while in Leo. This is extremely important for the U.S. because the Sibly natal Midheaven/IC axis forms the mid-point of the natal Uranus-Pluto waxing gibbous angle of 131°. Mars will be forming this same angle, and also the tri-octile or sesquisquare (135°) to both ends of the forming Uranus-Pluto square three times over the next 8 months. This aspect configuration is known by different names, such as Arrowhead, Thor’s Hammer, or God’s Fist.

Some astrologers view this configuration like the t-square, with the energy originating in the tension of the two square planets (in this case, Uranus-Pluto) and finding an outlet through the apex planet (in this case, Mars). This means we must use the apex planet, Mars, to find creative solutions to the square or the tension of the square could erupt suddenly and perhaps destructively. This perspective reflects the use of this configuration as a tool, like an Arrowhead, and seems to be demonstrated in the possible nuclear deal brokered by the U.S. between Iran, Russia, and France. We could effectively divert the possibility of Iran developing a nuclear weapon — at least in the short term.

Other astrologers see the energy flow of this configuration originating with the apex planet (Mars in this case). This image is more like a Hammer or Fist. Mars, then, must find a way to wield the power and dynamic energy of the square planets, Uranus and Pluto. Again, we need to find a way to use this constructively and creatively, or the energy can become destructive. A hammer can either be used to crush an object or to drive home a connecting agent, such as a nail or dowel. Perhaps this hammer can be used to begin to construct the framework for the grand vision of President Obama and the U.S. becoming a leader in alternative energy.

Mars will remain in Leo until June 7, 2010. Mars entered the “shadow” of retrograde immediately upon his ingress to Leo. He stations retrograde on December 20, 2009 at 19°42’ Leo. This is a little more than a degree from the fixed-cross eclipse of 1999 at 18°22’ Leo. The direct station is March 10, 2010 at nearly 0° Leo – very close to last summer’s eclipse degree (i.e., 29°26’ Cancer). Mars does not clear the “shadow” of the retrograde until he passes the initial retrograde station in mid-May 2010. The most important transits during this period, as I see it, will be the tri-octile or sesquiquadrate aspects to Uranus and Pluto and their mid-point. These will occur throughout the months of November, January, and May and will set the stage for whether next summer’s dramatic cardinal alignments, and perhaps even the Uranus-Pluto squares, will be experienced as a destructive or creative crisis.


About Gary P. Caton:

In addition to practicing Mundane astrology, Gary P. Caton hosts the FREE Goddess Astrology pod-cast which illuminates the current cycles of Venus and the Asteroid Goddesses and is the best reviewed astrology pod-cast on iTunes! Gary is an eclectic astrologer who embraces an organic process-oriented approach of spiritual exploration, holds a degree in counseling and has developed a unique multi-discipline approach over 17 years. You can connect with Gary at www.DreamAstrologer


  1. Glad you wrote this up Gary. I’m not into ingress charts yet but I am interested in what you have said about the Mars transit in relation to the USA chart.

    The direct station degree of 00leo18 seems to me to be the most critial of the stations for the USA. Opposite natal Pluto and conjunct the natal Vertex/Fortunae. I do use precession which I find is extrememly important with these older charts.

    The precession correction value is now 03*15′ which brings natal Pluto to 00aqu48, natal Vertex to 29can24, and natal Fortunae to 29can27. As you mentioned, that massive solar eclipse in July was 29can27.

    I know you were expecting something big to happen when transiting Mars hit that eclipse degree (in relation to Iran). Well something big did happen:

    President Obama Signs Pakistan Aid Bill, 7.5 billion dollars (you don’t have), and 2 days later Pakistan launched a massive offensive against Taliban stronholds in the border region with Afghanistan. This does tie into Iran as they blamed Pakistan/USA for the recent suicide attack on their Revolutionary Guard. I believe the Pakistani’s just captured some Iranians on the border.

    This is also a big development because it opens up another front in the battle with the Taliban, hopefully taking some heat of our troops. Though the reaction within the Pakistan military is not so friendly. A risky play by Obama with transiting Uranus opposite his Mars?

    When Obama signed that Kerry-Lugar Bill, tansiting Mars was 29can27. Spot on eclipse degree – exact. Just lovely to see astrology working like this.

    So we have till next March to do our homework on how this will playout when Mars hits 00leo18. This is THE big thing in mundane astrology right now. USA, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Taliban, Iran, Iraq. God, how many charts is that?

  2. Thanks Funkstar, glad to have caught your interest. Yes, Mars’ slow motion across the eclipse degree seems to have resulted in less “dramatic” events than we might expect otherwise and the kind which will probably take 2nd pass if not the whole transit of Leo to figure out…to me the complexity reflects the natural consequences of nearly 100 yrs of foreign meddling in the region. Yet, we also know that out of complexity order emerges. Saturn opposite Uranus has resulted in a New World order each of the last two transits and I expect nothing less before this one is done.

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