War versus The Underworld


The balance of power is ripe for a challenge. Not just in some government in some capitol somewhere, but wherever you are. Watch your back, bitches.

Will punches be thrown, or words, sharp and pointy as daggers? Will you insist you're right because you are right… or can't you stand that someone else is in control? Will you jimmy the back window open and sneak in through the kitchen, since the front door was slammed in your face? Is it do, or die?

Neither Mars nor Pluto is a planetary peacemaker, and they're unlikely to share a calm negotiation over milk tea and crumpets… especially as they oppose each other early Saturday morning (Apr 8). And if these two aggressors at odds, then be sure that we humble earthlings will also be apt to pick sides—against each other, that is.

A Mars-Pluto opposition pits the warrior god par excellence against 'Lord of the Underworld', two mythic figures nobody in his right mind wants as adversaries. Yet, at crosswise poles from one another, Mars and Pluto each tempt us toward his preferred fighting method. And if you're with one, then you're against the other.

Only the most self-conscious individuals among us will recognize—in the heated moment of truth, especially—that both planets tug at opposing forces within ourselves. (A goal of my website is to encourage this very sort of self-consciousness.) For the rest of us, though… no matter how evolved we think we are… when buttons are being pushed, the probability of conflict and confrontation goes way up, an effect we've witnessed over the last couple days and will for the next few, too.

In one corner stands Mars, the more direct and obvious contender. Mars sees what he wants and goes after it. Because Mars is considered a personal planet, it means any one of us is likelier to identify ourselves with his vibe—immediate, automatic, self-possessed.

In the other corner, we find Pluto, a master of lording his command in complex and profound ways. Pluto lurks beneath the surface, in the shadows of our personalities, feeding off our crudest, ugliest urges—the envy, the lust, the greed, the powerlessness. He's harder to spot because he represents all that we may fear looking at in ourselves. (We can hardly believe we really feel like that.) And that's why we often project his distastefulness outward… onto others in our life.

With Mars in Gemini comes the propensity to try whatever method it'll take—or multiple methods at once—to get what we want. The upside of this approach is its versatility. The downside is the possibility of coming off superficial or inconsistent. It's hard to be taken at face value when you're wearing more than one face.

While you may have the best of intentions as you jiggle every knob until you find one that turns, you've also made a statement that no one entryway is important enough to commit to fully. If someone grills you on the rationale behind your slipshod methods, its coherence may fall to pieces. Will you look stupid? Confused? Insincere? Any of those threats is enough to piss you off.

Pluto's just the kind of guy to ask the difficult questions. He wants to get a rise out of us. And during his long-term transit through Sagittarius, his intensity centers on belief systems—namely, whose is totally right and whose is absolutely, positively, glaringly wrong. Sagittarius doesn't have the patience for open-ended either-ors or always-conditional if-thens. He wants a simple yes or no; say it, and move on.

In the power struggles likeliest to occur these days, Pluto will be represented by the outside force… a person (or institution) who seems totalitarian in his insistence on one answer, without exception or concession. The harder we (as personifications of Mars in Gemini) try to sneak past the shut-tight door and through the kitchen window, the flimsier our case becomes. The controlling party grows more impatient and condescending. Our desperation turns manic and trifling. Everyone gets angrier.

There is a way out, however… and it's got nothing to do with them (who, by this point, you'd frankly like to strangle and smother and pummel and pound).

It's through fuller self-awareness.

That totalitarian belief system, against which we awkwardly lob our random shots, doesn't live somewhere else. It's inside us. It developed through our lifetime, as we internalized our reactions to every instance of being overpowered, shut down, mocked, dismissed, or otherwise devalued for having opinions of our own. And though we may intellectually understand that we needn't bow down to others' controlling ways… on a deep emotional level, we don't quite get it.

So when this other person comes along and starts voicing aloud the very absolutist dogma that rests semi-consciously inside our own heads, we villanize him. His every word excites our fury, and we blast back. Why? Because a part of us thinks he's right. Because a part of us still doesn't believe in our own authentic truth. And we blame him for it.

The great victory here, under this Mars-opposed-Pluto sky, is to recognize our own internal tension at play… and to let Pluto do his job, which is to kill and rebirth our personal ideologies, so they're in line with our actual behaviors. Otherwise, we fight against ourselves—and others—when we do something we've told ourselves we shouldn't do.

Each of us behaves in a hundred thousand different ways that contradict each other. That's the beautifully clumsy ambiguity of human life. But if we believe in a hundred thousand different values that contradict each other, we come off as stupid or confused or insincere as we fear looking. When it comes to personal ethics, we've got to shit or get off the pot. When we do something that clashes with what we've said we believe, it's ourselves to whom we must voice our frustrations. It's us to rightfully blame, not the other guy.

Unless he's a real asshole. Then, just beat his head in. [My legal team advises me to add: I'm kidding.]