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What parent can forget the fiery bursts of energy, activity and negativism as their two-year-old children struggled to maintain supremacy by screaming and refusing to cooperate or even negotiate their authority? The toddler is furious. He rules the world, he pulls the strings and the parents respond. A toddler’s defiant actions reveal that through the successful integration of his Mars he has attained a healthy and appropriate desire for the recognition of his individual will to be.

Nurturing Mars

Mars is the planet most active in directing the individual will outward and manifesting it in the physical world. Mars represents our ability to take action on any level of desire, be it physical, sexual, emotional, mental or spiritual. Mars leads us to assert ourselves and to act in our own self-interest. It fuels our desires and drives us toward life and toward experience. A child is approximately two years old when Mars returns for the first time to the sign and degree of the horoscope it occupied at the child’s birth.

Nurturing an infant’s Mars begins at birth with the impulsive action of the infant and the supportive reaction of the primary caregiver. An infant’s actions are purely impulsive reactions to the sensations and emotions he is experiencing. His desires do not exist as thoughts or ideas, but rather as motor behavior. It is an infant’s instinctive motor behavior that gives evidence of his Mars.

For months an infant’s impulsive actions, fueled by his desires, have rightly gone uncontested—he was fed when hungry, carried when tired of walking and easily got his parents’ attention. In time, an infant begins to see this happen and becomes aware that it is his actions that lead to the attainment of his desires. Healthy assertive development requires that the two year old see himself as omnipotent.

From Powerlessness to Preeminence: The First Mars Cycle

Six to Eight Months: Transiting Mars has traveled 90 degrees from its birth position (waxing square). With appropriate care and attention, an infant’s emotions have been fully integrated and he is ready to begin connecting emotions to actions. The ability to sit upright, unaided by a caregiver, frees an infant’s arms and hands while changing his perspective. The infant begins to act on his own behalf with increased freedom and dexterity by consciously choosing and grasping any desired object that is within his limited reach. The ability to independently and purposefully select and play with one toy after another marks a turning point, and during the second half of the first year voluntary mobility becomes an option.

Twelve to Fourteen Months: Transiting Mars has traveled 180 degrees (opposition) from its birth position. The surge to become independent and the negativism that accompanies it begins with walking. As an infant gets to his feet, he becomes a toddler and the world of independence opens up. By walking, a toddler begins to realize, “I can leave and I can come back.” “You are there and I am here.” The ability to purposefully separate from the caregiver gives rise to ambiguity. “Can I come back?” “What will happen if I do?” “What do I want?” “How can I get it?” As the toddler becomes increasingly aware that he is a separate and interactive individual with a will of his own, he has reached another turning point and the age of willful reciprocity has begun.

Eighteen to Twenty Months: Transiting Mars has traveled 270 degrees (waning square) from its birth position. With increased mobility and the freedom to act purposefully on his own behalf, the toddler has developed courage, and with a new burst of energy begins to demand recognition by asserting his personal authority. Not yet two years old, the terrible twos have already begun with the toddler acting out to prove his individuality not only to others but also to himself.

Twenty-Four to Twenty-Six Months: Transiting Mars has traveled 360 degrees (conjunction) and returned to its birth position for the first time. Having fully integrated Mars into his developing personality, the toddler is full of it. He knows “he is,” and though he still requires freedom to discover who he is and what he is capable of becoming, he must also establish an understanding that the parent is in charge. The first Mars return marks the end of preeminence and the beginning of socialization.

Some Mitigating Factors to Consider

Although every infant/toddler, through his Mars, will participate in the developmental process described above, each Mars acts within the context of the individual life and horoscope, according to its sign placement and aspects. The sign tells us how the infant/toddler will reach out to gain experience and the aspects, or angles between Mars and other planets in the birth chart, reveal areas of the personality that will assist or be obstacles to assertive development.

Additionally, transiting Mars will retrograde approximately every two years and two months. A retrograde* is a perfectly natural cyclic phenomenon that must also be seen within context. A Mars retrograde occurs when, from our Earthly vantage point, the planet Mars appears to stand still and then move backward in the sky. Because of retrograde motion, not every infant will experience the phases and aspects listed above during the age range listed.

Symbolically, a retrograde indicates that almost every infant will experience a two-month period in which there will be more emphasis on assimilating previous initiatives than on moving forward. While this period of assimilation may slow motor development for a time, it also enables the infant to move forward in a more deliberate manner.

The Terrific Twos

Assertive development is a cyclic process that is set in motion at birth. From the moment the umbilical cord is cut and an infant is separated from its mother, there are ongoing stages of separation and development that have led to the creation of the healthy and actively selfish two-year old. Crying for attention, sitting upright, walking and the uncompromising demand for recognition of his desires are all developmental milestones related to the first passage of transiting Mars around the infant’s horoscope. As the infant successfully develops his physical prowess, he gains ever-increasing independence, learns to assert and win and to identify himself as a separate and important individual.


*For additional information on Mars retrograde see Retrograde Planets, Traversing the Inner Landscape by Erin Sullivan.



Pat Lantz is a practicing astrologer currently researching the use of astrology as a developmental tool with infants and toddlers. Contact Pat to participate in this study or for information about developmental astrology.

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For more information about Pat Lantz, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Pat Lantz:

  • The Infant, the Moon, Mom and Emotions   9/8/2012
  • Ashley Judd: The Best Is Yet to Come   5/28/2001
  • Rosie O'Donnell: The Aries "Queen of Nice"   4/26/2001
  • Haley Joel Osment: Fate, Luck and Opportunity   2/4/2001
  • Winona Ryder: Audrey Hepburn of the 90s   1/11/2001
  • Lara Flynn Boyle and Jack Nicholson   12/15/2000
  • Defiant Prayers Kick Off High School Football Season   10/18/2000
  • The Televangelist and the Transvestite   10/6/2000
  • Robert Downey Jr.’s Appointment With Destiny   9/23/2000
  • Richard Cheney: A Saturn-Ruled Aquarian   8/24/2000
  • Bruce and Demi: Love Dies Hard   8/11/2000
  • Alan Greenspan’s Opus   8/9/2000
  • Kathleen Kennedy Townsend: Echoes of Camelot   8/3/2000
  • The Supremes: Where Did Their Love Go?   6/16/2000
  • Travolta’s Alien Nature   4/28/2000
  • Jefferson and Clinton: Saints or Sinners?   4/6/2000
  • Charles Schulz Bids Adieu   2/13/2000

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