Mars and Saturn: Fire and Ice Collide

The zodiac consists of a sphere of 360 degrees. In Vedic astrology, or Jyotish, we utilize nine planets: Sun, Moon, the nodes Rahu and Ketu, and the five “true planets” ( Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn).  Ideally, the planets have sufficient room to express their own unique qualities.  

In Vedic astrology, we use the term graha yuddha, or planetary war, to describe when two true planets are within one degree of each other.  This is regardless of whether or not they occupy the same zodiacal sign.  In a planetary war, two planets collide when vying to inhabit the same piece of the sky in the zodiac.   This morning, the two powerful natural malefics, Mars and Saturn, moved within one degree of each other’s orb.  Mars is still in Virgo in Vedic astrology, but joins Saturn in Libra at 9:30 pm PST this evening.  They are at the exact same degree at 3 AM PST on August 15.  The war ends at 11:30 PM PST on August 16. 


Mars and Saturn is together is similar to driving with one foot on the gas and one foot on the brakes simultaneously.  Do you stop or go? How fast or slow?  With Mars and Saturn, fire and ice collide. This push/ pull phenomenon will play out throughout the time that Mars is in Libra – until September 27. 

 Mars is the hot planet of aggression, ambition, competition, action, and conflict.  Saturn is the cold planet of obstruction, challenges, delays, discipline, responsibility, and adversity.  Mars represents your siblings and Saturn denotes your subordinates.  The battle is waging in the harmony-loving sign of Libra.  Libra is the 7th house of the natural zodiac.  It signifies the personal and professional partner.  Strong alliances may be formed, yet there may also be power struggles.  Represented by the scales, Libras loves balance, without being weighed down.

 There is a mathematical calculation to determine who wins the war. In this case, it is Mars. However, as my Jyotish teacher says, “Both parties in a war are bloodied.”  While a Mars / Saturn planetary war typically occurs annually, this combination hasn’t occurred since 1984.  In this confrontation, Saturn is exalted, which happens approximately every 28.5 years.  Historically, Mars and Saturn together have produced global conflict, political tension, and natural disasters.


Mars and Saturn are also significators of property.  When Saturn and Mars were in earthy Virgo together, India experienced the largest power outage in history.  We recently had an earthquake in Iran.  California wildfires are now forcing home evacuations.  There was a shooting today at Texas A & M University.  A bus in India plummeted into a gorge today, killing 41 passengers. A mayor-elect in Mexico was recently murdered.

 Additionally, Mars and Saturn  can signify technology.  There can be breakthrough innovations, intermixed with struggles.  There was the recent spacecraft landing on Mars.  Tech giant Motorola announced today that it’s reducing its staff by 4,000 employees. Google announced today its plans for its new cell phone company, Motorola Mobility. Prices for the iphone4 are dropping, as Apple is expected to release the iphone5 next month.   

 On an individual level, those in a Mars or Saturn planetary cycle will be most impacted.  You also want to see what house of the zodiac Libra occupies in your Vedic astrology chart

 As Mars and Saturn represent the blood and muscle tissue, respectively, in Ayurveda, it’s helpful to be active during this time. Spend time communing with the earth and engaging in outdoor activities.  Planting and gardening are also ways to deal with any tension at this time.

The greatest lesson that this planetary war teaches us is patience, forbearance and composure. By understanding the dance of the planets, we can participate in their play in a more detached manner and react in a manner which is harmonizing, in accord with Libra’s inner nature.