Mars Meets the Uranus-Pluto Square

Dear Friend and Reader:

When I was first studying astrology, one of my teachers pointed me to a study of the 1960s, one of the most interesting astrological eras besides the one we’re currently in. The legends, fables and turmoil of that era are described by the slow-moving Uranus-Pluto conjunction, which was in effect from about 1962 through about 1972. Outer-planet events describe long phases of time, and once again we’re in one involving Uranus and Pluto: the square.

Photo by Ambar Garcia.

This is an aspect that began to take effect in 2008 and that came into focus in 2011. There were signs of change: Obama getting elected, Arab Spring, the Wisconsin protests and the Occupy movement.

Effects of this aspect have developed into the Bradley Manning trial, Edward Snowden blowing the whistle on the NSA and conservative activism designed to prevent women from having autonomy over their bodies. The Supreme Court affirming the right of same-sex couples to marry definitely counts. That will have many implications.

While all this stuff is happening in the news, the same aspects are influencing our lives on more intimate levels. The beauty of astrology is that the same planets are involved in the biggest developments of society as are involved in the movements in our personal lives. Sometimes this is particularly true, especially when planets concentrate in the cardinal signs. And that describes the micro-phase of astrology that we’re in right now. Let’s consider how that is unfolding.

When a faster-moving inner planet (such as Mars) moves into a position where it’s making contact with a slow-moving generational aspect (the Uranus-Pluto square), we get a special effect. That is exactly what happens through the end of the month.

Mars in Cancer is now in the planetary spotlight. Mars ingressed Cancer July 13, putting it on course for three major aspects: a conjunction to Jupiter in Cancer (that happened July 22), an opposition to Pluto in Capricorn (that happens July 27) and a square to Uranus in Aries (that happens July 31).

Think of the Uranus-Pluto square as lurking in the background. It influences the tone of existence, sets big themes, wraps the world around its finger and then kind of disappears into the haze of day-to-day existence. When an inner planet comes along and makes contact with the square, that brings it out to the forefront. And that’s what is about to happen.

Mars is a tangible, sensory and accessible energy. We all know what it means to be motivated, to be assertive, to be angry or to be combative. Mars-Jupiter, still in effect, runs the spectrum from self-righteous to protective and loving. No matter what, it’s passionate, and it’s possible to make contact with a spiritual line of energy.

Next up is Mars opposite Pluto on Saturday, July 27 and in effect now. That aspect runs the range from determination and persistence to being needlessly (or ‘unconsciously’) engaged in power struggles. The moral of this aspect is: choose your battles. You might find it necessary to cut your losses and get out of the discussion. If you are going for the win, plan for a longterm approach.

Photo by Ambar Garcia.

It would be better if you chose no battles, but that’s not always possible — sometimes you have to engage someone to prevent future hassles. Just try to avoid going blow for blow. In any setup the person who is less passionate is the one likely to win, since this is a moment when your own passion can be used against you. This is described by Pluto in Capricorn, which Mars in Cancer is opposing. Mars in Cancer may provoke Pluto in Capricorn, but the cooler, calmer, more deeply rooted party to the equation will probably prevail in any disagreement.

Last in this sequence is Mars square Uranus in Aries (July 31). This is the keep-your-cool, drive-like-a-professional, when-you-see-an-asshole-coming-walk-the-other-way kind of astrology. It’s also decidedly individualistic. I suggest you do that in music and art rather than trying to impress the world with how radical you are. Said another way, this is a rebellious aspect, and it’s better if you have a good reason to rebel and do it in a smart way.

This aspect could pit individuals against groups. Therefore, mind your politics and your manners and think for the future. Remember what you’re really doing in the long run; remember that the game has nine innings. Pace yourself consciously. Some opportunities are there for a moment; some are there for a while — note the differences.

Speaking of politics, the coming Leo New Moon chart (for Aug. 6) is a beauty. I’ll focus exclusively on that chart next week — but one of its themes is understanding how to work this territory of complex human interaction and power-sharing. Humans, most of whom lack basic respect for their fellows, for Spirit and for actual intelligence, have no choice but to engage in politics. On the best level, it’s the art of getting things done.

On the worst level, it’s the art of corruption. But the energy right now is demanding enlightenment, which is applied awareness. It’s demanding integrity, which is flexible strength. Our moment is calling for an equal blend of evolution and revolution — attention to the inner world and its outer expression.


Planet Waves Monthly Horoscope for August 2013 | By Eric Francis

Aries (March 20-April 19) — If you understood how much of your insecurity was about trying to please others, you might find yourself getting angry. And if you do find yourself getting angry, consider that it’s about trying to make sure that everyone approves of everything from your plans to your state of mind before you allow yourself to make a move. I suggest you try this month to seek nobody’s approval for anything. Make up your own mind about everything. Even in matters involving family or household, you’re entitled to your own opinion, which means an opinion that others might not agree with. As you start to do this, you might notice that you’re sloughing off layer after layer of submission, conciliation, people-pleasing and what you believed was give-and-take. All of that is the opposite of taking authority. And taking authority is what you’re about to do. This will require some actual courage, and I believe you’ve got that available. You will need to follow what both your instincts and intuition tell you. The information is coming into your awareness from a deep place. You know what is true for you. Now what you must do is count that as relevant — and make a decision that the emotional dramas of others are irrelevant to you living your life in the way that is right for you.

Taurus (April 19-May 20) — You’ll have more fun when you can take a risk without obsessing over everything from trivial concerns to your worst fears. This may come in the form of thinking through every single possible contingency, which is good for some things in life and not so helpful for others. It’s good for things like marketing campaigns and investigative reporting. Love, friendship, art and music require far less cerebral strategizing. The problem is that once your particular mind gets hold of something, it doesn’t like to let go — and this is especially true when there is some chance to be taken, or even some relatively minor unpredictable factor. You could tidy up this situation by considering the theme of emotional boundaries. Whatever the source of your anxiety or concern, you’ll feel better and be stronger if you define some space and time wherein you’re free to be yourself. That’s the space where anything can happen, and it’s okay — you can go with the flow of your creativity. Then I suggest you do the same thing with selected friends. Choose the people around whom you can ‘risk’ being yourself, which means fully present with your ideas, your passion, your creativity and your sexuality. You may not find many people you can experiment with, though you’ll find a few, the most significant one being yourself. With dropping inhibitions, practice goes a long way.

Gemini (May 20-June 21) — You’re about to begin a new chapter of the season, based on a recent discovery that has helped you get your priorities in order. Said another way, you seem to have figured out what you want and don’t want. This has come at a cost, such as being dragged through a bath of uncertainty and self-doubt, though at least it’s served a purpose — mainly to teach you what is not true. Now all you need to do is shift your emphasis to what is true. This can be a little tricky; there are negativity traps everywhere, and it takes some discipline to emphasize the positive. It’s clear from your chart that if you do, you will get a lot more of it. Any way you look at your life, this is an abundant moment; the variable is what abundance you get. It takes us humans a while to figure out that what we focus on multiplies. Therefore, focus on what you know is true; on what is important to you. Pay attention to the people you want to go deeper with, and focus on what you want to create for them. Regarding money, I would translate “make money doing what you love” to “seek your fortunes doing what’s actually meaningful to you and you will be successful.” Meaning is a form of love, and if you remember that, you’ll have a lot of room to maneuver.

Cancer (June 21-July 22) — If you’re finally tired of not really living the life you want, now is your chance to step out. To some degree we are all pushed into a state of compromise between our potential and actually expressing it. Some of that is about circumstances. Some is about how difficult it is to connect with the wild creative core that you contain, and so many pressures that exist against doing so. It’s challenging on Earth with all its complications and obstacles to hold the frequency of one’s original intentions for coming here. Now all of these factors are changing simultaneously. You’re in a position to take advantage of favorable environmental factors and stretch what seemed like your physical and emotional limits. At the same time you’re coming into contact with your deeper confidence, perhaps for the first time. Though this may seem like emotional movement, it’s more like certain challenges you’ve confronted are putting you into contact with your spiritual strength. It would be helpful to recognize the difference, so that you can work on the much larger scale that you’re being called to. That seems to be the central message of the astrology: moving onto an entirely new level. It may look to others like your ship coming in. In reality what’s happening is an internal phenomenon based on your devoted contact with the truth of who you are.

Leo (July 22-Aug. 23) — There is astonishing strength that comes from devoting your life to service. I don’t mean servitude, codependency, or subjugation. I mean devotion to something in yourself that connects to the world around you in a profound way. It’s helpful to get the order of things correct: devotion is an inner phenomenon, not a commitment to something outside you. But the inner aspect is not a “this is for me” thing; it’s not really about you, it’s about something you contain for the purpose of expressing. There’s a useful image from across the wheel in Aquarius, where your counterpart there has an urn of water that she fills up for the purpose of giving away. You can think of yourself as being the guardian of the sacred hearth. You tend this hearth because it’s the thing to do, then it provides heat, light and energy for everyone around you. I suggest you get used to the idea that this is a 24-7/365 kind of commitment, though that mostly pertains to the inner relationship involved. Then, you offer your time and energy when called upon and when appropriate. The planet involved is Vesta, and there’s always some element of ‘doing without’ where this goddess is concerned. I would look at that as an exchange. If you get rid of everything that is trivial, gossipy and designed for appearances only, you will have abundant time and energy.

Virgo (Aug. 23-Sep. 22) — Note the presence of a different kind of intelligence — the kind that does not run in circles or work against itself. It’s off the plane of mental cognition and accesses the level of direct knowledge. This kind of intelligence knows something is true, then figures out how it works in practical terms. As you get a feeling for this experience, you’ll shift your relationship to yourself, and could discover that you have access to something deeper, something that transcends the usual boundaries of what you think of as your mind. Your mind is indeed part of something larger. It’s only the idea that it’s not that prevents you from experiencing this directly. It’s therefore essential that you do the one thing with your mind that is eminently possible for anyone who wants to do so: keep it open. Then I suggest you observe the ways in which information comes in from modalities other than what you might normally consider to be thought. Actual creative thought is not bound by anything physical; it needs no grounding in experience or learned knowledge. It’s a truly generative experience. Yet to get there, you need to think of yourself differently, which first means noticing your prior limits and being willing to go beyond them. Limits serve the purpose of creating a comfort zone — one that you no longer need, and that I doubt you want.

Libra (Sep. 22-Oct. 23) — If you recognized that you don’t have to go it alone, you would feel a lot better, and your life would be easier. This transformation would happen without much fuss, and the results would be easy to see. It’s true that you are subject to forces outside your ability to control them, and lately you’ve really been feeling this. You may also be questioning whether there is any solid ground to stand on. Then the sensation that you have to do it all yourself, endure everything and live in a world where people don’t understand you, just feeds on itself. Shift the dynamic by taking the initiative and gathering people to whom you relate. Take that one risk. Reach out to others who you’ve noticed have some similar values or ideas, or who reach you with their positive ideas. As you do this, you’ll begin to realize how influential you are. You don’t want power; you want the ability to connect with others in ways that are meaningful, to share ideas and experience the pleasure of common ground. You may feel like you’re miles away from such a space, when in truth you’re much closer than you think. All you need to do is stop waiting for something positive to happen and recognize that you’re the attracting force. You’re the one who will set into motion the changes you want to see and experience.

Scorpio (Oct. 23-Nov. 22) — You are being handed an opportunity to think of your career a whole new way, to redefine your idea of achievement and to embrace a notion of success that has the power to change your life. There is something in the chart — something strong and beautiful — about doing what you do for its own sake, rather than for some other common motive (money, prestige, recognition, etc.). Yet it looks like you’ll be doing whatever you’re doing in an unusually visible way — and it’s up to you not to become distracted by this, and to keep your focus where it belongs. Your charts for August have a profound theme of service. This is a concept that gets a lot more talk than it needs and less action than it deserves. It would be helpful if you would deflect any and all recognition that you get back into the basic service that you are providing to the world. It would help even more if you take the time to refine your ideas about what that service is, and concentrate on how you can become the point of contact between what you do and who benefits from it. The more it seems that other people benefit, the better you’re doing. What you get needs to be secondary, because it only distracts from what you’re offering.

Sagittarius (Nov. 22-Dec. 22) — Speaking at the recent Queer Astrology Conference, I started my talk by reminding everyone that sex leads to existence, and that people who don’t like or don’t approve of sex are likely to have some deep misgivings about being on the planet. Your charts are reminding you of the connection. Because religion has gone so far out of its way to build its fortunes on shaming sex, we take for granted that it must be inherently unspiritual. This is straight out of the Toxic Sludge Is Good For You school of public relations: tell a lie often enough and it seems to be true. Your chart is issuing a bold reminder that there is nothing more spiritual than sex. If you know this, then let it inform your whole life. If you’re struggling with it, if you have some moral aspersions around the topic, and they are irritating you, I suggest you check out the whole ‘relationship to existence’ angle. If you belong here, then how you got here is a good thing. If you don’t belong here, then you might have an issue with the way you got here. Consider this long enough and it’ll start to make more sense — to you. You might not be able to do much with or for others who are still waging war against themselves. Thankfully, they’re not the only people on Earth.

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 20) — As you make your way through life, pay attention to who notices you, who makes eye contact, who returns your smile, who offers you emotional resonance. Notice who laughs at your jokes and who cares when you talk about a topic or issue that’s important to you. You may have become so accustomed to the feeling of intimidating others that you expect people to respond to you that way. It would help if you could set aside that expectation, because it has a way of perpetuating itself. It’s true that people are generally intimated, timid and self-centered. You don’t need to light up the whole room — you merely need to notice the one or two people nearby who have some light in their eyes. And they are likely to be the ones who notice you. One thing remains constant through the whole extended phase of Pluto in Capricorn: that is insisting that you maintain inner focus, which is to say, your inner awareness. You may notice that some people enhance that focus no matter what you’re doing together (and some distract you from it). They’re the ones to cultivate relationships with, because they support your relationship with yourself and vice versa. Codependency is a great reason to avoid certain kinds of relationships. Fortunately, there is an alternative.

Aquarius (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Your charts suggest that this is an interesting, even cosmic, moment in your relationships. Yet the same astrology is also cautioning that you may feel like everyone but you is getting what they need. There’s an illustration of you in the role of healer, facilitator, or the one who holds space for others. You may feel like you’re the last stop before people find the thing they’re looking for; you may feel like you’re the one safe place where others open up, but then somehow get overlooked as the one to make contact with. Usually when I see this kind of astrology, it’s clear that someone is playing what you might call a karmic role, something they’re accustomed to and are good at. But the planet involved, Vesta, often leaves people yearning for personal experience that they can imbibe for their own pleasure. I suggest you take the step and cross that threshold yourself. Make choices that bring you closer to getting what you want. When you find yourself with the option to offer yourself in service to someone, make the decision carefully whether you want to offer yourself. It’s a different role than the person with the human need for play and creature comforts, and at this stage in your life, either option really is a matter of choice.

Pisces (Feb. 19-March 20) — Your charts say you have everything going for you, all at the same time. These are rare moments and thanks to astrology you can have some confirmation that this particular one is real. The highlight of your astrology is not just equal emphasis on both creativity and work, but the removal of the dividing wall between the art studio and the office. Similarly, there is emphasis on passion and on healing, on self-focused experience and absolute devotion to service. There is equal emphasis on what you do in private spaces and how this radiates out into the culture around you. If there’s a problem with this astrology, here it is: most humans I’ve met or heard about struggle with recognizing their capacity to be so much at once. Said another way, we struggle with our human potential; with our potential to be fully human. In my experience on the planet, that’s the biggest risk that a person can take. It calls for courage, and for setting aside the fear of consequences that in so many lifetimes has proved to be worth heeding. Sooner or later we all must get over the pain and sense of limitation that we’ve accumulated from past experiences, and for you this is an excellent time to do just that.

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