Since 2009, Pluto has transited my Pluto, Mars, Sun and is currently joining my North Node. I am Pluto girl. & I still have questions. The main one being, What just happened? Trying to meaningfully interpret one’s own Pluto transit is like reading hieroglyphics -before the Rosetta Stone. With Pluto we are often in the dark.
Pluto transforms. We hear this all the time. But this word is too glamorous for the Hell realm we will enter under it’s influence. Often Pluto sends you a crisis – spiritual, existential or literal. And if you survive it you will be changed. Pluto’s journey into the underworld is dark, relentless and psychologically demanding. Pluto strips your character to it’s bare bone essentials, your core dysfunctions and wounds, which is uncomfortable. What you discover about your self isn’t pretty. You will likely resist, and yet your resistance is futile…it prolongs the agony.
Pluto charges the Dark Night of the Soul. Times in your life when you lose your faith. Times when the world no longer gives life, but takes life away. The world turns wintry, bitter cold. Your passion and aliveness, your zest for life dulls and fades. You may feel both dulled down and acutely sensitive to your darkest emotions. You may rage at the loss, darkness, the unfairness, especially if you’re a ‘half glass full’ kind of person. You may experience Pluto as a dream stealer or thief – taking away people, your creativity, imagination, cherished dreams. The scale of a Plutonian event can be large or small, but it initiates you into the darkest aspect of the human condition. The most important advice I can offer for this time of life is to not shut down, to courageously feel it all. This is a necessary process of coming to terms with who you truly are, not who you have been or wanted to be.
Maybe I’ve painted too dark of a picture for you; I have heard some are on friendly terms with Pluto. That Pluto is juicy: all goth, sex, rock n’ roll, and richly dark. To which I say, yes, that’s true, too. But never underestimate this God of Hell. It’s wise to be wary & respectful of the Plutonian process– if you have been stripped down to the core, been utterly destroyed and been re-made in life, you may understand how this process is necessary for your spiritual evolution as a human being. You still may be angry about it. This God who gives tremendous power -and- takes it away. That’s my Pluto.
We all have different journeys, and thus, different relationships to Pluto’s torch-wielding powers. However, there are general tips we can learn from. Although they will be a mere candle to the dark sea sky, they are nonetheless candles, offering a glimmer trail to follow into your own psyche.
1. Two areas Pluto consistently makes an appearance: your relationships and your health. In myth, Pluto comes above ground for two reasons: once to heal a wound inflicted on him by Hercules, and another to abduct the lovely maiden Persephone. Illness and intimate relationship crises are plutonic initiations, catalysts for ‘seeing’ invisible parts of our natures that we are, for the most part, in the dark about. Expect intimate themes like: jealousy, fear of abandonment, betrayal.
2. Eliminate and let go of anything no longer true for you. This popular Pluto phrase is a Zen Koan bobbing around in my brain. Be careful with this one. Astrologer’s rule number one: Don’t feed your fears with astrology. You’re about to have a Pluto transit: the house probably won’t burn down, you probably won’t die. On the other hand, this is a good line of thinking, What is your deepest fear? Is it controlling your life? If you’re unhappy and feel that Plutonian urge to tear down and destroy, there is a possibility of hurting your self or other people. Pluto is a psychological planet. Don’t wait until your pain gets so bad that you’ve irrevocably harmed your self or others. Psychologists help.
Freud said that our waking consciousness is only the tip of the iceberg- the 95% underneath and hidden is Pluto, so if you don’t know what you need to eliminate, you’re not alone. And it’s buried. Sometimes Pluto issues are repressed & hard to get to; it takes time to do this work.
3. “Pluto is inherently separative and isolating. An individual is apt to feel himself to be set apart. The normal rules and expectancies of the world just do not work anymore.”A dark night of the soul interpretation from late Astrologer James Eshelman. He’s talking about a psychological feeling of alienation. Even if one has worldly power and it all looks like smooth sailing, according to Eshelman, they have Lone Wolf qualities to them.
4. “Don’t expect to understand what is happening/has happened to you.” This helpful insight came from my mentor, Paul Bogle who explained that he, and many others who have experienced major Pluto transits, often cannot digest what has happened to them until many, many years later. Sometimes 20 years later. Why? Something about our little pea sized consciousness being unable to fathom the effects of the outermost planet… Changes are either so outwardly dramatic or inwardly, deeply pivotal, that it takes years for the psyche to integrate what’s happened.
5.The effects of Pluto are not always visible to the outside world. Pluto is the master of invisiblity. When I have shared my existential sense of alienation, loneliness, and an odd identity crisis with a chosen few I’m at first greeted with, What? Life is so great for you! This internal feeling of being set apart can reinforce the dark emotions, so it helps to have a journal, art form, a psychotherapist or a Plutonian partner with Eighth House planets/Pluto aspects who can handle it.
6. You feel like you are dying or you lose loved ones. Death and the insignificance of our mortal life is a silent presence for the most part, but during a Pluto transit -it’s not so silent. My grandmother died this year (not unexpected) but the feelings of grief, loss and dying, linger. Alternately, you are likely also engaged in the Plutonian process whereby parts of your self are actively dying. Bring your dark humor: What psychiatrists call mental illness (which often isn’t a pathology, but reclaiming lost/wounded parts of self) is what Roman Polanski calls good theater.
7. Get comfortable with Nothingness. Darkness, nothingness, oblivion. For me, goals are harder to accomplish, difficult. The everyday world of accomplishment and routine satisfaction goes quiet. Clients share their morbid fascination with dark matter, oblivion and black holes.
8. Pluto transforms (through crisis). We’ve covered this, but like a marketing gimmick, the idea that one will ascend to new heights/depths of magical power during a Pluto transit may be a distraction from doing the real work of being present to the unpleasantries surfacing.
9. Don’t try and control circumstances and people. Don’t project your power onto others. Control is an issue with Pluto -too much or not enough of it. Trying to control circumstances is futile and during this time Pluto is bent on reminding you of that, which can cause backlog of psychological futility and various permutations of powerlessness (anger, fury, re-wounding). In my experience, raising a bit of hell now and again with Pluto, isn’t such a bad thing -it gets the poisons and furies out. When your contractor basically moves into your home office, when you feel like you’re about to explode into bits of drywall, go scream into the wind or in a locked bathroom. Talk to your partner or your ‘person of offense’, honestly. It’s unhealthy to hold it in.
10. Find psychologically fearless friends. Until the Pluto transit is over, there is always more psychological work to do –so who can help? Guides, shamans, priests and some therapists may help, yet anyone who tries to fix you or sugarcoat things won’t. Get friends who are psychologically fearless, who speak truth -folks who can give you the nuggets of insight into yourself you so need.
Articles and books for a Pluto transit:
The Dark Night of the Soul by Erin Reese
Healing Through the Dark Emotions: The Wisdom of Grief, Fear, and Despair by Miriam Greenspan
Dark Nights of the Soul: A Guide to Finding Your Way Through Life’s Ordeals by Thomas Moore
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times (Shambhala Library) by Pema Chodron
image: Julia Stiles in the play, Persephone