Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System, after Mercury. Named after the Roman god of war, it is often referred to as the “Red Planet” because the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance. Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth.
Mars represents strength. If unguided by wisdom it is a dangerous planet, inclined to deeds of violence, acting rashly and without consideration. It is a principle which causes anger and wrath. It has been regarded as the god of warriors, soldiers, lawyers, causing also the effects of violent medicines. Its action may become moderated by its union with ♀. Among the metals Mars is represented by iron, in the kingdom of spiritual powers by the god of war. It is of a feiry nature, and as fire does not combine with water, likewise an irate temper and the assertion of self-will is incompatible with that calm and peaceful thought necessary for the perception of truth.
In ancient Roman religion and myth, Mars was the god of war and also an agricultural guardian, a combination characteristic of early Rome. He was second in importance only to Jupiter and he was the most prominent of the military gods in the religion of the Roman army. Most of his festivals were held in March, the month named for him (Latin Martius), and in October, which began the season for military campaigning and ended the season for farming.
Under the influence of Greek culture, Mars was identified with the Greek god Ares, whose myths were reinterpreted in Roman literature and art under the name of Mars. But the character and dignity of Mars differed in fundamental ways from that of his Greek counterpart, who is often treated with contempt and revulsion in Greek literature. Mars was a part of the Archaic Triad along with Jupiter and Quirinus, the latter of whom as a guardian of the Roman people had no Greek equivalent. Mars’ altar in the Campus Martius, the area of Rome that took its name from him, was supposed to have been dedicated by Numa, the peace-loving semi-legendary second king of Rome. Although the center of Mars’ worship was originally located outside the sacred boundary of Rome (pomerium), Augustus made the god a renewed focus of Roman religion by establishing the Temple of Mars Ultor in his new forum.
Although Ares was viewed primarily as a destructive and destabilizing force, Mars represented military power as a way to secure peace, and was a father (pater) of the Roman people. In the mythic genealogy and founding myths of Rome, Mars was the father of Romulus and Remus with Rhea Silvia. His love affair with Venus symbolically reconciled the two different traditions of Rome’s founding; Venus was the divine mother of the hero Aeneas, celebrated as the Trojan refugee who “founded” Rome several generations before Romulus laid out the city walls.
The importance of Mars in establishing religious and cultural identity within the Roman Empire is indicated by the vast number of inscriptions identifying him with a local deity, particularly in the Western provinces.
Ares is the Greek god of war. He is one of the Twelve Olympians, and the son of Zeus and Hera. In Greek literature, he often represents the physical or violent and untamed aspect of war, in contrast to his sister the armored Athena, whose functions as a goddess of intelligence include military strategy and generalship.
The Greeks were ambivalent toward Ares: although he embodied the physical valor necessary for success in war, he was a dangerous force, “overwhelming, insatiable in battle, destructive, and man-slaughtering.” His sons Fear (Phobos) and Terror (Deimos) and his lover, or sister, Discord (Enyo) accompanied him on his war chariot. In the Iliad, his father Zeus tells him that he is the god most hateful to him. An association with Ares endows places and objects with a savage, dangerous, or militarized quality. His value as a war god is placed in doubt: during the Trojan War, Ares was on the losing side, while Athena, often depicted in Greek art as holding Nike (Victory) in her hand, favored the triumphant Greeks.
Ares plays a relatively limited role in Greek mythology as represented in literary narratives, though his numerous love affairs and abundant offspring are often alluded to. When Ares does appear in myths, he typically faces humiliation. He is well known as the lover of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, who was married to Hephaestus, god of craftsmanship. The most famous story related to Ares and Aphrodite shows them exposed to ridicule through the wronged husband’s clever device.
The counterpart of Ares among the Roman gods is Mars, who as a father of the Roman people was given a more important and dignified place in ancient Roman religion as a guardian deity. During the Hellenization of Latin literature, the myths of Ares were reinterpreted by Roman writers under the name of Mars. Greek writers under Roman rule also recorded cult practices and beliefs pertaining to Mars under the name of Ares. Thus in the classical tradition of later Western art and literature, the mythology of the two figures becomes virtually indistinguishable.
The FUMIGATION from FRANKINCENSE.
Magnanimous, unconquered, boistrous Mars,
In darts rejoicing, and in bloody wars
Fierce and untamed, whose mighty power can make
The strongest walls from their foundations shake:
Mortal destroying king, defiled with gore,
Pleased with war’s dreadful and tumultuous roar:
Thee, human blood, and swords, and spears delight,
And the dire ruin of mad savage fight.
Stay, furious contests, and avenging strife,
Whose works with woe, embitter human life;
To lovely Venus, and to Bacchus yield,
To Ceres give the weapons of the field;
Encourage peace, to gentle works inclined,
And give abundance, with benignant mind.
MARS doth in order succeed Jupiter, whom the Ancients sometimes called Mavors, Aris, Pyrois, Gradivus;
TERMS: In the whole twelve Signs, Ptolomy assigneth him these degrees for Terms, viz.
In ARIES, 22, 23, 24, 25,26.
In TAURUS, 27, 28, 29, 30.
In GEMINI, 26, 27, 28, 29,30.
In CANCER, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
In LEO, 26, 27, 28, 29,30.
In VIRGO, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.
In LIBRA, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.
In SCORPIO, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
In SAGITTARIUS, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.
In CAPRICORN, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.
In AQUARIUS, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.
In PISCES, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26.
FACE: He hath allotted him for his Face these degrees.
In ARIES, 1, 2, 31 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
In GEMINI, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.
In LEO, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.
In SCORPIO, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.
In CAPRICORN, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.
In PISCES, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.
Deposit the image in some place perfumed with evil odours, especially those of Mars, such as sulphur and assafoetida. Let it remain there for one night, having duly asperged it, observing the proper hour and time.
These pentacles are usually made of the metal the most suitable to the nature of the planet; and then there is no occasion to observe the rule of particular colours.
Saturn ruleth over lead;
Jupiter over tin;
Mars over iron;
the Sun over gold;
Venus over copper;
Mercury over the mixture of metals;
and the Moon over silver.
They may also be made with exorcised virgin paper writing thereon with the colours adopted for each planet, referring to the rules already laid down in the proper chapters, and according to the planet with which the pentacle is in sympathy.
Wherefore unto Saturn the colour of black is appropriated;
Jupiter ruleth over celestial blue;
Mars over red;
the Sun over gold, or the colour of yellow or citron;
Venus over green;
Mercury over mixed colours;
the Moon over silver, or the colour of argentine earth.
Things are Martiall,
Mars with Aries governs Brittany, France, Germany, Bastarnia, the lower parts of Syria, Idumea and Judea; with Scorpio he rules Syria, Comagena, Cappadocia, Metagonium, Mauritania and Getulia
For Mars take euphorbium, bdellium, gum armoniac, the roots of both hellebores, the loadstone and a little sulfure, and incorporate them all with the brain of a hart, the blood of a man and the blood of a black cat….
To Mars, all odoriferous woods, as sanders, cypress, lignum balsam, and lignum aloes
To Mars, fiery and bloody places, furnacnes, bakehouses, shambles, places of execution and and places where there have been great battles fought and slaughters made and the like.
Red colours, and burning, fiery, flaming, violet, purple, bloody, and iron colours, resemble Mars.
From the operations of Mars
The names of Celestiall souls are very many, and diverse according to their manifold power and vertue upon these inferior things, from whence they have received divers names, which the ancients in their hymnes and prayer made use of. Concerning which you must observe, that every one of these souls according to Orpheus’s Divinity, is said to have a double vertue; the one placed in knowing, the other in vivifying, and governing its body. Upon this account in the Celestiall spheres, Orpheus cals the former vertue Bacchus, the other a Muse. Hence he is not inebriated by any Bacchus, who hath not first been coupled to his Muse.
in the sphere of Mars, Bassarius, and Clio
Moreover they did call those governors of the world, (as Hermes calls them) Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon, by many names, and epithites;
Mars is called Mavors, powerfull in war, bloody, powerfull in arms, a sword-bearer, magnanimous, bold, untamed, generous, lightning, of great power and furious haste, against whom none can defend himself if he resist him, who destroyes the strong, and powerfull, and deposeth Kings from their thrones, the Lord of heat and power, the Lord of fiery heat, and of the planet of blood; who inflames the hearts of contenders, and gives them boldness.
They appear in a tall body, cholerick, a filthy countenance, of colour brown, swarthy, or red, having horns like Harts horns, and Griphins claws, bellowing like wilde Bulls. Their motion is like fire burning; their signe Thunder and Lightning about the circle. Their particular shapes are,
TT: This deity, according to Proclus, in Repub. p. 388. perpetually discerns and nourishes, and constantly excites the contrarieties of the universe, that the world may exist perfect and entire from its parts. But he requires the assistance of Venus, that he may insert order and harmony into things contrary and discordant. ↩
Literally ‘laspis multigenius’, I suspect granite or a geode. ↩
Latin text gives Multiceps. ↩