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It's a familiar scenario: You're cruising along the highway and you're making good time. You're steering a 2,000-pound projectile of flying metal, but you're in control. You feel the power of self-direction and solo mastery; you're king of the road. You are, quite literally, on an ego-trip.

Suddenly, you become aware that you're not really alone. Other vehicles are inexplicably slowing down. Because you're part of the amorphous mass of traffic, you obey the flow and ease your foot from the pedal. The reason soon becomes apparent—a car accident. As traffic slows to a crawl, you observe the scene—the smashed vehicle, the emergency rescue squad, the fire truck, the police. Your daydream of personal power evaporates. You're suddenly "at effect" of the situation. You're no longer the one in control—the accident is.

You have just witnessed what astrologers would call a Mars-Neptune event. Astrologically, Mars is identified with your confidence and aggressive driving, the speeding vehicle, the uniformed authorities, the flashing red lights and, of course, the crash itself. Neptune is associated with your dissolved fantasy, the semi-conscious merging of traffic, the victims and rescuers and their eventual destination, the hospital.

Mars, Neptune and Our Love for the Automobile

Mars and Neptune symbolize two very different but equally important principles of human motivation. Mars is the ruler of (is linked to) assertive Aries, and represents the separate identity of self. Neptune, the ruler of Pisces, is the urge to abandon or sacrifice individuality in order to merge with others. When these two planets are connected by a square (a stressful 90-degree angle), there can be conflict. A square of this kind took place on July 4, 1776, the day that our country was "born." Consequently, this square is present in the birth chart of the U.S., and Americans tend to experience a contradiction between two ideals—"rugged individualism" versus "united we stand."

In the birth chart for the United States, Mars is in Gemini (a planet of travel), so America was "born" with a highly-activated interest in transportation. The chart also shows a square aspect between Neptune and Mars, an indication of America's idealized (Neptune) "love affair" with the automobile. We worship our personal vehicles as extensions of our ego. Whenever we drive, we assert our inalienable right to burn rapidly-depleting resources (Neptune is linked to liquid fuels) in pursuit of a Martian dream—energetic self-expression.

Being in the driver's seat is a metaphor for power, an image that is often exploited by the Neptunian masters of deception, the advertising industry. Immersed in a culture that is centered around the automobile, we idolize life in the fast lane. Safety experts advise us to “drive defensively," yet traffic signs give us Neptunian messages such as "yield" and "merge." The conflict between Martian and Neptunian urges can create frustration, road rage and ultimately, more car accidents. America leads the world in car crash fatalities, and a significant number are caused by driving "under the influence" (of Neptune-ruled alcohol).

Who has Accidents?

A 1997 study by the American Automobile Association (1) that reported a shocking increase in road rage incidents revealed the personality profile of the typical aggressive driver as a "relatively young male with a criminal record, history of violence and drug or alcohol problems." This certainly sounds like the afflicted Mars-Neptune of the U.S. chart. (Mars is linked to violence and testosterone, while Neptune is associated with prisons, drugs and alcohol.) Another study (2) compared the personalities and driving records of men who had died in car accidents, and found that the victims were "more belligerent, more talkative and more hyperactive than the average man." Again, this description corresponds to the Mars-in-Gemini problems of our national birth chart.

In a 1999 study of auto accident deaths (3), astrologer Martin Piechota found that the most common placement of the victim's Sun was in Aries and Scorpio, the two signs ruled by aggressive Mars. A similar conclusion was reached by an international insurance company (4). Their research showed that drivers born with the Sun in Aries are more likely than any other sign to have car accidents.

The Up Side of Mars-Neptune

Like drinking and driving, Neptune and Mars can be a dangerous mix. But there is always a positive side to any astrological combination, and in the case of Mars-Neptune, it is compassionate action, or heroism. The heroic act is irrational (Neptunian); it involves going beyond the Martian ego in order to save others. Together, these two planets indicate the altruistic urge to be of assistance to others and perform "good deeds" such as emergency rescue.

Neptune-Mars aspects are often found in the charts of heroic events as well as the birth charts of accident victims and their rescuers. This was confirmed by a recent astrological study (5) that analyzed recipients of the Carnegie Hero Medal, an award given to people who risk their own lives to save others. A significant number of the heroic acts were found to occur on days when Mars and Neptune were in aspect.

The positive interaction of Neptune-Mars can produce the inspired hero, the courageous savior and the spiritual warrior. In life-threatening accidents, the victim and the rescuer are bonded through the union of Mars-Neptune. They become partners "by accident."


1. "Road Rage." U.S.News & World Report. June 2, 1997, pp. 24-30.
2. This is a Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study reported in "Loudmouths Die in Car Crashes." Science Digest. November 1974, p. 62.
3. This Martin Piechota study will be published in the Fall 2000 issue of NCGR Journal.
4. This was a study by the Zurich Municipal Insurance Company, reported in "Aries to Blame for Rams on the Road." London Daily Telegraph. March 23, 1995.
5. See "What Makes a Hero." Astrology: Your Daily Horoscope. August 1999, pp. 48-52.

For more information, also see



Valerie Vaughan graduated with honors from Vassar College, where she studied astronomy and mythology, and has a Master's Degree in information science. She has been practicing, teaching and writing about astrology for 25 years. She is the author of Astro-Mythology: The Celestial Union of Astrology and Myth and Persephone is Transpluto: The Scientific, Mythological and Astrological Discovery of the Planet Beyond Pluto, both published by One Reed Publications.

For more information about Valerie Vaughan, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by Valerie Vaughan:

  • Astrology Takes an Eye-Opening Look at Sleep   6/8/2013
  • Woman as Lover or Mother: The Venus-Ceres Crisis   1/14/2012
  • Astrology Takes an Eye-Opening Look at Sleep   1/22/2005
  • Classroom Avengers: The Astrology of School Shootings   3/9/2001
  • When Lightning Strikes: The Shocking Story   12/18/2000
  • Careers in Health Care: An Astrological View   10/4/2000
  • Premature Birth: Astrology and the Ethics of Survival   9/28/2000
  • A Stellar Alignment: Astrology and Chiropractic   7/31/2000
  • The "Age-Old" Dilemma of Aging Gracefully: It's All a Matter of Timing   7/17/2000
  • Between Sky and Mind: The Lunar Link to Sanity   6/10/2000
  • All in the Family: Cloning, Genetics and Astrology   5/4/2000
  • Chronobiology: Astrology in a Lab Coat?   3/13/2000

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