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?
The Work of The Sword and the Wand
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.
Would You Like To Touch My Wand?
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.
The Hand That Holds the Wand
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