In the pre-dawn hour of Mars on New Year’s day 2020, Sphere + Sundry’s first Mars in Scorpio series was ritually labored into being. It was a synchronistic start to the year, as the Mars’ Degree of Exaltation series (sold out) was the genesis working of the enterprise entire, reflecting the zodiac itself, starting on a Martial note. It also happened to be in the dark half of a Tuesday, the day attributed to Mars and considered the night of Saturn, the sign ruler of Capricorn, where Mars exalts.
Mars at their archetypal best is the lone soldier, toiling in favor of The Mission without regard for oneself or execution of the necessary. Here in its own rulership, Mars is able to devote their efforts to that which needs doing in an uncomplicated manner, reflecting another synchronicity and return to form in the sense that this election did not work for any of our favored and staple collaborators. Tony was impeded by Saturn’s ray intercepting the Moon’s incoming aspect to Mars captured by the West Coast, and the divination results for Elizabeth’s engagement were ill-omened, so alone at the ass-crack of holiday pre-dawn, I reported to the magical trenches for duty.
Black coffee and cast iron grilled steak were prepared as offerings, in addition to 5 blood red candles, bourbon, and incense from the Degree of Exaltation cones on the main altar. A small piece of the meat was cut and included in the still pot for the hydrosol, in addition to freshly drawn iron rich well water and proprietary additions formulated to achieve specifically desired outcomes.
The angle of approach for this series was simple: create potent talismanic materia of a Martial nature while mitigating malefic fallout. A combination of classical ingredient associations for Mars, such as bloodstone, red jasper, peppercorn, red ginseng, stinging nettle, scorpion pepper, and the like, in addition to other herbs and sundries typically employed in Hoodoo and Conjure for promoting fortitude, strength, potency, and victory, such as High John the Conquerer Root, Devil’s shoestring, and Devil pod.
Scorpio is a sign of renowned mystique, over-famed for its sexual nature. The sexuality of Scorpio stems from its emotional depth, intense and singular focus, and desire for intimacy, unlike the unbridled and unashamed sexual expression of Sagittarius. It’s the obsessive, controlling and twisted love of Manpires, along with their characteristic ilk, which enough of us hold a perverse weakness for to fuel billion dollar franchises the world over.
This election gets a lusty boost from its waxing Pisces Moon in the third face of Pisces, a Mars ruled decan in a Jupiter ruled sign. This face was named by Austin Coppock in his seminal work 36 Faces “A Cup of Blood”, and behind closed doors (aka conference lobbies after midnight) as “the Donkey Decan”, for the Picatrix depicts within Pisces III, among other things, a woman in a donkey show. Holding a bird.
Such descriptions being more often (and thankfully) representative rather than literal, we can extrapolate that this is a decan to do with endowment, engorgement, and the over-satisfaction of desire. Mars is already a planet of virility, and Scorpio a sign of penetration via its avatar’s stinger, so this series formulation leaned hard on the romantically potentiating, “male enhancing”, and blood building aspects of the chart, featuring herbal components such as horny goat weed, longjack, tribulus fruit, yohimbe, and more.
Pardon this brief intermission to explore Mars and Venus as they relate to sex and gendered dynamics…
The poles of sexually focused gender dynamics are primarily astrologically depicted by the pairing of inner opposites, Mars and Venus, and every natal chart possesses both planets, just as all people possess varying degrees of male, female, and gender-neutral nature.
If we want to boost our sexual appetites for “giving it”, we amp Mars. If we want to enhance our general desirability and ability to “receive it” with pleasure, we turn to Venus. It is the friction they experience by rubbing against one another that activates their prime sexual manifestations.
Those remain the archetypal dynamics regardless of the individual, for at the end of the day, we all have stuff that can penetrate, and/ or be penetrated. It’s how these energies interact with one another, in addition to the world within and around us that generates the result that matters.
Often one’s relationship to gender, both their own and other people’s, is reflected through the unique conditions of Venus and Mars in the natal chart, which can reinforce or erode at typically gendered expressions, preferences, and identity. Mars and Venus are far from the only factors, but they’re a place to start. Astrology, at its best, and at heart, is supremely queer.
Given their energetic expressions, this planetary pairing love to play off of one another, and I encourage those of all stripes to have fun exploring them, both individually and via their coupling.
And given all of this talk of the sexual, it’s important to note that the charge of this series is remarkably easy (and important) to steer, either through dedicated activity or by layering with other series. Mature and dignified Mars is not a sex crazed maniac, contrary to some outmoded Cosmo-esque pop-cultural falsehood. Scorpio can engage deeply with whatever it wants/ desires, and there is much else it can accomplish.
Mars can be used to enhance productivity, promote focus, get work done, slap down bitch-assness, “man up”, engage The Mission, and Answer the Call.
Mars in Scorpio increases tactical and logistical intelligence. It is so grounded, it might be better to call it undergrounded, coursing through tight inner channels rather than prone to explosive external expression. It is both hot and cold, motivating and calming, for the best mindset and emotional state coming into any battle is a terrifyingly dangerous calm.
Mars in Scorpio brings about satisfaction in solitude, and the result of its use alone can be anti-social. Other side effects include a tendency to get mired down and obsessed, so focused on what one is engaging so as to become slow, failing to move on to the next thing as quickly as perhaps one should. Scorpio is a fixed water sign, so it can intensify thoughts that drift to overcoming perceived external threats and problem solving. Promotes sweating and the smell of body odor, but increases pain tolerance, as well as the ability to operate under stressful circumstances.
It can be useful as a weight loss aid and to promote discipline, grit, inner steel, and resolve.
This is best to apply before engaging with work, physical exercise, or in the day and hour of Mars for remedial and exploratory purposes. It is useful for shutting down inner complaints and overcoming laziness and whiny impulses. “Get over it and get back to work,” the deep timbre of Mars in Scorpio snarls. Prepare to call yourself out for such indulgences and soldier on under this influence, even if it’s not very enjoyable. You’ll care less that it isn’t.
Creating a series for a malefic while reducing malefic manifestations is no easy feat, and for that reason, only one item features actual scorpion, supplied by the wonderful Richard Spelker. Two oils were created for this series, the default Temperance Edition, which is a lower, safer, and more productive key of the charge intended for regular application, and the Emperor Edition, containing the dust of 10 venomous scorpions powdered in the hour of Mars and day of Saturn. A talismanic vessel for Scorpionic intelligence, this much more intense oil is for works of magical maleficia and use under the most dire of circumstances, where the mind of a cold and lethal predator needs be employed as your champion. Please use responsibly, and hopefully infrequently. Obviously do not consume it, or apply to open wounds.
Other shadow collaborators for this series include resident Sphere + Sundry astrologer Austin Coppock, who chose our election, and Jeremy Bechelli of Phytognosis who supplied the ammoniacum gum used in the incense and powder. Thanks also to Jason and Ashley, my ever-reliable soldiers. This wouldn’t be possible without you.
Just as it began, 2020 will be Mars’ year.
As usual, every package arrives with instructions for basic use and an invitation to the private Sphere + Sundry Facebook group for ongoing support from both creator and community.
Series, Mars in Scorpio, Oils + PerfumesA blend of organic herbs, resins, and gems of martial nature and correspondence, including bloodstone, red jasper, red ginseng, scorpion pepper, stinging nettle, basil, pink and black peppercorn, ritually suffumigated with Mars' Degree of Exaltation incense during the pre-dawn hour of Mars on New Year’s day 2020. This as Mars rose in Scorpio (electional chart within the image gallery), in addition to other herbs and sundries typically employed in Hoodoo and Conjure for promoting fortitude, strength, potency, and victory, such as High John the Conquerer Root. Blood enhancing additions for virility and masculine potency are also present, in the form of horny goat weed, tongkat ali, yohimbe, and others, in a base of organic olive oil. This was formulated with the explicit intention of creating a user-friendly, non-toxic, and temperate Mars oil. While it is very powerful, it is also cooler in tone and manifestation than Mars often is, oriented to be as productive as possible. It promotes focus, grit, inner steel, and teaches Martial wisdom through the perspective of its fixed water sign. Expect gains in self-sufficiency, a boost to your strategic, grounded and tactical thinking, and to better remain calm and centered, committed to The Mission at hand. For more on its expression, applications, and side effects, see the series writeup. Apply to the self before going to work or engaging in physical activities, to override lazy and whiney impulses. Use before entering into situations where your ability to keep calm in the face of offensive or defensive maneuvers will win the day. Anoint weapons and Martial implements to empower them. Should you have need for a more weaponized form of Mars in Scorpio, consider its more lethally endowed Other, Oil of Scorpion. Arrives in a 1/2 oz (4 dram) glass vial with hand drawn glyph for $65$65.00$65.00
Series, Mars in Scorpio, Waters + SpraysIn the pre-dawn hour of Mars as the red planet rose in Scorpio on day 1 of 2020, iron rich well water was drawn from the depths of the earth to fill the interior still pot for this Mars in Scorpio hydrosol. Herbs and gems of a classical Martial nature, including red ginseng, scorpion pepper, black and pink peppercorns, bloodstone, and red jasper were combined with sundry ingredients used in Hoodoo and Conjure for victory, strength, and potency, such as High John the Conqueror Root, Devil's Shoestring, and Devil's pod. A small piece of the cast iron grilled offering steak also thrown in. Distillation via copper alembic was initiated at the start of the ritual operation and left to generate throughout the course of the day, each bottle being placed upon the working altar after completion, and aged for a full lunar cycle before being bottled and made available to the public. The result is a potent and user-friendly mist that can be applied as an aura and body spray before physical activities and work sessions to amp productivity, create laser like focus, gain self-sufficiency, and promote strategic intelligence, rational thinking, and remain calm in the face of offensive and defensive maneuvering. Use to win negotiations and arguments. A great workout and weight loss aid, helpful for those trying to hold themselves accountable on paths of yang oriented self-improvement. Increases visual interest and makes other's pay more attention to what you say and do. Boosts your intimidate check. Stamps out lazy and whiney impulses. Increases pain tolerance. Full disclosure: this hydrosol doesn't smell delicious. If you want something pretty, turn elsewhere, for like dignified Mars himself, this one's a bit musky. It'll get the job done, but note that doesn't necessarily mean you'll love doing the work, just that Mars is content with being joyless and suffering for the sake of achievement. Application over time will help you develop the grit, resolve, and inner steel necessary to execute any mission, or to win any war. Side effects include a tendency toward myopia and getting sucked into the depths of a thing, increased sweating and body odor. Other series can be used in conjunction to guide and moderate the influence, including Venus for sexual purpose, and others. Arrives in a convenient 1/2 oz travel size glass spray bottle with keepsake consecrated bloodstone for $25, or full 2 oz for $55$25.00 – $55.00$25.00 – $55.00
Series, Mars in Scorpio, CandlesRed soy wax, poured over consecrated Mars in Scorpio herbal mix during the hour of Mars as he rose in Scorpio on day 1 of 2020. Burn during ritual Mars observations, or use in spell work for victory and Martial achievement. Light as a background influence to promote focus, tactical thinking, commitment to getting the job done, or physical activities. Use as a meditation aid to partake of the Martial sphere's wisdom. Arrives in an 8 oz slim vigil style for $155, or large 24 oz for $255$155.00 – $255.00$155.00 – $255.00
Series, Mars in Scorpio, PowdersOrganic herbs and gems of a classical Martial nature, including red ginseng, scorpion pepper, black and pink peppercorns, bloodstone, and red jasper were combined with sundry ingredients famed in Hoodoo and Conjure for victory, strength, and potency, such as High John the Conqueror Root, Devil’s Shoestring, and others, in addition to yang potency enhancers such as horny goat weed, yohimbe, and tongkat ali. These were combined and ritually suffumigated with Mars' Exaltation Degree incense during the hour of Mars, as the zodiac's soldier rose over the eastern horizon in Scorpio following a lengthy entreaty for his empowerment. Election chart in the image gallery. Pure and uncut, ground with the addition of ammoniacum gum during the day and hour of Mars. Use as any magical powder is typically employed — dress candles, build mojos, or cut with corn starch or talcum powder to create your own Mars in Scorpio sachet powder. Use for overcoming and tactically outsmarting those who would work against you. Arrives in a 1/2 oz glass vial with cork top for $25$25.00$25.00
Series, Mars in Scorpio, Oils + PerfumesScorpion had been intentionally omitted as an ingredient in the original Mars in Scorpio formula to reduce potential for malefic fallout, be less toxic, and more user-friendly — good for regular application by a wider variety of people for practical and remedial purpose. Throughout its lunar cycle of gestation, dream and omen pointed to the fact that Scorpion should in fact feature, so a round of divinations were performed to see which form that should take. I had anticipated it would be the powder or incense since those are things that appeal most exclusively to fellow mages in their own spellwork, but the tarot revealed otherwise. The reading indicated the Mars in Scorpio oil was already ideally mixed, as the goal had been to "temper" its malefic nature and the card pulled was literally Temperance upright, but also that adding Scorpion to a sub-batch would produce the kind of result you never turn down — The Emperor upright. Thus, 10 venomous scorpions were ground to a fine powder on Saturn's day and Mars' hour, and a small amount was dispersed throughout each vial of Emperor Edition Mars in Scorpio oil, which also features 24k gold and a different essential oil blend befitting its darker, more lethal nature. Use in extreme cases of conflict and danger, to invoke the spirit and allegiance of Emperor and Scorpion energy. Not intended for regular application for most people, but for those who need to bring a bigger weapon to the gunfight than a temperate Mars provides, perhaps by those working in high competition sectors, or find themselves vulnerable to particularly nasty enemies. Arrives in a 1/2 oz (4 dram) glass vial for $75$75.00$75.00
Series, Mars in Scorpio, IncenseOrganic herbs and gems of a classical Martial nature, including red ginseng, scorpion pepper, black and pink peppercorns, bloodstone, and red jasper were combined with sundry ingredients famed in Hoodoo and Conjure for victory, strength, and potency, such as High John the Conqueror Root, Devil’s Shoestring, and others, in addition to yang potency enhancers such as horny goat weed, yohimbe, and tongkat ali. These were combined and ritually suffumigated with Mars' Exaltation Degree incense during the hour of Mars, as the zodiac's soldier rose over the eastern horizon in Scorpio following a lengthy entreaty for his empowerment. Election chart in the image gallery. Pure and uncut, ground with the addition of ammoniacum gum and made self-igniting during the day and hour of Mars. Burn in offering to Mars during weekly ritual observations, or to spirits aiding in the execution of your will and mission objectives. Smoke to activate sigils for overcoming competition, self-defense, or others related to Mars. Contracts, letters, talismans, and weaponry can also be suffumigated to empower. Arrives in a 1/2 oz glass vial with cork top for $25$25.00$25.00
Series, Mars in Scorpio, Attuning TincturesHorny goat weed, maca root, yohimbe bark, fo-ti, longjack, tongkat ali, and tribulus fruit were ritually suffumigated and tinctured in top shelf bourbon under the auspices of the Mars in Scorpio series election. Designed to enhance yang potency and drive, whether it be in the bedroom or the battlefield. Energetically and magically speaking, this attuning tincture is just as efficacious for women and non-binary individuals as it is men. For more on that, and how this election is specifically productive for enhancing desire and sexual performance, see the full series writeup. Easily guiden by chosen activity and supplementation from other series. Warming. Offered in a 1/2 oz dropper bottle for $30 Important: 100% of the ingredients in this formula were named in the first sentence of the description. Many of these occur in "male enhancement" herbal supplements and may cause hormonal disruption, especially in favor of increasing male hormones and impacting blood flow, in alignment with the planet Mars as karaka for masculine hormones and bleeding. It could very well impact the efficacy of birth control. Also note: While this contains nothing inedible or poisonous, it was not created in a commercial kitchen to GMP standards, so it is not suitable or intended for consumption. Use externally to anoint yourself (nowhere sensitive) or objects. Keep this (and all our wares) out of reach of children. Do not use while pregnant or trying to get pregnant. Any internal consumption undertaken at the user’s sole risk and liability.$30.00$30.00
Series, Mars in Scorpio, Oils + Perfumes $135.00$135.00
Series, Mars in Scorpio, SundryThis is the result of a standalone project one and a half years in the making, formulated by long-time Martial arts practitioner and student of TCM Ashley Ayres, in collaboration with fellow martial artist, electional astrologer, and ritualist Austin Coppock. It was created during a supremely fine Mars in Capricorn election, the red planet rising in its hour, fortified by Jupiter in Scorpio on the midheaven, and anchored by a stalwart, exalted Taurus Moon. As always, the chart can be found in the image gallery. The Forgemaster's Iron Palm liniment is a specialized form of jow, intended to warm, strengthen, and fortify, in addition to providing the expedited healing properties of other more generalized dit da jows. It can be used in the formal context of iron palm (or shin, or foot, etc.) training, but it also provides energetic and magical properties encapsulated by the Mars election itself. It serves as a form of exterior armor and attunes one's vessel to the Martial sphere in a way that is both productive and invigorating. Apply and rub well into the skin before and/ or after workouts or combat, whether they be of a metaphoric or physical nature. For a deeper dive into the workings of this supremely fine, well aged formula, Austin writes —$25.00 – $55.00
The furnace blazes, the iron glows. Blood burns in the hammer-arm of the blacksmith. Stubborn metal becomes malleable, open to convincing arguments from the hammer and the strong hand that wields it.
Fire, iron, and blood. This is the holy trinity of Mars, as crucial for creation as it is for destruction. While many know Mars as the Warrior, the red planet is equally the Smith. In the Smith we see the constructive side of Mars, the blood, sweat, and tears necessary to shape and re-shape our lives, our bodies, ourselves.
The Smith’s alchemical action is an especially apt metaphor for the transformation of the body. The layers of effort required to re-forge the body are quintessential martial, and there is no exercise regimen as close to the forge as Iron Palm.
Iron Palm refers to a family of limb-training methods which strengthen the skin, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones for both defensive and offensive purposes. Many styles also emphasize the internal side, cultivating increased qi emission capacity for both striking and healing purposes.
Though there are many variations, the training almost always consists of a daily routine of hitting progressively more resilient materials. A canvas bag of bean, then stones, then metal. Though the results are dramatic, the training process is incremental, with as much attention paid to healing and perfect recovery as to anything else.
Over the years, a great number of liniments have been created for this purpose. Generally referred to as dit da jow, they are widely available and widely used for general athletic purposes well outside of the specific practice of an Iron Palm regimen.
The Forgemaster’s Dit Da Jow is one of these Iron Palm formulae, but with a Sphere + Sundry twist. This Jow was created in a fully ritual manner and at a precisely elected astrological time.
Prayers to Mars the Forgemaster were intoned to bless and empower this tincture at the outset of the operation. The operators were consecrated to the red work, and the medicine vessels adorned with magic square, seal, and sigil.
The elected time seemed a spectacularly appropriate and rare moment for this work. It was the Day and Hour of Mars, with the red planet exalted in Capricorn and on the Ascendant. This powerful, earthy Mars was further supported by a trine from an exalted Moon in Taurus, and meanwhile, Jupiter in Mars-ruled Scorpio crowned the zenith (MC). Not only was Mars strong, but Mars, the Rising, Moon, and Sun were all in Earth signs in order to ensure that the planet’s iron blessings were sufficiently rooted in the very bodily goal of this creation.
After the evocations were said, the herbal and animal ingredients were sealed in their alchemical bath for 18 months.
The result, the Forgemaster’s Dit Da Jow, is not only rich with the spirit and energy of this powerful Mars election, it also possesses the excellent properties bestowed by the materia of the formulation itself.
The basis for this recipe is the Iron Palm formula of Yu Cheung (1894- 1952), one of the famed Five Tigers of Canton. His iron palm feats were famously documented in the early 1900's by photographers, and though his stone-shattering exploits are too numerous to cover here, there are entire books dedicated to his training methods. Crucially, he was known not just his power of his hands, but also their sensitivity.
This formula was designed by him to cultivate both strength and softness. Protection for the hand, energy gates, and organ systems while also maximizing sensitivity and the capacity to express qi for both healing and striking purposes. Yu Cheung’s formula is the basis for this liniment, though it has been modified in small ways for reasons of both ethics and efficacy.
This liniment is designed to unblock the qi flow, activate blood movement, relax tendons and ligaments and increase bone strength. The two types of qi this formula stimulates are wei qi or “defensive/guardian energy” and regular organ qi. This formula activates both in harmony, and is one of the many reasons it is superior to a store-bought dit da jow.
Forgemaster’s Dit Da Jow is formulated to facilitate the healing of bruises , tendons, sinews, and bones, and to reduce pain, strengthen blood vessels, reduce swelling, and mitigate blood stagnation. It also protects the meridians and mobilizes both protective and organ qi for health and vitality.
The Forgemaster’s Dit Da Jow is, of course, perfect for an Iron Limb regimen, but has a number of other uses. Both physically and energetically, it is an ideal pre- and post- workout liniment for any martial striking practice, such as boxing and kickboxing. More broadly, it can be used to ready and fortify the muscles, tendons, and joints in preparation for any athletic activity, and to facilitate the swift healing of bruises. Magically, it is appropriate for works of fortification and the cultivation of personal power.Bottled and a portion made available to the public on the first Tuesday after Mars returned to Capricorn in 2020, a year and a half after creation. Arrives in a glass bottle with spray top for easy application, in either a travel/ sample size of 1/2 oz for $25, or full 2 oz for $55 Note: Should not be used in areas with mucous membranes, skin rashes, open cuts, or sores. Apply a small amount, wait an hour, if no allergic reaction occurs, continue with use. External application only.$25.00 – $55.00