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Astronomically, Pluto has been disparaged, dropped from the ranks of planet-hood and I suspect this reflects our society’s discomfort with Plutonian material.
What is Plutonian material? What is Pluto’s influence in the astrology chart? What is his rulership?
Pluto is the power behind the throne. Pluto is one of the four power-hungry planets in the pantheon of the solar system – along with Saturn, the Sun and Mars. For the most part, these planets are associated with the Fixed signs, which are also known as the Serpent Signs – Aquarius (Saturn’s previous rulership), Scorpio (Pluto’s present and Mar’s previous), Leo (the Sun) and Taurus is not exactly represented as Venus, its present ruler does not “seek” power but understands that true power lies in practicing abundant generosity and kindness and that when we love something or someone fully and maintain a low position (humility), then we have all the “power” that we need. But more on Venus in a bit. So Pluto seeks typically seeks power because of some mysterious unconscious yearning. How it goes about that is indicated by the rest of the astrology chart.
What does Pluto do in the astrology chart? Well we are talking about the ruler of the most complex sign in the zodiac (Scorpio), so this must be a complex answer. But to over simplify things for the moment, I am going to write about the ways that Pluto amplifies whatever he touches.
Stepping off topic one more time… Above I mention how our society might be hesitant (at best) to delve into Pluto’s material, well I want to remind people that esoterically, Pluto rules both the best of the light (wisdom, personal integrity, and compassion) and the worst of the darkness (polluted swamps of the unconscious). I suspect Pluto has gotten a bad reputation – being discovered around the time of the atom bomb’s revelation, I think some people see a poor Pluto aspect and naturally cringe. But that is not necessary. Pluto is a binary planet system – Charon, a large moon of Pluto orbits it and from an esoteric perspective, this dual system gives Pluto rulership over the swampy depths of the psyche AND once we purify and come to a deep visceral understanding of who we are and what true power is, then Pluto is transformed like the phoenix (one of Scorpio’s symbols) into Minerva, the goddess of wisdom and healing.
Pluto’s constipating effects come about when we do not acknowledge who we are. When we suppress our natural urges and healthy desires, due to upbringing, societal pressures, or whatever, we are pushing Pluto deeper into our subconscious. And if we know our mythology, then we know that Pluto tends to erupt violently onto the scene, and this is certainly possible if we try to bottle up our powerful emotions for too long. Eventually something is going to snap. So it is best to get clearer about our needs and feelings now, rather than waiting to see how Pluto might manifest in his shadowy manner. But we can never blame Pluto – rather he is a reflection of our psyche and our natural predispositions.
So why does Pluto tend to amplify aspects of our chart? And keep in mind, depending on our karma, like I mention above, this amplification is oftentimes positive. If we have poor predispositions in our unconscious, then these negative habits could be amplified just as easily.
(By the way, I am going to over-simplify these definitions below. Therefore, do not read your chart and then say, “Oh my God! I don’t fit on that hyper-polarized spectrum.” Right. There is a lot of gray area that I am not able to describe in such a short blog post. You might want to call or email me to set up an astrology interpretation if you have questions about your astrological Pluto. I consider myself quite knowledgeable on the subject.)
Pluto and the Sun: Here is one combination of two of the power-grasping giants that I touched on above. The Sun is the overt, natural leader in Leo. At its best, these aspects tend to amplify the Sun’s natural leadership abilities. It increases ambition, a desire for recognition and our innate authority. At its worst, it can make someone despotic and power-hungry, stooping to great depths to undermine opponents and competitors. You must look at the rest of the chart to see how and where this authority and power extend (in Cancer it might be the head of a powerful family, in Capricorn it might be an ambitious CEO and in Scorpio, it would be an altogether different animal). 🙂
Pluto and the Moon: Here we have the lunar domain of the emotions and non-physical energies (psychic abilities, intuition, dreams, etc). When Pluto and the Moon get together, it can be over-sensitivity (depending on the sign), emotional reactiveness AND/OR it can be emotional understanding and awareness. It could be extremes in the way we express our feelings AND/OR an innate psychic ability. If we delve through our neuroses and traumas, we can discover that Pluto’s influence on the Moon can be an emotional anchor in an uncertain world. We can read people with an uncanny gut feeling and we can express our feelings with such ease and grace that others marvel at this skillful ability. Of course the signs and houses involved matter a lot and the rest of the chart will indicate how far along we are on a psychological understand (or in our karmic evolution).
Pluto and Mercury: Here is the god of communication – the link between the head and the heart. So what you must ask yourself here is – does Pluto clear up that connection or sully those waters. At its best, this is someone whose mental clarity and cogency is unparalleled – a great investigator, researcher and scientist (possibly). This person would be a great teacher and a magnificent orator. On the flip side, Pluto here can indicate mental confusion. It can amplify the worst of Mercury’s qualities – impulsiveness, impatience and irritability. There is the possibility that Pluto in a hard aspect to Mercury is indicative of early trauma and this in turn would gear up that native’s nervous system to no end. Of course, whenever Pluto (who is strongly associated with the reproductive organs and sexual expression) is involved, we might consider skillfully inquiring about early trauma. [Disclaimer – if you do not have seriously refined skills in dealing with early trauma, then it might be best to avoid the subject and let a professional handle it.]
Pluto and Venus: As I mentioned above, Pluto can be in its lower manifestations or in his higher karmically-refined emanation as Minerva. It is important to know which is the dominant force when dealing with any Pluto aspects, but no where is it more apparent than when perceiving Pluto / Venus contacts. This is the person who could (rarely) be the saint who understands that we can love something without grasping at it (love without attachment is a beautiful thing! Watch videos of great Tibetan lamas like Garchen Rinpoche if you want an example of this). We can give love even to those people who spurn and reject it. We can rest in equanimity and practice kindness toward all we come in contact with – not judging anyone. But who am I kidding? That kind of saint is very difficult to find. Rather, Pluto can indicate that this individual is lustful, possessive and/or jealous. Pluto and Venus is where some people tie power with sex. And what is the best way to do this? By connecting money and sex – have you ever seen the older wealthy oligarch who has a trophy wife at least 30 – 40 years younger than he is? It happens.
I would personally recommend that one adopts an authentic spiritual practice though where we can start to get an understanding of our inner machinations. Then, over time (in my experience, nothing comes lightning-quick), we can start to dispel inner delusions and mis-understandings and build in more loving-kindness and appropriate compassion. But it must start with the self. If we find ourselves grasping and clinging to someone or something, there is the obvious possibility that Pluto and Venus are working together (maybe manifesting an early, unmet childhood need) in a challenging manner.
Pluto and Mars: Here again we have a meeting of two of the power-hungry planets. But as we all know, Mars rarely ever wins out in his hunt for power and hegemony. Why? Because he seeks to forcefully get people to do his will. And this requires a lot of time and energy and supervision. This is why Venus and Neptune are the innately powerful energies in the world – they are humble, understanding, generous, graceful and compassionate. Be like water my friends (Bruce Lee), be like water.
When Pluto and Mars get together, we must be very careful and very wise about how we handle this powerful combination. There will most likely be a LOT of energy expressed. This is the person who is naturally gifted in athletics or as a soldier. They are very hard workers and they can have great physical endurance. There will be a strong discontent with the status quo – so again, are we looking at a Kali-like destroyer (lower manifestation), or are we looking at a reformer and passionate, non-violent activist working with Minerva’s guidance? Most often you will wonder about this native’s forceful ways and powerful animistic energies – this person generally does not enjoy being told “No.” Mars’ impulsiveness might occasionally emerge and there could be emotional storms, irrational displays of anger and irritability. At its best however, this is the person who is striving every day, every week to know themselves better – whether through depth psychology, a ton of reading and introspection, working with a spiritual teacher or through process-oriented bodywork. This would be the person who has come a LONG way in transforming their inner desires and passions.
I am going to pause here as this post is getting quite long! Thank you for reading and let me know if you have any questions.