Wherever Mars journeys, he poses questions to us that concern power and the lack thereof. Mythically and symbolically, power is represented by weapons. Weapons provide us the ability to defend what is ours, and to take what we can. They are morally ambivalent, the instruments of both good and evil. Where ever Mars goes, he beats plowshares into swords. What do we see lining the walls of Mars’ archetypal armory as he journeys through Leo?
Mars, the old lord of War, moves through Leo, the sign made of the Sun’s light. So what might Mars in Leo wield? Well, what weapons can be made of light? Light can be focused into tight, cutting beams. When the light of the physical world is focused in this way, we have the laser. When the light of the Self is focused in this way, we have a light saber. Although the light saber is, in the Star Wars pop mythos, a technological innovation rather than a psychic power, the possession and use of a light saber is intimately connected to and a reflection on the character of the Jedi/Sith wielding them. They are always an extension of the power of the Self, the energy of Self focused into a weapon. Like auras, some are green, some are blue, others red. The Jedi can never really be separated from their weapon. It always returns to them because it is, symbolically, a direct extension of their power. In the cases where they are separated, there is an obvious sense of theft, almost like the stealing of a soul. The theft of the power that is one’s birthright, an ancestral blade.
The glowing light sword may be the best fictional representation of the sacred tool of Mars in Leo, but glowing swords of focused light don’t exist in the physical realm. The Jedi’s light saber is a combination of two real tools/weapons that do, however,exist- the Sword and the Wand. In many cultures, especially the Japanese, the high quality sword is seen as the mark of a noble warrior, and such swords were often passed down along family lines.
One has a sword because they deserve it, and the sword is emblematic of the honorable Self. It is unthinkable for the samurai to be separated from his sword, or King Arthur parted from the mighty Excalibur. The connection between the Weapon (Mars) and the Self (Sun/Leo) is encoded heavily into these cultures, and likely formed the prototype for the handling of the light saber in Star Wars.
The image of the light saber has something magical about it than the sword, no matter how sharp. Symbolically, the very body of the light saber is the brilliance of the Being focused into a single ray. Here we see a profound resonance with the role of the Wand- the ubiquitous tool of the magician. It is through the wand which the sorcerer extends their will and makes it so. The suit of wands, in the Tarot, refers to those situations and characters directly related to asserting one’s Self and Will. In esoteric traditions aplenty, the wand is exactly that- it is used to create changes in the world that are in harmony with the ritualized will. As the sword cannot be separated from the samurai, the wand cannot be meaningfully separated from the magician- it is an extension of him/her.
The wand also has powerful mundane connections with the act of creation in tune with the Will. The bandleader times the marchers and music to a wand. The conductor leads the symphony with a wand. It directs rhythmic manifestation. This association of the wand with music is by no means confined to the European, though. Wikipedia states:
“There is some scholarly opinion that the magic wand may have its roots in the drumstick of a shaman, especially in Central Asia and Siberia, as when using it to bang on his drum or point, to perform religious, healing, and magical ceremonies.”
In Vedic mythology, the drum is used as an emblem of creation. It is the passive component in the process of generating vibration. The wand/drumstick bangs on the drum, and reality is created.
If we look at the Tarot Card Strength VIII, which is said to represent Leo, or we consult the cognate myth of Hercules and the Nemean Lion, we see that the weapon used is none at all. It is the raw strength of Self that is brought to bear. The wand, the knight’s sword and the lightsaber are all symbolic extensions of the self’s power. They are powerless without their connection to their wielder. This is not a matter of technological leverage, but of magnifying and making way for the strength of Self.
In Hercules’ mythic struggle with the Nemean Lion he uses the empty hand to subdue his fearsome leonine opponent. But there are tellings of the story where he uses a club to first stun his fearsome foe- the most primitive and simple weapon, no doubt the first weapon ever to be used. It is exactly the same shape as a wand, only thicker. In fact, the exoteric title for the Suit of Wands is Clubs.
In all these manifestations, the key pattern is that of the weapon proceeding naturally from the Self, because it is an extension of Self. With Mars in Leo, we are always tracing power back to the Self from which it proceeds. Mars will be in Leo for many months to come, asking in the hard language of events- what is your power? From where does it proceed? What form is most natural to it?
In other words- What color is your lightsaber?
Copyright 2009 Austin Coppock
Published the day of Mars’ ingress into Leo
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you are great.. great.. baron!!! thanks
Good stuff. I feel like what you describe about finding a personal way to manifest/focus one’s will in the world is the way of the martial artist. Seeking to bring their will to bear in an artful and personal matter leads one to the dojo. A teacher of mine was saying (when asked about using a bottle as a weapon) that when you trust your own hands, you don’t really feel as drawn to use a weapon. Would you say this is a time to make the self the weapon, or to transcend/internalize the weapon?
To me the mars/leo thing is totally the weapon-as-extension of the self. Any weapon really, cared for and maintained by the individual, perhaps created even (as in the case of talismanic weaponry/lightsabers) by the individual themselves.
The gunfighter who refuses to hand over his gun upon entering the sleepy western town, the samurai who ritually polishes his blade every day, the individual who understands the weapon as an extension of the self, and the self as defined by the weapon.
A time wherein we are inclined to define ourselves by the struggles we have chosen for ourselves, a time wherein we know we ourselves through punishing sacrifice. The martial artist bleeding from his knuckles from training, or the black magician whose left arm sings with like a furnace from the needles of a tattoo gun.
(To me the mars/leo thing is totally the weapon-as-extension of the self. Any weapon really, cared for and maintained by the individual, perhaps created even (as in the case of talismanic weaponry/lightsabers) by the individual themselves.)
Yeah- totally. It’s your lightsaber, at the end of the day, and it can look like anything. It could be a gun, an umbrella, or a shovel. It’d be interesting to take a look at different Sun-Mars placements and aspects and the various forms of “weapon as extension of self” you’d get.
( Sacrifice=Victory, Weapon=Self)
Yeah, you follow any Sun God long enough and he runs off and gets sacrificed. It’ll be interesting to see how that theme plays into all of this. It’ll be really interesting what kind of vibes Mars in Leo retro’s putting off right after the Solar Eclipse in Cap this winter.
(Would you say this is a time to make the self the weapon, or to transcend/internalize the weapon?)
Devin, that’s really interesting. The internalization/absorption of the weapon makes alot of sense to me. The realization that the self can function as the weapon seems like a natural part of that process. This transit will highlight the weapon-function of self, but I would always argue that the Self transcends the weapon-function, containing and exceeding it. One problem will one’s sense of self getting lost in this weapon-function of self.
Teacher: Why have you always loved the art of the katana?
Student (Experiencing Enlightenment): Because I AM A FUCKING KATANA!
you… rat… bastard…
many thanks!! ^.^
The weapon as extension of Self is a powerful metaphor. In my case, Self is my weapon; the many aspects of Self, to be more specific. I have now entered a field in which I may use the masks I once set aside to my benefit; as my weapon of choice. I have recently discovered the masks I once thought were hindering my ability to move forward in life and within the magical realm are powerful weapons of strength to access hidden aspects of Self to gain employment (and therefore, income), and assist with healing rather than hinder it. Mars in Leo is where I shine. The next few months will be powerful; difficult, quite possibly, but interesting, indeed. Thank you, Baron. You are always on top of things. 🙂
My weapon is my drawing tablet, I use it with Photoshop for my Illustration. It comes with a digital pen. The pen is my wand. When drawing comes out of it, it feels like magic. I’ve always been fascinated with Mars in Leo. Now I know why.
many thanks. you have lifted my spirit.
All the best
This is good, but as a lion, I really think astrologers need to describe Leo in his more forceful, more ancient terms: feral, bestial, powerful, vanquisher of enemies, fierce, etc. It is a LION and yet most modern astrologers try to tame him by describing him in “soft” terms: creative generous, friendly, optimistic, warm, etc. They seem to forget what kind of animal he is and his fiercer origins as a warrior-king in his own right. I really wish the fiercer aspect of Leo would be more explored in modern astrology.