Power dynamics and D/s – Mars in the Tarot cards

passionate dancing image

Which cards will reveal that what you think of as romance or even true love, is really a thinly veiled power dynamic with all the trappings of a passionate love affair? Before asking the cards, you will have probably already experienced the push-me-pull-you dynamic present in any relationship with power as a core theme. It could even be less subtle, in which case you would probably refer to this is a love/hate relationship.

Before looking at individual cards, I want to make clear that all relationship dynamics serve a purpose and hence there is no judgement associated with any of them. They exist to teach us valuable lessons and have been created by subconscious portions of the self, looking for an expression in order to be brought to the light and healed.

In the Tarot, cards indicating a (sexual) power dynamic often relate to the Mars cards. Mars is the masculine expression of the sexual energy and is found in both genders but to a higher degree in men since it is directly related to blood testosterone levels.

The Mars cards are:

The Tower (Planetary trump of Mars), 2 of Wands (Mars in Aries), 3 of Pentacles (Mars in Capricorn), 5 of Cups (Mars in Scorpio), 7 of Wands (Mars in Leo), 9 of Swords (Mars in Gemini), 10 of Cups (Mars in Pisces)

In terms of dominance and submission, The Tower itself is pure dominance and the most submissive of the Mars cards is the 10 of Cups. Mars in Pisces is prone to lack (healthy) boundaries and very eager to please.

Tower sex is focused on sexual gratification for the sake of sexual gratification and it will take what it wants when it wants it. If you’re in the mood to be ravaged, you have nothing to fear but if you are looking for a more delicate and romantic expression in love-making, you will want to steer clear of the Tower.

10 of Cups only cares about the needs of the Other. The biggest turn-ons for a 10 of Cups type of person would be being told what to do and to be made to feel as if they are of service. This applies regardless of gender.

However, the 10 of Cups usually does not usually feel the need to express their submissive tendencies overtly and is highly adaptable in a sexual relationship. It is only when they meet a sexually dominant partner who coaxes them on that they are likely to start experimenting.

In and of itself, the 2 of Wands can describe a relationship based on a power dynamic. However, this need not always be a negative thing. Properly channelled and provided there are other redeeming qualities, the tension between these two partners can be used creatively and in positive ‘competition’ where both parties spark off each other and want to be the best they can be. It helps if both parties are aware of the tendencies and willing to learn techniques to channel excess energy that otherwise easily leads to fights. Physical exercise becomes paramount.

7 of Wands is the exhibitionist among the Mars cards. Mars in Leo can, like Mars in Aries (2 of Wands) denote a healthy sexual expression of the Mars energy. It can mean wanting it fast and rough, and not being ashamed to say so. In terms of kink, you guessed right if you guessed the wands could also be used for inducing pain. This card could be the card of a switch as well, as the Leo energies are likely to want to play different parts (as long as the spotlight remains on them).

The 3 of Pentacles can describe a power dynamic with strong physical/sexual overtones since this is Mars in an Earth sign. It could indicate using restraints during sex, as well as liking it rough. Because of the sense of responsibility inherent in the Capricorn cards, this could signify a relationship where one party feels obliged to stay in order to assist the other, which makes it difficult to detangle from even after the relationship has run its course.

Another possible sexual expression of this card’s energy could mean putting the sexual energy to use in various forms of sex magick.

Whatever expression this card is most likely to take on, you can count on it staying behind closed doors – the Capricorn energy is quite private about sex.

In the 5 of Cups (Mars in Scorpio), we see depicted the grief brought on by unfulfilled desires and power dynamics leading to emotional disappointment.

9 of Swords (Mars in Gemini) is usually less subtle and can even denote the Mars energy being trapped in the mind by guilt and shame. This Mars energy is looking for a verbal expression and flows best in a relationship where both partners are comfortable with talking before, during and after sex.

If this urge cannot be expressed in a healthy way, the 9 of Swords could denote voyeurism and an obsession with porn, possibly perpetuating feelings of guilt and shame.

 Blessed be!

☆ Lisa Frideborg


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Comments 10

  1. Your right, I was thinking the Moon (the planet not the card) but it was actually Cancer, the sign that is ruled by the Moon in astrology. I think the reason for the Mars association stems not from Golden Dawn, but from the fact that the card depicts a vehicle, and vehicles are Mars-ruled in astrological terms. But i was just wondering if you had ever heard that before. I can’t remember who told me or where that came from.

    I recently did a relationship reading and got the 3 of Pentacles in the position of “what stands between you and your partner.” In a traditional sense, I would have interpreted this as meaning that there is a lack of balance, or a need for a stronger foundation. In this particular case, I also see it as interference with from his coworkers because I often see him at work. But in light of your recent blog, I am wondering if it could also mean that his Mars energy, which is very strong, is part of the issue, as well as a need for privacy, which makes sense in our situation.

    Then I also got the 3 of Cups in the “challenge” position. Off topic, but that one has me stumped. My insatiable desire for pleasure? Either way, I liked the pair of threes in the reading. In the same reading I got the 10 of cups for myself (which is funny because I am sure not feeling that way lately, more like I wish I had the 10 of Cups) and for his cards I drew the 9 of cups and The World. Not looking for a free reading:) … just helping to put the 3 of pentacles in context!
    Thanks again for the post, Tatianna

  2. Hahahaa! Now it makes sense! For months, I have been getting the Tower over and over in readings about a particular lover. I believe it also was the first or second card pulled for me in a reading done by a friend about this lover when we first met. I always associated his role in my life with all the other traditional meanings of this card… this person definitely flipped my life upside down and my affair with him caused me to seriously change perspective in life, more than once. But I have never considered the Mars aspect of the Tower in terms of our sexual dynamic. Hehehe can’t stop giggling! Yeah I would say you are right about that one Lisa!
    Thanks for this post, love it.

    1. Glad I made you giggle, Tatianna! It really is rather obvious when you look at the undeniably phallic image and take the Mars correspondence into account… ‘Too much testosterone’ 😀 And now you’ll never be able to look at this card without thinking about sex heehee!

        1. Traditionally, The Chariot is associated with the Zodiac sign Cancer and The Moon with Pisces. These are Golden Dawn correpsondences. Where did you read/hear about The Chariot and The Moon being connected with Mars? The Moon would have more of a Chiron feel to it if anything… The Charioteer himself could definitely have strong Martian energy in him though, the way he is often depicted. It does seem rather odd that he is associated with a Water sign such as Cancer.

  3. Lisa, I love your posts, your insight, your openness and sense of humor. So glad I found you and your blog! If you are ever coming to the states please let me know. Would love to meet you in person or hear you speak or whatever….. Have a great day. Hope things are going well/smoother…   Diane

        Diane Fraser Atelier du Coeur Energy.Insight.Rapport Atelier du Coeur on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Atelier-du-Coeur/184741064907945?ref=hl Atelier du Coeur blog: http://atelierducoeurenergy.wordpress.com/


  4. Hi Lisa
    Great article!
    I don’t usually think about Mars energy when reading the 10 of Cups – it certainly gives more depth to this card.
    I also associate 5 of Cups with Mars – is this right? I have seen this card appear to indicate both loss and someone who had suffered in an abusive relationship.

  5. Hi Lisa
    Great article!
    The Mars energy in the 10 of Cups is not something I have considered before – it certainly adds more depth to the meaning of this card.
    I also associate 5 of Cups with Mars – is this right? Have seen this card appear regularly to indicate an abusive relationship.

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