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.
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…