Posted by: Donna Cunningham | December 10, 2009

Understanding Mars in the Fixed Signs

New-Insights-into-the-Astrology-Chart-220x300©12-10-09 by Donna Cunningham, MSW

This is an excerpt from Donna’s New Insights into the Astrology Chart, an ebook collection of readers’ favorite articles, available at for $15.

We’re having a rare cold snap here in Portland, Oregon—a solid week of being frozen solid. It reminds me of winters in the Midwest, those frosty mornings when you had to go outside and warm up the car for half an hour before you could go anywhere. Mars in the fixed signs don’t do well with a cold start either—they need a warm-up before they’re on their way!

Having a strong Mars in Leo in my own chart, I’m often conscious of the qualities of a fixed sign Mars. I don’t have many friends with Mars in Leo—who wants to compete for the spotlight?  But many of my closest pals have Mars in the other fixed signs: Taurus, Scorpio, or Aquarius.

Well, with Aquarius, it was more often ex-lovers. Aquarians pose quite a challenge to Leos, so Mars oppositions from Leo to Aquarius can have a lot of sizzle before they fizzle.

My Mars isn’t as slow as the others, thanks to a fire sign trine between that and my Aries Moon. I notice the energy patterns of other fixed Mars signs most when we’re out shopping together. They take so long to buy two or three things that I have plenty of time to reflect while I go through the checkout line and then sit and wait for them.Donna Cunningham Skywriter Mars retrograde

Sometimes after 20 minutes or so, I track them down in Aisle 25 to see how much longer it’s going to be. I find them reading ingredients and deliberating over choices, comparing prices of several options, and recalling what previous experiences they’ve had with those same brands.

Blackberry in hand, they’re counting the money in their checking account and looking up credit card balances to see if they can afford it. All that for a bottle of vitamins.

(It’s way worse if they’re choosing a greeting card. PUHLEEZE! By the time they select a birthday card, they need to trade it in on a belated birthday card! )

 Energy Patterns of Fixed Signs

. . . So, here I sit in Starbucks at a Christmas-crowded Target, sipping a latte and waiting for my dearest Mars in Taurus friend. Faithful companion notebook in hand, I have all the time in the world to muse over Mars in the four fixed signs. These are my coffee-stained notes . . .

 The fixed energy pattern that stands out most markedly is a certain deliberateness about all they do—every move considered and reconsidered, until an inner readiness is reached. They’re never first out of the gate, but they win many a race by sheer doggedness, outlasting the competition. Remember that old fable about the race between a tortoise and a hare? I’ve seen their charts, and the tortoise had a fixed sign Mars; the hare had Mars in a mutable.

I have a feeling fixed sign Mars folks do better with Mars retrograde than the rest of us. It’s more akin to their nature. They rethink and second guess everything they do, and a retrograde period is a good window to do exactly that.

There are pluses about having Mars in a fixed sign as well.  That very fixity is an asset to getting something major accomplished that requires staying power.  Once they get going, they can outlast the Energizer Bunny.

In a chart that’s predominantly mutable, maybe mixed in with cardinal, having Mars as a singleton fixed planet can be a saving grace.  With so much emphasis on  energetic beginnings (cardinals) and lots of distractibility (mutables), that fixed Mars would be the only voice urging you to keep going and to finish what you started.

No, I bless my Mars in Leo because it helps me get big projects like a book or course curriculum done.  I’m just trying to share that there are wise ways to handle these folks and not so wise ways of handling them when you need to enlist their participation in  a desired course of action.

 Fixed Signs—All the Time in the World

One thing I know about handling fixed sign Mars is not to rush them, especially in starting something. Don’t spring any surprises on them—of all the signs, they most hate changing a pattern or routine.

If you want them to do something outside that time-honored routine, don’t wait until the last minute to inform them. Tell them several days in advance, and then periodically remind them—not nag but remind—that it’s coming in X number of days. Think of it as a permanent Christmas countdown. They need time to think it over, plan what to do, and get ready. Otherwise, they’ll put down their heels and refuse to budge. Did I mention that they’re stubborn?

Oh, and don’t expect them to be on time because a great many of those with Mars in fixed sign are chronically late. Each sign runs behind time, but for different reasons.  Mars in Taurus just has a hard time getting going because each step of getting ready takes them longer than most folks. The cow has four stomachs, I always say, and Taureans need a long time to chew things over before acting.

Mars in Leo likes to make a grand entrance and thus takes plenty of time dressing until they’re absolutely certain they look MAHvelous. Besides, nothing gets people’s attention like waiting for you…and waiting…and waiting.

Mars in Scorpio can hold off appearing just to get back at someone. Prolonged and habitual lateness also gives them the upper hand in the relationship—a ploy for maintaining control and heightening passion.  Mars in Aquarius scorns other people’s schedules and appears when they darned well feel like it, if at all. Lateness problems at work are a way of flipping the bird at the boss–but just one of many for these rebels.

 How to Get a Fixed Sign Mars Mad at You

What about Mars and anger?  What’s the story on the fixed signs? For the most part, they’re slow to anger, but then they STAY mad. You don’t want them teed off at you!  Figure out what their hot buttons are, and then don’t go there.

Mars in Leo’s hot buttons are their pride, their ego, and anything you do that makes them look bad to their loyal fans. The mere suggestion that you AREN’T one of those fawning fans can make the lion roar.

Mars in Scorpio’s detonation points are jealousy, possessiveness, and loss of control over a person or situation they’re fixated on. Then they go for the jugular vein, because they’re geniuses at spotting weak points.

Since a major trigger for Aquarian outbursts is anyone trying to control them, you can see why Mars in Scorpio square Mars in Aquarius could be a match made in Hell. Mars in Aquarius also can erupt over social injustice, a boss that clamps down too hard on them, or loss of their freedom to do be, or think anything they want.

To turn Mars in Taurus into the raging bull, mess with their money or possessions. Then run!! They’re fixed earth, so don’t ask them to change any time soon or interrupt their life-long, fixed method of doing things.

Donna Cunningham Skywriter Mars retrograde

. . . I’ve spotted my friend at the checkout counter at last. If she finds me in Starbucks, she’ll want one too, and we’ll be here another hour. It’s a late winter afternoon, the sun is already setting, and we need to get out of here if we don’t want to get caught in stop-start traffic. I sniff the bag of newly ground coffee I just bought and decide to make a pot for her at home. I brush the tell-tale cookie crumbs off my top, toss the coffee cup, and rush to intercept her.  I hope you have a better feel now for what Mars is like in the fixed signs.New-Insights-into-the-Astrology-Chart-220x300

This is an excerpt from Donna’s New Insights into the Astrology Chart, an ebook collection of readers’ favorite articles, available at for $15.

More Posts about Mars on this Blog:



  1. Personally, I have lots of mutable and cardinal signs in my chart, so my Mars in Taurus helps me not be a total ADHD case 😉 As an aside, I had a roommate with Venus in Taurus (on top of my Mars, yeah, we had fun together but we also snarled). I used to tease him because he literally took an hour to get dressed (a Venusian task in a slower moving sign!). I once even timed him! LOL!!

  2. Along with the information, I loved the style of this post.

    I have a Taurus Mars and what you describe fits me very well. It’s also quincunx Uranus with an orb of zero. Just this evening I was thinking that I need to undertsand that aspect more. Gotta do some research!

    • Neeti, Uranus adds a tinge of Aquarius to any planet it touches, but with a quincunx, you might be prone to surprising departures from your usual conduct, especially when you’re angry or frustrated.

      • Thank you for that, DC. Sometimes, with my sixth sun, it’s a good thing: it’s like the worm turning 🙂

  3. 😀 Mars in Leo here. I am personally very excited for this little boost. Little. Hah. It’s in my first house squaring pluto so my life is grinding and there are sparks.

  4. I have Mars in Aries – I hate the fact that I lack self-discipline (it’s in the 6th). So this staying of Mars in Leo, well I think it’s a good thing. It’s an energy that I need more (though I do have a lot of fixed energy: scorpio rising, sun leo, aqurius jupiter). Anyway, by June’10, I wanna see how much I’ve written 🙂

    • That’s the spirit, Dunya and Elfxys! It IS exciting, because even though Mars goes retrograde every two years, it takes decades for it to go retrograde in all 12 of the signs. And I like very much that it’s in a fire sign. With Pluto square Saturn and a long Jupiter-Neptune-Chiron conjunction lasting months and months, we need something to light a rocket under us!

  5. My Mars in Aquarius laughed out loud in recognition! Thank you for brightening my day & making me feel positive about Mars Rx in Leo 😀

  6. This Mars in Leo has been a blessing and a very joyful, healing epxerience. A very creative period where I am finding my voice. It is in my 5th house trining my sun. The only thing I want to do is write, write and write, articles, posts, short stories, anything and everything. It has also been very helpful when it comes to say no to people and things that would distract me from writing. For a person who has Mars in Cancer in the 4th squaring my sun in the 1st, I am very grateful and amazed that I am able to say no.

    • So delighted to hear how well you’re using this fiery Mars energy, Fabienne. I’m glad the writing is going so well. Donna

  7. This article made me laugh! My daughter has Mars in Leo and is perpetually late! It is a standard! My husband would tell her we must leave the house 20 minutes before we really have to just because he knows she’ll be 20 minutes late!

  8. Dear Donna, what you said about Mars in leo fits to me. I have my mars on my 1st house, but as top of a Tsquare… The good thing is a trine to Jupiter…anyway i have many friends with leo mars and one of them has it rx…same as mercury, rx in cappy. I was checking the charts with mars returns for each of us and i am observing and learning…

  9. I have Mars in 4 Aquarius, squaring Sun in 4 scorpio. While reading this article, I noticed my wife of 22 years has Mars at 14 Leo conjunct pluto. Like you said, match made in heaven.

  10. Donna, I’ve been contemplating your Mars Mission posts for a few days and trying to untangle Mars retrograde for me. I too have Mars in Leo and live my life through it’s energy (it forms the apex of a T-square to my asc and Jupiter). So why haven’t I been a 10-fold duracel bunny?

    The answer is stationary Mars has been sat on natal Saturn. It’s been a question of ‘who are you if you take away your energy’? It’s certainly been a time to stop and think. However, do you think I will explode when Mars conjuncts Mars?!!

    Fixed fire Mars is great, my ex is Mars in Taurus too. Saturn disapproves of lateness though; can you hear the tut tut?

    • HI, Tizer, this Mars retrograde has been quite a ride! I have Ascendant, Pluto, Mars, and Chiron in Leo from 3 to 14 of Leo, so Mars has been sitting on the Ascendant/Pluto since Valentines’s day continuously. I’m proud to say I have accomplished a great deal and have not killed one single person, not gone off on anyone, and not broken off one friendship in all that time–I can only attribute it to unceasing hard work on myself all these years.

      But Mars sitting on Saturn sounds a lot tougher and could really put the breaks on things. I would say that Saturn in Leo has big issues with wanting to look good and so second-guessing oneself before attempting things. Has something like that possibly been holding you back from capitalizing on all that Mars energy? Either than or the wisdom gained from experience! Donna

  11. So you’ve done better than me. I’ve had to walk away from one person for a while. I couldn’t take anymore hurt for the time being, but I’ve never ever been so angry in all my life. It wanted to burn the house down! Phew.

    I actually felt ill with Mars sat on Saturn, only it went on for weeks. Uttlerly exhausted and defalted, I just wanted to sleep and sleep. That has finally started to pass now and I feel more normal, but I know another exact Uranus-Saturn opposition is coming…

    In more general terms, I have very high expectations of myself and never give myself a break. I over think everything to make sure I don’t ?fail. But I can’t see between Scorpio’s control and Saturn’s authority. Saturn in Leo is certainly a party pooper though!

    • It’s a tough Saturn placement, no two ways about it, and having Mars sit there for weeks is rough. I guess you’d need to ask yourself, what is the message the cosmos wants to send me? Perhaps what happened was that Mars’s energy triggered a kind of clearing out of some of Saturn’s depressive qualities that had been stored up for a while.

      For instance, Mars might have been clearing out the remainder of losses or defeats that occurred during your Saturn return a few years back when transiting Saturn was in Leo. Go back and think about what was going on during parts of 2005-6 while Saturn was where Mars has been lately. I’d say Mars didn’t CREATE the feeling of defeat, it worked to release it from storage in your unconscious. Donna

  12. Hello again. Nothing major happened at the Saturn return, just twinges of things not right. But recent Uranus opposition wouldn’t accept that, and the changes have/are being made now.

    But I’ve come back to this again because your post made me realise that I’ve Chiron square Saturn, something I’d not noticed before. So Saturn is the apex of another T-square containing Uranus (if not-planet-Chiron is counted?). I don’t know much about Chiron and have been trying to do some reading in the intervening period (thanks for pointing me towards your friend Joyce). So Mars activted my ‘wound’ too? I hope 6th house Chiron has some way to heal itself though…

    Still more transit tangle to come though, T-Saturn with make a yod to my moon pointing at Chiron. Combined with grand trines and mystic rectangles, I really am expecting some spectacular epiphany over the next few months; I hope it doesn’t disappoint!

  13. This is a cool post. Thank you Donna=-)

    I have Mars in Scorpio.

    Can Mars in Scorpio be defiant in the same way Mars in Aquarius can be, only quieter about it?

    • Well, they surely don’t want to be controlled by anyone else, so they can be resistant. Donna

      • I imagine it’s hard to tell in certain ways.
        It struck a chord with me…what you wrote about Mars in Aquarius.
        It seems like I’m a combination of Mars in Scorpio and Mars in Aquarius.

        That’s why I asked.

        Thank you.=-)

  14. “I find them reading ingredients and deliberating over choices, comparing prices of several options, and recalling what previous experiences they’ve had with those same brands.

    Blackberry in hand, they’re counting the money in their checking account and looking up credit card balances to see if they can afford it. All that for a bottle of vitamins.”

    This made me laugh out loud for real; loved it!

    As always, Donna, another great blog post:) Your blog has really increased my understanding of astrology since I found it.

    Thank you!!

  15. I think Mars in fixed signs can make good long distance swimmers (among other things)Mars in Taurus here.I remember being at a lake in the Sierra when I was around 12 and deciding to swim all the way across.It wasn’t a huge lake,but it wasn’t tiny either.I remember the way I swam,with a slow steady and stroke,no wavering, no stopping.I didn’t look behind me,I didn’t look ahead.It got a little scary in the middle,the water being so deep and all,but I just kept going at the same even pace.
    When I was older I loved to go to the high school pool and swim laps,just endlessly,back and forth,back and forth, once again at the same even pace.I got my lifesaving certificate and I aced the part for long distance swimming.Mars in Taurus has stamina!!

    • Interesting, Jane. Gutsy 12 year old! I, too, am a swimmer–the only exercise that makes sense to me. Mars in Leo in the 1st, conjunct Pluto and Chiron. And I set myself a goal of swimming for an hour at a time. It helps me so much–anything that’s upsetting me, I am OVER WITH by the time I’m done, and I’m happy and sleep well that night. It’s especially helpful when I am angry (Mars.) What about you? Donna

      • Yes it is a very good stress reliever.I am a Cancer so I just love the water.I took to it quite early.We would circle the pool holding tightly to the edge then one day I just let go and started floating.I aced swimming lessons,then as a teenager got my lifesaving certificate and was a lifeguard for a few summers,and also gave swimming lessons.I have Mars in the 8th opposite Neptune in the 2nd.I sometimes think of that as actions(Mars) that dissolve(Neptune) somehow,or ‘going with the flow’ so I like swimming,surfing
        tai chi,stuff like that.

      • Yes, Mars-Neptune is totally the aspect for Tai Chi–I’ve seen it any number of times in my practice. I have a semisquare, am a complete nonathlete apart from swimming. but I did take three years of Tai Chi. Mars-Neptune is also strong in the charts of dancers and skaters. Donna

  16. Brilliant article. I live with two fixed sign Mars people (and mine in Sag, conjunct Uranus) and they move way too slow for me! It takes the Mars in Aqua especially FOREVER to get out the door! (And then he gets in the car and remembers something he’s forgotten inside! Okay, I do that sometimes too but it’s because I’ve rushed. :P)

  17. So good to see you back Donna! The biggest problem with fixed Mars is sticking to things way beyond their sell by date. Heard of Belbin’s team roles? They are the completer-finishers!!

    I have one measly cardinal planet, 3 mutable and EVERYTHING else is fixed. Argh! Could you suggest any good antidotes an excess of fixed energy?

    • Yeah, you could sell me a couple of your fixed planets? Seriously, you might try Aruvedic medicine, maybe bolster the fire element? Donna

  18. It would be my pleasure to have a direct exchange for some cardinal!

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