Mars/Pluto aspects have a heavy reputation, and for good reason. When Pluto’s power meets Mars’ action, there’s potential for intensely hot sex, but also destructive (sometimes violent) power struggles. In synastry or composite charts, that’s reason enough to take a closer look. Read on to discover the possible implications of these volatile energies in relationship astrology.
You may have read that Mars is the lower octave of Pluto. This means Pluto’s universal themes and unconscious/past-life urges (power, the desire to merge, complete transformation) are acted out consciously, and immediately, through Mars. Both planets are concerned with sex and survival. But Mars is the tip of the iceberg, and Pluto represents everything underneath.
When one person’s Mars aspects another person’s Pluto, the specific results will depend on how each person deals with their respective planet. But in general, the Pluto person will deliver jolts of intensity to the Mars person, and the Mars person will react. Harmonious aspects (trines, sextiles) will create a manageable flow of profound chemistry. Pluto will push Mars further than Mars has ever gone, and Mars will handle the deepening sexual expression by acting out Pluto’s longings. But these energies don’t just manifest in the bedroom; the Pluto person can also push Mars to be more ambitious and assertive.
The hard aspects (conjunction, square, opposition) are more troublesome. I’m considering the conjunction as a hard aspect, even though it’s a union of energies. Fusion of these planets can pack a gut punch, making it difficult for all but the most self-aware people to handle. With all hard aspects, the Mars person will feel threatened by Pluto’s power, as Pluto attempts to dominate. Domination will be based on Pluto’s fears, which will be given conscious expression by Mars. So Pluto will really be attempting to control his or her own Shadow, which Mars is triggering. According to evolutionary astrology, natal Pluto also represents the desires that manifested in a past life (the South Node describes where those desires manifested). If Mars is the conscious expression of Pluto’s desires, then Mars/Pluto contacts also represent a significant (but often uncomfortable) evolutionary opportunity.
Mars will feel like they are being invaded, and will react according to natal sign and house position. For example, Person A’s Mars in 1st House Aries (squared by person B’s Pluto) will react with outright aggression. Mars in 12th House Libra will react indirectly, allowing anger to simmer beneath the surface. Meanwhile, the Pluto person may feel compelled to control the Mars person, sometimes with “guidance,” and sometimes with outright manipulation. Something about the Mars person’s actions will feel threatening to Pluto. While these aspects can create tremendous sexual attraction, the anger and resentment can darken that passion to something truly unpleasant.
Outcomes can range from constant bickering to (in rare cases) violence. Note that violence is not a foregone conclusion; always, always refer back to each person’s natal chart to see how they handle their anger and subconscious urges. Generally, the more comfortable each person is with their anger, the more they’ll be able to handle these aspects. The Pluto person must remain conscious of efforts to control the Mars person, and Mars must be aware of their knee-jerk reactions.
Sometimes composite Mars/Pluto aspects can echo natal or synastric Mars/Pluto aspects. The natal or synastric energy is magnified, but also feels familiar. But sometimes these composites aspects can pop up when they don’t exist synastrically or natally. Then, it’s a surprise for both parties, as they are exposed to energies they’re not accustomed to. Composite Mars is the way a couple takes action together (and the flow of sexual energy in the relationship). Composite Pluto is where issues of power and transformation occur. From an evolutionary perspective, composite Pluto describes the couple’s mutual desires in a past life (where those desires manifested is described by the composite South Node). Composite Mars describes the joint actions that couple took to make those desires happen. This manifests as instinctive, habitual actions in this life. This is true, even if composite Mars/Pluto don’t aspect each other. But when they are linked, desires and actions can be particularly difficult to step back from and view rationally.
Again, harmonious aspects are easier to work with. A couple with composite Mars trine or sextile Pluto will have tremendous drive to achieve something, defined by the composite houses. Although this can add intensity to the sex life, it doesn’t always mean hot sex. Composite Mars in the 10th House (future goals for the relationship) trine Pluto in the 2nd House (money, security) can signify a couple who really want to get ahead and carve out a nice life for themselves.
The hard aspects will represent areas of anger, power struggles, and past-life difficulties. For example, 4th House composite Pluto square 7th House composite Mars suggests a couple with conflicts over family versus outsiders. And, they’ll probably have difficulty cooperating with each other. They will feel compelled to build and defend their nest, because (in a past life) they attempted to defend their home, but it was probably destroyed. In this life, they may feel an overwhelming urge to move in together and merge, but their core insecurity can create co-dependency and unhealthy parent/child dynamics. The square to 7th House Mars suggests they will be confronted with hostility from others, in part, due to their projected hostility. And they’ll squabble over inequalities between them. Home can become a battleground, with the war played out sexually and/or through domestic duties. There may be rampant jealousy, competition and struggles for dominance over who does what.
Is this a red flag? It will depend on the rest of the composite chart, and how each person handles their anger and insecurity. Both parties have to be wiling to confront their behavior, and acknowledge that composite Mars/Pluto will always be a point of tension in the relationship. An outlet for the energy (symbolized by easy aspects from other composite planets) can help. But Pluto’s polarity point (the house and sign opposite composite Pluto) is the most important outlet. This is what the couple should be aiming to develop — the new desires that will drive the composite North Node. In our example, the polarity point is the composite 10th House. This couple will have to grow up, each person becoming a responsible adult whose actions are not driven by the threat of loss. Also, they’ll need to be careful about who they allow into their relationship (including friends and family members).