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Pluto enters Aquarius Series: Part II 1/20/2024

Part II: Pluto

I wrote Part I of this series way back in March of last year, when Pluto entered Aquarius. Pluto moving through a Sign is such an epic and long-lasting transit, that I decided to break it up into three pieces. Part I was simply about Capricorn. I ended it announcing that Part II would be about Pluto and his effects in Capricorn. However, I have decided to write only about Pluto here. We will address Pluto in Capricorn in Part III, when Pluto actually enters Capricorn again this Fall.

Pluto is the god of the Underworld. Maybe that’s enough?

Okay that’s lazy. Pluto would not approve. It takes a lot of work to look after a billion lost souls! Can you imagine how Pluto feels? Jupiter, after conquering the old world Monsters, those Titans birthed from Father Sky and Mother Earth ( Uranus and Gaia), was kind enough (???) to bequeath one third of the kingdom of nature to Pluto:  Hell. 🔥

“Thanks brother! You mean, I don’t get to see daylight anymore?”

Is hell-keeping a full-time job? Doesn’t he get a vacation? Perhaps he had plenty of henchmen to watch the dead for him from time to time. But you know how the bad guys’ subordinates are in the movies: they’re always real dimwitted and make a flop of everything. Nonetheless, even if he did find time to get away from it all, maybe his eyes became so adjusted (or maladjusted) to the darkness that the brilliant light of the Sun was too blinding to bear.

Here’s one way of thinking of Pluto: he didn’t originally belong to the Underworld, and he is not its proper ruler. Rather, the more ancient goddess, Persephone, while symbolizing Spring and flowers, is also, ironically, truly Queen of that dark realm. The story goes that as she wandered around the earth, she noticed lost souls, ghosts, and took pity and was somehow gifted with the power to lead them to the Underworld so that they could continue their journey to their next world, wherever that might be. Persephone the psychopomp has the unique ability to live partly underground, and partly above. She is new, warm life springing from the cold dark soil. She infuses us with buoyant spirit after spending time in the shadows of our subconscious. That’s Persephone’s heritage. However, as patriarchy began to dominate the old mythos, the male deities usurped the female ones. Pluto, then, was pronounced King of Hell and the story was retold so that Persephone was abducted by him to become his companion. Her role was reduced. Pluto thus, in our culture, symbolizes dark, power-hungry underworld things: power of dominion, death, destruction, taboos, relentlessness, abuse; but since most deities have their light side as well, he also conveys psychological truth, power of might, resilience, renovation, detoxing, catharsis, amplification, and transformation. You can use any of these keywords for Pluto.

But the shadow side of Pluto is not just the less attractive keywords above, but it’s the fact that he absconded the goodness of the Underworld, perverting it from its spiritual role as a Holy Passageway, to that of frightening and unknown sufferings — the dungeon. In its extreme, obvious form, this unfortunately becomes paradigms such as the fundamentalist Christian Hell of eternal torment — one of the most nefarious lies perpetrated on the innocent, beautiful and essentially good human mind. In a more subtle form, this becomes fear of death; loss of the knowledge of cyclical ways of being; and an inability to integrate our “darker” instincts with our conscious way of being in the world,  and within our culture, in a functional, healthy manner. This dynamic is incredibly difficult to unravel and seems to take decades within an intentional individual, and millennia within an intentional society. It feels as though we’ve only scratched the surface on a collective level. And so, Pluto also speaks to huge, protracted shifts within

cultures and the world. He is ever so slow, but inevitable. We can hear Mr. Smith whispering through the aether “You hear that Mr. Anderson?... That is the sound of inevitability... It is the sound of your death... Goodbye, Mr. Anderson...“  Only — Pluto doesn’t usually kill physical bodies (although he can do that). Rather, he is the slow death of old, outworn systems and modes of thought, caused by the process of evolution.

One way, then, we can engage with Pluto in a helpful way, is to give back the Underworld to Persephone — to return the darkness to the light, or to let the sun’s rays penetrate the shadows — to allow the passage of death to become a passage to the future, rather than fearful prison with no escape. Pluto can then relax a bit, slow his role (he knows just which way your dice will land), lighten up, and serve humanity’s, and our own, transformations. He can assist Persephone, and then take a trip to the Bahamas, probably with sunglasses. Let Pluto do Pluto’s work, to do Persephone’s work, and allow things to be “as they are,” using one Buddhist teacher’s language. On a practical level, you can also see where Pluto and Persephone are in your natal chart and in the sky right now, and analyze (or ask me to analyze with you).

In part III, we’ll bring the first two installments together, and talk about the meaning of Pluto in Capricorn. In Part IV we’ll define Aquarius. Then in the final installment, Part V, we’ll talk about Pluto in Aquarius, where it will spend the next 20 years.

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