The Transformer (and the Shadow)
How does Pluto’s story affect our horoscope? Let’s start by looking at the physical planet itself. Pluto is really a dual planet. It’s moon doesn’t rotate around the planet as do other moons. What happens with Pluto is that Pluto and its face each other and rotate around each other. This is important as we look at Pluto’s story.
Pluto, or Hades, Lord of the Underworld, wanted to marry, but couldn’t find a wife who’d take him. Bad neighborhood, you know. What’s worse, no one but Mercury, the gods’ messenger, was allowed to go to Hades and come back. It was pretty much a one-way trip. So Pluto decided he’d take matters into his own hands. He saw Persephone. She was beautiful, young and totally innocent. One day, as she was picking flowers, he abducted her, took her to Hades, and forced her to be his wife.
In the meantime, back on the surface, Persephone’s mother, Demeter, was panicked and searched everywhere for her daughter. When she learned what happened, she petitioned all the gods to force Pluto to release Persephone. After all, the way it stood, Pluto had her forever…. no one (but Mercury) got out of Hades’ realm alive (or dead either, for that matter). Well, the gods finally gave in to Demeter’s entreaties and they commanded Pluto to release his bride, Persephone.
Persephone was forcibly abducted. She was surprised and taken, against her will, to hell, where she had no hope of ever leaving. Anyone who’s experienced a heavy-duty Pluto transit will know what this feels like. On the other hand, from Pluto’s point of view, just after he finally found his long-sought-after bride he was commanded to give her up. Both parties to this story were forced to face issues of loss and surrender. Persephone faced the loss of life on the surface of earth, of her family and friends, and of her ultimate freedom and autonomy. Pluto was forced to surrender the one woman he had found to love (you’ll often find hard Pluto-Venus contacts related to obsessive love, loss of love, or in a natal chart, perpetual fear that love will be taken from one–often jealousy).
Pluto, being part of the community of gods, agreed to release Persephone. But Charon, the ferryman for the River Styx, and thus the gatekeeper to Hades, said she could only leave if she took nothing with her, and that included having eaten nothing. Persephone had eaten six pomegranite seeds and therefore she was able to return to the surface of earth for only six months of the year, and had to return to Pluto for the remainder of the year.
Here we have another part of the Plutonian experience. In order to become free, Persephone could take nothing with her. Pluto transits are often associated with thoughts of revenge, of “getting what’s mine”, “getting even” or making sure the Other person “get’s what’s coming to him”. Often there is a dramatic body-experience, as if every blood cell in your body were suddenly boiling–or freezing. Here we have a very clear metaphor. If, during a Plutonian experience, you hold on to Anything…. if you try to take Anything with you, you will not get out of hell. Period. Pluto requires surrender.
But keep in mind, Surrender is Not the same as giving up, or giving in. Surrender is done willingly. Giving up is done grudgingly. Surrender is graceful. It includes forgiveness and release of what is surrendered. Giving up or giving in is angry or resentful. It includes mentally holding on to and regretfully recounting what was lost. Sometimes a Plutonian experience includes an involuntary loss, but the metaphor still holds true. As long as you hold on to resentment of the loss–the longer you insist on considering what was lost as “rightfully yours”, you have not surrendered it, and you will remain in hell. Often the most difficult part of emerging from a Plutonian experience is learning to surrender what has already been lost.
The story continues…. Persephone became only the second god who could go to the underworld and return. Each year she would return to the depths, to the realm of the unconscious, to the darkness. This was the seed time: the period where the seeds lie dormant, resting, gathering strength from the darkness. And each year Persephone would emerge, bringing long-dormant seed-energies into the light of spring. And as the years went by, it was commented by gods and mortals alike, that the marriage of Pluto and Persephone was the happiest of all of the gods.
After a Plutonian experience, we have access to uncharted depths. We have gone into the darkness of the underworld and returned, and we now have the ability to go into this dark place for rest, for recharging, for deeper understandings, and return with the strength of new life to the world of light. And once we have made our peace with the underworld, the Pluto/Persephone story holds the promise of great happiness.
At this time of great changes in the political, social, and even the physical structure of planet earth, we have an adult generation who went through the Pluto square in their thirties and forties. My grandparent’s generation didn’t experience this until their sixties, seventies and eighties, at which ages they were watching many of their friends die and facing their own imminent mortality. Many adults today have seen more than their share of death and dying, but many have emerged from this experience with the strengths of Persephone to share with a world going through profound transformations of its own. If this time in our earth’s history demands a lot of us, it is also a time when we are unusually capable of supporting those demands.
Each of the planets is associated with a specific fear. Fear is the opposite of love. The ego-imprints of the seven governors (see Article: Hermes Creation Story) are associated with fears that keep us bound to earthly experience and separate from god. So, what kind of fear does Pluto use to keep his ego-imprint in our lives? Pluto represents a deep and profound fear of loss of control. When you fear loss of control in some area, you may be pushy and obnoxious in that area, but more often you’ll be subtly manipulative to make things turn out Your Way. On a day-to-day basis, you may be very good at controlling circumstances in this area. That makes the fear far more intense when a powerful Plutonian transit rips the control away. Once that Plutonian fear is triggered by something, you’ll tend to react like someone’s trying to put you in hell, or stealing away the love of your life! You’ll often find yourself saying “I wish I could kill that person” or you’ll feel like it’s “either they go or you go.” There is a life-or-death intensity about Pluto experiences.
When you feel your blood about to boil, when you feel you are being treated so unfairly you want to scream, that’s the signal that Pluto is active. And the only thing you can do to improve the situation is to exercise SELF CONTROL. There is no other kind of control available to you at this time. Then, let go of your attachment to a particular outcome, and “let go and let God.” This is the magic formula that will bring about the best possible result.
All text and lineart in these pages Copyright 2009 by Anne Beversdorf