Ukraine invasion protest

Pluto, Mars and Venus March to War

When heavy planetary energies haunt our skies, disruption and upset often emerge. The Venus-Mars-Pluto alignment is no exception. Sadly, tragically, unthinkably, this has been a lightning rod for the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And in true Mars fashion, this story is changing fast by the day.

The world is full enough of hurts and mischances without wars to multiply them.

~ J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

It seems that when Mars and Pluto get together, something happens that upends the state of the world. The last time they did was March 2020 which launched the COVID-19 pandemic that still hasn't finished playing out. Now they come together again and the world is once again in crisis, although this time Venus is with them.

Chart of Russian invasion of UkraineClick/Tap to view larger chart. Opens in new window.
About the chart data used.

Throughout February 2022 we have seen a long-term "travelling" conjunction of Venus and Mars. They entered an 8° orb at the end of January, remaining within that orb until April 8th (almost 2½ months). And they march together within a 1° orb (in other words, virtually exact) for an entire month, from February 11 until March 12.

That's a long time!

Venus is normally associated with peace and love and flowers and pretty things, but she also has a different side that can be assertive, provocative, manipulative or reactive. Libra, which she rules, is known as the Peacemaker but can also be the War-maker. Libra's quest for balance sometimes means having to force the issue in order to get both sides to even out. Hopefully, Venus' love of harmony, peace, negotiation and rapport will shine some light on this situation, like she is sparkling brightly in the pre-dawn sky right now.

Mars, of course, is about assertiveness, action, anger, change, and forging one's own path, although is also associated with aggression, war, violence, force and vindictiveness. So, Mars can be a bit hot to handle easily, and is often regarded as a troublemaker or an energy that is likely to be disruptive or offensive. The truth is Mars enables us to survive, thrive and grow, even though he's a bit of a mixed blessing.

Mars in Capricorn is considered exalted – in other words, Capricorn brings out an especially dignified side of Mars, who takes his get-up-and-go energy and applies it to constructive and effective productivity. However, Cap can also provide the substance, support and stability to enable Mars to become more his Mars-y, volatile, aggressive self.


War is what happens when language fails.

~ Margaret Atwood

What's extraordinary about this ongoing Venus-Mars conjunction is not just its unusual length of time, but also the fact that they meet up with Pluto from late February to early March. During this time, the 3 of them huddle in conjunction together within one degree, and at their very closest on March 3rd they are all squeezed inside a mere quarter of a degree. (This heavily colours the New Moon in Pisces on March 2nd.)

Venus Mars Pluto risingThis triple conjunction of Venus, Mars and Pluto within a one-degree orb is very rare. The last time it happened was September 1976 in Libra (first Ebola outbreak; death of Mao Zedong). Before that, August 1955 in Leo (lynching of Emmett Till). And before that, June 1904 in Gemini (International Alliance of Women founded by Susan B. Anthony, et al, which campaigned for women's suffrage). The next one will be February 2079 in Aries. When these 3 planets get together, we see controversy and power shifts which have far-reaching implications and impact.

The chart for the Russian invasion of Ukraine unsurprisingly has Venus, Mars and Pluto rising and therefore prominently placed. Even if we adjust the time within an hour or two, those planets are still rising toward the Ascendant or above it and rising toward the Midheaven, indicating their energies are increasing in strength and influence.

Venus Mars Plut and ErisVenus and Mars are tightly square dwarf planet Eris, suggesting that their collective effect could be disruptive and controversial. And Venus and Mars are conjunct the Sun-Moon midpoint in the chart, indicating that their influence is pivotal in the unfolding of the dynamics of the events.

Also notable in the chart are the Lunar Nodes which are possibly aligned across the MC/IC axis (depending how accurate the chart's time is). The South Node in Scorpio is conjunct the Midheaven in this chart, which could indicate some kind of loss of empowerment from those in power.

North Node cnj AlgolThe North Node in Taurus is exactly conjunct the fixed star Algol, which suggests an encounter with deep, volatile, possibly vengeful dynamics. Algol could imply imposed injustice with little recourse to control or redirect the outcome, and which therefore needs to be transformed in order to change. The North Node is conjunct Algol within a one-degree orb from Feb. 14 to March 2 (True Node), or from Feb. 8 to March 18 (Mean Node).

Don't forget: this chart reflects the event, the moment in time, and not necessarily one side or the other. So, although this disempowerment seems to describe Ukraine's possible loss of her sovereignty to Russia, it also seems to describe Russia's loss of respect and goodwill within the global community.

There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.

~ Howard Zinn

There are some other significant alignments by declination. Not just approaching a conjunction aspect, Mars and Pluto are also exactly parallel. This reinforces the Mars-Pluto combination of intense, aggressive, volatile energy. Best case scenario: through confrontation and restructuring the balance of power, a new alliance could be forged that will be stronger and more stable than before. No doubt, this is what Vladimir Putin would like to happen—on his terms. Worst case scenario: an abusive, oppressive war that is destructive, cruel and tyrannical, which everyone hopes and prays can be avoided.

Moon Mars Pluto parallelThe Moon aligns with Mars and Pluto in parallel on her way Out of Bounds (OOB) later that day. The Moon remains OOB from Feb. 24 to 27. These days are likely to be somewhat emotionally disorienting. The Moon is far away from Mars and Pluto by longitude (Moon in Sagittarius, Mars and Pluto in Capricorn), but the Moon is tightly parallel to them when the invasion began. It therefore could be seen as a catalyst for the event, astrologically speaking.

With the Moon in Sagittarius when the invasion began, our feelings may be coloured by the hope of turning this situation into something morally honourable, and/or perhaps the worry that injustice could prevail despite (what are believed to be) the best of intentions.

Again, what you consider morally just in this situation may well depend on which side of the Russia-Ukraine border you're on. And yet, the Moon in mundane astrology represents "the people," not the Powers That Be who are at the helm of the unfolding events. So, it's significant that there are reports of "the people" participating in massive protests, both inside Russia (despite the risk of being arrested) and all over the world. In addition, the people of Ukraine are taking up arms to defend their country.

Signifying political leaders and governments, Saturn is in Aquarius, the sign of restructuring the status quo in the name of forging a new world order. The Saturnian energy shaping the development of events would seem to suggest that one way or another, the relationship and boundaries between Ukraine and Russia will be radically changed by the time this conflict has settled – one way or another, for better or worse.

War does not determine who is right — only who is left.

~ Anonymous (often misattributed)

How do I think this situation will turn out, and when? Despite seeming to be in the "prediction business” I dislike trying to predict things. I would rather understand the energies than try to second-guess the Universe ...or people's free will. ;-)

However, what I will say is that I think this is a significant and important episode in the larger unfolding of current world events. It is galvanizing the rest of the world in a way (as I've heard so many times in the news media lately) that hasn't been seen since World War II, and that's a Big Deal.

While there is still a chance that this crisis can be averted before it becomes a full-blown, long-term, global crisis, the grave concerns over how far Russia might take this is an understandable and perhaps valid one. And here's why.

For one thing, this is happening on the USA's Pluto Return (exact passes on Feb. 20, July 11 and Dec. 28 of 2022). With the US and Russia historically having an awkward relationship at the best of times, both countries are intimately invested in the outcome of this current crisis. The US is a major player in this drama because so much of the world's money, power dynamics and influence flow through that country.

The whole situation greatly impacts the global economy, transnational alliances, and the overall distribution of power within the international community. So, this is being felt by the American Powers That Be in a deeply significant way at a time when heavy-duty Pluto is sitting squarely on their chart.

Pluto Capricorn to AquariusFor another thing, Pluto is about to change signs from Capricorn into Aquarius. This transition begins just a year from now (March 2023) and Pluto lumbers back and forth between those signs until his final entry into Aquarius in November 2024. When Pluto changes signs, there's usually a big shift in the global collective, sometimes coinciding with the start of wars.

Notable examples include World War I (as Pluto moved from Gemini to Cancer), World War II (Pluto moves from Cancer to Leo), and the Vietnam War and the building of the Berlin Wall (Pluto from Leo to Virgo). (I wish I could remember where I first read about this insight – possibly Pluto the Redeemer by Ada Muir, 1967.)

And finally, another big upcoming transit is that after moving into Aquarius (2023-2024), Pluto will go Out of Bounds by declination from 2025 to 2035. More accurately, Pluto shuffles in and out of bounds during that time. Pluto hasn't been OOB since 1938-1953, and during that time we saw World War II, the atomic bomb used as a weapon, and then the exploration of nuclear energy as a fuel source. By the grace of all that is sacred, may we never again see nuclear energy used for military purposes.

However, big turning points in the historic power dynamic have taken place during Pluto's OOB periods, many of them pivotal in human history. Examples include the Magna Carta and the Gutenberg press, as well as both the start and end of the trans-Atlantic slavery trade.

The takeaway here is that with these major transits looming on the horizon, an eruption in the condition of peace in the world, especially involving world superpowers, could become amplified as those larger transits draw closer and play out.

Pluto is associated with volcanos. The current and upcoming rumbles from the world volcano will require cool heads, courageous hearts and an honourable spirit to navigate along the edge. One step at a time ...but don't take too long. The terrain is changing rapidly.

The music's playing, the notes are right
Put your left foot first and move into the light.
The edge of this hill is the edge of the world
And if you're going to cross you better start doing it right
Better start doing it right.
Let the dance begin...

~ Phil Collins, Anthony George Banks


About the Chart Data

The chart for Russia's invasion of Ukraine is tricky to pin down. For one thing, the attacks on the morning of February 24th occurred in several locations around the Ukraine border. In this chart, I have used Kyiv since it is the capital of Ukraine and since it is seen as a primary target of the invasion.

Also, the time when the attacks began is difficult to pin down for a few reasons. Different people report different times when they personally became aware of the attacks. And being reported from different locations, those times are likely to vary.

My sources for the timing come from online news media reports, which unfortunately tend to give a very approximate time for events, often resulting in conflicting times. The earliest time I found was from the Washington Post - "Two loud booms were heard from the city at around 4 a.m. local time." However, The Guardian gives a first-hand account of the attacks, including when they began: "So it begins: 5am. Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa, and all along the 2,000km-long Russian-Ukrainian border."

Sources cited by Wikipedia support this 5 AM time: "Shortly before 06:00 Moscow Time (UTC+3) on 24 February, Putin announced that he had made the decision to launch a 'special military operation' in eastern Ukraine. [...] Within minutes of Putin's announcement, explosions were reported in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odessa, and the Donbas." (Note that Ukraine is one hour earlier than Moscow.)

Therefore, I have used the time of 5:00 AM EET which seems it is a likely time. However, this chart should probably only be given a Rodden Rating of B at best.


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