The astro-psychological significance of the first Mars return
At the moment of birth, the cosmic blueprint of the heavens is mirrored in a person’s birth chart. The planets keep moving, and throughout life we have transits which show where the planets have moved to. When the transiting planet moves over, or in relation to, a sensitive location in the birth chart, it indicates an experience or the timing of an event.
The orbit of Mars is approximately 687 days, a little less than two years. It has a retrograde period when the Earth is passing it in orbit.
In astrology, Mars is one of the personal planets, however, unlike the Sun (conscious self), Moon (mother/emotions), Venus (love) and Mercury (learning and communication), the energy of Mars is directed outward. It’s associated with energy and fire, and rules the sign Aries, a cardinal fire sign. The key signature of Mars is initiation and activity. The symbol of Mars is masculine: a sword and shield.
In mythology, the Greek god of War, was Aries. The Babylonians associated Mars with their god of war and destruction, Nergal.
On a physical level, Mars is represented by the muscular system which is vital for us to move. In astrology, our Mars placement shows where and how we are motivated…it’s what gets us out of bed in the morning, if it’s functioning well. We can consider the energy of Mars to be like a soldier: off to war; fighting and anger. However, it doesn’t have to be aggressive, if used consciously. Mars is the power of sunrise, new beginnings, passion, drive, pioneering spirit, dynamic force. Mars has all the power of a new shoot in Springtime, so full of life force and energy. It’s the warrior, the courageous one, the hero of war time.
Mars is about energy, and how we express that is up to us. It’s where we are (hopefully) most driven in our life. The placement and sign of Mars in our natal chart stimulates a sense of urgency; gives us zeal and boldness.
When Mars make his first ‘return’, that is, his first orbit around the Sun back to the same position it was in our natal (birth) chart, it coincides with what is known in society as the ‘terrible twos’. This time in a child’s life brings fear to the heart of many a new parent. The fear can be alleviated when we understand the importance of this powerful time in our child’s life, and hopefully it helps us to be more understanding next time we see a toddler ‘losing it’ in a supermarket queue.
The first Mars return wakes us up. It shows us that we’re independent from our parents. For the first time in our little lives we feel like we have ‘tools’. The most important piece of ammunition we have access to is the mighty sword called “NO!” We wield it high and low as if our lives depend on it. They do! At two, it feels like it’s the only thing that can save us from those big people who are trying to walk all over our newly-discovered will-power.
Mars needs a mission. Without one, he causes chaos. His dark side comes forward. When he knows where he’s heading, and what his purpose is, then he’s our best ally. Understanding where a child’s natal Mars is (that is, what sign and house Mars was in at the time of their birth), allows us, as a parent, teacher, caregiver/guardian, to find ways to help channel that energy. Mars expresses his warrior self in one of 12 signs (like garments of clothing), and he channels this upon a stage (one of 12 astrological houses which represent the different areas of human life). What works for one toddler will not work for all toddlers.
Mars is the part of our personality which acts as our defender. It’s what helps us stand up to others. In astrological terms, the purpose of Mars is to act. If the warrior energy is subdued by hours and hours of television or artificial toys, pacifiers, or sedentary lifestyle or overly-aggressive parent, then he might react in ways that don’t serve anybody. Mars doesn’t like to sit still or be subdued. It’s like asking an Olympic athlete to always walk at your 90-year-old grandmother’s pace. Sooner or later, he’s going to explode!
What other ways does Mars manifest? Competition, impulse, passion, anger, independence, courage, bravery and power. Are these negative traits? That depends. Mars gives us the courage to defend the underdog; the impulse to run cross-country; the passion to launch campaigns; determination to reach the finish line. Without Mars, we might never get out of bed!
An unhealthy or unused Mars is often projected onto other people: “She’s so controlling.” “He’s so mean.” “Why is she so competitive?” We’re not likely to project the shadow side of Mars if we’re consciously expressing our own drive and power.
That’s me in the green dress, aged 11, holding my baby brother Albert. My brothers Kam (yellow shirt), Rene, and my sister, Ramona.
Mars is on ‘fire’, and if he’s not comfortable he’ll burn everything in sight. Who gives direction to our little warrior Mars? Hopefully, it comes from our natal Sun (the King) or our Moon (the lunar Queen). Maybe Saturn is saddling him with responsibilities and he feels insecure? Perhaps Jupiter is expanding Mars out of all proportion, or Neptune has swamped him in damp clothes. Every natal chart is different, and Mars will express according to the strengths and challenges placed by other planets in the chart.
The force of Mars can be volcanic and ruthless. It can also be idealistic and independent. How do we support our toddlers as these energies come alive in them during their first Mars return? It’s our responsibility, as parents and elders of the community these children are growing up in, to offer a ‘container’ for their developing Mars energy. If we suppress this energy or even ignore it then a huge part of the evolving psyche is left unresolved only to be faced again approximately every two years, and in ways that can be far more painful than at the tender age of two.
Your two year old is like a new soldier with his first weapon. He feels powerful and strong. The exertion of will is the purpose of Mars. How do we handle the raging, defiant toddler? Do we walk away (checking to see if they’re safe) and leave them to it? Do we scream back and demand they get it together?
Many adults access their own Mars to deal with what can be incredibly trying times. Our job is NOT to kill off the child’s Mars. If you ‘discipline’ or punish a developing Mars, you will teach your child to expect a world full of anger and hostility. It’s not healthy, either, to let the child run amok and terrorise everyone in sight.
The parental handling of Mars is crucial. We do need to create boundaries or our child may grow up to be selfish, disrespectful and violent ~ even if only at the bi-annual Mars return. If we approach our “NO!!” wielding Mars warrior with equally-angry energy we won’t achieve anything. As the ‘wise elder’, the key duty is to model healthy boundaries which honour and respect people and property. When a parent is clear about what is or isn’t acceptable in their family community, then the child grows up learning that. Parents often don’t know what their own boundaries are, and their child’s emerging Mars senses this. As an adult, when you’re clear about what is or isn’t acceptable, your child feels this. You can draw boundary lines or create fences which don’t involve shouting matches.
I’m grateful that my girls grew up able to stand their ground and say “NO!” It’s a wonderful, and often healthy, tool.
Every single day we are a living example to our children of how to express healthy passion and boundaries. We’re in a co-creation with our children. There are times, often many times, where they’re asking us through their actions to show them where the limits are. In olden days, some towns had walls around them to keep the residents safe. These were often border towns, where they were likely to be invaded. In parenting, we sometimes have to create walls, not only for our child’s safety, but also for the well-being of others, including ourselves.
How do we like to express our innate drive and passion? What’s our ‘fighting’ style? That depends on your unique natal chart. At two, the child controls the world. Everyone bows to the little terrorist’s demands (well, that’s what we’d call him if he was 20 and holding everyone to ransom.)
Parenting through our child’s Mars actually begins at birth. Our baby learns about his own sense of worth through how we respond to his actions. Most of his behaviours are instinctive, but our response, nevertheless, is feedback to him. If we’re parenting consciously, for example attachment parenting, and breastfeeding our child on cue so he doesn’t experience hunger, and carry him in our arms, he’ll be aware on a cellular level that his actions (snuffling for the breast; wriggling) mean his desires get met.
By the time junior is about six to eight months old, Mars has transited from the point of his birth to approximately 90 degrees away. This stage is shown by the child making the correlation between their actions and how they feel. Their arms are free and they can grasp things within reach. This is a huge turning point in physical development.
Between one year of age and fourteen months, Mars has moved to be in opposition to the natal Mars. This is commonly the time when a toddler begins to walk. The child is getting a sense of their individuality. Between 18 to 20 months of age, we see the second Mars square. We also see a courageous toddler, full of energy, demanding to be noticed. He is asserting himself.
At two years of age (24-26 months), we have the first Mars return.
It is natural for a two year old to think they rule the Universe.
The sign your child’s Mars is in will show how they gain experience. The angles in their chart between other planets will show what will assist or get in the way of their path to assertion.
It’s important to remember that Mars goes retrograde in its cycle, and this can show up as a variation in the ages between when children reach milestones.
It seems to me to be incredibly cruel to call the toddler years The Terrible Twos. Perhaps it’s symptomatic of a culture which doesn’t own its own anger? At two, the little child is learning to defend themselves (what’s wrong with that?) and learning how they can get what they desire. It was always going to be an intense time! It’s experimental for the little one. There’s a whole lot of unfamiliar energy invading their tiny body.
Although we’ll have Mars return to its natal position every two or so years throughout our lives, the first one is the most important that we’ll ever experience. How our caregivers handle it will determine the way we respond to it throughout life.
That cherubic baby so full of smiles and gurgles is now stamping down their padded feet and screaming like a banshee. It’s not pretty, but it’s not bad. This is their initiation into independence. How you greet them and how you ordain them through this right of passage will shape them for life. It is his Mars mission to challenge you at every turn. Are you ready for the challenge? Are you prepared to be conscious through their journey even if your parents weren’t conscious during your first (or subsequent) Mars return?
Mars also represents our ability to be sporty or athletic. Most children would greatly benefit from physical activity to channel the excess energy. Try swimming, rebounding (mini-trampoline), toddler dancing, Tumble Tots and other activities. Daily walks are a must, and suitable for any budget.
The child’s job is to express his needs and desires. The parent’s job is to model how to express that appropriately. Even if you have to say no, you can always ‘hear’ the child. The difference between a difficult Mars return and a healthy one is that the toddler is being acknowledged and heard, even if their demands aren’t met.
If the toddler doesn’t have his new-found energies met graciously, he’s more likely to become someone who uses aggression to gain attention. (It’s better to be wanted by the police than not wanted at all). The parenting decisions you make at this crucial point determine whether your child will become a victim or a bully.
One of the most challenging aspects for parents at this time is that it brings up how they were parented during their first Mars return. Parents often feel helpless at this time; and don’t the toddlers know it? The truth is that many parents feel threatened by their toddler’s newly-found assertion or aggression. The usual responses by parents are either anger or surrender. Neither of these will help your child.
Use this powerful time to develop your own ability to assert yourself. Look at how you deal with situations with work, friends or family. Do you stand up for yourself? Are you aggressive? Do you walk away with your tail between your legs? What are you modelling to your child?
By questioning how you deal with difficult situations, you’ll discover a better way to walk, hand in hand, with your child during this time.
Mars in the Signs
Mars in Aries is seen as independent, self-assured, enterprising, direct, forceful, courageous, active and busy. This is expressed in ways which are assertive, aggressive, impulsive, pioneering and adventurous. There’s a strong need to be a leader, and for constant newness. A fire sign, this Mars needs to express itself through physical activity.
Mars in Taurus adores their resources. This is the child who will not want to share his toys. He’s possessive of all he owns. This person is determined, strong, and able to persevere. Mars in Taurus values security above all else. This Mars placement is best expressed through practical activities. Give this child their own vegetable bed to nurture.
Mars in Gemini is passionate about communication and is keen to always learn new things. The passion is based on being a messenger of information. Expect a jack-of-all-trades with this placement, and the potential to live off nervous energy. Siblings will be important as will being involved in the local community. An air sign Mars is stimulated and aroused by mental stimulation. Make sure your child has lots of books out from the library at any given time.
Mars in Cancer shows that the person is strongly affected by their feelings, and is protective of their emotions. Home is everything to these people, so ensure your living space is nurturing. Give them opportunities to help bake bread and set the table.
Mars in Leo shows a person who needs to be centre stage. It offers up a creative, dramatic tone which can be playful, fun and powerful. This is the person who needs a stage to express on: the actor, storyteller, dancer, singer. When this child dresses up and is thanking you for her Academy Award, she’s not joking! Make sure you do have a dressing up box for the Mars in Leo child, and be sure to do lots of storytelling or at least be prepared for her to tell you stories.
Mars in Virgo will give you a child who is happiest mucking in with household chores, and lining up all the toys neatly. It brings with it a tendency for purity, perfection, health and efficiency. This is the child who’ll tell the parent to tidy up! He’ll want the socks folded neatly, and the toys clean. Right from early on, offer this child their own toiletry bag which they can keep neat and tidy. Such simple things make all the difference for this earthy placement.
Mars in Libra brings with it the tendency to argue with others. The passion and drive is directed towards another person and they need to learn to fight for justice without attacking those in their way. An air sign placement, this Mars wants you to engage in debate. She’ll never be happier than when she’s winning an argument.
Mars in Scorpio is seen as the person who is forceful, passionate, intuitive and emotional. There’s a deep desire to penetrate the Mysteries, and always investigating the mystical or psychic. Don’t be surprised if this person has a set of Oracle cards in their possession. This water-based Mars child wants to know all about the usual cultural taboos: birth, death, sex, other people’s money and psychology. She wants to dig deep.
Mars in Sagittarius is symbolised by the need to be independent, free, optimistic, enthusiastic. These people thrive on outdoor pursuits and adventures as befits a fire sign placement. If you have a Mars in Sagittarius child expect to spend their childhood climbing hills, going camping and skydiving!
Mars in Capricorn will gift a person with drive, ambition, efficiency, tendency to take responsibility, organisation skills, planning ability and a desire to achieve. Buy this child a filing cabinet, stapler, paper clips, pen jar and other organising tools, and watch her thrive. Another earth sign, she’ll love to be in Nature, too.
Mars in Aquarius people have a very active intellect. These are the people who want to change the world by working with large social movements. Freedom is so important for these people. Like the other air signs, this Mars is stimulated by intellectual pursuits, so be prepared to read, talk and do a lot of listening.
Mars in Pisces children and adults are sensitive and affectionate. They suffer when there is conflict or violence around them, and deeply desire peace. There’s a tendency to be sacrificial in order to achieve the peace they need. These people are poetic, artistic and imaginative as befits their desire to live in a dream world. You will find with this water-based Mars that this isn’t a child who’ll stand up and roar, but one who’ll hide behind your skirt. Mars in the Houses
The houses of an astrological chart show the areas where our Mars likes to hang-out and express himself.
Mars in the first house is seen as someone who is outspoken, dynamic, masculine, headstrong, impatient, courageous and independent. In short, it’s the risk-taker. At two years of age, it’s the girl who likes to dive-bomb onto the sofa. Usually from the chandelier!
Mars in the second house will manifest as the child who hangs onto her toys. She knows exactly how many she has, and where they are. Mars here will be passionate about food, values and resources. This child will thrive with a money box. To minimise their tendency to buy happiness with shopping trips, show them the resources which abound in Nature.
Mars in the third house can be seen in the person who is combative, intellectually energetic, and zealous about their ideas. There is the tendency to express this in writing or speech. The drive to learn is very strong. If your child doesn’t like the neighbours, the chances are good they’ve got a third house Mars. They’ll appreciate having a high fence! Take this child on regular trips to the local library.
Mars in the fourth house will be expressed as someone who is strongly drawn to the home and family life. Family ancestry will be very important, and helping the child to keep a scrapbook with a family tree is a good way to express this energy early on.
Mars in the fifth house offers a place for Mars to play. This is the house of creative endeavours and fun. People with this placement tend to be very creative and enjoy pleasure. They also have a need for exercise.
Mars in the sixth house will enjoy the day-to-day efforts of keeping house, such as cleaning cooking, etc. There’s a keen interest in healthy, healing and purification. This child will value learning all about homeopathy, flower essences and herbs, so be prepared for lots of potion making. This is the child who is more than happy to spring clean the house with you.
Mars in the seventh house can highlight the need to be forceful in one-to-one relationships. It can, when used positively, give drive to be dynamic in relationships. This person is passionate about being in partnership.
Mars in the eighth house shows a person who is driven to investigate the mysteries of life. She’s the secret detective. Set up treasure hunts and cryptic clues for this little sleuth.
Mars in the ninth house craves adventure, travel, outdoor pursuits, and is often drawn to philosophy and foreign cultures. This can be explored through learning a foreign language and making meals from around the world.
Mars in the tenth house manifests as the great achiever: the mountain goat which makes his way to the top of the hill. There’ll be a great drive to be recognised for one’s achievements. Honour this child’s successes, no matter how seemingly insignificant. This child will need to ‘create empires’, so find toys, games and activities that enable that to happen.
Mars in the eleventh house will be seen as the person who is driven by the need to be in group situations. There can be a tendency, however, to quarrel with friends. This person will prefer interacting on a wider, social level than one-to-one.
Mars in the twelfth house gives a person the desire to be involved in social services but in a very behind the scenes way. This child will be drawn to the mystical side of life. Opportunities within the family to value the spiritual, unseen side of life will help this Mars person to flourish.
Veronika Sophia Robinson is a second-generation astrologer, and has fond memories of her mother’s astrology room; a sacred sanctum held up with esoteric tomes and a magical black glass coffee table adorned with planetary symbols and glyphs. If you would like to understand yourself or your child better through astrology, Veronika is available for Skype (worldwide) or face-to-face consultations at her home in Cumbria. www.veronikarobinson.com
Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.
Seductress of the Night? Or Priestess of the Dawn?
Pick up just about any astrology book or magazine article which includes a section on Venus in the 12th house, and you’re almost certain to read that she is destined to engage in clandestine affairs. This is, after all, known as the house of secrets.
Astrologers, old and new, will tell you that she’s the mistress of the night. She’ll steal your husband. And see that woman over there? She’ll poach hers, too. But don’t worry, it’s just for a little while. Just long enough to scratch an itch or feed an unidentifiable longing. Don’t fret, you can have your man back when she’s done.
Many astrologers will warn you that when Venus resides here, she is subject to doom and gloom, and her love life will be sorrowful. But let’s be honest: it’s a rare person who hasn’t experienced heartbreak at some point, generally starting in the teenage years. If that weren’t true, I doubt we’d have a music industry.
Another common misconception of the twelfth house is the idea that it’s a blind spot in the chart, and that we don’t have any sense of our experience of the planets there. This may apply to some people, but not all of them. Everyone is at a different level of evolution and consciousness, and astrologers are best not to rehash stories but to let clients speak for themselves. Our potential for happiness is up to us, not our birth chart, nor an astrologer’s interpretation of it. We are here to outgrow the natal template. It seems to me that those who suggest the twelfth house is a psychological prison—some dark, karmic place where we have no free will—perhaps don’t have any valid real-life experience of the magic and charm of this terrain.
As with any astrological teaching, themes and stories continue to be perpetuated if we don’t listen to other experiences. The fault may indeed be with astrologers themselves, rather than the people seeking an astrological reading. The art of listening to our clients tell their stories, rather than assuming to know their level of consciousness or how they live out the template of their chart, is key to authentic astrology. As modern astrologers, we are the torchbearers for a more enlightened version of stellar stories.
As a 12th house Venus denizen, and one with Scorpio for added secrecy and sexuality, I believe it is time to disrupt the script, and reveal the truth about Lady Venus and her so-called hidden pleasures.
I have been happily married to my soulmate for more than two decades, and not once been engaged in an affair, physical or emotional. I have, however, been a keeper of sexual secrets, both as a friend and as an astrologer, and am a sealed vault containing the knowledge of other people’s hidden relationships. Women readily tell me their secrets, confiding that they couldn’t share them with even their best friend. I can reveal that the dozens of women I know who’ve had, or are having, affairs have Venus living in their 4th, 5th or 7th houses, not the 12th. Not a single one.
The IC (fourth-house cusp) is the midnight hour. The ascendant is the light of dawn: sunrise. Venus in the 12th isn’t hidden away: she is walking in the mists of early day. Perhaps too many people are still in bed at that time to recognise she’s up and about communing with the elementals and fairy folk, or catching the whispers of other lifetimes she has walked. Could it be that Venus has long gone by the time the rest of the world is downing their coffee and reading the newspaper? That doesn’t make her hidden. She’s simply the early bird! How could you possibly understand her world when yours is so different?
The light of dawn: when night meets day. It’s an enlivening time when the birds are urging the world to wake up, drawing us from slumber. If you’re not Venus, barefoot on the grass at dawn, you may not ‘wake up’ till the jarring shrill of your alarm clock. Lady Venus steps, like an oracle from ancient times, forward through the shrouded fields, content in her own company. Of course she’s alone, sleepy heads. She is at one with Mother Earth. Her soul listens to the sounds no one else can hear. Voices from another world sing in her ears. Even with both eyes closed, she can see.
To suggest that this placement is about illicit affairs is to degrade her purpose in the house of spirituality. Her sexual trysts are with a lover to whom she has bonded across all eternity. Nothing else would suffice.
Venus in the fourth, near the midnight hour, may well seek solace in the arms of someone else’s lover.
In the fifth, Venus wants to play. The house of risk taking and gambling urges her to slide down upon his forbidden silk sheets, or to linger longer in that motel room on the edge of town. Venus here wants to laugh some more into the afternoon at that little-known café down the dark alley, as you slide your foot against her leg beneath the table.
Venus in the seventh is respectably married. Of course she wouldn’t have an affair! The ring on her finger is proof. Or is it? This may be the last place you’d look for her to play out secret love affairs, but remember: it’s far away from her sense of self (first house). Who would think to go looking for ‘naughty’ Venus here? In my astrological experience, this is one of the most common placements for an ‘unfaithful’ Venus.
Looking to my natal Venus, one that’s not living up to other astrologers’ expectations, I ponder: how does Venus in the 12th best express herself? For me, she’s a lover of solitude. The deeper in Nature she walks, the better. The more solitary her journey, the more alive and feminine she feels. She is sultry, sensual, and sexual, for sure! She makes love between the Earth and the heavens, in a world that may be mysterious to strangers, but not to her. Venus is intimate with her surroundings. She seeks to master the energies of her pentacle: earth grows, fire glows, air blows, water flows. Spirit KNOWS. This is her message. If you were awake at sunrise, you’d know this too. You sense something mysterious about her, but don’t know what. And this is where those pesky rumours about her start: from people who don’t understand the dawn.
Venus here aspires to usher us to a new age, a golden dawn. But how can she if everyone keeps putting a pillow over their heads and hitting the ‘snooze’ button?
Venus in the 12th is not of this world. She’s been here so many times, exploring the themes common to mundane living. Her soul has bouts of divine homesickness. There’s no need for ambition here in the twelfth. It’s not relevant to the journey she’s on. After all, she has everything she could possibly need. Sorrow? A conscious Venus experiences sustenance here.
Venus is our ability to give and receive love. This may or may not include sex. To assign extramarital or secret affairs to a Venus who resides in the 12th house is to not understand her at all. Maybe those who make that prediction are projecting their unspoken impulses?
This Venus seeks to make love with the Divine. What mere mortal man could sate her appetite for universal love? Why would she fritter away her physical energies on a man when she could have so much more? For her, sexual expression is a way to touch the face of Goddess. To denigrate her to sordid affairs is to miss the point: the greatest lover she could hope for is not of this world. If that’s where her sorrow lies, then fair enough, but let’s not forecast the sorrow of ‘human’ heartbreak onto her.
Returning again to my Venus in Scorpio, I have, in the past, wondered if all the men who’d sexually abused me in childhood were hooked by her. Did I attract those men who wanted to do dirty deeds in secret? Instead, I see that Mars in the 3rd house of early childhood is a more likely culprit: I was learning about sexuality (Mars) from the time I started kindergarten, when a male teacher couldn’t keep his hands off my innocent three-year-old body. No, Venus in the 12th isn’t about sex. Pleasure, comfort, love, yes. Sex, not likely. Unless, of course, it’s of the tree-hugging, kundalini-awakening, tantric, soul-mate variety.
Me as a little girl with my uncle. You have to wonder, don’t you, what sort of man would think it was ok to sexually violate a child?
Venus in the 12th is a Goddess. She is a living embodiment of true spirituality: compassionate beyond measure. Her emotional quotient is high, here in the otherworldly home of Neptune. Venus in this landscape weeps at soul-stirring music, and cries at the exquisite feel of a newborn nuzzled against her cheek. Vibrational medicines which channel elemental devas are her ally. Art can leave her speechless.
She sees far into the future, our 12th house Venus, and, like a mermaid, brings lost treasures up from the ocean floor to share with others. Well, those who can be bothered to get out of bed at dawn! Her role is to guide us to the New Age, to taste the dew as the Sun greets morning, and to remind us that, as we go forth, we are so much more than we think we are. She delves, like the ancient priestess that she is, into her rich inner world, and speaks a language that crosses all cultures: love.
William Wordsworth painted the message of Venus in the 12th so eloquently for us when he wrote:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting The soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting And cometh from afar Not in entire forgetfulness And not in utter nakedness But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home: Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Oh yes! Venus dances naked in the 12th, draping herself with clouds of glory. She hasn’t forgotten where her star is set.
Love makes the world go around, and Venus wants to show us that divine love will have us all living happily ever after. We just have to remember where we’ve come from. And if you are willing to wake up, the Priestess of the Dawn will guide you.
Veronika Sophia Robinson is an author, astrologer and celebrant living in rural Cumbria in the north of England. www.veronikarobinson.com
Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? No, I don’t mean the soul-destroying sound of an alarm clock. I mean, what are you so passionate about that you can’t wait to start the day?
Astrologically, we look to our natal Mars for the style and nature of our passions. It’s all very well as an adult utilising this energy, but what if, like me, you have Mars in the third house? How was this expressed in early childhood? Apparently, my dad used to think I was really cute…until I learnt to stand with my hands on hips, stamp my foot, and say ‘no!’
Me at about three years of age with my sister Heidi.
My Mars in the third house of communication is active on a daily basis as I make my living as a writer, author, journalist, novelist and ceremony writer. As a young child, I learnt to spell words quickly. Before that, though, before words became my playthings with which to write stories and poems, I exercised my Mars in other ways that, looking back, were clearly emphasising its placement in house three.
My mother regularly sent me to the neighbours’ houses (local community, 3rd house) because I talked so much. She reckons her ears needed a rest, so off I went and visited the housewives close by. I chatted. For hours.
I had no interest in playing dolls or wearing pretty pink dresses. I was booted out of ballet class, me and my stupid frilly tutu, for not being able to touch my toes. Mars had other plans anyway. My days were spent playing with Matchbox ™ cars. I built cities in the dirt (I have Sun and Mercury in Capricorn) and drove my cars along the roads I made (3rd house).
In my local community, Mars spoke up. Ably supported by my friendly Sagittarius ascendant, I’d stand at the front gate every afternoon to say hello to the people walking by.
And then we left suburbia and moved rurally to 700 acres.
My childhood home: 700 hundred acres in rural Australia.
Our nearest neighbours were miles away! Never mind. I learnt to talk to myself. I’d spend hours up pepperina trees and climbing eucalyptus trees, jabbering away and ‘creating’ characters to interact with me.
This is the spring-fed creek I played in throughout childhood.
By the time I was 11 years old, though, I had four younger siblings, three of whom are boys. Needless to say, their company kept my Mars alive. (The third house covers communication, information, books, early childhood, siblings, media, magazines, driving locally, etc.)
So many trees to climb!
As parents, it’s helpful to understand our child’s Mars placement, not just so we can guide them through the toddler years of their first Mars return, without permanently stunting their expression, but so we can help to ensure the energy is adequately expressed. A frustrated Mars (in any part of the natal chart) always leads to trouble. Giving our children effective ‘weaponry’, according to their house placement and sign, can make the world of difference in how they go through life.
I was blessed in childhood to have a mother who filled my bookshelves with all manner of interesting books about past lives, souls, fairies and so on. During my school years, I’d haul bags of books home from the library. My appetite for reading was voracious. My mother also used to play ‘games’ with me, where we’d write creative sentences together. She’d pick two words, and I’d construct descriptive sentences around them.
My little legs learnt to walk the miles that separated us from our nearest neighbours. Oh what adventures awaited me! In rural Australia, my travels would include coming face to face with dingoes, foxes, snakes and goannas. Despite my fear, Mars ensured I kept walking. Kept moving. Kept soldiering on.
My natal Mars found it endlessly fascinating to be inside my neighbours’ houses and to see what they ate, and how they spoke to each other, and in what ways they decorated (or didn’t, as was the case) their homes.
If the third house represents early schooling, how did my Mars fare? Simple: I hated school! I’d feign illness so I could come home, or I’d take off from school and head down to the local river for a swim. It wasn’t that I was stupid or incapable of learning (Mars in Aquarius in the 3rd house is pretty bright, let me assure you), but that I hated having to sit still (Mars doesn’t ‘do’ still) and discuss things that weren’t remotely interesting to me. When I had to give a class talk, my topic was reincarnation. Aquarius. Always that bit different!
Looking back, I’m grateful for the circumstances of my childhood, my siblings, some of my teachers, my enlightened mother, and that I was able to express my need to communicate.
Mars is like our inner battery charger. It allows us to make our way in this world fearlessly and with purpose.
Veronika Robinson is a second-generation astrologer, and has a worldwide clientele. She is available by Skype, or in person at her home in Cumbria, for astrology readings. She is available for one-hour readings, or astro-mentoring: 10 weeks of half-hour sessions. http://veronikarobinson.com/astrologer/
Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.
Ah, the New Moon. It’s such a potent time for wishes. This weekend’s New Moon is in Gemini: the storyteller’s Moon. As a writer, I can’t tell you how exciting it is to be publishing the second book in The Gypsy Moon Trilogy (Behind Closed Doors) at this time.
The first book, Sisters of the Silver Moon, was published a year ago, on the Scribe’s Moon.
Behind Closed Doors
Book two in The Gypsy Moon Trilogy
Although we all live behind closed doors, what lives in our heart is visible to the whole world.
As Starr Linden begins writing a series of syndicated articles on the theme of Behind Closed Doors, she soon realises that the most potent story of all is within her own family.
Her aunt Astrid’s journey to reclaiming motherhood brings her family of origin together, and as she finds a way through the trauma which has eroded her heart for decades, Astrid discovers that, in one way or another, we all live behind closed doors, and that what lives in our heart is visible to the whole world.
In this continuing family saga, Astrid wonders: is it possible to forgive the person who should have protected you? Can love grow in a barren heart? Is motherhood instinctual, or must it be learnt? Or perhaps, like moss, it doesn’t need roots to grow and thrive.
Behind Closed Doors
Book Two, The Gypsy Moon Trilogy
By Veronika Sophia Robinson
Cover illustration by Sara Simon
Published by Starflower Press www.starflowerpress.com
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data.
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
RRP £7.99 UK
Also available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle from next week.
Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.
Want to find a topic that will divide women? Ask them what they think of grey hair on anyone under the age of sixty.
I had my first two silver hairs by the time I was 27 years old; it was around the time of my wedding day. I’d already been dying my hair on and off for a good ten years, for fun, so this visible sign premature aging was just another reason to continue. My fast-growing hair meant that I was pretty well putting toxic chemicals on my head every month or so. Sometimes I’d use henna or other so-called natural products, but regardless of what I used, the intention was the same: to deny the natural expression of my body.
I was about 42, when I looked myself in the mirror and knew that if I wanted to truly walk the talk and be as authentic as possible then I had to face the truth: I was someone who was going grey (or silver, as I prefer to call it) early. I decided that I was no longer prepared to coat my head in dye (even the so-called natural ones) every few weeks. I felt ‘too young’ to be going grey, and it was a bold step, but one which I felt was important. My life’s work was about living with integrity and being authentic, and yet, staring me in the mirror everyday was a person who was covering up! So, I cut my hair short, and let the process begin. I had an image in mind: by the time I entered my crone years I’d have long silver hair, and would look like a radiant Goddess. Hey, a girl can dream!
I’m not there yet−it’s a work in progress−but I’m so pleased that I stuck with it, even on the truly bad hair days. I’m grateful that I respect myself enough to value the health of my body, and also that I’m no longer contributing to the massive environmental impact caused by the hair-dye industry.
One of the oldest female models. She’s soooo beautiful!
You have probably heard it many times: a woman choosing to go grey or silver can only mean one thing: she has ‘given up’ on herself. Remember the outrage when The Duchess of Cambridge was seen with a couple of grey hairs? The media reaction was disproportionate to the crime.
Our culture tells us that youth and beauty are mutually exclusive, and any sign of age is an indication of decay and of impending death.
Grey hair reminds us of the eternal truth: we are all going to die. Grey hair scares us! Grey hair is a constant flag in our faces that time is running out. For God’s sake will you just dye your hair! Stop reminding us that everything we’re getting stressed about is meaningless because sooner or later we’re going to end up in the ground! Dye your hair! We don’t want to know about death!
It makes me laugh, now, because this obsession with hanging onto youth only does one thing: it strangles life. You’re not going to slow down the passage of time by putting a product on your hair that contains 5000 chemicals. What you are going to do, though, is increase your chance of ovarian cancer by 75% (*women who dye their hair between one and four times a year).
When I created the character of Azaria for my novel, Sisters of the Silver Moon, I knew this: I wanted to show a woman who was in the Autumn of her life, but as beautiful and radiant as you could imagine. And I do believe that is why readers fell for her, and found themselves wanting to be her: she portrays what it is like to be comfortable in your own skin. She is the embodiment of self-love, and is there anything more beautiful in a human?
This beautiful Danish lady inspired my character Azaria. Isn’t she just gorgeous?
As a feminist (not a man hater, but someone who is passionate about women’s rights and equality), I am curious as to why greying men are portrayed as sexy. Whoah, look at that silver fox! Why is it, once again, that there is one rule for women and another for men? He’s hot, and she’s not. He’s coming into his prime, has authority and substance; and she, poor lass, is letting herself go.
The character, Isaac, in my novel Sisters of the Silver Moon is based on this man. Sigh.
A woman with dyed hair gives the illusion that she’s young and fertile, therefore, still attractive. This is what our culture would have us believe. But fertility takes many forms. Is it not also about expressing creativity? As a woman standing in front of the door called menopause, I feel more creative and alive than ever. The creative fire burns so brightly. They aren’t called hot flushes for nothing, you know!
Reclaiming the right of our body to express itself naturally takes courage. The world is constantly feeding images to us that youth is life and longevity, and age is something to be hidden away. Ironically, for many people, myself included, the older we get the more dazzling and exhilarating life becomes. My only complaint about having silver hair? It’s taking a lot longer to come through then I expected.
There are now some modelling agencies which are promoting older woman with lustrous silver locks. I hope this isn’t a passing fad.
The radiance of a woman shines through her eyes and the width of her smile. Silver hair is not going to make her less attractive or feminine. In fact, many women who stop dying their hair feel more confident and authentic.
All the hair dye in the world will not give you a zest for life or a skip in your step or inject you with happiness. These come from within, and are evidence of a life well lived and loved. As we age, our skin tone changes and the harsh truth is that dying our hair isn’t the elixir of youth we’ve been led to believe. Our skin requires a softer look now, and Nature gave us the perfect solution: silver hair.
Embracing each strand of silver hair is a celebration of growth and change, not something which needs to be feared. If we think plucking out a few stray silver hairs or religiously dying our hair is going to hold back the years, then we’re wrong. Feeling alive and passionate about the life we walk means honouring ourselves fully.
It is worth noting that premature grey hair is often an indication of a nutrient deficiency, such as iodine, copper or B12. If your thyroid is low, you might find your hair feels rough or dry (or is, indeed, falling out). I recommend eating seaweeds each day, or taking kelp. You will also need selenium (3 or so Brazil nuts every day). This will improve your hormone balance, and give you lustrous hair, though it may take a while for you to see the changes.
Many women, once they make the decision to go grey or silver, tend to wish it would happen all at once. If you have naturally dark hair, the process can seem agonisingly slow. Find a hair cut/style that suits you, and is easy to look after, and before you know it you’ll have embraced your silver crown.
Many people seem to forget that our skin is one of the main indicators of health and well-being. Eating a nutritious diet and drinking a couple of litres of water each day, as well as thinking happy thoughts, will do far more for your looks and attractiveness than a bottle of hair dye every month.
If you’re taking the bold step of embracing your silver hair, there are wonderful support groups on Facebook, such as Going Grey Gracefully. Do join them, and let yourself be inspired.
Reclaim your beauty with each strand of silver, and dance with that crown. You’ve earnt it.
It is a privilege to grow old, something which is denied to many.
I based my character Car Lafferty on this beautiful woman
Veronika Sophia Robinson is the author of many non-fiction books and novels.
If you were to look at your life through two words, yes and no, which one do you think is more dominant? When you hear the words, can you sense the different energies they convey?
Yes, to me, implies more. I equate it with abundance.
No says stop. I don’t want it.
A person in the dizzy heights of orgasm is unlikely to yell ‘no no no’; and a woman who is birthing her baby has an altogether different experience of it when she says ‘yes’ to her body opening wide, and ‘yes’ to bringing her baby down through her vagina. YES.
Yes and no. Such powerful words. Indeed, they are life changing. Shall we do this? Do you want to try this? Can we go here? These are the direction signs on the road of life. How often do you think life changes are made on major decisions? The truth is, it’s actually the daily ‘yes and no’ choices which tilt our lives in certain ways.
Have you ever had times where someone has asked you to do something, or you’ve felt obligated to follow a course of action that didn’t make your heart sing?
For me, one of the most important lessons I learned in life was that when I say ‘no’ to someone else, I am saying ‘yes’ to me. Of course, this doesn’t mean never helping anyone, but it does mean paying close attention to your heart and recognising your own worth.
I was thinking a lot about yes and no this morning, and how I’ll often say to my husband with glee: this is one of my favourite times of day! The truth is that I have many times in the course of my day that I consider ‘favourites’ for the simple reason that they are an expression of me saying YES.
Yes is about opening up to life. Yes is a positive affirmation. Yes says ‘sure, no problem’. Yes is about certainty. Yes is the ultimate optimistic word.
My yeses in the day look like this:
That moment, when before I’ve even opened my eyes, the sweet sound of birdsong fills my heart and I am awakened to a gorgeous new day. Life awaits me.
The blessed moment when the Sun begins his rise over the Pennines.
When daylight arrives in my garden.
And, on days like today when I awoke to the sound of rain, I said ‘yes’. Rain is beautiful. I associate it with nourishing the land, cleansing the air, and fertility.
Standing in the steaming hot shower, the characters from my novel chatting away in my head, the exquisite scent of lemon myrtle soap invigorates my senses. The shower is my sacred space, a psychic chamber where I am nourished by my deep love of hot water, privacy, and writing time (very little writing actually happens at the laptop!).
Sipping the green smoothie that my husband has made me while I’ve been in the shower is another ‘yes’.
Driving my daughter to school en route to the gym, and us singing out loud together (sure am going to miss that when she leaves for university in three months and three weeks).
Now, here’s the honest truth: the gym is not my natural habitat. I’m no gym babe. Me and my ricotta belly, which does an excellent job of disguising my ab muscles, don’t go anywhere near skin-tight lycra. I can’t stand the smell of the men in the gym, as their sweat reeks of protein shakes and garlic and whatever else…[gag] (a lot of NOs in there, right?), but here’s what motivates me: my big fat YES. When I get on the treadmill, which in itself is boring, I either put on my ‘gym music’ playlist and exist in a world of ‘yes’ music, or I watch the morning breakfast news/magazine style chat show and enjoy various interviews. My feet know what to do, and they just get on with it. I nearly always find myself laughing or learning something new when I’m here. I spend between 10 and 30 minutes on the treadmill (walking quickly, not running) before going on the bike and then doing various weight-resistance exercises. The thing about exercise is that it gives you endorphins. Your body’s cells start to sing. My body says YES!
When I arrive back home, there’s a huge YES waiting for me in the shape of my wonderful husband. Can’t wait to see him! He makes the most gorgeous coffee with decaff, rice milk, coconut oil (to help my metabolism) and a hint of maple syrup. I could just take this coffee to my writing room and get on with work, but I don’t. Paul and I sit down together, either in the lounge room or out in the sunshine, and we drink our cuppa in a leisurely fashion. It is, indeed, one of my favourite times of the day.
By now, a good chunk of the morning has gone, and it’s time for me to work on a book, or write a ceremony or prepare a client’s astrology chart.
I adore my work, and I never come to it thinking: I hate Mondays, or I hate my job, or any other such NOs. My three careers (writer/celebrant/astrologer) are all founded on a beautiful, love-filled, soul-infused YES, and such a deep gratitude to have found my callings in life.
I’m bound to need a pee break. I head downstairs, and find myself lured out into the sunshine. Now, being skilled at listening to my YES, where possible I take my work outside. Any sort of editing, for example, can be done in the garden. I spend a few minutes pottering about outside, absorbing the sunshine, admiring fruit blossoms, marvelling at bumble bees. These stolen yeses nourish me.
There may be washing to hang on the line. This is my favourite household chore.
Work calls to me, and I say YES.
At some point, Paul and I realise it’s time for lunch. One or other of us prepares something nourishing, and on days like today, we’ll eat out in the sunshine. YES YES YES. Indeed, hot sunshine is one of my ultimate YES times.
Lunch isn’t rushed, but savoured and enjoyed. Afterwards, I’ll check on messages from friends and my children, and address any important emails, before continuing with writing for the afternoon.
Another big yes for me is when my daughter comes home from school, and we sit and chat about her day. I love this time, the three of us sharing what’s happened, and laughing. YES.
By now, I’m having to put my chef hat on and think about dinner. Generally, I love cooking (if I’m not rushed, and just coming in the door). Eating a plant-based diet, and cooking meals from scratch, puts me in touch with the food I eat in a meaningful way. YES. And then, together with my family, we sit together and eat. YES.
By late evening, I am still hearing YES. I listen to my weary body, and get ready for sleep. At the moment, there are scented stocks in a vase by my side of the bed. YES! And here, lying in bed, cuddling with my darling, breathing in the scent of his skin, listening to his breath, and chatting about things, is one of my other favourite times of the day. I always look forward to it, and hold it as sacred.
I am greedy for this glorious thing we call life. Following my ‘yes’ satiates that yearning.
And then, as I begin drifting off to sleep, I give thanks. It is a profound and heart-felt thanks for all the yeses in my day. I am raised, and I am lifted to great heights, because I have allowed my heart to follow the road pointing to YES. The sacred yes.