Mars in the 12th: dazed and confused…

Mars struggles in Neptune's house...
Mars struggles in Neptune's house...

I always understood that I was born sometime “getting on for” 6am, and evidently, as an astrologer that is maddeningly ambiguous. I made a point of recording therefore the exact moment that my own children were born; actually, the moment they took their first breath; which with my daughter was very straightforward; but was not so much with my son because he was rushed off and had to be resuscitated, so I was forced to approximate within a 5 or 10 minute window. My own birth was much complicated by the fact (so it is said) that I stopped breathing on three occasions altogether and on the third time the priest was called to administer the last rites; thus the picture is confused by this attendant calamity. When all is said and done, I had the time within this range and for a great many other reasons I was confident that my Ascendant fell somewhere between 24° and 29° of Virgo.

So, what’s the big deal? I realise that it doesn’t sound like much, but did you hear me say the bit about Virgo? I rest my case, and now I shall proceed. So, I tried a few things. My first foray into rectification had nothing to do with astrology; instead I determined to simply wake up at the exact minute of my birth time and I tried this for maybe a week. In every case I awoke (uncharacteristically I might add) no earlier than 5:34 am and no later than 5:51 am. I was therefore very comfortable with the idea that my range had narrowed to something between approaching 25° and 27° of Virgo; this also seemed to correspond with some other forays as well into rectification by progression and arc, so it was all good.

Next, the Sabian symbol trick. I should mention that I have long been familiar with the Sabians after my grandfather gave me a first edition of Marc Edmund Jones’ work many, many years hence, and I always found it to be “otherly insightful”. I am indeed often tempted to produce a Sabian chart as a consequence for my clients. But anyhow, I digress. The pictures for each of the degrees therefore:

25th degree: A boy with a censer.
26th degree: Grande dames at tea.
27th degree: A bald headed man.

Now importantly, anything past the half-degree moves into the next picture, thus I also needed to consider “a man gaining secret knowledge from a paper he is reading”.

That last one, and to some extent also the bald-headed man (expanded by Rudhyar and others from the original transcripts to “a bald headed man dominates a meeting of national figures) have a peculiar resonance for me and I am comfortable with the sense therefore that my Ascendant lies at close to 27½° of Virgo.

Thankfully, I just had this confirmed. Mars has been transiting through my 12th house now for a few weeks, and that, coupled I would say with my ongoing Neptune square creates a very dissolving influence over my Martian qualities; especially when you consider that with Mars in the 3rd squared to Pluto, it was pretty much the sole source of my ability to output the necessary quantities to dispatch my responsibilities to my many clients. I have been completely at sea of late, unable to focus, to set myself any reasonable deadlines or to stick to them when I do. My work throughput has suffered horribly. Then yesterday afternoon, I started to feel distinctly different, suddenly I felt like I could focus again, and I actually wrote a 5,000 word interpretation and mailed it off after pondering and struggling with it for literally days. Last night I simply could not sleep; I felt as if I had mainlined amphetamines and coffee directly into my brain stem; I maybe got to sleep at 2 am and I was awake before 7, my brain buzzing with ideas, thoughts, articles I want to write, work I need to do. So, somewhere between 27°10′ and 27°30′, Mars broke out of the 12th would be my guess.

Now my son Joe is a lovely guy, if I say so myself. He is approaching 16 and he wants to be a doctor. Actually he is thinking that he wants to work in women’s fertility (don’t ask me, it’s not entirely normal for a boy of 16, but it is in his astrology and we did talk about it once and he really liked the idea), he is also what I would call an Indigo (I kind of despise the term, but astrologically it does have meaning) and he has Ur/Ne conjunct at less than one minute of arc just a couple of degrees on the 6th house side of the descendant, which is pretty much unequivocal. He is the appointed mentor at his school for any child with depression problems and he hangs out with children of his age and younger who are suicidal, clinically so, and he actually gets a real compassionate joy out of helping them. Last month he went to sell all his old toys at a boot fair but decided to pretty much give them away to younger kids because it was worth more than money to “make those little guys happy”. I know, it’s probably not normal, but it is what it is.

The point I am making is that he has all these incredibly decent qualities, he is funny, kind, compassionate and very handsome in a slightly offbeat, wild-haired Aquarian way BUT, he really struggles to focus. If I had to make one detractive statement about him, it would be that he has only two gears, “slow” and “standstill” and I do worry that despite his genius (which he really does have) he will struggle with his exams because he just cannot find any urgency. It always mystified me too, because I have the exact opposite problem, with my Mars in Sagittarius in the 3rd square to Pluto, I simply cannot moderate my output (and a peregrine Mercury in Scorpio – thus ruled by the Ma/Pl square – compounds that too). I wrote a book in 4 weeks and on a good day I can get 10,000 words out without skimping too much on quality.

What gives? I always thought. Now I think I know.

My Joe has Mars (in Cancer) in the 12th house. I did not appreciate fully, until just now, this last 24 hours in fact, as Mars crossed my Ascendant, just how subjectively difficult that can be. Self evidently it has something of the quality of Mars conjunct Neptune to it; my friend Alice has a transit of Neptune to Mars just now and she has complained of feeling very out of sorts for the last several months. Conversely, my brother in law has Mars rising, just over the Ascendant and into the first house and he is a study in crazy (Aquarian) energy: his hair stands on end, he is erratic, irascible, infuriating, cranky, offbeat, too cool for school and awesomely, lovably quirky all at once and he is beyond energetic. He gets an idea and he’s up and away. Many have been the times when I will be sitting with him in his garden drinking wine in a refined and leisurely way and he suddenly decides to ‘build something’. Then off he goes, into his workshop, crash, bang, wallop and two hours later he emerges with a “construction”. It’s exhausting just to watch him.

So now I get it. Mars either side of that magical line creates a profoundly different ambience and for the first time in my life, I felt it switch and all the lights came on.

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14 thoughts on “Mars in the 12th: dazed and confused…

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  1. Interesting, Interesting. I have Mars in Taurus in the Twelfth, and I was very much that way until Mars progressed out of it. So there is hope for your Joe, when he is older that it.

  2. That’s an intriguing insight Beth and a very helpful one too. For Joe he still has another 14 years to go before his Mars progresses into the 11th; although actually the Ascendant progresses faster than Mars obviously, creating the interminability; so he’ll be about 30!

    Still, who ever has their life together before they reach 30 anyhow! 🙂

  3. Wonderful post. But are you sure that you round up to the next degree in Sabian symbols? For instance, I have an 11 degree, 33 minute Libra rising and my teacher told me to look at 11 degrees, not 12. I realize I’m splitting hairs here, but I’m sure a Virgo rising is accustomed to conversations along the lines of “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”?
    P.S. I finally answered your question about Mars/Pluto on my blog. It took me awhile because I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to reveal and the whole thing is still in process. (Are you surprised?) Cheers, Monica

  4. Really interesting — thanks — and good lesson in rectification, which can be so hard. I love that you decided to wake up at your birth time every day for a week. I think we humans have a lot more instinct than we give ourselves credit for.

    As well, your post is a wonderful demonstration of how we can use astrology to help parents, well, parent.

    Also: Nice photo!

  5. Hi

    I’ve just come across your blog as a consequence of joining the toplisted site, and wanted to say how much I appreciated what you said about a 12th House Mars : my 16 year old nephew has this significator, AND a Ur/Ne conjunction in his 6th House, and has always struck me as an Indigo(much though I resist nearly all labels!). He has a very similar ‘feel’ to your son from what you said in the post. Will drop in on your site now!

    You might like to check out mine – “Writing from the Twelfth House”.

    Anne Whitaker

  6. just found this post after looking for something else entirely (isn’t that always the way) and even the photo made me sit up straight. I’m a Sun Cancerian with a Taurus ascendant and Mars on the 12th house side. sometimes I’m up and away doing stuff – and refusing to be distracted – other times I can’t get out of the chair and it’s like trying to shoot a bullet through thick mud. Friends complain they simply cannot budge me if I don’t want to be budged, but can’t stop me once I’ve started something. I’m having to work hard – it’s easier now the Neptune square has moved away and I can see it better – to make constructive use of the Mars energy. It loves fighting for causes – particularly for underdogs – but needs careful channelling and harnessing. One thing it loves, and that’s gardening – with metal tools, of course!

  7. Thanks for this post… I actually came across it while
    looking for things on this exact placement (12th house Cancer
    Mars). I have it myself. I can’t exactly say I have a problem with
    motivation, as I have a rather strong Saturn, but this could also
    be due to the fact my Mars squares both my MC and Pluto. What sign
    is your son’s Moon in? It really doesn’t sound like your son has it
    bad at all, even with his rather unfortunate Mars placement. If the
    Moon is strongly placed, it can help offset some of the detriments
    of that. I have a first house Leo Moon that helps make my Mars a
    little less shy and retiring. On the other hand, it also leads to
    some rather colorful outbursts, thanks to the combination of my
    Mars/Pluto square and my Moon/Uranus square.

  8. COnfused, I came cross this because I have pluto moving into my 12th. But I also have moon at 7degree cap, saturn at 25, jup at 2 Aqu with a 5degree asc Aqu 12th house cusp is 9cap. I cant seem to get a grip on this transit. my virgo planets are pluto 4 mars 22. 2 degree leo sun. Can anyone recommend a good book or give me some insight into this transit? Much appreciated.

    1. You have Pluto approaching your Moon right now. It will force you to decide what you really need to be secure. Good luck. If you want a coherent explanation of your forthcoming transits then it’s quite involved, you’d be best served by paying a professional astrologer.

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