Signs that are having difficult Pluto transits this year and next are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. In all cases, those whose birthdays are within the first 5 days of the sign are the most affected or have been the most affected. If you have any natal planets within 2 to 7 degrees of these signs, you are also going to experience a challenging Pluto transit in 2010 or 2011. Since I fall into that category, I thought I’d resurrect this post I wrote some time ago.
A reader wrote in to ask if there’s a way to work with difficult Pluto transits rather than against them. There are ways, and I’ll use this space to mention a few of the ones you don’t hear about too often.
So…what can a person do to work with Pluto energy instead of against it? I don’t have all the answers, but here are a few thoughts.
1. Figure out what the heck the purpose of the transit is and start implementing it immediately. How do you figure out what the purpose of the transit is?Sometimes it’s obvious because your insides are screaming with it. “Get out of this marriage!!!” your miserable soul shouts at you. “Get a different job; this one is killing you!” your gut keeps growling at you. And so on.
Pluto transits are so often about giving things up. Often they’re about giving up things you don’t want to give up because it will be scary or difficult to do so. A limiting friendship, a business partnership, a career, a home, a way of approaching life, a romantic attachment that will never work, a toxic relationship with a parent or sibling. There are an awful lot of things in life that a normal person doesn’t want to give up even though they’re not good for him or her. Pluto tries to force us to give them up.
If you can’t immediately tell what the purpose of your Pluto transit is by sheer instinct, move on to figuring it out astrologically. My method is to look first at the house of the planet being squashed by Pluto. Transiting Pluto squaring your natal sun in the 7th house–most likely Pluto is taking aim at your relationships. What he’s usually trying to do is smash up your relationship template like a dinner dish.
It might be helpful to know why Pluto does this. In my experience, Pluto does this because your old templates are standing in the way of what you really want, the things you dream of. You don’t necessarily realize this at the time (or at least I don’t), but Pluto does. An unhealthy attachment to your aging mother might seem like a source of support and validation of your caring nature to you. To Pluto, it might seem like the thing that holds you back from real physical and romantic connection with people of your own age. Although what you have may feel like love, it may hold you back from the love you really want and are capable of experiencing. You may not realize that you’re finally ready for a mature romantic love–but Pluto does.
If looking at the astrological houses doesn’t help you analyze the purpose, look at the planets involved and then the signs. Transits to the sun, for example, often involve an update of identity or role in life. They very often have to do with a deep inner sense of purpose.
Sometimes Pluto purposes are kind of abstract, so don’t feel you have to figure out some deep meaning to work with them. I recall having Pluto conjunct a planet in my 9th house once. The 9th house governs one’s philosophy of life. I couldn’t believe I would be experiencing Pluto distress over something as simple as my philosophy of life. Besides, I liked my philosophy of life. I thought my problem was related to my father or overwork or deep issues or the jerk in my life who was driving me crazy. Then one day I was bitching and moaning and whining about my Pluto transit when I heard myself say “My philosophy has always been blah, blah, blah.” The person I was with then snapped (in a rather brutal way) “And that’s wrong then, isn’t it? Because other people aren’t always going to approach things as nicely as you do.”
Bingo! The light went on. My freaking philosophy of life was wrong. I actually started crying at that moment because I knew I was finally getting it, what Pluto was on about. I updated my philosophy of life to take into account that no, other people aren’t always going to share my “nice” approach. Pluto stopped bothering me almost immediately. What a relief! So don’t overlook the obvious.
2. Pluto’s lessons often have to do with the reality that other people can be bad, wicked, evil, unhealthy, toxic, or morally bankrupt. I’ve come across many astrologers who swear that Pluto transits are always a manifestation of one’s shadow self, and that we are always just projecting our own bad qualities on to others when we have a difficult time with someone during a Pluto transit. I’m tempted to acknowledge that this may be true on a deep level, but what I’ll actually say is that’s bull.
Sometimes Pluto doesn’t give a flip about your shadow self. Sometimes Pluto just wants you to get it through your thick head that someone else’s behavior is morally unacceptable and you should stop accepting it. Pluto is the most intensely moralistic planet there is. Pluto believes in right and wrong. The rest of us think we do and sometimes feel guilty (often for good reason) about our judgmental sides. But in reality, our sense of morality is much more ambiguous. Yeah, Mom’s a thief, Dad’s a child molester, and our siblings are sociopaths.
But…we kind of don’t look at it that way. The situation seems so much more subtle and nuanced because we’re in the thick of things. We have attachments. Attachments that fog up our moral compasses. We accept things because we don’t want to give up our attachments, ego-based ones and otherwise. So even though the husband, wife, lover, boss, or best friend has betrayed you umpteen times and made it behaviorally clear that he or she feels no moral obligation to treat you with respect–you hang in there. Then finally Pluto gets fed up with this, steps in, and essentially says “I will make your life miserable until you finally cut the damn toxic cord. Enough already. Get a clue!”
You can really speed up the difficult aspects of a Pluto transit by getting in touch with your primal sense of morality. Cut out the ambiguity that Pluto doesn’t acknowledge as valid any longer, and just make a bold and definitive acknowledgment of your moral compass. ”Such and such behavior is unacceptable to me and I will not tolerate it any longer.” (It can be behavior that took place in the past, by the way. Sometimes Pluto likes to brood over past injustices.) Clearly identify what you believe is right and what you believe is wrong. This is one of the most effective and under-utilized tricks I know of to tame Pluto.
3. Understand the role of emotions like bitterness and hatred. Pluto is the patron saint of bitterness and hatred. When Pluto gets mad, he doesn’t just get mildly peeved, he taps into a primal well of hatred and rage. Naturally, this scares the living heck out of us mere mortals. Very few things scare us like Pluto on a rampage, and the really scary thing is finding all the hatred and rage inside oneself (it can happen). Most of us are pretty much convinced that we’ll be kicked out of society and left to starve if we experience or express the hatred, rage, and bitterness that Pluto blithely embraces. Yet we all have it. So we might as well know what Pluto’s got in mind.
What Pluto has in mind is that hatred can be cleansing and protective. Hatred, in Pluto’s decidedly unusual lexicon, is the ultimate moral emotion. Hatred and bitterness are the emotions that tell us that something is so wrong, so hurtful, so against the laws of human decency that only furious rejection will save our souls. Think of a kidnapping victim who sustains herself with hatred of her captors. That hatred is the last bulwark of her integrity, her inviolate self. Victims who don’t generate hatred become entangled with their victimizers and subtly began to adopt their values and beliefs. This is usually called the Stockholm Syndrome and it doesn’t just apply to hostages. It applies to workers in punitive corporations, people in abusive marriages, and everyone else who comes to subtly accept their own victimization by believing that it’s okay.
Hatred is not a politically correct emotion, and probably never will be. But Pluto’s not a politically correct planet. Pluto hates things that are fundamentally wrong, and he has no intention of changing his mind about that. During a Pluto transit, you can safely (usually, if you keep your head) tap into your own hatred and in the process cleanse your soul. Sounds a bit high-falutin’ but my goodness I’ve seen it happen with almost miraculous results. Pluto is not the planet of rebirth for nothing. Rebirth, it appears, is not pretty–but it sure is impressive.
4. Cry. Literally. Pluto doesn’t just hate the things that are wrong in your life (even if they’re not as dramatic as what I’ve described), he grieves. He grieves for all that you’ve missed, all that could have been, for time wasted, for hurts endured, for things that can’t be taken back, for losses sustained, and for goodness knows what else. Pluto is the ultimate grieving planet. Sometimes, you’ve just got to grieve with him. Just cry it out. The things you have to grieve may seem very small–petty insults, annoying obstacles, personal character flaws; or very large–deaths, disasters, and losses of gigantic proportion. Large or small, though, they’re yours. You owe them the dignity of a bit of grief.
Pluto’s ultimate aim is to take what used to work in your life but doesn’t any more–and get rid of it. Whether it’s an attitude, a habit, a person, a situation, a place, or something else–the sooner you are willing to work to get rid of what’s no longer functional, the sooner Pluto will reward you.
And Pluto does dish out some pretty handsome rewards when he’s done torturing you. So you might think of what you most desire and set your mind towards the idea that if you can fulfill your Pluto task, you just might get it.