Astrologer Tanja Ristovski in Vienna
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Planets in action

Planetary pictures and zodiac signs in tangible terms

Mars in Leo is Mars in Leo. Or is it?

12 Jan 2021 | © Tanja Ristovski
Astrological Counseling in Vienna 2009 - 2021


Traditional astrological tools are useful in many way for understanding and managing the conditions of life.(1) One of the great legacies of traditional astrology  is the differentiation of planetary strengths. That  is rooted in astronomical observations of planetary speeds, their positions on ecliptic, seeming direction changes from the Earth perspective and their position in relation to the Sun. Those factors are used to understand different influences of the same planet in different horoscopic conditions.

I look at three horoscopes that have Mars tightly sitting on the Ascendant. One is the horoscope of the currently best known Mars in Leo,  of the heir, entrepreneur and the president Donald Trump, then the horoscope of Michael Moore, the documentary filmmaker, author and activist, and the horoscope of Tex Watson,  the convicted murderer of a Charles Mason cult.

I skip the psychological astrological analysis which focuses on developmental dynamics that contributed to the life-paths of those people, and jump straight to calculating the strengths of the planets (2).

William Lilly (3) writes  that “that planet who has most essential and accidental dignities in the figure, and is positive at best, and elevated most in the scheme”  has very strong influence on the life of the nativity. He further says “whole actions of the Native will more or less partake of the nature of that planet”. Of course, this strongest planet does not have exclusive influence on the nativity, but its influence does seem to be significantly discernible in the overall way of life.

The calculation gives Mars as the strongest planet in the horoscope of Donald Trump, Venus as the strongest planet in the horoscope of Michael Moore and Jupiter as the strongest in the horoscope of Watson. Which is interesting, because one could have thought that Mars would be the strongest planet in a chart of a murderer, Jupiter the strongest in the chart of a rich person.  Venus,  the significator of arts, as the strongest planet in the horoscope of M. Moore comes as expected though.

Mars in Leo #1 - the irascible President

nicolas Tyler Merbler from USA CC BY-SA 2.0

With Mars in Leo on the Ascendant as the strongest planet in Trump’s horoscope, we can expect that competition and conflict will dominate his life and personality, if there are no tempering and modifying influences. We have seen that Trump behaves impulsively and can be short-tempered.  So lett's see astrology behind that.

Both Leo and Mars are of choleric temperament. Mars is ruled by the sanguine Gemini Sun that is social and wants to be liked by others.  So we would expect that it would control the normatively undesirable behaviors. But Trump’s Sun is peregrine and conjoint with Uranus. Therefore the impulsiveness, irascibility and over-dramatization of Mars can not be tempered by the Sun whose condition suggests that it itself acts unpredictable and often inappropriately.

But we also know that Trump is using these same personal traits as a personal asset, not only to appeal to his voters, but obviously also to reach his goals, whatever they may be. How comes, that he is successful with that?

The Sun is the ruler of his Ascendant, it is placed in the 10th house in conjunction with the North Node. This shows social advancement by the help of the powerful or the rich. Besides that, the Sun in configuration with the Moon which suggest his willingness to obtain positions of power. (4) How much would he be apt for such positions is shown by the condition of the Sun and Venus that rules the 10. house. Venus can neither promise a reliable or durable benefit, because it is harmed by Saturn in Detriment.

However, the Sun makes a supportive sextile to Mars and confirms that Trump can use his combative disposition for personal gain, although he is uncontrolled and aggressive with it, wastes his energy and overshoots the mark. This is suggested by Mars being out of his essential dignites. The Sun is also the ruler of the 12th house, and while the consequences may be there, they are not strong enough to put him in jail or destroy all of his efforts. The consequences will be more visible regarding his friends and supporters, who can become his enemies – Sun in opposition to the Moon, ruler of the 11th house. The support of the rich and the powerful that Trump receives is neither stable nor durable, due to the Uranus influence.  But he will always receive it from one side or the other, thanks to the flexibility of the Gemini Sun and its natural tendency for variety. Sun trines also the Jupiter, the ruler of 5th and 8th (6) house of financial support he gets for himself.

Just when I was about to publish this lines, the Capitol riot happened. We'll see what consequences the next days or months will bring, but the mob that stormed the Capitol can be found in Trump's horoscope in the symbolism of Saturn in the 11th house. Ibn Ezra says about Saturn in the 11th house that the native is loved by “old, mean, and base people.” (5) That sounds harsh, but it is appropriate for Saturn in Detriment. Here Saturn is harming Venus, the ruler of MC, just as Trumps supporters have harmed and exposed him. Saturn also harms Jupiter, the ruler of financial aid (6), because it forms a square with Jupiter. It seems that some ramifications for Trump's behavior are finally being triggered through his supporters (7).

Donald Trump

Birthtime source Astrodatabank, Rodden rating AA

Mars as the ruler of the 4th and 9th house

Coming back to Mars: Mars on the Ascendant rules his 4th house, suggesting that his family, or in his case his father and the property he inherited, will prominently influence his life path and choices.

The 9th house is also represented by Mars. It shows neither higher education nor intellectual achievements in Trump's life, but its symbolic is featured prominently through the international outreach of his business. The unsuccessful business with Trump University, excursions in publishing own books and TV production, are symbolized by the 9th house connection as well. The excessive use of Twitter is  9th house matter too, represented by the peregrine Mars.

Intelectual achievement and religion

Does this horoscope shows propensity for intellectual achievement or religion, given that the ruler of the 9th house is placed on the Ascendant? It does not.  The peregrine Mercury in Cancer makes a square with Neptune and Jupiter and is therefore not fitted for concentrated intellectual work. There are also no Saturn contacts to Sun, Moon or Mercury to help with the stamina needed for such work. In regard to the question of religion, the ruler of the 9th house does not confer religiosity and piety, when it is essentially debilitated and natural malefic.

Mars in Leo #2  - cult fanatic and criminal

The Horoscope of Tex Watson, the follower of a Mason -Cult and murderer convicted to life in prison, shows also the Mars in Leo on the Ascendant. But the strongest planet in this horoscope is Jupiter in Libra.

Tex watson Horoscope

Birthtime source Astrodatabank, Rodden rating AA

Jupiter is the significator of religion, it is in the 4th house,  rules the 9th house and shows that religion and belief were playing a major role in his life. Watson grew up in an Anglican family, was active in the local church in his youth and was a model boy, according to his mother's testimony in court. Later he replaced his religion for the beliefs of Charles Manson, only to convert to Christianity again while in prison.

Saturn in Detriment in square to Jupiter, as well as Jupiter's simultaneous rulership over the 5th house, suggests that religion will probably not correspond to the norm. His religious sentiment can take an unorthodox path and it is mixed with lust - sex was prominently featured in Manson's cult,  Mason was described as a sort of pimp.

Jupiter as the strongest planet in horoscope is sanguine both due to its sign and due to its own nature. This suggests that other people will play an important role in Watson's life. However, Jupiter is configured with Saturn in Cancer, who rules the 8th house and stands in the 12th house. This shows dependencies that can have a destructive effect.

The pressure-cooker tension

Mars in this horoscope is essentially and accidentally debilitated, although it is placed on the Ascendant. It is stationary to turn retrograde and it is peregrine, besides being also in conjunction with the essentially and accidentally debilitated Saturn.

One further traditional astrological measurement that is actually incorporated in the calculation of Mars’ strength is its stationary position. This moment of standstill, just before it turns retrograde, puts the peregrine Mars into an acute state, gives it a feeling of vehemence and increases its destructive power. We can therefore expect that the choleric tendencies of Mars linger in a state of pressure-cooker tension and can be destructive when pressure is once released.

Saturn’s destructiveness is increased by its accidental condition. It is placed 12th house, rules the 6th, 7th and 8th house, it is retrograde and in the conjunction with the malefic Mars. The trine from Venus in detriment cannot help in lifting its maliciousness.

Mars on the Ascendant in conjunction with the malefic Saturn in 12th house, together with a luminary that rules the 12th house, the luminary being in Fall and configured with the Saturn,  is a warning, that prison is a possibility in Watson's life.

Sun in Fire as the ruler of Mars

I have only rudimentary information about his private life before he joined the cult, but Mars as the ruler of the 10th house and co-ruler of the 4th house, would correspond to the influence of family, especially the father, on his life.  We cannot talk about significant material inheritance here, as it is the case in the Horoscope of Trump, because in Watson's horoscope the  rulers of the 4th and the 8th house are accidentally and essentially weak. So I can only assume what the influence could have been, but I will leave the assumptions aside here.

His Mars is ruled by the Sun in Sagittarius. I do not know details about Watson's day-to-day behavior, but his Sun makes opposition to Uranus, so I would expect him to show certain instability, be touchy at best and unpredictible at worst.

The Sun is the ruler of the Ascendant, it is under the dominion of Jupiter in Libra and it supports Mars by a trine. This Mars will ultimately follow the path set by Jupiter, and will act in accord with Watson' religious and social choices.

I would like to underline here that it is not possible to identify a criminal from the horoscope. But we can see how the driving forces work in a certain life scenario and what could be the possible consequences of that.

Mars in Leo #3 - the entertaining provocateur

By far the strongest planet in Michael Moore's horoscope is the artistic Venus, which is in a socially disposed Libra. Other people are important in his life, but they play a completely different role than people symbolized by Jupiter in Watson's horoscope.

Venus is in Domicile, it is placed on the cusp of the 4th house,  rules both the 4th and the 10th house and makes aspects to the prominent Moon in Domicile in 10th house and to the Mars on the Ascendant. Mars in this horoscope follows the path set by Venus.

His working class father is known to be the inspirational force behind his analytical and critical documentaries. Moore's documentaries address social issues in the United States and are not subtle, but entertainingly provocative. The potentially problematic side of peregrine Mars is channeled into its professional work as a creative provocateur.

Although Mars in Leo is  certainly competitive and assertive, it is managed here by the Sun in Virgo. His choleric expression as irritability, anger, over-dramatization, are moderated by the Earth temperament of its ruler. Sun in conjunction with Saturn adds strong impact of sobriety and depth of thought.

I have no information about Michael Moore's behavior on daily basis, but it's hard to imagine that this Mars in Leo would bring any seriously destructive power with it. The stressed influence of the peregrine Mars certainly has some disadvantages because it forms a square with the Moon, the ruler of the 12th house. The possible negative consequences are related to his profession and popularity, but are not overly destructive as the Moon has essential dignity and is ruled by the strong beneficial Venus.

Birthtime source Astrodatabank, Rodden rating AA

It is interesting to compare Jupiter in this horoscope with the Jupiter in the horoscope of Watson. Jupiter is the natural significator of religion and rules in both horoscopes the 9th house. Here it makes a squares to the strong Venus and it is essentially and accidentally debilitated - it is in its Fall, retrograde and placed in the 6th house. It is written about Moore that he is is a committed Catholic, but he is definitely not a pious one. Religious establishment does not play a role in his life, he criticize it in his documentaries, although the social teachings of the church are reflected in his work and in his left-wing propensity.


(1) William Lilly, Christian Astrology, Astrology Center of America, p. 524 : “For as oft as we pronounce or judge anything of the conditions, Life, Preferment, Marriage, Estate, Travel of Native, we ought to...”

(2) The calculation of planetary strengths follows Lilly, with the difference that I use Dorothean essential dignities and leave peregrine planets without points. Lilly uses triplicities after Ptolemy and reduces 5 points for condition of being peregrine.

(3) William Lilly, Christian Astrology, Astrology Center of America, p. 531

(4) Ibn Ezra in the "Book of Nativities", transl. by Shlomo Sela, writes that Sun configured with the Moon shows ambitions to be in power

(5) Ibn Ezra in the "Book of Nativities", transl. by Shlomo Sela

(6) Jupiter rules the 5th house of gifts and bribery and the 8th house of other people's money, and forms a trine to the sun and a sextile to Mars.

(7) That Trump receives support from different groups is indicated by his 11th house with three planets. The sun in the 10th house, which forms the sextile to the ascendant and rules the ascendant, shows its strongest supporters from the world of the richest and politics.


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