Mars and Pluto; Mama Bear and the Three-headed Dog
June is big month with some potent alignments to watch out for. Mars opposes Pluto on 5th and 6th June followed by the New Moon lunar eclipse, the second of the pair in Gemini, on 11 June conjunct Mercury cazimi. Mars enters Leo and then we have the second exact square between Saturn and Uranus on the 15 June (the third and final one is on 24 December). Phew.
Mars the warrior, is in his fall in Cancer. He confronts the Lord of the Underworld without his shield, his sword is blunt, his armour is rusty and he is in a crabby mood. It is not such a good time to pick a fight. Cancer is a maternal sign, and so Mars becomes tenacious and protective, like a mama bear.
With the eclipsed dark Moon — the ruler of Cancer, perfecting at the same time it looks rather like a matter of life and death, at least it may feel like that. Now or never, nothing to lose. The Moon is asking Mars to defend her temple.
This is where I stand
The confrontation between Pluto and Mars reminds me of the scene in Lord of the Rings where Gandalf confronts the dreadful Balrog on the bridge. “You shall not pass!” he commands, with an emphatic thrust of his magical staff. It is an archetypal battle between good and evil, but there is no clear winner. We don’t always have a choice when, where or how we pick our battles. It could be one of those occasions where we must make a stand. Gandalf dies, but is reborn later in the story, true to the Pluto archetype. The death part can be painful, but it is necessary for rebirth.
Astrologers are terrified of Pluto, with good reason. Hard aspects by transit can be intense, typically with a stripping away, a purification by fire, or a breaking down process. Sometimes he brings empowerment, or he bestows resilience and the determination to achieve the extraordinary. To survive against all the odds. His slow march through Capricorn concentrates his transformative powers in the shape of a goat-man, the god Pan, and has been implicated in the inception of the pandemic.
Pluto is Hades, the eponymous Lord of the Underworld in Greek myth. He guards the portal of the the realm of the dead, where they gather in a dark and musty waiting room, a ghastly, ghostly departure lounge, on their way to heaven or hell. He has a staff with a bird on the end with which he herds the souls of the dead, he rides a chariot pulled by four black and immortal horses, a magic helmet which could make him invisible and a three-headed dog, Cerberus, his faithful helper. He is the brother of Jupiter, Juno, Ceres and Neptune.
He was venerated throughout the ancient world with temples and annual sacrifices. The Romans called him Pluton, the guardian of the lower world and all the wealth it contained; minerals, gold and other precious metals, gem stones and jewels. In ancient astrology he was also known as the bringer of wealth and I have seen Pluto aspects where a priceless ancient artefact is dug up or a secret treasure trove is revealed.
The rock and the hard place
Astrologers are calling the Uranus/Saturn square the theme of the year, but it is within orb through 2022. Change is incremental and glacial, or sudden and catastrophic. Both these archetypes want change, but their horns are locked over the nature, timing and details of the change. Saturn, who is strong in his own sign, wants a slow and considered process for the common good, for the benefit of all. Uranus wants it to happen right now for the sake of a radical ideology that benefits the few rather than the many, influenced by the somewhat materialistic, selfish shadow traits of Taurus.
Uranus is the primordial sky god. The ancient Greeks adopted him from the Egyptians and called him Ouranos. Egyptian depictions show how he was imagined; as a gigantic, star-spangled man with long arms and legs, resting on all fours, with his finger-tips in the far east, his toes in the far west, and his arching body raised to form the dome of the sky.
Neither of these gods are likely to compromise, however both of them want something new. Yet forcing change when the timing is wrong brings chaos and loss. Frustration and impatience are harsh teachers, while we wait, heal and nurture our needs and desires.
The pressure to change, the longing for something new and the frustration, anger and fear surrounding the situation are likely to be provoked by the new moon (eclipse in Gemini) on the 11th June. Mercury’s retrograde cazimi could be a spark that lights a fire. Suddenly the truth is announced, a window of opportunity appears, we see a light in the darkness and confusion. Like sunshine after rain, Mars moves into Leo and we can drive forward with more courage and vitality.