Pluto: Enslavement or Self-Mastery, the Choice is Yours (Part 2)

I raised my head. The offing was barred by a black bank of clouds, and the tranquil waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth flowed somber under an overcast sky–seemed to lead into the heart of an immense darkness.
– Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, Part 3

Last week I wrote about how Pluto’s unconscious propensity to compulsion manifests as anxiety promulgated control needs filtered through the lens of those personal planets which are within the Plutonic matrix. This is a term that I use because it describes the manner in which Pluto becomes a systemic driver of behaviour at several levels, emotional, psychological, financial, sexual and so forth. We can understand how this works through reference to a specific example: if we have Pluto connected through a square aspect to Venus then there are anxiety promulgated control needs which are filtered through the Venusian lens. This means that in matters of relating we will exhibit Plutonic compulsions (deep anxiety about abandonment for example), but this same anxiety will manifest in other Venusian areas too: in matters of appearance (a tendency to dress in an overtly Plutonic – or erotic/powerful/wealthy/intense – style), in mattters of finance (a tendency to get involved in financial power-struggles with former romantic partners, or to experience control or lack of control over our finances), in matters of food (a love of rich, dark, sweet foods: chocolate is a good example), and so forth. All Venusian matters are supercharged by Plutonic energy.

When we talk about a ‘matrix’, we do not need to confine ourselves to aspects. Interconnectedness in the nativity is a little like spilt water, it finds the path of least resisitance and where it cannot flow, it will pool and eventually stagnate; which is, in and of itself a Plutonic motif. So while the wide channel of the Plutonic square might be an obvious outlet for that energy, we may not see other more subtle paths of connectedness; these are like underground channels, but they might nonetheless carry copious volumes of Plutonic matter. Rulerships are a good and enormously undervalued mechanism of this type. Any Scorpio planets (or even asteroids) will serve as outlets for Plutonic energy, and thus compulsion. Even stronger is the mutual reception: if you have Sun in Scorpio and Pluto in Leo, Mercury in Scorpio and Pluto in Virgo, Venus in Scorpio and Pluto in Libra and so forth, then you have a vast Plutonic resource in your map, and it will manifest as compulsion at times. Look too for aspects of declination, or strong midpoint pictures involving Pluto, because these also will act as channels for Plutonic energy. For example if you have the midpoint picture Pluto = Sun/Moon, then you can expect to manifest Plutonic energy into your life very strongly indeed. It becomes a component both of security and identity and formulates a key tenet of who we are at a fundamental level. And if we research examples of that picture with considerable precision (Pl = Su/Mo @ Modulus 45° and orb 0°20′) we find:

Captain William Bligh (mutiny is a sincere power-struggle).
Buddy Holly (died in a plane crash age 22).
Muhammad Ali (the most ruthless fighter in the most ruthless of sports).
Maurizio Gucci (gunned down by a hitman hired by his wife who wanted his fortune).
Warren Buffet (a self-made millionaire and financial ‘guru’).

And so forth. What we actually determine from each of these cases is that the midpoint channel marks this individual out for an especial Plutonic focus, but in every case other (and more ‘obvious’) connections in the Plutonic matrix describe the quality of the outlet. Consider each of these cases in that light:

Captain William Bligh has Sun square Pluto: power struggles about leadership.
Buddy Holly has peregrine (unaspected) Pluto: see “On the Peregrination of Pluto and Other Such Tragedies“).
Muhammad Ali has Mars square Pluto: competition, fighting, being the best.
Maurizio Gucci has Venus conjunct Pluto square Mars: violence due to a financial power struggle.
Warren Buffet has Jupiter conjunct Pluto square Venus: financial power as a compensation for inferiority anxiety.

And so forth. This explains why not everyone with Mars square Pluto turns out to be the greatest boxer of his generation. The overground source of Plutonic matter here carries less volume than the underground source (in all likelihood, we might struggle to quantify astrology in this way) and very often we might not be able to see the myriad synapses of the Plutonic matrix in a nativity, even if we see them in a life. I cannot underestimate the import of this insight. People are the living manifestation of the holistic matrix of their entire astrology and they express it through every fibre of their being, so they will express the energy that is most charged in them regardless of what you can or cannot see in their nativity. Once again, they will manifest flowing energy as much as stagnant or pooled energy and Pluto is subject to this, but not directly, he is hidden, so he manifests through the soul wiring of that human life, in this exact manner.

Squares and trines: which are better?

Now, since this is a primer for Pluto, let us examine another truism. There’s no such thing as an easy aspect to Pluto. I have blathered on at exhaustive (and possibly boring) length about the failure of perspective encapsualted in the view that some aspects are good and easy while others are difficult or hard. It simply isn’t true. An aspect is a route between two cities: if a trine, it is a wide, well-paved highway with regular, cheap buses and plenty of picnic areas en route. If a square, it is a narrow, rocky road across a mountain pass that is only open briefly during the summer months, there is a monastery up there and the views are wonderful, but if you’re not prepared for the rigours of that journey, you could get into difficulty. So, which is easier? The first route for sure. Which is better?

Pluto is an impersonal planet, his energy is at that level of divinity which mortals aren’t easily disposed to handle. I hear people say that they love their Pluto. Rubbish. Nobody loves their Pluto, it’s not possible. Such statements are a de facto admission of a failure to grasp the essential quality of Pluto, no matter how many trines there are in the matrix. An easy aspect to Pluto is a wide highway to Pluto City, with regular, cheap buses and all that entails. Because the two cities have a great deal of two way traffic, each city is going to be exposed with far greater frequency and ease to the other’s culture, so you get used to handling Pluto energy, regardless of whether or not it makes you a better person. I would bet that there are more dictators with a Sun – Pluto trine and more elected politicians with the square. The democratic politician learns the hard way how to handle power over others, the tyrant is too easily identified with being in a position of control, the identity is easily Plutonic, they’re comfortable (and that’s the operative word) with just taking the power. An extreme example perhaps, but it serves to convey the fundamental reality of these connections, because both of these examples crave the power, they share that because they share the Sun-Pluto contact.

In part three of this series I’ll be looking at Pluto’s connections to the non-personal planets, Jupiter, Saturn and Uranus. You will learn just how straightforward it is to uncover peoples’ fundamental anxieties and predict the behavioural manifestations that are the result. Ultimately, when you apply that understanding to your own astrology, you’ll be awakened to where Pluto is pulling your strings, and through that insight you’ll very quickly take back control. (If you want to, but that’s another story!)

As ever, the vocational path of an itinerant astrologer is far from luxurious. Reciprocate the love by making a miniscule donation so that I can keep writing joyously about Pluto for your edification and emancipation…



…there was a post here in which I discussed astrological etiquette. I have removed it because I’d momentarily forgotten that only a fool tries to direct the world and the other people in it. On that precise subject I’ll be publishing the second article in the current series on Pluto early next week.

Have a great weekend.

Pluto: Enslavement or Self-Mastery, the Choice is Yours (Part 1)

Today I wanted to convey a basic tenet of Pluto, possibly the basic tenet of Pluto; that being the manner in which it is the root of all compulsion. We can understand this when we consider that the Lord Hades is hidden. Mythically, the stories tell us that he inhabited the Underworld – Tartarus – a terrifying and dread kingdom of the dead that was off-limits to mortals. On the two occasions that Pluto did emerge into the mortal realm, he wore a mask of invisibility so that he would not be seen. In this way, our Plutonic drives are designed to be hidden from ourselves, and we have a name for them, we call them compulsions. Children are by nature compulsive, they speak what is in their mind, even if it is not appropriate to speak up, but gradually they learn through social feedback to become aware of the effects of their compulsions on their environment.

But we assume – oh so very incorrectly – that when we become adults that we have nothing left to learn about compulsion. Learning to value another’s feelings in lieu of speaking our mind is only the most basic form of compulsion, and that is why most small children have begun to get it. Compulsion is a part of the human condition because Pluto is in the archetypal map of the human soul. Z’Ev Ben Shimon Halevi said:

[Pluto] was God of the Underworld – or to put it in Christian terms the Outer Darkness – in an astronomical sense roughly Pluto’s remote position in the solar system. Moreover he had a famous cap of invisibility. This could be read in two ways: that he was monarch of the dead, of those that have passed out of our dimension of sight; or that his processes are so slow that one lifetime is not enough to observe its full cycle. Pluto is the king of death, the planet of the most profound transformation man can physically witness. This event comes and goes, nothing can prevent it; suddenly a being who has been a piece of human furniture in a society or family has vanished, disappeared into another world, the realm of shades. Hades’ Gate may indeed be knowledge, for it is said that on death, everything learnt is reviewed as the past life is rapidly uncoiled in an ecstatic flash of every pleasure, pain, ignorance and understanding lived. Here at the invisible door, the experience and the essence of a man is further distilled, the limiting ego evaporated forever in the void of the divine father and mother, before the final union with the Creator.

Seen in this context, Pluto marks time beyond the scope of mortal self-awareness, or ego-consciousness. True self-awareness, whilst it is not a binary state of on/off, self-aware/compulsive, is certainly a state which has to be acknowledged as a prerequisite for spiritual growth. Once we become awake to the possibility of non-childish compulsion then we have switched onto a new level of operation because the truth is that every human alive who has not realised satori is compulsive, and within that spectrum, they are either aware that they are involved in a lifelong process of unmasking Pluto, or they are simply his unwitting puppet. No other relationship can exist.

Fortunately, we have the remarkable insight of astrology to provide us with an objective litmus test of our Plutonic styles. Indeed, every radix point that is connected with Pluto, regardless of aspect type, is subject to expressing the Plutonic, and of course, because Pluto is invisible, we are not awake to that expression. We can use astrology to delineate the probable nature of that manifestation, but even when told outright, we can be in denial, or become profoundly angry, upset or damaging in response, many of us are simply not ready to unmask the Pluto in our lives, even if living with him leads us into despair and ruin! And frequently this is exactly the result.

The rules of Pluto are indeed extremely simple, whichever point is connected to Pluto evinces compulsion and control thus:

Sun: A compulsive drive to be important, the centre of attention, in charge, admired and appreciated.
Moon: Compulsions manifest instinctively in moods, controlling the environment, in relation to possessions and especially food and sustenance. Moon-Pluto contacts frequently manifest as eating disorders.
Mercury: An inability to take what is said at face value, distrust, interrogation, suspicion and spite, cutting remarks, sarcasm etc.
Venus: A compulsion about appearance and attractiveness (in women) and a tendency toward ice-cold emotional withdrawals in men, both directed toward control of others (and frequently the opposite sex!)
And so forth.

In every case, the compulsion is directed toward control needs. But this does not mean that Pluto is all bad, this is the compulsive face of Pluto, but once unmasked, the reward facet of Pluto (whose etymological root is plouton: wealth) becomes extant thus:

Sun: Honourable, lordly, generous, a born leader able to command respect without effort.
Moon: A person of deep inner peace, who feels safe and secure in every place, who puts others at ease without effort.
Mercury: A mind of penetrating insight, one who can see easily into the heart of every matter and into the hearts of other people.
Venus: One with a deep and profound love connection based upon trust, intimacy and openness in their closest relationships.
And so forth!

There is no question of course that the compulsion and reward dynamic is most easily apprehended in connections with personal planets. Indeed, these are the points that become the most obvious candidates for ‘issues’ and thus they are within the ‘childish’ spectrum of compulsions. Allow me to explain with an example.

My youngest stepson Bertie has Pluto conjunct Ascendant. In fact his next oldest brother has the same energy, but Bertie’s Pluto is considerably closer to the Ascendant. He is a jovial, positive and forceful character because with Pluto in Sagittarius, Jupiter’s rulerships provides this flavour however, he is renowned for his propensity for shouting. When I first met him I was actually quite shocked at how persistently loud he was, and no matter what approach one took, there seemed to be no way at all to moderate either the volume or the frequency of his pronouncements. All day long, the only thing you could hear was Bertie, giving forth at astounding decibel levels for a 2-year-old.

Now if we understand the Ascendant to describe the manner in which one interacts in the immediate environment and too, the interpersonal style then we can see that there is compulsion about interacting in a Jupiter style, big, loud, and, well… big and loud! Fortunately, three years of relaying the mantra “stop shouting Bertie” is beginning to take its toll on his compulsion and he is slowly becoming aware of his compulsion and transforming it into something less destructive.

So what do we learn from this? We see that – since all Plutonic compulsion is control focused, it manifests out of anxiety about being out of control. Bertie, by dint of having 3 older brothers who don’t really listen to him, has anxiety about being seen and heard. He’s also extremely big for his age and frequently has flushed cheeks, a symptom of thyroid activity which itself intimates a theme: if I’m big, I’ll be harder to ignore. Bertie is anxious about being ignored so he manifests control behaviour (shouting) to placate his anxiety. If he shouts loud enough and often enough eventually somebody will take note. The reward will eventually manifest, once he has mastered the compulsion, in the form of a very intent and jolly demeanour which will automatically command attention. He is already getting this because he can be quite charming and bright which has this exact effect.

Now because the energy is involved with the Ascendant, it is a low-scale energy, and he will have it mastered soon enough. School will fix the last vestiges of that problem eventually. If it were another personal point then it might infect his energy signature for many years to one degree or another. Many people do deal with intermediate scale energies around midlife, or they at least begin to. I know a great many people who do almost no Pluto work of course, but they usually end up manifesting that compulsion into the lowest vibrational state: heart or spinal problems (for Pluto in Leo), digestive and eliminative issues (for Pluto in Virgo and Libra) and so forth. Illness frequently results from unmanaged compulsions. One of the key insights is that if you are ill then Pluto is likely involved. Because astrology is a metaphysical language, you can easily diagnose the source of your problems which, when looked at from this perspective, are what you might more accurately term ‘anxiety-promulgated control needs’. If you have heart problems then you are too fixated on being important, in charge, admired and being superior, your question is am I good enough?. If you have digestive issues, stomach problems (ulcers, heartburn, indigestion), breast cancers, womb problems, then you are anxious about lunar issues, you will have a deep insecurity related to a lack of nurturing or support and your question is am I safe?. Bowel problems, IBS, constipation, cramps, gas and so forth are related to anxiety about communication, about being lied to, cheated, and fundamentally these are control needs based around trust and you might well ask can I trust you?. If you have issues with the renal system, kidneys, bladder or the skin (such as eczema, hives, scleroderma, dermatitis, dandruff, acne, psoriasis) then you are struggling with anxiety about intimacy and love. This is connected to self-worth anxiety, or put more directly: am I lovable?

So, if you have heart problems and you were born between 1937 and 1958, it is likely that you’ve never dealt with your anxiety about being good enough. Most probably that came about because one or other of your parents transmitted the unconscious message that you didn’t measure up. The compulsion could manifest as haughtiness, arrogance, pomposity, a need to be admired, wealthy, adored, obeyed and to be the centre of attention, but it is all the same problem, there is a deep self-worth compulsion which has never been faced, so it has just run the show for so long unchallenged that eventually it has manifested physically into the heart.

Similarly, if you were born between 1956 and 1972 and you have digestive problems, then the chances are that you have trust issues which you haven’t faced up to. Of course, many of these issues will not manifest until after the Uranus half-return in serious ways, so this generation has some time, but of course, IBS is the archetypal Pluto in Virgo affliction, and it is the precursor to more serious problems later if the trust and communication problem associated with it is not dealt with.

So, these are the usual suspects of Plutonic energy, which are quite mundane and explicable.

Taken to a different level entirely, we see that through the ongoing pressure of compulsion we are presented with an opportunity to connect with a divine perspective. Unmasking Pluto is seeing the self through the eyes of God, without artifice, with awareness of what is in the heart. It can take a lifetime to fail in this simple but terrifying task. Ask yourself, why are you trying to control this thing, why can’t you just let it go? If you can even ask that question then you have started the most important work of your life.

And if you are not ready to ask it, perhaps it does not matter. You will have another chance once you have crossed the threshold of Hades’ Gate.

Another life, another chance to grapple with invisibility…

BritFate: prediction methods explained in detail

Today’s article will be something of an experiment. Because the time and effort required to produce these educational astrology articles is considerable, I am hoping to encourage a positive energy exchange with my readers (up to 800 a day!) so for major pieces I will produce the work in a PDF document which you can download and either read on your computer or print off and read in bed, or over your cereal or while waiting to talk to your bank manager about the overdraft. The article will be free to download, however the link for my Paypal donation page where you can optionally contribute a couple of bucks for my time and effort, will be listed too.

I hope you will be comfortable with that, because although I do get some donations, in general terms there isn’t much incentive to write articles when I get paid much better for writing nativities, so the bulk of my time goes into that instead of providing this free resource.

Today’s article demonstrates a useful principle about predicting future times which I am certain will be a useful delineation of methodology. Here in the UK we are living through interesting times and I have a strong suspicion that these times are about to get even more interesting.

I had a discussion with my doctor recently about predicting the cause of death through astrology, and she asked if it was possible to posit a time of death as well as a cause. Actually, I don’t entirely believe that it is possible to determine a cause of death so much as a style of death, but that’s another matter. What good astrologers have long known is that you cannot predict your own time of death: many have tried and only one Renaissance Italian managed it: on the second attempt! I have read several theories on this and I think it is linked to the subjective perception of one’s demise, of course it will be traumatic, but the actual moment of departure? I cannot imagine that would show up as a problem.

To some extent I want to reserve insight on this question because I cover the topic quite throughly in my forthcoming book on Orcus, however, that is not actually the purpose of this exploratory digression in any case, the simple fact is that it is much easier to predict a time of death for an individual by looking at the transits, progressions and directions of those people in their intimate circle. If you see then that there is a period of adversity for all those connected with the individual, which is concommitant with an illness, accident or other mortally-threatening happenstance in their nativity, then we can mark that as a possible exit point for the soul in question.

The demise becomes explicable after the fact, as was the case with Natasha Richardson (for example) and there is no question that this insight would have been available beforehand, however, there are numerous convergences of life-threatening portents in a human life and they cannot all result in death (well, the first which does is logically the end of the matter) but undoubtedly they will denote near-misses. You wouldn’t even have to know about it of course; I remember one instance where I crossed a road in London and upon reaching the other side I noted the look of horror and distress on the faces of the many people standing stock-still on the pavement: apparently I had almost been hit by a bus, but, lost in thought I had been oblivious to my brush with mortality.

All of which is a rather long-winded means of pointing to a methodology. Compare the futures of a group and you will see that where there are concurrences, there are therefore shared experiences of significance in the making.

The article today will demonstrate how this method works, how you should put it together, and how to identify hotspots in the future. For the purpose of the demonstration I am going to use the combined nativities of David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, the UK coalition government (which has a birth time) and the nation they govern as well. If we view the three through a convergent lens in this way, we can easily ascertain where the stress points lie. You of course can use the charts of any associated group, and by applying the same methods you will be able to identify future hotspots of especial significance.

If you wish to download the article (5000 words+) please consider making a small donation via Paypal.

The article is available as a PDF document: please click here to read. And remember, I would rather you enjoy the article for free than forgo the article because you don’t wish to make a donation.