As Mars and Pluto opposed each other for the last time in a cycle that began last fall, a student at the University of North Carolina here in Chapel Hill where I live was murdered, the latest in a wave of violence that has increased the murder rate in Los Angeles by 27% for the year so far, and 30% in New Orleans. The UNC student, Eve Carson, was student body president and by all reports well-loved by students, faculty and even the political leadership of the Town who knew her in her role as Trustee. Her murder is being called a “random act of violence” by police, but my intuition tells me there is more to this story than meets the eye.

Murders are not unheard of in this quiet college town, but they tend to be concentrated in the areas where drug activity can be found and are usually the result of a drug deal gone bad, and a few years ago a high school student murdered his parents. We do not often see this type of seemingly random violence – the last time a townperson was murdered was 1995.

Violence seems to have spiked since the eclipse on February 6 when Mars was virtually stationary in preparation for the final opposition to Pluto. In 2007 there were five school shootings for the year, two of them in October and November as Mars began the opposition to Pluto; in 2008 so far there have been four and all between February 8 and 14th. There certainly appears to be a statistical correlation to Mars/Pluto, but I suspect that this is just be an eruption of the culture of stress and violence that is permeating the global consciousness.

With 1 in 100 people in the US behind bars and a steadily increasing crime rate, it is clear that Pluto in Capricorn will preside over the breakdown (Pluto) over our criminal justice system (Capricorn). Already US states cannot afford to continue feeding and housing prisoners and providing medical care at this level. Pluto governs over the breakdown and removal of systems that are no longer working, and clears away the debris. As it travels through Capricorn it will expose those areas of our culture that are disintegrating from within and complete the process so that something new will be rebuilt. The pinnacle of this process, of course, will occur in the period from 2010-2013 as Uranus in Aries makes a square to Pluto in Capricorn.

It seems very clear to me that the breakdown will need to be very nearly complete in order to transform to the degree that transformation is necessary. We have all experienced drastic changes in our life that were extremely uncomfortable, but which ended up to be the best thing that ever happened to us because of the transformation that occurred. We must not fear these changes but instead embrace them, because that is what will bring about the new age to come.

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