What happens when, within less than 24 hours, both Mars and Pluto begin apparent retrograde motion? These are the agents of energy, power, and drive in the horoscope, and fuel all choice, change, and action; with both symbolically withdrawn, we may find the wind taken from our sails, both individually (Mars) and Collectively (Pluto). And, considering that first Mars (at 5:14 AM PDT of the 17th) then Pluto (12:26 AM PDT of the 18th) recedes, we may find first an individual breakdown or denial of initiative, quickly followed by a larger tide of energy removed from the landscape. A recession of impetus on both a personal and societal scale may offer the impression that there’s no way forward, and nothing to be done–but it’s important to remember that these are particular points in a cycle, and we just happen to have experienced them in close proximity to each other, creating the sense of an extreme loss of power, a sudden and seemingly insurmountable weakness–but of course, all we need do is wait for another turn of the wheel.
Like a tide going out, the sense of being impacted by events, as well as moving to create impact ourselves, may dissolve, leaving a sort of turning inward in its place. With Mars reversing direction in Sagittarius the sense may be of having optimism removed, knowledge negated, no way to reach out, and with Pluto in Capricorn the sense of institutions, barriers, and obstacles as insurmountable may become acute. The prospects for change may seem nil, both from our own viewpoint in personal matters and on the larger social scene. Again, what we need to remember is that this is a figurative low point, in energy terms, not a death knell to either evolution or progress.
Mars’ first contact in retrograde will be a square to the Moon. This suggests the change takes a heavy emotional toll, especially in areas where we have expressed or absorbed criticism, or where we have labored or served in hopes of a positive result (Moon in Virgo). Pluto’s first contacts in retrograde will be a square from Zeus and a trine from the (still in Virgo) Moon. Here the emotions absorb the bad news a little more easily, probably because we see that denial of or irreversible changes to widespread ambitions and desires is shared by whole swathes of society.
What we need to do is adjust; we need to see that a straightforward assault won’t bring the results we want, and neither will one that threatens destruction or transformation–both extremes of the Plutonian coin will lose credibility in this environment. Considering that the Moon is an immediate contact of both bodies, it may pay to take a more receptive route to facilitate both action and change; a sensitive stance where the intuition and feelings play as great a role as the Will may be the most effective way to deal with the energy shift. There is also the potential for channeling wants and efforts through the Arian Venus, who can muster behind the Will exceptionally well, and who keeps the ‘I Am’ in mind even as she seeks the cooperation and assistance of partnership.
If you have placements in 15-17 degrees of the Cardinals, you’ll no doubt feel the grind by withdrawal of an energized environment (in fact, it may present some serious problems), and if you have hard aspects to Mars (in the 6-8 degree range) you may find at least part of the energy withdrawal could involve your own ability to deliver being questioned. Since this likely occurs in adjacent Houses of the natal chart, we may find that our own actions in the matters of the House where Mars is currently transiting may trigger the withdrawal that follows in the Pluto House. No matter what, dear Reader, take it all in stride, for this too shall pass.