Pluto: The Reason for Suffering (and How to Put Passion to Work)
Pluto asks more of Outerplanetary People than any of the transSaturnians: He asks to let go and trust while everything we value is ripped away from us, often down to the barest bones: home, hearth, spouse or lover, job, family. By definition, an outerplanetary person has Pluto prominent, and this means we have a very special relationship with the issue of attachment. While non-attachment is a goal many people strive for, I think Plutonians have a different mission: to be passionately attached, yet as willing to trust that God knows what S/H’s doing when it’s over, whatever it is–to trust that love, home, job, and family will come again, bigger and better than ever before, no matter how long it takes. This, indeed, is a tall order from a tiny planet with the force of an atomic bomb (and the same root word as plutonium).
Let’s Not Pretend This Is Fun
All the euphemisms in the world won’t erase the fact that this cannot possibly be a lightweight experience. (For those of us who are practicing astrologers, I’m not sure we do ourselves or our clients, any good, pretending otherwise.) A fellow astrologer amused me recently, talking about how some of her clients now call challenge the C-word, as if it were profanity. In other words, we aren’t fooling them a bit when we sugar-coat what’s coming. We might as well not fool ourselves, either, when Pluto is tightly woven into our astrological profile. In fact, one of the most memorable readings I ever had was ten years ago, when my own astrologer gave me permission to admit just how much pain I have experienced being Plutonian.
What’s the Point?
Extraordinary people have this mission for the P-part of our PUNC acronym : to offer up not just our suffering to the collective but to live as glowing examples of survival–to help our fellow humans focus on the resurrection, not the crucifixion, and a few other essential elements that go with the Pluto’s territory. They have to see not just what we went through, but the marvelous new model of ourselves we have become because of it. What makes this hard, of course, is that we can’t do this without exposing at least some part of our very personal agonies. No one is more private at core than the Plutonian person. Yes, this is asking a lot. But it’s the deal you cut when you agreed to live on the leading edge, to be a PUNC, with all its intense joy and sorrow.
Suffering is the flip side of joy. That which we cherish and lose we mourn deeply. Sorrow is a stopover to pay our respects at the graveside of past attachments, a step in the process of opening our hearts to greater love and opportunity. (Never was it said better than in the old adage: “Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Even loss expands the heart’s capacity for feeling emotion, especially love.)
You Can’t Fight It
Whatever the lesson is that your particular Pluto is insisting upon–you must let go, or else. The or else is this: if you think you’re suffering now, you haven’t seen anything like the suffering you’ll experience if you try to wrestle with Pluto to win. Pluto is like the Mafia, and there are thumb screws if you don’t cooperate, a juice man to break your legs if you owe money, and not to forget the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, where entire groups of the uncooperative got wiped in a single shooting spree. Am I exaggerating for effect? Of course, but death might seem the lesser of two evils by comparison to defying Godfather Pluto.
It’s all about resistance–or not. Passion in the sexual sense is itself is a dance of resistance and surrender. The friction of those two forces are what causes ecstasy. (To resist completely is to be raped.) This is a good thing to remember, for it applies to all Plutonian dilemmas. Some degree of resistance is expected to make the process work, but you will not resist this force, so if you won’t give up some of your will, you are in essence letting yourself be violated. (Your choice.)
You Are Powerful
Although most of us learn about power through having our own sense of power ripped off (Pluto’s specialty), this is all for a purpose, like that stripping to the bare bones-to learn that power is not external but entirely an inside job. (They can evict you, leave you, beat or even kill your body, but no one–repeat no one–can get your soul unless you give it away.) We must learn not to sell our souls to the devil, no matter how powerful the outside forces appear..
Hold this important thought: When you are outpowered or outnumbered, let them win the battle, but do not forget that one battle is not the war. Children mature and so do adult humans. What we cannot fight when we are young or less evolved, we can come back to resolve later on. This is why Pluto rules rebirth and resurrection and the full life cycle. Plutonians have an issue with completion.
Understanding the Astro-Basics at Work
I find Pluto easiest to understand by considering its rulership of Scorpio and the 8th house, and how by location in a natural chart, it opposes the 2nd house, ruled by Taurus/Venus. What we value, what gives us our sense of security and self-worth, that which we build upon in the physical world is in a duel with Darth Vader. The only thing that is going to save our little asteroids (each of us as a small planet) is Yoda and our training as Jedi Knights. This is putting metaphysics where your mouth is, because physical resistance simply doesn’t work. We are outpowered. It takes magic to work with the power abusive, and being Plutonian helps us become magicians. It is about Sourcery, aligning with the All That Is–the only Real Power.
Our opponent–Negative Scorpio, Pluto, and the 8th–keeps secrets, and misuses power and sexuality–those forces that used badly can devastate us in the physical, but used well, bring us all the force for good and all the magic dust we could ever use.
I have often quoted Australian astrologer Brian Clark’s talk at UAC ’92 on the 8th house, because no one has said it better. Eighth house and Plutonian issues (both are related) take us back to the original abandonment of our birth process. Mother is our first love, and from this first bonded bliss we are unceremoniously ejected from the womb by the contractions of birth. If that isn’t enough, adding insult to injury, one day we wake up on the other side of the birth canal to realize she’s in love with someone else (father). From this early process on a psychological level stems the abandonment, jealousy, rage, and disempowerment that goes with the Plutonian turf. Where is Pluto in your natal chart? For example, mine is in the 4th house (conjunct Saturn, no less): I have lost every relationship that constituted meaningful roots, starting with original mother (literal abandonment by being given up for adoption). This abandonment often leads to passionate attachment in the area represented by that house (to say I am “rootsy” would be the understatement of the millennium). Jealousy and other Plutonian emotions, at their extremes, are a form of obsessive attachment. Wherever your Pluto “lives,” it is here that you are being asked to let go. (For me, another concept was true. Whatever I let go came back to me willingly when the time was right for each completion.)
Plutonians are the drama kings and queens of the zodiac (especially those with Pluto in Leo.) We exhaust ourselves and others, especially our support people, with our soap operas. We keep getting into impossible relationships and pickles that lead to uprooting and upsetting event after another. We decimate our lives with that same force that goes into plutonium. We are intensity junkies, and we are compulsive until we learn to catalyze the death/birth/rebirth cycle to completion.
Buying Out of the Secret
One thing that’s important to know: Pluto operates in secrecy, and if you tell or uncover the secret, you end the torment or imbalance of power. This is tough to do, if you are a physically or sexually abused child, where a real big/little power imbalance exists, or if there is some other skeleton in the closet where you honestly believe that worse harm will come to you if you tell … .. but as an adult, there’s little reason to continue to buy into this. We are so lucky to live in the Era of the End of Secrecy of most kinds. (Today, kids hear about personal boundaries and that they can trust teachers and other adults if they are abused in some way.)
Those Heavy Emotions
One of the most difficult aspects of being Plutonian is dealing with its emotional load: resentment, guilt, jealousy, and rage. Being PUNCs, we often feel responsible to be positive leading edge role models. It’s hard to incorporate these emotions into our act as evolutionary ambassadors because they are–well–so “negative.”
But incorporate the darker emotions we must, and we must find and share with others positive ways of handling them. Donna Cunningham’s Healing Pluto Problems is my Bible in this regard, full of exercises to banish resentment or guilt, for example, and other suggested tools such as flower essences for Pluto transits or natal issues. In fact, this most difficult task of allowing others to see that we have these emotions and ventilate them in an effective manner is one of the most important role model duties an outerplanetary person performs. It is hard, inner work and it cannot be minimized or glossed over. In fact, it might be the hardest work the PUNC performs, because with it, s/he releases his or her power instead of suppressing it. Through this journey into our own darkness, we emerge with the gifts of the underground–healing and magic.
Magic comes from harnessing your own positive power and aligning it with All That Is. Then miracles result. Magic comes from your own inner depths–from trusting that the powers of the universe are friendly. This results from walking through darkness with no clue but your own inner light to get you to the end of the tunnel. The initiation is to align your own light with the Greater Light through dark experiences. This is why Pluto is the great teacher of coming into our own power.
Plutonians are survivors. I believe more than anything, this is the purpose of prominent Pluto. I had a friend whose life was Happy Days normal. He said to me, once: “You live in all the pathos, the poignancy, of the ups and downs of life. You know that when things go wrong how to work through them. You are a survivor. I’ve never had anything truly bad to deal with. I don’t know what I’d do or if I could survive.”
This was my first glimmer that there’s something good to being Plutonian, an up-side to all that painful work and high drama.
Rebirth and Resurrection
Going back to where Pluto sits in your natal chart, where must you be reborn and resurrected? Again revealing my own private process as PUNCs must do to help others: I had to find all my lost loves, everyone who abandoned me in my 4th house, starting with my original mother. Here’s where I had to put passion to work using my Plutonian detective skills. The healing of a life time stemmed from my reconnection with my mother in 1986, a major man in my life in 1987 (the one who ultimately took me 26 years to get over, talk about Plutonian attachment!), and most recently, my very first love (ages 12-14). Not everyone’s path may be as literal as mine in terms of resurrecting cut-off relationships (Pluto’s surgical severance from umbilical cord onward), but whatever your own chart calls for, here is where you must have completion in order to resurrect to the core of your soul. Plutonians must regenerate in some form whatever has been severed from their lives, and Plutonian passion gives us the intensity to seek out these opportunities with a fanaticism that will not let go until it has been satisfied.
Turns out my first love is probably my last: No one before or since has been anything like the precocious original for either one of us. If I hadn’t had the practice of two high drama finds before him, I might not have easily found my final 4th house severed relationship and now, after 35 years, to be able to take it to completion. Our reunion promises healing and partnership neither of us ever thought possible. It was worth not only the wait, but the suffering, too. This is the magic of Pluto. This is why PUNCs have to share their success stories.
– by Joyce Mason
1. In case you are joining this series in progress, that stands for Pluto, Uranus, Neptune, and Chiron, and PUNC people are Plutonian, Uranian, Neptunian, and Chironian (or Chironic).