The God of Conflict

Divinatory Meaning

    Ares -- Reversed
  • Personal gratification at the expense of others, especially when force is used
  • Retaliation rather than self-defense
  • Seeking vengeance
  • Fighting for the sake of fighting
  • Unnecessary conflict
  • Deliberate provocation of an enemy

When you draw Ares in a reading:

Ask yourself: Do I need to fight for what I want, or is there another way to get it? You should also consider the possibility that you might be avoiding a necessary conflict. Ares upright indicates that the direct approach is probably most appropriate to your situation: choose your path, and once you've chosen it, don't look back, no matter how uncomfortable things become. When you draw Ares reversed, it's time to reevaluate your position. Are you stubbornly defending a belief or behavior that is outmoded? You may find that what you are really defending is your own ego. Be willing to admit any mistakes you've made, and move on.

Ares, the son of Hera and Zeus, inherited his father's prowess as a warrior and his mother's quarrelsome nature. In classical times, the Greek god of war was said to have been disliked by all the other gods, except for his lover, Aphrodite, and Hades, who welcomed the souls of warriors killed in battle. Ares was a fearsome fighter who showed little concern for whether the cause he was fighting for was just, and his moods were usually capricious. He was extremely antagonistic toward the goddess Athena, who was not only his equal at war, but who also possessed great wisdom. In comparison to Athena, Ares, as depicted in Greek myth, seems both primitive and brutish.

However, there are indications that Ares had a gentler side: for example, at Argos, he was called "Theosgunaikon", the God of women, and "Gunaikothoinas", which means "the one celebrated at women's banquets". The Homeric Hymn to Areas also shows a more civilized side to the Greek god of war. The poet prays to Ares for the courage to live within the laws of peace and to hold out against the desire to enter "the chilling din of battle." In this aspect, Ares represents the ability to choose one's fights wisely and to find the courage not to fight when conflict is inappropriate.

The traditional symbol for Ares is an abstraction of a shield and spear. The shield, in the foreground, represents a defensive stance and the willingness to coexist as long as one's personal boundaries are not transgressed. The spear, behind the shield, represents the willingness to engage in conflict when necessary. This glyph is the symbol of the warrior who uses his or her abilities appropriately.

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