Mars was opposite Pluto (at 26 Gemini-Sag respectively) in September 2007 and, because Mars is soon to go retrograde, there will be 2 more oppositions as part of the same cycle, one in January (at 29 Gemini-Sag) and then one in March (at 1 Cancer-Capricorn.)
Mars frequently makes a hard aspect to Pluto, but it doesn’t last for long unless, unusually, it coincides with the Mars retrograde cycle. So now is a time for seeing more deeply how these 2 planets interact, because of their prolonged contact.
Mars and Pluto are 2 of the ‘baddies’ amongst the planets, they are associated amongst other things with war and violence, so we should expect to see some sort of process going on around war between September and March. With the opposition, you’d expect to see more of it. But interestingly, there has recently been a marked fall in the levels of violence in Iraq. And the Iraq War has Sun at 29 Pisces (20 March 2003, 5.33, Baghdad), so it is strongly affected by this Mars-Pluto opposition.
What can this mean? Politically/militarily the ‘surge’ is one cause, and I don’t know what other factors might be involved. But astrologically, it suggests to me the possibility of Pluto acting as a restraining or deepening factor on Mars.
The sign that Mars rules, Aries, is associated with active aggression. Mars is also co-ruler, along with Pluto, of Scorpio, and here we find a different kind of Mars. Scorpio, of course, is perfectly capable of wanton aggression, but more classically the type of Mars we find here in Pluto’s realm is defensive. It is a Mars that swims about below the surface of the seemingly still pool, and it can find it hard to motivate itself… unless there is a threat, a survival issue, something real that needs attention for oneself or another, and then it can be there with almost superhuman strength, the monster from the deep rises up. It’s not so strong on initiative, but it is strong on having a good reason for fighting, and strong on strategy.
So it seems to me that Pluto has for now restrained, and in a way deepened, the Mars of the Iraq War. Mars in its pure form wants to fight and win, but it is not patient or strategic. The Iraq War has an unaspected Mars (George Bush also has an unaspected Mars), suggesting a violence for its own sake that is not serving a well-considered strategic end. So it is possible that this Mars-Pluto cycle may bring in a new phase of the Iraq War in which all sides have clearer aims and a degree of negotiation becomes possible. Certainly with Pluto squaring the Sun of the Iraq War over the next year, we are going to see some sort of fundamental shift.
This possible shift is reflected in the sign shift of the Mars-Pluto opposition. Gemini-Sag can be associated with polarisation (Gemini) and fundamentalism (Sag), and therefore with the sort of war we have been seeing. Capricorn-Cancer is known as ‘the political axis’, partly due to the number of countries that have their Sun on this axis, suggesting a shift from military to political solutions.
I think that Mars-Pluto is probably always going to be associated with painful experience in one way or another, but this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad thing. I know one young person who undertook a journey on the September 11 eclipse, in which the Sun-Moon conjunction in Virgo was part of a Grand Cross with Mars-Pluto and Uranus. This journey resulted in a painful, even brutal experience of rejection that has brought to a head all sorts of issues that needed addressing, and begun a healing process. So here you could say that Mars-Pluto acted as surgeon's knife to the very painful but necessary catalyst of Uranus.
Mars-Pluto has also been squaring the ASC of David Cameron, the leader of the Conservative Party in the UK. He has had a hair-raising ride since Gordon Brown came to power at the end of June. The Conservatives were comfortably ahead in the polls before then, and many of us expected them to cruise the next election. But Brown has proved unexpectedly popular, and Labour were suddenly well ahead in the polls and likely to call a snap election. Cameron had to make the speech of his life at the Conservative conference a couple of days ago, and they bounced back in the polls. But with Mars-Pluto active in his chart through till the spring (and Pluto all year), this is unlikely to be the end of the story – he has a whole process around his leadership to go through over the next 5 months, and who knows how it will end? He will need to draw on new depths (Pluto) to fight (Mars) for both his job and his party. It is make or break for him, and possibly for the party itself.