Who else is intrigued to have Valentine’s Day on the day of Mars? Interesting, at least I believe.
Love and War
Aside from Freya and the whole of the Norse pantheon, the mixing of Venus and Mars is typically a drama symbolic of reconciliation or harmonizing of opposites, as with the goddess Harmonia emerging from the pairing of Aphrodite and Aries. The notion of these forces coming together brings to my mind the offsetting of weakness in each by the strengths of the other.
This is the alchemical union of fire and water, mercy and justice, love and war. To the uninitiated such union would be either a disaster or the violent end of one contributor. To the magician or mystic this is the way of harmony, perhaps by paradox.
Harmony and Collaboration Rather than Balance
People pleasing is tempered by self-interest and assertiveness.
A short temper is gifted some extra length.
Acts before thinking becomes weighing options quickly while in motion or even pausing to think it through.
Exclusion of others is supplanted by the expression of community.
Black and white becomes gray. Spirit and matter become the human enigma.
Imbalance in whatever form is subjected to or washed by harmony. Note: I didn’t say “balance”, as in all things in equal measure, I said harmony, which is all things in the appropriate measure for the task at hand or the good of those involved.
It is a prominent, skewed approach among modern mystics and the like, the obsession with balance as if simply equalizing things is the ideal approach to all avenues. In fact, arbitrary metering everything into equilibrium is not a solution in the first place, much less the best option.
Imagine if to a short temper we merely add an equal measure of truly self-negating tolerance. We then have a person predisposed to flip out and throw his glass over the mildest of disagreements at the dinner table, having played the role of church mouse the prior half of the day, allowing co-workers and employers, even the cashier at the gas station, to get away with as much abuse as they were pleased to provide.
Nice and balanced. Everybody hug a crystal!
A more nuanced approach, wherein the man previously envisioned as a glass-hurler at home and weakling at work might shift his intent and in either polarity respond under reasonable pressure. Maybe he’s fine if his wife gets a little pushy about doing thigs her way and calmly shuts the breakroom bully down with an “I don’t think you want to do that.” and a stare that silently says ‘Seriously. You don’t.’
Not a perfect balance at all. Where did all that energy from the thrown glass go? Should we tweak a response to account for that MORE we left out? Harmony is a fluid process, or event, and sometimes less tangible than the balancing act.
Libra is always accused of balancing, and this is true when our friendly scale is in a neurotic state. When she is flowing from the heart and with the blessing of her house, on the other hand, she brings the harmony of the Lady in the Garden, and isn’t even worried about how things balance out.
Balance has a place. I’m not denying that. For example, I hate it when one speaker is louder than the other. I prefer balanced heavy metal racket or balanced violin of Peganini, thank you kindly.
Seek the Opportunity for this Fusion
I highly recommend anyone pursuing magic also actively seek out the opportunity to experience this eloquent collision of opposite energies. As a Sagitarian Moon sign, I admit I am biased.
It’s a gift to have the waters of my lunar nature occupied by such a fiery sign. It’s essentially the hidden wildman, the meek assassin, the quiet comic, or the clandestine seeker of thrills never to be discovered by those outside of his circle (and apparently strangers who are reading this on his blog).
I’m ever fascinated by how two opposing and potent forces can come together and, under the guidance of the expansive human mind with the will, strong and sharp like steel, be caused not to conflict, but rather to collaborate and co-create, coincide and cooperate. Consider it an exercise in empowering your magical worldview to find and explore this phenomenon, and Venus with Mars (or Mars with Venus) is a fabulous initiation.
Use your imagination and you’ll find numerous applications, both practical and esoteric for the union of Harmony and Discord, Peace and Strife, et al. Here are a few prompts you can take and run with:
- Venus lives in the essence of art and artistic creation. Mars is the bearer of and the one borne by destruction*.
- The primal forces moving through and out of Venus are harmony and unity. Within and out from Mars flow strife and opposition*.
- The Venusian aspect will lounge and indulge. The nature of Mars is action and austerity.
One bit of counsel I offer is to look through the narrative and character aspects I’ve provided and ask: what is the essence of the attributes listed here? For example, compare the Martial attributes from 1 and 2 above to those in item 3. Can you see how dramatized language can put forth a potentially ugly or harmful connotation?
I want to be clear, here in the fuzzy-bunny-free-zone I do not admonish the presence or existence of harsh, ugly, even violent aspects and attributes. While such things are nobody’s favorite energy (at least nobody’s who I want to hang out with), these expressions and experiences are necessarily part of life, part of our reality. We mustn’t hide our faces from the ugly and pretend they aren’t real and, indeed, at times they are useful.
However, it’s easy to recognize the somewhat colorful or at least narrative language often associated with the attributes of the planetary spheres represents long-standing and even traditional biases. Intend to penetrate such preferential rhetoric and see the essence of the planet and its attributes.
For example, at its core Venus is attraction, and not specifically of a romantic nature. We’re talking magnetic in nature, or possessing an extraordinary power or ability to attract X. Venus draws or pulls to itself or its constituents that which is targeted or which is like the attractor.
Naturally concepts such as cohesion, coherency, even coincidence and collaboration can arise from the initial point of attraction. How easily the image of Venus the community benefactor and harmonizer could have emerged.
How neatly the promulgators of Aphrodite and Lakshmi forgot about the potential for attracting detrimental elements just as strongly and consistently as that for drawing in desirable phenomena. Does not the nerdy kid (raising my hand right here) also attract the bully and the hoodlum children to his side, that the same may gleefully torment their perfect victim? How often too does the poor young lady, devoid of self-love, bring to her presence that man who all to readily abuses her, be it with vile speech or closed fist? Make no mistake, these too are the workings of our lady Venus!
I typically take a more technical and less dramatic approach to planetary assessment, I have retained some of the character-centric verbiage in this post as a utility for teaching and (I dare say metaphorical or at least one-sided only) discussion.
I handed Mars the short-end, dramatized (by original myth and subsequent centuries of lore) labels on purpose so I could make this point. Look past the biased descriptions and into the essential quality being described.
While Venus truly is a sphere of creativity and whim, art and emotive, abstract expression akin to her sister Luna, so Mars can also create, albeit with transformative fire and the destruction inherent in processes like consumption and digestion.
Both of these spheres, planets, divine aspects, whatever you like to call them, are also the yin-yang, light-dark, male-female keepers of the beautiful and terrifying nonetheless POWERFUL force that manifests in humanity through passion.
I refer you to imaginary Exhibit A, or the Canaanite Astarte, Goddess of (among other things) love and war, sex and combat. Brilliant, these ancestors who either saw the ugliness of the Beauty or recognized the common thread of passion kept by both Venus and Mars.
I touched briefly upon creation via destructive processes. Delve beneath that surface to come up with your own useable examples.
Is “strife” not a form of movement, a manifestation of energy moving together with another energy in a spirited and expressive manner? If you pay attention you’ll find that strife, by definition conflict or struggle, tends to be of a passionate or high-energy nature, perhaps particularly nasty, and is more prone to be found within a whole than without.
To clarify, fighting and even violence between people who are rivals, from opposing teams, so to speak is not often defined or described with the word “strife”. The latter is better reserved for altercations involving members of a group. Strife is usually indicative of struggle between people of the same family, company, church, culture, etc.
How interesting, don’t you think?
The earliest versions of strife were also derived from words that meant “to strive”, which connotes to try hard, make strenuous effort, take long forceful steps, et al and hence we circle back to a cognate for action.
I probably could have saved us all some time by just typing “don’t believe the hype” or something along those lines. My bad.
Returning to the three-point list from (way up) above, perhaps adding a new item or two of your own, ask yourself: How can these pairings be applied to ritual?
To a talisman?
A simple meditation?
Journeying? (astral travel, pathworking, etc.)
How about divination?
I would love it if a few readers post here with their own experiments and operations in this vein.