Mars is moving through the last degrees of Gemini and approaching an opposition to Pluto which will be exact on September 21, just in time for the Autumn Equinox on September 23 when the Sun enters Libra. Many believe that the chart of the Equinox sets the tone for the entire season (I’m not sure if I’m quite there, but I’m willing to entertain the notion) so this could be a significant event.

Mars is the individual will – the aggressive instinct, the warrior who defends his/her own boundaries and violates those of others. Pluto is the Ultimate Destroyer, and in the birthcharts of individuals it acts as the Will of our higher self. When Mars and Pluto are in opposition they are working against each other in an attempt to find balance, and you have Pluto’s hand of destiny blocking the efforts of Mars to assert itself and achieve its desires.

We tend to see an increase of aggression and violence when Pluto opposes Mars, as well as major power conflicts. Because Mars is in Gemini we are likely to see a flurry of battles of words and small skirmishes rather than major warfare, particularly since Mars is trine Mercury during this time as well. This could actually be an excellent time for confrontations that require discussion.

Because Mars moves so quickly, Mars transits are usually felt for a few days or a week at the most, but because Mars will retrograde this year it will oppose Pluto twice more before completing the cycle in March. The opposition cycle is made more powerful by the fact that the second hit of the opposition comes at the last degree of Pluto in Sagittarius and the third and final opposition comes at the first degree of Capricorn. This is a time of transition, and the addition of Mars fires up the engines for powerful change.

Mars will turn retrograde in November and oppose Pluto again on January 2, at the last degree of Sagittarius. The final degree of a sign is significant as it marks the completion of the work of that sign, and this phase of the opposition cycle will follow shortly on the heels of the conjunction of Jupiter and Pluto in late Sagittarius.

Mars turns direct on January 31 and makes its final opposition to Pluto when both planets are at1 degree on March 7. This will also be a New Moon in Pisces that is very nearly conjunct Uranus, and four planets (including Chiron) will conjunct the North Node in Aquarius. Mark your calendars, this will be a very powerful time!

There is a lot of buzzing about US invasions of Iran and Somalia, and a new report says that the US is seeking to establish a permanent command base in Africa called AFRICOM. I would not be surprised to see the scope of the so-called War on Terror widen under the influence of the Mars/Pluto opposition. We are also likely to see an increase in earthquake and volcano activity, particularly with Pluto heading into the earth sign Capricorn.

On the positive side, Mars and Pluto are both power planets and that power can be used for good as well as for evil. There is an underlying power for change being exercised by Pluto, and as with any Pluto transit we need to get out of the way and let it work and not let our little Martian desires get in the way of real change. That is how true transformation takes place.

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