“World War III [will be] a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.”
— Marshall McLuhan, 1970
Dear Friend and Reader:
As we move through these unusual and even singularly strange times, there are both large markers describing our era, and seemingly small ones. Yet astrology is holographic. You can take a slice of a chart, or even the details of two houses, and get a plausible reading on the whole scenario. The story of our times is told in the seemingly large moments, and in those that are seemingly small or insignificant.
This week we are in a particularly telling stretch of astrology, as Mars makes a square to Pluto and a conjunction to Eris. Both are slow-moving planets that define eras of history. These days Pluto spends under 20 years in a sign, while Eris is in the process of crossing Aries — which began in the late 1920s and wraps up in 2048. Pluto and Eris are now dancing in a 90-degree angle that is the heart of our current astrological region, and which astrologers unfamiliar with Eris and its actions are unlikely to observe.
Now, a fast-moving personal planet is about to make aspects to both, which is what happens when the slow movers hold an aspect for a while. Mars is slowing down to its retrograde on Sept. 9, so it’s moving through this pattern meticulously. It will seem to stop right after it does so, and then repeat its movement in retrograde motion in September. Then it will turn direct in November and move through the pattern again.
For reference, the three Mars-Eris conjunctions are on August 17 (direct motion), October 4 (retrograde motion), and finally Dec. 22, 2020 (direct motion). The squares to Pluto are very close to the conjunctions to Eris, as Eris and Pluto are now functioning as one entity.
Mars, the Global Village and the Search for Self
I am soon to do eight hours of video on this topic, though I will take this opportunity to sum up my thesis of this astrology. Through the age of Eris in Aries (1926-present, through 2042), the world has been swallowed by broadcast technology. Wireless radio went from an instrument of maritime navigators to a commercial medium in this era, with many effects on society and on people as individuals. I cover this in detail on the current edition of Planet Waves FM, right at the top of the program.
When Marshall McLuhan used the term “global village,” he was describing the effect of radio. The phrase was picked up by a manufacturer of modems at the dawn of the internet age, and it was apropos enough: we are really seeing the global village phenomenon on social media.
The effects of this are, among others: loss of privacy; tribalizaton of society; loss of individual identity; being pushed, lured or accidentally wandering out of body; deterioration of inner existence and inner life, to the point where some people don’t know what these terms mean. There is also a literacy problem, which has currently devolved into a postmodern notion affliction of “there is no such thing as truth.”
This has happened under the aegis of Eris in Aries, a vast and beautiful astrological topic that I unravel somewhat in this series of articles.
Now Mars is in the Mix
Now Mars is entering the mix, with its square to Pluto on Aug. 13 and its conjunction to Eris on Aug. 17. When a close-up personal world mixes it up with far-away planets that influence long generations, the result is that the private meets the impersonal — and there will be an interesting effect.
My take is that all this digital influence we have been swimming in for the past 20 years — which is the apotheosis (so far) of electronic communication — has put many people into a position where they have no clue who they are. We see compensation for this as obsessive self-labeling, as if you can tattoo your soul onto your shoulder.
The McLuhans, I think, are astute in their observation that violence is always the quest for identity. This helps explain wars and shootings, and also the undue verbal aggression and bald hostility that the internet has bred for its entire existence.
So this will be a good week to study the theme of aggression, and also of the ways you and your cohorts express intention, aspiration and desire, and anger, all of which are expressions of Mars qualities. Think of Mars as the core energy source of human experience.
Sex and Sexuality
The McLuhans do not address the medium or environment of sex in their work; they have left that project to me. I would add that sexual exploration — the direct investigation of desire — is also a way of getting to know oneself.
Mars engaging itself with Pluto and then Eris raises all the interesting questions about sex and sexuality that we might have here in the age of disembodiment, corporate control over anything it can get, and Covid. Lately, there have been some strange advices emanating from health officials, all for our own good, such as have sex through a glory hole.
Only an astrologer would think that was funny in the context of Mars, and of Pluto in Capricorn. However, it also betrays the truth that nothing is too stupid or absurd to prevent it being taken seriously in the current rendition of the environment.
In truth, this whole Covid drama is going to radically alter many preexisting sexual scripts, and it’s also going to enhance the one about how the only safe sex is the kind you don’t really have — which is virtual.
Yet Mars, Pluto and Eris in combination seems to be like a quest for embodiment: for the real thing, the necessary thing, the one that is actually expressive of human experience, need, and desire. Eventually, if not sooner, all of this completely safe virtual sex and relating is either going to drive people mad, or back into their bodies (in the way that a condition in the environment can suddenly reverse itself if the conditions are right).
The world in all its political “correctness” has yet to address the sometimes aggressive nature of the best sex. Yes, this is aggressive in a loving or at least cooperative context. Sex is also competitive, for many, and it can be so even in the most playful contexts.
So, while the world is busy trying to find itself through violence and aggression, or turn itself into an archetype on the internet, we might set up a little camp off to the side where we can explore our feelings and give desire and its emotional content a push. This is something that we would need to consciously grant ourselves and others permission to do. You would be surprised how simple encouragement makes it much easier to explore without guilt marring or sticking to the experience.
The square from Mars to Pluto suggests this is something best worked out with oneself first, and others later. That is in the nature of the square. The one thing a square must do, though, is express itself. Choose your vehicle.
Sex changes everything, and sex with yourself changes you.