Last week NASA released a photo of Pluto saying, "its diversity of landforms and complexity of processes that rival anything we’ve seen in the solar system." (And I doubt any astrologers were surprised by this news--myself included). A few days later I attended the launch for a new film called Changing of the Gods: Planetary and Human Evolutions, highlighting archetypal astrology (specifically Pluto and Uranus) and its impact on "historical cycles of revolution and world-changing transformations in mass consciousness." Pluto seems to be everywhere these days making magic and shaking things up.
Many astrologers could agree Pluto is perhaps the most complex (and most powerful) of all planets/non-planets. Where there is ecstasy and suffering, you can count on Pluto’s presence. The mysterious planet/non-planet takes over at the most inopportune times and begins to transform us from the inside out. While I can’t claim to understand Pluto in its entirety, I can certainly feel its impact (and notice it in others).
Pluto nourishes me more than I can put into words (that and I also have Ceres in Scorpio, but that’s for another time). It is my soul food. Without its penetrative depth I quickly become malnourished. I bore quickly with conversations about day-to-day life, what is going on, what you do, etc. I want to know your inner struggle, I want to know your growing points. Basically, I want to know your soul--to see it, taste it, and touch it. I want to see your messiness, otherwise how can I know you and feel safe enough to be myself?
A friend once told me he believed Pluto was love, not Venus (and no, he wasn’t a Scorpio). I sat with it a long time and somewhat agree, as Pluto in its most positive expression is the penetration of our full being with another--as intimacy. Love needs both the heart-opening and closeness of Venus with the vulnerability and intimacy of Pluto. (I think the book Undefended Love speaks to this beautiful paradox.) It isn’t just enough to be loving, we must be willing to surrender to love.
"Love is a strange, dark magic." ~Atticus
Like all planets and archetypes Pluto has a healthy and detrimental expression. In its shadow form I stay stuck in the drama of life and my secrets wear on me as I manipulate to hide the truth or my fear. In Pluto's more positive expression, I am constantly reborn through my vulnerability and have a reverence for the divine erotic energy I embody.
Pluto is desire itself, pulling us toward something for our benefit and often detriment--to serve our evolution. Pluto doesn't just ask for attention like other planets in transit...it demands it. It wants you to get the deep lessons and has no patience for superficiality. Pluto yearns for depth, darkness, and divinity. Here are some tell-tale signs Pluto demands my attention (or yours):
- Shame and guilt about past or current situations or actions,
- Power struggles with money or at work,
- Attempting to control situations instead of trusting the surrender,
- Feeling a deep intensity of emotions, especially rage (my friend had a Pluto transit where she said it felt she was “vomiting tears”),
- Calling to explore your shadow and darkness, perhaps with depth psychology,
- Navigating issues of birth, sex, or death or taboo topics such as porn or sex work
- Jealousy, rage, and obsession with a past lovers (when this happens I listen to Mariah Carey’s “Obsessed” to make myself feel better),
- Interest in esoteric, alchemical, witchy, and mystical experience (different from religion or more “consciousness” based practices),
- Identification with the wild woman or wild man archetype,
- Feeding into drama and suffering without noticing its purpose and perfection in transformation/evolution.
The word "Pluto" comes from Latin and Greek for the "God of Wealth, riches." As well as the lovely PIE (Proto-Indo-European) root for the word "flowing," which is the same root as the word "pleu-" and "plein," that word "rain" comes from. This flow to me speaks to the softness and intensity of Pluto and its ability to transform through ease or melancholy.
On one hand the planet is the dark, underworld god Hades and the other it is the jovial, wine god Dionysus. The archetype of the planet Pluto is also associated with the dark goddesses Kali and Shakti, and also the universal life force and erotic energy. Other themes like those listed above: nature, wildness, sex, jealousy, magic, money, intensity, major life changes, shame, and guilt.
As philosopher and astrologer Richard Tarnas says, "It compels, empowers, overwhelms, transforms; it destroys and resurrects." Pluto rules our instinctual drives of jealousy, rage, hatred, greed, and orgasm. As Tarnas points out, its influence is present with pent-up Earthly energies such as an earthquake or volcano or in the human form as a psychotic break.
Really, "complex" doesn't really begin to cover it, Pluto is a force and a power all unto its own. The planet represents our struggle and simultaneously our ability to evolve. In allowing my love affair with Pluto I've come to appreciate the beauty of struggle. I no longer avoid the places with pain and instead dive in trusting I will become more of myself. I find myself crying tears of joy in appreciating the beauty of the lessons I am learning. I marvel at how perfectly my Expanded Self/Universe/God set up situations for me to transform.
In the words of Richard Tarnas, "It has been said that in the course of life we are all consumed by life's fire: the only question--and this is where our challenge lies--is whether we will be deformed or perfected by that process." Through Pluto's presence, I have chosen to become perfected and walk willingly into its purifying fire--trusting its complex, stunning power.