Mars’s transit of Capricorn, May 3rd – November 7th 2018 is several times longer than its usual sign-stay and its exaltation is a major event for the year. The 'lesser malefic's' harsh and fiery nature can be more troublesome even than Saturn’s, for while Saturn resists and frustrates, Mars pushes and provokes, and acts as an accelerant within larger planetary patterns. A moment of madness is never far away, especially with Mars also placed with Ketu, karaka of accidents in 2018. If somebody you know is acting up this Summer and Autumn, look to see where Mars lands in their chart.
In regular motion, Mars spends approximately six weeks in each sign during its 687-day orbit, then every twenty-six months it retrogrades, which extends its sign-stay to up to six months. Its transit this year includes a 60-day retrograde arc, June 26th to August 27th (all in Capricorn), which for a naturally pushy and aggressive player needs careful handling: most strong Saturnian placements don’t mind waiting if they see progress, but Mars likes to get on with it. Take a cue from Mercury retrograde during this spell, and rather than start over or buy fresh, re-do, repair and light a fire under a trail that has gone cold. Extra stamina is on tap and we play the percentages and last the course: ‘make haste slowly’, as the Renaissance mages had it.
In Aries, Mars is a soldier and in Scorpio is a secret agent, but in Capricorn it fulfils its role as Commander in Chief in the Jyotish planetary cabinet. Mars brings decisiveness, ambition, competition, anger, accidents, desire and frustration. It is the ruler of metalwork, repairs, mining, war, blood, the colour red, the head and is also the Jyotish karaka of siblings, which suggests rivalry is a natural state for this relationship. Feel the difference between Mars’s exaltation here and Saturn’s fall in Aries. This transit gives us the usual Mars brio, but also more considered and political moves which doesn’t just run through walls.
Depending on Capricorn's natal house, and our own relationship with Mars, we can address issues in this Saturn-ruled domain which may need a little loving in any case. If natal Mars is difficult – debilitated, a temporal as well as natural malefic, or under difficult aspect - this transit won't suddenly make it easy, but it still carries potential. If your Mars return is in Capricorn, then look forward to turbo-drive and good value for your efforts - but don't be a busy fool. Work to a plan. In both West and East, Capricorn is depicted as a half-aquatic creature, either a sea-goat or crocodile, which connotes cunning and a hidden emotional quality. Naturally, a Mars dasha or antardasha will enhance the effect and deliver on natal promise, though so much pitta/ rajasic energy can be heady.
Yogic detachment is difficult under Mars, and may not give best results in any case – at these times we need to slay dragons and not let the energy back up. Still, an exalted natal Mars in an angle makes Ruchaka Yoga, a hallmark of which, according to Parashara is, ‘knowledge of occult sciences’. Transiting the moksha houses (4,8,12) too, for example, Mars responds to subtler handling where well-directed intent backed up with consistent meditation and chanting makes at least as big a material and psychic change as chasing desires out in the world. This is a Yin approach as against the outwardly-directed Yang ego-trip, and Mars will be disciplined, driven and self-denying when called upon. Focused fasting on a Tuesday – Mars’s day – along with a good Mars mantra clears obstacles and is an excellent remedy for everything from a family feud to a persistent headache.
Mars in Capricorn is disposited by Saturn in Sagittarius, so there is yet an idealistic streak to this transit. International themes and concerns arise, religion may be used as a cover for self-interest, or else there is genuine concern for spiritual values. If so, Mars provides the energy for something more than just warm words. Help somebody practically, fight on their behalf, and make a lasting difference. Mars kicks off his 2018 marathon in Purva Ashadha, spends the majority of its transit in Shravana, then finishes in Dhanishta for the last two weeks.
From Capricorn, Mars aspects Aries, Cancer and Leo:
This year it aspects the Sun, altogether May 4th -15th and July 17th– September 18th.
It aspects Mercury in Aries from May 10th - 28th and Cancer/ Leo from June 27th to September 18th.
Aspects Venus from June 9th to August 1st and from September 2nd to November 7th.
Its effect on the Sun and Mercury in Aries is part of a double-aspect from Jupiter, while its retrograde arc falls mostly in Shravana, a ‘good’ nakshatra, with associations of speech and learning. Yet a Mars-Mercury mutual aspect June 27th - September 2nd is an uncomfortable trade-off between enemies which has associations with lies and double-talk. Capricorn is a superficially patient and long-term customer, but there will be greater intensity and diplomatic kung-fu. Talk is better than war.
Take the long-running geopolitical chess match in Syria, fought over the country’s resources and strategic position. Mars in Capricorn, the soldier-politician in a pushy Earth sign, acts pragmatically and often cynically, and the time may have come for one of the proxy-war players to make a decisive push. On July 27th Mars exactly conjoins the lunar eclipse at 10° Capricorn, which is also the degree of the USA’s natal Pluto, the planet of the underworld. An extended campaign reaches its endgame, or a new covert CIA war is launched. We may only find out afterwards. Ketu is an instinctive, unreasoning Mars-like energy in itself, and an irrational pre-emptive strike would be a natural effect. This conjunction also happens during Mercury retrograde, suggesting a unfinished business from the past will be the catalyst for a diplomatic standoff. Mars transit by (sidereal) Ascendant Aries Mars transiting your tenth house gives an opportunity in your career. Pick your battles carefully, and speak the sweet truth to your boss. Plan your moves ahead of time and stick to your course even through the retrograde spell. Starting a new business or push for promotion is well-starred. Taurus Mars’s coarse nature is uncomfortable in the rarefied air of the Ninth House, so watch for a faux-pas or a heated philosophic debate. Use your energy to study and travel and expand your knowledge, and keep your respect for other people’s views. Gemini Mars can be difficult energy for you, so look before you leap. Use the transit to explore a hidden subject, or cultivate the money men for a sweetheart loan. A passionate encounter could open up, or else you sublimate your energy into psychic research or spiritual discipline. Cancer Mars is a naturally strong planet for you, but it doesn’t sit easily in your relationship zone. Keep busy in company – this isn’t a time for sitting in the silence or enjoying a calm, unspoken rapport. A good argument clears the air, and you want passion, a reaction - anything except being ignored. Leo You get good results from Mars and can do great work under this transit. Work, business, stiff competition, you can handle it all and come out on top. A fitness kick or change of diet hits the spot, and even some well-timed fasting takes you further. Virgo Mars will stimulate your intelligence and you’re inspired to learn and memorize. Chanting mantras comes more easily now and you put energy into your spiritual life. Throw off your inhibitions around creativity and learn to love what you’ve made. Libra Channelling energy into your home helps when you come home spoiling for a fight. Moving or improving is a good outlet. A family dispute takes you over the hurdles, but you come out at the end closer together. Start a new program of study. Scorpio Your ruling planet strong in your third house inspires you to go it alone. Start that business, write that book, or at least take the first steps. Take your blog on to another level, and bring siblings onside to help with a new project. Sagittarius Keep a financial strategy in mind and play it long. A black belt in shopping is fun for a while, but you will be left with the bill. Still, don’t let fear hold you back from a good deal. Keep your temper too, especially when family matters get tense. Capricorn You come across forcefully and people see the ambition you’ve kept up your sleeve. Act to a plan – you always do – and take exercise to burn off the energy. It’s nice to be assertive and to adjust the balance in a relationship that’s become too one-way. Meditation is good for a headache. Aquarius Tricky one this, meet your challenges on the invisible level and don’t let the energy back up. If you have an issue with someone, get it out in the open and don’t sit and seethe. Meditation works well now, and the right mantra gets a boost from your inward energy. Pisces You are torn between fitting in with the crowd and standing out on your own. Get your extra income streams flowing, and a side-job makes up the financial balance. A good cause satisfies your crusading side and you have practical skills to offer that make the world a better place.