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There is this rare thing that will happen in the universe on June 19, when Mercury and Mars oppose Pluto on the same day. According to VICE senior astrologer Annabel Gat, this means we’ll be susceptible to a lot of fighting, power struggles, and generally catastrophic energy—and it could be the worst so far this year, if we're not prepared.
“There are going to be lots of fights breaking out, huge egos, jealousy. It’s going to be all the treacherous drama in Game of Thrones, multiplied by 20. Just imagine everything is extremely confrontational,” Gat says. “Mercury rules the mind and communication, and it’s all about negotiating. Mars is all about taking action, and it’s also the planet of war. Pluto can do both those things to an even higher degree...It’s an overwhelming energy.” In other words: If Mars is a fist-to-fist bar fight, Pluto is the astrological equivalent of nuclear warfare.
Adding to that, emotions have been building through last week and into the full moon Monday: hopes have been dashed, and people have been paranoid or too trusting, she says. Jupiter’s square to Neptune, compounded by Mercury opposing Saturn, brought heaps of rejection and gloomy energy on Sunday. June 19 brings a critical climax with “the moon in Capricorn opposing Mars and Mercury and meeting with Pluto, making emotions especially heightened.”
Rather than sit back and fall victim to whatever pandemonium awaits, or worse—relive those last few episodes of GOT—I asked Gat for tips for all of us on how to prepare for this terrible cosmic weather.
1. Be on high alert during rush hour
Whether you’re on a train or bus, or driving during the morning rush, be aware that the aggressive energy around you could lead to higher-than-usual tension. Think: road rage, people snapping at each other. “The commute is time when people’s tempers are set off very easily,” Gat says.
Along those lines, leaving early will do you some good. If you’re not in a rush, you’re less likely to be the person on edge and you won’t have to worry about delays from the chaos around you. If you have the option to work from home, this would be a great day for that!
2. Avoid your usual caffeine fix
This is a day to calm yourself down, not psych yourself up. “Do your best to stay chill during everyday interactions—that [could] mean swapping out your coffee for chamomile tea,” Gat says. (That said, if you’re a person who is cranky without caffeine, leave enough time to brew a cup so you start your day on the right foot!)
If you want to take that a step further surround yourself with calming scents, like lavender—if you can’t burn a candle, perfume works. This wouldn’t be a bad week to try some meditation, or learn some breathing exercises (one called “resonant breathing,” which has been recommended to veterans and survivors of genocides and natural disasters, takes just a few minutes to learn).
3. Hang out in threes
Having a third party present can be useful for keeping things in check when tempers flare. “When you’re arguing with someone, what they’ll say to you will be different based on whether you’re alone or if a teacher, parent, or boss is watching,” Gat says. “Make sure someone is watching.”
Just make sure that third party is someone who will make things better, not worse. “The best way to deal with Pluto problems is to bring in...an unbiased third party who can help mediate. The worst way to deal with Pluto problems is to cheat on someone or have secrets,” she says. And if no one else is around, “ask yourself what you would do if a parent that you really respect, or your hero, was in the room.”
4. Turn your revenge fantasy into a success fantasy
If you’re feeling an impulse to get back at someone on June 19, remember that revenge is almost always better in your imagination. If you can’t shake the impulse, however, lean toward a healthier version of it.
When they say, “‘Success is the best revenge,’ there’s still a lot of ego behind it,” Gat says. “But it’s a better place to lean into than, ‘I’m going to ruin your life.’” So if you’re feeling fixated with the day’s “relentless energy,” consider channeling that energy toward your own passions and healthy obsessions; tackle some research and let that energy propel you in the direction you’re going with those things.
5. Pick your battles, or at least delay them
It’s generally good practice to pick your fights, but we all have those moments when things that have been building up to be released. Wednesday is not the day for that. If you can’t hold back, save it for Thursday at least—then if you’re still moved to say something, you won’t be as relentless about it.
“Whenever you see Pluto, you always have to worry. Opposition means we can’t avoid things anymore. Mercury has a mouth, and Mars wants to pick fights,” Gat says. You may find you will be “clinging to your ego, refusing to surrender to change. The worst qualities in people can come out—jealousy, obsession, possessiveness and manipulation.”
6. Give yourself permission to be a little fake, just for a day
“Be smart about the battles you pick. You might have to be fake-nice to someone,” Gat says. So you may have to tell a little white lie, or smile at someone even if it’s through gritted teeth. This “might be really inauthentic for you on any other day, but [on June 19] you have to do the right thing in terms of your own sanity, and to keep everyone else safe, too,” she says.
If you can’t bring yourself to pretend, try to practice some compassionate communication. Remember: everyone has the capacity to blow up, even if you’re the most laid-back person you know. “No one is safe from this—we all have the capacity to blow up at each other,” Gat says. “It’s all about learning patience, being able to breath through things, and not acting on impulse.”
7. Write down your amazing comebacks, then maybe burn them
Carry a notebook around or have your phone handy to jot things down privately before saying something out loud that you may regret—especially with comebacks that feel justified in the moment. “Mercury is the planet of the mind and it’s currently in Cancer, which is a sign we think of as being really intuitive, but it doesn’t know the best way to ask for what it wants because has been in opposition with Saturn, the planet of restriction, this month,” Gat says. That means “there have been a lot of blocks around communication, and we haven’t been feeling as heard as we usually do,” and if we’ve been carrying something around in our minds we’ll want to just say them.
But the energy is very impulsive, so if you are going to give someone a piece of your mind, you may as well do it after you’ve thoroughly thought your perspective over (and when the astrological weather is more conducive for problem solving). Then, if you revisit those written thoughts another day, you may find they’re more harsh than you intended. You can also get a lot off your chest by unleashing all your anger out in a letter—and then safely burning it or ripping it up, Gat says.
8. Remember that your intentions don’t always translate
When it comes to communication, we often get hung up on the intentions behind our messages instead of the way they are received. Gat reminds us that during this intense day, lashing out for any reason—even in self-defense—isn’t going to produce desirable results.
“Mars is the planet of action and of war, and Cancer is the sign of the crab, which has a hard shell as its armor. Mars in Cancer has a lot to do with protection and safety, so when it’s opposing the planet of the underworld, Pluto, we really feel we have to protect ourselves,” she says. We may lash out, thinking we’re defending ourselves, not realizing it’s also offensive. We lash out for our own safety but it may not be solving any problems or getting you the closure or result you desire.”
9. Pre-empt miscommunications in bed by setting ground rules
If you don’t already have a safe word with your partner(s), Gat advises that you set them now. Establishing boundaries in advance gives you both the tools to avoid crossing them during sex. She notes that, “if you haven’t been getting what you want in bed due to not knowing how to ask, you will definitely reach your breaking point and will feel pushed to figure out how to request what you have been craving.”
10. Take your anger out on inanimate objects
Sometimes anger just needs an outlet. Luckily, those outlets exist. You could try renting a rage room, or if you have something you can safely smash with a hammer or an isolated place you can go to do some primal screaming, this is the day to do it, Gat says. “Anger has a real place in the world [and] in our lives. But let’s not get into silly fights on the commute, or destroy a relationship over ego.”
In the book "Trauma and the Body,” somatic psychologist Pat Ogden cites a technique where you push against a wall with all your might to release aggression. But if all else fails, a traditional punching bag could work, too.
11. Look for happy, productive endings
“Pluto is the planet of death and transformation and Mars rules knives and swords,” Gat says. “It’s all about severing things, so things are getting cut off.” This could mean an extremely dramatic urge to quit your job, or breakup with lovers or friends; but instead of having a soul-crushing confrontation, why not save it for a calmer day and purge your belongings instead? Get rid of stuff you no longer need, or in Gat’s words, “use the energy of endings for your benefit.
If you’ve thought it over and you really are ready to say goodbye to a person or situation, however, watch out for manipulations and power plays. “If you dump someone on this day in the hopes that they’ll try to win you back because you are testing them, you won’t be in luck!”
The good news is, Mercury only opposes Pluto once a year, and Mars only opposes it once every two years. But Gat warns we are also approaching eclipse season, which will “bring even more shocks and shake ups, as secrets are revealed and changes in power take place,” so there is more turbulence to come (hello, Mercury retrograde on July 7!).
Overall, there is one key bit of advice that Gat says we should always remember: “You have free will. While controlling our emotions can be very hard, it’s in our power to try! The planets can’t force you to do anything.”
What's in the stars for you in June? Read your monthly horoscope here.
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This article originally appeared on VICE US.