I hesitate to write this, because the transit of Pluto to my Mars is only at its midpoint now, but many of you have written and are curious to know my experiences so I’ll tell you what I’ve learned so far.

First let’s look at the players. Mars in the birthchart shows the way we express our desire nature. What we want, how we set boundaries to defend what we have, how our basic drives are expressed and what those drives desire. Pluto is often called the “higher octave” of Mars, because where Mars acts as the Will of the individual self, Pluto acts as the Will of the higher self. The outer planets, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, each is a higher octave of a personal planet and assists in the soul’s evolution of that personal planet. For example, Uranus is the higher octave of Mercury, and takes the concept of learning and communication to a higher level.

When Mars and Pluto interact, either in the birthchart or by transit, on a transformational level we have the Will of the personal self colliding in some way with the Will of the higher self. Our individual desires are subsumed by the process of the soul’s evolution to take us on a path of growth rather than personal satisfaction. This can result in tremendous frustration and dissatisfaction, especially if Mars and Pluto are in stressful aspect in the birthchart, or if the individual is successful at aligning the individual Will with the higher self, there is a tremendous focusing of individual power.

Someone asked me yesterday, “how do we know that we have worked through our issues so that we get to the higher manifestation of the planets?” Our personal issues and personality quirks create resistance within us to the unfolding progress of soul growth. As long as we identify with these issues and quirks and hold onto them instead of relaxing into the process of change, the difficult planetary transits create lessons and challenges for us in order to facilitate that process. Once we have stopped resisting and feel enough trust in the process so that we surrender each moment to the energies of the planetary gods as they work to deepen our evolutionary story.

I didn’t know what to expect during this Pluto transit, which began for me at the end of January. Mars in my chart is in Capricorn, which makes me a very big DO-er as some of you know, and it conjuncts Chiron which shows that the necessity of doing under Mars in Capricorn is both a wound and the key to healing for me. I have always been a person who says “Just Do It” ; Capricorn doesn’t really care about personal excuses and the desire (Mars) for achievement (Capricorn) is a powerful drive that has been a great motivator for a somewhat consistent exercise program. However, when Pluto was exactly on my Mars I found I couldn’t move. I felt like I wanted 2000 pounds and it was difficult to even walk from my house to the car. I remembered what I had counseled so many clients with Mars/Pluto in their charts, and forced myself to walk and get to the gym occasionally and did find that the action helped to create more energy. Great job, I told myself.

I had been working on beginning online astrology classes and had nearly 100 people express an interest in the classes, and I was fired up. However, in the midst of the first hit of Pluto when I began to schedule the classes there weren’t enough people to participate. I surrendered beautifully to that and congratulated myself on my brilliant navigation of Pluto.

Pluto was less than a degree from Mars in my chart when it changed direction and started heading for Mars again, and I began to feel a simmering rage begin to burn in my intestines (solar plexus). This started causing some real physical distress and I looked back in my ephemeris to see when Pluto last aspected Mars in my chart, which was a square formation back in 1972. That was the time I ended up in the health center at the university I was attending, suffering from severe intestinal cramping. The natal Chiron conjunction to Mars suggests not only a fear that my needs will never be met, but it also provides a link to the physical body through Chiron for health problems to arise when this issue is confronted.

A situation with a neighbor began to exacerbate this burning rage and caused a confrontation in which I attempted to exert every bit of my power and need to control. A casual breakfast with my mother turned into a disaster as old wounds (Chiron) erupted to the surface and could not be held back. At the same time, it became clear that my 18-year old cat was nearing the end of her run. It is not uncommon to face death in one form or another during a Pluto transit, because we are never more aware of the power of life in a physical form than when we are exposed to death. My relationship with this cat has been extremely complicated, but knowing she would soon be gone made me realize how attached I had grown to her over so many years.

All through this, I could feel Pluto pressing in on me from all directions and my physical energy was completely sapped. It was as though Pluto was saying to my DO-er Capricorn Mars, STOP EVERYTHING!! So I took four days to retreat into my home. For the first two days I literally did nothing other than watch movies on TV. By the third day I was starting to feel reasonably human, and by the end I was, while not back to normal, at least functional. Some of the draining of physical energy is due to holding back the flood of rage that is stored in the body, and while I have released much of my inner rage over the years there was evidently still some left!

When we go through a big planetary transit like this the energy of the transiting planet needs to be assimilated so that we can absorb what it has to teach us. The first phase of the cycle is like a drive-by shooting – it wakes us up, but then we usually go back to sleep. By the second phase we recognize the need to pay attention and we begin making adjustments and alterations to our behavior and our mindset so that we can incorporate the lessons of the planetary god we’re dealing with. Pluto demands that we let go of anything that no longer serves us and face up to the responsibilities of real power – the kind of power that flows within us that goes beyond the ego. Pluto requires the death of ego so that a more transcendent power can be born – a power that aligns us with our own higher self and Universal Consciousness as well.

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