Meditation on Pluto

by Marguerite Hafeman ©

Pluto, the outermost former official member of the solar system was discovered in 1930, the same year that Bother and Becker discovered the neutron. The planet is two-thirds the size of Earth's moon and has an orbital period of 248 years. The orbit is highly elliptical and tilted about 17° relative to the plane of the ecliptic, more than any other planet.1 Between 1977 and 1999 its eccentric orbit took it within that of Neptune, from about midway through the sign of Libra, through the first third of Sagittarius. Therefore, its phase of orbit closest to the Earth coincided with its 12-year sojourn in Scorpio, sign of its rulership.

By mass and diameter, Pluto and its companion Moon Charon are not even considered a planet any more; its status has been reduced to planetoid but this demotion by a handfull of astronomers has corresponded with a social imperative that seeks to essentially trivialize death, as we move ever closer to an environmental reckoning and nucs held loosely in the hands of maniacs. Haven't we been subjected to increasing doses of gratitous violence and hopelessness through the media: are you numb enough yet? Astrologically the impact of Pluto's field of resonance on human affairs when in heavy aspect to another planet cannot be missed. As with the other outer planets, it was first believed that Pluto's tracks were reflected mainly in large-scale events of destiny involving the masses. To that end, it represents transformation and resurrection at the highest level, degradation and annihilation at the lowest. Both violent mob mentality and the social evolutionary path to greatness lie in Pluto's domain.

Of course, the most interesting people are those who are personally touched by Pluto's placement in their natal chart. Many planetary aspects made to natal Pluto, many natal planets in Scorpio or the 8th house of sex, death and joint financial affairs, or Pluto in hard aspect to the Moon's Nodes indicates you too will have intimate dealings with the dark lord of the underworld. What does this mean? Your innocence probably left early in life; the likelihood of having experienced abuse at the hands of others, or displaying a penchant for abusing others is greatly increased. Frequently there is a fascination with the exercise of power, either having it to weld over others or being involved in some permutation of how others do or do not exercise power over you. You are more likely to be the one spotted across the room at the cocktail party or the prayer meeting, quietly radiating intensity and brooding charisma. One thing is for sure, at one or more points in the course of life you will be confronted with a situation way larger than you, over which you have no control, that will change you forever with or without your permission.

The phrase "being led to the burning field" applies to a visit from Pluto. There can be loss or gain of great power and prestige in career; or perhaps one or more powerful persons will appear, who get in close to make or break you, maybe take chunks your very soul. The energy can take the form of a health issue-your own or somebody else's for whom you are responsible-which alters your sense of freedom and autonomy forever. Perhaps the visit is experienced as the progressive dismantling of one's own emotional or spiritual structures, the loss of every neat definition, category and ritual a person has developed in order to make sense of their reality and conduct the business of existence.

Or one might suddenly exhibit compulsive, obsessive or addictive behavior they cannot seem to control. Bizarre compensating behaviors and sexual dysfunctions that issue forth from a compromised, suppressed unconscious mind can also be animated with Pluto's breath. A loss of innocence or expectation is always involved, as in the Greek myth when Persephone was abducted and led down to mate with the Dark One. Therefore a Pluto experience is a rite of passage; in all cases that which was held most precious must be given away, so that a new personal expression laden with the fruits of wisdom can be generated. Said another way, the innocent and naive are initiated into the rites of maturity and reproduction; those who wish to evolve further undergo a death of the ego and regeneration into new identity, sometimes violently.

Esoterically, Pluto is the higher octave of Mars therefore embodies an occult significance. Pluto governs death, afterlife and rebirth; it moves through the elimination system, the sex organs and the astral cord. It rules forces we cannot see, such as witchcraft, black magic and levitation. Atomic fission, reptiles, bats, vampires, and the digit zero are denizens of its domain. The question always poised is, will you take your temptations to a purification rite in the heights or wallow in them down low? If the low road is chosen, lifetimes can be required to crawl out from under the rock again, simply because one keeps trying to retain a level of power they no longer are qualified to possess. "Says who," you might respond, however what comes around finally does seem to go around, according to the record-keepers.

People who just cannot stop trying to exercise sexual, financial or mental power over others, often have some kind of indication for past-life or ancestral involvement with occult activity in their horoscope chart. Examples could include Scorpio ruling the eighth house with the South Node of past lives located within, Mars squaring Pluto; or Scorpionic Venus-Pluto-Moon combinations, perhaps involving the South Node and the eleventh house of community and groups, or lots of Scorpio planets in the second house of self-value (or self-indulgence) opposing the occult eighth house.

I once heard Pluto's placement in the natal horoscope referred to as "the place where a person most wants to be in control, but where they will be the most controlled by others." Where one will most desperately require conformation for their personal version of how God, society, nature or survival works, is most precisely where one will not get what they pictured. Instead, the original structure and intent must be burned completely away, purged of its egocentric designs, regenerated by total submission to a power higher than one's own. Because we are human, the process usually has to be achieved through intense challenges involving pain, suffering and loss.

Pluto power is very patient and likes to operate out of open view. It can be operative for a very long time below radar before it manifests openly; when it does, there is no place to hide. In the end those who avoid the depths when it is their time, are brought down to them anyway, most usually through a series of chronic and debilitating health problems leading to a long, drawn-out ugly sort of decline. An alternative example could include someone inclined to pious activities who marries a handsome preacher man, only to find later that he is infected with AIDS and has contracted the marriage with her because he does not care to die alone. His wife, now also infected with AIDS, is the one who must redeem a burden truly from hell. She must consider, what was the value of maintaining her willfully naive innocence about authority in socially approved institutions? What to do about the rage? Will she care for her husband while he goes through the long, messy process of dieing? What about the church? Where is God in this equation?

What would be the purpose of such an experience? Perhaps one needs to fully experience the consequences of civilized disconnection from their own emotional and physical bodies or atrophy of the instinctual nature. If one believes in karma, then it can be a balancing of accounts from earlier lives, when the soul was not so kind, sweet and meek. Perhaps we do not mean to be cruel or stupid, we have simply been hypnotized by fear, greed or the physics created by our own ego, therefore are slow to learn lessons that are overdue to be learned. The experience of acute disillusionment and loss can be the only means left to acquire the undivided attention and discipline required to carry through with transmutive change.

What about those people who act as agents for the Angel of Death, figureheads for the collective shadow who are unleashed periodically to deliver annihilation on a massive scale? Think along the lines of Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Jim Jones or Saddam Hussein. Are they entities entirely given over to cultivating their hatred and capacity for destruction over several lifetimes, incarnating at times in history when social conditions suit the expression of their pact with Chaos? Some people do seem to get away with murder, literally or figuratively, in the course of a lifetime. I don't know what kind of contract they have with the Prince of Darkness. All I know is that myself was not granted that luxury; I was one of the ones who would be dead today, if but for surrendering to first experiencing a rape of the soul and an encounter with the abyss of my own darkness; followed by the sacrifice of my hopes and dreams, illusions and ideals, and the traditional foundations of my faith.

What could possibly be the benefit of giving in to Pluto's call, following him below to the dark fires, surrendering all that held most dear to the soul, even pieces of one's own heart? That is how the prideful dross in us can be brought forth to the surface, to be purged and purified in the light. Harmful products of one's own unprocessed rage, fear and desire can be liberated at the cellular level of the body, transformed alchemically and released so their toxic presence can no longer initiate disease. If one is patient, humble and rendered powerless, new balance between heart and mind can be established and new growth nurtured in other areas of the psyche and life that would otherwise be ignored or undervalued. Forfeited talents and skills can come back in altered form, that much more highly refined for having passed through the tempering heat, to be expressed at a level that can appeal to a whole segment of society, rather than a select few.

Direct, sensate contact with Divine Life, flowing in a never-ending, nurturing torrent through one's own inner being; the proper valuation and deployment of one's own instincts, emotional body and higher mind; the courage to proceed out into the jungle as a sacred warrior; these are but a few of the gifts Pluto can bestow. Most of all, one is led to the realization at all levels of awareness and in every chakra of the body, that they are not the source of their own creativity, health, wealth or any other gift of life. Ask humbly, and it shall be given.

We are but a channel of expression, along with every other living thing on Earth, for an eternal current that breathes through everything in manifested existence. One comes to understand intimately the necessity for yielding to cycles of birth, preservation and decay. Death eventually comes as a friend, holding the everlasting promise of resurrection. The evolving soul is thus impelled towards something far greater than the ego could ever concoct or social conditioning could ever sustain. One gets used to shedding outgrown skins like the snake does. Darkness and Light, the breathing in and breathing out, are thus comprehended as two complimentary aspects of the One.


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