What does it mean to have Mars Square Pluto or Mars Trine Pluto in the natal chart? In this post, I will address Mars-Pluto Aspects: all the major “hard” and “soft” aspects will be discussed. Please note that these are baseline interpretations and may be modified according to the presence of other factors in the chart. You can also study Pluto Houses I and Pluto Houses II discussed in other posts.
In evolutionary astrology, Pluto symbolizes the Soul, and Mars represents the Soul’s agent, i.e. the executioner of what the Soul is meant to carry out in this incarnation. The proximity between these two symbols, therefore, can be read as an alignment between the evolutionary path of the Soul and the ability of the Soul to take immediate action in order to fulfill the particular requirements of this path. As Mars also represents one’s style of initiating and executing, this conjunction can also hint at the possibility of evolving through action and initiation, rather than compromise and contemplation.
As discussed in a previous post, in psychological astrology Pluto represents a different concept: rather than the evolutionary path of the Soul, it stands for all that has been suppressed in us in order for us to psychologically “survive,” i.e. to function in a seemingly “normal” fashion.
Mars, on the other hand, represents our psychological battery, our energy source, and our ignition switch. It is our motivation to get up every day and push ourselves in order to achieve what seems to be beyond our limits. It is our fighting style, our favorite weapon to use, and our sharp edge. Mars, in short, represents the fire which fuels our psyche to simply continue focusing on survival, how to stay alive, and how to eliminate that which may appear as an obstacle in our way to just “be.”
The conjunction between Pluto and Mars can thus be interpreted as an inherent alignment between the suppressed fear and the expressed courage, the hidden desire, and the explicit urge, that which is quietly buried, and the impulse to make one’s presence known as loud as possible: Pluto is the dark and damp soil, the womb, out of which the seed of Mars grows, shooting upward and eventually tearing apart the surface, ejaculating, “Here I am!”
If the energies symbolized by Pluto and Mars are psychologically integrated, the gap between the Soul’s “knowing” and “doing” will be minimal. In this case, evolution will take place through direct action, as organically as a seed will turn into a tree by “doing” the process of growth every day: breaking the soil, growing roots, moving upward, all will be a natural part of the seed’s evolution, a program which the seed will follow without much contemplation.
Similarly, an individual with an integrated Pluto Mars conjunction in her natal chart knows by doing and does as she knows. This “knowledge” does not refer to mercurial information, by the way. It rather refers to the wisdom of the Soul, and it is probably better understood as “instinct” or “gut feeling”: what the Soul knows is translated directly to an urge for action, and the action almost always carries the signature of the Soul, for better or for worse.
Passions run high with this configuration in the natal chart, and one may feel to be at the mercy of one’s impulses, and yet, there is something quite invigorating here: the Soul is almost incapable of putting a space between “knowledge” and “action,” or it is reluctant to accept what it does not recognize as genuine, or to compromise to anything less than the absolute execution of its wish, for better or for worse. To the same degree, there may exist in the Soul a natural tendency to “somatize” itself as much as possible, thus whatever that is moving the Soul can directly affect the body as well. Emily Dickinson, the American writer, and poet who had this configuration in her natal chart has summarized this concept beautifully in her understanding of what poetry is:
“If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?”
If this conjunction is under stress in the birth chart and remains psychologically unintegrated, the individual may be carried away by the ceaseless demands of her Soul, feeling unable to stop acting in a direction which is not socially, culturally, or morally sanctioned (such as acting with violence or lack of respect), hurting herself, or endangering the well-being of others. In some cases, the individual may “attract” violence, or may unconsciously seek the annihilation of self if Pluto’s suppressed content is overwhelming enough to consume Mars’ natural urge to ensure survival.
Finding a healthy, physical outlet for one’s impulses, such as boxing or martial arts, or choosing a profession which involves risking one’s life (such as fire-fighting), or making quick decisions which involves risky circumstances (such as conducting surgical procedures or working in an Emergency Room), enrolling in the police force or the army, or working as a professional sportsperson can regulate the less desirable aspects of this energy exchange. Either case, it seems that in most cases, sweating and allowing the body to tire itself out by doing high-intensity, physical activity can also be a simple and effective way to reduce the need to be impulsive out of context.
With this configuration in the natal chart, one’s style of action or initiation may have been challenged by one’s karmic or ancestral predispositions, or by what is demanded by the Soul as part of the evolutionary process.
In some cases, the individual finds it difficult to act without feeling unexplainable anxiety or a fear of annihilation. A strong urge to initiate a course of action may be present, however, despite the fact that the individual may lack the psychological conditions necessary to motivate herself to push forward.
In other cases, a male figure (the father, a brother, etc.) may have posed a deep threat to the sense of autonomy of the individual during the early years of life or may have psychologically shamed the individual regarding her sexual impulses. In this scenario, one may have come to believe that taking action or experiencing sexual urges may equal death, thus a psychological paralysis or “impotence” may have been formed over the years as a result of such belief.
As the first priority of our psyche is survival, the individual may have become convinced that the only way to survive is to cut herself away from her primal urges which may, in fact, be too intense or shameful to contain. One’s primal urges during infancy, such as the urge to cry or to call attention to oneself, were probably suppressed the moment they became known as well. Therefore, the psyche might have formed a dismissive attitude towards one’s primal urges simply to let the individual survive without experiencing an excruciating internal conflict, and later making the individual experience anger for no apparent reason, or alternatively, the psyche may have coped with this situation by allowing itself to periodically “purge” through explosive behavior (shouting, beating or breaking things, etc.) or triggering such behavior in others.
Unless the individual becomes conscious of this early unconscious formation, she cannot truly liberate the enormous energy of Mars in order to utilize it in achieving her goals or fulfilling her evolutionary purpose. If these energies are eventually integrated, however, the individual can have access to an unfathomable source of strength which would allow her to identify the correct path in any complicated situation and act according to her gut feeling without hesitation. As the agent of the Soul, Mars will then transform itself from scattered, ungoverned energy into focused, controlled energy capable of functioning with laser-beam precision whenever and wherever necessary.
With this configuration in the natal chart, one’s urge for survival may have been formed in reaction to the primal, the profound, or the taboo aspects of oneself. Consequently, the individual may have disowned those aspects of herself which could be shameful or unacceptable, in order to assure survival. These qualities may then “seem” to be present in others whom the individual may interact with: they may seem strong characters, with a high degree of stamina, or on the contrary, they may seem impulsive, manipulative or even violent.
If this configuration remains psychologically unintegrated, the individual may find it difficult to understand her own role in triggering abrasive or violent behavior in others. She may constantly complain about the aggressive world she lives in, the highly-competitive work environment, the control or the manipulation imposed on her by others, etc. Alternatively, she may complain that nobody in her world has the courage to do the right thing, to be honest, to take action when necessary, etc.
Once the individual recognizes that what she sees in the world or in other people as abrasive, controlling, manipulative or impotent is, in fact, part of her own psyche which has been suppressed and then projected out, the process of healing can begin:
If these energies become psychologically integrated, the individual can come to a different understanding of her world and the people in it: that not everyone is out there to harm her, control her, or manipulate her, and that the world is not necessarily just a dangerous place without any safe harbor in it. One can be, in fact, strong and intense, honest and passionate, and yet survive. One can allow one’s sexual urges to become known, enacted in the safety of an intimate relationship, and yet endure the possible shame or rejection. In this case, we can trust the other to participate in our process of healing, to witness our pain or suppressed anger, not as a receiving end, as a victim of our pain or anger, but as a much-appreciated mirror, standing there to help us see ourselves as clearly as possible and accept ourselves as we are.
Mars-Pluto: Quincunx (Inconjunction)
This configuration may signal that the capacity to take action might have been diminished or dismissed by karmic habits, ancestral patterns, one’s fears, or one’s pain.
As response to the frustration arising from such “impotence,” the individual may have developed a psychological urge to “punish” oneself or others, later erupting in the form of masochistic or sadistic behavior, or particular obsessive thought patterns which may test the individual’s urge to survive, i.e. fantasies of self-depreciation or self-glorification through interacting with a dominant or dominated figure or being put in situations which may threaten one’s life. The erotic charge released through these fantasies can encourage the individual to continue in this loop without ever getting to the root of her issues, which is the initial feeling of impotence or inability to take action when doing so is in one’s interest.
To allow oneself to openly discuss or enact such fantasies in a safe environment (during sex therapy, or with an intimate partner) may gradually release the psychological pressure which has been formed around the notion of impotence. However, it is also important to actually discuss the root of the issue and see how this type of pressure point has been formed in the first place (the psychological analysis), and then why it has been necessary for the Soul to manifest this type of challenge in the first place (the evolutionary analysis). Supplementing this knowledge with therapy sessions and a detailed discussion of one’s early memories regarding action and assertion, power and powerlessness can help heal the possible imbalance indicated in this configuration in the natal chart.
This configuration may signal that one’s capacity to act or initiate may have been polarized from one’s instincts, fears or suppressed emotions. Alternatively, one’s ability to stand for oneself or put oneself above others may have been indirectly affected by an experience of severity, extremity or crisis.
If these energies remain psychologically unintegrated, the individual may attract unwanted scenarios where events happen behind her back, for better or for worse, to affect the course of any action she may take, and she may thus stay unaware as to why her will is not bearing the fruits she wants.
If the individual consciously works with these energies, however, she will be able to understand that the apparent disconnect between all the events outside of her control and her urge to act is an opportunity to practice authentic action, which is an action happening as a direct response to the needs of the moment, rather than as a pre-meditated process which is formed in response to that which is out of our control.
With this configuration in the natal chart, there usually exists a tendency to act in accordance with one’s gut feelings or intuitive understanding of a situation. Furthermore, individuals with this placement in their natal chart usually have impeccable timing in initiation and execution of projects, as they can “feel” the right moment for launching an action or they often choose a style of action which is in harmony with the requirements of the moment.
If the individual works with these energies in a conscious manner, she can accomplish much in a short time, as there usually exists an ability to focus on completing a course of action before initiating another. In this case, the individual may strategize her moves rather than dive into action impulsively, may intelligently use the resources available to her before gambling any of her own, or may simply be able to maintain the pace or endure various hardships to achieve a certain goal.
If this configuration is not psychologically well-integrated, however, the individual may use the abundant psychological energy available to her imprudently by wasting her natural focus and problem-solving ability in fighting battles which are of no use to her. Alternatively, an urge to impress and transform the other through sexual contact may also be present, which may or may not work in the individual’s favor: one may become fixated on the idea of being so good in bed that the partner cannot go elsewhere, or one may become so focused on healing the sexual wounds of “the other” in a way that “the other” cannot ever let go of this psychological debt and thus stay there forever.
As always, the danger with harmonious energy flow between two archetypes is taking things for granted about oneself or others and allowing incentives to stay unexamined. Therefore, with this configuration in the natal chart, one has to be brutally honest with oneself to make sure that she is not performing any action to strengthen control over another person, even if that action seems to be not only benign but even commendable.
With this configuration in the natal chart, one is often presented with opportunities to develop skills regarding initiation, assertion or sexuality. In some cases, a Martian figure in the immediate environment (the father, a sibling or friend, etc.) may have been exposed to some form of loss or crisis, triggering the individual’s capacity to learn how to act or how to harness action if necessary.
If the energies symbolized here are well-integrated in the psyche of the individual, she will be able to learn how to be assertive rather than aggressive, how to set boundaries which others respect, and how to heal herself through sexual contact. Alternatively, the individual may become a teacher or therapist working with others regarding Martian topics such as sexuality, anger or violence.
If these energies are not well-integrated, however, the individual may inadvertently inflict pain on sex partners or may experience emotional fixation and/or obsession with certain objects or people in her immediate environment (a family member, a relative, coworker, neighbor, etc.) A solid degree of willingness to change has to be present in order for the individual to start recognizing her own emotional patterns and thus modifying them; otherwise, no amount of encouragement or persistence coming from others can initiate the healing process for the individual in this case.