Mars and Mercury: the Passionate Mind

alexander the great

“Just as the Greek intellectual achievement had reached its climax during the fourth century BCE, Alexander the Great swept down from Macedonia through Greece and onward to Persia, conquering lands and people from Egypt to India…The very qualities that had served Greece’s brilliant evolution—restless individualism, proud humanism, critical rationalism—now helped precipitate its downfall, for the divisiveness, arrogance, and opportunism that shadowed the Greeks’ nobler qualities left them myopic and fatally unprepared for the Macedonian challenge.”

Excerpted from The Passion of the Western Mind by Richard Tarnes

Alexander’s army of warriors is representative of the Mars archetype. and our human urges to be assertive, self-protective, self-gratifying, and competitive. Mars is also associated with feelings of anger and aggression.

The Greek intellectual achievement that served individualism, humanism, and critical rationalism is representative of the Mercury archetype, and our human impulses to communicate, observe, teach, and learn. Mercury is associated with our thinking processes, which can tend toward overly rational or to come from a one-sided perspective, as well as dogmatism, literalism, and fundamentalism.

As we know oh so well: history does tend to repeat itself. We’re seeing the Mercury-Mars clashes play out in various ways all around the world. And the reasons behind the behavior haven’t changed since ancient times.

Mercury in Leo (emphasizing need to be appreciated by others) and Mars in Aquarius (emphasizing need to innovate and create social change) are opposing each other in the sky. At the same time these two planets are locked in a square with Uranus, the planet that represents our impulses toward freedom, rebellion, breakthroughs, innovation, and individuation, in Taurus (emphasizing need to be resourceful and get productive results). A square is symbolic of resistance. You know what happens when electric current is restricted by a knot or sharp bend (square) in a cord. The cord gets hot and often sparks fly. That same energy is active in our environment.

So, now what can we do? Can we change and do somethings different?

The movements of the planets, as they approach and separate from their different relationships with each other, provide some clues. What we observe is that the planets move gradually toward and away from each other. When they are in very close relationship by opposition (180 degrees, plus or minus a few degrees) or square (90 degrees, plus or minus a few degrees), they bring our focus and attention to something, like a focusing lens does. Our attention to things we see, hear, and feel increases and then diminishes in the same way. Nothing is as abrupt as it may seem to be. Planetary relationships change gradually, as does our thinking, which always precedes our actions.

Let’s think about this just briefly. We all think differently from one another. We’re individuals. which Mars in Aquarius is reminding us of. We each have our own thoughts and beliefs (beliefs are just thoughts we keep on thinking), which Mercury in Leo is reminding us of. Each one of us wants to be recognized and appreciated (Leo), and when we think that’s not happening, we can, in turn, feel anger, which activates the need to protect ourselves and our beliefs.

Real learning only ever happens through experience and reflecting on our own experiences. We actually teach ourselves. So, think about these few things:

  • You have the ability to direct your own thoughts. You have the option of observing things as they are or changing them as you want them to be. Your thoughts are vibrations, too. Like-minded people are attracted to each other. Do we need to repeat the battles that have gone on since before Alexander the Greats’ time?
  • Your attention to something invites it into your awareness. Every thought you give your attention to expands as more and more thoughts follow the original thought. Whether it’s a thought of something you want or don’t want, your attention to it invites more of what you think about into your experience.

Somethings, like the planets moving through the heavens, are fated. However, even as they come together and your attention is focused (through your individual lens) on what you do or don’t want, you have the freewill to make choices and change what comes next.

What has your experience taught you? What do you want to change, do differently? This is a good time, while the resistance is bringing things into focus, for personal reflection before taking any next actions.