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A Treatise on Astrology, Liber 536 by Aleister Crowley, 1917

Neptune and Mars

The influences of these planets are so opposite in nature that not even their strongest and most favourable combination seems productive of much good. Neptune tends to render Mars unpractical, to make him hold his hand at the very moment when his only chance is to strike with all his strength. In Charles I and George V, we find the trine aspect; Edward VII had the sextile. In each case we find a certain weak amiability of character combined with a certain talent for intrigue. This is no such great defect in one not a crowned head. Chopin had the trine, but this was made rude by a square of the sun, and strengthened still further by Saturn and the Moon. He could then succeed in art; but who will doubt that he would have made a disastrous ruler? The feeble, dreamy, almost imbecile W.B. Yeats has Mars and Neptune trine; but the combination gives him power in a shadow-world of his own. Again, we find the semi-sextile aspect in the sentimental twaddling Ruskin, though Mercury conjoined with Mars lent him eloquence.

Theodore Roosevelt has the sextile of Mars; and this means political adroitness – as Edward VII also enjoyed. But the ex-President has also squares of Jupiter and Venus, lending a certain rugged and impetuous strength to what is, in its essence, a somewhat puerile idealism.

The square of Mars is sometimes better than those aspects usually called favourable. It takes away the impracticality of Neptune and the obstinate blindness of Mars is cured by imagination. Hence we find this aspect in such horoscopes as those of Jay Gould48 and William III of England. Tchaikovsky. too, has this; and in addition Mars is in close conjunction with the Sun. William Jennings Bryan has Mars in the tenth house, square to a conjunction of Neptune and the Sun. Despite other bad aspects, Mercury square Jupiter and Saturn opposition Luna, this has given him his moment of success.

The conjunction is usually disastrous in the long run, though it may spell temporary success. It is the strength of fanaticism and we find it in Wilhelm II (fortunately for him the trine of Luna and the square of Venus add weight and dignity to the combination, besides turning its angry energy to peacefulness; hence he is able to say that he had kept Europe at peace for 43 years) and also in King Ludwig of Bavaria, the patron of Wagner, a monarch whose tragic history is well known, and in that more terrible apostle of an idea – Robespierre.

No doubt this conjunction has in it the threat of furious madness. Napoleon I has this aspect, but Mars is in close sextile with Jupiter and Uranus in trine. The composer Richard Strauss also has this but with sextile of Venus; so that his epilepsy is turned to artistic ends and his ravings are
musical. Another fanatic, Shelley, has this conjunction; in his case the benefit of Jupiter made his mania humanitarian. Rossetti again became mad, having this conjunction but a trine of Sol made him the great and versatile artist that we admire. A curious case is that of Dumas pere , who had these planets in opposition; but their influence is masked by the overwhelming conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and Saturn. On the whole it is to be asserted that no aspect of Mars and Neptune is very desirable, unless assistance is found from some third sphere. ;”Mars is blunt, brutal, blind, material, obvious, frank, angry; Neptune is the opposite of all these. Neptune is the eighteenth-century planet, the star of Versailles, the spirit in Watteau, Verlaine, Ernest Dowson; all this is utterly abhorrent to Mars. Louis XV made even war itself an affair of uniforms and ballrooms; the Revolution turned even the theatre to shambles. It is remarkable how Mars comes to put an end to Neptune; 1914 is to the decadents (cubists, futurists and the rest in whom an has turned to disease and dementia) just as the Terror came to rip up the frilled fooleries of the Ocil-de-Boeuf. Such help as aspects of these two planets afford lies chiefly in the paths of intrigue. Machiavellianism is the result of their combination. Where a talent for intrigue, assisted by the will and the power to cut a knot occasionally by the dagger, means success, then a strong aspect of Mars and Neptune may avail not a little. Many of the mediaeval Popes are thus favoured by the stars. (Mars and Uranus have a not dissimilar influence, and are found with equal frequency in such cases.) In modern times these methods are slightly and superficially altered; but their essence remains the same. For social and court intrigue we substitute the chicaneries of law, use political pull, buy judges, bribe legislatures; while for the use of the dagger and the poison bowl, we have meaner, deadlier more cowardly and more treacherous – the newspapers.