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Mars-Pluto-Narcissus: Everything is a Sign of the Times

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Dear Friend and Reader:

Mars is about to make a conjunction to Pluto in Capricorn (6:06 pm EST Monday, or 23:06 UTC). It makes two other aspects in the process. First, there is already a planet conjunct Pluto, a centaur called Narcissus (obviously not named for a mythological centaur).

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Photo by Eric Francis.
Second, anything that makes a conjunction to Pluto these days also makes a square to Uranus. Put simply, Mars will be firing up the Uranus-Pluto square, the generational aspect that is the backbone of what I call 2012-era astrology (approx. 2011-2015).

When a fast-moving inner planet makes aspects to a longstanding generational aspect like the Uranus-Pluto square, there's the possibility of a moment of revelation.

True, that's always possible, though I'm talking about one associated with learning astrology. I call these ‘proving moments', though by proving I mean demonstrating the possibilities rather than some form of scientific proof. I am borrowing the term from my first cousins next door, the homeopaths.

The tendency of astrology is to predict events. I prefer to use it as an observation tool, and a means of analysis, and this is what I suggest we do with this one-of-a kind pattern. Whatever happens over the next week or so will tell us something about the Uranus-Pluto square, and about the times we are living in.

Our old friend Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) observed that the environment is invisible. Using astrology and observation, we have an opportunity to see what is actually in our environment and how it's influencing us (and vice versa).

As part of the environment, the times in which one is alive are notoriously difficult to see. What is happening now, whenever now may be, is almost always taken for granted. It's just the way things are; no need to really notice what it's telling us. Astrology has a different message -- pay attention and notice.

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Marshall McLuhan, photo by Yousuf Karsh.
Part of what makes this aspect pattern one-of-a-kind is the presence of Narcissus, a factor I have not worked with till now. I kept noticing it hanging around in the vicinity of Pluto, and figured out that it had to be moving slower than your average asteroid. I went looking for additional information, and learned that it's classified as a centaur because it crosses Saturn's orbit. Its orbit is 18 years, more than four times longer than most asteroids.

Narcissus is the lead character in a Greek myth, and in modern parlance, it's the namesake of a psychological issue (narcissistic personality disorder). Wikipedia's editors describe this as affecting someone who is "excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and to others in the process."

Prevailing estimates that this affects just 1% of the population are hilarious. I think it's more like a good strong influenza; that it's close to the essence of our society's emotional plague. To unravel that all you need to do is study television commercials, movies and pop culture.

Narcissism is a form of extreme self-interest at the expense of, or to the exclusion of, other people, and to the detriment of the person stuck in this place. It's also self-defeating, in the end, just like many diseases first thrive on and then kill the host organism. When you put Narcissus together with Pluto, you connect it to the evolutionary impulse that Pluto carries. This can work many ways -- through extreme experiences, a liberationist impulse, or thirst for wisdom, to name a few.

Mars conjunct Pluto-Narcissus, then squaring Uranus, is begging for enlightened self-interest. I would describe that as self-interest that recognizes that we are all connected, and have common needs. Actual self-interest sees common interest, just like a smart business person knows that other people succeeding in business is essential to his or her success.

Another way to conceive of this aspect pattern is an eruption of the issue that it describes. Mars-Pluto-Uranus, square Uranus, has a bonfire of the vanities sensation, a fire which may burn bright enough to see what all of this unenlightened self-interest is about. It may even burn bright enough to provice a glimpse of what lurks in the dark psychological landscape around us.


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