Hot and Cold: The Archetype of Mars Saturn Aspect
Mars is your inner warrior. If you have a healthy Mars, you’re able to assert yourself in relationships, speak up in order to persuade others, and take action to achieve your goals.
Saturn (when developed) acts as your inner “wise old man.” At other times, Saturn is your inner giant that swallows your creativity and positive motivation (recall the myth of Cronus eating his children.) In early life, Saturn most often represents the father.
Mars and Saturn do not always get along, because Mars is hot and Saturn is cold (in a psychological sense). When you have these two planets in hard aspect (conjunction, square or opposition), you’ll most likely experience challenges in integrating both energies successfully. In this article, we’ll explore the dark side of Mars Saturn aspects and then look at ways to unlock their constructive expression.
Mars conjunct square opposition Saturn: The Father Wound
The Shadow Side of Masculinity
Unless your natal Mars or Saturn happens to be well placed (in Capricorn, for example), hard aspects between them tend to be experienced in their shadow form, at least in the beginning.
In their shadow form, Saturn suppresses Mars, and Mars wounds Saturn. As a result, Mars conjunct, square or opposition Saturn could be experienced as negative expressions of masculine principle. In early life, this tends to manifest as father wounds.
What’s a father wound?
As a young child, your father was the model of masculine authority – he was possibly the highest authority in your world. If your emotional bond with your father was strong and supportive, you were able to grow with confidence in your ability to assert yourself and assume responsibility in the world.
If your father was emotionally absent, excessively angry or irresponsible, you may have grown up with a father wound that resulted in underdeveloped masculinity (regardless of your gender.) Until you get to the root of the father wound, you may feel a sense of weakness or even futility when trying to assert yourself or to accomplish your goals in the world.
What people do when they feel weak…
Is they overcompensate and try to act strong. Mars-Saturn aspects’ reputation for ruthless, controlling and even brutal behaviors could actually be originating from a deep feeling of powerlessness. Such dominant behaviors are usually a repeat of the father’s pattern (who in turn may have been overcompensating for his own sense of powerlessness.)
What doesn’t go out, must go in
The alternative manifestation of Saturn conjunct, square or opposition Mars is “suppressed anger.” If expressing anger against your father was not safe, then you may have had to hold the anger inside, learning not to assert yourself while seething with resentment on the inside.
It’s easy to imagine how either of the above patterns could create problems in later life.
Working Toward Resolution: Healing the Father Wound
These shadow manifestations are indeed challenging, and quite common among people with a highly stressed or retrograde Saturn. With Saturn Mars aspect in particular, there seems to be difficulty with the emotions of anger as well as constructive self-assertion.
While there are no quick fixes, recognizing the father wound and accepting its pain is certainly the beginning of healing. By separating from the dysfunctional patterns modeled by your father, you’ll be able to choose a different, wiser application of your energy.
Now we’ll look at more positive expressions of Mars Saturn aspects.
Mars conjunct square opposition Saturn: Constructive Paths
Wisdom guides Force
In a constructive scenario, Saturn sets a positive direction for Mars, and Mars acts to realize Saturn’s long range goals.
Necessary Control of Anger
From experience, you learn how to work with anger in relationships. You’ve learned that dominating or controlling others do not work, and neither did suppressing anger.
What you’ve learned is a middle path – a conscious restraint of the anger that you fully feel. This is zen territory, and monks talk about it. One book I highly recommend in this regard is Robert Bly’s A little book on the human shadow, where the poet discusses this very process.
Ambition and Effort
Once Mars’ energy is released from suppression and resentment, Mars-Saturn combination acquires clarity of purpose and disciplined, patient action. In short, they tend to become unstoppable, especially if aided by boosters such as Jupiter or Pluto.
Noel Tyl uses phrases like “Resourcefulness” and “Indomitable Will” to describe Mars Saturn aspect. Once the emotional stoppage is removed, your doors to achievements open. You can direct this energy in any arena – physical, intellectual, spiritual or organizational.
Recap: Mars Saturn Aspect Interpretation – Shadow vs Wisdom
To recap the discussion of Mars Saturn conjunction, square or opposition, we’ll consider each aspect separately and explore their shadow side vs conscious expression. Note that, although some subtle differences exist based on the type of aspect, many qualities will be interchangeable between all 3 aspects.
Mars Conjunct Saturn
Core Theme: Identification with father’s values. Focused energy.
Shadow Manifestation: If your father held negative views about you and/or himself, you might have accepted the limiting perception about yourself as truth. As a result, you may be repeating much of the disempowering, frustrated patterns your father exhibited.
Conscious Expression: Once you’re able to separate from your identification with your father’s destructive patterns (or, if you are able to identify with his positive patterns), you’ll gain a stronger sense of self, able to achieve new heights in life through focused effort.
Mars Square Saturn
Core Theme: Tension and Development.
Shadow Manifestation: Your father may have displayed much of the negative masculine traits discussed in this article. As a result you might repeat the pattern of dominance and overcompensation, or let your frustration and resentment implode within.
Conscious Expression: Once you begin healing the father wounds and let go of stored resentment, there will be considerable energy available for long term development. This aspect suggests indomitable will.
Mars Opposition Saturn
Core Theme: Awareness and Projection.
Shadow Manifestation: You project a lot of the negative masculine quality in others – especially your boss (authority figure) or your spouse. As a result you keep blaming others for your frustration in life, feeling powerless.
Conscious Expression: Once you are able to withdraw the projection of angry, dominant behaviors from others, you recognize these qualities inside of you and can integrate them. Afterwards you act with conscious awareness of the power of anger within, no longer a victim. You learn to assert yourself successfully, with patience and wisdom.
Do you have Mars Saturn aspect? How do you experience it?
Please feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section.
Photo: Jim Sneddon