We do not lack the brilliance, the creative prowess, the passion, or the desire to bring about a more just and equitable world. We do not lack shoulders of giants to stand on; blueprints of what has worked and why, or what has failed and when; or teachers who are willing to pass on the wisdom they’ve developed. We do not lack facts and data on how severely incompetent and violent the systems we live within are. We do not lack real-time images of unimaginable devastation. We have all the proof we need that the world is ready for a reset.

Social media is a phenomenal tool, one that spreads words and visuals at lightning speed. It gets us to the marches and rallies on time, shifts narratives and power away from major media conglomerates seemingly overnight, and brings awareness to situations that would otherwise remain obscured.

With it, we alter culture in ways we’ve never seen before — to a certain extent.

But long-lasting, effective change takes time, work, effort, bridge-building, and the capacity to withstand losses, undergo moments of immense discomfort, and process our fair share of grief. Things that the internet cannot teach — and in some cases, weakens. Because algorithms tailor our feeds to suit our desires, we’re trained to treat anything we dislike as disposable, swipeable, unfollowable. This includes each other. It cultivates a belief that perfection is possible, that the world (and, therefore, our movements and the people they are made up of) should be as we imagine, as if we could curate a life as delusional as face filters.

Life is so much more messy than that.

For all its gifts, social media has also bestowed upon us the curse of confirmation bias. The expectation that life should be as perfect as a slickly designed post, slogan, or viral soundbite. When conflict arises, our phones beckon us to numb out on a dopamine rush, making our tolerance for discomfort little to none. But the truth is: When life confronts us with our lack of experience or expertise (as it’s so prone to do), feelings of inferiority are natural. Instead of forcing us to grapple with them, our digital playgrounds make righteous indignation all too easy to indulge. The group sport of hurling insults at strangers over half-read, misunderstood, taken-out-of-context (or really not that important) sentiments on the internet circumnavigates feeling the terror and humiliation that often accompanies our humanness and growth. But more importantly, it wastes our precious time and energy — a sure way to lose any larger battle we need to win. 

Mars conjunct Pluto in Aquarius

This week, Mars and Pluto come together in Aquarius for the first time in a couple of centuries and we begin a whole new cycle. Mars is the warrior, and Pluto is the deity of the underworld, transformation, and power. Together, they spell out determination. In Aquarius, that determination is intellectual, technological, and possibly collective: a signature of the ultimate strategist.

Aquarius is a sign that takes its time. It is what we call “fixed,” meaning its main characteristic is certainty. But this is not just a personality trait; it’s due to the rigorous ways in which Aquarius applies its mental energy. Mars in this sign is a duelist with an in-depth knowledge of the system it is fighting within. Its battle plan is thorough and unlike anyone else’s.

This Mars–Pluto combo asks us to reconsider who and what we are studying, how we are spending our energy, and whether it will help us to accomplish our aim. It’s a sign from above to take seriously our intellectual training so that we have a good chance at outsmarting the tyrants and bullies, being (at least) one step ahead of their antics, and refusing answers that are prepackaged and perfect. Pluto gets dirty, and Mars knows that to be marked by battle is to have lived. Together, they remind us that lasting change requires us to challenge and be challenged.

The world events that occur now are a marker for what will develop and deepen as these two make multiple conjunctions in Aquarius over the next couple of decades (aka Pluto’s time here). In our personal lives, they signal the beginning of a new cycle in the areas of our charts that contain Aquarius. (To get a better sense of this moment, I highly recommend reading your Mars in Aquarius and Pluto in Aquarius horoscopes and listening to your weekly reading in the CHANI app.)

Above all, this astrology is asking us all to begin our training, to expand our understanding of the kind of strategy we need to develop, and to think about what it might mean to be so determined on our mission that obstacles and setbacks only embolden our resolve and inspire us to sharpen our skills. Aquarius’ talent is that it perceives what others fail to recognize, and in this sign, Mars knows how to use that to its advantage. May we follow suit.

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