The planet Mars has entered the sign of Cancer (on August 3) until September 18.
THE MAN IN THE MOON
Mars’ sterling reputation as a strong, manly-muscled Warrior God takes a bit of a beating in the shadowed, silvery moonlight of the vulnerable, caring, nurturing and emotionally oh-so-sensitive sign of Cancer. As standard practice, Mars is interested in “getting it up,” manning up, rising up. Just look at the symbol. If there is an uprising, you can be sure the god Mars is involved. The sign of Cancer, however, is one of the deepest signs, often tremendously insecure, and the downward pull into emotional vulnerability typically proves challenging for Mars. The downward drive is even expressed technically: Mars is considered in his “fall” in Cancer. Mars wants to be direct and straight to the point, and emotions aren’t exactly direct. The Man in the Moon was never depicted with a sword, was he? See, Mars just isn’t the type to offer a comforting squeeze and a warm hug when someone is feeling sad. Feelings? Who cares! Besides, battles are easier to fight during the day, in the light of the Sun, rather than in the mysterious and indiscriminating shadows of night. Ultimately, the battle for Mars in Cancer is between keeping the tide of emotions in versus letting it all out; emotions that are held in tightly tend to be released with steely force. Just think of Alanis Morissette, who has Mars in Cancer, and her scalding and scathing song “You Oughta Know,” the murky “Madness” (lunar craziness rather than anger), the lyricism of “Underneath,” or the simmering “Torch” in which she catalogues her burning memories of a former love. She even sings “In Praise of the Vulnerable Man.”
THE MAN WITH A PAN
In the sign more associated with the kitchen than the battlefield, rather than putting up his dukes in war, Mars in Cancer is left to beat eggs, mash potatoes, whip cream, grate cheese, mince meat, and grill chicken. You get all of the basting, beating, thrashing, broiling, boiling, stewing, roasting, poaching, scrambling, creaming, scalding, grating, chopping, searing and toasting action that Mars loves, but you’re carrying an egg whisk rather than an axe. Rather than meeting his opponent with a battering ram, the only thing getting battered is the moist, soft cookie dough. Yum! It’s time to trade in the Super Trooper for the Hamburger Helper! Yes, it’s easy to make fun of Mars in Cancer – and the more you get him boiled, the more he’ll just stew in his own juices. (Secretly I think he loves it, because it gives him a good excuse to come out and fight – or at least try to.) In his sign of exaltation, Capricorn (opposite Cancer), Mars is the Man With a Plan; in Cancer, he is the Man With a Pan. Make omelets, not war!
All joking aside, my real point: there is an amazingly constructive side of Mars in Cancer. It’s not just in the kitchen, but any creative emotional outlet. I’ve already mentioned Alanis Morissette. Author Joyce Carol Oates also has Mars in Cancer and wrote “Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart” and many other deeply emotional books. Stephen King marched into the darkness and managed to take a stand in “The Stand,” creep the hell out of everyone with “The Shining” (talk about lunacy!), keep us up all night with “It” (best book title ever!), and most recently dim all the lights entirely in “Full Dark, No Stars.” Other powerful expressions of Mars in Cancer include the works of Toni Morrison, Dolly Parton, Picasso, Jessye Norman, Naomi Judd, George Lucas, and Malcolm X. While I like to make fun of Mars in Cancer, its depth and serious side should never be underestimated.
While Mars in Cancer might be a strange combination any way you look at it, emotions are the name of the game. Keeping them in, letting them out, it’s all a challenge. Fights happen, life goes on, much like the ebbing and flowing of the tides. The key hidden somewhere in the shadows of the Moon is to direct the emotions toward something constructive and creative, so rather than following a recipe for disaster, you stand a chance at a five-star meal—which hints a wee bit toward Mars in Leo, which begins September 18.