Mars is the God of War. Pestilence and famine are his captains; before him goes terror, and after him gallops the phantom of Death. Mars is a vigorous and fiery god ; he is the soldier “seeking the bubble reputation even in the cannon’s mouth.” He is force, but not fruition. He is still in the heat of the struggle. He has not acquired that authority, dignity, repose which come with success. Mars is a male and strenuous power ; but he is the prey of Venus. He is Samson in the arms of Delilah ; for all men must resist Kundry, or Lilith, or Venus, in whatever form she may appear, in order to attain mastery of life. Mars was caught by Vulcan in the embraces of Venus ; the angry god, arising from Etna, threw his net over the pair, and exposed them to the inextinguishable laughter of the Gods. Vulcan is volcanic fire; he forges the thunderbolts of Jove, and therefore Venus is his lawful spouse. Only with reverence, and by law, sustained by high and holy purpose, dares one enter the most sacred relationship of life. To go with lightness is to expose oneself to scandal, and to ridicule; more, it is to lose virtue, the armor of man’s soul. Man should not lay aside his sword and shield. He should remember a hundred other warriors of history and of legend, betrayed to shame and death by their own weaknesses. In “Parsifal”, Wagner tells once more the story. Beware lest the sacred lance that should subdue the heathen be snatched from you in a moment of dalliance, and thrust into your own side. The doctrine of the prophets and saints has been more misunderstood than any other. It is not the surrender of the body that destroys; but the abdication of the soul. It is the divorce of Passion from Religion that works mischief. Creation is the special function of Deity; and when we create either by art or by love, we are like God. Therefore, to prostitute art or love to commerce or even to pleasure is the unpardonable sin. Life is a sacrament, and the energy of Mars is the red flame of the fire upon the altar. Mars is manhood; he is the knight vowed to serve his lady ; and that lady must be to him the ideal, adored and not to be attained. Only at the end of his knight-errantry may he look for his reward. He is a warrior ; his duty is first to his liege lord. So, then, let Mars rear his fiery crest upon the heavens. He is the chosen guardian of the fortress of the soul. All depends upon his courage and his valor and his vigilance. He must have knocks. He must expose his breast to the violence of the foe, and he must not allow himself to be surprised and slain. Jupiter needs Mars to girdle him with steel, or the kingdom may be lost forever. Most in the stress of life, in the violence of circumstance, do we need character and energy. We must be stern and tireless. We must spare no drop of blood in the defense of our soul’s welfare. Since life is a contest for the great prize of godhead, falter, and the sword is at the throat. Avert your glance for the fraction of a second from the eyes of your antagonist, (whether it be courage or attention that fails, it matters not) and his rapier slips past your guard. Let your wrist weaken, whether from insufficient training or from exhaustion through a breach of will, and the glittering point is in your heart. This is the interpretation that a wise man puts on Mars, and this is the spirit in which he seeks to use the vital and dangerous energy with which he is endowed from on high. Without Energy, Being itself could not manifest; Motion is necessary to Matter if a Universe is to exist. But this Energy and Motion must be directed and controlled. It must not be allowed to dissipate, or to escape in ways unwilled. The fire of the Sun is the first weapon of mankind ; but fire let loose is a destroying energy. All force is necessary, -but the forces of Nature are the natural foes of man ; it is only when he confines them and tames them that they serve him. Let us see to it that we ride as kings upon the stallion of our own desires. Thus shall we course upon the heavens ; thus shall we enter in triumph the gates of the City of God.
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