This is the first post in a series on Sidereal Astrology For Relationships. This first post is about Mars & The Gift of Autonomy.
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We each have two fundamental and equally important needs that we seek to have met inside relationships. And there are all kinds of relationships where this happens. Familial, friendship/platonic, communal, romantic, and those that don’t fit neatly inside the confines of those relationship structures.
We have the need for connection–to be accepted and approved of. And we have the need for autonomy– to feel our bodies, our feelings, and our identities as separate autonomous. However, each of us has a unique hierarchy of survival that shapes which fundamental need takes precedence, how, why, and when. Your sidereal birth chart is an invaluable and versatile tool to name and understand your hierarchy and the experiences that have defined it.
Understanding the wounds, coping strategies, and gifts of your sidereal birth chart is an efficient and comprehensive guide to navigate the relational dance of togetherness and separateness.
Mars, Conflict, and Survival
That fundamental need for autonomy is signified by the condition of the planet Mars in your sidereal birth chart. In fact, autonomy is what I call the “gift” of Mars. More on that in a bit.
Conflict in our relationships is fundamentally about the struggle for autonomy. Autonomy generally equates to having a measure of control over oneself, one’s feelings, one’s self image, and freedom of movement. Mars in your sidereal birth chart is going to have much to say about your conflict style. When we compare your Mars with your partner’s Mars we can see the specifics of what’s at the root of much of the conflict in your and create tools for how to navigate it.
There are situations where autonomy is seen as a threat to your survival, like when you grow up in a high control group or under the thumb of a codependent caregiver. There are also situations where autonomy is your only means to survive because there is no one else to rely on.
Mars and the Wound of Abandonment
Wounds most simply are our experiences inside relationships. They can occur at any point in life, but it is our earliest experiences with our caregivers that shape the world we adapt to in order to survive. Although there is likely a negative judgment attached to the general usage of the term wound, I mean it here with no inherent value judgment attached. Wounds can be malignant or benign, willful or passive.
Some wounds dominate our experiences more than others. Other wounds feature less prominently. No matter how they are experienced, everyone experiences wounds. We survive as adaptations to that world long after we have aged and moved on to new places and phases in life. Abandonment is one of those wounds that we all experience in one way or another, and it is the wound of the planet Mars.
One partner’s Mars may tell the story of mostly malignant experiences of abandonment during childhood. They may have been disowned, willfully or passively left to take care of themselves without any adult supervision or care. Maybe they were alienated because they had a different father than the rest of the children in the family. Their anger at these experiences kept emotional distance between them and the rest of the family.
Another partner may have experienced mostly benign abandonment. They had experiences where they got to see what they were capable of doing on their own without having to shoulder age inappropriate responsibilities. Perhaps they were given the freedom to explore their need for autonomy, yet they were still held when they needed help. They might have been allowed to embody and express all emotions, even when those emotions made their caregivers feel uncomfortable.
Coping With Abandonment
Coping strategies are how we survive and adapt to our wounds. They are the tools we carry with us in expectation of having to survive those relationship experiences again and again. Coping strategies are evidence of what we have survived and the fact that we have survived. They are there when we inevitably need them to help us navigate the realities of relating and surviving. They can also be stumbling blocks that keep us from getting other important needs met.
The partner who has experienced mostly malignant abandonment learned to cope with that abandonment by emotionally isolating, or by preemptively severing from those they become close to. They may engage in reckless behavior that negatively impacts their loved ones. Their experiences didn’t equip them with the tools to be close in a relationship, even though they might crave the feelings of deep connection and acceptance. Still, they unintentionally find themselves bracing for abandonment.
The partner who experienced mostly benign forms of abandonment would likely have a sense of autonomy that is less disruptive to the relationship. They are able to sever when there is danger or when their emotional or physical boundaries have been violated. They would be able to maintain a measure of emotional autonomy inside a close relationship, holding on to themselves and their emotional truth without. They would be able to take risks without necessarily making their partner the collateral damage.
The Gift of Autonomy
Gifts are the ultimate goal that we strive to manifest inside relationships. These gifts can be accessed via the privilege of being born in the right place at the right time, with the right gender expression, racial appearance, sexual predilections, or class station. They can also be hard won in spite of, or even because of, our malignant wounds. Autonomy is one of those gifts.
The person who had malignant experiences of abandonment (death of a parent, being disowned, having to care for themselves or siblings while a parent worked, etc) might get to that autonomy in a way that disrupts or sabotages their relationship. Autonomy wasn’t a product of the presence, care, and attention of a competent adult. It was foisted on them when they had no agency, no option to say no.
How might this partner learn to express and embody that need for autonomy inside the closeness of an intimate partnership? The condition of Mars in this person’s sidereal birth chart will provide the context in the form of tasks and tools, and the timing of how and when this can happen for them.
Without having gone through hardship to arrive at the gift of autonomy, the partner who had mostly benign experiences of abandonment might be willing and able to model the tools they were gifted through those experiences. Maybe they are aware of their strengths and abilities and are better able to gauge when their partner is doing something that might have unintended consequences.
Perhaps this partner’s emotional boundaries mean that the relationship is not workable. The struggle for autonomy is just not an experience that is familiar or tolerable for them. Willingness and endurance are two of the most important traits required to navigate these kinds of differences.
Do you know the condition of Mars in your sidereal birth chart? What are the differences and similarities between the condition of your Mars and your partner’s Mars? Learn about this and much more in a Sidereal Astrology For Couples Reading.