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Saturn, Pluto and a New Kind of WarWorldWarI image

About once every decade Saturn and Pluto form an angular aspect, that is to say a square, opposition or conjunction. Like all angular aspects involving the outer planets, these connections tend to coincide with increased tension in various places around the world. What’s special about Saturn to Pluto aspects, however, is that this tension has, over the course of the last 100 years, produced three major wars.

In 1914, when Saturn and Pluto were conjunct in Cancer, World War I began. In 1940, when Saturn in Taurus was square Pluto in Leo, World War II kicked into high gear. In 2001, when Saturn in Gemini was opposed to Pluto in Sagittarius, we had the terrorist attacks of 9/11 which precipitated the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

What is remarkable about these conflicts is not just their worldwide scope, but also the ways in which they changed our concept of warfare. World War I was our first mechanized war. We learned how the advances of the industrial revolution allowed nations to mobilize an army of millions in just a few days and kill them in just a few hours. Inventions like the machine gun, long-range artillery, airplanes and tanks rewrote the rules of making war.

World War II took the concept of mechanization to higher level with massive bombing raids on major cities and V2 rockets. Of course, the big step forward was a step to the very edge of human extinction: the development of the atomic bomb.

World War II and the concept of mutual assured destruction made the major conflicts of the first half of the Twentieth Century unthinkable. Instead we got small wars, proxy wars and insurgencies. We got wars fought by small groups of hardened believers who hid in the background and struck without warning. 9/11 showed us how one of these tiny groups of fanatics could do great damage to the most powerful nation on the planet.

That brings us to the last Saturn to Pluto aspect, the conjunction of the two planets in Capricorn that occurred in January 2020. A lot of astrologers (myself included) thought that this conjunction would manifest in some way involving the impeachment of Donald Trump. We forgot that aspects like this influence everyone of this planet and every nation. We were so focused on Washington D.C. that we missed what was happening in Wuhan, China.

The pandemic was also a war. It was not a war of nations against nations but of all the nations of the world  against nature. The brilliant, interconnecte civilization that these nations had created allowed the infection to spread around the world at a rate that completely outstripped the ability of governments to take defensive actions. In this surprise attack by the  natural world we humans were caught as flat-footed and unaware as the soldiers during the early weeks of World War I, the citizens of Hiroshima at the end of World War II and the office workers in the twin towers on September 11, 2001.

Both World War I and World War II greatly changed the way wars were fought during the decades that followed. The pandemic is going to change our thinking about war in an even more fundamental way. Nations will continue to fight among themselves, but those fights will be less significant than, and most likely a product of, our larger war with nature. The most fundamental change, though, will be the fact that this is not a war that humans can win. The best we can hope for is to somehow arrive at an equitable peace.

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