The Mars retrograde ends tomorrow. But, Mars will still take some time to gain speed and move back through the degrees that it recently transited, which means that the god of war will still be a major presence for the next couple of months. And in case you forgot (or repressed the memory), Mars squared Pluto, Saturn, and Jupiter during this retrograde, which means it will square them again on its way out. A square always represents a clash or challenge of some kind. Around the time Mars last squared Pluto, on October 9, the plot to kidnap Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer was foiled. That plot unfolded in August as Mars last transited direct over Saturn-Pluto-Jupiter. During this current Mars station, Trump refuses to concede the election and is making plans to go ahead with his “next term”. It’s beginning to smell more and more like civil war every day — not that I am actually predicting that, but no one can deny the palpable feeling of civil war in the air.

Allow me to wax metaphorical. I’ve already referred to the Mars-Saturn-Pluto meat grinder in a previous post. Let’s explore other terrain. Pluto is cathartic. It is purgative. But it also refers to needs purging — whatever pus, diarrhea, or vomit needs to leave the body. Once purged, Pluto can assume its regenerative power. Mars adds heat, action, and force. Think projectile vomit or diarrhea. Or a fountain of pus (between now and inauguration, maybe we should call the White House the White Head). Just as Mars acts on Pluto, Pluto likewise exposes the dark, instinctual underbelly of Mars. Welcome to Fall of 2020!

There’s more. Saturn clenches his fist around all of this. Pluto and Mars wish to blow out the pipes. But Saturn makes a tight aperture. Think of what happens when you put a nozzle on a garden hose. A nice, easy flow of water becomes an intense, pressurized projectile. If you aim it at one spot on the ground, you can dig a hole. As far as how this affects the Mars-Pluto process of purging — I leave that to your imagination.

There are more layers to this. Because we are in archetypal terrain, there are more layers. Mars-Saturn can be militaristic, full of rigid, forceful control, harsh discipline and strictly enforced hierarchies. It can represent the hard, uncompromising voice of the Strict Father and his tradition: “this is how we do it, son.” We find it in sons who say “yes, sir” to their fathers, and in admonitions like “be a man, or “don’t be a pussy”. Needless to say, such patterns have left their scars on the the collective psyche and that of countless individuals. Pluto points toward our deepest wounds and offers healing if we can allow ourselves to actually face those wounds, which is easier said than done.

Here is another Mars-Saturn image: the steam train. Coal burns in the heart of the steam engine, boiling water and building up steam. The compressor contains the steam, building more and more pressure. The pressurized steam moves the iron horse down the rails, a thousand-ton projectile. The archetypal resonance does not stop there. We can also consider the social-historical dimensions of the railroad itself (particularly the transcontinental railroad in the US) and the circumstances of its building, with crews of laborers blasting rock and hammering spikes in regimented fashion, and with the competition among rich and powerful moguls (all men with bushy beards and sideburns). Pluto underscores the shadow of this great work, with the enslavement and sacrifice of Chinese workers, the indentured bondage of freedmen, and the genocide of the American Indians. Looking at the railroad through the Pluto lens, we see the now-obvious shadow of progress. But, we can also see the relentless, compulsive onward thrust of evolution. History has its own way of unfolding for good, for ill, and for everything in between. The wounds suffered in one era become the fuel elevating consciousness in future eras.

There are Jupiterian dimensions to the transcontinental railroad, as well. First and foremost would be the radical and literal expansion of the horizon. Another might be the greed that drove the whole process. Yet another would be the sense of common purpose under which it united so many different people, and the way it connects distant parts of “this great nation” to one another. Even in a polyglot bedlam of immigrants, freedmen, Yankees, and Confederates, such as post-Civil War America, a common cause could still unite people. All of the different groups who contributed to building the railroad had varying identities and customs, they all contributed to a common goal, which left a distinct mark on the body of American culture. This is all Jupiter’s handiwork.

Here’s a quote from the Rocky Mountain News in 1866, which sums it up: “The one moral, the one remedy for every evil, social, political, financial, and industrial, the one immediate vital need of the entire Republic, is the Pacific Railroad.”

What does this have to do with us in the Fall of 2020? I don’t know, exactly. It is a metaphor. I’m trying to convey a sense of the of a Mars-Saturn-Pluto-Jupiter aspect. Archetypes are more than concepts, but unfortunately we can only begin to understand them by talking and writing about them. Language, almost by default, forces us into a world of concepts. Beware! Metaphors are a safeguard against this tendency, and we should take them seriously. Archetypal announce themselves just as a flower exudes its particular fragrance, or song exudes its particular, irreducible . Archetypes have an atmosphere, a feeling, a mood. So, I offer these thoughts as a stimulant to your imagination as Mars turns direct in Aries, and we begin to look toward the grand conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in Aquarius on the Winter Solstice. There is a future waiting to happen.

Alex Stein is an archetypal astrologer.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store