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The Spiritual Dimension of Pluto Aspects

By Moses Siregar III

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Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved


The bad guy is on the run, and the good guys are on his heels. The villain runs into a crowded room and grabs the first innocent victim that he can find, and holds the damsel close to himself, shouting, "don't shoot or the girl gets it!" The villain escapes out the back door, hoping to make it off with its hostage and survive.

This is what happens when Pluto aspects a planet in a birth chart. But the bad guy is probably not who you think he is.

The miscreant almost escapes, but then he slips, and the hero lunges in, knocking back the scoundrel, and setting the girl free. The bad guy swings at him, but the good guy dodges, and then lands a punch of his own, bringing the rogue to his knee. The villain, powerless before the police that now surround him, is captured, and must face defeat and full exposure of all wrongdoing. Justice is served. Order is restored to society.

This is what happens when Pluto aspects another planet in a birth chart, and when consciousness is victorious over illusion.

The bad guy is an overly dramatic representation of ego, defined here as the jumble of unconscious tendencies trapping us in ignorance and suffering. The planet aspected by Pluto represents the kidnapped victim, which is the aspect of our psychology that becomes captured by ego. The hero and the police are Pluto, the power of Truth emerging in our awareness, encouraged by the presence of enlightened beings.

When Pluto aspects a planet in a birth chart, the stage is set for a style of avoiding or realizing the spiritual truth of who we really are. An element of ourselves, represented by the aspected planet, becomes the battleground between conscious and unconscious forces, between nirvana and samsara (peace and suffering), and between self-love and self-hate. A planetary function in aspect with Pluto must undergo severe experiences, but through these purifying fires the planet can become a vehicle towards enlightenment.

Pluto can be appreciated as a force which, although brutal, serves spiritual awakening. You could say that Pluto is the only planet that loves us enough to put on full-length rubber gloves, stick its hand all the way up our as-, remove the deepest causes of our suffering, and show them to us. Pluto's spiritual nature is to strip away from us every deep-seated and negative tendency--to strip away all that is false to reveal what is true. Pluto seeks to bring us to a mindful silence that can witness how we run away from our innermost freedom. The heaviness that comes with Pluto can be seen primarily as the acting out of the resistance of the ego-mind to deep peace and true healing. For these reasons, Pluto is like Saturn in that Pluto can be negatively and simplistically viewed as an enemy or positively and responsibly viewed as a spiritual friend. Yes, this is easier said than done.

Pluto symbolizes opposite forces: both the darkness and the self-hate within us, as well as the light of Truth within us which dispels darkness and heals unconsciousness. Pluto's natal aspects point to psychological arenas in which we meet the dark within us, and can become very alert and awake through this encounter. The most pleasant and easy life (some would say karma) would involve a
lack of major Pluto aspects (and difficult eighth house placements) in the birthchart. Having major Pluto aspects (or difficult eighth house placements) in a birth chart does not symbolize a life of psychological ease, but does offer the possibility for a radical healing, awakening, and releasing of very ancient baggage. It is only through facing the difficult elements of ourselves which Pluto brings to the surface, that we might actually heal ourselves and our planet.

Ultimately, the magic wand that can heal the difficult face of Pluto involves deep inquiry into ourselves, honesty with ourselves, and loving appreciation of ourselves. This deep inquiry involves looking into what we are really seeking to gain from our desires, and whether these desires can really give us the peace we are looking for. This self-honesty involves looking into our habitual tendencies that upset our inherently relaxed nature. This love of oneself includes the choice of balance and simplicity in our lives.

But perhaps the most important thing for those with major Pluto aspects is to just feel more joy. Lightening up is often the hardest thing for those with major Pluto aspects to do, because lightening up means relaxing into love, which is what many of us don't feel we deserve. While spiritual practices, bodily healing and purification, counseling, healing work, esoteric self-study, etc. are vital and very helpful for a Plutonian individual, a truer spiritual growth may come through an even more profound channel: just learning how to have good, clean fun!

Below, I offer descriptions of Pluto in aspect to natal inner planets. These interpretations are intended as my own model or viewpoint, not as absolute truths. In the following accounts, notice how each planet aspected by Pluto can become inflated on false attachments, or suppressed out of fear. Notice the subconscious game plan of ego, which is to create life circumstances to confuse the person as to the most balanced and enlightened approach to each planetary function. The ultimate potential of Pluto aspects is deep, clear awareness purified of extremist tendencies, addictiveness, and unconscious grasping onto painful ways of being.

The following discussions are applicable to any aspect in a birth chart between Pluto and an inner planet, although of course different aspects will have different qualities. Conjunctions are the strongest connections, followed by oppositions, squares, and quincunxes. Even sextiles and trines will deal with the hard issues; Pluto is still Pluto, even in a trine. Semi-sextiles, semi-squares, sesquiquadrates, quintiles, septiles, and noviles will also deal with these themes. Other planets in aspect to the Pluto aspect listed below will condition the Pluto contact further. For example, Saturn in aspect to Pluto or the planet it aspects will intensify the aspect; Jupiter in aspect to the Pluto or the planet it aspects will ease the difficult pressures considerably. And of course, the full understanding of the following aspects would only be gained by viewing the entire context of the chart around the aspect, including the sign and house placements of Pluto and the planet(s) it aspects.

Pluto/Moon

The healing journey here manifests through a family/childhood to crush and intensify one's emotional vulnerabilities and warp one's ability to share and receive love in a balanced way. The mother may be cast into a role as the prime player in this emotional drama. Ego has created a smokescreen to distract Awareness, by warping the personality, making it too profoundly sensitive and/or insensitive; it is difficult for the Pluto-Moon individual to feel truly safe, relaxed, and at home with others. There are likely to be major emotional scars around the notions of loving and being loved, which may be hidden from view in the subconscious. Some difficult experiences in the area of intimate relationships are essentially inevitable, to help the person realize the emotional pain within them. There is likely to be oscillation between an unrealistic attachment to and expectation from one's earthly relationships (people, pets, places, favorite things, etc.) and family life, or a fear and rejection of the same.

Once the person realizes the pain within, s/he can fully commit to a path of healing on all levels, to rescue their heart's innocence and vulnerability. Great courage and honesty are required surrounding their own emotions and fears around love. The possibility for greater peace and wholeness requires learning how to open to the realm of lunar intimacy and enjoy it without clinging so tightly to the experience. The fulfillment of the Moon lies in emotional openness and vulnerability with others, while still being cautious enough to protect oneself from unnecessary emotional pain. The Pluto-Moon person must be simultaneously aware of his/her potential for an exaggerated dependence on security through intimate and family relationships, as well as to a tendency to wreck one's human relationships through over-sensitivity, fear, suspicion, judgment, and paranoia. Ultimately Pluto with the Moon can teach us that relationships, and all things of this world, are fundamentally impermanent, so that our earthly relationships come to be enjoyed fully and utterly in the now, without manipulation and future expectation.

As a healer for others, this person can have great depth and insight, as they can relate well to other's sorrows. In a family, this person can bring great love and devotion. In relationship, this more aware Pluto-Moon person is capable of insuring a connection that is based in reality, not false wishes and projections. As an enlightened being, this person can deeply realize the transience of earthly life and personal relationships, and show to others that the relationship that matters most is the unspeakable surrender to the true Self--while remaining actively involved in one's 'down-home' lunar life.

See Also: Post on Pluto-Moon Aspects

Pluto/Venus

In this case, painful and destructive experiences with love and/or sexuality can disturb the soul's naturally balanced enjoyment of physical pleasures and/or human relationships. Unconscious self-sabotage is operating by deeply injuring one's self-love, and by creating an extreme passion for, or denial of, the joys of the physical body as a way of compensating for this lack of self-worth--or as a way of punishing oneself further because of it. With Pluto demanding true spiritual awareness, as is always Pluto's nature, the natural function of Venus, which is full enjoyment of the physical body and human relationships, has to be first restrained and controlled before it can be fulfilled. A real danger of Pluto-Venus contacts is an extreme kind of desire that becomes destructive to oneself and others, or an excessive dependence on intimate relationships for happiness. If these sensual passions can be redirected into a devotion to self-mastery and spiritual discipline, the individual has the potential to ultimately combine a complex blend of opposites: illumined inner awareness with passionate enjoyment of sensuality and sexual relationships.

Both Pluto and Venus must be fulfilled. Yet the order in which these two must be done is clear. Pluto must be fulfilled before Venus can be fulfilled. Spiritual restraint and wholeness must be realized before relationships and sensuality can be experienced in a balanced way. When the Pluto-Venus individual attempts to primarily fulfill the pleasurable aspects of physical existence before realizing the stability of the spiritual Self, as ego often loves to attempt to do, disaster is inevitable. Pluto will not allow the individual to become so sluggish and self-indulgent, because then one will become apathetic and resistant to the pursuit of greater Self-Realization. When Pluto and Venus combine, the only sane approach is to focus foremost on one's independent spiritual awareness and inner peace, and then to savor the delights of the human sphere as a way of celebrating this peace. Material excesses will not satisfy. Sexual cravings will not fulfill. Human relationships will not last. Only an awakened Self will open up the floodgates of the cornucopia.

From a Self-realized place, the Venus-Pluto individual can be a living example of a profound balance of the sensual and interpersonal life with the impersonal life of inner contentment. As an awakened being, this person can be an example of self-mastery in the face of excessive self-indulgent desire, of a life-affirming spirituality, and of the existence of profound peace.

Side Note: The astrological community often promotes Venus-Pluto in different contexts as 'great sex.' Great sex is of course great, but what sometimes goes with what is called 'great sex' in the case of Venus-Pluto is an intense degree of attachment and craving, an unconscious attempt to fulfill the soul's true longing through necessarily brief sexual experiences. This Venus-Pluto 'great sex' can and often does degenerate into various kinds of abusive relationships. I think we, as students of astrology, should be discerning enough to distinguish between truly great sex, and 'great sex' which is really just an intense and negative addiction, bound to create suffering.

Pluto/Mercury

Initially obscuring peaceful clarity, unconscious self-destructiveness manifests strongly in the mind, which becomes more sensitive, afraid, serious, obsessive, and self-critical. Ego has morphed into these mental states, hoping to block the individual from discovering the truth about the spiritual Self. When possessed by this self-abusing mind, the individual often withdraws into seclusion, and is consumed by depression. This is the favorite self-injuring tactic of ego with the Mercury-Pluto individual: the suppression of the soul's natural mental positivity and joyfulness. Here, as with other Pluto aspects, profound awareness is required to see through the mind's self-destructive game.

But when one's own mind is afflicted with confusion, it cannot solve it's own problem. Some other force must be called upon for healing.  The spiritual heart must become passionately open to a greater Reality than the neurotic mind. Spirit, far more subtle than the mind stuff, is able to penetrate the person's consciousness from within to relax and open the mind. Yet the individual consciousness must remain fixed upon the spiritual plane for the mind to be healed. If one is distracted from spiritual remembering for long, Spirit will naturally withdraw and ego will become more influential. At any given moment, the Pluto-Mercury individual will either be sinking deeper into a mental morass or deepening his or her connection with one's natural, wakeful Clarity.

As the mind is purified of its tendency towards self-affliction, it can become deeper and more in touch with the inherent spaciousness that supports it. An opening can occur to more subtle levels of reality, and the true nature of one's being can become more apparent. Ultimately the ability to perceive beyond the mental matrix is possible. Important spiritual insight, and the ability to share this insight with others, can be gained. When awakened, the Pluto-Mercury individual is an example of the mastery of one's own lower mind through spiritual devotion. Consciousness and Presence can then be combined with a precise and piercing intellect. This individual can then see clearly, and realize this peace for the well-being of all.

Pluto/Sun

Ego manifests here as a pure undermining and distortion of one's self-esteem. Rather than recognizing that one is inherently and perfectly good, one subconsciously creates external conditions and inner dialogue which persuades one into feeling otherwise. The person's father, and/or other authority figures, is usually scripted into a role that will prove painful for the individual, and this will contribute to a general feeling of worthlessness and a lack of real self-confidence. But rather than experience and accept these initial feelings of inadequacy as forgivable, ego will whisper to us that we should prove to others that these internal feelings do not exist. A very long time can be spent attempting to experience, through other's eyes, that we are very good and lovable. Or, one may restrict the expression of one's natural talents so much so that one does not experience that one is indeed special and creative. Either way, the pursuit of self-approval or the denial of one's inherent goodness distracts the Pluto-Sun person from realizing the peace of Being.

Yet both functions seek fulfillment. Pluto seeks the illumination of conscious awareness. The Sun seeks to powerfully radiate Divine energy, warmth, power, and creativity through oneself and into life. But neither Pluto nor the Sun can be fulfilled as long as one remains distracted by the imbalances in their sense of personal power. Self-esteem is a pivotal issue, even though the person may appear quite confident on the surface. Once it is deeply realized that one can only become truly full of love from within oneself, one can shine in the areas where one is gifted without seeking a more secure sense of self through external success, love, or popularity. With a deeper foundation of self-respect, found through acknowledging the spiritual dimension of oneself rather than the success of one's social relationships and activities, one can express their solar potential and radiant qualities without simultaneously developing a big ego. The point of Sun-Pluto is to express one's Divine Power from a balanced sense of self, but this cannot happen until one is willing to fully surrender their wounded ego, and its wounded ambitions and agendas, to a Higher Power. Then real love can arise from within, and the true being can shine without ego perverting external love and success into a false sense of security and well being.

The healthy Pluto-Sun individual can be an example of overcoming a wounded self-belief through devotion to allowing the real Self to shine through oneself for the good of all. The enlightened Pluto-Sun person has chosen to let Spirit guide one's activities, rather than trying to make things work primarily on one's own power; the psychological 'I' now takes a back-seat as the humble vehicle of a higher Self, open to a plane of more perfect inspiration, love, power, and creativity. Worldly ambition has been transformed into devoted spiritual aspiration, and the weak/arrogant personality has yielded control over to the power of one's true Center. One can then be a witness to just being, and letting God do her miracles when she wishes.

Pluto/Mars

Unconscious self-sabotage manifest here as a thwarting of one's naturally balanced feeling of courage and personal power and/or a thwarting of one's wholesome relationship with sexuality. Physical or sexual abuse may be a major part of this healing journey. This intense relationship with personal power and aggression can result, on the surface, in meakness that can erupt in unexpected intensity, or in a more continually aggressive and coarse personality. Paradoxically, great softness is required to heal and restore Mars. But rather than softening around one's pain, there is an initial tendency to either suppress the pain, resulting in passive aggressive tendencies which one may be unaware of, or to become easily and overly angry with others instead of taking responsibility for one's own temper or reactiveness. Unconscious rage can ravage the Pluto-Mars individual, which would only support the wounded agenda of self-undermining.

If ego has its way with Pluto-Mars, the will becomes divorced and separate from the conscious heart, dominated by fears, arrogance, anger, or extremes of violence and victimhood. So the healing and balancing of the will, for Mars-Pluto, is a crucial element of the journey towards spiritual wholeness The will may need strengthening, relaxing, or both at the same time. Before healing can be real, the intensity of one's own weak or dominant will is likely to generate many difficult, and hopefully purifying, (re-)experiences.

The spiritual direction of Pluto-Mars is to be reborn as a "peaceful warrior." This true warrior possesses emotional depth due to the experience of personal suffering, and also the energy to heal because of this suffering. This only redeeming course of action is to refine one's will through spiritual awareness. On the one hand, the proper expression of ancient anger is necessary, so that one's vital courage can become a natural aspect of one's self-expression. But eventually, one must soften, rather than continue screaming and hitting, and learn sublime self-control. Surrender to one's own tenderness and sorrow is an essential aspect of the true humility which must be cultivated, as well as surrender to a Higher Will.

With this transformation, Mars becomes refined and purified, connected with the Source. Incredible energy and determination is then possible, fueled by the fire of connection with the One God/dess. As one has submitted to God, one becomes like the hands of God, and therefore a vehicle for real Power. When uninterested in misusing power for self-aggrandizement, Spirit naturally invests in and expresses power through the Pluto-Mars individual. The Pluto purified Mars also gives incisive honesty and courage, and this gives the ability to be a powerful leader, social transformer, healer, or counselor. By the time the enlightened potential of Mars-Pluto has been fulfilled, the human will has become humbled, healed, and empowered through its surrender to the Divine Will. Then God's human hands will joyously move mountains.

The Ethics of Interpretation

Why is it that Pluto aspects symbolize such intense experiences and issues? This is an astrological equal to one of life's great questions, such as "why is there suffering in the world?" I do not know the answer to these questions, but I will offer a possible answer that has helped me take a positive approach in my own life: perhaps it is not that we have been bad and are being punished, or even that we are reaping the consequences of our individual actions, as a simple karmic model would suggest. Perhaps this isn't personal at all. Perhaps it is simply that humanity has long been sick, and that we are still manifesting, meeting, and hopefully healing the guilt over the misdoings of countless generations--and that we are all born innocent.

Perhaps it is not one's negative personal karma as an individual soul that is the cause of our Plutonian experiences--perhaps it is an act of courage and compassion to be born with major Pluto aspects and experiences--because one hopes to help humanity set aside its karma and heal. I do not know if this is the truth, but I know it is a compassionate approach and possibility. Do we really know enough to judge karma, or even the evolutionary condition of the soul, from a birth chart? I don't think so. I think the chart shows the dynamics of the psyche and the evolutionary possibilities for one lifetime, but how would we know the karma or condition of the soul from an image of just one lifetime? And how can we know what is an individual's karma, and what is a collective or shared karma that one has chosen to become involved with?

Conclusion

We always have support of one kind or another. Divine energies are always available to assist us. By humbly and sincerely asking for the presence of the Divine in our lives, Grace will always become more present. Opening to receive this Grace every single day is an essential ingredient in transforming our Plutonian lead into our Plutonian gold.

And let's remember the importance of fun and joy as the ultimate fruit of our encounter with Pluto. When it comes to Pluto, we are our own worst enemies. If we can drop our guilt about having been imperfect human beings (human beings are supposed to screw up!) we can become present enough to our hearts to start all over, and give ourselves the gift of the present in which we can remember how to innocently play.