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Mars, Saturn, and the Moon

I began to assemble my thoughts for this blog on Sunday after tuning briefly into a discussion on Fareed Zakaria GPS on CNN.

Although at one point I thought the guests laughed a bit too heartily when talking about all the world’s problems, I was interested in a segment on global unrest. The conversation was generally about all of the countries in turmoil (i.e., the U.K., Israel, Syria, Lebanon, China, Libya, etc.) having unique problems, which can be distinguished from each other. But Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs had what I thought was the most interesting view on the turbulence. (1)

Sachs sees the unrest as interconnected and essentially under the theme of “popular frustration with governments not meeting the needs of the people.” He said there is a “pressure cooker” in the U.S., where problems — unequal wealth, a large underclass, high unemployment, a distrust in the legitimacy of government, a woeful educational system and infrastructure, no coherent energy policy, etc. — are at a boiling point.

This is a view most astrologers can appreciate as we move ever more closely towards the much heralded, much dreaded, exact Uranus-Pluto squares coming to us very soon. Some see that signature as the emergence of a completely different world, a world seeming at times to be going both towards madness and elation.

Many have noted Mars’s ingress into Cancer on August 3. Mars then squared Uranus and opposed Pluto (August 9 and 10). On the 16th, Mars crossed the degree of the July 1 solar eclipse (9° Cancer), and this week, Mars will square Saturn. (2) The Moon in Cancer will be conjunct Mars for its square to Saturn early on Thursday morning (PDT).

Planetary symbolism is always evocative, so I will attempt to speak to this particular combination in this short blog.

As I’m sure will sound familiar to many of you, I am full of dramatic and (usually) difficult real-life client stories from these past few weeks. Loosely under the theme of an exaggerated Mars, there have been many traffic tickets, accidents, admittances to psychiatric wards, incarcerations, and other such situations that may hint at Mars’s destructive power in the human soul.

Mars was known as Ares to the Greeks. His twin sons were Phobos and Deimos, also known as fear and panic, now the names of the two Moons of Mars. Mars is self-interest, and if it is functioning well, we can assert ourselves without dominating or submitting to others. Phobos and Deimos are kept in their proper place, ready to act, but not constantly engaged.

In thinking about Mars square Saturn, aside from troubles upon troubles, we can imagine a warming and yet moist energy coming to meet our edges, our bones, and our limitations. It reminds me of the fertile ground where land meets the sea.

Uranus, just beyond the threshold planet, calls the unseen creative life forth into being, but Saturn, of course, knows limits and requires definition. Psychologically, we know that Saturn is about understanding our limits. Saturn is also connected to the process of crystallization.

Saturn’s metal is lead and, in alchemical and tantric traditions, is associated with the base chakra. Lead is “the heaviest of the seven metals and is the starting point for their transformation into gold.”

The ancients thought that lead was the oldest metal; it is “known for its stubborn durability and resistance to change.” (3) According to the 15th-century alchemist, Paracelsus, “the cosmos is fashioned from three spiritual substances: the tria prima of mercury, sulfur, and salt.” (4) In the texts, the symbol for salt is a square, showing that the work of transformation begins in dense, imperfect matter. (Hello, all of us human beings.  Saturn connects us to this earth, like it or not!)

The “breakdown of crystallized thought (or altering of belief systems) is the primary objective of the first two operations of alchemy.” To alchemists, “the release through the eyes of dissolved salt in tears signified that dissolution really broke down thoughts and feelings.” (5) I find that a wondrous thought to contemplate with the Moon and Mars in Cancer squaring an exquisitely defended Saturn in Libra.

Cancer contains our sustenance, our primary nourishment. While acknowledging the possibility for a temporary unleashing of infantile rage in some of us, to try out another idea — maybe we can see Mars in Cancer square Saturn in Libra as a moment in time that quickens our capacity to mobilize support for those who really need care.

Mars in Cancer likes to feel connected, even in its solitary pursuits. I plan to keep Phobos and Deimos at bay this week and (in deference to Saturn) pay attention to the ever loving valor of Mars to carry forth with both the wildness and gentleness at hand.

Care to join me? I’d enjoy your company.


(1) Among his many accomplishments, Sachs is also President and Co-Founder of Millennium Promise Alliance, a nonprofit organization aimed at ending extreme global poverty. To find out more about Jeffrey Sachs, go the this web site. 

(2) Speaking of the summer eclipses: on July 6, Mars came to the June 1 solar eclipse degree (11° Gemini), and on July 25 the red planet crossed the June 15 lunar eclipse degree (24° Gemini).

(3) Dennis William Hauck, The Emerald Tablet, Penguin Arkana 1999, pg. 317.

(4) Wikipedia
“Sulfur embodied the soul (the emotions and desires); salt represented the body; mercury epitomized the spirit (imagination, moral judgment, and the higher mental faculties).”

(5) Hauck, pg. 157.


  1. Hi Mary, I loved your connections to alchemy with Mars and Saturn. I will think about that all day. After all isn’t Mars work and Saturn physical substance? And that is what I am about to do mow the lawn, or “cut the grass” (It is long overdue)

    • Kate, perfect, moving the grass…you are always such a good example of astrology in action..

      did you feel the earthquake, by the way, and are you preparing for the hurricane?

      Love from the west coast,


  2. Right on the money Mary…I’ve been working totally in synch with this from info on a blog site called FindingMySoulmate/ by Dreaming Moon…you may enjoy pondering the current ceremonial offerings there.

    • Hello Sheila,

      I’ll go to the site you mentioned..

      I went to my acupuncturist yesterday for the first time in awhile…of course, much needed and overdue..I feel much better today..

      But, what struck me in regards to the subject matter here – when I arrived, she said to me, “It has been a very difficult summer..” She’s not an astrologer, but treats many, many people…just another report on what people are going through..

      Thank you for commenting..

  3. Ebertin’s COMBINATION OF STELLAR INFLUENCES, page156, describes Mars/Saturn as follows: “Harmful or destructive energy, inhibited or destroyed vitality.” On page 98, Ebertin describes Moon/Mars as “Excitement, impulsiveness, expression of intense emotion. (Actions which are directed by the unconscious).” On page 102, Ebertin describes Moon/Saturn as “Self control.”

    I would suspect all of the above to occur this coming Thursday and thereafter for several days while we have the influence of the Mars/Saturn/Moon conjunction with the arrival of Hurricane Irene up the East Coast of the USA.

    My dear cousin died in Nov. 2009 under a Mars/Saturn conjunction, after a several years long battle against stomach cancer.

    Hang onto your hats, folks. Life is likely to soon get rougher.

  4. […] “Sachs sees the unrest as interconnected and essentially under the theme of “popular frustration with governments not meeting the needs of the people.” He said there is a “pressure cooker” in the U.S., where problems — unequal wealth, a large underclass, high unemployment, a distrust in the legitimacy of government, a woeful educational system and infrastructure, no coherent energy policy, etc. — are at a boiling point.” […]

  5. Thanks Mary for another thoughtful post. As I noted on my Facebook page the other day:

    “Unhappy Mars in Cancer: ‘rubber bullets and water cannons’ — confronts Saturn in Libra: ‘CONPLAN 3501 and 3502’ and both sesquiquadrate Neptune: ‘Don’t worry, we can go another 30 miles when the gauge is on empty.’

    Conplan makes reference to the U.S. military stepping into to control unrest and possible violence from protesters or mobs in the street.

    For me, when considering the public, the current planetary transits show up in a more raw, irrational expression.

    Mars is miserable in Cancer. Saturn, though exalted, really ‘brings out the lead’ the resistance, and can be harsh in the name of ‘justice’ (think of Crowley’s designation of the Tarot’s 3 of Swords to Saturn in Libra). And then bring this Neptune element into the mix — an irrational response and awakening to what the public is beginning to discern (as Neptune finally moves off of the nation’s Aquarius Moon in the Sibley chart). The citizenry is played out with the con; folks are jobless, hungry, broke and weary of the wall of indifference from Washington. All of this flavored by strong instinctual, animal-like responses to survival and security, denoted by Mars in Cancer.

    I see the rest of this week playing out as a scenario that will be looked back on, in the history books, as a defining moment, or tipping point, for the globe. Symbolically, today’s D.C. earthquake seems to be the first salvo.


    • Hi Frederick,

      Thanks…I always love your work..

      How about the Rabbi who said the earthquake on the east coast is because of homosexuality (as an example of “miserable Mars” meeting the justice maker..)



  6. Remember the riots in England earlier, this month? That period (6th-12th August) coincided EXACTLY with the T-square between Mars (in Cancer), Uranus and Pluto. I rest my case.

  7. Mary, Mary,

    I’m so glad you caught part of the Fareed Zakaria show last Sunday and that it triggered this article, and I’m so glad I finally got to read it today, Friday, as we wait for Irene.

    “A warming and yet moist energy coming to meet our edges” is brilliantly interpretive. The ‘pressure cooker’, the alchemy, the madness and the elation are all part of the process of the transformation we long for. You yourself have combined the energies of the Moon, Mars, square, and Saturn in a way that makes perfect sense of it all. Thank you for your words and for sharing them.

    • Hi Barbara,

      What wonderful feedback…thank you very took me awhile to find the words for this blog, but wanted to try to express what I was feeling..(a personal note: I have the natal Moon in Cancer)

      Love to you, stay dry..


  8. I’ve been thinking of Mars in Cancer as fighting for Mother Earth. And what should happen this week, but the beginning of the protests against the Keystone XL pipeline.

    Saturn in Libra is, for me, the old (Saturn) ideas of justice (Libra) and old models of relationships. Old boy’s network.

    Mars in Cancer may also have an element of aggressively planting of new seeds of justice and relationship against the Saturn status quo.

    There is now a movement to occupy DC and camp out in Freedom Park starting October 6. Its purpose is protest for workers and the people’s rights — “the salt of the Earth;” bring down corporate rule (Pluto/Cap), and demand green jobs and environmental protections and laws — more Mars/Cancer fighting for the Earth.

    I would love it if you would take a look at the US transits for October 6 onward.

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