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Mars in Libra in the U.S. chart

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Having set aside Friday afternoons for writing, I find myself with so many threads of ideas that it’s hard to coalesce the various pieces into a whole. I often rely on my first impressions upon waking, as I find these carryovers from sleep life to be extremely valuable. This morning’s impression was about the planet Mars.

Mars is the first planet outside Earth’s orbit around the Sun; it circles the Sun in approximately 2-1/2 years, compared to Earth’s cycle of 365-1/4 days. Last Saturday, December 7th at 3:41 p.m. EST, Mars changed signs and moved into 0° Libra, in the area of the sky where Libra, the sign of the scales, resides. Mars was last in Libra from July 30 until September 15, 2010, a normal passage of six weeks. (If you have kept a diary, going back to those dates will give you a clue as to what the issues will be for you this time.) This time, however, Mars is going to be in Libra until July 27, 2014 – more than six months! This is when the study of planetary cycles can be so helpful. By becoming aware of the possible repercussions of this long transit of volatile Mars, we can pro-actively use it, rather than be used by it.

In order to understand the entire transit of Mars in Libra, we must investigate the parts. “Mars is the principle of energetic force, the impulse and capacity to assert, to act and move energetically and forcefully, to have an impact, to press forward and against, to defend and offend, to act with sharpness and ardor; the tendency to experience aggressiveness, anger, conflict, harm, violence, forceful physical energy; to be combative, competitive, courageous and vigorous.” (1)

Libra is the sign of the scales, where we weigh and balance things. Justice, who holds the scale, wears a blindfold. Libra is a cardinal air sign, initiating the season of fall; it has to do with building one-on-one relationships, where, like the scales, there is equality, balanced communication, and, potentially, peace. Libra loves Universal Harmony, Ideal Relationships, the marriage of Spirit and Matter. There is an urge to cooperate, to seek compromise, with an ability to make adjustments that encourage a more harmonious experience. (The Congressional budget compromise last week comes to mind as a manifestation of the change of Mars moving into the sign of Libra.)

If combining these two vastly different energies, Mars and Libra, brings a disconnect in your mind, you are not alone. This combative energetic force (Mars) must be used for peaceful, humanitarian purposes (Libra) or it is bound to bring trouble. Mars passing through Libra, Venus’s domain, brings battles for just social causes or stalemates where one cannot decide which side to take. Mars is out of place in this gentle, peaceful sign, preferring a cause to rally and fight for or defend against. (Although Librans do make good generals, as they instinctively need to know what the other side is doing; they can see both sides, and thus be prepared.)

So, just how can you use this transit and not be used by it? First, you can recognize that when Mars went into Libra last Saturday, he entered a new department of life in your natal birth chart. It is impossible to pinpoint which area of life that is without knowing your birth chart. But you should have gotten clues this week as your energy, assertiveness, and focus went in a different direction than before December 7th. (You can also go back to the time period listed above, when Mars was last in Libra, for clues.)

Secondly, keep in mind that Mars will be in this department of your life for six months, not the usual six weeks that flies by so fast one hardly notices. But during a six-month Mars transit, you are bound to notice the shift in focus — your energies, drive, direction, and often work, will be different in August 2014 than it is now. Even if you stay in the same profession or job, something about the situation and your direction or purpose therein will have shifted.

Two more ideas come to mind. When Mars went into Libra, the planet passed into 0° Libra, which connects directly with its opposite, 0° Aries, the beginning of the zodiac. We all have that point someplace in our natal chart. It is where we connect with the general public and what we will be known for after we die. Some of us have that point more strongly connected to our personal life than others. We had a huge demonstration of the impact of Mars entering cardinal sign Libra this week with the death of Nelson Mandela. This event was brought to and mourned by the whole world. Rightly so, as Mandela is such a strong example of a person energetically working, struggling, and fighting (Mars) for social justice (Libra).

The study of planetary cycles enables us, like Janus, the Roman god, to look both backwards and forwards. By looking into the historical cycles in U.S. history, which are fairly well documented, we can get a sense of what is ahead for the country. (Your personal life can be managed this way as well, if you are a reflective person.) We are exploring Mars at 0° Libra; it has happened before and will happen again as Mars revolves around the Sun over and over.

In the natal chart for the U.S. (July 4, 1776), planet Mars is in Gemini, but it progressed into 0° Libra on September 15, 1940, as we were vacillating about entering the European conflict. FDR signed “The Selective Training and Service Act” the next day. This was the first time in U.S. history that we had a peacetime draft. Early Americans considered a permanent standing army a form of tyranny; militias were called up and disbanded repeatedly after a crisis. (We have come a long way from those founding perspectives.)

On July 20, 2006, three years into the Iraq War, progressed Mars in the U.S. chart (in Libra since September 1940) appeared to stall. Although it is just an optical illusion, it is illustrative and useful in understanding cycles in history. Thus began an 80-year period when the planet of forceful action (Mars) was no longer speeding ahead but slowly, from earth’s vantage point, appeared to be moving from one side of the Sun to the other, “retrograding.” During these months in 2006, a Congressional Iraq Study Group (ISG) was meeting, and they concluded in December that “U.S. forces seem to be caught in a mission that has no foreseeable end.” (2) The U.S. Mars went retrograde in Libra; we can infer that the U.S. should be retreating (Mars retrograde) from the use of military force to resolve conflicts.

In keeping with our Janus theme of looking backwards and forwards, the first time transiting Mars moved into 0° Libra after the birth of the country was December 16, 1776. Congress had abandoned the capital, Philadelphia, amidst fears that British General Howe, already in control of New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, was ready to seize it. To forestall an attack on Philadelphia, and “to serve as a tonic to his dejected compatriots” before enlistments in the army expired at the end of the year, General Washington “began to think creatively” and “awakened from the mental torpor that had shadowed his footsteps since the Long Island disaster.” (3) Just as Mars changed signs, moving to 0° of Libra, the Continental Army crossed the Delaware and entered New Jersey, striking a blow against the Hussein mercenaries in Trenton and then Princeton. “The consecutive victories exalted George Washington to a new pinnacle of renown…..The battle’s repercussions were world wide, overturning the presumption that amateur volunteers could never defeat a well-trained European army. Even Frederick the Great added his congratulations.” (4) This was a huge victory for Washington. This was Mars in Libra fighting for social justice, in this case for the colonialists to have the same rights as Englishmen.

As we have said, in studying planetary cycles we look both backwards and forwards because we are caught in our circular or elliptical solar system. All the planets moving around the Sun return to a position against the backdrop of the zodiac repeatedly. Looking ahead, on March 28, 2086, the U.S. progressed Mars will end its retrograde motion and move forward. This will be at 0° Libra, where it was on September 15, 1940, when FDR called up the first ever peacetime draft. Thus the events of this last week during Mars’ ingress into Libra, and everytime Mars has done that or will do that in the future, foreshadow the events in 2086. (Although we are talking specifically about the U.S. chart here, the same principle can be applied to your personal life.)

Although March 28, 2086 is way beyond our lifetime, the study of historical planetary cycles — what happened the last time and when — is illuminating. Hopefully, we will have learned some hard fought lessons in the 146 years since the cycle began in September 1940 about our use of force (Mars) to make peace (Libra). Will it be necessary to call up an army again? Will we have abandoned our standing military by then and directed the money into social justice causes? Or will we need an army to fight for a just cause and have learned nothing? The point is that the U.S. will have a second chance to redo our position on the use of force. Habits begun and perpetuated since 1940 began to be questioned in 2006, and should be completely overhauled by 2086. That is the value of observing a planet’s very long retrograde time period. And if you really want your mind blown, the U.S. progressed Mars will not leave Libra until March 2, 2170!! Surely we should be working on peace and harmony by then.


(1) Cosmos and Psyche, Richard Tarnas, Plume, 2006.

(2) Washington Post

(3) Washington: A Life, by Ron Chernow, Penguin, 2010.

(4) Ibid.

Bio: Kate Plumb is an NCGR, Level IV astrologer. She is on Facebook and is available for astrological consultations. Please visit her at Kate Plumb Astrology, email;or phone (631)725-9133 if you are interested in making an appointment.

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  1. Hi Kate:
    Tremendous article as always, with special thanks for noting the US’ progressed Mars in Libra (now retrograde).
    However, it should be noted that Mars was last in Libra from July 2-Aug 23, 2012.
    Another point worth contemplating, is that Mars last transited (almost) these identical degrees in the first half of 1967, followed by the infamous “Summer of Love”. The difference is that while in ’67 Uranus and Pluto were still somewhat conjoined (though not in aspect to Mars), and Saturn was in Aries (again, in earlier degrees than the bulk of the Mars transit), the hard aspect to Uranus, Pluto and Jupiter in 2014 for several months is BIG news, unprecedented, and in many ways, a game changer i think.

    • Thanks Shirley for your comment..and for pointing out my oversights. I was so surprised when I saw that the US retro Mars was going all the way back to 0 Libra and that the Sept 15th 1940 held the event of the first ever calling up a peacetime draft. In 2086 we will get to do over again our position regarding the use of the military from the Cold War onwards. Our position is radically different from what the founders envisioned. Hamilton wanted a standing army then but was overruled.
      In regards your “game changer” event in spring 2014 yes I agree and was confirmed this morning with the full moon and the federal district judge’s ruling on the NSA data collecting and storing as being unconstitutional..

      • NSA event, just the beginning. Let’s first get through the crazy Cap New Moon conj Pluto/Mercury in hard aspect to Uranus-Mars.

  2. Interestingly, during this period, Venus has also begun a prolonged sojourn in a single sign, again due to a retrograde cycle. In this instance the sign is Capricorn. This is the first time in over 300 years that Venus will be making an unbroken extended visit to that particular sign.

    • Gosh Anthony I had no idea it’s been 300 years since Venus was in Capricorn so long. I’ll have to look that up. I know Alexander Hamilton, born Jan 11 1755 has a retrograde Venus in Capricorn. Thank you for taking the time to write..Warmly,

  3. Thanks for the interesting analysis. I’ve been working with a July 4, 1776 chart for about a year and a half now. I cast it for 12:00:01 a.m. Philadelphia, Penn. {I refer to it as the ‘Zero Hour Chart’] and to date I’ve had nothing but confirmation for current events and in timeline studies, of which a couple of other astrologers and myself are in the ongoing process of accumulating enough evidence and more to produce of book on the subject by sometime in late 2014 or early 2015.
    If I may note what that progressed chart produces for Dec. 7th, 1941?
    The progressed South Node of the Moon and Venus were both conj. the Natal Pluto [which was still in the 28th degree of Capricorn on Dec. 7th, 1941] Pluto @ 27* Cap. 04′, Venus @ 27* cap. 08′ and the S. Node @ 27* Cap. 35′ [Natal Pluto at 27* Cap. 34′]
    The prog. Asc. @ 26* Virgo 39′, the USA natal Hermetic Lot of Courage is @ 26* Virgo 16′ and the USA natal Part of Influence [Asc. + Venus – Pluto] is @ 26* Virgo 09′.
    The USA natal prog. Moon @ 05* Pisces 12′ is conj. the USA natal part of Omens and Signs [Asc. + Uranus – Mercury]
    The USA natal prog. Chiron @ 15* Aries 41 rx is nearing a conj with the USA natal Part of Increase and Benefits [noting like a little war to stimulate the old economy, eh?]
    The USA natal prog. Vesta @ 29 Taurus 03 rx is conj the USA natal Part of Hyleg [Pars Hyleg] @ 28* Taurus 07′
    The USA natal prog. Uranus @ 08* Gemini 17 rx is conj. the USA natal Part of Destiny [M.C. + Sun – Moon]
    The USA natal prog. Jupiter @ 23* Cancer 16 rx is conj. the USA natal Mercury @ 24* Cancer 31′, the USA natal Part of Damage aka Part of Misunderstanding @ 23* Cancer 01′ and the USA natal Part of Tragedy/Fatality @ 23* Cancer 38′
    The I.C. of the USA natal prog. chart for Dec. 7th, 1941 was @ 26* Sag. 10′ and it should be noted that the prog. Sun was conj it @ 25* Sag. 22′ …and that the USA natal Part of Distress is @ 27* Sag. 36′ and the USA natal Part of Peril [Asc. + R8th- Saturn] is the same as the Part of Distress [Asc. + Mars – Saturn] as the 8th House Cusp of the ‘Zero Hour Chart’ is @ 26* Scorpio 31′, which is ruled by Mars.

    • I forgot to add that the USA natal part of Omens and Signs is @ 05* Pisces 52′.
      The USA natal Part of Increase and Benefits is @ 14* Aries 37′
      The USA Part of Destiny is @ 07* Gemini 33′

  4. It was indeed a vast change for me with a natal Mars retrograde in later Virgo, going direct 3 years ago, and now with it progressed into the last degree–along with Mars moving into Libra. . . Wow! what a shift I could feel in my energy on Saturday, December 7th.

    Mars in Virgo in the 12th house, for what seemed like an age, transiting natal Mars, is a bomb of a survival catalyst for undoing all unhealthy habits; in the 12th meditating on healing disease conditions inspires change and new beginnings.

    But now Mars in Libra, conjunct progressed Mars, in the 12th house is the impetus to win the fight to live, with the force of the “peaceful warrior” . . . That is what choosing to heal yourself naturally feels like.

    Regarding the US, those from the 60s may remember our deep motivation for peace was what led us to fight with our hearts . . .

    Thanks for allowing me to share.

    Sending Holiday Blessings to You All,
    Hillary Adrian Hitt
    Koh Samui, Thailand

    • Thank you Hillary for taking the time to write a note. It sounds like you are using the energies expressed by your planets perfectly. Having to spend so much time in the 12th house is not an easy thing to live through. Not everyone does use it for their healing as you did and are. You are redeeming an old probably familial inheritance. Warmly,

  5. Thanks for this insightful article, Kate.
    Due to their retrograde motion, Venus and Mars will make 2 squares, one in mid-January and one on March 2nd at 27 degrees Capricorn just as Mars will retrograde and very near Venus’ retrograde station on December 22, 2013, thus, further highlighting the theme of the peaceful warrior and responsible, grown-up partnerships.
    On a mundane note and a personal one, as Mars entered Libra last Saturday, my husband and I found ourselves on our daughter’s inaugural dance ball and because we enjoyed the dance floor so much, we decided to take up a refresher dance course. A way to express the dance between Mars and Venus in a active, sportive and erotic way. We hope!

    • I like your “peaceful warrior” phrase Ursa. And what a nice event to take up dancing during this strong Venus/Mars time period. I would say that is a perfect way to use the energies…Thank you for taking the time to read and write a note.. Warmly,

  6. Having checked the ephemeris I must correct myself on Venus. The last time this planet had an unbroken extended stay in Capricorn was in 1802-1803. Less than 300 years, but still a long time ago.

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