There’s a lot I want to write about, but whenever I sit down to do it my mind goes blank.

It’s been an emotional few weeks. I’m working on ways to appropriately handle my anger and it’s ugly, but it’s progress. Not only is my natal Mars in chill-as-hell-borderline-lazy Taurus, but it’s in my 12th house, making it hard for me to see.

The 12th house is one of the most challenging houses to explain to newbies — it’s the house of Self-Undoing, which naturally sets off alarm bells to anyone unfamiliar with the term. Alternately, we can call House 12 “That Which is Hidden,” which captures the subconscious, and institutions like hospitals and prisons.

When we say “self-undoing,” we mean the loss of ego into a greater whole. The house preceding it, House 11, is about large communities, our crowd. Communities struggle when there’s too much ego from the individuals within them, and thrive when the individuals come together with a common goal. This common goal requires a loss of ego, requires each person to say, “This is not about me, this is about something bigger.” Ergo, Undoing the Self.

So what does that mean for a 12th house Mars? I’m still working on this myself, but my gut says I am motivated by either a) things that are farthest removed from my own ego and identity, or b) something in my subconscious that is hard for me to pinpoint. Or both! Either way, Mars is already somewhat muted by Taurus energy, so it’s an all-around challenging placement to understand.

The good news is I’m reading and learning about emotions, and better ways to control them. I’ve never been an angry person, but I’m learning now that’s because I’ve always repressed my anger (heyyyy, maybe that’s a 12th house tendency).¬†This will likely be a running theme in my life that I will never fully overcome, but I’m excited to learn how to best manage this placement in an effective, useful way.

Silver lining: Taurus may be slow to start but once they do, they don’t stop. My Mars is not easily activated the way it might be in a Fire sign, but once it is, my willpower is tenacious and resilient. I embrace these qualities, and I am proud.

Moon-Mars Tension

A: Moon in Libra square Mars in Cancer

D: Moon in Leo square Mars in Taurus

E: Moon in Taurus oppose Mars in Scorpio

Of the natal charts I’m currently studying for people in my personal life, I’ve come across this grumpy Moon-Mars relationship in a few of them. Person A has a Cardinal square, Person D has a Fixed square, and E has an opposition (Fixed). Coincidentally, these three women are also good friends with each other.

If the Moon is your emotions and Mars is your will, these aspects must signal a tension between what drives us to action and what we feel inside. This could manifest in a number of ways depending on the signs involved, but it’s an interesting placement in women regardless, because we are already socially conditioned to limit our assertiveness.¬†This conditioning can create a tension for anyone, regardless of whether they know their astrological placements or not, but a chart can shed light on the specific underlying causes of that tension for them, personally.

The three people in question here all have one planet in a sign that doesn’t want to make waves (Libra, Taurus). Both signs are ruled by Venus, planet of all the finer things in life. Libra and Taurus both just want to enjoy living life — Taurus wants peace and quiet by themselves, and Libra wants harmony with a group of friends and loved ones. Libra will not upset the balance on her own, but as soon as it is, she will act to restore it. Taurus is a slow starter, focused more on stabilizing whatever energy came before it than creating something new.

While women are often conditioned to keep the peace, over time feminism has encouraged them to break that conditioning and speak. the fuck. up. As freeing as that should feel, there is also self-doubt, the fear that we are Too Much. This back-and-forth tension, between control and release, restraint and freedom, encapsulates the energy of the square.

For these three women, the square is felt for slightly different reasons (signs):

Person D has tension between self-expression (Leo) and peace/quiet (Taurus). Person A feels tension between social harmony (Libra) and emotional security (Cancer). Person E feels a tug-of-war between change (Scorpio) and stability (Taurus). The Moon placement holds greater weight — Leo, Libra, and Taurus, respectively — with Mars tugging at the Moon’s arm, begging to head a different direction.

This is the benefit of astrology. It has only illuminated more of what we already knew (that some individuals feel torn between taking action and letting things be), and added more color and nuance by examining the underlying reasons why.

Person E may not have been able to articulate on her own that she feels disharmony because she wants things to transform and simultaneously stay the same, but astrology provided the words to describe it. That is valuable enough in and of itself.

Astrology is not the only tool for this kind of self-exploration, but it is my favorite tool.