First published by Samuel Weiser in 1988 and now (2012) reprinted in a revised edition by the AFA. I like the new edition better than the old, even though the author says she has not changed much.
The first chapter, Everyday Mars, delineates Mars by sign and house. The aspect section includes separate entries for trines and sextiles, and also includes semi-sextiles (30) and inconjuncts (150). The section on Mars conjunct Venus delineates all twelve signs, as well as aspects to the angles. The writing is clear and crisp and mercifully, brief.
Chapter 2, Mars and Your Love Life delineates Venus by sign, and then delineates Mars by sign, both with an emphasis on relationships. Next comes Venus-Mars natal aspects delineated in terms of relationships. This is followed by another look at Venus and Mars by house, with an emphasis on relationship needs.
Chapter 3 is on occupations. Mars is delineated through the signs with a view to occupation and career. It is followed by Mars-Saturn aspects in terms of career.
Chapter 4 is a tabulation of Mars from roughly 120 cities in the US and Canada. Most of them are from Marc Penfield's Horoscopes of the USA and Canada, but the author has also included her own files, as well as the work of her associates. It is followed by delineations of city Mars in your various houses, and then, aspects from city Mars to your natal planets, which are somewhat abbreviated. The alphabetical listing is in Appendix 3.
Chapter 5 is Mars and Your Luck. In it, we get delineations for Jupiter, by sign and house, with an emphasis on growth and improvement. It is followed by delineations for Mars by sign and house, for opportunity and lucky breaks. Which is followed by Jupiter-Mars aspects, again, with an emphasis on lucky breaks.
Chapter 6 is Special Cases. Starting with interceptions. Van Toen has a good grasp of interceptions as areas where there was no adequate outlet for . . . development (pg. 82). Interceptions are given both by sign, and by house. Throughout the book, Van Toen makes good use of her own casework. The book is free of theoretical guesswork.
This is followed by Mars retrograde, again by sign and house. Again, the author has a good grasp of the subject. Chapter 6 concludes with Mars under stress in a stellium, which I thought too short and too vague. The author combines Mars as part of a larger stellium, with Mars receiving stressful aspect from a stellium, which was confusing.
Chapter 7 is progressed Mars. There are delineations for progressed Mars by sign, by house, and in aspect to natal planets. By "progressed", she really means, solar arc directions, as secondary progressed Mars will make few aspects over a normal lifetime.
Chapter 8, transits of Mars, by house, in aspect to the natal planets, nodes and angles.
Chapter 9 is on the Mars return, which is a two year cycle. The author delineates the house the return Mars falls in.
Chapter 10 is Mars and Your Inner Motivation, which is Mars and past lives, delineated by sign. Since I know a bit of my own past life, I found Van Toen's delineation to be disarming. She surely can't have just guessed that? Curiously enough, Mars was in the same sign in my most recent past life, which gives a new slant on it as well. Will she do as well with the other eleven signs? I have no idea, but if she can get one right, she has a good start on the other eleven. I see the author has her Mars in Pisces, conjunct the Sun in the first.
Chapter 11 is Esoteric House Placements. In this chapter we learn that although the author does not recommend one house system over another, she did work with Koch for many years before giving it up for Placidus. And while she does not want to draw conclusions, my observation has been that astrologers who actually use houses use Placidus rather than Koch. In this chapter is another set of Mars in the houses delineation, this time focusing on metaphysics, with particular emphasis on Mars in the 7th. Donna gives her unloved lecture on soulmates. Which is to say that a soulmate is first and foremost a mature and responsible partner - and probably not much more, and that if you're stuck in an abusive relationship because you think the guy is your "soulmate", you're an idiot (my word, not Van Toen's).
Chapter 12 is on esoteric aspects. These are divided into conjunctions, trines/sextiles, and squares/oppositions, all with an emphasis on past life carryovers.
Chapter 13 is a sample Mars analysis. This is Ruth, a woman born in London in 1930 and who grew up during the Blitz in World War II.
In the Afterword, Van Toen mentions that what she has done with Mars could just as easily be done with any other planet. If that's a hint for a sequel, count me in!
Appendix 2, Sun-Mars quickie synastries: Your Mars, his/her Sun, or vice-versa, by sign, 144 snapshots.
Appendix 3, City Mars, given in alphabetical order by city, both Penfield's and Dodson's listings, which are often different. About twice as many entries as in chapter 4.
Overall, a well-written, tightly focused book that incorporates a good variety of detail. It does not have medieval or Hellenistic topics, nor does it include aphorisms. It is a book of its era (mid-1980's), but it is excellent all the same.
AFA, 187 pages.